Independent Business

What do you mean "Local & Independent"?

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Vision Made Locally talks a lot about "local" and "independent" but what exactly does that mean? One persons definition does not necessarily mean the same thing to everyone. So we wanted to share our thoughts on what it means to us at Vision Made Locally. 

  • Locally Owned - The majority of the ownership of the lab — the people who have the biggest stake in its success —live in your local area or state. They tend to be proactively involved in your community, and keep more of the profits circulating in the local economy. With a few exceptions, publicly traded companies—even those that are headquartered near you—are not locally owned.
  • Independently Operated - The local owners have full autonomy to make decisions about their business, including sourcing, operations, distribution, marketing, and technology. They are empowered to adopt innovations that align with their personal, community, and environmental values. A locally owned franchise is not fully independent.
  • As Close to Home as PossibleLocal is relative. Often, you can find the product or service at a competitive price close to you. But if you’re looking for something very specific, the nearest may be in another state but that’s as local as possible! A good start is to ask, “Is there a quality alternative closer to my business?”

Being independent and/or local does not inherently make a lab better than another. It doesn't guarantee quality, service or innovation. But it does give the lab some advantages. Independent means that they can offer you the best product from a wide range of vendors and suppliers that works best for you as they are not tied to a national sales or marketing campaign. Their success is tied into yours. If you fail, so will your local lab and that enables a powerful symbiotic partnership. These labs are also part of your community and impact your local, state and national economy. By keeping manufacturing jobs near you (and in the U.S.) you empower your customers to be able to spend more with you. Because a local independent lab isn't tied to a national or world wide strategy they can respond quickly, adjust to your needs and build a strong relationship with their customers. 

There is much more, but the point is Vision Made Locally believes strongly in the value of independent optical manufacturing and the positive impact it can have on our industry, communities and economy. Vision Made Locally's main goal is to communicate those advantages and empower you to find one if you so choose.

In reality your local independent lab faces parallel challenges with the independent eye care practice. Just as you must communicate to your patients and customers the value of utilizing your business (beyond just supporting local/independent for the sake of local/independent) so must the lab. We just think the lab and you can do it better, together.


"Buy Local" Campaigns Showing Real Results ​

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Good and bad findings in recent independent business survey.

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance recently released the results of their Independent Business Survey. One of the great findings was the impact of "Buy Local" campaigns in communities. According to the survey which included 2300+ respondents across all 50 states, businesses who were located in communities with local business initiatives saw on average a 6.8% growth in revenue vs 3.4% revenue growth in those who were not. This finding supports that consumers are changing buying habits.  American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher was quoted “For indie businesses in communities that don’t yet have a local business alliance, the time to realize the potential of working together is now.”

The survey results weren't all warm and fuzzy as respondents reported "showrooming" where customers physically look at and research products in stores but then buy online as being a "moderate to significant" problem. Gaining financing was also listed as problematic with 23% of survey participants reporting being unable to qualify for a loan in the past two years.  

Read the article here or download the report here.