Optometry Podcast: Play Chess, Not Checkers with Dr. Adam Ramsey

“We all have 24 hours in a day, it’s how we utilize it that makes the difference,” explains Dr. Adam Ramsey when asked how he has accomplished so much in his young optometric career. The business owner and author of a new book on practice management sits down with Dr. Darryl Glover to explain his practice philosophy for success.   
Dr. Adam Ramsey opened Socialite Vision in 2016, and after just a year of owning his own business he added 3 satellite locations. His journey to practice ownership and successful practice management has led him to share his experiences as a lecturer and speaker around the country. 

Dr. Adam Ramsey, Optometrist & Author

He recently wrote a book that expands on his practice ownership experience in even more detail, “Play Chess, Not Checkers: The Practical Guide to Warm-Start Your Dream Optometric Practice.” His goal is to teach doctors how to maneuver in this industry where industry giants and big private equity money are driving most of the decisions.  The goal for optometric small business owners is to be successful right out of the gate. How do you do that? “Warm start; don’t cold start.”  A cold start practice is opening a brick and mortar location without any patient base or momentum of word of mouth. Instead, Dr. Ramsey shares that doctors should warm start – find a niche that will immediately build patients and referrals, leverage your community for marketing and word of mouth, and use the resources available to doctors to help get your practice off to the right financial start. 

Before you decide to go into practice ownership, Dr. Ramsey encourages doctors to ask themselves, is opening your own private practice the best thing for you? “If you can find the practice that you want, I would 100% recommend that you buy that practice instead of opening from scratch.” Look for busy practices, not necessarily one that is aesthetically your perfect fit. You can change an outdated, old looking practice quickly; it takes longer to fill the books with new patients. Another personal story that Dr. Ramsey shares is the importance of trademarking your brand. This is something that the majority of small optometric business owners have not done, but the ramifications of not protecting your brand can be severe. When Dr. Ramsey first opened his practice it was called “Iconic Eyewear.” It became an issue when VSP decided to enforce their trademark of “Eyeconic Eyewear” and trademark law allowed them to prevent other businesses from using both the spelling and the phonetic sound of the name they had trademark protected. Thousands of dollars later, Dr. Ramsey trademark protected the new name of his business, Socialite Vision. If you have a practice with any name other than your first and last name as a doctor, there’s a chance that you could face similar trademark legal issues. His book directly addresses how doctor business owners can go about trademarking their practice name and protecting it right from the start.

Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Glover also share how they maximize trade shows and relationships with reps to get the very best deals negotiated for outfitting their practice. “Know your industry, know your competitors, and be smart when you’re making your purchases.  You don’t make money when you sell frames. You make money when you buy them.” Dr. Ramsey does his research at shows like Vision Expo comparing frame styles and materials side by side before making a purchasing decision and negotiating fair terms with a vendor. “It’s like a marriage,” Dr. Ramsey shares about his vendor partnerships. He’s looking to work with companies where he can establish a long term partnership.  

As you can tell from this interview, Dr. Ramsey has experienced quite a bit of the trials and tribulations that come with successful practice ownership and has plenty of knowledge to share. To learn more, make sure you read his book and follow along with him at @dradamramsey on Instagram.

Purchase the book today!