Published in Non-Clinical

Vision Source NEXT for Every Step of Your Career

This post is sponsored by Vision Source

Vision Source NEXT delivers support, leadership, financial guidance, and professional advice for students and optometrists at every stage of your career.

Vision Source NEXT for Every Step of Your Career
What if you could retain all the autonomy of private practice—and have support, leadership, and professional advice at every step of the way, whether you are still in school, just starting out as an independent optometrist, looking to buy a practice, or looking to sell?

Welcome to Vision Source NEXT

Dedicated to the success of independent optometrists, Vision Source NEXT is a special program designed to nurture career success for all Vision Source members. Students can rely on Vision Source NEXT to lead them through the transition from fourth-year to their first real-world opportunity. Practicing ODs can turn to Vision Source NEXT to acquire a practice or grow through a “warm start.” And optometrists thinking about exit strategies can turn to Vision Source NEXT with the confidence that they will be selling their practice to another Vision Source optometrist with a similar vision for helping patients.
But Vision Source NEXT goes far beyond expert advice. Created by the largest network of private-practice optometrists, Vision Source NEXT unlocks exclusive guidance for optometrists at every stage of their career as well as the keys to practice success.

Who is Vision Source?

Founded by doctors and led by doctors, Vision Source is a collective of 3,100 privately owned optometric practices and 4,500 doctors collaborating to provide premier eyecare while sharing ideas, marketing together, and purchasing at the best prices possible, Vision Source members include some of the most influential eyecare professionals in the country, including 14 former American Optometric Association (AOA) presidents with practices featuring the latest in technology, products, and innovative diagnostic systems.
Vision Source encourages all optometrists in the network to collaborate as a team to elevate patient care for every practice in the network. Whether you’re helping another practice owner with a problem you just solved, receiving the support of your peers, or accessing Vision Source’s deep resources, financial advantages, marketing and practice management and expertise, innovative technology, and continuing education, you’ll know you’re part of a strong, independent team unified in purpose.

What does Vision Source NEXT do for students?

Unlike other programs that begin when you sign on the dotted line, Vision Source NEXT provides educational resources for third- and fourth-year Unlike other programs that begin when you sign on the dotted line, Vision Source NEXT provides educational resources for third- and fourth-year optometry students curious about what private practice could mean for them.
One of the most popular events for students are the “Practice Crawls,” in which Vision Source hosts an experience that enables students to visit a few independent practices, get a tour, ask questions, and then enjoy a dinner with the optometrists. The intent is to provide insights from multiple, differentiated practices while laying the groundwork for potential mentorships.
“We typically see around 60 students attend a Practice Crawl, but some Crawls have been as large as 160 students filling three buses,” said Vision Source General Manager, Jeff Duncan. “They get to visit different types of practices, meet successful doctors, and see what really happens in a thriving, independent private practice setting.
Alex Kneeland, a class of 2021 student at Midwestern University AZCOPT, enjoyed hearing how Vision Source helped various doctors navigate their private practice journeys. "I attended the Vision Source Practice Crawl in Glendale Arizona,” she says. “My favorite part of the event was hearing the doctors' testimonials regarding how Vision Source was able to help them in their journey into private practice.”
Students are encouraged to interview optometrists at practices of all sizes, including practices that began as cold- and warm-starts. They also learn the steps they need to take to make private practice a reality and how they can make that happen, even if they are new-grad ODs.
The Vision Source Scholars Program is a special relationship with the New England College of Optometry and results in student placements in Vision Source practices after graduation. As an added benefit, when a third-year student accepts a three-year contract, the practice agrees to repay for two years of tuition. Those practices accepting fourth-year students pay one year of tuition in exchange for an 18-month employment contract.
Vision Source has additional offerings for students, including bussing interested students to the annual Vision Source Exchange meeting. 

How can new grad ODs make the most of Vision Source NEXT?

