What Does It Take…?

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VM’s signature report this month, Andy Karp’s annual, detailed examination of the Top Labs in the U.S. market, is headlined this year: “What It Takes to Be a Top Lab.”

He chose that phrase, as the “labscape,” he writes, has changed so much, noting, “Widespread industry consolidation, the growth of managed vision care and the emergence of the Internet and technologies such as digital lens surfacing have created new forms of competition and changed customer expectations.”

It occurs to me that “What Does It Take?” is also the question I hear so much these days from so many people involved in the industry—from leaders of frame and sunwear companies to those top executives at sizeable retail companies and heads of regional practices and groups, really, it’s been the question of the year.

Everyone in our business has been buffeted. By a revolution in consumer attitudes and retail/e-commerce dynamics. By changes in health care delivery and reform, even as the Affordable Care Act gets ready to start (kind of). By an economic recovery that’s uneven at best; while some areas of the country are thriving and ‘back’ to business since the depths of the Great Recession, there are many places that have not returned to what was.

Many consumers are still mindful of what they spend and where they spend it—and now they have a universe of digital and social media generating a chorus of suggestions and recommendations to them. They also are discovering new online communications and technologies. These are challenging what they think, inspiring them with new ideas and approaches and they are asking a lot of questions.

The business of running a business has always been tough. In today’s atmosphere, it requires priorities, a hard analysis of dollars and cents, focus, delegation, efficient operation. Also, hopefully, responsiveness and integrity.

So, we all ask, What Does It Take? It takes a real lot. E-mail us and let us know what you think it takes for you. ■

maxelrad@jobson.com

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