July 16, 2020 — Conor Heaney, founder of Optical Success Academy, shares advice for using the coronavirus as a catalyst for positive change to create the practice you truly want.
What we have all had to go through in the early stages of the pandemic is pretty much like going through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
Anyone who says they haven’t experienced at least several of these stages is either lying or living under a rock, which technically would be stage one. The speed at which you move through the five stages is really down to your ingrained thinking patterns and also what you are doing to help yourself through it.
Here’s an important distinction: Your practice hasn’t died.
Not to take anything away from the emotional turmoil that we all have felt, for business owners like you and me, the goal has to be to get to the acceptance stage as quickly as possible because that is where the upturn is. That is where we can be the most effective and have the most positive impact and influence.
So, remember, the fat lady hasn’t sung. You may be down, but you’re not out. You can handle this. No problemo.
Here’s how I see it. You’ve been through the initial shock to the system. That was probably the hardest part of this whole thing.
In the early weeks, you made the important decisions and your plans for your cashflow, your staff, closing, and your new daily routines. Yes, you still need to respond to changing situation week by week. You still have calls to make and things to action, but your plan is pretty much in place.
But now, from today onwards, is the time for opportunity.
Once you reach the acceptance stage, you should be able to dedicate just 20% of your time to handling the crisis and taking care of the finer details, but critically you can dedicate 80% of your time to being focused on the opportunities. And while the average practice owner will protest this fact, I am here to tell you that you are awash in opportunity right now.
The financial aspect of the Covid-19 crisis needs to be kept in perspective. You are in for a rough six months. But what is six months, really? Well, in a 40-year career, it is 1.25% of your practice life. A mere blip. So, please beware of short-term thinking. The ones who come out ahead of this crisis will be the practice owners who dedicate 20% of their energy to the now and 80% of their thinking and actions dedicated to improving the next three to six years.
There is an old political saying: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Those are wise words. A crisis is an opportunity to do things you thought you could not do before. This coronavirus can be your catalyst for change.
This is the equivalent of the 50-year-old man who has a heart attack and survives and uses that event as a catalyst to turn his life around. He completely changes how he works. He improves his relationships. He stops to smell the roses. He changes his diet. He starts to exercise. The crisis is the catalyst that leads him to turn his life around. For many of you, your practice just had a heart attack.You’re going to survive. But are you going to make some serious changes? That is the question.
A crisis grabs you by the scruff of the neck, shakes you awake, and forces you to re-evaluate EVERYTHING. Sit down this week for an hour with pen and paper and write down what you want your practice and life to look like in three years. Re-evaluate everything and create your vision in vivid detail.
A crisis also strengthens your resolve. It makes you say enough is enough. “To hell with the excuses. Let’s do what I want to do with my practice.” That’s a very powerful thing. A catalyst creates energy. It creates action. I know a lot of you are feeling this strengthened resolve right now. Put it to good use. Ask yourself, what have you been saying to yourself for years—but never acted on? What have you been putting up with that you won’t take anymore?
Use this opportunity now to rebuild and refine your practices systems and processes. Change your strategy and create action plans. Invest in yourself and your entrepreneurial know-how. Create more effective marketing messages. Craft a superior client experience and sales choreography. There is so much you can be doing right now to start creating the practice you really want.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder of Optical Success Academy, Conor Heaney runs a highly successful practice in the UK with an average eyewear sale of over $1,200. Through his unique strategies, he has helped hundreds of independent practice owners transform their practices and successfully increase optical revenues. Gain additional resources to navigate the Covid-19 crisis at opticalsuccessacademy.com.