Learning and getting ideas from other optometry professionals or practices is great, but there are a lot of lessons to be learned from businesses outside of optometry.
Perusing Business Insider articles about successful startups and local businesses can both motivate and give ODs ideas for marketing campaigns or growth initiatives. Today, we want to focus on lessons that optometrists can learn from hugely successful entrepreneurs and founders who were pioneers in their fields.
We're all familiar with the success of tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, and Google. However, the CEO and founder that continuously inspires and impresses us is Bill Gates.
Optometry Advice from Bill Gates' Success
There's no time like the present.
Gates was tinkering with computers as a teenager, which gave him enough years of experience to feel confident with his decision to drop out of college and start a business. Although you may not be ready to take such a large risk, your gut feelings will be guided by experience if you start laying the foundations now. Do you want to own your own practice? Be an internationally-known optometrist? Speak at conferences about your specialty? These aren't lofty goals, so we encourage you to start researching, practicing, and honing your craft or finances today.
You can't please everyone.
If it's difficult to shake negative reviews or unpleasant experiences with patients, just keep this quote from Gates in mind:
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
Delve deep into why a patient of yours is unhappy about their service or products. Can it be fixed easily, eventually, or is this something that you can't change about your practice? The same way that Microsoft improved its products and gained market share, you can hone your practice's offerings and dispensary. You won't be able to please everyone 100% of the time, but that doesn't mean you can't take criticism in stride to improve patient care.
Don't be driven by profit alone.
If Gates was only motivated to gain personal wealth, it's likely his company's success would've been short-lived. He strived to create lasting products that increased our access to information, entertainment, and improved our quality of life. Your optometry practice will go through profit ebbs and flows, but its growth should be influenced by the needs of your community first and foremost. Do you need to expand into a multi-location practice? Should you offer more medical exams and consultations? Is your community aging and in need of ADA-friendly spaces? If you're thinking about how to provide patient care for a larger share of people in your community, you'll be able to invest your profits wisely back into your business.
Now are you ready to read advice from ODs? Here's a free ebook that includes interviews with successful ODs: