Optometric Management

FEB 2017

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F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 7 • O P T O M E T R I C M A N A G E M E N T . C O M Lessons from Acquisition We are taught how to be excellent clinicians in optometry school, but how many of us come out of optometry school feeling confident that we can run a business? For me, I learned most of my business skills once I became a practice owner. Here are some of those lessons: 1. Even though you may not have business expe- rience when you acquire a practice, show confi- dence in front of your staff and patients – otherwise staff may have difficulty following your leadership (especially if they've worked in the practice for years before you acquire it). 2. Start the process of getting on insurance pan- els right away. It took several months for a couple of insurance companies to credential me in the new practice, so I was limited to providing care to private-pay patients for a period of time. Also, make sure to go through the proper process of re-creden- tialing as it comes up. 3. Institutional patients are used to the previous doctor. They will be skeptical of you. Always greet them with a warm welcome and a genuine smile. Assure them that you are planning to take care of them for many years into the future (so that they do not look to switch to another doctor in your area). 4. Don't be afraid to ask for advice from others in the industry and colleagues, who can offer great advice, since they most likely have been through similar situations. 5. There will be many stressors along the way. Keep a good work/life balance. Don't put all your time into work that you are too tired and worn out to enjoy life! way you want it to be. Does the practice price make sense with the extra investments that you will need to make? Also, question the health of the business: What are the demographics of the current patients in the practice? Is the practice growing, stable or declining? Is the town/city growing, stable or de- clining? (See "Ready to Buy or Sell a Practice?" in the November issue for more specifics.) Also, consider personnel: Do you fit well with the staff? Is the staff planning to stay once the acquisi- tion takes place, or will you need to hire new staff? To determine this, ask the staff directly. (I met with all the staff prior to acquiring the practice and spoke

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