Welcome to Eyetools Question of the Day #407

I opened a community eye care practice two years ago and things have been going well. The practice is prosperous but I would like it to be more prosperous as I would like to open up another practice as well. The problem is I’ve run out of ideas as to how to increase income and/or cut costs. When I started I could see. The path to take in terms of branding, patient and customer service, staff recruitment, and practice culture. I spend time on my phone looking for new ideas but can’t find any that I think would be useful. Do you have any suggestions?

Your practice is successful and your approach of thinking of new ways to make it even more successful is a good one. People who carry on doing the same thing without innovation often stay still or even fail.

My suggestion is that you look less at your phone and take time to be on your own and with other people.

You will not find much in the way of practice innovation on your phone. You might think there are plenty of good things in there but many people who put things on the internet don’t do it to help you; they do it to help themselves. Of course, there are some people who do want to help others (EyeTools for example) but much of what is on the internet is designed to distract you from what you want to do so people can harvest your personal details and sell them or try to sell you something you don’t need.

Put your phone down and take time to be on your own and think. Think about how the day went. Think about the patient flow in your practice. Think about how they behave and what they say. Think about the products you have for sale. Doing mundane things like cleaning the house or practice, showering, and gardening are known to be activities that can help solutions to problems appear suddenly. These are often called light bulb moments but the processing in the brain could have been going on for hours.

Some people think that looking at a phone is the same as having some personal downtime but it isn’t. The things in the phone are designed not to let your subconscious brain work. When you are engaged in a mundane activity your subconscious brain is working hard without you even realising. It’s creative and very often the answer will come.

Put your phone down and talk to people properly and listen properly without looking at your phone during the conversation. By talk to people I mean face-to-face in real life and not through a screen. It’s best to put your phone out of sight because sight of a phone sitting on a table can spoil conversation and limit listening. Good things will come out of conversations with other staff, people at home, and friends. Solutions to problems can appear during these conversations. Good conversation is creative and very often the answer will come.

Put your phone down and go to a local eye care association meeting. If there isn’t a local eye care association then create one. It only takes one other eye care practitioner to come along and you have a meeting. My experience of association meetings is that people are very happy to share their experiences about things that have gone well and things that haven’t. Some people simply want to be helpful and others want to show off. It doesn’t matter if what they say helps you. You may want to ask direct questions or you may just listen to what other eye care practitioners say. Good conversation is creative and very often the answer will come.

Put your phone down and read from a book, magazine, or trade journal. Not on your phone but on paper or an e-reader that is not part of your phone. E-readers have fewer distractions than phones. The reading material doesn’t have to be about eye care. The process of reading lets your subconscious mind work on the problem you are trying to solve. Reading is creative and very often the answer will come.

Put your phone down, be alone, and think. Put your phone down and talk and listen to others. Put your phone done and go to association meetings. Put your phone down and read. Put your phone down and the answer will come.