A verb meaning:
To increase to the greatest amount or degree possible:
look for ways of maximizing profit.
To represent at the highest possible estimate; magnify:
He maximized his importance in the program, minimizing the
contributions of the other participants.
To make the greatest or fullest use of:
time by planning ahead.
Maximize may be the word of the decade. We are asking and
being asked to maximize our profits,
our productivity, even
We’re being asked to do more with less, to get the most
“bang for our buck”, to develop a strategy that will allow
us and our businesses to prosper in a very challenging
marketplace. But what does that mean really? Does it mean a
return to the “lean and mean” 1980’s? Or is it the logical
way to recover from the excesses of the early 2000’s?
For years, eyewear has been considered an affordable luxury;
less than a new house or car, but more than a new suit or
some fine jewelry. For most of our patients, the purchase of
new eyewear is a luxury, period.
So, the goal may be to maximize your business plan so that
your patients can maximize their purchasing power, but how?
Become a leader, not just the owner. Brian Tracy (www.briantracy.com)
defines this requirement in these terms: “The job of the
leader is to establish the vision, values, mission, purpose
and goals of the company…The leader’s job is to make the
critical decisions that determine the fate and future of the
business…The leader must be goal-oriented…The leader must be
result-oriented…The leader must be people-oriented,
solution-oriented, sales-oriented and cash flow-oriented.”
Stephen Covey describes them as WIGs and PIGs—Wildly
Important Goals and Pretty Important Goals and additionally
limits those to 3 of each. His premise being that more than
3 of each is not realistically attainable within a year.
(YES, this is a yearly process, just like doing your taxes.)
Develop or re-visit your business plan. You must be
absolutely clear about the critical numbers in your
business. A business without a plan is a business that will
not grow and prosper, simply because there is no attention
being paid to its basic foundation. There is always one
number, according to Tracy, that is more indicative and
predictive of your success than any other and you must
decide what it is. Analyze where your money is being spent
and its relative value to your overall goals. Review your
pricing structure. As costs rise, can you pass them through
to your patients in their entirety, or must you accept a
lower profit margin to retain your patient base? These are
not easy decisions, but they are an everyday reality.
Surround yourself with the best people. “The best
companies have the best people. The second best companies
have the second-best people. The third best companies are on
their way out of business. Sometimes, the selection or
de-selection of a single person can [make] a major
difference on your business results”, Tracy writes. Is a
licensed/certified/experienced employee more expensive?
Probably. Will the level of training, knowledge and
experience he or she brings be an asset? Without question.
Knowledge is power and profitability. Keep in mind that the
“free remake” is never really free. It will be reflected in
higher initial costs. Cheap labor can be very expensive.
Know your demographics and provide them with the best
products and services. This is where the rubber meets the
road, where you differentiate your practice from your
competitors. If you and your closest competition are selling
the same products, you have limited options. You can keep
lowering your prices or you can lower your costs. No one wins a price war. Not even patients who will
eventually become willing to pay more for better products
Differentiate your product offerings, your service levels,
even your office décor from your competition. Does your
practice need a face lift? Some studies show that
remodeling, even with a limited budget, can increase
business by about 20%. On a personal note, I used to
rearrange my frame boards on a monthly basis and most of my
patients believed that my inventory was all new. Even
changing displays and office artwork can make a significant
difference in your patients’ perceptions. You can offer
products that may not be the most recognizable brands, but
are ones that you can trust and that you can confidently
recommend to your patients if you are willing to investigate
Develop a solid marketing plan. So far, you have the best
business plan, the best people and the best products and
services. Now, how will you drive patients to your door? How
do you position your products and services as the best, most
attractive, most desirable available in your area? You and
your staff are the living, breathing, embodiment of your
practice all day, every day, at work or not. Every staff
member should have their own business cards, with their
names, certifications and titles. Work together to develop a
one or two sentence description of your practice when anyone
asks about it. Every staff member should have the most
flattering eyewear, including sunwear. They should know what
they’re wearing and why it’s the best.
If you don’t have a website, get one. Use the services of a
good web design service to ensure that your site remains
current and is on page one of every Google search. Embrace
social networking, via Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. You
and your staff must be absolutely excellent every single
day, at getting the phone to ring, at getting more people to
call you and contact you to learn more about you, your
products and services. Your patients should be able to
recommend you without a moment’s hesitation.
Perfect a positive sales process. Too often “sales” is
considered a dirty word in a professional practice. In
reality, the process of selling is a part of everyday life.
Everything from the Bose radio that wakes you in the
morning, to the comfort of the mattress you sleep on at
night involved sales. The first key is to be able to create
value out of thin air and never be afraid to ask for money.
The second is to provide unparalleled service before, during
and after the entire process. Steve Wynn, the great Las
Vegas developer, has this wish, “that my employees would
relate to people not as a customer with an employee, but as
two human beings talking to one another…If somehow we could
harness that energy, we could change the history of the
enterprise and achieve total market dominance in any service
business in the world.”
His solution? Storytelling. At the Wynn Resorts, before each
eight-hour shift, employees meet in small groups to share
their experiences from the preceding day. They answer the
question, “Anything happen yesterday that’s interesting?”
Each of the stories is published on the Wynn intranet and
printed up and posted on the walls of the service areas in
the back of the house. “Now”, says Wynn, “everyone goes to
work looking for a story the next day.” You and your staff
must be excellent at establishing rapport, identifying needs
accurately, presenting persuasively, answering objections,
closing the sale, and getting referrals from happy patients.
Maximize your practice potential by becoming a leader, not a
boss. Pay attention to your business plan. It’s not a
one-and-done, but a living document that needs regular
attention and careful grooming. Build the best staff,
period. Your staff is the face of your practice. They have
more interaction with patients than you ever will. Know your
demographics and cater to their needs, not your wants. Be
willing to walk away from old marketing techniques and
embrace newer technologies for reaching your audience. Stop
believing that sales are a bad thing.
Maximizing is really just common sense business practice;
knowing what your patients need and how to help them satisfy
that need with your services.