Mar 21, 2024
Starting Cold

Throughout optometry school, I always knew I wanted to open a practice. Having gone to a Vision Source doctor during my childhood, I knew very early on that I wanted to join the Vision Source family. Upon graduating, I contacted Vision Source on next steps, and they connected me with iCare Advisors to help me with my cold start process. Since then, it has been a crazy but rewarding ride!

iCare Advisors helped me get started by connecting me with banks, vendors, realtors, basically anything and everything you need to open a practice. They answered any questions I had and helped me throughout the entire process.

Shortly after procuring the loan and signing the lease for our space, construction began. I thought to myself everything must be PERFECT! Of course, going through any construction is never easy, but it was fun to design the office from A-Z. I got to pick out countertops for the optical to tile in the bathroom. I wanted to create an environment that was warm and inviting. My office is a representation of me, and I wanted to make sure my patients could see that through the design. To this day, we still get a lot of compliments!

I met up with iCare Advisors at the Vision Source Exchange. This is where I purchased equipment and optical inventory needed for the practice. This conference was extremely helpful. Everything you could ever need was all in one place. Not only was there a showroom for equipment and frames, but there were also lectures on topics from business ownership to dry eye management. I would highly recommend visiting The Exchange!

After about three months of construction, we were ready to open our doors. I made my website, Google page, social media, and Yelp active about one month prior to opening and luckily was able to schedule a handful of patients the first week we opened. I cannot express how important LOCATION is! We chose a great location and within the first few weeks of opening had a good number of patients schedule or walk in simply by seeing us in the neighborhood. We are at a very busy intersection and have high street visibility. This is important to consider when choosing your location.

After a couple days of practice ownership, I realized I had so much to learn. I had never billed a vision claim before, had to troubleshoot a PAL, or order glasses! The biggest advice I would give to new doctors and students interested in opening their own practice is to work or extern at a private practice and really absorb the day-to-day operations. One of my externship sites was at a Vision Source practice, and I learned a great deal from that office.

Starting a cold start practice at the age of 26 was no easy feat. It can feel isolating due to inexperience. However, being part of the Vision Source family and having iCare Advisors added tremendous value to my practice ownership journey. If I did one thing right, it was definitely joining Vision Source!