A day in the life of a business owner

“Myopia is our fastest growing sector within the business”

Owner of Enfield’s Hammond Opticians, Deven Lakhani, walks OT  through a working day that starts with artisanal coffee and ends with a stir fry and family game time

Deven Lakhani, owner of North London’s Hammond Opticians for more than two decades, talks OT through his day – from very early mornings to unwinding with crime fiction and a good board game.



Deven Lakhani

Occupation:Owner of Hammond Opticians

Location: Enfield

Business owner since:2000

I get up just before 6am. On most working days, I will do a 10-minute stretch, just to get the body moving before I shower and get ready.


I’ll get to work at about quarter to seven. I’m definitely a morning person. The morning is my absolute critical time, because that’s when I get all my business-orientated work done.

The first hour or so will be me working on marketing projects, or rewriting parts of the website, rather than the day-to-day aspects of the practice. This year we’ve won two awards, so I might work on submissions or something similar. I enjoy a freshly made cup of brewed coffee, and that’s my time. I don't tend to drink tea or coffee later in the day. That early coffee kickstarts my day.


From 8am to 8.45am I work in the business. That might be referrals from the previous day, catching up on bits and pieces, and preparing for the day’s clinic.


The rest of the team will generally arrive between 8.30am and 8.45am, and then we’ll spend 15 or 20 minutes having a huddle to catch up on what the day holds, who we are seeing, and whether there is anything the dispensing or front of house team need to know about.

Like many practice owners, I feel very grateful that I have an excellent team behind me. Our most recent team member has been with us for over seven and a half years. The longest serving member has been with us for about 18 years. We do have longevity. Everyone knows their role, and allowing for the odd day or two, everyone is pumped and ready to go. I do think that little chat in the morning really helps, because it gets us into the day. We know what we’re expecting, and we know where we’re going.


Typically, appointments will be booked from 9.30am onwards. We are a private practice. We left General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) just over two years ago. It was done reluctantly, to a certain degree. I’d worked within GOS for my whole career, 30 plus years. But it has enabled us to see far fewer appointments than the majority of practices, and spend a lot longer with patients. My appointments will be either 30 minutes or an hour, depending on who I’m seeing. We spend a lot of time with each individual, and we really focus on quality of care, rather than quantity.


Lunch is around one o’clock. I don’t spend a lot of time having lunch – probably 20 minutes or half an hour. Much to the frustration of my children, who are teenagers, I have pretty much the same lunch every day: a homemade salad, very healthy and absolutely delicious. They cannot understand why I have the same thing every day. But it gives me energy for the afternoon, and after half an hour I'm ready to go back. I may not see appointments for another half an hour, but I’ll start preparing, filling out paperwork from the morning, and helping out the rest of the team before starting the afternoon clinics.


If I’m busy, I have no problems keeping going. I love what I do. It’s great to help people. Transferring to being a private practice has meant that, generally speaking, people are opting to come to us. They’re not coming to us because we’re the most local. They’re choosing to come because they’re paying for our services.


I start preparing for the following day’s clinic in the afternoon, making sure I know what’s going on who’s booked in. I’ve run this business now for 23 years, and it’s got to the stage where my team knows exactly how I like to work.


We do a huge amount of work with myopia management, and we tend to reserve the very final appointments of the day for them, because obviously parents want to bring children in after school. I tend not to allow those appointments to be used by anybody else.

Myopia is our fastest growing sector within the business. I developed myopia aged nine or 10, so it's not just a professional thing that I really value and enjoy doing, it’s a very personal thing too. With each of these children, I see in them who I was 40 years ago.

It’s always got to be a three-way conversation. Whether the child is six or 16, I insist that they’re part of the conversation. I say to parents that I will do all the clinical work and look after the children as best as I can, but that they are paying for the treatment and for my services. For the young person I say, ‘these are your tasks. You’ve got to follow my instructions, and listen when mum or dad tell you to stop using your phone.’ Because I really enjoy that aspect of my work, I end the day on a high.


I typically finish clinics at 5pm, so I’ll try and leave at about 5.15pm. I try not to be the last person out of the door, although it does happen sometimes, on exceptionally busy days. If the day has gone well, I will have pre-planned the next day so I can start fresh in the morning again. The practice closes at 5.30pm. 

To unwind, I read...

Michael Connelly crime novels



As a family, we listen to a lot of music. We don’t play instruments, but there’s always music on in the background rather than the TV. Like my daughter, I love reading, so often in the evening that’s my escapism; my rest and respite. Our kids are now teenagers, but if they’ve got a day where they don’t have so much homework, we will often play board games. It’s a family thing, and all four of us really like to do that.


Most of our mid-week dinners are really straightforward. Trying to eat healthily, a stir fry is something we’d usually have at least once a week.

I’m a great fan of crime fiction and thrillers, and I have my favourite authors. There’s an author called Michael Connelly. He was a journalist for the LA Times, and has been an author for 25 years. He’s got a few series of books, some of which are now televised. I’m reading one of his new novels right now. That’s my ultimate escapism. If I was only allowed to do one thing to unwind, reading crime fiction is what I would choose to do.