Business Strategies for the Optical Retailer

I don’t read many consumer magazines and only subscribe to one, Real Simple Magazine. I like it because it always has good simple ideas and usually the focus is on making life easier. This relates very well to business as well. In February’s issue there is a great article talking about 10 business strategies from author Patrick Lencioni. The context of the magazine article is about family so it is good to remember that these strategies apply to personal life as well as running an Optical business.

Here is the condensed version of the first five from the article with some of my own suggestions specific to Optical Retail as examples, they are very “simple”:

1. Identify your core values. Companies define their core values because they provide a great framework for making all kinds of decisions. Apply this to the type of optical products and vision services that you want to provide.

2. Establish a single top priority. This is very important as most businesses have a lot of priorities. Focusing on one priority and get it done. This could be as simple as getting ride of clutter and making sure that all eyewear is displayed with current and correct brand story/benefits signage for the eyewear product on display. (See Bill Gerber’s blog Optical Darwinism Present With Excellence Or Perish)

3. Keep your values and top priority visible. These need to be displayed somewhere where they are seen everyday by all the optical staff.

4. Don’t make snap decisions. Understand what is involved, for example don’t take in a major new optical product line until you know what the advertising and marketing support is going to be.

5. Understand your opportunity cost. In business, when taking one course of action prevents a company from accomplishing other tasks, we talk about opportunity cost. For example, maybe offering too many different optical discount plans which take time calculating and explaining to a customer when that time could be used to explain the benefits of improved lens treatments and vision wear options.

Patrick Lencioni’s best seller The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is available from Amazon. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable