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Manager's To-Do

Start Stretching! Flex Spending Season is Almost Upon Us and More Manager’s To-Dos for November

Are you ready to make some money?

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Christine Howard of Attleboro Vision in Attleboro, MA.

What you’re doing this month: “We’re moving and that is taking up a lot of our thought processes and energy. We’re focusing on what we can do when we do open up our new spot in terms of our Grand Opening, rebranding ourselves a little bit, and working more with the community we’re in to remind them we are there to serve the city.” —  Christine Howard, Attleboro Vision, Attleboro, MA

Oct 29-Nov 4

OPERATIONS Fine-tune your schedules. HSA and FSA spending brings in a lot of revenue at this time of year and you want your doctors in for those extra hours, or at least squeezing in extra exams.

OPTOMETRIC Draft an action plan for those patients who have yet to show their faces this year, especially those with coverage or HSAs. Experiment with a direct mailer followed by phone calls.

MARKETING Create a “Holiday Gift Guide,” maybe with the trend-tracking advice from The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize.com blog. Include gift suggestions by gender, age group, and style (sophisticated, sporty, rugged, glam, etc.). Put it front and center on your website, at the top of all your holiday emails, on your reception area TV, and even on an iPad in your dispensary.

Nov 5-11

CIVIC DUTY Nov. 6 is Election Day. Make arrangements to ensure you and your staff have time to vote. 

MANAGEMENT November and December are big planning months. Set growth targets but focus on the actions that will achieve that growth.

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MARKETING Send “Save the Date” cards and e-mails for all events. 

Nov 12-18

STAFF You and your staff should start your own holiday shopping soon to get it out of the way. Have business cards for your store handy so you can hand them out to the people you meet.

MARKETING Invite some local bloggers in to come and play with your holiday inventory or learn about a recent technological advancement in vision. For inspiration, see what Zeiss did with The Girls With Glasses for their Digital Lens: invmag.us/101802.

Nov 19-25

ONLINE Holiday-season shopping begins this week as consumers start visiting the websites of favorite retailers. Update your site with seasonal elements, feature gift ideas and highlight your wish-list function.

MARKETING Read an article in a local publication extolling the joys of online retail? Be sure to get your side of the story across with a letter to the editor.

MARKETING Record a new message for your telephone to reflect the holiday season.

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Nov 26-Dec 2

DISPLAY Create and lay your first holiday display window. In a backroom, post a list of all inventory— to remind staff of what needs to move before the end of this year.

MARKETING As you potentially interact with the largest number of customers you’ll see in your store all year over the next month, pay staff $1 for every name and address they collect for your distribution list. E-mail addresses are a must.

Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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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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