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Manager's To-Do

Monitor Your Online Reputation and More Manager’s To-Dos for May

Start by setting up Google Alerts for your business name.

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April 30-May 5

PLANNING Now’s the time to prepare for summer. Meet with staff to map out a strategy for sunwear and back-to-school. Sidewalk tent? Open house? What about targeting a niche like departing college kids?

INVENTORY Nytarsha Thomas of Visionelle Eyecare in Zionville, IL says she’ll “Re-evaluate how our frame lines are doing. We would love to have more independent frame lines.”

BRAND AWARENESS Someone, somewhere is talking about your business online. To keep track, set up Google Alerts for your business name (put quotation marks around names for the best results). For the result type, click on “Everything” to be notified when your store is mentioned on blogs and discussion sites.

DISPLAYS Position your best Mother’s Day (May 13) specials in a showcase just inside the front door. Offer a wide range of price points but simplify the selection process by highlighting a few classics or current trends.

May  7-12

WEBSITE Does the “About Us” section on your site include only lists and categories? Is the information purely factual or are you using stories to help illustrate who you are? The best marketing writing is written to be said, not to be read.

MERCHANDISING Reel in the tax rebates: Create a display of eyewear that falls into the $100 to $300 range and promote it. That’s close to the sweet spot for branded sunwear.

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May  14-19

SAFETY Here’s something small you can do today that may save lives in the future. Ask your employees to designate ICE (“In Case of Emergency”) numbers in their mobiles.

EVENTS Finalize plans for summer trunk shows. Confirm dates with vendors. Plan your catering now for discounts.

May  21-26

FINANCES Business coach Laurie Owen recommends giving your profit-and-loss statement a spring makeover. Consolidate some expenses and group them into like categories. Then, next to the dollar amount, list the expense amount as a percentage of sales. “It helps you see when an expense is increasing as a percentage, and not just going up because your sales are increasing.”

INVENTORY Ever tried a “Christmas in July” promotion? Maybe this could be the year.

MARKETING Send your first Father’s Day (June 17) postcard this week.

May  28-June 2

MANAGEMENT Start thinking summer reading. Set yourself a target of reading a business book a month for the next quarter. Some of our favorites from the past few years: The Captain Class by Sam Walker, If You’re In A Dogfight, Become A Cat by Leonard Sherman, and Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal.

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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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