In Part 1 (Laying the Groundwork and Setting Pre-Design Expectations) we discussed finding your dream team, creating a budget, and developing a realistic timeline to ensure your project is set up for success. In Part 2 we will be discussing the design process, realizing your vision for the space, and next steps.
Finding YOUR space!
Picking the right space for your business is a key component of being successful! Do your research when considering certain spaces or cities. Location is key…think about finding a space where you can bring in new clients, satisfy already established clients, and grow your business (even if that isn’t in your plans- you never know where the future may take you).
We recommend contacting local organizations in the cities you are considering, like City Hall or Chamber of Commerce. Organizations like these can provide you with answers to questions you have about the city, as well as share with you current listings of locations for rent/sale. It can also be a great opportunity to establish a relationship with key contacts at the city. We had a client who followed our advice and built a relationship with the Business Development group in their city, and through the relationship was able to avoid delays when issues arose in the permitting process for an existing space they were renovating.
Realizing YOUR Vision!
Once you have selected a space the real work begins. This is when you will begin working with your DREAM TEAM! As mentioned in Part 1 it is very important to pick a team you feel confident in! It is their job to help you develop your vision for the space.
Starting the design process with brainstorming sessions and “pinning” is very important. Scrolling through images of spaces you like and don’t like will help you realize the look and feel you want to create for your business. Create boards on websites like Pinterest with all your ideas! If you don’t have Pinterest, no worries! Do a quick google search for “Optical Space Design” and see what pops up! Once you find a few spaces you like, take screenshots and show your design team! At this point in the design process no idea is a “bad idea”, the more ideas the better as it will help you narrow down exactly what it is you are looking for.
After you have thoroughly browsed for ideas, the next step is to get picky and narrow down what you want for your space- this is the time to get serious. Think about things like theft deterrence (do you need it?), the amount of storage you would like to have, how many frames you want to display, etc. Thinking about these things ahead of time will save you time and money as you narrow down the design.
Developing YOUR Space
Optometry has changed in many ways over the last few years and perhaps the most important consideration to be given when designing a layout is the list of rooms you need to establish efficient process and business flow. Ask yourself things like… “How many exam lanes do I need?”, “Do I need to make special provisions for equipment?”, “How big of a break room does my staff need?”.
[Not sure which questions to ask? Check out our Design Survey for a few ideas!] Thinking about these things before you start the layout process will help you establish a general process flow that your design team can expand on. A well thought out professional space can eliminate the need to move later if sales volumes increase beyond initial expectations.
Once you have a general space layout, think about the dispensary (“sales”) environment you want to create. Keep in mind…a clean, neat, and well-arranged space is more conducive to sales. Do not try to overwhelm the space with too many frames. We could go on and on with advice on how to display frames, but for the sake of this post we will just include links to some of our other blog posts on the subject.
– Preparing Your Space for New Frames
– Follow the Leader? Trends in the Industry!
– The Sales Magic of Display
– Answers to you FAQS
– Your New Office
Your design team should meet with you to evaluate your business needs then help you decide what the most efficient flow and design for the space will be.
Drawings, Permits, and Building
After the layout has been developed and your design direction has been solidified it is time for the project to begin “on paper”. Your design team will work with you to develop drawings of the space and you will begin to see your vision become a reality. But you aren’t done just yet…next you will need to satisfy the requirements of the municipality in which you are located and the building landlord’s conditions. Requirements often include building permits, which involve an architect’s stamp and submittal to the city. Not all projects need permits. Prior to beginning your design project, it is important to check with your landlord and/or contractor to see what all is required.
Take a deep breath and don’t forget it’s about YOU!
This all can seem a bit overwhelming…rely on your dream team- they will walk you through all the necessary steps to make sure your project is a success. As a design client it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. All this hard work will pay off in the end; you are opening a business/or remodeling an existing space and that is exciting! Don’t forget in the hustle and bustle of it all, this really is about you. Your design team is there to help you, the contractor is there to build the space for you, the owner of the business is you.
– Be involved. It is important that you are very involved from the get-go. It may seem like a lot of time and energy up front, but it will pay off in the end.
– Think about your budget. Be realistic, know your budget and stick to it! The team you work with should work within your budget to get you the look you want without compromising the budget you have set. There are many ways to make designs more cost effective.
— Get non-locking rods vs. locking rods
— Utilize panel layering– instead of a laminate panel with an added acrylic panel and frame supports just do an acrylic panel with frame supports, or perhaps just a laminate panel with frame supports.
— Color selection/materials– choosing a “standard” color or a less expensive material can help with overall costs and often the change isn’t even noticeable!
– Take your time. Taking extra time up front and not rushing through the steps can save you countless dollars once you start building. (Your New Office).
– Stay organized. You don’t want to be the reason your project gets behind schedule. Make sure you set aside time to review drawings or communications from your design team and contractor. This is a very important part of the design process to ensure the team is building the exact space you want.
Check back in for Part 3 to learn about taking the plunge and preparing your space for business!