We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Kling and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe risk is an essential part of any business owner’s success. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 40% of all businesses survive beyond 6 years*. Considering this fact, I believe anyone that steps into business for themselves must assume some degree of calculated and planned risk. Whenever I’m faced with a new venture or opportunity, I always consider what the worst-case scenario might be, and how it relates to the ultimate goals I have for my business. Once I have a better understanding of the potential risk, and how it might affect me personally or professionally, I often find clarity in determining if the risk is worth taking. During this process, alternatives and potential solutions often surface providing further support of my decision. I have always embraced the strategy of walking through open doors while, at the same time, being respectful when doors close on opportunities. Forcing decisions when a clear path is not evident, often yields risks that I’m not willing to take. *https://www.bls.gov/bdm/
What should our readers know about your business?
At Invision Optometry, we provide comprehensive medical eye care including routine vision exams, medical management of eye diseases, contact lens services and surgical post-op care. Ultimately, patient care is at the core of what we do. Rather than being greeted by a stressed out receptionist who is trying to juggle the phones, paperwork, and patients, you are instead met by a friendly concierge whose sole focus is you. It’s not uncommon for us to ask about your daughter’s soccer game or see if you’ve checked out that new restaurant down the street. Establishing lasting relationships is what we’re all about. In addition, the health and safety of our patients and staff is something we take quite seriously. In fact, our COVID-19 procedures have been receiving rave reviews from patients who were initially concerned about getting an eye exam during the pandemic. Offering hand sanitizer, taking temperatures, and sanitizing all equipment and work stations before every patient, are just a few of the ways we keep everyone healthy and safe. We also work to limit your time in the office by offering curbside pick-up for all purchased products. Customers are even given the convenience of shopping from home through our quick and efficient online store, which offers contact lenses and many other eye care products. During every exam, state of the art technology is utilized to provide next level care. We also offer on-site lab services, in many cases with same day turnaround times to control the quality of work while ensuring the quickest delivery possible. As an independent retailer, we have learned that differentiation with unique brands and products sets us apart from our competition. Our focus is on interesting frame lines with one of a kind stories that resonate with our customers. Throughout our retail space, you’ll find cleverly lit frame shelving and digital display screens highlighting each brand with an interactive social media component. We continually focus on creating a unique shopping experience, while also providing quality products at a fair value. Above all else, I would have to say that I am most proud of our exceptional office culture and the fact that we deliver the finest eyecare and eyewear in San Diego.
How did you get to where you are today business-wise. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
As for myself, I have had the great fortune to live and work over the last 25 years in the greatest city in America with some of the finest eye doctors in the country. After graduating from Southern College of Optometry in 1993 and completing a residency at Omega Eye Care Center in Jackson, TN a year later, I packed my bags and moved west. I started my professional career working for a large ophthalmology practice, then soon after, along with several colleagues, started a laser center where we began performing LASIK and PRK for our patients with a local surgeon. In 2002, we sold the company to TLC Laser Eye Centers (TLC – La Jolla) where I became one of the clinical directors. In 1999, I purchased my first practice and ran it as a side gig as we built the laser center. My heart wasn’t really into it, but I enjoyed the experience of building my chops at practice management and trying something new. In 2006, I made the decision to purchase a second practice and leave the laser business altogether. Since then, I have acquired 3 additional practices (5 in total), along with a new building, and parlayed them into one of the largest single location practices in San Diego. I now own one of the most unique and innovative practices in the country. In fact, in 2017, Invision Magazine recognized our office as “America’s Finest Optical Retailer”. To this day, I continue to be intimately involved in the day to day operations of the practice, and still enjoy the challenges of running the business. I have to say that one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that risk is an important part of growth. I found that as long as you are calculated, thoughtful and plan for the worst, you can often reduce your level of risk and ensure success.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a great question! First we would head to the top of Mount Soledad to take in the views. From there, we’d cruise through La Jolla and stop at Harry’s Coffee Shop for breakfast. Their food is delicious. Next, we’d swing through Pacific Beach for a quick tattoo and a burrito at one of their many taco shops. Later, we’d head downtown and check out the Portside Pier before wandering off to Balboa Park to visit a museum or two. We’d cap off the day with a great dinner at Ironside Fish & Oyster or Born and Raised, and then stop by Top of the Hyatt for their spectacular views and signature drinks.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a number of individuals who have been a positive influence in my life. Drs. Hughes, Owen and Cook have all been integral in shaping my worldview and helping to direct my professional career.
Angela Hess Photography