Optometrist Career has a Bright Outlook with Pearle Vision: Q&A with Ketan Sheladia
Q&A with Chicago optometrist Ketan Sheladia, who says Pearle’s systems help him grow his business while staying patient-focused
Ketan Sheladia is an optometrist and, with his business partners, a Licensed Operator of four Pearle Vision locations in the Chicago area. With Pearle Vision, he has the systems and support in place to keep the business side running smoothly while he concentrates on providing patients with the high-quality care they expect and deserve. Pearle Vision’s tools and support have also helped Ketan streamline his business, making it easier to operate multiple locations, which has made his career outlook bright.
Ketan recently shared his thoughts on Pearle Vision and its potential to make a positive difference for optometrists:
How did you first become involved with Pearle Vision?
My journey with Pearle Vision began in 2008. We bought our first location on the South Side of Chicago. It was a difficult economic climate, but we survived and we’ve done well. Now we’ve expanded to four locations. It was a long journey, but it’s been a great one so far.
How many people are part of your ownership group?
I have one business partner where we own three locations together and we have a third business partner in our fourth location. Essentially, there’s three of us.
What are your ultimate goals and plans for your business?
Right now, we’re in a growth mode, acquiring new locations and growing and increasing our patient base. It’s a long-term plan, and we’re in it for the life of it.
What makes you excited for the future of Pearle Vision?
There’s constant innovation and that’s the greatest thing. We have this leadership team that’s bringing in new ideas and creating ways for us to increase our profitability and our brand recognition. The innovation is truly exceptional.
What are the most valuable things that Pearle Vision delivers for you? What are some of the best things that Pearle does to help you in your optometrist career?
Pearle Vision helps us by giving us access to things that we would not typically have had on our own. Things like insurance panels and vendor discounts. As an independent we would not necessarily have had access to those items, so they really help us with that.
The bottom line is that Pearle Vision really helps with our profitability. Owning your own business is the American dream, and Pearle Vision is allowing optometrists to own their own businesses where permissable and do quite well with them. It is hard to do both things at once (patient care and business management) and they really help us succeed at doing that.
You were an independent optometrist prior to opening your Pearle Vision centers. What differences are there between running an independent practice versus running a Pearle Vision?
Prior to Pearle Vision, I was in a sublease type of situation where I wasn’t building any equity. With Pearle, it allows me to build equity for retirement planning and other things of that nature. We wouldn’t have that without owning our own Pearle Visions.
How do the systems and the tools that Pearle offers you help you maintain a higher level of service for your patients?
My business partner and I trained as optometrists in school. We don’t have much business training and Pearle Vision provides that for us. They give us what we need to succeed at the business aspect. Optometry is one side, business is another, and Pearle Vision helps us mend that together.
What is your relationship like with other Pearle Vision licensed operators? In what ways do you assist or work with each other?
I’m part of the Chicago market and we have great licensed operators in that market. We’re friends, and that goes beyond just the business aspect. We have a great rapport and we all interact with each other outside of our businesses, and that kind of relationship is important to surviving and succeeding in business.
We work as a cohesive group here. We try to hold ourselves to a standard and we all help each other out. The competition is not within, it’s outside. We do what we can to build our community. We all work together and it works fantastically.
Beyond the business side of it, there are social events and charitable events. We recently did an event where we helped homeless veterans. We all pulled together and pooled our resources to make it a wonderful, rewarding event. I probably saw nearly 100 to 150 patients at that one time. It’s a very fast-paced environment but it was a really rewarding, great experience.
Outside of our market, there’s an annual summit where we get to meet our peers and colleagues from other areas to interact and share ideas. It’s a really tight-knit community.
What do you love about the brand? What makes you passionate about coming in and going to the Pearle Visions that you own?
I’m passionate about Pearle Vision because I see the future, they see the future and we share that pathway. It’s about growth and building our brand. Pearle Vision has a great name to it. We’re part of this journey.
What advice would you give to somebody who’s considering Pearle Vision, particularly those who are considering Pearle Vision as an opportunity to further their optometrist career?
The advice I would give would be sometimes we think we know what’s best, but we don’t. Take outside advice; it helps you learn, it helps you grow. You might not always agree with the advice at first, but it can really help you. Give it a shot; that’s what we did. We joined our franchise community to seek that advice and use it to help us prosper. We started out in one location; now we’re at four. I think that’s the proof right there that listening to advice works.
Knowing what you know now, would you make the same decision to open Pearle Vision stores?
In a heartbeat, I would do this again. We’re in it for the life of it. It’s a great situation, it’s a great opportunity and we’re doing quite well. We encourage others to join with us.
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