Northwest Vision Center


Northwest Vision Center

Owner: Yoongie Min, OD and partner Marie Schiff, OD
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Annual Gross Revenue of Single Location: $1 million
Square footage: 3,700
Years in Business: 23
Number of employees: 6 full-time and 2 part-time

“Ethical, progressive, caring, detailed and adaptable.”

How would you describe your business?

A full service optometric practice serving patients of all ages from infants to age 90.

What sets you apart from your competitors?
I jumped on dry eye treatments fairly early, and we’ve built up a good dry eye clinic. We have a large contact lens practice and if you have that, you should do dry eye treatment. We also recommend a lot of nutraceuticals, such as Omega 3 and macular supplements.

How long did it take you to meet or exceed the $1M mark?
It took us 18 to 20 years for our gross charges to routinely exceed $1 million.

Do you have any previous business experience that you have been able to apply to this business?

I worked some retail positions in college and optometry school that gave me insights into running my own business. Before optometry school, I worked at LensCrafters when they were just starting out. I learned the importance of retail sales to optometry and the allure of fast service to the public. In addition, I worked at a high end gift and accessories store geared toward an affluent customer. I learned the value of building relationships and of not judging people based on their appearance.

Have any vendors or industry groups been particularly helpful in your success?
We utilize our optical laboratory and frame vendors in making sure our employees are well trained. Joining doctor peer groups has been enlightening as well. We are currently members of IDOC. I think the value of peer to peer groups is the exchange of ideas and information that your local peers might be unwilling to share.

Is there one investment in particular you feel help set you on the course toward the $1M mark?
Purchasing our own office building. We were able to design our office from scratch to maximize patient flow, ancillary testing and our optical area.

How do you measure R.O.I.?
With any technology we put in, there are two main ways to measure R.O.I. One is the financial aspect, how quickly does the technology pay for itself or become profitable? The second, is the clinical aspect, does it help us take better care of patients?

Best book you’ve read or course you’ve taken as it applies to your business?

“Purple Cow” by Seth Godin is full of stories of companies that dared to be different to be successful.

What is the best business decision you ever made?
Bringing in a partner early. Optometry is difficult enough to do by yourself. My partner and I have been able to share responsibilities, bounce ideas off one another and cover for each other.

What are some mistakes you made along the way?

The biggest mistake I made was choosing office locations early on. My first office was in a location that had signage but was difficult to see from the street, and I think it hindered my early practice growth. The other mistake, especially early on, was hiring the wrong people. Looking back, I should have been much more selective.

Closing Remarks?
The Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. I always try to remember that in dealing with patients.