1You gave a moving speech when you accepted our “All The Right Things” Award in 2018. Can you provide a short recap for those who didn’t hear it?
The main thing that came to my mind when I accepted the award was that I have to thank my parents because if they didn't give up their dreams, I couldn't have had mine come true. It's a big deal to have your parents give up everything in their own country [Hong Kong]; to come here, to a new place where they have to speak a different language, be away from what they’re familiar with, and start all over. I have to do my very best in everything that I do to make sure that I don't let them down. What my parents gave up for me so that I can achieve my goals is what motivated me to build my practice and what motivates me to do better every single day.
2What would you say is the most rewarding part of your job?
Just seeing the smile on my patient's faces and their eyes light up when I turn on their hearing aids. I feel like I'm meeting this person for the first time even though I've met him or her before for the evaluation. When they come in for the [hearing aid] fitting and I turn on their hearing aids, that is when I really get to know them. Their personality starts to come out again.
3Can you tell us about a particular appointment you’ve had recently that’s really left an impression on you?
Yes, yesterday morning, the first patient I saw. He came back for a one-week follow-up. He's an engineer and he's working on these really major projects at Tampa International Airport. He said every time he goes to meetings, he can’t hear what people are saying. He has to ask his coworkers to repeat everything. He can't participate. But he said he went straight to a meeting right after the fitting and he heard everything. That's a big deal. He's an engineer. He was very, very meticulous in how I adjusted his hearing aid and he had more questions than an average patient. But for him to come back and give me such positive feedback, it’s so rewarding.
4So what would you say is your biggest challenge right now?
Not only do I feel like I'm in competition with everybody else—Costco, the ENT office down the street, or other private practices—but I'm also in competition with myself. I want to do better than I did yesterday or last week. And, I want to be improving myself. I want to provide more services, be more efficient, and make sure I cover everything in my appointments so that patients know they're being well taken care of in every aspect of their hearing health. They want to update me on what happened to their grandchildren last week or what happened during the holidays and I want to give them that, too—I want to be friendly and treat them like they're my family.
But at the same time, I have to work efficiently because I only have so much time in a day. I only have so much time for appointments and I have only so much time to advance and learn. So that’s a big challenge. Plus, I have a personal life that I'm trying to fit in, too.
5What is one thing you do every day that you think helps you be successful?
When I first opened my second practice in 2018, I wanted to improve the communication between the staff of the two offices. So, I decided to try it a couple of new things that I heard other owners talk about in the regional meetings. And, one is the Daily Huddle. I used to do it sporadically whenever possible, but now it's on the schedule every morning at eight o'clock. I open my main practice at nine, so I’m actually starting my day an hour early just to make it happen. We also do a Friday meeting, which is a 30-minute meeting with all the staff members. That has made a huge difference because now everybody's on the same page. We go over opportunities, making sure we're on target to hit goals and if not, we discuss how can we help each other to make it happen.
6Is there anything else you’ve implemented recently that has contributed to your practices’ success?
I developed a bonus system between the two offices. When both offices meet their goals in the same month, everybody gets a bonus and so everybody has to help each other.
7How did Consult help you in the early days of running your practice?
All of Consult’s strategies and group meetings and connecting with other practice owners, helped me develop skills and a business mindset that I would have never had learned on my own. Those things helped me build my practice. Even when my boyfriend complained about writing 2,000 letters and addresses on the envelopes for Upgrade events, I said, ‘if [Consult] says we have to do this, then this is the right way, we're going to do it.’ There was also a power outage because of a storm, so we were doing it in the dark with flashlights…I got even more complaints about that.
8Can you tell us about the setback you encountered in your first attempt to expand the business?
I opened a satellite office, but it didn't work out. After a year, I had to close it because the business wasn't increasing. I think the reason is that I was working part-time there and part-time in my main office and my main office got busier.
9But you didn’t let that deter you! Actually, there’s a pretty interesting story behind how you opened your newest location. Tell us about that.
One of my current audiologists used to work for a company that let her take its database when it closed. The company was willing to sell its equipment to her as well. However, she didn’t want to take on the risks of opening her own practice. She approached me and I didn’t want a business partner, so it all worked out. The database came with her, we purchased the equipment which was used but still in very good condition and a very good price. We found an office space and pretty much opened within a month and it's been really great so far.
10What advice would you give to a colleague who has just opened his/her first practice or is thinking about expanding?
Communicate with every single one of your staff members and make sure everybody communicates with each other. That’s the most important thing. Whether you do a Daily Huddle, weekly meetings, biannual meetings, or quarterly meetings, you definitely have to communicate for this to work. Also, motivate yourself and motivate every single one of your employees. You have to praise them and make sure they know they're doing a good job. Give them guidance and support so that they know what they're doing makes a difference.