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Building a Thriving Practice from the Ground Up
I met my husband in optometry school; we opened our first practice, cold, in 2005 and our second one three years ago—private practice optometry is what we know. It has been so rewarding to watch our practice, something we built from scratch, grow and flourish over the years. We often refer to the practice as one of our babies.
Like raising a baby or building anything from the bottom up, growing a successful practice benefits from strong partnerships with people who complement your strengths. I am lucky to have a great partner in my husband, “Dr. Mark”. While I take care of most of the behind-the-scenes responsibilities, he handles a lot of the marketing and outreach. He brings a lot of exposure to us as the incoming president of the Florida Optometric Association and current city council member in Palm Beach Gardens, the location of our second practice. Everybody in town knows that if you need to get your eyes checked, you go to the Marcianos’. We also divide up our professional specialties—my husband and another doctor, Tsung-Hao Wu, OD, focus on specialty contact lenses and glaucoma care, and I and our fourth doctor, Erin Weston, OD, handle dry eye and blepharitis.
Another partner that has been by our side on this journey is VSP Global. The VSP Premier Program offers numerous resources and benefits to help our practice grow. Our favorite Premier Program benefit is the VSP Premier Program indicator by our practice name on the VSP Find a Doctor directory. When I ask patients how they found us, they often say it’s because of that indicator. It’s our primary source of new patients. Not only does the indicator give us more exposure, but patients can click on it and see what Premier Program offerings we provide, access our website, and schedule appointments. In addition, being part of the Premier Program enables us to offer significant discounts, rebates, and warranties to patients, which they appreciate.
Perhaps the most important partnership when growing a practice is the one you have with your patients. In practice now for 16 years, we see the same patients year after year, having cultivated relationships with them, and having gained their trust. They know we offer the latest technology, such as retinal imaging, and that we are there for them when they need us. The best example is emergency care—while I may complain about getting an early morning call on Sunday morning, there is nothing more rewarding than helping a patient in pain. Sitting there in shorts and flip flops on a Sunday morning, chatting with the patient while you treat them is such a bonding experience. And, when you solve the problem and relieve the patient’s pain, they feel like you can move mountains. It’s my favorite aspect of private practice optometry.
Like building anything from scratch (including raising a baby!), growing a successful practice from the ground up can be challenging. As I see it, you will achieve success when you partner with those who complement your strengths and cultivate relationships with those you are trying to serve. There is nothing more rewarding than that.
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