My plan for world domination

This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the day Dr. Haffner shook my hand and handed me my Optometric degree. In my grand scheme for world domination, I figured that since it took me 10 years to sort out my personal life and another 15 years to firmly establish my own profitable practice, I should allow another 15 for a young associate to be ready to take over and send me off into my golden years.

With this plan in mind, I embarked on my search for Mini Me. Wanting to avoid the pitfalls and mistakes of others, I reached out to colleagues on a data-gathering mission. How did they look for associates? Did they advertise, use headhunters? What were the going rates? Did they offer health benefits, vacations, sick days, perks? Did they sign non-competes? Did they offer salary, incentives, commissions? Did they hire someone full-time? Part-time? Per hour? Per diem? Per annum? What was the normal buy-in plan for a potential partner?

I looked for blogs, articles, pod casts. What I found was a bunch of vague advice, lame suggestions, and mostly useless comments such as, “there are many ways to do this successfully, you’ll figure it out.”

Disheartened by the lack of transparency and camaraderie among my fellow ODs, I reached out to some friends who have helped me many times in my career: 1) A successful ophthalmologist who single-handedly built a large solo practice and subsequently employed numerous ODs, MDs and eventually an associate. 2) An attorney who started a small boutique practice and then added partners over the years.

Within 30 minutes, I had in my hands all the tools and details I needed to proceed: A list of qualities to look for in a successful associate and suggestions for where to begin a search.

-A list of interview questions.

-A model contract.

-A sample non-compete clause that is considered reasonable and customary in my area.

-A list of fringe benefits a young doctor should be offered.

-An incentive formula.

-A schedule of when the practice should expect to lose money, break even, and finally see a profit from the new associate.

Now I could move forward

Armed with this information, I found that the most difficult part of the process was not the search but rather deciding which of several brilliant and motivated doctors to hire. I realized that the more focused I was on exactly what I wanted and precisely what I had to offer, the better my applicant pool became.

Exactly one month later, I am waiting for my Mini Me to look over her contract and hopefully send it back signed. As soon as she does, I will share the details of my process with my fellow ODs, because I have never understood why we are such a fractured, secretive clan. Frank and honest exchange of information does not make us vulnerable to the competition, it makes us stronger. Sharing both our victories and failures helps us advance our profession by leaps and bounds.

Stay tuned for more on, “Viola’s Guide to World Domination and the Search for Mini Me…”