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Manager's To-Do

Make Your Holidays Rock and More To-Dos for December and January

Make it a rule: Everyone must greet each other with a cheery “Happy Holidays!”

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Dec 4-9

STAFF The last month of the year is one of the busiest. No better time to work on cross training. Shake up your roster, pick mentors/mentees and benefit from disruption.

MARKETING Prepare an offer for clients who make their first purchase this month — perhaps a voucher to get them back in. (Expiration dates encourage action.)

Dec 11-16

MEDIA Pitch a story to local media about how people can use flex dollars for eyecare and prescription eyewear in December and any January grace period they may have.

MARKETING Post a daily gift idea online. On Instagram, photos of daily best-sellers; on FB, a reminder: “Time flies, benefits end soon.”

Dec 18-23

IN-STORE Double-check every inch of case and window glass is sparkling. Don’t let smudges plant seeds of doubt in customers’ minds.

CUSTOMER SERVICE Make it a rule: Everyone must greet each other with a cheery “Happy Holidays!” each day. When all is said and done, you sell relief, and the staff’s good mood determines much of your success.

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Dec 25-30 

INVENTORY It’s time for that semi-annual frame inventory. Figure out what products failed to live up to expectations in terms of ROI.

DECORATIONS Did you see an adorable reindeer lawn ornament but didn’t want to splurge? The weeks after the holiday are an ideal time to buy next year’s decorations.

2018

Jan 1-6

DATABASE Enter all that customer data you collected in the last few weeks. 

STRATEGY Organize a staff retreat to review peak season sales. Go over your flex-dollar sales, marketing campaigns, the competition’s efforts. What did you learn?

STAFF Take them for a bite to eat and talk one-on-one about their year. Ask them: What do you need from me this year? How’s your life? People most often just want a chance to be effective.

Jan 8-13

FINANCES Get an early start on your taxes. On average, small-business owners spend more than 40 hours filing their federal taxes every year. Account for items lost to theft, disappearance or damage. They may be tax deductible.

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OPERATIONS Create a new on-hold message touting your brand, specials.

Jan 15-20

SALES Develop a question checklist to sell additional eyewear to customers: Do you play sports? How much “screen time” do you get?

BUYING Vision Expo East gets closer every week. Prepare to be organized and professional in front of your vendors. Set up appointments — don’t just “swing by.” Get numbers so you can contact them at the show.

Jan 22-27

MARKETING Spring is health fair season. These events are a proven way to drive new traffic to your office, be it those with the same coverage or just within your market. What’s planned in your area?

HUMAN RESOURCES Study 401(k) programs for yourself and your employees. (One of the best ways around to keep staff long-term.)

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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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SPONSORED BY SAFILO

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For the third year in a row, Safilo has looked to trusted eyecare professionals to star in its American Eyes campaign for its Elasta and Emozioni collections.Their latest testimonials are from Peter Tacia, O.D. and Heidi Dancer, optician, of Alma, MI, talking about two best-selling collections: Elasta and Emozioni.

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Manager's To-Do

Approach Your Business Like A Customer Would and More Manager’s To-Dos for July

Plus don’t underestimate the power of mini-breaks or shortened work weeks during warmer months.

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Every summer we like to evaluate all our vendors and make sure we are buying from ones that are congruent with our values, with our mission. We do a cost analysis and see who we are going to keep and who we’re going to let go. The summer is always good because sunglasses sales are big so we reevaluate that as well. We’re excited to see what vendors get to stay and which have got to go. — Diana Canto-Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL

June 30-July 6

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT It’s parade season: Time to don frog suits, like the staff at Clarity Advanced Eyecare in Birmingham, MI, with their mascot, Miss Frog, or some other unforgettable costumed character and join in the July 4th festivities. Spread a message of fun, community involvement and vision health.

