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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.

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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).

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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.

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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