I grew up in a family business. We ran a mix of businesses, generally 7am till 7pm seven days a week. Dad didn’t get much time to think about operational issues because, like most businesses, he was flat-out just doing.
He had two rules: The Customer Comes First and, the second was: See Rule One. From this premise his businesses were always successful. Even when threatened by corporates opening just a few blocks away, he didn’t buckle. He’d still happily put each customer first and, in return, they gave him their loyalty. It was simple but it worked.
Every industry regards itself as unique – and optics is no exception – however, there are more similarities than you’d think.
Our lead story this month, written by optometrist Margaret Lam, looks at the business of running a practice. She discusses how to manage threats to your business and that ‘elephant in the room’ – patients who happily see you for contact lens consults then purchase their lenses online. Margaret provides practical tips for managing these patients, building relationships and winning back sales. She also recounts conversations with industry leaders about how contact lens sales got to flourish online in the first place and whether it’s possible to stop the stampede.
ProVision CEO Steven Johnston has a professional career spanning many industry groups – from his family owned business through to fast moving retail and pharmaceuticals. His insights into supply chain efficiencies, managing customer relationships, and differentiating your business are invaluable. One point he stresses is “you need to access the best evidence and experience available to you so that you can make an informed choice”. It’s solid advice and one backed up by commercial lawyer Robert Shepley, in his article on franchising. He cautions against leaping into a franchise arrangement – no matter how exciting it seems – before working through the issues from a position of strength. Similarly Andre Karney from Investec Bank writes about the need to remain informed about rapid changes in technology that can impact efficiency, stability and security.
Our education article focuses on contact lenses with a piece written by Debarun Dutta and Dr. Judith Flanagan on issues surrounding microbial contamination. It seems despite the development of contact lens materials and continued advice of eye care professionals, there has been no apparent decrease in the incidence of microbially driven adverse events over the past two decades.
In the lead up to Macular Degeneration Awareness week (25–31 May), we spoke with ophthalmologist Associate Professor Alex Hunyor, optometrist Peter Hewett and a patient about the complexities of living with and managing macular degeneration. Dr. Robert Bourke and Professor Robyn Guymer provide ophthalmic insights into new treatments on the horizon for both wet and dry macular degeneration.
We also profile the business of a new eyewear brand initiated by Face Optics and designed by one of Australia’s much loved fashion names – Lisa Ho. We look at flexible eyewear and take you to Milan for the spectacular MIDO 2014.
Enjoy this issue.