Most optometry practices by definition are ‘average’. They look the same. They are run the same. They have the same problems. And they achieve the same average results. That’s because the ‘average practice’ owner spends their time watching and copying what everyone else is doing. And they keep doing things the way they have always been done.
But today, for independent practices, being average is a path to extinction.
It used to be you could open an optometry practice, get a sign and a phone number and you could grow. Any OD could turn up and deliver an ‘OK’ service and get enough patients.
Today we’re living in very different times. Today, if you continue along the path of being an average optometry practice, it truly is a death march.
The challenge for independent optometry practices is we all face far greater competition now than ever before. And your competition has much deeper pockets than you do. The optometric and optical market in the US is a $35Billion market, but the independent’s share is getting smaller and smaller. And the worst part is market forces are eroding your profit margin so you end up working harder and harder for less and less.
What You Are Up Against:
Market analysis in Vision Monday’s 2019 Top 50 U.S. Optical Retailers shows just how strong your competition is:
Pearle Vision / Lenscrafters – 2187 sites – Annual Revenue $2.5 Billion
Walmart Vision Center – 3403 sites – Annual Revenue $1.8 Billion
Costco Optical – 509 sites – Annual Revenue $1.1 Billion
And that’s just a few of the corporate chains.
You also have to deal with:
Massive online competition – merchants selling everything from cheap glasses to designer eyewear at rock bottom prices that make you look like you’re ripping people off.
Warby Parker had annual revenue of around $315 Million in 2018 and are approaching 100 stores with their ‘bricks and clicks’ model.
The downward spiral of Managed Vision Care – what was sold to you as a way to get more patients turned out to mean a decline in your gross profits and a trend to low prices and high volume with an ever decreasing patient experience.
The threat of Goliath companies like Essilor-Luxottica, VSP and EyeMed all squeezing out the middle man i.e. You.
Do you ever wonder what happened to your competitive advantage as an independent practice? These gigantic companies are defining the optical profession of the future.
With their multi-million dollar marketing budgets, their political power, and their sheer number of practices and stores with massive visibility and reach, they shape the customer’s and patient’s perception of what is normal.
The biggest threat independent optometry and optical practices face today is that the public cannot differentiate you from the corporate chains and big box stores. To the public, you look the same as every other practice. They see no difference or extra value in what you offer than what they can get at the corporate chains.
Having a nice looking practice and giving good service may have worked 10 or 20 years ago but it doesn’t work now. Today you need radical differentiation. You need to be perceived as unique. You need to make your practice the talk of the town. You need to make your practice ‘Attention-Worthy.’
If you look and act like just another optical practice they will ignore you. You must differentiate your practice in clearly visible ways that simultaneously demonstrate the unique value ONLY YOU offer to your clients. The experience of visiting your practice needs to be completely different from the usual experience they’ll get in an average practice. When you differentiate your practice effectively the results are more new clients, clients spending more, and referring more.
You need to play an entirely different game. A game you can win and win big.
How do I know? At my own optometry practice, I’ve achieved $1.4 Million revenue (and growing), while I spend only 1 day a week in practice. I’ve learned how to differentiate my optometry business in a way no one else is doing. And it’s paying off huge.
I’ve learned that it is possible to have an optometry practice that is extraordinary, fulfilling, and serving a bigger purpose. It is possible to take a practice to the top of the independent sector and meet financial goals and desired work-life balance. It is possible to create an extraordinary life and run a successful optometry practice!