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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

Crunch Those Year-End Numbers and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And other tips for getting your inventory in top shape for Vision Expo

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Feb. 4-9

INVENTORY By now, sales reps should have year-end numbers showing how well each of their frame lines performed in 2018 after returns and any other post-sale factors. Ask for their data. With information on turn ratios, you can make comparisons with the performance of your own stock and plan your 2019 buying.
design “We’re looking at redesigning our office. It’s been about 9 or 10 years and we just want to keep it fresh. We’ve seen that if you display things correctly with the right cutting edge, it makes a huge difference.”

PROCEDURES Call a staff meeting and ask all employees for opinions on current procedures.

MERCHANDISING Valentine cards bring some seasonal life to your cases, boards or window displays. Better than the drugstore variety are those drawn by a child. Draft your kids — anyone’s kids — to create some Valentine’s Day cards, says display expert Larry Johnson.

Feb. 11-16

BUYING The Vision Council’s Eyecessorize campaign typically releases its Spring/Summer trend kit around now. Look for it on eyecessorize.com.

SEO Creating a ton of content on a company blog that Google can’t ignore may seem daunting, but it’s not so hard. Start with the 100 questions customers ask most and turn them into 100 blog posts with those questions as the titles. If you write two times per week, that’s a whole year’s worth of fresh content.

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BUYING Start your buying research for Vision Expo East (March 21-24). Stock up on fashion mags or start a private Pinterest wish list board.

Feb. 18-23

OPERATIONS It’s time to get your backroom organized. Purchase a small storage unit and go overboard with a label maker.

MARKETING Look into starting an email/text/voicemail program with a provider to enhance recall capture.

Feb. 25-Mar. 2

LIGHTING Bring in a consultant for a day. With his help, you may be able to replace tungsten halogen bulbs with LEDs and make other changes to add sparkle to your showroom. The savings will soon pay back the fee, says Ruth Mellergaard of interior design firm GRID/3.

SAFETY Buy a power-surge protector. A POS meltdown can be costly.

TRAINING Lifestyle questions create an opportunity to offer products ­— specifically second pairs — that will benefit customers doing the things where they spend their spare hours. They just need to be made aware. Pick up the tab on some coffees — we’re talking lifestyle after all — and invite staff to brainstorm ways to introduce outside interests into the sales conversation.

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Winter is Coming and More December and January Events

Who says glasses are just for summer?

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DECEMBER

21 We associate sunglasses with summer days, but WINTER poses the greater threat to the eye. Snow reflects nearly 80 percent of the sun’s rays. Beach sand? 15 percent. As you install a new seasonal display (think bare branches and cool whites and blues to avoid the Christmas schlock), get the word out – “Wear protection this winter!”


29 Today is TICK TOCK DAY . It means time is running out on 2018. It also might be the title of a bulletin to run in all your social media accounts to tell clients their annual flex-dollars will expire soon.

JANUARY

1 GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH . You know the script: The best defense is … having routine, comprehensive eye exams. You can’t repeat the message enough. Speed the cure. Spread the word.

7 THE GOLDEN GLOBES kick off red carpet season and designer eyewear will once again take center stage. All hands to your social media handles!

8 On SHOW AND TELL DAY AT WORK give an assignment to your staff: Ask each one to pick their favorite frames in the store (at different price points) and at the next meeting explain what excites them about each and how they sell it. Share the passion — and the sales lines.

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Manager's To-Do

Start the Year Right and More Manager’s To-Dos for December and January

End 2018 right, and start 2019 strong with this month’s to-do list.

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Dec 3-9

INVENTORY Be sure to promote your store’s gift cards this month. One idea to make it easier: Add 10 to 20 percent cash value to any gift card you sell.

MANAGEMENT Holding an end-of-season staff party? Consider teaming up with a neighboring business.

Dec 10-16

OPERATIONS When the holidays are at their most hectic, a bathroom can offer refuge. Get your restroom in the holiday mood with a few extra touches: greenery, holiday towels and a scent diffuser.

DISPLAYS In a mall or downtown location? Tweak your window displays daily. it sends the message you have a wide range of merchandise that is moving quickly.

Dec 17-23

MARKETING It’s a week until Christmas — send a holiday email blast with sure-thing gift ideas. Feature exclusive deals to make your special clients really feel special.

GOODWILL Play Santa: Sneak a little gift into every bag handed to customers.

Dec 24-30

INVENTORY It’s time for that dreaded semi-annual frame inventory. Figure out which inventory failed to live up to expectations in terms of ROI and must go.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Draft your end-of-year thank-you notes to customers and referrers and mail them as you complete each batch.

Dec 31-Jan 6

MARKETING A New Year resolution for 2019: Get out more to make yourself and your business more visible in the community.

STRATEGY Review how your advertising performed and create a plan for 2019. Is it time to find a new agent, try a new channel or target a new demographic? Be sure to try at least one marketing experiment in the new year.

Jan 7-13

STRATEGY If you typically set long-term business goals by quarter, month, week, etc., try something different this year: six-week project goals. Get everyone focused and working toward a goal that is almost tangible.

MARKETING Begin planning your 2019 marketing calendar (it should include social media campaigns, trunk shows, sales). See INVISION’s archives for inspiration (invmag.us/archives).

Jan 14-20

STAFF Get systematic about training. Start with the way you onboard new people; see that they are trained properly and have written procedures.

WEBSITE Check your website to ensure it reflects new achievements, volunteer efforts, published articles or new accreditations. This is not the place for modesty; post anything that will enhance your image or inform patients or peers of your capabilities.

Jan 21-27

MANAGEMENT Problems don’t fester if they are brought into the open soon enough. Set aside an hour a month for a practitioners’ meeting to discuss day-to-day issues. For strategic issues, set aside a day for quarterly or annual planning sessions. The staff should also have regular meetings to discuss their issues, with doctors attending on a periodic basis. Strive for an environment in which colleagues can disagree and commit to resolution.

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