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Manager's To-Do

Crunch Those Year-End Numbers and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And other tips for getting your inventory in top shape for Vision Expo.

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Feb. 4-9

INVENTORY By now, sales reps should have year-end numbers showing how well each of their frame lines performed in 2018 after returns and any other post-sale factors. Ask for their data. With information on turn ratios, you can make comparisons with the performance of your own stock and plan your 2019 buying.
design “We’re looking at redesigning our office. It’s been about 9 or 10 years and we just want to keep it fresh. We’ve seen that if you display things correctly with the right cutting edge, it makes a huge difference.”

PROCEDURES Call a staff meeting and ask all employees for opinions on current procedures.

MERCHANDISING Valentine cards bring some seasonal life to your cases, boards or window displays. Better than the drugstore variety are those drawn by a child. Draft your kids — anyone’s kids — to create some Valentine’s Day cards, says display expert Larry Johnson.

Feb. 11-16

BUYING The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize campaign typically releases its Spring/Summer trend kit around now. Look for it on eyecessorize.com.

SEO Creating a ton of content on a company blog that Google can’t ignore may seem daunting, but it’s not so hard. Start with the 100 questions customers ask most and turn them into 100 blog posts with those questions as the titles. If you write two times per week, that’s a whole year’s worth of fresh content.

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BUYING Start your buying research for Vision Expo East (March 21-24). Stock up on fashion mags or start a private Pinterest wish list board.

Feb. 18-23

OPERATIONS It’s time to get your backroom organized. Purchase a small storage unit and go overboard with a label maker.

MARKETING Look into starting an email/text/voicemail program with a provider to enhance recall capture.

Feb. 25-Mar. 2

LIGHTING Bring in a consultant for a day. With his help, you may be able to replace tungsten halogen bulbs with LEDs and make other changes to add sparkle to your showroom. The savings will soon pay back the fee, says Ruth Mellergaard of interior design firm GRID/3.

SAFETY Buy a power-surge protector. A POS meltdown can be costly.

TRAINING Lifestyle questions create an opportunity to offer products ­— specifically second pairs — that will benefit customers doing the things where they spend their spare hours. They just need to be made aware. Pick up the tab on some coffees — we’re talking lifestyle after all — and invite staff to brainstorm ways to introduce outside interests into the sales conversation.

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

Tips for Wrapping Up All Those Little Year-End Tasks and More Manager’s To-Dos for December and January

Including billing, Flex Spending, recalls and sales incentives for all.

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Dec. 1-7

OPERATIONS Push to get all pending billing done so you are ready for the busy end-of-year holiday period.

MARKETING We trust flex spending reminders adorn all communications. But take it to a new level with a year-end sale to drive use. It’s a double savings! And a good way for you to get rid of some aging inventory.

Dec. 8-14

OPERATIONS Only two weeks to go until Christmas. If you offer extended hours, be sure to promote that on your website and social media channels.

WEBSITE Add a sign-up to your website for customers to receive news or promotions. Give all employees a personalized address for customer emails. Update the copyright on your site to 2020.

Dec. 15-21

SERVICE Refine your intake procedure for repairs. Are you giving accurate estimates on delivery times and not disappointing customers? Can you offer a “rush” fee? Are you taking digital photos during intake so clients can’t claim that you damaged them?

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Dec. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Before you close Christmas Eve thank every team member personally for their effort.

Dec. 29-Jan. 4

MANAGEMENT Need a big goal for 2020? Try reducing the number of insurance plans you accept. Then staff can focus on understanding the remaining policies and codes.

OPERATIONS The next few months are typically the coldest all year. Have a plan if severe weather interrupts business. Could you, for example, offer a 2 percent discount for every inch of snow that falls if customers brave conditions to come in?

Jan. 5-11

MANAGEMENT Start strategic planning by calculating the dollar value of every customer = average purchase in your business per year x 20 years. It should be a heck of a lot of money. Post it for everyone to see in the back room.

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MERCHANDISING What can you promote for Valentine’s Day gifts? Highlight these in email bulletins and catchy displays.

Jan. 12-18

OPERATIONS Investigate outsourcing medical billing. Explanation of benefits, actual billing and follow-up is often time consuming and takes time away from providing patient care.

Jan. 19-25

CUSTOMER SERVICE Use your EHR to find patients who have not responded to recall notices and are overdue. Call and ask how they are doing.

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Coming Up with Your 2020 Resolution and More New Year Events

And we’re calling for a return of National Opticians Day, who’s with us?

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DECEMBER

2 CIDER MONDAY! We like this date: It’s an invitation for shoppers to visit a real store and touch real products and be greeted with a warm cup of cider. First observed by Toadstool Bookshop in New Hampshire, it offers a delightful twist on Cyber Monday, which kicks off the online shopping season today … got a special on your website? You should.

31 2020 implies vision and clarity. It demands something bolder than usual when it comes to New Year hopes, dreams and resolutions. Our suggestion? A pledge to work on your ‘Leadership’ (strategic) skills not just your management (operational) skills. Build yourself a business, not a job.

JANUARY

1 20 years ago, January 1999 was celebrated in the U.S. as National Opticians Month. Sadly, it was a one-off but the struggle goes on. Amid a lack of official recognition, make sure the pivotal role your opticians play is explained on your site and practice materials. Many still need help seeing their value.

16 National Nothing Day was started 45 years ago to provide Americans with one day they didn’t have to celebrate anything. A better use for you: how can you leverage more “nothing days” to drive traffic and smooth out revenue between the big retail seasons.

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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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