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Manager's To-Do

Manager’s To-do: May-June 2014

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WEEK 1 MAY 12-16

FINANCES Maybe your fixed costs aren’t as fixed as you think. Analyze every contract — from the water cooler  company to your neighborhood banker — and look for places to curb costs. Lease coming up? Keep an eye on traffic. It’s a good figure to wield in negotiations with your landlord.

STAFF Set a summer work schedule. If you’re busiest during the fall and winter, make summer prime time for staff vacations.

WEEK 2 MAY 19-23

MERCHANDISING Have you made space for impulse purchases? Put some low-priced, appealing “splurchandise” — think cases, chains and cleaning cloths — by your cash register and rack up some additional income. 

ADVERTISING Graduation season is here. Place “Congratulations Class of 2014” signs in your windows. See if local high schools or colleges have advertising options in their graduation programs or final editions of school newspapers. Eyewear gift certificates help job-hunting grads see their future more clearly!

WEEK 3 MAY 26-30

STAFF INCENTIVES Motivate staff with a contest to win an extra paid day off during the summer months.

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WEBSITE Make sunwear and summer eyewear colors the focus of your home page now.

WEEK 4 JUNE 2-6

EDUCATION Grab the notes you took during educational sessions at Vision Expo East and start implementing some of the great ideas you learned.

MARKETING Father’s Day is June 15. Start website promos for stylish readers;  gift certificates for progressive lenses; and performance eyewear for golf, boating, hunting, etc. 

WEEK 5 JUNE 9-13

NETWORKING Try networking with other eyecare professionals. Join online groups such as ODs on Facebook and Optiboard.com to see how your peers are faring elsewhere in the country.

PREPAREDNESS Atlantic hurricane season officially began on June 1 and ends on Nov. 30. If recent years have taught us anything, it’s that a generator is a wise investment.

WEEK 6 JUNE 16-20

STORE Check your air-conditioning.Turn it on full-blast and stand in front of it for one minute. If icicles form in your nose, that means your coolant is in good shape and your customers will find your business a comfortable refuge during the sweltering months ahead. If not, call to have your air conditioner serviced. 

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FURNISHINGS Need any new office furniture? Now’s a good time to pick some up — showrooms are making room for new lines that come out in August. 

WEEK 7 JUNE 23-27

SERVICES Print new business cards with a special introductory discount offer on them. 

STORE Update your in-store DVD loop. For a change, forget the promotional videos and run something that’s got nothing to do with selling at all — Finding Nemo, maybe, or some surfing clips. Get people in the summer mood.

WEEK 8 JUNE 30-JULY 4

INTERNET Check your website. Is your telephone number easy to find?

INVENTORY School’s out! And ironically, that’s the signal for you to start preparing for the time when school’s back in. Begin searching for your back-to-school specials — the must-have optical frames that all the high-school and college types will need.

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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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