By Johnna Dukes, ABOC

Our much touted “Year of Vision” turned out to be a giant dumpster fire. I’ve heard it said that going through something hard without learning lessons along the way is the true meaning of suffering, so I do try to look at hard times with my “perspective glasses” on. I don’t want to have gone through something difficult and not learned anything from it. So, here are a few nuggets I’ve picked up about business, people, and emerging from tough times.

Buying Right Matters

A few pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned during 2020 have to do with managing inventory in uncertain times. I contacted some of my current frame vendors and negotiated a buy back discount for some older inventory that not only cleaned up my frame boards but refreshed my inventory at a great price. Also, I sought out some frame companies that allowed me to buy frames on consignment.

When it came to lenses, I took the time during our shut-down to talk to my peers and find out which labs they were using and to compare pricing. As we were slowly re-opening, I tried out different labs to ensure I was happy with quality and ended up adding two more labs to my usual slate, and now have some competitive pricing options. I don’t know about you, but in a normal world, I hadn’t taken the time to compare pricing at labs for years, so this was probably something I should’ve been paying closer attention to all along. Also, I looked into a few buying groups and found one that works with several of the companies I already do business with, so this will make a difference going forward in that I can save between 10 and 20% more from those companies.

During the downtime, I searched out a business credit card that has great cash back options and I’m now putting everything possible on this card and letting the accrued cash back help offset other business costs. I believe these changes will make us more competitive when things normalize.

Perspective is Everything

I used to write about seeing things from your patient’s perspective, and while I still feel there is validity to understanding someone else’s perspective in the way of our business interactions, today I’m talking about gaining perspective on what we do and why we do it. I know, this is a deep thought kind of topic, but I can assure you that taking a moment to pause and think about these things does help keep one moving forward instead of getting stuck in the heaviness that is 2020.

So, what exactly do I mean about perspective? Truly, one day I was caught in some pretty negative thinking and I stopped and said to myself, “If you stopped doing what you do, who would notice?” And then I realized that if I decided to do something different, my patients would notice. I provide them a service, (many services, really) I help them see. I listen when they need an ear. I fix things that are broken. I answer questions about their vision. They need me to be here, and truly, I need them too. To delve deeper, why do we do what we do is an easier question to be answered, on my part anyway. I think if you have been given talents and keep them to yourself, you aren’t honoring the gifts you’ve been given. So I guess for me, I do what I do because I truly believe I have been given a talent for this field. I’m sure that is the case for many of you too. When we take the time to define our own perspective, it can help remind us that this current state is not permanent, things will return to normal, and there’s a reason we do what we do.

People Still Need People

I have said this before and I’ll say it again, when this is all over and things return to “normal” (whatever that means anymore…) we will all still need one another. I believe checking in on your peers, on your patients, on your doctors, and on your neighbors still matters.

Everyone is battling something, and for some of us that battle is just a little more visible. At the end of the day, if you lead your interactions with a genuine concern for how the other person is doing, it will go a long way toward creating the well-being that will outlast this pandemic. Maya Angelou said people might forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel, and making people feel appreciated and cared for especially in uncertain times will undoubtably pay dividends in the future. So, dear friends, remember, this, too, will end. Keep your chin up, keep your heart full, keep your mind on what matters, and know that you make a difference.