By Maria Higgins, OD
August 12, 2015
Independent ODs acquire a host of business skills. Apply them in asecond business where you can hit the ground running.
EXTEND BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY. Apply thesame philosophy or mission statement that made your practice successful to a second endeavor.
USE SKILLS DEVELOPED RUNNING PRACTICE. If you learned handy marketing skills, you could launch a marketing firm.
DEVOTE TIME & RESOURCES. Delegate in practice so you can give time to new venture. Hold off hiring for new business until it has gained financial footing.
As an OD-owner, especially of a solo practice, you are forced to acquire many management skills. You can apply these acquired skills–and the talents of others you meet by networking–to begin a second business venture. By delegating effectively, and using down time during the day and after hours efficiently, you not only enhance the second business with the expertise you gained through optometry, but you also learn lessons from the second venture that can feed back into your practice.
(Projected Year I)
Web Site Creation & Maintenance: $500
Marketing (online and print): $1,000
Event promotion: $500
Travel & Entertaining: $2,000
Expanding into another business venture can be just what you need to keep your excitement about your business fresh. It can also give you additional ideas for your practice, and sometimes even supply you with an exit strategy. When I noticed my love and acumen for business image makeovers and social media marketing, I decided to use these skills for another business.
Launched at the beginning of 2015, The Unique Technique, a custom content creation and marketing service for small businesses like mine,draws on the lessons I learned while marketing my practice, Unique Optique. I learned how important is to have a unique, individualized image. And how crucial it is to have that image be different, organized, cohesive and visible to your target market. I want to help other businesses stand out, particularly in my own community of Frederick, Md.
The repetitive and sometimes conservative nature of optometry lends itself to finding more creative pursuits. You can combine creativity and optometry into one entity, and do a more creative or interesting practice, or you can have completely separate interests outside of optometry by launching another business. I have chosen to do both.
Carve Out Time & Resources for Your New Venture
Initially, I will be doing everything: recruiting new businesses, refining their initial set up, posting to social media for them, evaluating their physical space, coordinating their graphic design, organizing event plans and writing blog posts. As the business becomes more established, I will oversee the ideas and hire someone to implement them.
I plan to delegate more work at Unique Optique. For example, billing will go to a staff person, and writing checks will go to the bookkeeper. If The Unique Technique becomes busy enough, I will hire another optometrist to see patients part time.
For now, I will be the only staff. As it becomes bigger, I will hire people to do the day-to-day scheduling of posts, which is the most time-intensive part. There will be no mixing of staff from Unique Optique to The Unique Technique. The skill sets are very different. For now, the new business will be primarily conducted after office hours.
The Unique Technique, a marketing firm Dr. Higgins launched this year, celebratesindividualism and one-of-a-kind vision in the same way her eyecare practice does.
Extend Business Philosophy to Second Venture
My practice philosophy is to provide the best care I can to my patients, while also providing them with products and an office environment, that they won’t find anywhere else. Fittingly, The Unique Technique, takes the same approach. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” is the The Unique Technique’s motto.
The Unique Technique helps you find that special quality in your business that makes you interesting and different, then to use that to mold the image that you are putting out into the world. This allowsyourbusiness to forge better customer relations. This image includes the storefront, decor, web site, logo, Facebook page, events and any other way that your business reaches the public. We craft, review and/or adjust your public image. Business is tough these days, and people want to feel connected with whom they choose to spend money. We facilitate that connection.
Generally, the target markets for Unique Optique and The Unique Technique are different, but I believe there will be branding overlap in certain circumstances. Unique Optique is my foundation for The Unique Technique. It is what sparked this interest in helping others do what we did here. We may market to patients about our image consulting business. Clients of The Unique Technique may become patients. I lecture at optometry meetings and to general audiences about both entities.
Gauge Costs of Second Business
The costs are minimal, as I mainly need a computer to manage The Unique Technique. The main investment is my time and my computer. There will be some travel costs involved to attend meetings to lecture, and if a client would like me to visit their site. The finances of The Unique Technique and Unique Optique are separate. The Unique Technique was incorporated as an LLC, with the help of a local lawyer.