Thinking about opening a low vision eyeglasses business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Low Vision Businesses Fit & the Optical Services Industry
Low vision is a medical condition that affects one in twenty (14 million) Americans. It's characterized by non-correctable, reduced vision resulting from cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other optical disorders.
The American Optometric Association defines low vision as impairment ranging from 20/30 vision (extremely mild) to 20/1,000+ vision (near blindness). However, the majority of treatable low vision patients fall in the 20/100 to 20/1,000 range.
Low vision eyeglass businesses represent a specialty or niche within the optical services industry. As a low vision startup entrepreneur, you will specialize in fitting low vision patients with magnification devices designed to maximize their residual vision.
It's important for low vision entrepreneurs to understand that their patients' needs are much different than a typical optical patient. The permanent loss of vision is a highly emotional event for many individuals, so low vision eyeglass technicians may need to be equipped with patient care and sensitivity skills before working directly low vision sufferers.
Making PR Pay for a Low Vision Eyeglass Startup
The nature of the low vision industry practically mandates that low vision practitioners and eyeglass providers become advocates for their clients. The aging of the baby boom generation means that the number of low vision sufferers will likely skyrocket in the coming years, giving low vision eyeglass startups that leverage PR strategies an opportunity to stake their claim in local and regional markets.
- Op-Ed Pieces. The crafting of op-ed pieces for local newspapers and periodicals can go a long way toward positioning your startup as a strong advocate for individuals with low vision. The trick is learning how to secure op-ed placements on a semi-regular basis.
- Patient Surveys. Low vision eyeglass providers have the capability to design patient surveys that can be used for PR purposes. By asking your patients to participate in an anonymous survey related to their experiences with low vision, you can capture data that can be transformed into high value PR pitches.
- PR Firms. The potential for PR in a low vision business increases the value of hiring a professional PR firm to create and execute a focused PR strategy. But don't settle on the first PR firm you talk to – shop around to identify the firm that is the best fit for your goals and objectives.
Business Plans 101 for Low Vision Eyeglasses Business Startups
Startup entrepreneurs slave over the creation of their business plans, investing countless hours in the details of their startup strategy. Now it's time to address details about your industry.
Industry analyses are standard chapters in low vision eyeglasses company business plans and are often required by lenders or investors. Industry analyses are critical for contextualizing your startup within an industry setting.
To succeed, you'll need to be careful to avoid common industry analysis mistakes and to accurately represent your startup in an industry context.
Review the Competition
Long before you open a low vision eyeglasses business within your community, it's worthwhile to see how strong the competition is. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of low vision eyeglasses businesses that are close by.
Prior to opening your doors for business, be sure you fully understand the competitive landscape and where your new business will fit in.
Turning Competitors Into Collaborators
If you are interested in starting a low vision eyeglasses business, it's a smart move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think owners of nearby low vision eyeglasses businesses will give you advice, think again. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
On the other hand, an individual who has a low vision eyeglasses business in a different city will be much more likely to talk with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
What's the best way to find a low vision eyeglasses business founder who is willing to talk to you but doesn't live nearby?
Simply, try our helpful link below, type in a random city/state or zipcode, and start calling.
Gaining Access to Low Vision Eyeglasses Business Ownership
Common sense will tell you that to enter the world of low vision eyeglasses business, you'll either need to start a new business or acquire a promising company on the business-for-sale marketplace. Although startup low vision eyeglasses businesses are common, many new entrepreneurs overlook the benefits of buying a low vision eyeglasses business on the business-for-sale marketplace.
In today's marketplace, buyers clearly have the upper hand, making it relatively easy to find a low vision eyeglasses business that meets your personal and professional objectives.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
The probabilities on your becoming a successful entrepreneur greatly improve if you go the franchising route instead of doing it all on your own.
Before opening a low vision eyeglasses business, a smart move is to assess whether franchise opportunities in your space might be the right move for you.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing low vision eyeglasses business, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to low vision eyeglasses businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.