Every success story begins with a change. Make these five changes to your management and accelerate the success of your optical business
The very fact that you are reading this means you understand the importance of positive changes in the lifecycle of a business. Every now and then, businesses tend to get into stagnant phases where progress looks like a far-fetched dream. For starters, this situation is not new and many business owners tend to experience it at some point or the other during the lifecycle of their organisation. The important thing to understand in such situations is to adapt to the positive changes that can help you survive and grow as well. The positive changes are usually based on previous experiences and can serve as the much-needed catalyst to propel the business forward.
When you are in the optical business, you need to brace yourself for the dynamic changes that the trade experiences. The right management approach is crucial to the success of your business. In the past, executives were hired to work and not think. But that is not the case now. Modern day trade practice in optometry as well as other industries encourage proactive participation from employees to contribute to the growth of the business.
The vision is crucial
In order to implement a management approach, you need to start with defining a clear vision. This vision is what will guide your employees to achieve more. An oft repeated mistake with articulating the vision, is that the managers tend to give extremely vague statements. This can misguide your employees and ultimately affect your ability to serve your customers.
A good idea would be to involve your employees at the planning stage as well. This will make them feel more connected to the vision and accordingly motivate them to achieve more. Additionally, taking their inputs will also help you develop a more accurate vision. Such discussions emerge as excellent opportunities to engage team members and at the same time broadcast ideas.
Another problem is that many opticians tend to focus less on good management and more on the glamorous leadership. Of course leadership is important. But before that it is important to have proper managerial principles in place. So, set your priorities right.
How you can improve?
Now that we have elaborated on the importance of implementing a well-thought management approach, let’s take a look at some ways to improve. Yes! Change is the only constant factor and this applies to the managerial practices in your optical trade as well.
So, here is a look at five such changes that you can make to the way you manage your optical business. In the long run, these little changes could emerge as the big game changers for your practice:
Does your staff work enthusiastically? Do they contribute productively to the growth of your business? If the answer to these questions is not in affirmation, your staff lacks the drive and vigour required to make a difference. Sadly, this also means that you may not be setting the right example for them. Always remember that everyone in your business will look up to you to set an example. This also means that you need to exhibit the business behaviour that you expect to see in them. Basically what you do cascades down to your entire team.
Always strive to set the right example with your ethics and evenhandedness. A just leader is not only followed; he is respected as well. And owing to this respect that your staff shares for you, they will always be willing to run that extra mile with you.
The key here is to be the most enthusiastic member of your team and very soon all of your employees will latch onto your enthusiasm. This is one of the simplest yet most effective change that you can make to improve the productivity of your optical business.
Train your workforce
The one thing that you need in order to improve your business is to improve the productivity of your workers. Just imagine how differently your optical business would perform if everyone on your staff was best at whatever he/she did. This change can actually send your sales shooting right through the roof. What you need to understand is that it is important to invest in the development of your staff members. This is one investment that is guaranteed to strengthen your business.
Before you decide on the means to improve the skills of your staff, start with preparing a list of areas where each of your staff members needs to improve. Schedule one-on-one meetings with them and guide them through the changes that they need to make to excel in their work. The idea here is to avoid criticising your staff and guide them to improve their skills.
More often than not, you will realise that you can teach them a lot. For instance, how to learn to identify the right product that will meet the visual demands of a prospective customer. So, put your teaching hat on and train them on a daily basis. Your involvement in their training will motivate them to work better. But, you also need to understand that some of the skills may require an external trainer, and at such times hiring one would be worth every penny
Follow a daily schedule
Schedule emphasises a kind of discipline and is crucial to the success of your business. While the first two changes speak about managing your human resources, this one emphasises on efficiently managing your most important resource – time. Irrespective of what state your business is in, you will always have a limited amount of time. But what separates the highly effective opticians from the ones who are just making ends meet is how they manage this finite resource.
If you feel that you are always short on time and are overwhelmed about it, then you might need to prioritise your tasks. Yes! This is actually the underlying sign of a problem. It means you are not organising your work well. Start with assigning a priority to every task that you do throughout the day and you will be surprised to notice the number of unimportant tasks that you are indulged in. Additionally, make sure you have your days planned upfront with the highly important tasks. Remember that starting a day without a schedule is very much like entering an unknown territory without a map of it.
If you are not hitting your profit margins on a consistent basis, then you might be focusing too much on sales without managing your cash flow appropriately. This could be detrimental as mismanaged finances are one of the top reasons why many optical businesses get deprived of success.
Hence, make sure you do not de-prioritise this important activity of financial planning. Plan a budget for every quarter and keep a diligent eye on both your expenses and revenues. Keeping track of your finances will give you a clear picture of how well your business is performing. If you are not good with finances, then hiring a professional would be a good idea as at the end of the day, your profits are the one metric you should be most interested in.
Undoubtedly, you are the most important person for your optical business, but if not having you around for as little as a week could throw your team into fits, then you might need to make a few minor tweaks to your management module. Another important thing to remember is that don’t try to micromanage every task. This way you end up losing out on precious time and the end result is that the task will never be completed to your satisfaction.
Empower people so that they will be able to perform their tasks without too much of your intervention. Delegate as much as possible and make sure to regularly emphasise on the fact that your staff members are the owners of their own tasks. In this way, you would be able to focus on the more important business tasks like keeping an eye on what your competition is up to and these are the tasks which require the utmost attention from your side.
Finally, management changes might not be straightforward and hence, understanding the nature of change could be a major advantage while making these improvements.
Being proactive is the best thing that you can do as it becomes much easier if you are the one driving the change, rather than being driven by it.