Wichita Falls, TX
Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes
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Wichita Falls, TX
Critical Numbers™: Profit Before Taxes
Dr. Calvin Clarke opened Clarke EyeCare Center in Wichita Falls, Texas, back in 1973. His son, Danny, and his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth—who met each other at optometry school—then joined the practice in 1995. The younger Clarkes bought the business, which provides optometry services including eye exams, eyewear, and contact lenses, in 2010.
While the business was doing well operationally, Clarke knew that his profits were somewhat low relative to the industry and, more importantly, cash flow was not where it needed to be. “Bills would come in and checks would go out, but it was always borderline with how much money we had in the bank,” he says.
Dr. Danny Clarke saw The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) as a way to better engage his team and to implement a creative bonus plan that empowered his associates to think and act like owners.
The first year the practice implemented GGOB, it increased its collections by 1% and its profitability by 47%. Cash flow also improved dramatically. “It made a significant difference in how we were able to operate our business,” says Dr. Clarke. “No longer were we behind the 8-ball. We could make decisions based on strategy rather than fear.” After 10 years of playing Great Game™, Clarke EyeCare continues to rely on GGOB as its operating system for their business. “It’s the foundation that helps us to continually maintain and improve our culture,” says Dr. Danny Clarke, who has also developed a consulting practice with his long-time operations manager, Joely Anderson, where they coach similar businesses on how to implement GGOB - helping nearly 250 other optometry practices. “What surprised us the most about playing The Game was the improvement in our culture,” says Clarke. “We already felt like we had a very engaged team that cared about how they performed, but each year after playing GGOB, we’ve continued to grow stronger and break our own records year after year while having fun doing it!”
“I feel Great Game brings all the employees closer together. It makes the employees along with the business owners feel valued. Responsible. It makes me as an employee feel wanted, trusted. I feel it has helped me help the business. It has helped me want to put forth just as much effort into the business as the business owner.”
~ Tabitha Weishaupt, Technician
When the pandemic hit, it forced Dr. Clarke to close his office starting March 19 for about 5.5 weeks—which threw off, what was up until then, a record year. Fortunately, Dr. Clarke was able to keep his entire staff intact. They also kept in constant contact with the staff while they were closed to explain where they stood financially. When the office partially reopened in April, working in shifts to keep up social distancing, demand surged. “People were ready to come and spend money on glasses,” says Dr. Clarke. “But it’s still a huge responsibility as the owner of the business to keep our people safe and healthy.”
“GGOB gives us something to take pride in and be responsible for. It also helps that we are rewarded with GREAT prizes ranging from sweet treats to family events! We have long-terms goals and monthly goals that we are rewarded on. Department goals and office goals. Our employer really does share the wealth and the numbers reflect it. In turn, we are all completely engaged and honored to be given responsibilities.”
~ Brooke Williams, Technician
Everyone at Clarke Eyecare has played one MiniGame every month since they started playing The Game in early 2010. “We’ve not missed a month,” says Dr. Clarke. “We have three departments within our office, so we usually play three MiniGames per month, but now and then will play one for the whole team.” When you add that up, the Clarke Eyecare team has played between 12 and 36 MiniGames per year for 10 years—for a total of about 300 MiniGames played since they started their GGOB journey. The team earns prizes ranging from paid time off to spa gift cards. “Our team prefers lower cost prizes since they know it affects their GGOB bonuses since MiniGame prizes add cost to staff expenses,” says Dr. Clarke.
The coming year was supposed to be the first of a two-year push to meet a new stretch revenue goal for the firm. The pandemic threw those plans off track in the short term. But Dr. Clarke is confident the team will still be able to achieve their goal, even if it takes longer than they initially hoped. “We have an amazing team,” he says. “Things will be different, but our plan is to make it up on the back half of 2020 and get back on track to achieve our 2-year revenue goal on time.”
“GGOB empowers your staff members to not only be focused and engaged in your business, but also encourages them to make decisions as if owners of the business. Opening the books to your staff raises awareness of what it takes to run a business. I believe GGOB is the perfect platform to build a culture you have always wanted! Consistently setting effective goals and creating fun incentives for the staff is an exciting way to create a productive, positive atmosphere. Work hard, play hard. I can personally attest to not only growing professionally, but also personally. I can attribute my professional growth to the culture and values my company upholds.”
~ Brian Rodgers, Optical Manager
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