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Define Success on Your Own Terms

This story was published in our June 2012 issue. Click here to find out more about Dr. Miglani’s practice.

By Shefali Miglani, OD, of Monroe Township, New Jersey

Once in a while, I’ll read or hear about a super-practice, the kind that nets incredibly high numbers, is run by a dynamo or has a marketing plan that could have been devised on Madison Avenue. For a moment, I’m envious and a little intimidated because that appears as a definition of success. But then I remember that the practice I have created supports the situation and the lifestyle I chose for myself. My motivation and drive to improve and grow are both strong, but something would have to give, and I am not ready to do that just yet.

For now, I want to be home at 5 p.m. three nights a week so I can pick up my 7- and 4-year old daughters. I want to be able to take them to school in the morning. I want to be in the office four days a week, but I will see patients for scheduled appointments on most Saturdays. My husband travels often for his work, which increases the demand on my mom time. And I don’t want to work for someone else. In the end, it comes down to knowing what you want. You can’t chase someone else’s definition of success.

Here are the benchmarks by which I measure professional success.

My patients thank me; many hug me. I’m proud of the connection I make with patients, and that generates referrals to the practice. Patients believe they are receiving quality eye care at a good value. I delight in having created a warm and welcoming environment for patients.

I am accessible. I offer patients guaranteed same-day or next-day appointment slots, if requested. And I am always available for a walk-in patient.

I provide comprehensive eye care, including medical services and sometimes even in an emergency setting on weekends.

I enjoy what I do. I enjoy it so much, I’m my own optician. I like spending time with patients as they select the eyewear that they’ll enjoy wearing. That reflects well on my practice.

It’s nice, of course, when overall revenues increase, but seeing profits increase means I’m working more efficiently, not wasting money and making the most of every opportunity. I’m also proud of having created my practice from scratch three years ago. I’d pack my then-6-month-old baby in the car seat and meet with architects, manage contractors and watch the progress as the practice was coming together. I spent hours on the Internet figuring out the fundamentals. I had no idea how to order frames; I didn’t even know whom to call to get started!

I knew how to be an optometrist, but I didn’t know how to be a business owner. That’s something I’ve learned along the way. I am
not the largest practice in town, but that’s OK with me. I think many women—and maybe any OD who crafts a practice designed to balance work and family—will have the same moments of self-doubt that I described. Should I be more aggressive? Should I be open six
days a week, hire associates, launch a marketing campaign or aim for significant growth every year?

Every time I ask that question, the answer is the same: I don’t need to. I find comfort in looking back at what I’ve been able to
accomplish in the past three years, and I have time to adjust the business plan later. I’m meeting my benchmarks for success: growth,
time with my family and hugs from my patients.

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