Supporting each other in business

Imran Hakim encourages practitioners to come together to support each other as they find themselves having to make “unprecedented” business decisions

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Getty/Vadym Terelyuk
More than 1000 independent practitioners joined a webinar run by optometrist Imran Hakim last week to share their business knowledge and experiences with the aim of supporting each other through “unprecedented challenges.”

The optometrist and founder of the Hakim Group hosted the webinar after he became inundated with calls and emails from his peers who were “struggling” to navigate their way through the business-related challenges associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

During the webinar, Mr Hakim shared insight into the business strategy that his company has adopted to support its practices.

The strategy, Mr Hakim explained to OT, focuses on two key elements: the health and wellbeing of staff and patients, and a practice’s finances.

He encouraged all practice owners to look at their own strategy and make sure that it is “agile and flexible, because, depending on how circumstances change, you will need to be able to react and amend,” he said.

Mr Hakim said he felt that: “Independent practices are well placed to be nimble, agile and manoeuvre in these situations, but they need clarity of information and the time to be able to make decisions with a calm head.”

“Once they have all of the information that they need in a digestible format, they should think it through with a calm head,” he advised.

However, for Mr Hakim, the business decisions that will be made by practice owners during this time “will not be black or white.”

He explained that practitioners “will need to ask and answer questions about if and how the practice is going to continue to operate, as well as how it will deal with things such as rotas, remote delivery, social distancing and, of course, closing its doors?”

Expanding on the latter point, Mr Hakim emphasised that this is where knowing the finances is key. “You need to know how long you can cash flow the business for in this downturn. And you need to have this in your head so that when you are making a decision, you can do it within your own parameters,” he said.

#Strongertogether

Following the webinar, the Hakim Group launched a website dedicated to bringing all of the relevant business information together in one place to support practice owners.

The #Strongertogether website features the latest updates in the sector, as well as a resource centre where practitioners can access advice on creating a strategy for their business.

Practitioners can also access the webinar.

There will be a follow up 90-minute webinar tomorrow (26 March) at 9pm. To sign-up for the webinar, visit the StrongerTogether website.

OT endeavours to keep the most up-to-date news on our website and this information was correct when published. However, the situation regarding the novel coronavirus is rapidly evolving. Please check OT’s rolling optics-specific coverage for the latest news and guidance on coronavirus.

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