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    Lessons learned from Shake Shack and Danny Meyer

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Donna Suter, president of Suter Consulting Group. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica.

    I first met restaurateur Danny Meyer on the pages of “Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big.” This is a must-read for all my clients —it is on my bookshelf and should be a well-read member of your core business library as well.

    I won’t spoil Bo Burlingham’s excellent prose by summarizing the entire book, but allow me to share one lesson that really stuck with me: He wrote that "small giants" are companies that eschew the mentality of "growth at all costs," in favor of a set of different practices and characteristics.1

    This includes Danny Meyer and his company, Union Square Hospitality Group. Meyer founded the wildly popular Shake Shack in 2014 and continues to break all the industry’s rules while he amasses a fortune and a loyal following, his success the envy of any small-business owner.

    I was drawn to Burlingham’s book because its pages are filled with insights from entrepreneurs who have achieved exactly what I want for you and my clients. Here are the main takeaways to run a successful practice:

    1. Become deeply rooted in the community in which you do business.
    2. Have close, personal ties to customers and suppliers to facilitate business.
    3. Facilitate an intimate culture that emphasizes "caring for people in the totality of their lives," and perpetuate a mutual understanding and appreciation of the responsibilities of owners and employees toward one another.
    4. Leaders, as well as employees, possess a burning passion for what the company does.
    5. Operate sound business models that protect gross margins.

    In online interviews and the Feb. 4, 2018, broadcast of “60 Minutes,” Meyer offers advice that should be your mantra for 2018: build a cultural foundation on the concept that patients who come to your office feel they matter. 

    Donna Suter
    Donna Suter is president of Suter Consulting Group.

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