The 5 megatrends set to shape the future of the independent optics and how to harness them in your practice

Megatrends are forces that are reshaping the optical business landscape and the future prospects of independent practice owners in significant ways.

Written by: Dominic Watson - Myers La Roche, Analyst and CEO

The implication of these forces are broad and varied; they present both amazing opportunities that need to be proactively seized with both hands, and extremely dangerous risks and short-term temptations that need to be actively rationalised and mitigated.  

It is important to highlight the fact that the UK independent optical sector is not a single market. It is a "market of markets", a sector with substantial regional variations and huge variance in operating models.  

Some of the 5 megatrends will be more significant to certain types of practices than others, but at least 1 or 2 of the 5 will be relevant to every practice.  

Ultimately, knowledge is power and this whitepaper is written to help you understand and anticipate these 5 key industry trends - allowing you, where appropriate, to adapt your thinking, planning and business strategy.  


Megatrend One: Significant inflation in practice values

Megatrend Two: "Islandification" and Trading Location Evolution 

Megatrend Three: Increasingly differentiated operating models in the independent sector

Megatrend Four: Improving ease of ownership and operational experience

Megatrend Five: Suppliers are becoming increasingly conflicted in one key area


A Cautionary Note on Decision Making In Challenging Times

Most practice owners are extremely busy, and unfortunately this often means that they can be guilty of making poor judgment calls based on one or more of the following: 

  • Anecdotal evidence or hearsay
  • Advice from well-meaning sources - but ultimately sources with insufficient knowledge or experience to be able to recommend the optimal or most appropriate course of action 
  • Advice from people who have an agenda or a vested interest in a particular course of action 
  • Emotion or ego 


Operating a Practice During a Cost-of-Living Crisis: The Perfect Storm for Fuzzy Thinking?


The ongoing unsettled economic outlook, coming so close on the heels of a global pandemic, has necessitated practice owners working with greater uncertainty, in a high intensity, less comfortable and more stressful environment.

We all deal with stress in different ways. Some people bottle it up and wage a lonely battle. Others feel the need to reach out and talk to someone they trust.

My mobile phone has never rung as much as during the last few years, and it is clear that many owners are finding this situation and the ongoing news flow extremely taxing.

My message to you as a reader is the same one I have shared with my callers. It is important to appreciate that it is easy to make rash, emotional decisions when we are tired or stressed and it can be tempting to take the easy path and to head for the "emergency exit" but frequently this is the wrong call. 

I hope this whitepaper will instigate a constructive dialogue on the topics covered and will catalyse a renewed focus on objectivity and optimism about what lies ahead in hopefully the not too distant future.

In doing this I hope it will help business owners to remain upbeat and to make joined-up decisions during challenging times.

As you will see as you read on, the 5 megatrends are in the main incredibly positive:

If you have weathered the Covid crisis and can come through the current economic climate in one piece - having adapted your model to capitalise on the information in this blog series - then the future for you and your business is very bright. 

More insights for you

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How and when to sell your optical practice is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make and, with the Optical industry undergoing a period of consolidation, most independent practice owners will be approached by a potential buyer at some point. In our comprehensive guide, Dom Watson of Myers La Roche profiles the types of buyer you may meet and strategies to help you exit your business on your own terms

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Megatrend One: Significant Inflation in practice values

The transfer value of strong, profitable practices is set to rocket over the long-term.

Megatrend Two: "Islandification" and Trading Location Evolution

Trading conditions and commercial terms for leases on high streets will continue to evolve, bringing both threats and opportunities to optical businesses.

Megatrend Three: Increasingly differentiated operating models in the independent sector

Privatisation & Shared Care will continue to shake up the standard operating model for independents.

Megatrend Four: Improving ease of ownership and operational experience

It will become easier and a more enjoyable experience to run your practice.

Megatrend Five: Suppliers are Not Necessarily The Best Advisors When Selling Your Business

This megatrend trend could adversely affect your personal wealth unless you get informed on the facts and take appropriate action.

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Starting your own business is one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do, particularly in independent optics where you are likely to be the clinician as well as the business owner.

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