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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 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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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.

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Winter is Coming and More December and January Events

Who says glasses are just for summer?

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DECEMBER

21 We associate sunglasses with summer days, but WINTER poses the greater threat to the eye. Snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun’s rays. Beach sand? 15 percent. As you install a new seasonal display (think bare branches and cool whites and blues to avoid the Christmas schlock), get the word out – “Wear protection this winter!”


29 Today is TICK TOCK DAY . It means time is running out on 2018. It also might be the title of a bulletin to run in all your social media accounts to tell clients their annual flex-dollars will expire soon.

JANUARY

1 GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH . You know the script: The best defense is … having routine, comprehensive eye exams. You can’t repeat the message enough. Speed the cure. Spread the word.

7 THE GOLDEN GLOBES kick off red carpet season and designer eyewear will once again take center stage. All hands to your social media handles!

8 On SHOW AND TELL DAY AT WORK give an assignment to your staff: Ask each one to pick their favorite frames in the store (at different price points) and at the next meeting explain what excites them about each and how they sell it. Share the passion — and the sales lines.

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Manager's To-Do

Start the Year Right and More Manager’s To-Dos for December and January

End 2018 right, and start 2019 strong with this month’s to-do list.

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Dec 3-9

INVENTORY Be sure to promote your store’s gift cards this month. One idea to make it easier: Add 10 to 20 percent cash value to any gift card you sell.

MANAGEMENT Holding an end-of-season staff party? Consider teaming up with a neighboring business.

Dec 10-16

OPERATIONS When the holidays are at their most hectic, a bathroom can offer refuge. Get your restroom in the holiday mood with a few extra touches: greenery, holiday towels and a scent diffuser.

DISPLAYS In a mall or downtown location? Tweak your window displays daily. it sends the message you have a wide range of merchandise that is moving quickly.

Dec 17-23

MARKETING It’s a week until Christmas — send a holiday email blast with sure-thing gift ideas. Feature exclusive deals to make your special clients really feel special.

GOODWILL Play Santa: Sneak a little gift into every bag handed to customers.

Dec 24-30

INVENTORY It’s time for that dreaded semi-annual frame inventory. Figure out which inventory failed to live up to expectations in terms of ROI and must go.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Draft your end-of-year thank-you notes to customers and referrers and mail them as you complete each batch.

Dec 31-Jan 6

MARKETING A New Year resolution for 2019: Get out more to make yourself and your business more visible in the community.

STRATEGY Review how your advertising performed and create a plan for 2019. Is it time to find a new agent, try a new channel or target a new demographic? Be sure to try at least one marketing experiment in the new year.

Jan 7-13

STRATEGY If you typically set long-term business goals by quarter, month, week, etc., try something different this year: six-week project goals. Get everyone focused and working toward a goal that is almost tangible.

MARKETING Begin planning your 2019 marketing calendar (it should include social media campaigns, trunk shows, sales). See INVISION’s archives for inspiration (invmag.us/archives).

Jan 14-20

STAFF Get systematic about training. Start with the way you onboard new people; see that they are trained properly and have written procedures.

WEBSITE Check your website to ensure it reflects new achievements, volunteer efforts, published articles or new accreditations. This is not the place for modesty; post anything that will enhance your image or inform patients or peers of your capabilities.

Jan 21-27

MANAGEMENT Problems don’t fester if they are brought into the open soon enough. Set aside an hour a month for a practitioners’ meeting to discuss day-to-day issues. For strategic issues, set aside a day for quarterly or annual planning sessions. The staff should also have regular meetings to discuss their issues, with doctors attending on a periodic basis. Strive for an environment in which colleagues can disagree and commit to resolution.

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