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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

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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Manager's To-Do

Make Your Staff Go Shopping and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Plus see how the whole team can benefit from joining the AOA.

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Mar. 1-7

ASSOCIATIONS Recommend all staff, both opticians and paras, join the American Optometric Association, if they haven’t already. It’s easy to register, free to most if your doctor is a member, and comes with a bunch of benefits including free credits for certification renewal, access to programs and services, education and training. Next, sign them up for your state association.

STAFF It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.

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Mar. 8-14

TRADE SHOWS If you’re headed to Vision Expo East this year (starts Mar. 26), make networking your big goal, not just to solidify and build on existing relationships but to meet new people (from all sides of the industry). Scout new lines, attend lessons, but leave lots of “white time” for those serendipitous encounters that are the real catalysts of business success.

MARKETING Create a signup area on your website for visitors to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.

Mar. 15-21

MARKETING Start plotting a trunk show for summer along with the accompanying social media and marketing promotions.

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BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Shop and support local! By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

MANAGEMENT Work on a “save the day” protocol for when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and orders are delayed or a patient is double booked or whatever. A gift card that entitles the bearer to a free coffee or movie will smooth ruffled feathers.

Mar. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Bring a chair to your next store meeting and tell staff it represents the missing element from your conversations: the customer. Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos swears that the “presence” of a customer gives Amazon the confidence to innovate in a more responsive way.

RESEARCH Give each member of staff a different afternoon to shop your rivals. It’ll let you know what the competition is up to, and make your staff feel involved.

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Create Your Own Holiday and More March Events

Including capitalizing on ‘Madness’ and puppies!

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15 MARCH MADNESS, a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, starts today and for retailers the date’s become one of surprisingly rich potential, be it to do good, raise awareness (basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries in young males) or just leverage the general madness theme. Alpine Vision in Colorado Springs, CO, chose the first, donating a percentage of proceeds from sales during the tournament to a charity called Nothing But Nets, which fights malaria in Africa.

8 WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK comes just a month after Glaucoma Month but it’s another opportunity to get out and speak about the condition in your community. See how you can get involved here: worldglaucomaweek.org

23 Puppies were made for social media … or maybe puppies made social media? What is beyond a doubt is that NATIONAL PUPPY DAY brings the two together beautifully. Share a pic of your store mascot.

26 The staggering success of Singles’ Day in November ($30 billion in retail sales in China alone), should serve as a lesson to all retailers that dates — as goofy as they seem ­— can be unmatched marketing pegs. On MAKE UP YOUR OWN HOLIDAY DAY, give thought to what date could set your business apart; it could be an anniversary, a countdown to the sale of your 5,000th pair of contacts, or a twist on National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (an actual event in Pennsylvania) and start marketing the heck out of it.

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