SBM #24 - Ankit Patel - Building a niche BPO/digital ops company 

Building a niche BPO/digital ops company.


In the last edition, we explored John Wilson's journey in overcoming the barriers to scaling a home services business from $1 million to $28 million in revenue.

This week, we're diving into the world of ophthalmology with Ankit Patel, an industry veteran and owner of Classic Vision Care and My Business Care Team, a BPO service for optometry practices.

Fast Facts: 

  • Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is a huge industry projected to go from $359.4 billion in 2021 to $739.4 by 2033

  • The industry is about the go through significant change driven by AI, automation, and the extension of offshoring labor to smaller companies

  • BPOs will increasingly focus on industry verticals to provide more value and differentiate from the competition and large players like Infosys and Accenture

Chart:

The Story: 

Ankit Patel started his journey as a consultant working in engineering with large healthcare systems. When he married his wife, an optometrist, he helped her start a practice of her own.

Recognizing the potential in the industry and tired of being on the road as an itinerant consultant, Ankit joined the business. With his wife, he went on to acquire four more practices, consolidating them into two locations and Classic Vision Care of Atlanta was born.

Through his experience running the practices, Ankit identified several key challenges facing optometry businesses, including staffing, process efficiency, and scaling operations.

Drawing on his consulting backgrounds, Ankit began experimenting with offshoring certain support functions and in particular call center/phone support to the Philippines. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and none of his staff returned after the initial shutdown, he doubled down on this approach, building out a team and processes to support his practices.

Gradually over time, Ankit added more and more automation to the process and offshored more functions. 

He began to realize that Classic Vision Care’s back-office operations were far more effective and efficient than the in-house teams across the industry. 

Seeing the potential to help other optometry businesses facing similar challenges, Ankit launched My Business Care Team in 2022. 

The company provides a range of BPO services, including phone support, back-office tasks, insurance verification, billing, and revenue cycle management.

Recently, Ankit has been integrating AI tools into his offering. 

For example, he has built a capability for AI to automatically ingest the transcripts of live customer calls, rate the agent across several categories, and then provide suggestions to those agents on how to improve. Even high-performing call takers have seen 10-20% increases in efficiency.

I love this!

In my mind, this is how AI gets rolled out in most industries to small and mid-market companies. A managed service or BPO provider will incorporate the tools into the processes of a company. 

If you contract with My Business Care you get the latest AI tools integrated into your process that are being optimized across multiple optometry clinics. It’s also supported by a core team. 

You get the latest and greatest without the cost of the development and support team.

In the past, this was the role of vertical SaaS software but with the acceleration in AI capabilities, I see BPO or what I’ve called digital operations providers taking over these services.

A static piece of software can’t adapt to the pace of innovation and remaining stovepiped into just one function will seem clunky and antiquated. 

This process will be added by the fact that the cost of coding will fall towards zero with the use of AI coding tools.

  1. BPO/Digital Ops is the key to AI deployment: My view is that vertical SaaS solutions will be eaten from the bottom up by managed service providers who can quickly incorporate new technology and support small and medium-sized companies in its adoption. As the costs of creating software fall towards zero, it will be specific industry data and practices that will be valuable.

  1.  Digital Ops companies will focus on industry verticals: I guess that digital ops/BPO providers will be more successful as vertical niche players. They can build out solutions tailored to the exact needs of that industry.

  1. This is an infant industry: Ankit is on the cutting edge here. I don’t see many other providers who have figured out how to bring vertical industry knowledge, offshoring, AI, automation, and managed services together in an effective package yet. If I were starting a business today, this is where I’d be.

As My Business Care Team continues to expand its offerings and client base, Ankit's ability to stay ahead of industry trends, adapt to changing technologies, and maintain a laser focus on solving customer problems will be key to his ongoing success.

📅 Next Week:

Next week we’ll take a look at John Seiffer the original hustler and his life and journey in the entrepreneurial world. 

Keep growing,

Alan

P.S. 

The most recent episode of The Small Business Mentor Podcast is live. My guest this week was John Wilson, the Home Services extraordinaire. We go into deep detail on his journey in the home services world and how he scaled his empire to what it is today. 

Check it out here: 

P.P.S. 

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