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Manager's To-Do

Manager’s To-Do: January – February

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Week 1 | JAN. 13-17

SALES: Training session: Encourage a collector’s approach to eyewear.

MARKETING: Set long-term business goals and break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily action steps. Plan at least two big events for the year. If you want to try a trunk show, start contacting designers soon. “Hello, is Mr. Varvatos there?”

Week 2 | JAN. 20-24

FINANCES: The recession is over, but that doesn’t mean you don’t still need to watch costs like a hawk. Check all those ridiculous recurring expenses from services you rarely use. (Stamps.com? That credit monitoring service? Your gym membership?) If you haven’t used the service in the past three months, cancel it. You can always rejoin.

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DISPLAYS: Check your signage. Is it sufficiently welcoming? “Open” doesn’t fit the bill. Why not “Welcome. We’re glad you’re here!”

Week 3 | JAN. 27-31

DESIGN: Bring in a lighting consultant for a day. With professional help, you may be able to replace halogen bulbs with LEDs and make other changes to add sparkle to your eyewear selection. The savings will soon pay back the consultant’s fee.

SALES: Training session: why AR lens treatments are worthwhile.

Week 4 | FEB. 3-7

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STAFF: Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower your team to make decisions without you.

MARKETING: Go ahead, get some of those Valentine’s Day dollars. See the Calendar (page 10) for an approach to extra Valentine’s Day sales.

Week 5 | FEB. 10-14

STAFF: Share the love on Friday morning. Buy chocolates for your employees this Valentine’s Day. Inscribe the card, “Love your work!”

SALES: Training session: selling sunwear for spring break.

Week 6 | FEB. 17-21

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OPERATIONS: Dump Your Bacn. Those are the dozens of email newsletters you’ve subscribed to but rarely read — these are also known as “bacn” (named so for being a close relative of spam). A study by MessageGate estimates up to 30 percent of emails are bacn. A huge inbox slows searches and makes your head hurt.

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Show your eyecare expertise by adding a monthly tip for better eye health to your website.

Week 7 | FEB. 24-28

SALES: Training session: give first-time customers a tour of your store or practice.

BUYING: Vision Expo East begins on March 26 (for education) and March 28 (for the exhibition) at the Javits Center in New York. Going? Now’s the time to build your plan for shopping and learning at the show.

Week 8 | MAR. 3-7

MARKETING: Basketball’s “March Madness” is imminent. Do you have sunwear in your local university’s colors?

STAFF: It’s time for the first of your twice-yearly employee reviews. Before you start, spend an hour thinking about your employees’ future and where you’d like them to be in one, two or five years. What do they need to learn to get there?

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Manager's To-Do

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule and More Manager’s To-Dos for November

Plus a reader tip for how she get this things done in a day.

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Nov. 3-9

LAYOUT Do a quick test of your store’s circulation. Look out for pathway dead-ends and store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space kill the “spirit” of a store and the impulse to buy.

MANAGEMENT Novemburrrrrr! Winter is on the way and with it, flu season. Recommend staff members get a flu shot, on company time if need be.

MARKETING Prepare an editorial calendar for your blog and other social media channels. Aim to post something new every day, be it a blog, Facebook comment or new video. It will all help increase your main website’s SEO at the time of year when people are scouring the Internet for gifts and gift ideas.

Nov. 10-16

MARKETING It’s high season for functions. Accept all invitations to parties, Chamber of Commerce events, neighborhood fundraisers, open houses and mixers. Check your stock of business cards. Volunteer to be a speaker to talk about what your business has to offer.

ONLINE Mobile devices are expected to drive about 70 percent of all Christmas related retail traffic this year. Test your website and any apps to ensure the customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops. It often doesn’t.

Nov. 17-23

MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what promotions will run when.

IN-STORE Investigate what it would take to allow prospective patients to take a virtual tour of your store or practice. Google provides a list of “trusted pro” photographers in your local area as part of its efforts to promote Street View. See here: www.google.com/streetview/contacts-tools.

Nov. 24-30

MARKETING Your Flex Dollars are expiring! Your flex dollars are expiring! Yes, this is how simple (and how loud) your message to customers should be over the next two weeks. Add a daily countdown graphic to your website.

OPERATIONS Done well, meetings ensure everyone is on the same page, not just with store policy, but with promotions, inventory and equipment. Why not invite a vendor in to lead a weekly meeting with a focus on getting the most out of those fancy tools you’ve installed?

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Calendar

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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Calendar

The Internet is Middle Aged and More October Events

And beware those household chemicals; the entire month is dedicated to eye safety at home.

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1-31 From flying leaf blower debris to splashed household cleaners, the average American home is a leading contributor to the 2.5 million eye injuries that occur each year. During Home Eye Safety Awareness Month, do your bit to educate patients on the potential perils and preventative actions they should be taking … starting with protective eyewear. Also, check your homepage has emergency contact information clearly displayed.

01 You know the arguments well by now: “Don’t do co-op advertising because you’re spending good ad dollars building up somebody else’s brand,” countered by, “It’s a brand age — the big names bring in the dollars and foot traffic and you should jump on those coattails.” At the start of Co-Op Awareness Month, when the holiday-season offers begin pouring in, weigh the pros and cons.

09 A little-appreciated fact: Teddy Bears look great in glasses. On National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day, feature a few bespectacled teddies in your cases.

29 Think the Internet is a fairly recent invention? It turns 50 today. Yes, it’s middle aged and bloated, but it still gets better every year. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure, sit down today and map out a more aggressive online strategy. The future is not waiting for you.

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