Has someone else got this covered?


Yesterday over lunch I heard a snippet of an interview on BBC Radio 6 Music with Tom Yorke, frontman of Radiohead. It is 20 years since they headlined Glastonbury and they’re still going strong. (I was a fan 20 years ago, but not so much these days.) In the interview, he was talking about why he wanted to write political songs. Early in his songwriting career, he asked himself “Should I write another lovey-dovey song about nothing in particular? Is that what the world needs? Or has someone else got that covered?”

I asked myself the same question (minus the lovey-dovey song part) when I decided I wanted to open my own practice. “Should I open a run of the mill opticians like every other opticians? Is that what the world needs? Or has someone else got that covered?”

This is a USP question. Questions like these keep you laser focused on doing things your way, bringing uniqueness and value to the marketplace. Why did I instinctively want to be at the high end of the market? There are a host of reasons but a BIG reason was that someone else already has the low end of the market covered. Specsavers do an excellent job of looking after the low end. The world does not need another low-end optical practice.

 Why did I decide to open in Manchester? When I came back from Australia I spent the best part of a week in my Toyota Corolla hatchback driving around a shortlist of cities, towns and suburbs that I would have considered relocating to. (At the time I lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne.) I wanted to know my market. In the areas I considered opening I wanted to know does anyone else already have this covered? Or is there a need here? Yes, you can take on and beat established competition but if you can open somewhere where there is a need for what you want to do that is my preference. At the time, for a big city, Manchester city centre was poorly served by good independent practices.

Ask yourself this question: What kind of optometry / optical practice does the world need? Does your community need? And what does nobody else have covered in your area?

Consider stylish, independent, niche eyewear. That’s a little hard to find in most places. You can introduce your clients to the world’s best eyewear. You can change how they feel about wearing glasses and change it from something they hate to something they love.

Consider, designing an effortless eyewear experience where you guide your clients to the perfect eyewear without them having to endure the pain and frustration of having to look at a thousand frames while not knowing what suits them or fits them. Give them a seat to take the weight off their feet and you do the work for them. Remove their frustration.

Consider the type of service you want to deliver. Personalised, tailored, genuinely friendly or more of the same – rushed, disinterested, anonymous. Ask yourself what kind of business does the world need? The former or the latter? How about a practice that sets out to lead by example? A practice that delivers a service experience that is the talk of the town, that inspires others to do the same. A practice that sets out to proactively make their clients day in any way that they can. A practice that is a pillar of the community, charitable, good for the town and respected and admired by the place it serves.

Start asking yourself excellent questions like these.