Make Your Practice More Valuable

The easiest way to make an ophthalmology or optometry practice more valuable? Increase profits and cash flow. How do you do that? Increase sales and margins, decrease expenses. Simple, right?

Since that was so easy (laugh here), there are some other things you can also do to increase the value of the practice – many of which also have effects on sales, margins, and expenses.

1. Add an additional exam lane. If you have available room (or can make room) in your current office space, this is a great way to increase efficiency and see more patients in less time.
2. Do more in pre-testing. Train the techs to do everything possible, including pressures, images, auto-refraction, color vision, stereo vision, etc. This frees up the doctor to concentrate on the specific needs of the patient and minimizes the time spent on activities that can be done by others.
3. Curb appeal. Make sure that your office space is as attractive from the outside as it can be. This could include a fresh coat of paint, landscaping, and especially signage. Your sign should be one of your biggest advertising expenses, since it works for you 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We once consulted for an optometry practice in a city about 100 miles away. I had been past the practice at least 50 times in the past, and never knew they were there because their signage was terrible! They had their full name in a script font in a small space that was so small it was unreadable unless you stopped at their driveway. One tip: when designing a sign, don’t evaluate the sign at arm’s length. Tape it to the wall and look at it from 20 feet away. This is a much better approximation of what the public will see, especially if you are on a higher-speed roadway. What looks good at arm’s length may be unreadable for traffic once installed at your location.
4. Inside the walls of the practice. One of the easiest issues to have is clutter; vendors have great visuals of their products, and of course they want you to display the posters or signage in your practice to educate and influence your patients. Paperwork can also stack up and be a distraction. There was a practice that I visited once that had an employee entrance in the back of the building, with the patient entrance in the front. There was a large pot of dirt in front of the reception desk. When I was speaking with the doctor, I asked about the pot of dirt. He was unaware of it and wanted me to show it to him. When he saw it, he asked the receptionist about it. She said it used to have an easter lily in it, which had died. Since the staff really only came to the reception area to lock and unlock the door, they really didn’t notice it. Lesson: take an unbiased look through your practice. If there are too many posters, toys in the children’s area, stacks of paperwork, then do everything you can to reduce them for a better visual image. It might also be time for new carpeting, new paint inside, etc. Patients typically can’t tell if we are great clinicians or just average. They CAN tell if the practice is cluttered or ratty. Visual images can seem more important in their eyes than how great your skills are.
5. New furnishings. If your old frame bars or dispensing tables have seen better days, maybe it is time to upgrade. There are many companies that will offer to give you a new design, and do layouts and illustrations at no charge. One of the best is

By taking these steps, you will increase the value of your practice when it is time to sell. It will also increase the interest in your practice by other ophthalmologists and optometrists!