For Zain Attawala and Sagar Panjwani, finding a franchise they could join that not only provided a strong, recession-resilient business model but also could be self-sustainable was essential.
The business partners have been dominating the Atlanta, Georgia market, opening 14 My Eyelab locations in three years – and will have 16 units open by year-end.
Paving Their Own Entrepreneurial Journey
Before teaming up in 2017, Zain was an actuarial consultant for a large financial institution. Meanwhile, Sagar was still attending the University of Georgia but was involved in his family’s energy-efficient lighting stores and was familiar with franchising through multiple family investments in pizza and quick-service franchise concepts.
Within their local community in the Atlanta metropolitan area, they’ve been surrounded by a network of business owners, which has influenced them.
“Having been around my family and local community of business owners, I knew I would never work for someone else,” explained Sagar.
Meanwhile, Zain was looking for the right opportunity to invest in a business within the medical and health industry. When they found the My Eyelab franchise opportunity, everything aligned and they decided to join forces.
“We’re motivated by the hard work and sweat it takes to succeed in business and build equity for ourselves,” Sagar added.
Finding the Right Self-Sustainable, Steady Business Model
When the two were thinking about getting into a business and discovered My Eyelab, the company had just begun franchising and was looking for candidates who wanted to take the business model and run with it.
“It’s a more stable model compared to quick-service restaurant franchises and other franchises out there,” said Sagar.
Healthcare, especially within the framework of a retail business, has proven to be resilient in the face of challenging economic climates. The primary revenue generator for My Eyelab isn’t through conducting a high volume of eye exams. Instead, the optical aspect of the business is the means to facilitate sales through retail eyewear.
“In our experience, it doesn’t take much time to get cash flow positive with these stores,” Sagar explained.
According to the business partners, they’ve been able to become profitable rapidly because they’ve adhered to the business model. By doing so, they didn’t have to wait for the first business to become profitable in order to expand and open additional units.
“In most cases, you can open a store that’s profitable from Day 1 if you’re following the recipe,” Sagar added.
So, when Zain and Sagar developed their business plan, they decided they were going to go big.
“We weren’t getting into business to open three or four stores,” said Sagar. “We wanted to build a system of stores that would eventually be self-sustainable so we could step away one day if need be and the network would be on auto-pilot.”
Accordingly, their aggressive expansion plan was the only plan that made sense to them.
Being a Value-Driven Retail Franchise within the Health Industry
Supporting Zain and Sagar’s multi-unit growth has been their belief in the brand. The business partners appreciate the value-based aspect of the My Eyelab business model.
“We represent more of the value segment of the retail optical industry,” explained Sagar. “If there’s a recession or if people don’t want to spend too much money on glasses, they’ll probably stop going to our competitors that sell one pair of glasses for $500.”
To them, looking at My Eyelab as a retail business with a medical component is crucial to success. The main profit driver is selling eyewear and contacts.
Another advantage of the My Eyelab business model has consistently proven over the course this year, in particular, is telehealth. Whereas most, if not all, of Zain and Sagar’s competitors had to shut their doors and figure out how to allow their customers to safely see doctors on-site, the duo was able to remain open and operating because of the ability to perform virtual refraction and maintain social distancing inside their stores.
Giving Back to their Communities
The business partners aren’t keeping their success to themselves.
With the strong growth they’ve experienced, they’ve been able to establish and give back to causes that are important to them. For example, they’ve been able to dedicate a portion of their revenue to support philanthropic projects in communities in Pakistan and India.
“There’s a certain percentage that we dedicate towards our projects that help underserved communities in Pakistan, India and other countries,” said Sagar. “It’s been a motivation for us to wake up and work hard every morning.”
The donations primarily go toward education and micro-lending projects that can help provide a much-needed lift.
My Eyelab Multi-Unit Franchise Opportunities
Zain and Sagar don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon with plans to grow beyond 20 units within the next five years. Both are proof that dreams can become reality through hard work, integrity and passion.