A recent survey found that one in four small businesses plan to hire a financial consultant. Running any small business— let alone a professional eye care practice– is a big undertaking that requires many different areas of expertise, including business, operations, finance, marketing, and HR, just to name a few.
With all the knowledge and skills required for success, it’s no surprise that many of the best and most innovative ophthalmic practices say they hire ophthalmic consultants or join professional eye care associations that offer consulting services. In this blog post, we’ll help you understand the benefits of ophthalmic consulting and how to get help from experienced, specialized consultants.
How Ophthalmic Consultants Can Help Your Practice Flourish
Your academic career likely prepared you to provide exceptional eye care, but it may not have prepared you for everything that goes into running a successful optometry or ophthalmology practice. For example, you probably aren’t a marketing expert, yet marketing is an essential component of your practice’s success. Perhaps someone on your team can handle some of the marketing fulfillment (like posting on social media or sending out newsletters), but without a strong strategy to guide them, they’ll be wasting precious time and resources. This is where a specialized ophthalmic marketing consultant comes into play.
But marketing your practice is just one of many areas where you might require ophthalmic consulting. Other types of consulting for optometry and ophthalmology practices include financial consulting, business consulting, practice management consulting, operations consulting, HR consulting, billing and coding consulting… the list goes on! With consulting on these many topics at your fingertips, you can continually improve and grow your practice and seek out help whenever you’re faced with a new obstacle. Overall, you’ll be a much more capable and confident practitioner with a consultant on your side.
Here are a few examples of specific ways a professional ophthalmic consultant can help your practice thrive:
- Complete a practice assessment, including an analysis of your profit & loss, key performance indicators, and vendor discounts.
- Conduct a staffing analysis to ensure your team is performing efficiently.
- Develop staffing incentives to improve employee retention and effectiveness.
- Review your accounts receivable and discuss solutions to improve profitability.
- Audit your current billing and coding procedures to identify where your opportunities lie and improve practice efficiency, profitability, and compliance.
- Manage your frame board and tailor it to your key demographics.
- Help you hire new associates and staff and handle personnel changes.
- Complete a practice valuation assessment to determine where the practice currently stands.
- Set benchmarks and goals to help your practice grow.
How to Find Consulting Ophthalmologists and Optometrists
One of the best ways to find trusted ophthalmic consultants is to join a professional eye care network or alliance group that offers consulting services to members, like Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA). Here at PECAA, our members are able to access a wide range of ongoing optometry consulting services, including business and financial consulting, billing and coding consulting, practice operations consulting, and marketing consulting.
Another way to engage with consulting eye care professionals is to attend optometry networking events, like our national PECAA member events and local peer-to-peer dinners. Establishing a network of peers you can go to for support and advice will prove invaluable as you build and grow your optometry or ophthalmology practice. You can also connect with peers through online groups and discussion boards.
If you’re just starting your practice and need more intensive consulting, you can also choose to participate in a cold start program. There’s so much that goes into opening a new practice and so many things that can go awry; working with an experienced advisor will ensure you set your practice and your team up for success.
When looking to hire a consultant, be sure to find someone with specialized experience in the field of optometry/ophthalmology— better yet, look for even more narrow experience, such as optometry marketing. You need to find someone who really understands the ins and outs of optometry practice management. Once you’ve identified some qualified options, do your due diligence and read client reviews before making a decision!
What to Expect When Working With an Ophthalmic Consultant
To help you get a better idea of what the ophthalmic consulting experience is really like, here are a couple of stories from our PECAA Member Business Advisor consulting program:
Dr. Mila Ioussifova found that consulting helped her practice stay focused on its goals and improve over time: “The Member Business Advisor program at PECAA has been extremely helpful for our optometric practice in analyzing and understanding our numbers, as well as setting benchmarks and goals. We look forward to our quarterly meetings where we evaluate our performance on Glimpse and compare it to the national averages. This has really helped us identify the areas we needed to improve, and we have been able to focus and make appropriate changes in our practice. I really appreciate the individualized attention they have given us. The advice has been an invaluable asset to our practice!”
Faced with the daunting task of opening a new optometry practice, Dr. Jen Burke found PECAA’s MBA consulting to be an incredibly helpful resource: “As a new optometric practice owner, I found the PECAA MBA program to be particularly helpful. It was so valuable to have someone outside of my practice to look at my metrics, give advice and help me set goals for the future of my practice. Every doctor who is a PECAA Member should take advantage of this service. It is such a fantastic program to have included in our dues.”
Join PECAA for Ongoing Ophthalmic Consulting!
PECAA members can take advantage of our Member Business Advisor program, which is included in the overall PECAA membership fee. As a member, you’ll have professional, specialized consultants at your fingertips. Rather than rely on just one ophthalmic consultant for everything, you can work with an entire team of advisors that specialize in different areas of optometry and ophthalmology practice management.
Running your own practice can be challenging, but our consultants will take some of the weight off your shoulders and help you become the best leader you can be!