Have An Eye for Eyewear? Start Your Own Optical Business
Great news, optical businesses are hot! According to Statista $95 billion in America, the market generated over $95 billion! That’s a whole lot of money. Let’s get started. Here’s how.
- Know the market and your competitors
- Get the right equipment
- Decide on a name and logo
- Build your website and branding
- Establish your presence before you launch
When starting a new business, you may not know where to begin. There are many different aspects, from choosing the right market to finding the best location. A business plan can help you organize your thoughts and map out your goals.
1. Craft a Business Plan
A business plan can also serve as a blueprint for how you plan to grow your business. Having a plan in place will help you stay focused, on track and on budget. Always keep your plan simple and easy to understand – there’s no need to include every detail if it’s too complicated.
Develop a strategic business plan.
Design key financial metrics that can be tracked over time, such as monthly revenue and expenses, cash flow, and profit/loss.
Create SMART goals and based on current trends and industry averages, estimate how long it will take to reach your goals. Include detailed timelines for all major milestones – this will help keep you on track and ensure everything gets done on time.
Once you’ve completed these four steps, you’ll be well on your way to building your business!
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:
- Your brand
- 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.
Maybe your focus is glasses for business and this niche will attract a wide customer market
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 can 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 a shop somewhere that’s visible and easily accessible for your customers.
As tempting as it 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.
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 they harm your brand, but it’s also illegal!
Do your homework and source high-quality suppliers; it’ll save you many 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.
- Get quotes from numerous suppliers and compare costs and quality.
- 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 to 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.
- 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!
Think about your brand story. A good story is relatable via your products. Perhaps, stock contact lenses for those self-conscious about wearing glasses or funky patterned frames for people who want to express their bold personalities. See the new Search Engine Insights by Google to get your marketing on the right path.
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!