Sight Care has revealed that its annual business conference for independents in 2017 will be showcasing a new format, ‘to encourage greater engagement, interaction and partnership.’
The event is at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on 26–27 February and the theme is Independent, not alone.
For the first time the support organisation will run a programme of masterclasses and workshops to offer advice and ideas relevant to independent practice owners and their staff in the day-to-day running of their business.
According to Sight Care, the theme was chosen to demonstrate the strength of being part of a wider community of independent practices, able to access a range of business benefits through closer relationships with like-minded practices and business partners.
Sight Care’s new chief executive, John French, told OT: “Our conference provides two days of inspiration, education and personal development for delegates from a wide mix of roles within the optical sector.”
He added: “The 2017 event offers a mix of stimulating presentations, masterclasses and hands-on workshops with some of the elite from the independent sector.”
On the Sunday afternoon (26 February) prior to the main conference, Sight Care will be hosting a workshop for its members, followed by an informal social evening.
The workshop will be run by Nigel Risner, speaker of the year from the Academy for Chief Executives, as well as from management consultancy Footdown and executive mentoring company Vistage. Mr Risner will share his 10 steps for success in an interactive session.
The business conference on the Monday (27 February) will comprise both keynote speakers and a programme of masterclasses and workshops.
The keynote speakers include Philip Calvert, an award-winning social networking entrepreneur and international professional speaker.
In his talk, People buy people – but will they buy you? How independent opticians can leverage social media to win customers in 2017, Mr Calvert will explain why independent opticians cannot ignore the benefits of social media.
He will highlight how independents can use social media to attract new customers, position themselves as a valued professional in the community and add value to their existing customers.
Mr Calvert will also reveal the key mistakes that independent opticians are making with social media and how to correct them, together with proven tips and ideas.
Another speaker is Pim Föster, commercial manager of Optitrade Retail Group, based in the Netherlands.
In his talk, Dutch independent opticians are not alone, Mr Föster will draw on analogies between the UK and Dutch optical markets, highlighting specific initiatives adopted by the independent practices there to help strengthen their market position in their fight against the multiples.
A joint, high-energy presentation will be given by popular returning speakers, Geoff Ramm, and Mr Risner, to challenge delegates in quick-fire sessions, with transferable business ideas that will make an impact on their practices.
Mr Ramm is a multi-award winning speaker and a respected author, television presenter and international speaker.
The interactive keynote session is entitled Creating the perfect day for independent opticians through Better F.O.C.U.S. The presentation will share new techniques for the independent practice owner, their team and their patients to have the ‘perfect day.’
In the new presentation, the speakers will explain the rules to being focused, innovative and more importantly, patient-centric.
The programme of masterclasses and workshops will focus on dispensing, contact lenses and digital marketing, and is aimed at everyone in the independent practice team.