Posted on September 07, 2022
How would you explain your business to someone who has no knowledge of it?
We help people look and feel their best by providing NHS and Private eye care including the 3D OCT Scan (advanced eye health check). We are also contact lens specialists and offer treatment for dry, watery, red, itchy, painful, or sore eyes. We can provide emergency, often same-day services for glasses, contact lenses and repairs. We offer hand-picked frames to suit all budgets. We also provide specialist children services, with children tested from age 2 and myopia control (treatment in the form of glasses and contact lenses to help the prescription increasing).
How long have you been in this business? And in other businesses?
Approximately 12 years, having previously worked in publishing.
Why did you choose it?
It feels like a great fit for my personality. I have a few family members who are Opticians and it’s an exciting area to be in and always evolving! What I love most is how varied it is, e.g. you use practical, people and business skills as well as always needing to continually add to your clinical and technical knowledge whilst also needing an eye for detail.
How did you get started?
The business was started by my mother (who is an Optometrist) over 30 years ago. She always knew she wanted her own business so she could do things in her own way. For example, running an independent Opticians gave her more freedom to choose which suppliers she wanted to use based on what she thought would be best for our customers.
How do you attract your clients?
Through personal recommendations and word of mouth, also via business networking and google searches. When customers are delighted with the service and expertise, they naturally recommend you, and we aim to do our best for everyone.
Can you describe your customers?
People who care about their eyes, health and well-being and want to look good! The eyes are the window to your overall health, and we encourage our customers to have regular check-ups as it gives us a better chance of spotting changes that may affect someone’s health and vision.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years?
Growing our customer base, also see more customers for specialist services such as myopia control, dry eye management and low vision.
Which things make you happy as a small business owner?
Making a difference to someone. There are many small moments such as when people collect their glasses and are amazed how well they can see. There are always big moments such as when a child puts on glasses for the first time having never seen clearly before. Or for example referring someone urgently which has saved their sight and sometimes saved their life as well.
Which is your best-selling product or service and why do you think your clients love it so much?
For products, I would say glasses which have polarised, magnetic clip-on sunglasses. Our customers love the convenience of not carrying around 2 pairs of glasses. For services, our dry eye treatment plan relieves itchy, watery and dry eyes. These symptoms affect people’s everyday well-being and our customers are relieved when these symptoms are alleviated.
Why do your customers select you over your competitors?
By giving our customers time to fully understand their needs and giving a friendly personal service. More time allows people to better understand the options available to them and us to give advice as well as recommendations.
Customer Retention: how do you keep your customers happy?
Most importantly by helping them with the problems they have come in with. We treat our customers as individuals and make recommendations as if they were family members. We are always on the lookout for new products and services that will benefit our customers.
Which challenges did and do you face, running your business?
Keeping visible online and making sure that people understand what we do and how we are different from the high street optical chains and multiples.
Is there any business lesson you learnt through experience that you wish you knew about earlier in life?
Don’t be scared to learn from other businesses in your own sector and beyond.
How do you maintain a good work-life balance?
By marking out time with your family and not introducing work into it!
Which is your best strategy for time management?
Setting out realistic targets for the day. Being able to get through a manageable list, helps you feel good and are making progress through your tasks.