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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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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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Manager's To-Do

Make Your Staff Go Shopping and More Manager’s To-Dos for March

Plus see how the whole team can benefit from joining the AOA.

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Mar. 1-7

ASSOCIATIONS Recommend all staff, both opticians and paras, join the American Optometric Association, if they haven’t already. It’s easy to register, free to most if your doctor is a member, and comes with a bunch of benefits including free credits for certification renewal, access to programs and services, education and training. Next, sign them up for your state association.

STAFF It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.

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Mar. 8-14

TRADE SHOWS If you’re headed to Vision Expo East this year (starts Mar. 26), make networking your big goal, not just to solidify and build on existing relationships but to meet new people (from all sides of the industry). Scout new lines, attend lessons, but leave lots of “white time” for those serendipitous encounters that are the real catalysts of business success.

MARKETING Create a signup area on your website for visitors to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.

Mar. 15-21

MARKETING Start plotting a trunk show for summer along with the accompanying social media and marketing promotions.

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BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Shop and support local! By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

MANAGEMENT Work on a “save the day” protocol for when things don’t go the way they’re supposed to and orders are delayed or a patient is double booked or whatever. A gift card that entitles the bearer to a free coffee or movie will smooth ruffled feathers.

Mar. 22-28

MANAGEMENT Bring a chair to your next store meeting and tell staff it represents the missing element from your conversations: the customer. Amazon supremo Jeff Bezos swears that the “presence” of a customer gives Amazon the confidence to innovate in a more responsive way.

RESEARCH Give each member of staff a different afternoon to shop your rivals. It’ll let you know what the competition is up to, and make your staff feel involved.

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Create Your Own Holiday and More March Events

Including capitalizing on ‘Madness’ and puppies!

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15 MARCH MADNESS, a.k.a. the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships, starts today and for retailers the date’s become one of surprisingly rich potential, be it to do good, raise awareness (basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries in young males) or just leverage the general madness theme. Alpine Vision in Colorado Springs, CO, chose the first, donating a percentage of proceeds from sales during the tournament to a charity called Nothing But Nets, which fights malaria in Africa.

8 WORLD GLAUCOMA WEEK comes just a month after Glaucoma Month but it’s another opportunity to get out and speak about the condition in your community. See how you can get involved here: worldglaucomaweek.org

23 Puppies were made for social media … or maybe puppies made social media? What is beyond a doubt is that NATIONAL PUPPY DAY brings the two together beautifully. Share a pic of your store mascot.

26 The staggering success of Singles’ Day in November ($30 billion in retail sales in China alone), should serve as a lesson to all retailers that dates — as goofy as they seem ­— can be unmatched marketing pegs. On MAKE UP YOUR OWN HOLIDAY DAY, give thought to what date could set your business apart; it could be an anniversary, a countdown to the sale of your 5,000th pair of contacts, or a twist on National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (an actual event in Pennsylvania) and start marketing the heck out of it.

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