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How do you start a business?

I aspire to be an optometrist and hopefully start my own optometry practice cold. How would I go about doing this? optometry eye-care entrepreneurship ceo start-ups

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G. Mark’s Answer

For all businesses, you need to write a business plan. A business plan serves several purposes and should always be the first step. First, it organizes your own thoughts. Second, it makes possible problems evident. Third, it is a vehicle for communicating your vision and preparation to others, like potential investors, potential employees, and friends and consultants who can see your plan and provide better advice. A business plan needs to include 1) the problem you're solving or need you're addressing, 2) how you plan to address it, 3) your target market or other people who would benefit from your efforts, 4) size and scope and expansion plans, if any, 5) why this is a good time to enter this market, 6) advantages of your approach over alternatives or competitors, 7) potential problems. I think if you look over this list, you'll see that these are just the kinds of questions you or anyone else should have about any project. As you research and learn, you'll flesh this document out with details and any changes to the situation. Worst case, you learn a lot and maybe decide to change your strategy. Best case, folks read it and offer to help out. A business case is a win-win effort. And interesting. And fun. And if you have a really unique idea, don't forget to get readers to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), okay? Writing a business plan is fun because it allows you to imagine the actual project taking shape.

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Alberto’s Answer

Hi Jade,

Great question. Super interesting that you are thinking about being a entrepreneur. I would ask you to connect with people that work in optometry practice and ask them what is their job function. With time, you will be able to map out the day to day of a store and it's challenges. Hope this helps.

Alberto recommends the following next steps:

Find undeserved community that will benefit from your business
Find a unique selling point. Eg. why would customers choose one business over another?
Write down your business plan. Eg. How much money would you need to support the business
Find a mentor/investor. Someone that would be willing to invest in your store and hold you accountable on the day to day operations.
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Hina’s Answer

There are so many modalities of Optometry. If you are truly interested and want to gain the most insight into owning a private practice I would say ask a local optometrist to work with them or shadow them. I think you will learn a great deal. When you apply to schools they also highly value optometric experience.