The independent business support technology platform, Storm has launched an online portal of management resources to help drive practice growth.
The launch of the online tools and software was promoted at Optrafair (1–3 April, Birmingham NEC) following several months of development and testing in a sample of UK practices.
The areas covered by Storm’s resources include financial management, practice marketing, building customer loyalty and developing a winning practice team, as well as how to develop and utilise a competitive advantage.
Storm aims to help independent practices to succeed by offering the skills, tools and thought leadership required to grow within the highly competitive optical sector.
Entrepreneur Imran Hakim has been the driving force behind many of the technological innovations within Storm’s offering.
“To deliver something new and of real value to independents, it’s vital to offer effective tools helping you to stay close to your day-to-day finances, as well as get real time feedback from customers to know what they really think,” he explained.
Mr Hakim added: “Storm’s combination of optical industry experience with experts from outside optics helps provide a comprehensive portfolio of resources and proven tools to cover all the key areas that a practice owner needs.”
The online tools and software include a performance tracker, which creates a real time profit and loss statement each month. There is also the social media platform for low cost marketing, plus ready to use marketing resources to increase customer footfall.
Automated customer feedback technology within Storm gives practice owners real time feedback on what their patients really think about their experiences at the practice.
The platform has regular practice management webinars to upskill managers and their teams. There is also a library of management articles to help build leadership skills.
For practitioners wanting more help, Storm offers short-term consultancy services focusing on specific areas such as financial management, marketing, customer loyalty and creating a winning team.
The original group of UK optical industry experts behind the programme has been supplemented by a range of specialists covering areas of customer service, mystery shopping, social media and digital marketing.
HR and staff performance management specialists have also been added, along with business start-up and exit strategy advisers. Storm is also starting to collaborate with industry product suppliers.
The Storm process has been trialled by a small number of practitioners as the programme has been developed in recent months. Optometrist Brian Tompkins, owner of TK&S Optometrists, Northampton, said: “This is not a traditional, consultancy approach. It’s an education in running a successful business whilst achieving the results you have always dreamt of achieving supported by a team of industry experts.”
Optometrist and managing director of Cameron Optometry, Edinburgh, Ian Cameron, concluded: “I already had a thriving business but Storm has helped us to raise the bar to a new level.”
For more information, visit the Storm website.