As Opticians we work at a unique juncture of health, fashion, and innovative technology, all which are constantly changing and evolving faster than we think. The demand is driven by people of all ages, with different needs, and who follow different trends that meets their life styles. Our profession must be able to adapt and meet our clients’ needs through a business model that has the capability to constantly pivot alongside industry shifts, market fluctuations and changing technology. This is the core of business agility. Agility is a sign of responsiveness and openness that attests to the ability of a business – and its team – to meet the specific needs of its clients. It also means the ability to see future trends and innovate.
Agility leads your business to set itself apart and seize beneficial opportunities in an economic climate in which competition is fierce and the landscape is changing rapidly.
Is agility considered in your current business model?
First, it is important to break away from the assumption of sustainable competitive advantage and embrace adaptable differentiation, i.e., develop an agility advantage.
Consider the following principles for moving forward with greater agility:
Define your niche and cater to the community in which your business resides – Focus on your market. Determine who are your clients – “hipsters” or senior citizens? What are they looking for? How can you take advantage of this niche’s unique characteristics?
Leverage from your strengths and expertise on demand –What new and unique products and experience can you provide your clients in anticipation to their needs? Will your business demographics demand more multifocal lenses in the upcoming years? How will you prepare for that? And who are the stake holders in your network with whom you should start strategizing in preparation.
Have the right people and attitudes as part of your team – Having the right technology and the right products is not enough. Focus on a well-trained team who has the right aptitude and the right attitude. Adaptable and open minded eye care professionals have become a gold mine for organizations seeing to stay competitive in our industry.
Empower your employees – Creating an adaptable workforce demands empowered employees, and empowerment commands inclusion and buy-in. When team members feel attuned to the company culture and consider themselves true ambassadors of your brand, positive outcomes result.
Survey customers and your team – what are their needs? Are you currently able to meet these? Use your survey results to respond effectively to changes and demand. The power of brain storming is quite amazing! Bring your team together for round table discussion to better understand the gravity of your business and use those learnings to differentiate and innovate.
Keep your inventory up to date while setting it up for easy browsing – Make sure returning clients have a reason to come back and see you. Refresh your inventory at least once per calendar quarter. Remember, looking for glasses can be an overwhelming experience, make sure to merchandize your inventory in a clean and easy to browse layout.
Efficiency leads to effectiveness – in order to effectively reach out to your clients it is important to have efficient systems in place that will assure you are delivering products and services in the shortest time frame possible. Once you have an efficient system in place through your operational processes you will be able to effectively anticipate and meet the demands of your clients.
Stay up to date with trends, innovation and competitor’s activities. This will provide you with a leading edge as you strategize to set your business up for success.
By applying agility to your business model, it will allow you to seize new opportunities, retain your market share, respond to uncertainty and instability, and adapt your behavior, products and services to your clients’ needs.
It is important to keep in mind the human factor, and to give priority to interactions among individuals rather than tools and processes; collaboration with customers rather than contractual negotiations; and acceptance of changing needs and responsiveness rather than rigid planning.
Embrace change and start a new chapter!
Written by Claudia Rojas, OAC – BC Chapter Director