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Manager's To-Do

Form a Customer Advisory Board for Your Store and More Manager’s To-Do’s for June

Here’s how to maintain your momentum this month.

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We’re always busy, like I am sure most private practice optometrist offices are, in the summer months,” says Dr. Kenneth D. Boltz of Dublin, OH, when asked about his summer plans. “It’s back to school time, so we’re doing all the things for kids. We certainly see a lot of teachers but our primary focus is kids’ exams over the summer.”


June 4-10

OPERATIONS If your office slows down over summer, why not shake things up? Take every other Saturday off in June and July but work additional Mondays (or whatever your usual day off is) in August.

SECURITY Do a mid-year review of threats, and areas of vulnerability, including a test of your store’s motion-detection system.

SALES If you keep getting the same sad results every sunglass selling season, it’s time for one of our favorite methodologies for change: Continue Stop Start. Yes, continue what’s going well, stop the things that aren’t and start on some new things that may work well.

June 11-17

COMMUNITY Parade season is begining. Time to procure a frog suit, like Miss Frog at Clarity Advanced Eyecare in Birmingham, MI, or another memorable character, to prepare for the upcoming July 4th revelry.

FINANCES Stay on top of tax obligations by signing up for the IRS’s tax calendar at tax.gov/calendar. Unlike the agency, it’s user friendly.

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MAINTENANCE Check your air-conditioning. Temperatures are climbing and you want to make sure your store is a cool sanctuary in the dog days ahead.

June 18-24

MARKETING The fish are biting but you need the right bait. Promote special offers on fishing-specific eyewear from Maui Jim, Costa, Oakley or the other water sport brands.

SAFETY Stage an advanced fire drill. Simulate a blocked exit and unconscious staff member. Critique staff performance.

MANAGEMENT Invite 10 customers to form an advisory panel for your business, recommends store trainer Kate Peterson. Schedule meetings and ask them to discuss what they’ve seen, what they like, and what you can improve and grow. “Pay” them with lunch, gift cards or discounts — but most importantly, use what they tell you.

June 25-July 1

MANAGEMENT Join Toastmasters. (Find a local club at toastmasters.org). Soon, you’ll be welcoming offers to talk publicly.

TECHNOLOGY Dump your bacn, the e-mail newsletters you’ve subscribed to. A study by MessageGate estimates up to 30 percent of e-mails are bacn. A huge inbox slows searches.

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OPERATIONS It’s estimated less than half of independent eyecare businesses list store hours on their website or voice mail. Post those times today.

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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