If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us have some regrets. Often, the passage of time affords us the perspective to realize we should have done some things differently. In my case, it’s clear to me that I waited too long before joining an information-sharing peer group and began paying attention to business metrics. It’s certainly possible to grow your business solely by creating systems to improve upon your own past performance. However, the rate of your growth can be improved significantly when you add the ability to track important aspects of your performance and compare them with both average and top-performing practices locally, regionally and nationally.
When I was starting out, this data was not as easy to gather nor as readily available as it is now. Today’s young ECP has a leg up since this information is a mouse click away with software such as EDGEPro. Having a broader knowledge of what others are achieving allows you to add another layer of aspirations on top of simply improving your own performance. This often provides the confidence to set loftier goals that are still credible, realistic and attainable. This valuable information is an essential bare minimum that all modern ECPs should employ.
Benefits of Joining a Peer Group
Beyond the baseline data that is now readily available, look at some of the benefits to joining a group of like-minded ECPs for mutual benefit:
- Peers support each other with problem-solving and camaraderie.
- Peers “pressure” each other to be accountable and successful.
- Novel ideas that worked for others may work for you as well.
- You can ask questions of others who have already “been there and done that.”
- Personal/social atmosphere often leads to sharing specific details that would not otherwise come to the surface.
- Valuable and long-lasting friendships are often built in these groups.
Common Ways to Get Started
To be successful, the group has to meet on a regular schedule, have strong leadership and committed members. Here are some options for getting started with a professional group:
- Connect with classmates from optometry school.
- Join groups that are formed through professional organizations and associations.
- Investigate consultant-based groups.
Joining a peer group was among the best business decisions of my career. Learn from my mistake and do it NOW!