Summit 2018: Urquhart Opticians - Our Journey

The Summit Entrepreneurship Awards in November is a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate these successes and to provide further inspiration to those who want to follow a similar path.

I’ve been a member of Entrepreneurial Scotland for a number of years now and my entrepreneurial journey really kicked on when four years ago I bought Urquhart Opticians with long-time friend Alistair Duff. We were from the same village and sharing mutual interests meant that our paths often crossed, but never did we expect to run a business together. Urquhart Opticians was established in 1916 and was a traditional independent opticians, with a very loyal patient base. We quickly identified an opportunity to modernise areas of our service, to provide a more premium and unique product offering and to embed a culture where community and care is at the very heart of everything that we do.

I’d always wanted to own a business and I feel I’ve always been commercially very aware, looking for opportunities, thinking about how things can be done more effectively and more efficiently. This started at an early age during my Saturday job working for a Fruit Merchants when I was given lots of exposure to dealing with clients, the importance of meeting their needs, the challenges of getting paid, the issues with selling a product with a limited shelf life and the importance of culture and team management. It was tough, manual, labour but we it gave me a solid grounding.

Fast forward 15 years and I now have my own team of 20 or so, with significant ambition to grow the business further. Like most others, our industry is very competitive, nationally and regionally. It’s a challenging market but there is always opportunity and within every sector, there is room for disruption, including ours. Being part of Entrepreneurial Scotland allows me to challenge my thinking on a daily basis, to get better at what we do and think more about why we do it. Entrepreneurial Scotland has provided me with the opportunity of getting access to untold business advice from those much more experienced than I am, and this access to coaching/mentoring has given me the confidence to take on each stage of the journey so far.

In addition to this, it’s the connectedness that adds further value to my entrepreneurial experience. Business leaders supporting one another is a powerful driver for an Entrepreneurial Scotland and without this we won’t create the skilled employment necessary to sustain future generations.

The Summit Entrepreneurship Awards in November is a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate these successes and to provide further inspiration to those who want to follow a similar path.

STV and Entrepreneurial Scotland have joined forces to launch a new initiative celebrating entrepreneurship across Scotland. The 2018 Summit Entrepreneurship Awards will showcase inspirational stories which explore the entrepreneurial mindset, illustrate brilliance and highlight the value to our country’s economy and broader society. STV and Entrepreneurial Scotland are calling on innovators, visionaries and game-changers – no matter what stage they are at in their journey – to come forward and take part. 

Get involved at: SummitScot | Sponsored by Barclays UK & Deloitte UK