While the other ODs in your local community are your biggest competition, your initial reaction might be to maintain your distance from these competitors. But really, there are a lot of benefits that you and your practice can gain by building relationships with the other eyecare professionals in your community. By creating these relationships you and your local partners will have the opportunity to strengthen the presence and awareness of eye health as a whole in the community.
How to Benefit from Networking with Your Local Competition
Increase Your Business
While your competition can be a threat to your success, the market is generally a pretty big place (depending on your location), and there is often room for multiple businesses to be successful in one space. Other local ODs might be specialized in different areas from you so that you're able to refer special cases to one another. It might even be possible to sponsor or market the eyecare industry together within your community to raise awareness on the importance of regular eye exams and grow the market for everyone.
There could come a time in your career when you want to make a change, sell your practice, add a partner, or completely remove yourself from life in a practice. Building a network of close professionals is one of the best ways you can set your career up for future success with whatever direction you decide to take it. Remember the old saying when it comes to your career, "It's not what you know, but who you know."
Mentoring and Friendship
The opportunity to find a mentor and friendship from other local professionals is another great way to build your career and find happiness with work-life balance. Having someone you respect to bounce questions and ideas off of can help you relieve work related stress. Mentoring and friendship can come from partnering with other small independent business owners as well, not just eyecare professionals, and it could be even more beneficial to get some advice from a player outside of your specific industry and niche.