Tip Sheet: July-August 2014

The vision was primarily that eyewear is jewelry for eyes or the face.

Words to Remember

In describing the thought process behind the design of her store, Sonoma Eyeworks, in May’s “America’s Finest” feature in INVISION, owner Cindy Harmon provided a quote that’s important enough to repeat in this issue, if not print on the first page of your employee manual, and possibly even tattoo onto your arm. Says Harmon: “The vision was primarily that eyewear is jewelry for eyes or the face.” That’s a fantastic way to think about what you are selling — one that makes every sale both more meaningful and more fun.

Too Good to be True?

Test new advertising mediums with an offer that’s “too good to be true.” Let’s say you plan to spend $5,000 with a radio station. Try spending the first $1,000 this way: Create an ad offering a $150 pair of designer sunglasses for only $10 for the first 10 people who come in with the secret code-word. Your cost is $500 for the advertisement, and $500 to subsidize your product cost. If 10 people don’t respond to your ad, you’ve likely saved yourself $4,000 on a medium that probably wouldn’t have worked for you. Of course, if they’re lined up 20-deep outside your store, you will certainly be advertising on that station again soon (though probably not with such a jaw-dropping offer).

Cool Cross-Marketing

It’s summer vacation season, and until the back-to-school rush starts, it may be a slow time for your business. Take a cue from Dr. Mary Boname of Montgomery Eye Care in Skillman, NJ. She donates water — one inexpensive case of 24 bottles at a time — to the nearby gym where she works out. Each bottle bears a sticker with her practice name, so she gets her business in front of new people and keeps them hydrated, too.

Try a Small Courtesy

Give your satisfied customers a handy tool to spread the word about your business. Put a dozen small courtesy cards into the case along with every pair of glasses you sell. Cards can read something like: “You love my glasses, don’t you? Get your own perfect pair at Acme Eyecare.” Add URL, address, phone and a special offer as necessary.


Put on Your Party Dress

Though dress codes are a powerful business-branding tool, they are not for everyone. Nevertheless, even if you don’t have a store/practice dress code on regular business days, it’s a smart move to have one for special store events like trunk shows. Having a uniform look makes it easier for customers to identify your team members in the crowd. What kind of look? You can’t go wrong with basic black.

Speak, Wait, Listen

Just about everybody believes they need to improve their speaking skills. Yet just about nobody wants to do the one thing that can help them improve fastest: to listen to recordings of their voices. Christy Fletcher, a spokesperson for QVC, advises you use this trick: Don’t play the recording back immediately. “You must allow time to separate yourself from whatever you have recorded, so you can be more objective,” she says in a column for eHow. “Record something. Wait a day. Then listen to your voice.”

Egg on Your Face

Have you ever screwed up, big-time? As a business owner, it’s time to step up and take responsibility. In his book 1,001 Ways to Energize Employees, Bob Nelson describes the actions of one tech company founder after a disastrous earning cycle. During one of his company’s annual conferences, he walked up on stage and discussed in great detail a mistake he had made. He then proceeded to smash three fresh eggs on his forehead.