By Ashley Blasi, OD, guest columnist
My husband and I dated for six years before we bit the bullet and got married. Those six years provided us an opportunity to know the good, the bad and the ugly about each other. No secrets were left untold before we became hitched. Ten years later we are still running strong. Entering an optometric partnership works much the same way. Here are a few tips to consider before taking the plunge:
Learn to communicate– Just like any strong relationship, communication is key. Express your desires and concerns to your potential partner. Ask what is expected of you if you do enter into a partnership. Talk about the finances. Compliment each other when compliments are in order, or let your potential partner know when you are frustrated about something. A relationship works best when all cards are on the table. Communication builds trust.
Join a practice where your weakness is another doctors strength– I enjoy cooking, and my husband is happy that we have a meal to eat every night. My husband is great with finances and I appreciate that he pays our bills. We complement each other. The same scenario holds true in a business partnership. I like using technology and all the benefits it has to offer. However, I am not the go-to person when something breaks or is not working properly. Thankfully, a doctor at our office loves all the ins and outs of technology and heads up this area of the practice. The stress level of a partnership can be reduced if each partner picks an area or areas of the practice that he or she would enjoy managing. Divide up who manages the HR, technology, accounting, optical, marketing, etc. then come together when decisions need to be made. Partnerships survive when everyone works as a team.
Get to know their family and hobbies- As cliche as it sounds, partnerships are like marriages. Go to dinner with your potential partners and their spouses. Ask questions about their kids and what they like to do on weekends. You want to be in business with people who have the same morals, values and beliefs as you. It also gives you a chance for your potential partner’s spouse and family to become familiar with you as a person.
Entering into an optometry business partnership is a huge decision. Many partnerships fail to thrive due to conflicting interests and broken communication. It is important to build a trusting relationship before committing long term. Taking the above steps will position you to enter a partnership that will succeed.