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Manager's To-Do

Do Lunch With a Valued Customer and More October To-Dos

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Oct. 2-7

OPERATIONS  Finalize work schedules through mid-January. Check staff obligations and work around any clashes.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Take a valued customer to lunch. Let her know you’re looking for some feedback on your store, to chat about the local market, and that you’d love to hear her ideas. People get a thrill out of knowing someone’s turned to them for help.

SECURITY Do you sell any goods online? Then you need a trust badge/SSL certification (think of those Norton seals you see at an online checkout). Not having one is a deal-breaker for 17 percent of shoppers. 

Oct. 9-14

DISPLAY Buy items that can do double-duty as Halloween and Thanksgiving items, such as pumpkins and scarecrows.

PRICING Start tinkering with your price strategy. Are you well stocked at your most common price points? Consider how you can take advantage of the season to move pieces that are showing their age.

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NETWORKING Plot ways to get your face out in the community. Dust off your eye health, better vision, or eyewear trend speech, and be a voice in your small business community. 

SOCIAL MEDIA Prepare an editorial calendar for your blog and other social media channels. Aim to post something new every day, be it a blog entry or video. It helps increase your site’s SEO at a time when people are hunting the Web for gifts and gift ideas.

Oct. 16-21

MARKETING Finalize holiday email blasts. Offer gift ideas and exclusive deals. Top five days to send: end of October, Thanksgiving evening, Black Friday mid-morning, Cyber Monday afternoon, a week before Christmas.

OPERATIONS Measure the “true” square footage of your store. An estimated 30 percent of commercial space is wrongly measured, often favoring the landlord. It may not lower your rent, but it’s a good segue into the topic and finding ways your landlord can help you.

THANKSGIVING Start looking into gifts for referring doctors. Cakes and wine do well, but a more personalized gift like a customized bobble head or tickets to see a favorite team ensure these important patient sources remember you.

MARKETING If fashion-related sales are a big part of your business, invite local fashion bloggers to come and play with your holiday inventory.

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Oct. 23-28

EVENTS PLANNING The holiday season starts earlier each year. Check what high-end shops near you are doing. “If you steal one idea it’s plagiarism; if you steal a whole bunch, it’s research,” says consultant Kate Peterson.

TRAINING Create a schedule for daily role-playing sessions in the run-up to the holidays.

SECURITY Security is a bigger issue this time of year. Remind staff to be alert. Check camera angles and function.


This article originally appeared in the September 2017 edition of INVISION.

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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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