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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 21 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at editor@invisionmag.com.

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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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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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