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How to Break Through a Revenue Ceiling as a Small Business Owner

10 standout responses that detail the secret to success of these independent business owners from The Big Survey 2022.




How to Break Through a Revenue Ceiling as a Small Business Owner

Owning your own business can be among the greatest accomplishments of your career.

There’s the freedom. There’s the autonomy. There’s the money going into your bank account.

But, ahh, there’s the rub.

The profitability part is the main hurdle for most small independent business owners. That holds true across all industries. It is no different for eyecare professionals.

We asked more than a few financial-related questions in this year’s Big Survey. This was one of them: “Looking back at your career, what was the most difficult revenue ceiling to break through?”


Respondents could choose between four answers:

  • To actually start turning a profit and operate a sustainable business
  • Breaking through the $1 million ceiling
  • Breaking through the $2 million ceiling
  • Breaking through the $5 million ceiling

It wasn’t too surprising to see more than half the respondents – 51% – picked simply turning a profit.

However, regardless of the ceiling, we wanted to learn how ECPs broke through. So we added a follow up query: “What do you believe was the key to breaking through that ceiling?”

INVISION Magazine staff writer Heath Burslem reviewed all the responses.

“In terms of broad themes, our respondents frequently spoke of hard work and persistence,” says Burslem. “(Other themes included) generating word of mouth through great service; picking the right locations and growing with the community; learning to work smarter; and focusing on products and services that differentiate their business.”

Here is a curated list of 10 of the best responses:


Charting Your Own Course

  • “Strategic planning, a lot of hours, immaculate customer service, and a never-say-die attitude. Oh yeah… and a little luck — but we made most of our own luck.”

“Paving our own way and doing things differently, on our terms. We have no interest in being a typical vision center. High-end retail and services are a profitable niche.”

  • “Realizing that you don’t have to be the cheapest place in town if you’re offering premium products with the knowledge to back it.”

The Right People in the Right Job

  • “Having a doctor people like, one who lives in the community and does many other things besides a basic eye exam. Word of mouth in this community is huge.”

“It took the better part of my career. I had to learn how to train staff better, and it took me time to get the right staff.”

  • “1) Putting in a finishing lab. 2) Hiring a great receptionist, who became a manager, who is now the Chief Operations Officer. 3) Hiring a great CPA.”

Work Smarter, Not Harder

  • “COVID honestly. People had nothing better to do than get their routine eye exams and purchase glasses, multiple pairs at that, along with their contacts.”

“It’s not what you bring in, it’s how much you keep from going out!”

  • “Increase patient load, capture rate increase, second pair sales, follow up with patients.”
  • “When I stopped renting and purchased a building.”

Coming Soon!

We are only weeks away from dropping the Nov./Dec. issue of INVISION Magazine. It’s gonna be a reader with all sorts of The Big Survey 2022 results. (Plus, we’ve got a special insert section that we think you’ll just love.)

However, we’ve got a few more of these online-only Big Survey primer stories heading your way.

Until the next one, enjoy this list of The 20 Best Entrepreneur Movies All Business Owners Must Watch from the finance-focused folks at Nerdwallet.


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