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Manager's To Do

Here’s Your Manager To-Do List to Prepare for the Holidays

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Oct 1-7

SALES “We cured the bad habit of saying ‘no problem,’” says Scott Chalmers of Chalmers Jewelers, Middleton, WI. “If you’re caught saying ‘no problem,’ you put $1 into the fish bowl. Then every Friday, either I buy lunch with the fish bowl funds or out of my pocket. After two weeks, I was buying lunch out of my pocket.”

INVENTORY Need to clear space for new merchandise? Try running a “Top to Bottom” sale for about three weeks. Your “top” piece might be 10 percent off, while your “bottom” piece (the oldest one you have and just haven’t been able to sell) might be 70 percent off. “It generates cash and it makes room for all the new things you buy,” says Patricia Holt, VP of operations at The Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, DC.

GIFT WRAPPING Buy a book on gift-wrapping, and find a style that your customers will remember. Assign paper- and ribbon-cutting duties.

Oct 8-14

SOCIAL MEDIA 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 website’s SEO at the time of year when people are scouring the Internet for gifts and gift ideas.

WEBSITE Update the offerings on your website. Be sure to highlight some of your proudest custom pieces.

ONLINE Do 404 error pages on your website frustrate or amuse? Consider a photo of your store mascot wearing jewelry or something similarly lighthearted. Amazon features “the dogs of Amazon” — great studio-shot portraits, presumably of staffers’ dogs. Of course, don’t forget your message: “You’ve come to a dead-end. Go back!”

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Oct 15-21

GIFT CARDS At your front desk and take-in area, place signs to let people know about your gift cards. The sign could say something as simple as “Ask about our holiday season gift card specials,” or just “Buy a gift card today.”

MARKETING This is a good time of year to be handing out business cards, especially cards with a special offer. Make sure that you, and all your staff, have plenty of cards to hand out when they’re out and about this month.

STAFF Finalize work schedules for the next 12 weeks (include the first half of January). Check your staff’s obligations and work around any clashes. Identify the peak hours and ensure your best salespeople will be on the floor.

Oct 22-28

MEDIA Send a press release to the local newspaper along with a note offering your services as a source on the subject of jewelry for Christmas.

MANAGEMENT Post your November and December monthly and daily goals in the back room. This is also time to unveil your sales spiff of the year. What will it be this year? The latest iPhone, a three-day holiday, an offer to shave your hair off? Don’t forget a secondary prize for the sales associate who collects the most customer emails.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Cleaning House for a New Generation

At Komara Jewelers in Canfield, Ohio, Wilkerson handled all the aspects of its retirement sale just as owner Bob Komara’s children took over day-to-day operations of the business. They’d used other companies before, says Brianna Komara-Pridon, but they didn’t compare. “If we had used Wilkerson then, it would have been so much better.”

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Manager's To Do

Get Everything In Place For Mother’s Day, Spring Clean Your Shop and More To-Do Items for April

Your managerial planning for the month starts here.

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Mar 31-Apr 6

INVENTORY Start your Mother’s Day (May 12 this year) preparations by going through last year’s data. Compare popular price points with what you have in stock now.

MERCHANDISING If you haven’t done it yet, buy white cotton gloves for everyone to wear when they’re moving product around — they keep skin oil off jewelry and prevent sterling goods from tarnishing.

Apr 7-13

BUYING The biggest names in bridal fashion will showcase their spring and summer collections during Bridal Fashion Week in New York. Will last year’s royal wedding still influence trends? Tune in to the online coverage to find out what is likely to get young brides excited this year.

MARKETING Get ready for Mother’s Day by planning a “Dad and child early evening out.” Select a shortlist of gifts for Dad and the kids to choose from. Offer gift-wrapping. Send out your first round of emails or mailers by the middle of April.

Apr. 14-20

NETWORKING Contact any churches, synagogues or women’s groups in your area. Tell them you’ll speak for free about gemstones and jewelry at their luncheon meetings.

TECHNOLOGY Everyone complains about the distractions of digital technology, but then they let every app on their phone buzz and flash at them all day long. Today, turn off your notifications. All of them, if you can (with the exception of web-connected smoke alarms, of course.)

