The Eyecare Place delivers top quality prescription eyewear with a level of service that will blow you away. Just look at their Google and Facebook ratings and reviews.
Stop and talk with Chhaya for a few minutes and you will see a passionate and caring man determined to deliver the best to his patients.
Join me in this week’s Business Success Interview as I sit down with the passionate and caring owner of The Eyecare Place, Chhaya Sei.
What three words best describe you?
Patient, caring and determined.
[pullquote]It’s the opportunity to take care of people that I want.[/pullquote]
What motivates you to succeed?
It’s a bit cliché to say but my family and my kids. That is a part of it. To me, It’s not a matter of success. If I succeed that great. It’s the opportunity to take care of people that I want. Success is a loose term. Success is making someone happy no matter how you do it. It’s having good mental happiness overall.
How have you developed key partnerships in business?
A lot of people knew me through the business. I built my reputation working in the field by keeping a good attitude toward others and being willing to help. Being willing to take the opportunity to do the right thing.
I nurtured relationships with those around me. It’s really just networking and connecting with people.
What is one thing you find true that other people may disagree with?
I don’t find doing business hard. If you love doing what you do and you value what you do it’s easy. Doing the right thing taking care of the customer. People believe it’s stressful working. I say life is stressful all the time, it makes me sound like I am working all the time, but I love it.
How did you make your first sale?
It came easy because people already knew me. It was a previous client from the company where I was before. They knew, no matter what it was, I would take care of them.
[pullquote]Our first 6 months was rough because not everyone knew where I was.[/pullquote]
What was the major turning point for your company where it became profitable?
It took 2 or 3 years to turn a profit. Our first 6 months was rough because not everyone knew where I was. It took some time and dedication from my employees but we made it. Without them, it would have been impossible.
How do you overcome the moments of doubt that stop most entrepreneurs from becoming successful?
In a moment of doubt just don’t think about it. People are afraid of failure, but if it is something you like, something you know, just jump in and do it. Build your clientele, love what you do have fun with it and success will happen for you.
How do you identify business opportunities and how do you determine what is worth your time?
I look at every patient as an opportunity to do what I love. I will occasionally take a loss to help my patients, but each of them is worth my time and effort. I am going to do the job no matter what even if it hurts a little. Sometimes you need to suck it up for the customer.
How do you define success in business?
More opportunities. Every time an opportunity comes, take advantage of it. Having people know the kind of person you are and that you will take care of them will define you as being successful.
[pullquote]Strive to take care of the customer and everything else will follow.[/pullquote]
How have you achieved it with your company?
By not turning anyone away. Always saying yes and making sure everyone has quality care. I take care of my employees and know they will take care of my customers. Strive to take care of the customer and everything else will follow.
To what do you most attribute your company’s success?
God and having faith in him. God is first, my employees second and then my patients. They are all necessary for success.
[pullquote]You have to have your heart in it 100%.[/pullquote]
What would you say are 3-5 key elements to running a successful business?
You have to have your heart in it 100%. You have to have the right people around you, people that are a good influence. Be positive, thankful no matter the outcome and have patience.
What do you think contributes the most to a company’s long-term success?
Your heart has to be in it. I see myself doing this for years. If my heart wasn’t in it, it would just drag by. Having faith in God and what I do is the key to long-term success.
How important have your employees been to your success?
Very important. Having the right kind of people work for you makes or breaks your business.
How do you find people to bring on as employees that care for the organization the way you do?
I look for a positive person that has a pleasant attitude and is willing to have fun. I want people who are caring and soothing. I am less about the skills and more about the person. You can’t teach character but you can teach skills.
How do you motivate employees to stay with your company?
I am lenient with them. I build a trusting relationship and they know I will take care of them. I try to make sure there is laughter here no matter what is going on in their lives.
How do you go about marketing your company?
I did Shopper magazine, flyers, health events and signs to begin with. Now I am down to Facebook and Shopper magazine.
[pullquote]Every chance you get to take care of a customer comes back to you.[/pullquote]
What is your most effective form of marketing?
Word of mouth and I know that’s common but you can’t beat a good referral. Every chance you get to take care of a customer comes back to you.
Tell me about a time when your marketing failed to meet your expectations.
I won’t say it failed. I have done banners for the school football field. Sponsoring is something I don’t mind doing but I haven’t had anything come from it. I also had a church that wanted to put the advertisement on their bulletin so I paid to have it done and didn’t get any hits. I don’t see potential growth from things like that and I don’t expect it but I am doing something for the community and I like that.
[pullquote]I expect to do 300% growth this year over that.[/pullquote]
What has your company growth been like for the past year?
The first 6 months we did 100k and the first year topped that with 4 1/2 – 5 times the amount. I expect to do 300% growth this year over that.
What do you think is responsible for this rate of growth?
My customers finding my location and word of mouth. The way we treat our customers keeps them referring us to others.
What has been your biggest business mistake?
I wouldn’t call it a mistake or a regret. I wish I had open the store earlier. I wish someone had taught me I could get my licenses and open my own place as an optician.
How did you handle it and what was your biggest takeaway?
Whoever comes along and wants to do this in the future I am going to try and help them. I will help mold them and get them started.
What has been your biggest success, and how did you contribute to it?
Going through the motions and process of opening my store has been the biggest. I attribute that to having a lot of patience, faith in God and the people around me.
[pullquote]I don’t think many people realize I am willing to jump through hoops to get things done for them for a good price.[/pullquote]
What is something you want people to know about your company that they don’t already?
I am striving to be able to do more for my patients without killing their pocket. I don’t think many people realize I am willing to jump through hoops to get things done for them for a good price.
If you could travel back to the first day of this company and have 15 minutes with your younger self, what advice would you want to give?
I would say don’t be hesitant to ask for help. The first 6 months were scary and I didn’t think I was going to make it. I wanted to take care of the customer but at the same time not hurt myself. Don’t be afraid to move forward, you will make it.
I appreciate Chhaya sitting down with me and I had a great time with this interview. If you would like more information on The Eyecare Place, or if you know someone that needs top quality prescription eyewear at ridicuously low prices, visit www.theeyecareplacega.com.