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Manager's To-Do

Helping Staff Help You and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Plus tips for making the most of the upcoming Vision Expo.

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Mar. 4-9

BUYING Start your prep for Vision Expo East (Mar 22-24) by plotting out your class schedule. Leave large blocks of time between classes for meetings with reps, beginning with those of lines you don’t currently carry.

FINANCE April 15, a.k.a. Tax Day, will be here before we know it. This one promises to be a particularly busy one as businesses make adjustments to reflect last year’s new rules and deductions, let alone the chaos caused by the shutdown.

Podcast: Is Eyecare in Canada Really More Like the US Than We Think?
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Is Eyecare in Canada Really More Like the US Than We Think?

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: What Exactly Does it Take to Become America’s Finest Optical Retailer?

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries
INVISION Podcast

Podcast: Why Optical (and Especially Optical Retail) Is Lagging Behind Other Industries

Mar. 11-16

OPERATIONS Even a simple reconfiguration of space can reduce the time employees spend handing off files and make their work easier and more productive. And often the best place to start the search for greater efficiency is with the staff themselves; they know where time and resources are being wasted. Be sure to ask them for their input at the next weekly meeting.

TECHNOLOGY Brands have probably never been more powerful and even if you don’t carry them, or begrudge that power, you need to ensure your SEO terms cater to anyone in your market needing “adjustments,” “repairs,” “emergency services” or upgrades for their “Ray-Ban,” “Oakley,” or “Maui Jim” frames.

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Mar. 18-23

MERCHANDISING Do you know your store’s merchandising hot spots – the places where frames sell best? Are the frames with the best margins in those positions? The impact of getting the alignment right can be dramatic, says Mick Kling, OD, winner of our 2017 America’s Finest Optical Retailer. If you’re not sure, get busy!

INTERIOR DESIGN Some recent studies found workers who glimpse a tree or two are happier and more productive; in one analysis of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19 percent fewer sick days. It has to do with how we evolved to function best in nature-rich settings. If you can’t knock a wall out to provide a view, buy a few potted plants to place around your sales floor.

Mar. 25-30

MARKETING Make contact with other small businesses to see if they are interested in some reciprocal social media action via Instagram Highlights like Florists That Inspire Us and Drool-Worthy Bakers.

STAFF Losing a key staff member can cause chaos if nobody has been trained to take over their tasks. Assign back-ups and roll out a schedule for learning all those mundane but crucial jobs like ordering supplies, invoicing, calibrating the tracer … and so on.

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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