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How are Opticians managing to trade and find a way to live with the virus?

Aileen Boyle, Managing Director, shares the results of independent research recently commissioned by Braemar Finance to find out about the current challenges facing the optical profession.

At Braemar Finance we regularly survey business owners in the professions we specialise in because it means we are able to better understand the challenges they face and how we might be able to support them. But we don’t need the results of the survey to tell us Opticians – in common with many other sectors – have had a tough time of it since the start of the pandemic.

Many Optical practices have turned to funding support, which has really helped them weather the COVID storm. Getting funding is simpler than you might think and our products are specifically designed to assist with the growth and development of businesses. With 9 out of every 10 customers currently being approved for finance by Braemar, we’re here to help and support the professions during these tough times.

This can range from the acquisition or relocation of a practice, a shop fitting revamp to buying new equipment, or taking out a loan to meet your tax demand; we have a solution to meet almost every need – all business owners need to do is get in touch by phone, email or online.

Vaccine anxiety

Many Opticians will continue to put in place COVID safety measures for the foreseeable future, including continuing with PPE/social distancing measures, and asking clients to provide a negative COVID test result less than 72 hours old, or to take one on site.

Given the circumstances, these measures are understandable because they protect both staff and customers. What it may do; however, is add cost, which will need to be either absorbed or passed onto the Opticians’ customers.

Confidence

There are a number of factors contributing to Opticians’ positivity, including government support in the form of CBILS and BBL loans, along with the furlough scheme. Added to that is the continued support businesses have received from their business banks and alternative finance providers through loans, facilities and forbearance (payment holidays).

From our perspective, we know businesses don’t go bad overnight and have been determined to support our clients through the pandemic in every way we’re able to. We’re confident this storm will pass and we will continue to be there through all economic cycles, as we have been for the last 30 years.

Click to view a full summary of the survey results