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Manager's To-Do

Approach Your Business Like A Customer Would and More Manager’s To-Dos for July

Plus don’t underestimate the power of mini-breaks or shortened work weeks during warmer months.

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Every summer we like to evaluate all our vendors and make sure we are buying from ones that are congruent with our values, with our mission. We do a cost analysis and see who we are going to keep and who we’re going to let go. The summer is always good because sunglasses sales are big so we reevaluate that as well. We’re excited to see what vendors get to stay and which have got to go. — Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL

June 30-July 6

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT It’s parade season: Time to don frog suits, like the staff at Clarity Advanced Eyecare in Birmingham, MI, with their mascot, Miss Frog, or some other unforgettable costumed character and join in the July 4th festivities. Spread a message of fun, community involvement and vision health.

PLANNING If you can’t get away for a longer vacation this summer, plan some mini breaks. Even if it’s just three hours away, treat it like a real vacation. Splurge, take pictures, and go offline to ensure you get the maximum benefits. Your brain will thank you.

July 7-13

OPERATIONS Are there some summer days when you show up and just pretend to work? This month, experiment with an abbreviated week. Knowing you have less time in the store or practice to get things done may just prompt a burst of productivity — and give you the chance to better enjoy the warm months.

MARKETING Assemble “cleaning kits” for your young patients. Include solution, cloth and membership papers to the Secret 4 I’s Society – they meet annually. And before you start getting sentimental about the joy of childhood, start cleaning all those demo lenses.

July 14-20

ONLINE To stay relevant you should refresh your website every two years and tweak it every six months. That six months is up.

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SECURITY Place discrete height markers along the doorways so police looking at surveillance footage can determine how tall a robber is.

STORE Usually, the direction of customer-traffic flow is influenced by features around the store, like the location of a parking lot, a mall courtyard, or a public transportation station. Maybe a tree branch is blocking the side view of your store sign?

July 21-27

STORE PET It’s not just sales associates who need regular training. Your store hound’s greeting skills could no doubt do with some sharpening as well. Look into providers in your area.

MANAGEMENT Undertake office reviews to tighten up operations; people become comfortable with the way things are done, however inefficient. Review everything— capture rate for contact lens wearers, speed of patient flow, paperwork — then blow it up, and consider if there’s a better way. This is the summer of disruption.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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Manager's To-Do

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule and More Manager’s To-Dos for November

Plus a reader tip for how she get this things done in a day.

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Nov. 3-9

LAYOUT Do a quick test of your store’s circulation. Look out for pathway dead-ends and store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space kill the “spirit” of a store and the impulse to buy.

MANAGEMENT Novemburrrrrr! Winter is on the way and with it, flu season. Recommend staff members get a flu shot, on company time if need be.

MARKETING Prepare an editorial calendar for your blog and other social media channels. Aim to post something new every day, be it a blog, Facebook comment or new video. It will all help increase your main website’s SEO at the time of year when people are scouring the Internet for gifts and gift ideas.

Nov. 10-16

MARKETING It’s high season for functions. Accept all invitations to parties, Chamber of Commerce events, neighborhood fundraisers, open houses and mixers. Check your stock of business cards. Volunteer to be a speaker to talk about what your business has to offer.

ONLINE Mobile devices are expected to drive about 70 percent of all Christmas related retail traffic this year. Test your website and any apps to ensure the customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops. It often doesn’t.

Nov. 17-23

MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what promotions will run when.

IN-STORE Investigate what it would take to allow prospective patients to take a virtual tour of your store or practice. Google provides a list of “trusted pro” photographers in your local area as part of its efforts to promote Street View. See here: www.google.com/streetview/contacts-tools.

Nov. 24-30

MARKETING Your Flex Dollars are expiring! Your flex dollars are expiring! Yes, this is how simple (and how loud) your message to customers should be over the next two weeks. Add a daily countdown graphic to your website.

OPERATIONS Done well, meetings ensure everyone is on the same page, not just with store policy, but with promotions, inventory and equipment. Why not invite a vendor in to lead a weekly meeting with a focus on getting the most out of those fancy tools you’ve installed?

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Come Up With 20 (New) Questions and More November Events

And we’ve got an idea for a social media post any independent ECP can do.

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28 Two hundred and thirty years ago, President George Washington created the first holiday by presidential declaration, ordering America to take a day off to give thanks for its many blessings. To get in the spirit of Thanksgiving and gratitude, send a goodie bag of lens cleaner, lens wipes, and a mini bottle of wine (Seeing Red!) or whatever you can imaginatively come up with, to your best 50 customers. It’s likely they provide an outsize contribution to your success.

19 Peter Drucker was born this day 110 years ago. Among his many contributions to the management field, perhaps his most important was his maxim that if you’re a manager, staying aware of what genuinely deserves your attention is the most crucial thing you can do. Mark his birthday by saying no to something that you feel is vaguely important, but if you’re being brutally honest, you don’t have time for.

24 The quiz show Twenty Questions made its debut on national TV on this day 70 years ago. Mark the occasion with a brainstorming session to come up with 20 surefire questions to get your customers talking, other than “Can I help you?”

30 Small Business Saturday … Print up a T-shirt emblazoned with the Small Business Saturday logo. Take a picture of yourself wearing it. Post on social media.

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The Internet is Middle Aged and More October Events

And beware those household chemicals; the entire month is dedicated to eye safety at home.

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1-31 From flying leaf blower debris to splashed household cleaners, the average American home is a leading contributor to the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur each year. During Home Eye Safety Awareness Month, do your bit to educate patients on the potential perils and preventative actions they should be taking … starting with protective eyewear. Also, check your homepage has emergency contact information clearly displayed.

01 You know the arguments well by now: “Don’t do co-op advertising because you’re spending good ad dollars building up somebody else’s brand,” countered by, “It’s a brand age — the big names bring in the dollars and foot traffic and you should jump on those coattails.” At the start of Co-Op Awareness Month, when the holiday-season offers begin pouring in, weigh the pros and cons.

09 A little-appreciated fact: Teddy Bears look great in glasses. On National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day, feature a few bespectacled teddies in your cases.

29 Think the Internet is a fairly recent invention? It turns 50 today. Yes, it’s middle aged and bloated, but it still gets better every year. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure, sit down today and map out a more aggressive online strategy. The future is not waiting for you.

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