“If you don’t seize opportunities, you won’t discover the benefits”
Director of Martin Smith Opticians and Practice of the Year, Dr Martin Smith, tells OT about the importance of loyal customers and the benefits of starting small as a practice
What three words sum up your feeling of winning?
Proud, grateful, rewarding.
What does winning this AOP award mean for the practice?
It was an incredible moment and it was great to have the team at the AOP Awards to enjoy it. All of the support that we got was really amazing.
What are the practice’s three best attributes?
The first one is our customers. We have a really loyal patient base who understand what we do. They encourage other people to come to the practice, so we get a lot of word of mouth referrals.
Secondly, the practice team. It is great having a team who work together and who you can trust.
Thirdly, the practice itself. Lincoln is a lovely city to work in and we recently had the practice refitted by a local firm who produced a bespoke design for us. We have lots of lovely kit that is great to work with. The fabric of the place makes it nice to be here.
Consider keeping your practice small and focus you ambitions on providing good quality care
What is the secret to a successful practice?
I think the biggest thing is the investment in training, in the appearance of the practice and in the equipment. It is really important to keep everything up-to-date. If you see opportunities, take them. Don’t think too hard about it. You can make mistakes but if you don’t seize opportunities, you won’t discover the benefits.
What advice would you give those embarking on opening their own practice?
The main thing I would say is to go for it. I took on my practice at the age of 24. I’m 39 and I have had this practice for 15 years. You settle in very quickly. I would say consider keeping your practice small and focus your ambitions on providing good quality care rather than this drive towards constant expansion. Sometimes being bigger makes it more difficult to provide people with the best care, I feel. Offer a quality service and if you feel the need to expand, try that later once you have got it right.
For more information on the AOP Awards 2020, visit the AOP website. Nominations are now open.
Image credit: Will Amlott