Business Vision: Starting an Optical Business from Scratch

eye checkup

One of the biggest chronic diseases in the world is found in our eyes. It impairs our work, the way we live, and our relationships. It’s a problematic field, but one that has many businesses looking to supply people with what they need. You can start an optical business today, despite the pandemic, given that you know the essentials for it.

There are about two billion people in the world who have impaired vision. Those who have access to the help they need usually can live with such an impairment. However, those who lack the necessary help due to distance or the lack of optical businesses in the area experience serious problems with their daily function and tend to function less optimally at work.

There is a growing demand for optical businesses worldwide, even in the U.S. Since most optical diseases are inheritable, experts believe that the number of vision-impaired people will continue to increase throughout the years. This makes your business even more important today.

Find Your Field and Concentrate on it

There are many sub-fields in the optical business, and you don’t necessarily have to be an ophthalmologist. For example, some optical businesses sell all sorts of fashion-related glasses, while others sell glasses for the visually impaired. Depending on where you think you can grow your business, you should concentrate there.

During your startup, it’s not wise to diversify your business. Instead, concentrate on what you do best and start from there. That’s how you’re going to build a loyal consumer base. You must have return customers because they are the ones likely to purchase more from your business.


Next up, it’s essential to choose the right location. Usually, the best locations are in malls. This is because it’s where you can get the most foot traffic and visits. However, having a retail shop is also a good idea, especially if you have an online website. However, these might not be the choices right now because of the pandemic.

Nonetheless, most optical businesses rely on physical retail shops. It’s where they get the most traffic traditionally. It’s the safest choice. But if you want to take a bit more risk and take your optical company more into the future, you can start an online optical business instead.

Online Optical Market

One of the reasons the online optical market wasn’t the norm before was the lack of digital eye exams. However, nowadays, the industry has developed ways to examine people digitally. Another way is through packaged eye exams such as the ones from Warby Parker.

Technically, packaged eye exams come with frames you can try, which expedites the glasses-making process. However, the main problem with the online optical market is the manufacturing process. It requires a lot of investment, but what most retail stores do is that they produce the glasses in-store when accomodating for online sales.

This is a good expansion idea once you’ve grown your business. But it’s something you can also consider starting. It’s a growing market with many potentials, but it does require a lot of investment than a normal retail business.

Invest in Equipment

eye equipment

Your optical business doesn’t grow if you don’t invest in better business equipment or only have one particular piece of equipment working. For example, having multiple keratometers, refraction units, and auto-refractometer. This gives you more clients to process while also producing more glasses in your inventory.

However, what you can do is let a third-party manufacturer do your production for you. Then, it could be much cheaper for you instead of investing a lot into various equipment. This is a good choice for a starting business like yours, but remember that you’ll eventually want to handle your own manufacturing so that you can decrease the cost of your glasses.

Discounts and Referral Systems

One of the strongest marketing strategies in the optical market right now is through discounts and robust referral systems.

Referring customers to your business is a strong way to build your consumer base. It’s an excellent way to get unique consumers for a low consumer acquisition cost.

Discounts can also bring new people into your shops. It can also give other customers the purpose to return to your business. This increases their loyalty to your shop. However, returning customers can take time, given what they need. For example, people who primarily shop for eyewear are more likely to return, while those with vision impairments might only do it once or twice a year.

Regardless, these are two ways you can market your business and gain unique consumers into your business.

Optical businesses are essential in today’s society, given that more people are becoming vision-impaired. As a business today, you can consider going online if you want to join a growing market. But it’s a riskier choice when compared to traditional businesses in the industry. After choosing the overall format of your business, you can then expand and grow it to other markets.

About the Author

Scroll to Top