Managing a Luxottica independent practice presents unique challenges to a practice owner. While some things are easier with support, there are often higher and more challenging goals that independent practice owners still have to meet.
We joined host Dr. Matt Geller, OD and guest Dr. Laheqa Suljuki, OD for Episode 5 of our Optometry Live series.
Dr. Laheqa Suljuki, OD is a practice owner in San Diego, CA, where she owns and operates Mission Valley Family Optometry, an independent LensCrafters sublease in Mission Valley. She's worked for Luxottica since she graduated optometry school, and loves the ease and company support of running a sublease. She's also active on the non-clinical side, where she works on quality control.
In this Facebook Live, we covered questions like:
- What are things you look for when hiring staff?
- How do you coach your staff on best practices and new developments?
- What kind of support does Luxottica offer independent practice owners?
- As a practice owner, what metrics do you track, and how do you set goals?
- Who is held accountable for meeting those goals, and how do you set that?
- And more!
Watch the replay below!
Read the recap
The following summarizes Laheqa’s thoughts on working at a Luxottica-branded practice.
What it’s like to own an independent practice within a corporation
Many ODs don’t know that this is an option until it falls into their laps. The average understanding of a sublease is very low, and the misconceptions that people have deter them from giving it a chance.
Working with a well-known brand like Luxottica provides you with great security and a loyal customer base.
What Luxottica provides
Luxottica provides you with the chance to start and own your own practice. The process of starting up is relatively risk-free as opposed to opening a cold-start practice, which makes it an appealing option for many.
When you own an independent practice within a corporation, you have certain responsibilities but also more freedom. The stress of growing a patient base, marketing your practice, and other aspects of the business side of optometry are taken off your plate so you can focus on helping patients.
Luxottica provides all the marketing, staff training, and patient experience that you might need. Because they handle so many of these factors, you are able to focus on the aspects of management and practice ownership that interest you.
Managing a practice
Management itself is something that takes a lot of dedication and grit. Some optometrists don’t want to be tasked with managing salespeople and handling an optical, and owning a practice within Luxottica gives you the chance to skip out on these.
In order to have a successful optometry practice, you need to make sure that your staff is happy, well-trained, and committed to giving your patients the best experience possible. There are several “keys to management” and to ensuring that you’re getting the most out of your staff and growing the skills you want!
Workplace culture is crucial to maintaining a strong practice. You’re ultimately responsible for the success of your team, and instilling a cohesive culture is a great way to ensure that your staff is happy and productive.
If a member of your staff is consistently not meeting their goals, it’s time to look inward. Is there something that you could be doing to help them? Is there an issue with training or communication? It might be necessary to take them aside.
As a leader, it’s important that you maintain a doctor-staff dynamic. Getting too close with your staff might lead to trouble when it comes time to give them (constructive) criticism. However, it’s also important that you’re understanding, lenient (when appropriate), and willing to listen.
Check-ins and keeping up a dialogue with your staff will help you to prevent any productivity issues before they become bigger problems.
You can choose to do this on a weekly or monthly basis; whatever you find works best for you! There are several metrics by which you can track your staff’s productivity. These include:
- Number of appointments booked
- Number of retinal images
- Personal daily exam goal
You can encourage your staff by providing spiffs (i.e., $2 for every retinal image)—these will come out of your own pocket, but are worth it in the long run!
Remember that for your staff, it’s not their business, and they’ll only be as motivated as you encourage them to be. After all, a cohesive staff is the only way that your practice can truly grow.
What does growth look like?
Growth will look different for every practice. It’s up to you to determine what’s expected for your practice and to create ways to meet those goals.
Growth can be literal, meaning that you’re booking more and more patients, in which case you might consider hiring a part-timer. Patient referrals are a big part of this, so you should encourage them to refer their friends and family and ensure that they get the best service possible!
A lot of the revenue at sublease locations comes from the doctor’s services. This is where encouraging your staff to book follow-ups, scans, etc comes in.
And finally, growth can be adding services and equipment. For example, you might add an OCT. Or, you could look into expanding services for dry eye or incorporating specialty contact lenses into your practice.
Thoughts on friction
Try not to let too much slide. It’s tempting to be the “good guy,” but that can come back to bite you. It’s important to recognize when criticism is necessary and to be able to implement steps to take care of issues.
Additionally, there will be times when business is slower. That’s when it’s especially crucial to motivate your staff. During peak seasons, you’ll need to keep everyone coordinated and on their toes. During the slower seasons, you’ll need to get started on training and improving and preparing for the next peak season.
Additionally, don’t underestimate how important your patients are! One good experience can mean a domino effect of referrals. In contrast, one bad review can affect your business indefinitely. Make sure that your staff understands how important the patient experience is.
Owning a Luxottica-branded practice is much simpler than some might think. When getting started, it’s important to make a to-do list and check things off, one by one. With no overhead, it’s a relatively stress-free process that still allows you the freedom of being a practice owner.
Most importantly, love what you do. Create a work environment that you’re happy to be in.
If you’re considering taking on a sublease, look at your options and go for it. You never know until you try! Especially if you’re early in your career, take on any opportunities that come your way. You never know what you’ll discover!