In just about every business the competition is fierce. In your eyecare practice, you’re facing competition from both online frame and contact lens retailers and against other local ODs in your area. When it comes to being an OD, there is a lot more to managing your practice than just providing patient care. There is a business side of your job as well.

Staying ahead of your competition is what allows you to keep your office doors open and the revenue flowing. Today, we want to talk about 5 ways that your practice might be falling behind your competition and straining your practice growth.

#1 Complacency

Believe it or not, you could be the reason your practice is falling behind your competition. Getting comfortable in your routine and not keeping up with the latest trends and changes can quickly make you fall behind. Everyone is guilty of sticking to the routine of doing things because “that’s how they’ve always been done,” but the people making the biggest career leaps are the ones seeking out new, modern and more efficient ways to do all of those routine things.

#2 Your Practice Is Hard to Find

Being found online is an important part of generating new patient growth. Later on, we’ll mention how important your website is, but before we get there people need to get to your website first. Having strong search rankings will help your practice show up ahead of your competition on Google and other search engines. To even make it to the consideration stage for a potential new patient it’s likely you need to pop up within the first 5 local optometrists within a search. That’s why putting time and money into your practice’s SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is so important.

#3 Old School Processes

I don’t know about you, but when I seek out medical services I look for providers that are modern in their processes, equipment, testing and services. Regardless of whether your services are performed in a modern fashion, running your practice on paper versus electronically can give off an old school vibe. Paper can often be more time consuming for the patient and provides less flexibility when it comes to accessing their own health records and information.

Electronic health records allow patients to fill out paperwork online and access a portal that contains personal health information along with treatment instructions and educational materials on their diagnosis. Modern touches like these can help boost the overall patient experience in your practice.

#4 You Haven’t Found Your Niche

If your market is saturated with a large number of eyecare providers, finding your niche can help you better target the right market and stand out from your competition. Your niche could be determined by the specific eye services you offer, the background of your expertise, or in the frame lines that you carry in your dispensary. Drilling down to what makes you different from your competition will help you make better business decisions and provide you with a clearer path toward your target market and how you spend your marketing dollars.

#5 Your Website Is Holding You Back

Your website can be your best friend when it comes to practice growth. The internet is the first place people go when looking for new places to do business with. So, when a potential patient searches for eye doctors in their area and your practice pops up, your website better be modern, informative, helpful and attractive to draw those patients in to schedule an appointment with you. If your website is not modern, patients could assume it’s a reflection of your entire practice and move on to another provider.