Starting an optometric practice from scratch can be a daunting task with multiple challenges along the way. It requires getting ready to serve your patients, facing financial and operational hurdles, surviving pitfalls, and making innumerable judgment calls. Despite all these hurdles starting your optometry practice and taking charge of your financial freedom is priceless.
Here are going to discuss a few of the most common hurdles faced by a new optometry practice and ways to manage your hurdles efficiently.
Getting Ready to Serve
There are a lot of initial costs when starting an optometry practice, from location and staffing to all of the necessary equipment needed to get your business off the ground successfully.
You would probably need to get a business loan to pay for constructing your practice, procuring the right requirement, stocking up the inventory, and keeping a working capital. Failure to make an operating budget for your practice can have a bad impact on your working capital. Realistic sales projections and estimation of various costs will help you make an effective budget. Sticking to your budget until you break even can save you from further debts.
Reassessment of your budget periodically will help you maintain proper control over the finances of your optometry practice. It will assist you to identify the red areas and adjust your budget accordingly to boost your profits.
Don’t Go Overboard
When you are setting up your optometry practice from scratch, you might be tempted to get all the latest equipment under your roof. Some of the expensive types of equipment that you might consider are:
- Scanning lasers
- Retinal cameras
- Visual field analyzers
- Specular microscopes
- Automated refraction systems
There is no doubt that the presence of the latest optometry gadgets would woo your customers, but you must be wise in getting the ones that you need for a fresh practice. You should also make a calculative comparison of equipment prices against the initial revenue.
Practical estimation of the initial patient volume for the first couple of years can help you with these dilemmas. It is best to consult with a few doctors of optometry to get suggestions about the equipment needed to start the practice. They can also help you get realistic revenue projections.
A study of your market demography can give you a better idea about the equipment you need to buy. If your market comprises mostly young people, getting a scanning laser might not make sense for your practice. Instead of feeling confused about what to buy, try to be reasonable about your requirements of patient care.
Choose Your Frames Carefully
Another area where practitioners go overboard is the frames inventory. You might be inclined to sell expensive and exclusive frames in the beginning, but that is not a realistic option for a new practice. Even though the location of your practice can be a deciding factor, it can take years to get a patient database with such high-end requirements.
Overspending on expensive frames inventory can burn into your working capital and create further debt. It is better to have a realistic idea about what kind of frames are going to sell more and give you a higher return on investment. Market research can help you to choose the right kind of frames inventory to complement your market demography. You can always consider keeping high-end frames after a few years of practice when you have a better grasp of popular frame styles, and a better customer base.
You should choose your frames vendors carefully with proper evaluations. You can select a vendor who will not charge you extra for replacing your inventory to accommodate market demands. It is best to have a couple of vendors so that they can compete with each other regarding prices and to be on the board space.
Scheduling Your Patients
In the initial days of your practice, it is important to limit the schedule of your patients to two or three days a week. When your practice is freshly starting, you can expect a couple of dozen patients in a month. Accommodating then within two or three days a week will allow you to work at another practice and support your earnings until you start to make a considerable profit.
There are no guaranteed guidelines to achieve success with your optometry practice. It can take a couple of years before your practice starts to generate adequate profit. Successfully overcoming the hurdles you face along the way can determine how quickly your practice starts to generate decent revenues. It also helps in creating a concrete foundation for your practice.
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.