Thinking about opening an opticians business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Optical Services Industry Overview
Optician practices are a large and growing sector within the optical services industry. It's estimated that there are approximately 13,000 active optician businesses in the U.S. with combined annual revenues of $8 billion.
Although the optician retail sector is slightly more concentrated than the optometry sector (20,000 practitioners; $11 billion annual revenue), abundant entrepreneurial opportunities exist for independent opticians as well as combined optometry/optician startups.
The online sale of optical products has risen in recent years, but fittings, eye exams and other requirements require brick-and-mortar locations. Subsequently, it's essential for startup optician business owners to scope out their territory and tailor their enterprise to compete locally.
Strategic Partnerships for Optician Practice Startups
Many optician startup entrepreneurs discover that a go-it-alone approach isn't necessarily the most conducive way to launch their businesses. Instead, it's common for optician services entrepreneurs to enter into strategic partnerships with optometrists, opthamologists or even other qualified opticians.
In a strategic partnership or joint practice scenario, risks and rewards are distributed among numerous stakeholders. In addition to reducing your potential liability, the right partnership can expand your optician startup's skill set and multiply your earnings capacity.
Leveraging Technology in a New Opticians Business
It goes without saying that technological assets and optician startups go hand in hand. Specialized equipment like lensometers, pupilometers and keratometers are part and parcel of operating a capable optical services business.
However, your practice can also leverage technology to handle the back office activities that many opticians find distracting. A robust optician practice management software solution includes modules for appointment setting, CRM, inventory control, electronic medical records, POS and other office functions.
Writing a Business Plan for an Opticians Business
A carefully crafted business is your opticians business's most important asset. With the right ingredients, your business plan will keep you new venture on course and help you avoid the pitfalls that plague other startup entrepreneurs.
Although many entrepreneurs write their own business plans, others outsource business plan creation to a professional business plan writer.
The right business plan writer can give your opticians business a competitive edge over other startups in your industry. However, outsourcing doesn't completely eliminate your responsibilities in the writing process.
As the primary stakeholder in your opticians business, you will intentionally need to insert yourself in various stages of the plan's development.
Investigate the Competition
Before you open an opticians business within your community, it's essential to determine how strong the competition is. Use the link below to find competitors near you. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of opticians businesses near you.
Before you open up shop, make sure you know what you will offer to your customers that provides a significant advantage over your competition's offering.
Learning More About the Industry
Once you've finished assessing the competion, it's essential that you have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think owners of nearby opticians businesses will give you advice, think again. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started an opticians business on the other side of the country may be more than happy to give you a few tips, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
So, what can you do to find an opticians business founder who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
Here's how we would do it. Try the useful link below and key in a random city/state or zipcode.
Is It Easier to Buy an Existing Opticians Business?
As an aspiring business owner, the decisions you make now will have huge implications later, including the decision to either start a business from scratch or buy an existing opticians business.
Time and time again, we see entrepreneurs struggle to launch a new opticians business when they could have bought a first-rate opticians business. When you buy an established opticians business, you gain access to a functional business operation with a customer base and a steady revenue stream.
Entrepreneurs who are committed to a highly unique value proposition may need to pursue a startup approach. But for the sake of minimizing risk and maintaining your sanity, a business purchase is often the right move for emerging opticians business entrepreneurs.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
Going with a franchise opportunity does not mean that can take it easy and just be in cruise control but it does greatly simplify the startup and ongoing operations of your business.
Before starting an opticians business, it's worthwhile to determine whether purchasing a franchise might make it easy to get started.
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 starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing opticians business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to opticians businesses, we've got better information for you elsewhere on our site. Try these resources instead:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.