Apr 21-27

FINANCIALS Review your cash-flow projections. With the economy in a state of flux, it’s easy to run into a mismatch between the cash flowing in, what you’re taking out, and what you owe your vendors.

INVENTORY Finalize Father’s Day watch and jewelry orders. And don’t forget anniversary jewelry — your ticket to profiting from all those June weddings of years past.

Apr 28-May 4

SALES Set up T.O. teams, recommends sales trainer Shane Decker. When you see two people who work well together, schedule them together. “The success of a T.O. team — two different selling personalities or opposite genders paired together — can skyrocket,” Decker says.

WORKSHOP More spring cleaning, this time in the shop. Use a steam cleaner on your tools but get rid of anything you have not used in a year. Straighten up your bench. Having things where you can find them leads to more efficiency and fewer headaches.

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Siblings Day, National Volunteer Week and More Important April Dates

Seize on this date to own the ideas of truthfulness and trust in your community.

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10 Sure, sometimes they wouldn’t surrender the TV remote, and you had to wear red because they got the blue top, and they never seemed to do their fair share of the dishes … But they are also the only other people on the planet who understand what weirdos your parents are. On National Siblings Day, remind your customers of all this. Siblings are like the best friends we never asked for but are really glad we have. They deserve a nice surprise gift — in red.

7 On National Volunteer Week, pick up litter on roadsides or in your local creek, serve food to homeless, repaint the children’s shelter; do something to give back to your community.

14 On Be Kind to Lawyers Day, send a cheery note of thanks to yours for their hard work keeping your business safe from legal jeopardy.

30 Those honored on National Honesty Day are given “Abes” to mark their commitment to truthfulness. Sponsor an event at a local school. Own the ideas of truthfulness and trust in your community.

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Manager's To Do

Capitalizing on Valentine’s Engagement Sales, March Madness and More March To-Dos

Your managerial planning for the month starts here.

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Mar. 3-9

BUDGETING Time to get started on making a budget for the 2019 buying season and get ready to trade in old inventory for new inventory. Also, if possible, have an inventory reduction sale to get rid of the dated inventory before going to Vegas.

SALES FLOOR Beware the ex-brides of March! Divorce filings are highest this month. Do you have a script ready explaining why the resale value of an engagement ring may not meet the customer’s expectations? If not, get busy.

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MARKETING Remember all those clients who bought engagement rings in advance of Valentine’s Day? Call to see what their plans are for wedding bands.

Mar. 10-16

MERCHANDISE It’s March. Embrace the madness. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals starts on March 17 and runs through to April 8. It’s a great chance to clear out old inventory with a quick Sheer Madness Sale! At the very least, organize a pool for staff.

SHOWROOM Is your custom area as friendly as it could be? Does it feature a gallery highlighting past designs, portraits of satisfied customers, updated displays, appropriate lighting, a signature scent?

Mar. 17-23

MARKETING Hold a Prom Dress Party. Encourage girls to bring their dresses into the store and try on jewelry with the dress. Identify pieces to excite them at prices that will entice a sale (that means jewelry with a big look for less money).

MERCHANDISING Pull out your promotional calendar and view it from the perspective of using the events to manage and reduce specific inventory. Annual customer appreciation sales, trunk shows, open houses, and repair/jewelry remodeling events can all give your finances an even greater boost if you execute them with a view to moving certain items.

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MANAGEMENT Download a time tracker to your phone and start logging how you spend your work life — not because there’s much value in the record you create, but because the very act of recording can have a powerful psychological impact, leading you to use your time much more efficiently. (Warning: Brace yourself to be alarmed at how you fritter away time.)

Mar. 24-30

SHOWROOM In one analysis of a university building in Oregon, workers on the greenery-facing side took 19 percent fewer sick days. It apparently has to do with how we evolved to function best in nature-rich settings. If you can’t knock a side wall out to provide a view of the glorious outdoors, buy a few potted plants to place around your sales floor.

PERSONAL Take an inventory of your tech use and evaluate each item for its usefulness, working on the assumption that if something can’t justify itself, it’s out. Exit the social networks you barely use and get rid of the apps that, when you think about it, have no benefit. Yep, that means Candy Crush may have to go.

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