“You can.” These simple two words appeared on a recent post on Dr. Melanie Denton’s Instagram account @eyethinkican, and speak volumes about her passion for entrepreneurship in optometry. Her account and associated blog, are focused on encouraging the next generation of optometrists and optometry students to commit to making their dreams of practice ownership a reality. She shares her insights and experience on opening a practice cold in this week’s podcast!
Her Advice Includes:
- Opening cold isn’t the only path to ownership, but it’s not the doomed enterprise that many of us were told in school. While her practice has had many trials and tribulations in the 2 years since she decided to open cold, she hasn’t been living on ramen and saltine crackers, either. Success has come quickly, but with plenty of hard work, grit and planning to make it happen. Take home: opening cold takes work, but you can definitely be successful!
- While optometry school prepares us excellently for practicing optometry, we don’t necessarily get the best preparation for being a business owner. Dr. Denton decided to pursue an MBA, balancing patient care with night and weekend classes. The experience was invaluable to opening her practice; it allowed her to find mentors outside of optometry that helped her design a business plan, negotiate her lease and bank loan.
- When it comes to negotiating, know that you are bringing a lot to the table as a small business owner in the healthcare sector. Dr. Denton advises to enter negotiations as if you are interviewing the other person. The bank, your landlord, even your town’s chamber of commerce want your business. You are evaluating what they bring to the table just as much as they are evaluating you!
- If owning a practice is your dream, make a commitment to yourself to make it happen. Dr. Denton chose a date and decided that she would make her dream happen by that time. That mental commitment to a firm “due date” kept her on schedule to make her dreams a reality.