Congratulations to Dr. Leigha Nielsen on celebrating her first anniversary as a Doctor of TSO! To commemorate her first year, we asked Dr. Nielsen her thoughts on her experiences thus far in the TSO Network.
Q: Looking back one year, is the success of your office less than you anticipated, about where you anticipated or more than you anticipated?
A: The success of my office is more than I anticipated! I originally set high goals for myself and my practice and we have been able to exceed even those. We continue to grow and improve every day.
Q: What lessons have you learned on the dispensary side over the past year?
A: I’ve learned that it isn’t always about money. You can never put a price tag on customer service. The overall experience in the optical is what’s most important to patients. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and you want people talking more about what a great time they had in your optical with your opticians, than just the frames that they chose.
Q: What has been your greatest challenge?
A: Staff, by far. It’s not just about finding the right person, it’s about building the best team… and that is just trial and error it seems.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment, in your opinion?
A: The growth of our practice over the last eight months has been exponential. I attribute a lot of growth to the amount of time and effort my staff and I put into our community. We started helping with school vision screenings and setting up booths in assisted living communities to adjust glasses and replace broken parts of frames. I am involved in the chamber of commerce and Lion’s Club. It makes me proud to say I’m making a difference in my community.
Q: What was the best advice you got from a TSO doctor over the past year?
A: Two pieces of advice that have made a difference for me. First, spend more money than “normal” on staff because having good people on your team is worth it. Second, get more space, even if you think you can’t afford it. You don’t want to curb the growth of your practice because of the size of your office.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give a doctor opening his or her first TSO office?
A: If you build it, they will come. I bought every instrument that I felt would make me the best doctor in the area, right off the bat. Although it was difficult financially for a while, I’m very pleased with all of my equipment. It has made me a focal point for local primary care physicians and fellow optometrist referrals, and patients who value the experience it gives them in my exam room. Budgeting is important, but the tools you need to practice the full scope of your trade should not be the place you cut back spending.