Whether you are a young eye-care practitioner or someone who’s been in the business for several years, you have probably invested enough time, money, and resources towards upskilling. This may be in the form of a postgraduate program, an additional certification, a specialization in a niche eye-care field or so forth. However, have you ever considered diversifying your portfolio?
By the year 2030, it is estimated that the eye-care arena will be increasingly consumer-driven. With rapid automation of diagnostic instruments and modern methods of patient assessment, this no longer seems that farfetched. This in no way implies that practitioner skills will be rendered redundant; however, with changing business environments, practitioners need to widen their scope of work in order to be able to scale up and manage all facets of their practice with comparable dexterity.
To help you understand this better, let’s explore some reasons why it’s time for independent ECPs to spread their wings and venture into new territories.
Advanced Instruments and Diagnostic Techniques
While manual methods of assessment are still very much in use, one cannot deny the fast-growing impact that digitalization is having on healthcare practices. With sophisticated equipment that’s as user-friendly as it is accurate, patient assessment now takes only takes a fraction of the time compared to what it used to in the days of manual refraction and the like. Preliminary tests and documentation can now easily be done by trained staff, which leaves you, the practitioner, with ample amount of spare time to develop and grow your practice.
It is, however, pertinent to remember, that while these factors come with a set of obvious benefits, they also raise the stakes in terms of competition. In today’s age, it is no longer enough to be a skilled practitioner with high qualifications and specializations—it is equally important to be enterprising and multi-faceted. An additional set of skills, therefore, gives you a definite advantage in the competitive market.
Changing Client Perceptions and Demands
Client perceptions are as dynamic as the market and significantly shaped by factors that have little or no connection with your skills as an optician or optometrist. Just like any other business, a modern-day eye care practitioner is required to be flashy, sophisticated, and appealing to a highly informed and demanding clientele. Right from your website, to the physical environment of your office space, your perceived value—to a large extent—rests on your ability to present yourself in line with clients’ expectations. According to a study, customers are 30% more likely to purchase a lens if they have been tested on a digital instrument. Does that say something about how an upgrade might impact your numbers?
If you have somewhat begun to appreciate the changes happening around you, you are probably mulling over how to go about penetrating new skill areas. In line with your aptitude and interests, here are some fields you can consider venturing into:
Management and Leadership
Clinical skills do not suffice when you, as a practitioner, are aspiring to scale up your business. Whether you are looking to hire more staff, open additional branches, or add more products and services to your current inventory, sharp management, and organizational skills will definitely serve you well. Not only will you be better tuned-in to multiple facets of running a business, you will also find yourself strategizing and utilizing your workforce more effectively. In this regard, an MBA with a specialization in healthcare or hospital management may not be such a bad idea.
Customer Experience Enhancement
You may have already implemented some measures to ensure a pleasant experience for your new and existing clients. However, you can always take this a step further. Few ECPs realize that “customer experience” does not begin the moment a client steps into your office space. It, in fact, begins when a prospective client starts searching for a service. Right from your online presence and a complete digital overhaul of your practice, to seamless follow up and aftercare, there is so much you can do to build a relationship of trust, comfort, and loyalty with your clients.
Sales and Marketing
Effective marketing is at the core of every successful business, regardless of the industry. Be it your services as an eye care provider, or your product inventory in terms of lenses, frames, and contact lens supplies, this is the aspect of business you need to focus on if you have to amplify profits. While some service providers are inherently blessed with sharp business acumen and skills, others might need professional guidance and training. Moreover, in a tech-savvy, highly-digitalized space like eye care, it is imperative for practitioners to gain equal proficiency in both online and offline marketing techniques.
Need some guidance?
While any prospect of growth is exciting, it can be intimidating too. To help you seamlessly transition into new fields, or implement the newly-acquired expertise to your existing business, it may be advisable to consult an expert. Fortunately, there are customized services available now that help you achieve all this and more. If you’d like a little more information on what we could offer in that regard, feel free to look over Essilor Bespoke.