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News, Management, Lenses, Equipment, Business

Independent associates network launched

25/04/2015
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EyeQ Optometrists Ltd has launched an associates network supporting independent optometry practices to compete in Australia's congested optical retail environment.

EQO is an Australian-owned, optometrist-led company with currently 19 practices across all mainland states. Of the 19 practices, 16 are corporate-owned.

"EyeQ has worked on developing this network concept over a number of years," a founding director and current executive chairman of the organisation, Sydney optometrist Mr Ray Fortescue, said.

"We needed to create systems and strategies which allowed our practices to be both profitable as well as professionally satisfying for the optometrist and practice staff while providing care to our patients. We also noted that many Generation X, Y and Next optometrists were not sufficiently confident utilising the existing business support options available to commence a new practice or even to take over an existing independent practice on their own.

"Our fees are targeted to appeal to the independent practitioner. We believe we have achieved that goal and are more generous than those currently available in the industry."

The support systems available to an EyeQ associate is broad, the key components on offer being:

• Fully supported brand and all associated collateral,

• State-of-the-art website including a contact lens retail site,

• Merchandise plan and product purchasing/pricing advantages,

• Health-fund liaison,

• Full HR services including employment contracts and all support required,

• Cadetship program,

• Business 'back-end services' including financial reporting, payroll and accounts payable, BAS preparation, etc,

• Marketing - national and local area specific,

• Centralised 'cloud- based' data management allowing efficient communication and a truly national network offering,

• Training (including on-site and at the national training centre close to Sydney airport),

• Practice fit-out/design,

• Clinical equipment facilitation,

• Collegiality, national conference, annual EyeQ associate meeting,

• Mentoring program,

• Funding assistance and advice, and

• Trademarked marketing programs and business strategies. Succession planning and opportunities.

The first associate in the EyeQ network is Mr Darrell Baker, the current Optometry Australia president in Western Australia and WA delegate to the national OA board. He has located to Karrinyup, an up-market Perth suburb, commencing to trade in his own right last September.

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In early-December 2014 the second EyeQ Associate opened his doors. Mr Bayd Rosenbaum, an optometrist with a solid clinical background, but minimal experience as a practice principal, opened a brand-new practice in the idyllic seaside town of Merimbula on the far south coast of NSW. Mr Bayd says he is very happy with the early signs to date.

The latest addition to the associate network is another OA state president, Mr David Foresto, who has just joined EyeQ at Spring Hill, a Brisbane CBD practice.

The EyeQ board and management team consist primarily of experienced optometrists, such as Mr Peter Rose from the NSW south coast, with 36 years of practice behind him.

The chief operating officer is Ms Lily Wegrzynowski, an optometrist and former OA state president in WA.

Mr Fortescue added: "The extensive optometric experience in our executive team allows EyeQ to better relate to the needs of the independent practitioner. We understand the challenges of practice management. We respect the ideals of delivering a committed holistic approach to the eye-care needs of all. Our offer appears to be 'hitting the spot' following enquiries already, with minimal announcements to the market to date."A low-key launch, with some high-profile early adopters has entered the EyeQ Optometrists Network as a genuine player in the market.

"Independent full-scope optometry now has a viable alternative to current offerings with a goal to create a legacy to help fulfil the needs of future generations of optometrists," Ms Wegrzynowski said.

Further information: 0488 154 682 or l.wegrzynowski@eyeq.com.au.

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