Will your practice boom—or bust—if you double down on a second location? In our last post, we went over what you should be thinking about before you open a new location. But the analysis doesn’t stop there (although you probably wish it did).
If you’re thinking about expansion, you’ll need to do your homework on the competition in the geographic areas you’re considering. Even if you’re not ready to open another set of doors, gathering competitor intelligence is a smart strategy, says Mark Johnson, ABOC, NCLEC, former director of optical services at Virginia Eye Institute (he has since departed to another industry). It will help you capitalize on your strengths, guide your marketing strategy, and identify potential areas for improvement, he told attendees at a past Vision Expo East conference.
To find out how your practice compares to others like it, go beyond benchmarking and conduct a competitive analysis.
Johnson recommended ranking your practice and its competitors in categories like these, pus any others you can think of:
- Hours of operation
- Dispensary size and placement
- Number of hours a physician is on duty
- Number of frames on display
- Use of scripts and sales training
- Everyday retail pricing
- Reputation for quality and service
You’d pick a few of your competitors, and then score each practice (including yours) on a scale of 1 to 3:
1 = Competitor is better
2 = Even
3 = You are better
Tip: A useful competitive analysis takes preparation, time, and effort. You’ll have to do some detective work, like checking out a competitor’s exam fees and visiting their office.
Tip: Individual physicians and staff members from different departments often have unique insights and perspectives. Try having each physician, your management team, and a key staff member from each department perform their own analysis. Combine the results for a more complete picture.
When you’re done, add up each competitor’s scores to obtain an “overall market competitive score” that ranks each practice in relation to the others.
Here’s what the analysis might look like: