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Manager's To-Do

Take a Break! … and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Try to grab a long weekend to recharge.

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March 5-10

OPERATIONS The year is gathering pace and those small operational adjustments you made in January should be starting to stick. Always document best processes as they emerge as well as common errors to save employees time troubleshooting later.

planning Jenna Gilberston of McCulley Optix Gallery in Fargo, ND says this month it’s “Probably time to look at all of our patient forms again. Plan a staff retreat day. Plan the 2018 event schedule … and that might just be in the first month of the year! First six months … always looking at better technology solutions, including a new email program for our office.”

STRATEGY Set times to meet with your advisers — your lawyer, accountant, banker, consultants and especially if you haven’t done it yet, your tax pro. Review the state of the company and take advantage of your changing tax obligations.

EDUCATION If you send staff to Vision Expo East (starts March 15), ask them to each pick a course they particularly enjoy and plan to recreate it for the rest of your staff.

March 12-17

OPERATIONS EMR/PM systems have undergone some big changes of late with features such as iPad sign-ins that encourage customers to update their demographic and medical histories, e-signature pads and so on. But in many cases the technology has outpaced the implementation. If you have yet to fully integrate the features in your practice, make it your big to-do item of the month.

MARKETING Start plotting a trunk show for summer.

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TECHNOLOGY Does the name of your network promote your services, as in “best-eye-doc-in-town”? It should. 

March 19-24

MAINTENANCE Schedule a tune-up of your A/C. Maintenance now will save you money come summer.

MARKETING Send a spring promotional e-mail highlighting your fashion frames. Longer, sunnier days are right around the corner. 

SALES FLOOR Step outside your store and assess how staff interact with customers. Research suggests words account for only around 7 percent of communication. What kinds of things are your sales staff communicating with their body language?

March 26-31

ONLINE The FCC’s recent Net neutrality ruling introduced a lot of uncertainty for small business with regards to how their online operations might be affected. Visitors to your site won’t have patience if pages don’t open quickly. Check your download speed with one of the sites recommended here: invmag.us/021802.

OPERATIONS Create an employee suggestion box but add a twist — they have just 30 days to suggest ideas to make your business and their working lives better.

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EDUCATION Take out your notes from all those education courses during Vision Expo East and start implementing the great ideas you learned.

GENERAL March is a good month to catch your breath. You’ve likely been working non-stop since the holidays. Try to grab a long weekend to recharge.

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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Start a Campaign of Fear and More June Events

Plus, sometimes letting your business go to the dogs is a good thing.

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21 Ask any Washington insider and they’ll tell you the best way to start a campaign is with a solid base of fear. When it comes to the sunny months ahead — summer officially begins today — and people’s need to protect their eyes, there’s plenty to be scared about. Skipping shades contributes to AMD, pterygium, basal cell carcinoma, cataracts and more. Yet according to The Vision Council’s 2015 UV protection report, more than one-third of parents said their kids never wear sunglasses. Prep your inventory. Get social. Get out in your community. Instill fear.

1 Sales of audiobooks have surged over the last 15 years as smartphones made downloads as easy as a tap of the finger. During Audiobook Appreciation Month, do a Google search for “bestselling business audiobooks” and catch up on some of the great management advice that’s been published recently.

23 Dogs with faces only their owners could love gather at the Sonoma-Marin Fair for the World’s Ugliest Dog contest. Hold a similar competition. Ask your staff to vote on what they think is the most aesthetically challenged style in the store.

27 Happy Birthday to You turns 160. Send a singing telegram to any patient who shares a birthday with the world’s most sung song. Include a gift to be claimed in-store.

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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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