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Have An Eye for Eyewear? Here’s How to Start Your Own Optical Business

glasses

glassesIf you’re considering opening up an optical business, good for you! Just a couple of years ago, this market generated over $95 billion in America alone! That’s a lot of cash.

So, where do you get started? Luckily for you, we have a bit of advice on the subject. Let’s dive in!

1. Craft a Business Plan

As the famous saying from Benjamin Franklin goes:

Fail to plan and you plan to fail.

This is always true when it comes to launching an optical store. Think about the following and insert them into your business plan:

  • The size of your office
  • Your location
  • How you’ll obtain the necessary licenses
  • Hiring staff
  • The quantity and quality of your products and services
  • The equipment you’ll need

These are just a few key points you’ll need to figure out!

If you want to sell fashion-themed sunglasses in basic frames, your overheads will be less.

However, if your business focuses on prescription glasses or designer frames, it’ll cost you more initially, but you’ll gain a higher profit.

The basis of your business is something you’ll need to settle on and then base your business plan around, so work that out first.

2. Selling Perscription Lenses?

If you want to sell prescription lenses, you’ll need to source and purchase medical equipment. For example:

  • A keratometer,
  • A refraction unit,
  • An auto-refractometer

You get the idea!

We also highly suggest partnering with an optician who’s able to conduct eye exams and write prescriptions for your patients.

3. Pick a Location

Location. Location. Location. This is the key to success.

You want to set up shop somewhere that’s visible and easily accessible for your customers.

As tempting as is to compromise your location to save a few dollars, don’t. This will negatively impact your profit, and you’ll regret this once you’re up and running.

The better exposed your shop is, the less you’ll have to invest in marketing. Choosing somewhere with a lot of foot traffic naturally attracts more customers.

Here are a few potentially good locations:

  • In the center of a busy high street
  • Next to a supermarket
  • Near a popular gym

You get the idea! When you master the art of storefront displays, you’ll effectively market your business for free.

Top Tip:

Pick somewhere with ample parking, access is critical for any brick and mortar store.

4. Find and Use Reliable Suppliers

Start researching the products you want to sell, and look for trusted suppliers that boast incredible reviews and specialize in authentic products.

You can’t advertise designer frames and accidentally sell counterfeit glasses. Not only will the harm your brand, but it’s also illegal!

Do your homework and source high-quality suppliers; it’ll save you a lot of headaches further down the line.

Building a frame inventory is usually a substantial upfront cost. You’ll probably want to stock anywhere between 500 and 850 frames that display a mix of designer, mid-range and affordable frames.

So, find a supplier (or suppliers) who can do this for you.

Top Tips:

  1. Get quotes from numerous suppliers and compare costs and quality.
  2. Ask whether they’ll do a bulk discount for regular orders- negotiating is vital for increasing profit margins!

You’ll quickly get an idea of the standard market value, and once you’re in the know, you’ll be in a better position to haggle.

5. Analyze Your Competition

You have to differentiate your optical store from your competitors.

Make it a priority to visit other optical shops both locally and further afield. See what they’re doing well, and replicate that. You’ll also want to look for things they could improve on, learn from that, and implement that in your shop.

6. Set a Budget and Keep to It

Write an extensive list of all your expenses. Everything from marketing to utilities, and reach a ballpark figure of your outlay.

Then analyze your expenditure and see where you can cut costs, so you have a more significant margin for profit. For example:

  • Is partnering with a local lab instead of hosting your own a possibility?.
  • Could you buy second-hand equipment?
  • Instead of having an on-site optician, perhaps try purchasing a franchise business that doesn’t require you to hire an expensive eye doctor.

You get the idea!

Then, once you’ve hit the ground running, you can upgrade everything to a better standard.

You may need to take out a small bank loan, to cover your initial expenses. The good thing is that in comparison to other startups, your costs aren’t overwhelming.

Typically, you can buy frames and lenses at wholesale prices (some as low as $3 a pair), and then you’ll sell them as much as 20 times the price you bought them for, meaning you’ll quickly make back your investment!

6. Prioritize Marketing

Think about your business goals and how your marketing will help you achieve your targets.

