Optometry is a growing industry with no signs of slowing down, making it a great sector to work in. Optometry practices are attractive to investors for the same reason, meaning you may walk into your practice one day and find out it’s being acquired or bought out by another person or company.
According to Harris Williams’ latest Vision Industry Update, M&A activity and optometry practice transitions have been increasing: small industry players are looking to expand their access to patients and referral networks while large providers are seeking rapid growth and the opportunity to bolster their purchasing power.
You may be thinking, “My company is being sold, now what?!” Don’t panic: follow these steps to prepare for change and turn this “problem” into an opportunity to boost your career.
Knowledge is power. Here are some questions to ask when your company is being acquired:
Having these details will enable you to plan your next move accordingly. Once you find out who is taking over your practice, learn as much as you can about them. Research the company and its key players. Find out who will be overseeing your location, and try to learn about other practices they own and how they run their businesses.
You’ll have a better idea of what’s in store for your optometry practice and won’t be completely caught off guard when hands change. Plus, you could impress your new boss by citing something specific they’ve accomplished in the past and how you’d like to help them do the same with your practice (more on that next).
As tempting as it may be, simply keeping your head down and waiting for the optometry practice transition to pass may be your biggest mistake. Now is the time for action.
Be ready when you meet your new practice owners, boss, and/or coworkers. If a reduction in force is on the table, do everything you can to present yourself as a high-performing employee who should be retained after all is said and done.
Have an elevator pitch prepared when you’re inevitably asked, “So, tell me about yourself.” Volunteer to help your new colleagues get acclimated and serve as a valued resource. Don’t let a bitter attitude immediately burn bridges with new connections in your field.
Most of us are naturally wary of and resistant to change. It can be scary to have such a major shift occur in the workplace. But, it could end up being positive in the end. Whichever organization is taking over your practice may come with fresh perspectives and additional resources to help business grow. Or, you may be offered new opportunities for professional development.
When thinking about what to do when your optometry practice is acquired, understand that the only certainty is that some things will change. Be open to learning and following new processes and protocols. Jump in with both feet to learn a new practice management software program. Accept that “the way we’ve always done things” might not necessarily be the best way. All of this will reflect positively on you now and look good on your resume later.
Even if it seems like business will continue as usual after your optometry practice transitions, it’s smart to be prepared for the worst-case scenario as well. You may be let go after the dust settles, or you may find that the new company culture isn’t in line with your ideal workplace.
Update your resume and cover letter, sign up for job alerts to keep an eye on optometry opportunities in your field, and revive your professional network if it’s been dormant for the past few years. With a plan in place, it’s possible to successfully search for jobs while you’re employed.
Now that you know what to do when your optometry practice is acquired, you can face this ever-increasing industry trend with confidence, even if that may mean finding your next great optometry position.
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