The average optometry practice owner may find the idea of building a stronger and more profitable practice distasteful, somehow unethical, beneath them, but what really happens if you become more profitable? You improve your practice in every way to the benefit of everyone who comes in contact with it. How?
As an example, let’s look at my own optometry practice. At Jones & Co Styling Opticians., my desired margin on a dispense is a minimum of 3.6X for a reason. I am not greedy. I am not out to rip-off clients. I am simply grounded in the reality of what it takes to run a financially healthy business.
I demand this margin because it is necessary if I want to deliver the best possible client experience, service with ‘all-the-frills’, and a ‘love your glasses’ guarantee.
I want my clients to be served by the most enthusiastic and passionate and well-trained staff on the planet.
I want to able to pay my staff extremely well and do nice things for them. I want to be able to do nice things for our clients like give them unexpected gifts and run client appreciation events.
I want to fly my team to international trade fairs so we have a truly amazing collection of frames that is super-desirable and relevant to our clients.
I want to be able to continually invest in the experience we offer to our clients when they step foot inside the four walls of our practice.
And if I’m going to work this hard, I demand to be paid more than average.
Being average would be much less work but it’s not in my client’s best interests, nor would I be fulfilled by averageness. I also understand with crystal clarity that the better my practice does financially, the better that is for everyone who comes in contact with the practice. Our clients. Our staff. Our community. Never has this been proved more true than now. My team’s jobs are safe. We are continuing to invest in the business and improving the practice even while we are effectively closed. We are able to invest in the client experience and look after our clients far better during and after the coronavirus pandemic because our coffers are full, not dangerously close to empty. We are able to pay our suppliers in full without delay – which helps them and their staff. We can even continue to support charities. Guide Dogs for the Blind were pleasantly surprised to receive a donation from Jones And Co. Styling Opticians earlier this month because they (and most charities) are not receiving too many donations from businesses that are dealing with the financial fall out of COVID-19.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am telling you none of this to impress you or pat myself on the back. I am telling you so that you learn this lesson at the deepest level.
I want you to believe and KNOW with every fibre of your being that your practice being as profitable as possible is a GOOD and WORTHWHILE and NOBLE goal.
Never feel guilty about that. Never feel bad and ‘lower your prices’ because you don’t feel comfortable charging higher prices. Your obligation is to make your practice as profitable as possible in a sustainable way with delighted clients who receive more value than they are paying for. Don’t lower prices. Deliver more value. And get your head on straight about the financial realities of what it takes to run a successful practice that can ride out any storm.
Too many practice owners think and make decisions only in terms of gross profit and forget that net profit and cash are entirely different things. These practice owners look at gross margin on frames and lenses and think “look how much profit I am making! I don’t need that much. I’ll be nice and lower the prices for our clients.” Little do they know they are literally choking their business’s potential to grow profitably and be more than just an average practice. If that is you, from today forward start thinking in terms of NET, NET, NET! Don’t waste this lesson that coronavirus is giving you in financial literacy.