11 TIPS TO STAY PROFITABLE

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Make your eyewear sales deliver more revenue to your bottom line with these tricks of the eyecare professional trade.

1. REDUCE YOUR INVENTORY
Costs of goods should be around 30% of your gross and should turn over about three to four times per year. As a rule of thumb, your inventory on hand should equal in dollars about 10% of your annual gross. Get rid of any older stock even if you offer them at sale prices. Excess frames, contacts and supplies eat up needed cash.

2. INCREASE YOUR PROFESSIONAL FEES
Every 12 months or more, increase markups on the most popular frames and reduce markups on the least popular frames. Do this as needed. If 25% of patients are not complaining about the prices then you are not high enough. Remember, you can always reduce prices later if necessary.

3. IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
But don’t eliminate the small things that patients are used to receiving. Keep it “business as usual” in that regard.

4. CONTACT YOUR LANDLORD
Negotiate a rent reduction or adjustment.

5. LIMIT EQUIPMENT PURCHASES
Necessary items or items that will increase revenues enough to cover the monthly payment and provide an additional profit are all you need.

6. KEEP THE STAFF EXCITED
Openly communicate about the atmosphere and show support in a positive way. Focus on breakthrough ideas that could increase revenue. Try new things. Always try to stay upbeat and positive. Negative attitudes are more contagious then positive ones.

7. TAKE A CLASS IN MEDICAL BILLING
Make sure you are billing medical services to the highest appropriate level. Most doctors either do not bill the correct codes or don’t bill at all.

8. OFFER OR ENCOURAGE FLEX-TIME
Flexible schedules or extended time-off for employees help reduce labor costs.

9. OFFER PATIENTS ZERO PERCENT FINANCING
Use healthcare credit cards such as CareCredit or Citi-health. It could encourage them to buy the higher priced services or frames.

10. BUY A SMALL OFFICE NEARBY
Even those doing $100,000 or $200,000. Regardless of the condition of the equipment, you are buying the cash flow. Imagine if you could quickly and immediately grow revenue by $10,000 to $20,000 per month. It helps even more if you can get the doctor to stay for the transition. Most of the patients will stay unless the distance is too far. It’s also easy to get 100% financing. Alternately, offer an “earn out” that allows the seller to eliminate management duties and make the same or more, while working less. Chances are you are billing more aggressively and the seller will have an opportunity to earn more. Plus the added revenue will strengthen your buying power for frames and contact lenses and help reduce your cost of goods.

11. DO MORE MARKETING!
Set a goal to do one marketing campaign per month. Campaigns might include contacting referral sources, adding an insurance panel, joining a networking group, writing an article, trunk show, etc. Focus on low cost “guerilla marketing” methods.

Alissa Wald, OD, is president of Practice Concepts, a company that provides practice brokerage services and appraisals for sellers and buyers in the eyecare profession. Scott Daniels is a licensed broker with Practice Concepts and provides practice sales services for eyecare professionals.

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