Why did you start up a business and how did you go starting it up?
We wanted to venture out of being an employee and practice how we wanted to practice. We started our practice because we are passionate about providing holistic and evidence-based eye care that was patient-focused.
We first started off as a part-time practice from home in 2018. This operated after-hours and we also provided home visits, because we noticed a gap in the industry in these 2 areas. Starting up a practice involved doing a lot of research into how to run a business and learning about all the legal and financial aspects behind it. Megan did a Certificate IV in New Small Business, which was a good starting point. We also had discussions with other colleagues and other consultants.
Our patient base started to grow and we realised that we were outgrowing our space and entertained the idea of expanding to a full-time practice in a shopfront. By October 2020, we expanded our practice to a shopfront in Wentworth Point.
Should I take over a business or start brand new?
This is a big decision and it really is up to the individual. There are definitely pros and cons to both options and it is important that you weigh these up thoroughly and seek professional advice before you make a decision.
For example, taking over an existing business means that you already have an existing patient base. This has advantages in cash flow. However, this may also mean inheriting procedures and systems which you may not necessarily agree with. Making changes to these systems may lead to loss of some of your existing clientele.
Alternatively, starting brand new means it is a clean slate and you can set your practice how you want it from the beginning. However, it will take time to build a reputation and patient following.
These are just some things you need to consider before you make your decision.
What are some key points I should consider when going from employee to employer?
If you want your business to succeed, be prepared for long hours, taking work home and doing a lot of things outside the consult room. It is a steep learning curve because you now need to learn your legal obligations as well as be well organised in your administrative and managerial duties. However, we think it is incredibly rewarding in the long run because we are now able to do what we are passionate about without restriction.
How is your work life balance as a business owner?
Work life balance is an incredibly challenging aspect of being a new business owner. Aside from running a business, we both have other commitments and hence this is an area we are still working on HAHA ^^”.
What was the biggest obstacle you encountered during your journey, and how did you overcome it?
Work life balance and time management would be the biggest obstacles that we have encountered so far.
We have been working on these areas by improving efficiency within the workplace and scheduling in personal time so that it is not all work. We hold each other accountable so that we both don’t stray from our goals. Having a good support network really helps especially during challenging periods.
What advice would you like to give to all the YOs that are interested in opening their own business?
Running a business is like planting a tree. Do your due diligence and make sure you think it through before you make the decision. Plan it out. You need to find the location and prepare the land first. Then, you will plant the seed, nurture it, and protect it from the storms. Trees do not grow overnight. It takes time before you can reap the rewards.
There are many benefits associated with owning a business. However, be prepared to work hard as it is a massive investment and time commitment and expect some personal sacrifices along the way.