Grow your business and take your practice to the next level

There’s a lot more to 21st-century optometry than eye tests and selling glasses. Building a successful independent practice requires you to be business savvy and understand what’s needed to maximise profits, attract new customers and look after your long-standing, loyal patients.

The dedicated Business conference stream at Optrafair Exchange promises to be an invaluable resource for anyone looking to grow their business and take their practice to the next level.

From investing in eyewear styling and understanding Instagram to the art of delegation and acting on customer feedback, there’s a topic for everyone.

If tripling your turnover sounds attractive - and let’s be honest, it does – then one of the first sessions of this year’s Optrafair Exchange needs to be on your radar.

Eva Davé, director of Eyewear Styling Academy and Mincher Lockett & Co Opticians, will look at how introducing eyewear styling to your practice could bring in a three-fold increase in turnover.

She said: “Selling eyewear is the most lucrative part of the business for most opticians and yet it is the area we invest in the least. For example, people who know about style will invest in more than one pair of glasses.”

This presentation will focus on creating a ‘wow’ client experience and ways of differentiating your practice by understanding colour and style and boosting your average dispense value.

If your workload is spiralling out of control then you’ll want to attend business coach and Storm optometrist Gavin Rebello’s session, where he will explain how to get your ‘to-do’ list down to zero without feeling frantic and overwhelmed.

The issues caused by endless procrastination will be tackled while Gavin will give tips to help with decision-making, prioritising and understanding what’s important. All delegates attending will also receive a free voucher for a Business MOT from the Storm team.

Another session of note focusses on the unstoppable rise of social media. It now plays a huge part in our daily lives - but are you making the most of it for your business? Are you a Facebook fan? Do you turn to Twitter? Are you loving LinkedIn?

While the number of platforms can be confusing, one network eye care practitioners should look to invest in is Instagram. This highly-visual platform is perfect for sharing images of your business, your expertise and your technology.

Clare Gaba is an expert in social media and marketing and single-handedly created and the Louis Stone Optical Instagram account (@louisstoneoptic) which has more than 11,000 followers and won a finalist top spot in the AOP Awards. 

With over 10 years’ experience in social media, she is perfectly placed to run through the basics of setting up a successful Instagram page, how to gain followers, increase your interaction and what marketing you could be doing in your workplace.

Simon Burgess from Think Consulting Ltd will also look at the changing culture of customer experience and customer feedback.

In an age where it’s never been easier for your customers to give their feedback, how your patients see you has taken on even greater importance.

He said: “Growing your business is not hard, you simply need to be different and be memorable. Re-examine what your customer journey experience is right now and how you can improve what you do. Create a mindset of positive change and make amazing memories for people who will actively recommend and promote your practice.”

An important discussion on the final day of Optrafair Exchange will look at the forthcoming introduction of the new T Level qualifications and how this could affect the world of optics.

Optometrist Usman Rasul will team up with GSK scientific leader Probash Chowdhury to give an outline of the advantages of the new T Level system over traditional A Level qualifications and explain how the optics component has been implemented to allow better recruitment.

He said: “The new Technical or T Level qualifications are due to start in 2020 and we would like to forge connections with employers now and show the benefits of having a student as well as what the benefit to the student would be for such placements.

“We would like to invite local employers and ambassadors who want to know more and we are interested to know of any employers who are keen for students to be part of their company.”