The Place For Optical Entrepreneurs [Part 1]

From the very beginning, I labelled Optical Success Academy as ‘The Place for Optical Entrepreneurs.’ In case you missed it, there is depth in that little line, and it should serve as an important reminder wherever you see it.

*Note, it is not the place for optical professionals, nor the place for optometrists, nor the place for opticians. These places already exist in many shapes and forms. Professional bodies, professional associations, professional journals, universities, continued education events and so on. No, this is a very different kind of place.

Labels are very important. Especially the labels you give to yourself. Here’s the thing: we all went to university and studied hard to qualify as optometrists or dispensing opticians because we wanted to become optometrists and opticians. Nobody enrols in an optometry course for 4 years because they are interested in business and marketing. They do it because they want to practice optometry. When you achieve it, you rightly and proudly label yourself as an ‘optometrist.’ You’re passionate about it. You love it. You take it very seriously. Which is all very worthy and honourable and exactly what you would hope from any good professional.

Yet here you are today in the place for optical entrepreneurs. What happened?!

Well first, the two things are not mutually exclusive. I am a both optometrist and optical entrepreneur. But you must be very clear, your primary role and label is that of entrepreneur – businessman or businesswoman. Ignore that at your peril. It doesn’t make you any less of an optometrist, but in your mind, you must primarily be the optical entrepreneur.

If you find that distasteful in any way you have some deep thinking to do. If you want to be optometrist first and foremost then that is called a ‘job’. Simply close your practice, find employment as an optometrist and live out the rest of your days doing that. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Many do it.  The distinction you need to make is that when you cross the line and become business owner, you need to take it seriously and put it above all else. If you don’t, if you neglect your responsibilities as an entrepreneur, you will have years of struggle and heartache ahead, and for some it’s only a matter of time until their world comes crashing down around them.

The danger is everyone else would have you think of yourself as an optometrist, a dispensing optician, a professional. But the day you signed a 10-year lease for business premises that all changed. Optometrists don’t willingly go into hundreds of thousands of pounds of debt with the bank to create an opportunity. Professionals don’t write personal guarantees so if it goes wrong, they lose everything. Opticians don’t go through the pain of recruiting, hiring, employing and managing staff. This is what entrepreneurs do. Not opticians.

Tune in next week for Part 2. In the meantime, make it a great week!