For those just leaving optometry school and excited for the next chapter, Vision Source NEXT offers popular programs on financial management, leadership, office culture, and practice management through the Developing Doctor Leaders educational program.
But even more impactful is that for recent grads looking to remain independent, Vision Source is an ideal environment for new ODs to meet experienced optometrists looking to hire the next generation. While this process can also start at the student level, new grad ODs can count on the Vision Source network for the perfect first career opportunity.
Because the Vision Source network encourages the success of all members, this spirit of collaboration and camaraderie facilitates fresh connections and exciting handoffs. For optometrists with an entrepreneurial vision, Vision Source provides the start-up support needed to get their own practices up and running. Unlike “cold-starts,” when you open a practice in the Vision Source network, you’re never alone.
With a Vision Source “warm-start,” optometrists retain 100% ownership of their new business—including the ability to choose, design, and customize the space and retail lines—and have full access to an arsenal of support to accelerate practice growth and eliminate much of the stress of launching a new business all by themselves. Vision Source provides expertise and advice with practice location selection as well as the actual process of buying a practice, including:
  • How to buy a practice
  • Documents needed for lenders and sellers
  • Challenges that may come up
  • Introduction to financial lenders
  • Support with finding an ideal location
For new optometrists looking for a genuine “cold start,” Vision Source will make introductions to Dr. Eric Baas and Dr. Bob Steinmetz at iCare Advisors. To date, Vision Source has incubated 200+ cold start practices.

What does Vision Source NEXT mean for experienced optometrists and practice owners?

The truth is that Vision Source supports all members throughout every step of their journey, including growth and expansion. Whether experienced optometrists are looking for the best and brightest to join their practices or are thinking about acquiring a second or third practice space, Vision Source NEXT is there with guidance and support—and the Vision Source NEXT Fund.
John Maynard, OD and Whitney Territo, OD purchased a practice through the Vision Source NEXT program.
“If you are considering purchasing or selling a practice, we highly recommend you reach out to Vision Source NEXT,” Dr. Maynard said. “Vision Source NEXT helped us buy our dream practice and preserve the legacy of a great Vision Source practice—and they can help you too.”

What is the Vision Source NEXT Fund?

The Vision Source NEXT Fund supports practice owners with financial incentives and  supplemental capital funding to enable additional private practice start-ups, expansions, and transitions. The NEXT Fund also provides independent practice owners with financial and educational resources to assist with practice sales, acquisitions, and expansions.

How does Vision Source NEXT help ODs looking to sell a practice?

Vision Source understands that sometimes optometry is a practice for a lifetime … or for a short time. No matter what career stage an optometrist is currently in, Vision Source NEXT is standing by to help with selling a practice due to retirement or career transitions, from providing financial incentives to buyers or helping sellers find viable buyers. The program also helps both buyers and sellers understand valuation and with the legal documentation required in turning over a practice.
“Through Vision Source NEXT, we were able to have a free consultation from our own OD consultant, Mick Kling, and the leadership team, who made the process seamless, from financial negotiations to helping with the practice transfer process and even intermediating on our behalf,” said Harvey Hanlen, OD, FAAO, who recently sold his practice using the Vision Source NEXT.

Can I contact Vision Source if I’m not currently a member?

No matter what stage of practice you are in, you can turn to Vision Source without any fear of future obligation. With an ultimate goal to help all optometrists achieve their goals, Vision Source is there with resources and guidance you can trust. That’s the philosophy behind everything the organization does—including Vision Source NEXT. Find out more about how Vision Source NEXT can make a difference for your career at VisionSourceNEXT and come see us at the Vision Source Exchange to learn more.

Learn more about Vision Source NEXT!

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Led by our Director of Client Services Dr. Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, the Eyes On Eyecare Client Team leverages innovative content solutions and data-backed insights to create memorable educational content that resonates with eyecare providers worldwide.

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Whether you are just starting out, looking to buy a practice, or ready to transition, Vision Source NEXT is here for you.

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