Hakim Group webinar focuses on business support

The optometrist and founder of the Hakim Group has hosted a second webinar to provide business support for independent practices

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More than 800 practitioners took part in a webinar hosted by the founder of the Hakim Group last week, which aimed to share insight into how independent practices can respond to the business challenges being presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the 90-minute webinar, Imran Hakim was joined by guest speakers: managing director of AEL Markham Ltd, Marc Bennett; CEO of the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU), Richard Whittington; employment advisor to Hakim Group, Trishna Modessa-Parekh; and the owner of Practice Building, Andrew Clarke.

Mr Hakim explained that he hoped the webinar would provide practitioners with useful insight from “different quarters of the industry” to share their experience and advice about the “collective challenges being faced” by the sector.

“We are making decisions about things that we have never had to make decisions about before,’ he highlighted.

Guest speaker guidance

During the webinar, optometrist Mr Clarke was on hand to provide listeners with practical tools and tips for dealing with the stress and personal challenges that the pandemic has caused.

Using an analogy of a shipwreck, Mr Clarke likened the experience that practitioners have gone through over the last few weeks to sailing out into the open ocean and suddenly not having a boat beneath you. “The first thing you must do if you drop into the ocean is stay afloat,” he explained, adding: “The second thing you must do is stop treading water, in other words you must swim.”

Mr Clarke identified “swimming in the most likely direction designed to get you out of immediate risk and danger” as what many practitioners have been doing recently, but highlighted that once this short-term phase is completed and people are out of immediate danger, they should start thinking about “getting ready for the rescue” and preparing for when practices can open their doors again.

Mr Clarke encouraged practitioners to focus on the outcome. “Don’t catastrophise, don’t say we are doomed,” he said. “Maybe there is even an opportunity here to do other things. Maybe this will be a tipping point for your practice where things will be even better still,” he added.

Mr Clarke suggested working out what the worst-case scenario of what could happen is and then making sure that the worst-case scenario does not happen. Practitioners can do this, he said, by making sure they have a solid plan and working on how to deliver it. Delivering the plan should include prioritising actions and working on the ‘must do nows,’ he shared

Also during the webinar, accountant Mr Bennett explained to listeners what help is available from the Government, and practical steps on how it can be unlocked by business owners, while LOCSU’s Mr Whittington shared an update on developments with NHS England. “Myself and my colleagues in the sector bodies completely understand the anxiety, stress and outright anger there is in the sector about the delays in getting anything back out from NHS England,” he said.

The website can be watched in full on the Group’s 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 COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. Please check OT’s rolling optics-specific coverage for the latest news and guidance on COVID-19.

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