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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.

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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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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Manager's To-Do

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule and More Manager’s To-Dos for November

Plus a reader tip for how she get this things done in a day.

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Nov. 3-9

LAYOUT Do a quick test of your store’s circulation. Look out for pathway dead-ends and store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space kill the “spirit” of a store and the impulse to buy.

MANAGEMENT Novemburrrrrr! Winter is on the way and with it, flu season. Recommend staff members get a flu shot, on company time if need be.

MARKETING Prepare an editorial calendar for your blog and other social media channels. Aim to post something new every day, be it a blog, Facebook comment or new video. It will all help increase your main website’s SEO at the time of year when people are scouring the Internet for gifts and gift ideas.

Nov. 10-16

MARKETING It’s high season for functions. Accept all invitations to parties, Chamber of Commerce events, neighborhood fundraisers, open houses and mixers. Check your stock of business cards. Volunteer to be a speaker to talk about what your business has to offer.

ONLINE Mobile devices are expected to drive about 70 percent of all Christmas related retail traffic this year. Test your website and any apps to ensure the customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops. It often doesn’t.

Nov. 17-23

MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what promotions will run when.

IN-STORE Investigate what it would take to allow prospective patients to take a virtual tour of your store or practice. Google provides a list of “trusted pro” photographers in your local area as part of its efforts to promote Street View. See here: www.google.com/streetview/contacts-tools.

Nov. 24-30

MARKETING Your Flex Dollars are expiring! Your flex dollars are expiring! Yes, this is how simple (and how loud) your message to customers should be over the next two weeks. Add a daily countdown graphic to your website.

OPERATIONS Done well, meetings ensure everyone is on the same page, not just with store policy, but with promotions, inventory and equipment. Why not invite a vendor in to lead a weekly meeting with a focus on getting the most out of those fancy tools you’ve installed?

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