Manchester-based independent, Station Road Opticians, recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Optometrist and owner Deepak Oberai speaks to OT about his experiences to date
When did you decide to open your own practice and why?
I decided to open Station Road Opticians in January 2018 after the success of my first practice, Albert Road Opticians, which I bought in 2010. South Manchester has some good independent opticians, but it still lacked practices with a focus on fashion and style, and I saw a gap in the market to tap into this niche.
Before opening the doors, what was your biggest fear?
The fear of failure is always the biggest concern. There’s a saying I live by that is: ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail.’ I have done some serious planning to make sure that the business is a success.
“I have done some serious planning to make sure that the business is a success””
What has been the most challenging part of your first year in business?
The biggest challenge has been attracting the right clients and keeping team motivation high.
What has been the most rewarding part of your first year in business?
I enjoy marketing, so trying out different strategies has been very interesting. In addition, receiving recognition for our growth, including being shortlisted for a Practice Growth Award, has also been fantastic.
What is the one thing you know now about practice ownership that you wish you knew 12 months ago?
I cannot be in two places at once. I now use my time very wisely and work on higher level of decision-making, letting the team do the daily running of the practices.
If you were opening a practice again, is there anything that you would do differently?
No, not really. I’m very pleased with how things are going.
What three tips would you give fellow practitioners thinking about opening their own practice?
- Location, location, location
- Research your market, set a strategy and stick to it
- Invest in your team, they can do wonderful things.
What are your ambitions for Station Road Opticians over the next 12 months?
We want to become the go-to destination for quirky eyewear in south Manchester. We are aiming to grow the business and introduce some very exciting new eyewear collections to the community.