This is a sponsored post by Vision Source, a supporter of NewGradOptometry & new graduate optometrists! 😎
I am here for the new grads!
After you read this article, I want to do a Q&A in the comments. In this article I discuss high level concepts, but lets drill down together. Just ask me questions related to getting started as a new graduate and I will get you some valuable answers! – Walter West O.D.
Do be enthusiastic
When a new graduate is interested in starting or buying an optometric practice, the excitement of finally being out of school, being the doctor, and owning their own business often fades when they come face to face with managing the business of an optometry practice. Keep the wind in your sails and don’t get discouraged. Enthusiasm will take you a long way! One way to keep the wind in your sails is to check out the Vision Source Practice Transitions Program.
Do manage expectations
Becoming an optometrist is a process. You begin by learning the basics of anatomy, physiology and the physics of light. Everything else you learn is built on that foundational knowledge until you become an optometric physician. Becoming a businessperson is no different and you can’t know everything automatically. You begin with the basics and build your expertise through mentoring and experience.
As Steven Wright said, “Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.” While that’s maybe true, there have been tens of thousands optometrists who have started from the same position you’re in and have had very successful professional as well as business careers.
Do complete your due diligence
Creating a business plan for a practice startup or acquisition is about as far as many new graduates get in preparing for practice ownership, but there’s more to success than a business plan. For example, business development, front office services, financial assessments, coding and billing, HIPPA compliance and 3rd party vendors are all things you must assess. Here is a list of essential business services to consider.
Do open or buy in the right market
We regularly do market analysis and assessments for Vision Source® members and prospective members in order to ensure their location has the potential to support practice growth and profitability. In addition, we have resources to assist with the selection of office space, lease negotiation, build-out, equipment selection and purchasing, EMR selection, marketing strategy, and more.
Do ask for help
Whether it’s from NewGradOptometry.com comments, Vision Source®, local colleagues, professional consultants, or a willing mentor, ask for help before you make decisions that you’ve never made before.
For example, ask for help if…
- you’ve never purchased inventory for an optical department in a practice
- you’ve had limited or no experience with EMR’s
- you’ve never bought professional equipment, furniture and fixtures
- you’ve never hired an employee
- you’ve never set up a fee schedule
I can’t stress enough how important it is to have other docs with you on your journey. That is why we have the Vision Source® Exchange each year. You should come in 2015!
Do take advantage of resources available
Take a breath and put everything into perspective. You’re a new graduate, so you don’t know all the answers, you’re not expected to. You have many great resources available to you and a much broader scope of practice now than optometrists had not too many years ago. There’s never been a time in the history of optometry when the future of private practice looked this good for a new optometrist!
Don’t do it alone
As Vice President of Practice Development with Vision Source®, I assist our business development team in guiding new graduate optometrists through the process of new practice startups as well as practice purchasing. We have many resources available to help take some of the mystery and guesswork out of starting a successful practice. Here is a good place to start.
Ok lets get some questions going, just post below. The NewGradOptometry.com team and I will personally answer your questions!