Joining Specsavers was the best decision I made

Posted in Partnership on September 22, 2017
Author: Sam Reed

Meet Amit Madlani, Optical Partner

in Specsavers Harbone

What was your background before joining Specsavers?
Before I joined Specsavers I was studying Optometry at City University London. Whilst studying I had two part-time jobs as a Pizza Chef and I also did a night shift at a supermarket. I decided to become a partner whilst in my third year of Optometry.

Tell us a bit about your career journey at Specsavers?
After finishing my degree I started my pre-registration optometry training at Specsavers in Camden. At the Camden store I pushed myself to learn all areas of the business from front of house to back office and the lab with the intention of being able to run a successful business of my own.

I applied to become a Joint Venture Partner (JVP) in 2009 and successfully passed. This led to me having conversations with ‘the great’ Chris Howarth who I met for lunch on a few occasions. I was presented with stores in Bristol, Tottenham Court Road and Cambridge but for one reason or another they didn’t suit my vision. Out of the blue Chris rang me and asked if I would be interested in opening a new store in Harborne as he knew the vision I had and Harborne would be perfectly suited. I accepted and the rest is history.

How has Specsavers supported your development?
Once I became a partner and was handed the keys it felt quite daunting running my own business. However, apart from the great support team available whatever time of day and night Specsavers run spotlight courses which have been really helpful. Not only can you learn various aspects of running a business but are able to network with other partners and share ideas with.

What clinical advances have you seen lately?
When I first started working in a Specsavers store, most stores did not have a fundus camera. Today it has become part of standard procedure. Likewise MECS and Glaucoma refinement are key areas where advances have been made and have really driven the message that Optometry is a primary care field. The exciting news that the group has invested in Newmedica and OCT’s are coming is just another leap forward in stamping Specsavers optometrists as the ‘GP’s of the eyes’.

How are you driving forward optometry in your local community? 
Once I qualified I went on to do a diploma in Ophthalmology with independent prescribing which finished last year. This has taken my working and training in Ophthalmology from London, Glasgow, Leicester and finally at QE hospital Birmingham which is half a mile from my store. Training in my area has enabled me to bridge Ophthalmology and Optometry together and co-manage patients. This has been welcoming from both patients and Ophthalmologists.

In regards to training and developing yourself and your clinical teams - how do you manage to stay at the leading edge of your profession?
With the fast pace of primary care Optometry changing, the team are trained once a month on enhanced optical services (EOS). This can be from a refresher on EOS with role play to new products on the market which the store is involved in. The professional team also get involved and are trained by myself on complex eye conditions.

What makes you most proud of your time at Specsavers so far?
Being part of a great brand which is continuing to evolve with new ideas and also having role models like Doug and Mary who are working ever harder after retirement age.

Describe the Specsavers culture in three words
Innovative, driven and trustworthy.

What advice would you give someone looking to join Specsavers?
Joining Specsavers was the best decision I have made. Running a business is hard but having great staff and support network makes it easier. You must be 100% dedicated as in business things change rapidly and no 2 days are never the same – this is what makes being a store partner so great.

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