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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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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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Channel Your Inner Pamela Anderson and More April Events

It’s a month devoted to administrators and women and we have some ideas to help you celebrate.

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23 A HUGE date in history. Not only is it the 30th anniversary of the premiere of the most watched TV show ever – Baywatch – but it’s also the date on which both Miguel de Cervantes (author of the second-most-read book in history, Don Quixote) and William Shakespeare (author of several notable titles) died (1605, 1616 respectively). If you can tie together red bathing suits, tilting at windmills and midsummer nights in a marketing campaign, you also deserve to go down in history.

1 WOMEN’S EYE HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARENESS MONTH. According to Prevent Blindness, women make up 63 percent of the blind and 62 percent of the visually impaired. This month, get involved in the effort to educate women about the special risks they face.

22 EARTH DAY. Look into carrying more products that “give back.” Lucky for you we’ll have an entire feature devoted to Eco-Friendly frames in our April issue. Stay tuned if you need pointers.

25 Google “secretary” and you’ll get an image of a woman wearing glasses. It’s a tacky stereotype with a kernel of truth in it — many office workers wear glasses. On ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS DAY give thought to what special corporate package you could offer that office park around the corner.

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Banish Winter Blues by Going Green and More March Events

Don’t miss these important dates.

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17 Banish snakes? You can do better: Banish the winter blues. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect date to raise a toast and bid the cold months farewell. Lay out some green drinks (kombucha, green tea, anything but beer), green foods and give prominent display to any green tinted or environmentally friendly frames. Everyone loves a party … and it’s really not so hard being green.

6 Dentists, celebrated today on Dentist’s Day, and doctors (who are honored on Mar. 30) are great customers and even better referral sources. Reach out to both groups to express your thanks with a card, phone call or flowers.

10 Daylight Savings … Invite your customers to inspect your latest frames during your “Great Leap into Spring Fashion” celebration with special daylight “savings.” Today only!

23 Thirty years ago we all nearly died. A huge asteroid passed within 500,000 miles of Earth — a very close call according to NASA. Luckily, we survived and Near Miss Day was born. In thanks, dig up one of your business’ recent “near misses” and conduct an autopsy. In your next morning meeting, debate what may have saved the sale. A lower price? More questions? Bruce Willis?

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