It seems with this downturn in the economy journalists of every type, in the optical industry and out, are pouring out in droves to do articles on how to reduce costs, tighten your belt, and weather the storm. Of course, this seems like a very practical thing to do in these days of uncertainty but one question needs to be asked first. Is tightening your belt and waiting the storm out strategically right for you?
Robert Kiosaki of Rich Dad Poor Dad fame said, “the world is on sale right now.” In many cases he’s right. With new home construction being the lowest it has been in years contractors are making lower bids than ever just to keep working. This could translate to lower renovation or build-out costs for your projects. Also, many of the equipment, frame and supply companies are lowing prices to entice customers. Every business has cash flow needs to meet and will do what they need to meet them. You may have even addressed this in your own practice as well. Logically then, if the world truly is on sale, is it really the time to wait?
If you’ve had the idea of opening another location, maybe purchasing an office or getting some new equipment now might be the time to do it. I know that many of Illusion Optical Displays clients have received good deals from us just because, when the stock market took its big dive, we made the decision that we needed to give up some of our margins, through discounts, to keep our employees busy and to also make sure our clients could still do what they needed to do. The funny thing is, that decision resulted in increased profit through growth in our client base. Because of our investment in client discounts we reaped the rewards of increased market share.
But at the time we made those decisions we kind of felt like Indiana Jones when he was about to replace the golden monkey’s head with a bag of sand. We weren’t sure what was going to happen when we did it; and you may be feeling that way yourself right now. You may be poised to make the move but aren’t sure what will happen if you do. All I can tell you is that the clients who continued with their projects (many times because of the discounted rates) are now telling me they are happy they made the investment. Many are even reporting record sales months since the renovation of their offices. Now I’m no market analyst but I can see when something is working and this strategy seems to be working for our clients.
You still need to ask though, is it practical for you to make these types of investments right now? That is a question only you can answer. If it’s not practical just yet then there are still many other things you can do that might still help increase your profits. I recently read an article in Review of Optometry (http://www.revoptom.com/index.asp?page=2_14234.htm) that gave some very good ideas on how to freshen up your office. There was also an article in Optometric Management’s March 2009 edition that talked about the benefits of adding a small lab and what that can do to increase revenue and customer loyalty.
But if you are interested in at least exploring your options be sure to contact us here at I.O.D. and take advantage of our free dispensary layout service. You’ll get full color 3D illustrations of your office layout along with an estimate so you can get a concrete idea of what the actual cost would be to update or open a new office. It doesn’t hurt to explore the options and the benefits could be a lasting testament to turning what others saw as a detriment into an opportunity.