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Manager's To-Do

Get Those Summer Vacation Requests in Now and More April To-Dos

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Plan those vacations carefully

WEEK 1April 3-8

MERCHANDISING When you are displaying your product, use trendy color accents (Pantone provides a good guide) on frame boards and in cases that can be changed quarterly. “Your inventory may not all be new, but by changing the presentation you can keep it looking fresh,” says merchandising expert Sally Furrer.

FINANCES Run Q1 reports to ensure you’re on track for sales goals and CMS requirements. If your office exceeded production goals, consider rewarding the team with an outing or party.

OUTREACH Investigate ways to become more involved in your community. Draw up a schedule to visit local nursing homes monthly to spend a few hours fixing glasses and just spending time with people.


WEEK 2April 10-15

MARKETING Need an event for Mother’s Day (May 14)? Why not celebrate with a “Mom Appreciation” event in your store? Cross-promote with a local salon, spa or florist.

EDUCATION Vision Expo East is over. Pull out all the notes you took from your education courses and decide which new ideas to implement in your practice immediately.

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STAFF More training is good and online courses make it easy, often for little or no cost. ECP University (ecpu.com), OptiCampus, Hoya Empower U … Urge your staff to explore areas they feel they need or want to improve.

WEEK 3April 17-22

STAFF Ask employees for their summer vacation requests. And while you’re working on a schedule, book some time off for yourself too.

MARKETING What’s your “Hot Summer Offer” for 2017? Invitations to purchase an annual supply of contacts in exchange for free or discounted sunglasses are fairly common but effective. What twist can you add to make your promotion stand out?

NETWORKING Contact any churches, synagogues, Rotary Clubs, or other business groups in your area. Let them know you’ll speak for free about eye health and eyewear at their meetings.

OPERATIONS Mark Earth Day (April 22) with an employee-driven green challenge for the week. Give up disposable cups or bottled water, go car-free, or just be sure to turn off all electronics at the end of the day. 

WEEK 4April 24-29

OPERATIONS If the middle of the year is traditionally slower for your practice, consider a “Summer Schedule” such as closing every Saturday. It’s all part of working smart.

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MARKETING Brush the cobwebs off your old marketing files. This is a great time to revisit successful promotions from the past and reconsider ideas that might deserve a second look. It doesn’t always have to be new.

STRATEGY Find a category of your business you want to improve — like children’s eyewear or low-vision — and draft an action plan to make it happen.

Heather Kaikuana


This article originally appeared in the March 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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