Consider:

  • Setting up a website
  • Running ads in local magazines
  • Claiming your business on Google Maps
  • Partnering with other local companies to set up a mutual referral scheme

These are just a few of the techniques you can utilize!

Top Tip:

Think about your brand story. A good story is relatable, via your products. Perhaps, stock contact lenses for those who are self-conscious about wearing glasses or funky patterned frames for people who want to express their bold personalities.

Did You Enjoy This Advice on Launching Your Optical Business?

If you found these tips on launching an optical business interesting, then we’re sure you’ll love the other articles on our blog. Enjoy!

Management

4 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in the Workplace

food

foodA healthier workforce is a more engaged and productive one. A lot of people overlook the impact eating habits can have on cognitive functions, mood, and concentration. But by making a few adjustments to your workplace and company culture, you could help your employees make healthier food choices.

Here are a few simple ways you could encourage healthy eating in the workplace.

Use Snack Services

There are plenty of snack services out there that will allow you to provide snacks to your employees for cheap. They allow you to buy various snacks in bulk so you can save on total costs. They’re also a great way to show that you actually care about your employees’ wellbeing.

However, not all of them are created equal and some might be healthier than others. While an office snack service like Naturebox will be focused mainly on providing healthy office snacks like dried fruits, nuts, and low-calorie options, others won’t have as wide a selection and will offer your usual run-of-the-mill snacks with a few “healthy” options. If you want to know more about snack services and which one would be best for you, Bevi has a great article about them. Bevi also supplies beverages for the office, including water dispensers.

Incentivize your Employees

There are plenty of ways you could make things easier for your employees and incentivize healthy eating. Some companies, for instance, will have free fruit around the office or will allow their employees to have access to mineral water. If you have vending machines, make sure that you stock them up with healthy foods as well as the usual snacks. And make sure that healthy options are much cheaper as well.

Do not Neglect Break Time

You have to institute a culture in your business where your employees feel free to enjoy a full lunch break and sufficient screen break time as well. This will encourage healthy eating habits and reduce stress as well. Make sure that they don’t eat at their desk and consider giving flexible break hours so they can get out and stretch their legs. A lunch hour should be long enough to let them go out and enjoy a healthy meal if they want to. Enjoying fresh air will also leave them invigorated for the second half of the day.

Make Sure that it’s a Clear Part of your Company Culture

If you want your employees to truly dedicate themselves to healthy eating, it has to be part of your company’s mission and put down in writing. Make sure that your commitment to healthy eating and overall health is part of the staff handbook. You should also make it clear to your staff that your mission will translate into actual policy. Let them know that healthy eating options will be subsidized or completely free of charge. Also, make sure that you consider adopting a corporate food plan if you have a cafeteria.

Conclusion

Making sure that your employees adopt healthy eating habits is not only an investment in their well-being but in your business as well. If you want to enjoy a happier and healthier workforce that will run on all cylinders, make sure to make healthy eating a must in your workplace.

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Management

How to Make Money from Home as a Freelance Writer

self publish a book

how to overcome writer's blockIf you have ever considered becoming a freelance writer your first and biggest question is probably “how do I begin making money as a freelance writer”? Knowing where and how to look for jobs is the first step in your freelance writing career.

There are plenty of ways to get paid but in this article, we give you 5 of the best methods for getting work as a beginner freelance writer.

Enter Writing Contests

Writing contests are a great option for freelance writers of any experience level because they do not differentiate between beginner writers and established professionals. Winning of these would be a great achievement for any resume and are sure to spruce up portfolios.

There are many competitions open to the public so do your research and see what opportunities are available to you. Prizes range from small cash payments to publications of your written works. Many of these competitions are free to enter so take the opportunity and submit your works today.

Job Boards

There are many ways for freelancers to make money online, you can find out more here. However, a common beginning point for freelance writers looking to get their first clients is to pitch for jobs on job boards. It is as simple as registering for an account and filling out applications or bidding on jobs. There are a ton of wiring jobs available on these boards and the clients are looking for people with a base level writing ability and a strong work ethic.

Start a Blog

Every writer needs a blog and these days bloggers are monetizing their blog through affiliate marketing. Running a blog can benefit you as a writer in many ways including contributing to your portfolio, creating lead generation, build up your credibility and give you confidence as a writer. Your blog will help you develop your style and target audience. The goal to successfully monetizing your blog is to pick a successful niche and developing a strong social media presence.

