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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

Get Your OD’s Cleaning Those Frame Boards and More Manager’s To-Dos for February

And planning for Valentine’s Day and VEE should be well underway.

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Jan 26-Feb 1

INVENTORY Buying season is on the way (Vision Expo East starts March 27). It’s time to take a hard look at your inventory.

Feb 2-8

MARKETING Make plans to visit some local nursing homes to share the love this Valentine’s Day. Take flowers and business cards and prepare some vision-related conversational topics.

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TRAINING If your doctors do not do the frame buying, have them straighten up the frame boards at least once every two weeks. This way, they’ll become much more familiar with the product — and your frame sales will increase!

Feb 9-15

INVENTORY In the months ahead of VEE, use Pinterest to build a list of the frames you like, supported with captions that provide the model details (adding the Pinterest button to your browser will make this easier.) When you reach a vendor you’re interested in, whip out your phone and call up your boards.

MARKETING The America’s Finest Optical Retailers contest honors the country’s most innovative eyecare businesses. Enter before it closes in March: invisionmag.com/AFOR.

Feb 16-22

WEBSITE If you haven’t already, post a photo of your storefront on your website, along with text-based directions. It makes it easier for shoppers to find you and eases threshold resistance.

TRAINING Training staff on equipment and procedures always seems like a job for another day. Want an effectively run office? Today is that day.

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Feb 23-29

MARKETING Flex dollars are still out there. Keep reminding people who rolled over 2019 benefits or have spring deadlines.

FINANCES If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years or more, they’re showing their age. Amortize and depreciate them as you do other equipment. Set a budget and plan to acquire new ones routinely. Discard at the first sign of overuse. Faded or dirty elements affect consumer perception.

INSURANCE Organize all insurance plan information. Current information should be in an easily accessible folder.

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Making the Most of that Extra Day and More February Events

Plis ideas for celebrating Punxsutawney Phil and pigskins.

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1 February is LOW VISION AWARENESS MONTH, fire up all of your communications platforms to emphasize the importance of annual eye health and visual performance checks to prevent low vision problems. You can also discuss available treatments or assistance options thanks to the useful resources at allaboutvision.com/lowvision.

1 African Americans have some of the highest rates of vision loss and blindness caused by eye disease in the country — and these rates are getting higher. During BLACK HISTORY MONTH, launch a campaign on the importance of eye exams for people with diabetes, hypertension and other diseases prevalent in the black community.

2 The SUPER BOWL these days is as much a test of a business’s advertising acumen as a sporting event. Make sure you’re ready too. America is watching.

2 OK, here we go again (and again, and again …). It’s GROUNDHOG DAY. Any excuse to have a party. Perhaps something like, “It’s Groundhog Day. 20% off if Phil doesn’t see his shadow!”

29 LEAP YEAR DAY only comes every four years so jump on this sweet little marketing op. Offer discounts to those leaplings who have the fortune — or misfortune —to have been born today. Get out your frog or rabbit promotions. Hoppy Hour, anyone?

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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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