ECP Entrepreneurs: (Jay)Walk This Way

Some of the best practice management advice at Vision Expo West had me humming an old, raunchy Areosmith tune. Sometimes, you just gotta say “Jaywalk this way” and make your move in this risky business.

Imagine yourself on foot walking at a busy intersection during rush hour, Essilor’s Howard Purcell told attendees. There are two ways to make your way among vehicles that are much bigger and faster than you are. You can cross at the crosswalk, or you can jaywalk.

Brutal fact: It’s riskier for a pedestrian to cross at the crosswalk than it is to jaywalk. New York City stats tell us 50 jaywalkers a year are killed annually, but 200 pedestrians are killed at crosswalks.

The crosswalker assumes he’s in a controlled environment where everyone minds the right-of-way rules, and sometimes that assumption is deadly.

The jaywalker knows that traffic moves quickly and rules don’t matter when you’re a small player. He keeps his eyes open and looks ahead.

ECPs absolutely must crosswalk when dealing with certain clinical and compliance issues. But when it comes to managing your business, consider jaywalking a little more. You’re an entrepreneur: Look ahead, take some strategic risks, and invest strategically.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” said both Honest Abe Lincoln and legendary management guru Peter Drucker—so look ahead.

Here’s What’s Coming, Eye Care Leaders

Eye Exams: “Over the past few years, I’ve had the chance to hang around with futurists,” Purcell said at Vision Expo West. And “in order to be a good futurist, you also must be a good historian.”

The Snellen chart is 150 years old, Purcell reminded attendees. It was designed to measure the visual acuity Victorians needed, not us, and it’s history. We live in a world of glaring computers and zooming cars. “20/20 is no good anymore,” he said, “20/8 is the best the human visual system can achieve.” Within five to ten years, ECP’s will have ditched the Snellen charts. You’ll be using Oculus-like technology to measure visual acuity.

Diagnosis: Looking for a consult in a decade, Sherlock? In ten years, you’ll have Watson.

Optical Dispensaries: 3D printing is a game changer, and it won’t be just for custom lenses sold by fancy designers. It will be a way for you to fulfill orders faster and carry much more (virtual) inventory than you can afford to now. Oh, and those ecommerce giants you thought were going to drive your optical shop out of business five years ago? Turns out people like to shop in an actual, physical place and clients are craving omnichannel now. And guess what, ECP opticals, you’ve got a dog in this fight because you’ve kept your brick-and-mortar all along.

Rock on.

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