High street optics has long battled with balancing the clinical versus retail elements of running a successful practice and profitable business. The current MECS vs. Specs discussions have reenergised these long-standing deliberations. The introduction of the term Enhanced Optical Services from the UK’s largest chain as well as it’s increasing move into offering more clinical services, including the roll-out of OCT’s, suggests that the more clinical aspects of high street optometry can no longer be seen as the preserve of the independent sector (assuming you believe it really ever was…).
Not surprising then, as iDay always tries to be relevant and topical, that this will be the focus of this years joint conference programme – only we prefer to call this tightrope that independents walk - Eyecare versus Eyewear.
Programme and Keynote Speaker
When it comes to covering the hybrid business that is UK optical practice, speakers really do need to have a good understanding of this unique business model. When it come to understanding both the professional and commercial aspects of optometry there was only ever going to be one man for the job. Consequently we are delighted to reveal that our Keynote speaker for this year is optical marketing guru, Andy Clark.
In his presentation ‘Who do you think you are?’ Andy will be looking at what he calls the fundamental ‘practice archetypes’ and demonstrating that practitioners need to understand which best defines both themselves and their practice. As well as identifying where the business is now, the next exercise is to decide where the business is going in the next 5-10 years and whether that is different. This will have a significant impact on building a meaningful, commercially viable ‘brand’ for your area.
Fellow professionals who have walked the talk in their businesses will support Andy. They and will share their own unique perspective on independent practice and how they’ve managed balancing the eyecare versus eyewear conundrum.
Fellow optometrists and practice owners who have ‘walked the talk’ in their businesses will support Andy. Each and will share their own unique perspective on successful independent practice and how they’ve managed balancing the eyecare versus eyewear conundrum. The speakers are:
Mark took an unconventional route to optometry and practice ownership despite his father being an independent optometrist. Mark eschewed optometry for a degree in biology and ‘fell’ into a corporate career in sales and marketing for 10-years before the call of optometry proved too great. Since joining the practice the business has grown year on year mixing clinical advancement with an improved retail experience.
Michelle’s optometric career started down a clinical path with her pre-reg at the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham. She specialised in low vision and corneal research and was awarded prizes here and the US for her studies in corneal graft surgery. In 2008 she opened Park Vision because she felt there was a need for an eye clinic that offered a bespoke service for any visual need. Michelle is a firm believer that everyone should feel and look great in their glasses whatever their budget.
Gerard is the husband and business partner of one of last year’s speakers, Lynne Fernandes. Together they run a successful and award winning independent group of three practices in and around Bristol. Each practice has a different demographic and so each practice has a slightly different positioning offering tailored products and services to the needs of the local population.
Following the success of the interactive business sessions last year we will once again be running a parallel track of commercially focussed workshops. Andy Clark will be running one of these as a practical session to help business owner’s work through his practice archetypes model on their business.
Finally, of course, for those who still need a few CET points to close off their account during the last few weeks of the current cycle, there will be CET courtesy of our sponsors.
The iShow exhibition once again be an integral part of all 3 events.