Guest Post

As a writer you should be following and supporting other bloggers and their sites. Consider pitching a guest post to your favorite authors. Most blogs accept guest posts and a lot of them are willing to pay for quality content from their guests. Before you send your pitch make sure you take the time to research the blog extensively. What is the style of writing? What is the niche? Develop a pitch that fits in nicely with site you are hoping to guest post for.

Self-Publish your Own Books

Amazon Direct Publishing has made it easy for writers of all experience levels to self-publish paperbacks and ebooks. The best part is that it is free to publish through KDP. Al you have to do is upload your book and wait for people to start purchasing it. Write about your book in your blog and post it all over your social media accounts to help gain some traffic and awareness. With KDP you can earn up to 70% in royalties, keep control of the rights, set your own prices and make changes to the book at any time.

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Management

4 Tools That Will Help You Keep Focus in Meetings

stress ball

stress ball

Keeping everybody focused on any kind of meeting can be quite a challenge. People are easily distracted and they get bored, especially in long meetings that drone on. However, there are some tools that can help keep focus during a meeting.

Did you know that whiteboards are a critical part of meetings nowadays? It’s one of the focus tools we will look at today.

Visuals

One big help when it comes to the meeting is anything visual. There is a reason why people use tools like PowerPoint, graphs, images, and other types of visuals in meetings – because they help keep focus much better than words alone.

Have you ever been in a meeting, or maybe listening to a school presentation, where a person drones on? It can get boring if a person relies solely on words to get a point across. It can become boring and hard to focus on.

However, when you add snazzy visuals and colorful graphs into the mix, it helps to catch the eyes of those watching and listening. It also helps provide a minor break from word-only presentations that are hard to focus on.

Visuals always help with presentations, not to mention that they are great for getting across points and hammering them home, points out that words alone have trouble getting across.

Recording Device

One of the tools that can be used to help keep focus in meetings is a recording device of sorts. This could be anything; as long as it allows you to record a meeting, it should work fine. This could be an old-school tape recorder, a phone, tablet, or anything else that can record voice.

The point here is that during meetings, people often try and jot down notes and write down what the speaker is saying.

However, this actually distracts from the task at hand, because when people are writing notes, they are n’t listening or taking in additional information. It is actually pretty hard to take a new point in when you are also writing the last point down.

Therefore, a recording device to record all things said in a meeting can come in handy.

Instead of having people write down notes and lightning speed and not absorb information; people can actually listen to what is being said. Then, instead of referring to notes for reference, they can simply listen to the recording.

Stress Ball

This might seem like an odd tool when it comes to helping people keep focus in meetings, but it does work. Some people probably wouldn’t qualify stress balls as being tools, but in reality, they are.

Stress balls are those little softballs which people have in their hands and squeeze to relieve stress. They might be stress relief tools, but this is exactly why they can help people focus.

People don’t listen well when they are stressed out, and a stress ball helps to combat this. Furthermore, many people have to be doing something with their hands, which is why they invented those fidget spinners that were a big deal last year. It’s hard to focus on a meeting when you are constantly looking for something for your hands to do.

A stress ball in your hands can solve both of these problems quite adequately. Make sure you don’t get a noisy one, or else everybody else in the meeting room will not be happy with you.

Whiteboard

When it comes down to it, one of the most useful tools to help keep people focused during a meeting is undoubtedly the whiteboard. This has to do with our first point – that visuals help to keep attention.

Whiteboards are pretty big, they have great contrast between the surface and the colored markers, and they allow for great organization.

Whoever is leading the meeting can use various colors of markers to jot down the most important ideas, which are easy for everybody to see.

Whiteboards are also highly portable, so they can be moved from one meeting room to another. If you did not already know, whiteboards are becoming a staple of every meeting room and classroom out there today.

Conclusion

These 4 items or tools that we have discussed here today are fantastic for helping you and others keep their focus during meetings. It can be hard to keep focus, especially in a long meeting and in a room full of people. Hopefully, you can put these items to good use to increase focus and productivity.

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