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Manager's To-Do

Finding Ways to Be Different … and More Manager’s To-Dos for April

There are hundreds of areas where you can differentiate.

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April 2-7

MANAGEMENT Invest time in finding places where you can differentiate your business. These can be big and small. What does your door handle look like? What’s your telephone answering machine message sound like? What’s your 404 error page say? Could you make your cash register receipts more fun? Think of the power of 1,000 points of differentiation. And get busy.

MARKETING Call a brainstorming meeting for Mother’s Day (May 14). Dad and child evening? Mom and daughter event? Cross promotion with a spa? Bring a list of ideas to the meeting and ask the staff to do the same.

TRAINING. Hold a mini-conference right in your own office. Assign each staff person a topic for a 5- to 10-minute presentation. Extra team-building points if you make the event a potluck!

Education. Rita Ellent of The Gardens Eyecare in Forest Hills, NY says that this month, she’ll “attend for the first time that Vision By Design Meeting that I’ve wanted to go to for the past few years (April 11-15)”.

April 9-14

MARKETING If you’ve never done an in-store event give thought to something small – a small trunk show, a product launch, participation in a local craft walk (hey, eyewear design is an art form!) Your goal should just be to get people in the door so they can experience your independent spirit and sow the seeds for a future visit when they have real vision needs.

MEDICAL Find a category of your business you want to improve — such implementing dry eye products packages — and draft an action plan to start making it happen

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MANAGEMENT Some things you should do spontaneously sometimes need to be scheduled. Here’s one: Find time this week for a few quality minutes of conversation with staff. It’ll do wonders for their morale and give you ideas into what motivates them

April 16-21

FINANCES Insurers don’t reward loyalty. In fact, via premium creep, they punish it while giving new customers great deals. Shop around to see if you can get better rates elsewhere.

STRATEGY Got an employee suggestion box? If not, you should create one. Offer $100 (or a paid vacation day) for any idea you implement.

NETWORKING Try networking with other eyecare professionals. Join online groups such as ODs on Facebook and Corporate Optometry on Facebook to see how your fellow professionals are faring elsewhere in the country.

OPERATIONS Sunday is Earth Day. Ban plastic bags from the office, ban water bottles from the kitchen, urge everyone to car pool for a week. It’s not so hard being green.

April 23-28

GENERAL. Study your parking lot. Devise and publicize a policy on staff parking. If necessary, can you encourage staff to take transit to free up spaces for customers? What do you do if a car needs to be towed?

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SECURITY Buy a Suspicious Incident Logbook for employees to record things that appear to be “not quite right.” The log can be used to write down license plate numbers, names used, time, physical description and other information that may later help police.

MANAGEMENT Institute a fun day like Carb-Wild Wednesday, Fried Chicken Friday or, even better, Beer Friday. Good spirits encourage better customer service, innovative thinking and staff loyalty. They also tend to encourage bigger waistlines, but such is the price to pay for bonhomie.

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

Get Your OD’s Cleaning Those Frame Boards and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And planning for Valentine’s Day and VEE should be well underway.

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Jan 26-Feb 1

INVENTORY Buying season is on the way (Vision Expo East starts March 27). It’s time to take a hard look at your inventory.

Feb 2-8

MARKETING Make plans to visit some local nursing homes to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Take flowers and business cards and prepare some vision-related conversational topics.

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TRAINING If your doctors do not do the frame buying, have them straighten up the frame boards at least once every two weeks. This way, they’ll become much more familiar with the product — and your frame sales will increase!

Feb 9-15

INVENTORY In the months ahead of VEE, use Pinterest to build a list of the frames you like, supported with captions that provide the model details (adding the Pinterest button to your browser will make this easier.) When you reach a vendor you’re interested in, whip out your phone and call up your boards.

MARKETING The America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest honors the country’s most innovative eyecare businesses. Enter before it closes in March: invisionmag.com/AFOR.

Feb 16-22

WEBSITE If you haven’t already, post a photo of your storefront on your website, along with text-based directions. It makes it easier for shoppers to find you and eases threshold resistance.

TRAINING Training staff on equipment and procedures always seems like a job for another day. Want an effectively run office? Today is that day.

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Feb 23-29

MARKETING Flex dollars are still out there. Keep reminding people who rolled over 2019 benefits or have spring deadlines.

FINANCES If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years or more, they’re showing their age. Amortize and depreciate them as you do other equipment. Set a budget and plan to acquire new ones routinely. Discard at the first sign of overuse. Faded or dirty elements affect consumer perception.

INSURANCE Organize all insurance plan information. Current information should be in an easily accessible folder.

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Making the Most of that Extra Day and More February Events

Plis ideas for celebrating Punxsutawney Phil and pigskins.

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1 February is LOW VISION AWARENESS MONTH, fire up all of your communications platforms to emphasize the importance of annual eye health and visual performance checks to prevent low vision problems. You can also discuss available treatments or assistance options thanks to the useful resources at allaboutvision.com/lowvision.

1 African Americans have some of the highest rates of vision loss and blindness caused by eye disease in the country — and these rates are getting higher. During BLACK HISTORY MONTH, launch a campaign on the importance of eye exams for people with diabetes, hypertension and other diseases prevalent in the black community.

2 The SUPER BOWL these days is as much a test of a business’s advertising acumen as a sporting event. Make sure you’re ready too. America is watching.

2 OK, here we go again (and again, and again …). It’s GROUNDHOG DAY. Any excuse to have a party. Perhaps something like, “It’s Groundhog Day. 20% off if Phil doesn’t see his shadow!”

29 LEAP YEAR DAY only comes every four years so jump on this sweet little marketing op. Offer discounts to those leaplings who have the fortune — or misfortune —to have been born today. Get out your frog or rabbit promotions. Hoppy Hour, anyone?

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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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