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Calendar: March-April 2014

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Nine key dates that eyecare professionals should be thinking about in the coming months.

MARCH 17 / Since your clients are already sporting green clothes, chugging green beer and snarfing green cupcakes on ST. PATRICK’S DAY, the idea of them donning green prescription eyewear specifically for this raucous holiday is not that outlandish. Make the point to your customers that for those who want to mark the holiday in style, bowler hats and head-to-toe wearing of the green doesn’t exactly cut it. (The key words here are “in style.”) Instead, convince them that a few well-situated accessories — green shoes, green tie (or scarf) and green glasses — are the way to go.

MARCH 25 / Optometrists and opticians play a key role in identifying clients suffering from diabetes, a disease whose sufferers go undiagnosed as much as 50 percent of the time. AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION ALERT DAY is a good time to inform your patients about the important role that regular eye exams can play in identifying cases of diabetes. Also remind them that frequent eye exams are essential for anyone already diagnosed with diabetes. (Note: April is also DEFEAT DIABETES MONTH, so continue your campaign then. And see our Best of the Best feature on page 58 for information on how to add diabetes management to your practice.)

MARCH 26 / The education program opens, marking THE START OF VISION EXPO EAST, America’s largest event for eyecare professionals. This year, don’t just wander the aisles aimlessly. Instead, create a plan for shopping the show. Start picking your targets with the eyewear, sunwear, lens and tools/equipment coverage in INVISION.

MARCH 29 / A decade ago it seemed that being local, independent and service-minded (compared to price) were all liabilities in the face of the big box onslaught. Now they are competitive strengths. On NATIONAL MOM AND POP BUSINESS OWNERS DAY, revisit your marketing to see how you’re playing up those advantages.

APRIL 1 / It’s that time again. The one day of the year when anything — well, almost anything — goes. Rather than painting the bathroom door handle with Vaseline again, try to make this year’s APRIL FOOL’S DAY gag an instructive one. Have a friend come to your store or practice and play a difficult client … for instance, a demanding foreigner with an impossible-to-comprehend accent. Watch your staff struggle to handle him. Eventually, you’ll all have a good laugh. But you’ll also get an idea of how they work under pressure.

APRIL 2 / Ann Landers knew a thing or two about feuds — she didn’t talk to her twin sister (Dear) Abby for years. It may have been why she was such an advocate of RECONCILIATION DAY. While grudges and recalled slights can occasionally be good motivators, for the most part they just consume time and energy. Today, think of a relationship (commercial or personal) that soured, and write a note to that person saying you’d like to bury the hatchet, or just wish them the best in the future.

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APRIL 7 / If you like golf, and have customers who do as well, you’ll probably be watching golf’s THE MASTERS tournament, which runs today through April 13. This year, use the classic event to your business advantage by tracking the sunwear that top players are wearing and noting when you have something similar in stock. Try a blog post on your website and/or an email directed at your golfing clients.

APRIL 10 / Today is THE 100TH DAY OF THE YEAR. And an excellent point for a little self-assessment. How have you progressed on the goals you’ve set for yourself this year?

APRIL 12 / Is your life (or business) getting a little stale? If so, today’s a great day to shake things up. It’s WALK ON YOUR WILD SIDE DAY and time to do something a little crazy — maybe you could follow in the footsteps of Rachel Sommer of Manitoba, Canada, who works as an optometrist by day and stand-up comedian by night. (Catch a bit of her schtick at invmag.us/3147) Billing herself as “The World’s Funniest Optometrist,” Sommer has even created a optometry-based TV pilot that she plans to pitch to Canadian TV execs.

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An Excuse to Celebrate ‘Nothing’ and More July Events

A couple of ‘Dirty Thirty’ birthdays worth noting.

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3 The extreme heat across the country last year had people rushing to the sanctuary of air-conditioned malls. On AIR CONDITIONING APPRECIATION DAY, let the sweaty, heaving crowds know they’re always welcome in your store with some good old-fashioned lemonade and an invitation to relax and browse. Your summer policy: “No heat. No pressure.”

5 If your customers are “thirty-something singles with vague identities, no roots, and conscious indifference to morals,” then they’d probably respond to a SEINFELD Night to mark the 30th Anniversary of its premiere. Plan an event about nothing … a few beers, peruse the frame boards and wonder if Kramer was an insurance frame board or independent brand kind of guy.

23 Someone else turns 30 this month – probably the most famous spectacle-wearing child in the world. Yes, Harry Potter! DANIEL RADCLIFFE is entering his third decade. Celebrate the movie franchise that made glasses cool for kids. Eisenbrei Plaza Optical in Canton, OH, does a fun themed video and giveaways of Harry Potter items every year.

24 One of the few areas where Walmart is beating Amazon is with “buy online, pickup instore,” which is growing rapidly, especially in suburban areas. On NATIONAL DRIVE-THRU DAY, give thought to curbside pickup as an extension to your dispensary.

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Start a Campaign of Fear and More June Events

Plus, sometimes letting your business go to the dogs is a good thing.

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21 Ask any Washington insider and they’ll tell you the best way to start a campaign is with a solid base of fear. When it comes to the sunny months ahead — summer officially begins today — and people’s need to protect their eyes, there’s plenty to be scared about. Skipping shades contributes to AMD, pterygium, basal cell carcinoma, cataracts and more. Yet according to The Vision Council’s 2015 UV protection report, more than one-third of parents said their kids never wear sunglasses. Prep your inventory. Get social. Get out in your community. Instill fear.

1 Sales of audiobooks have surged over the last 15 years as smartphones made downloads as easy as a tap of the finger. During Audiobook Appreciation Month, do a Google search for “bestselling business audiobooks” and catch up on some of the great management advice that’s been published recently.

23 Dogs with faces only their owners could love gather at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Hold a similar competition. Ask your staff to vote on what they think is the most aesthetically challenged style in the store.

27 Happy Birthday to You turns 160. Send a singing telegram to any patient who shares a birthday with the world’s most sung song. Include a gift to be claimed in-store.

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Take a Cue from the Top 40 Format and and More May Events

And don’t forget it’s a month devoted to healthy vision.

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Todd Storz

8 If you doubt the power of your best-sellers, consider the origins of the Top 40. Todd Storz, who was born on this day 95 years ago, had a radio station in Omaha. He saw patrons at his local bar playing the same songs on the jukebox they’d just aired during his shift — over and over again. The format Storz devised is why you heard My Sharona three times an hour in 1979. The same turn-and-earn principle governs the operations of 7-11. Today, whistle My Sharona in honor of Storz’s discovery, and run a turn/earn analysis of your inventory.

1 Healthy Vision Month was born out of the sad fact that millions of people living in the U.S. have undetected vision problems, eye diseases and conditions. Join the campaign to raise awareness in your community.

3 National Two Different Colored Shoes Day is held to celebrate diversity. Put an inclusive foot forward: Go two-tone. (Or, in the same spirit, if you’d rather celebrate heterochromia, National Different Colored Eyes Day is observed July 12.)

12 The Birthdate Of Buddha is a perfect time to reflect on one of his significant lessons: Focus on what’s important and on what works and let go of the rest. This applies to advice offered by mentors and staff, the work practices you use now and what you read in INVISION. Invite input, keep an open mind, and then declutter.

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