Raising the capital to open your own optical practice is likely the first major business challenge one faces when trying to start a business. In the optical industry, we are encouraged to start our own practices, but we are rarely taught what it takes to secure the money to fund our business venture. We wanted to take the opportunity to lay out the options and avenues you should consider going down before you decide to sell a kidney in the name of your optical shop.
Note: If you haven’t read Part 1 of this blog piece, you can find it here.
In Part 2 of this series, we would like to dive deeper into unique ways to fund your business. If you’ve been reading in order, we guided you to be smarter when asking friends, family, banks and investors when asking for capital for your optical business. This time we’re diving into some unique and modern ways to collect money for your new optical practice.
By now you must know that services like GoFundMe and Kickstarter have funded thousands upon thousands of projects across the globe, including optical retail stores. Therefore, there’s no reason you shouldn’t consider this as an option for your optical practice. We recommend starting smaller — ask for maybe 30% of what you might need as some of these crowdfunding sites require that you hit your funding goal before you see a penny for your project. It’s best to research the most popular crowdfunding sites based on your needs and goals. Most of these sites have different campaign types you can choose from and their processing fees vary as well.
Our Recommendation: Take out time to craft your ask in a detailed and smart fashion. Good questions to ask yourself are: “Why would someone want to fund my project over other projects on this site?” A smart technique is to focus on your community and what you hope to accomplish with your optical business. Another important question to answer is “What makes my business unique” or “How can I give back?”. Perhaps you can offer free eye exams to the less fortunate or maybe you’re willing to accept insurance that your competition refuses to accept. Once you’ve spent some quality time on developing this prompt, get some additional eyes to review it and provide feedback before you make it live.
Our 2nd Recommendation: Don’t be afraid to run a local Facebook ad campaign to target those that are interested in local small businesses, entrepreneurship, public health, universal healthcare, etc.
U.S. Government Loan Options
The U.S. government has multiple programs designed to aid those that need to secure funding for their small business — after all, small businesses are the foundation of our economy. As mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Small Business Association (SBA) lenders are the first place to look before exploring any of these options, but these options are also designed to put money behind your optical business. Look into the following options for your optical business:
“The NASE was founded in 1981 to provide day-to-day support, including direct access to experts, benefits, and consolidated buying power that traditionally had been available only to large corporations. Today the NASE represents hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs and micro-businesses, and is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan association of its kind in the United States.” (from nase.org)
“Established by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (the Act), the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) is a dedicated fund designed to provide capital to qualified community banks and community development loan funds (CDLFs) in order to encourage small business lending. The purpose of the SBLF is to encourage Main Street banks and small businesses to work together, help create jobs, and promote economic growth in communities across the nation.” (from treasury.gov)
Take Advantage of Programs Made for Start-Up Optical Businesses
One of the most effective ways to ensure your business will survive financially in the long run is to bite off only as much as you can chew. Find programs that provide 0% financing and reasonable payment terms. One such example is Frame Displays’ 0% financing for 3 years program. Frame Displays offers all your optical furniture from dispensing tables and wall mount optical displays to point-of-sale systems and seating options as well as space planning and design services at 0% so you can get your business on its feet before making payments.
These are some unique ways to fund your optical retail business when the more common options have dried out. Have more tips we should be including to help your fellow optical businesses? Message us on Facebook, and we’ll add your tip and give you credit!