PLANNING If you can’t get away for a longer vacation this summer, plan some mini breaks. Even if it’s just three hours away, treat it like a real vacation. Splurge, take pictures, and go offline to ensure you get the maximum benefits. Your brain will thank you.

July 7-13

OPERATIONS Are there some summer days when you show up and just pretend to work? This month, experiment with an abbreviated week. Knowing you have less time in the store or practice to get things done may just prompt a burst of productivity — and give you the chance to better enjoy the warm months.

MARKETING Assemble “cleaning kits” for your young patients. Include solution, cloth and membership papers to the Secret 4 I’s Society – they meet annually. And before you start getting sentimental about the joy of childhood, start cleaning all those demo lenses.

July 14-20

ONLINE To stay relevant you should refresh your website every two years and tweak it every six months. That six months is up.

SECURITY Place discrete height markers along the doorways so police looking at surveillance footage can determine how tall a robber is.

STORE Usually, the direction of customer-traffic flow is influenced by features around the store, like the location of a parking lot, a mall courtyard, or a public transportation station. Maybe a tree branch is blocking the side view of your store sign?

July 21-27

STORE PET It’s not just sales associates who need regular training. Your store hound’s greeting skills could no doubt do with some sharpening as well. Look into providers in your area.

MANAGEMENT Undertake office reviews to tighten up operations; people become comfortable with the way things are done, however inefficient. Review everything— capture rate for contact lens wearers, speed of patient flow, paperwork — then blow it up, and consider if there’s a better way. This is the summer of disruption.

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An Excuse to Celebrate ‘Nothing’ and More July Events

A couple of ‘Dirty Thirty’ birthdays worth noting.

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3 The extreme heat across the country last year had people rushing to the sanctuary of air-conditioned malls. On AIR CONDITIONING APPRECIATION DAY, let the sweaty, heaving crowds know they’re always welcome in your store with some good old-fashioned lemonade and an invitation to relax and browse. Your summer policy: “No heat. No pressure.”

5 If your customers are “thirty-something singles with vague identities, no roots, and conscious indifference to morals,” then they’d probably respond to a SEINFELD Night to mark the 30th Anniversary of its premiere. Plan an event about nothing … a few beers, peruse the frame boards and wonder if Kramer was an insurance frame board or independent brand kind of guy.

23 Someone else turns 30 this month – probably the most famous spectacle-wearing child in the world. Yes, Harry Potter! DANIEL RADCLIFFE is entering his third decade. Celebrate the movie franchise that made glasses cool for kids. Eisenbrei Plaza Optical in Canton, OH, does a fun themed video and giveaways of Harry Potter items every year.

24 One of the few areas where Walmart is beating Amazon is with “buy online, pickup instore,” which is growing rapidly, especially in suburban areas. On NATIONAL DRIVE-THRU DAY, give thought to curbside pickup as an extension to your dispensary.

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Start a Campaign of Fear and More June Events

Plus, sometimes letting your business go to the dogs is a good thing.

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21 Ask any Washington insider and they’ll tell you the best way to start a campaign is with a solid base of fear. When it comes to the sunny months ahead — summer officially begins today — and people’s need to protect their eyes, there’s plenty to be scared about. Skipping shades contributes to AMD, pterygium, basal cell carcinoma, cataracts and more. Yet according to The Vision Council’s 2015 UV protection report, more than one-third of parents said their kids never wear sunglasses. Prep your inventory. Get social. Get out in your community. Instill fear.

1 Sales of audiobooks have surged over the last 15 years as smartphones made downloads as easy as a tap of the finger. During Audiobook Appreciation Month, do a Google search for “bestselling business audiobooks” and catch up on some of the great management advice that’s been published recently.

23 Dogs with faces only their owners could love gather at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Hold a similar competition. Ask your staff to vote on what they think is the most aesthetically challenged style in the store.

27 Happy Birthday to You turns 160. Send a singing telegram to any patient who shares a birthday with the world’s most sung song. Include a gift to be claimed in-store.

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