Lloyd Griffiths, Optometrist identified an opportunity in Elgin, Moray north east Scotland where a local market had a requirement for quality eye care. In 2007, Lloyd invested £25k himself and secured a loan of £140k. Lloyd said “The best thing about running my own practice is that I have the freedom to decide how much time I spend with my patients to ensure each one receives excellent service”.
Lloyd’s view on the brand
“The Boots brand has a long tradition of providing outstanding customer service together with good value for money and allows us to have a competitive advantage over our rivals”
“My biggest challenge was the initial 6 months after opening — running a busy store with a new team was tough!” Lloyd‘s advice to those considering this career option “You need to be well developed as an Optometrist because you are not just testing eyes. In between appointments I am thinking about ways to improve my practice. I have learnt more about dispensing than I ever thought possible!”
Sanjay Patel, Optometrist took over the Northfield, Birmingham franchise in 2008 and has seen outstanding results from investing in a new shop-fit and lots of hard work. Sales have increased by over £100k and Sanjay is reaping the benefits.
He views his franchise as a true model of what an Optometric business should be about, quality product, professional freedom, outstanding customer service and great support. Sanjay commented “It‘s like having your own independent business with a hugely successful brand”.
Debbie and Ernesto Gomez are a great example of a partnership in and out of the test room. They opened the doors to their brand new practice in January 2009 located in the high street of Caterham, Surrey.
Debbie is the Optometrist and Ernesto manages the shop floor. Ernesto had no previous optical retail experience however with his own self determination and access to our accredited training programmes he has changed his career. Prior to the store opening, Ernesto spent time working in different practices across the franchise and company network and this proved invaluable experience.
They chose franchising because it allowed them to act as independents but with the full support of a super brand. Their thoughts on Boots are straightforward; “Boots is well trusted and has loyal customers, which is enhanced with the very popular Advantage Card”
Financially, they recommend obtaining the full amount of the loan through a supportive banking partner and also a good overdraft facility as cash flow is vital in the first year of trading.
Ernesto commented on the things he enjoys most, “You are the captain of your own ship! You are able to put in place local marketing strategies, spend more time with the customer, train yourself and your team and most importantly see the results at the end of the week”.
Debbie and Ernesto’s advice to others considering a new franchise practice is “Be positive, be prepared to put in the time and effort and enjoy the experience of growing your business”.
Rahil Saggar was a Locum Optometrist who really did his homework before choosing a franchise. Rahil worked in joint venture practices and independents before committing himself to a start-up practice in Cheadle, Cheshire. He has now been trading since November 2007 and Rahil knows he made the right decision. “The merger of D&A and Boot‘s has formed a company which, in terms of scale, is exceptional”.
Rahil’s view on Boots Opticians; “The brand is deeply respected by the public, the company is honest and ethical, and the management team are fully focused on making the new company the number one opticians in the UK. As a franchisee you can't ask for more!”
Rahil has learnt a great deal having his own practice and is still developing himself. He commented, “By delegating work to the appropriate people within the practice and utilising the support of people within the franchise network, I now focus my time on the areas of the business that most need it”.
Rahil invested around £6000 personally and secured £170k from the bank which enabled him to start-up a brand new practice, creating and growing a business on his terms. It offers Rahil three things that he relishes, “autonomy, complexity of work and a strong relationship between the effort you put in and the rewards that you gain”.
Looking back, Rahil would advise others considering a franchise to do their research. He said, “Your expectations and values should match those of the company whose brand you decide to work with. Be prepared to put in a lot of hard work and it is a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience”.