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Manager's To-Do

One Quick Way to Be a Better Boss in 2018 … and More To-Dos for February

Win hearts and minds by remembering your team members’ important days.

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Start planning now so you won’t forget to celebrate any employee birthdays in 2018.

Jan. 29-Feb. 3

FINANCES Ask your bank if it offers payroll assistance. Many provide a service allowing you to log on to their website and enter your workers’ hours. The bank then makes a direct deposit into employees’ checking accounts as well as paying your federal and state withholding taxes.

STRATEGY Time for a strategic review. Look at what competitors are doing and learn from the good and the bad. Visit stores and websites, subscribe to newsletters, and have a staff member save their ads in a file. This will keep you up to date on trends, where your market is moving, and what others are advertising, discounting, and featuring. It’ll help you identify where to compete and how to differentiate your store.

STAFF  Pledge to be a better boss in 2018. Add your employees’ birthdays to our “ultimate calendar” in this issue. (Any gifts or similar gestures will win hearts and minds.)

Feb. 5-10

DISPLAY Starting with your Valentine’s Day displays, keep a record of your cases from now on. Take a photo of each display case the first of the month. This history will let you know what every holiday in 2018 looked like when it comes around in 2019.

MANAGEMENT There’s no one correct way to arrange a profit-and-loss statement. Ask your accountant to arrange the information so you can tell instantly what went right (or wrong) the previous month.

Feb 12-Feb. 17

MERCHANDISING Schedule a meeting with staff to discuss merchandising. Brainstorm buying strategies that will enable you to achieve your 2018 goals (do you want to attract more Millennials? Expand your kid’s offerings? Increase sales of blue light blocking lenses?)

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STORE Visit online florists to see if they’ve got stock left over from Valentine’s. 

Feb 19-Feb. 24

MERCHANDISING Create a display of sunglass or fashion frames that fall into the $100 to $500 range and promote it to attract those tax return dollars. Most households are expected to spend in the range of $100 to $300 (the sweet spot for popular sunwear).

TECHNOLOGY Google your store’s name. If you have to scroll down to find your website, you’ve got work to do. First, reply to any positive reviews on Yelp or Google. Then, consider a blog or a Twitter or Instagram feed that updates to your website to increase activity.

SALES Create “repair moments.” Don’t just hand items back; present them in a beautiful store-branded case and/or cleaning cloth.

Feb 26-Mar. 3

INVENTORY Get your frame boards cleaned up and sorted for the upcomg buying season.

BUYING Vision Expo East starts March 15 (education) and March 16 (the exhibition) at New York’s Javits Center. Start planning and appointment making now.

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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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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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Manager's To-Do

Are Your Displays Peak Sun Season Ready? And More Manager’s To-Dos for June

And no time like the present for a little spring cleaning.

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June 3-8

MERCHANDISING Before we reach peak sunwear sales period, cast a critical eye over your displays. Do your best-selling brands have a clear prominence? Do your more fashion oriented names catch the eye? Is it clear you have something for everyone? If not get busy.

MARKETING Father’s Day (June 16) is almost here, so highlight a special sunwear and eyewear selection on your social media feeds or website. Each day, post your choices for a different dad type — Baseball Dad, Barbecue Dad, Sports Car Dad, Hipster Dad, etc.

June 10-15

WEBSITE What hours are you open? Do you accept insurance? What frame lines do you carry? Think of the top 10 reasons people call you and then get the information up on your website in the form of an easy to find FAQ page.

STORE Switch up the videos on your in-store monitors. For the next six weeks, drop the promotional videos and run something a little more summery and kid-oriented, preferably with a hero who wears glasses; Simon from the Chipmunks, The Princess Diaries, Emma Wiggle, even Superman’s Clark Kent, there are a ton of cool characters who sport funky eyewear.

June 17-22

EVENTS In a lifestyle center, strip mall or downtown location? Take the lead in organizing a community block party. Loads of fun and a great crowd generator.

ONLINE If you don’t know how visitors are interacting with your website or where they are coming from, it’s hard to devise an effective online strategy. Google Analytics is free and easy:  there is a great tutorial on the Google site and a bunch of YouTube “how to” videos that can help you understand how to use it. Make mastery of Analytics a summer priority!

June 24-29

MARKETING Has a customer ever asked you what your practice’s name is as she is writing a check? That’s a sign you need to boost name recognition. Start with a prominent but tasteful sign in your waiting room, and then check your other collateral (trays, doors, appointment cards, lens cloths, etc.). It’s hard for people to recommend your services if they can’t remember your name.

MANAGEMENT Start meeting with staff at least monthly to share three “good things” to build on and three “development areas.”

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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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