How to Keep On Brand When Your Practice Is Growing
How do you stay true to your brand when you’re growing or changing?
When you go through changes in your optical practice, your brand can be affected. Why does it suffer? This is often down to forgetting to realign your purpose. You may also be so focused on growing, that you forget your brand values. All the amending, changing, tweaking as you go along is so all-encompassing, you forget why you started. The worst part of all? You don’t notice until things start to feel misaligned and out of sync, and you’re left saying ‘why do I even do this?’ or ‘why am I in this industry?’.
Here are some ways to stay true to your brand:
Firstly, what is your purpose?
Is you purpose to make sure that nobody leaves your practice without receiving the best advice for their eyes? And what are the personal reasons for doing what you do – what made you get into the optometry career path? When you remember your purpose, you can evaluate whether everything you’re doing will lead you back to your purpose, or whether you have derailed along the way. Derailing can lead to a sense of overwhelming sense of anxiousness, so it’s important you have a way of getting back on track.
Secondly, what are your values?
Do you have brand values – if not – you should! Values are not just words that sound like something you should believe in – such as ‘passion’ and ‘trust’. Are random words what gets you through when the going gets tough? I doubt it. Every business needs passion to keep it going, and trust to keep the clientele – so these are simply values that every business should have. Your values should be what sets your apart – what is the core of your business? For instance – human connection is a great one for the optical industry. After all – you look into people’s eyes, you can invade their personal space, and you see parts of them no one else does (the inside of an eye!). Without a human connection, and without the desire to want to make lives better – you wouldn’t be where you are today. Therefore – human connection could be one of your brand values. When you have a rude patient – your desire to carry on is based on the fact you want to make people see better. One way to stay aligned to your real values – what gets you through when life gets rough – is to write down your brand values and what they mean to you. Refer back to them when you start something new on your business and see if it fits.
Thirdly, what is your mission?
What is the driving factor behind your business? This main goal in your business is your mission. It may be to ensure you help people to see better. If aspects of your business prevent your mission, you’ll feel frustrated, so it’s important to refer back to your mission frequently. You may realise that you are spending so long on accounts and paperwork, that you don’t get to help people to see better any more. Therefore, you hire an accountancy service and get back on board your mission.
And lastly, who is your minimal viable audience?
What’s the minimal amount of people you need to love your business in order for it to be viable? Airbnb started small with only focussing on getting 100 people to love their business. They knew that 100 was their minimal viable business number – and knew that if they had 100 that loved them opposed to a million who liked them, this is what they would need to get themselves off the ground. Each business would have a different viable number – what would yours be?
What you need to know is: who are these people? How do you find them (social media, word of mouth, newspaper ads, school talks)? How do you influence them (workshops, adverts, books, community events, influencer marketing)?
Your purpose, values and mission is driven by them, and is for them. Who appreciates you the most? What is it you do that makes them feel this way? Talk to them and they’ll spread your message with word of mouth. You’ll spot who they are – the ones who bring in thank you gifts, the ones you leave you reviews, the ones who tell their friends and family, the ones who come back year after year, the ones that say ‘thank you so much, these frames have really made a difference!’ or, ‘I could never use contact lenses before I came to you!’. These are your minimal viable audience people; these are YOUR people. These are the people who must influence every business decision you make, and these are the people you should keep in mind as your business model grows.