Retail shelving solution recommendation

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Fantastic customer service as well. Highly recommended…

1500mm Display Shelf
1500mm Display Shelf

10 Things To Do Every Workday

I’ve always been focused on performance. I’m a list person. I love the feeling of crossing things off. It makes me feel productive. Plus, consistent productivity has the wonderful byproduct of accomplishing more. Jeff Haden’s recent article on Linkedin summarizes the value of having a daily to-do list beautifully: You don’t wait to do the work until you get the dream job – you do the work in order to get the dream job.

I’ve never shared this list with anyone until now.

It’s the list of ten things I try to do every workday. Yes, there are days when I don’t get them all done, but I do my best to deliver. It has proven very effective for me. They are:

  1. Read something related to my industry.
  2. Read something related to business development.
  3. Send two emails to touch base with old colleagues.
  4. Empty my private client inbox by responding to all career coaching questions within one business day.
  5. Check in with each team member on their progress.
  6. Have a short non-work related conversation with every employee.
  7. Review my top three goals for my company that are focused on its growth.
  8. Identify and execute one task to support each of my top three goals.
  9. Post five valuable pieces of content on all my major social media accounts.
  10. Take a full minute to appreciate what I have and how far I’ve come.

This list could be longer. BUT…

If it was longer, I wouldn’t be as good at getting them all done. This list is manageable to me. Of course, I do more than these ten things every day. But, these are the ten I choose to do with consistency. Why? Over the years, they’ve proven the best way for me to grow my career and my business. The collective results have made completing these tasks consistently; even when I don’t feel like it, well worth it.



The 6 Keys To Being Awesome At Everything

Aristotle had it exactly right 2000 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do.”

1.Pursue what you love

Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.

2.Do the hardest work first

We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain.

Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

3.Practice Intensely

Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break.

90 minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.

4.Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses

The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments.

Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.

5.Take regular renewal breaks

Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning.

It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.

6.Ritualize practice

Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it.

The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.



Starbucks presses social media onward


Back in the social-media stone age, about 2005, customers who yearned to interact with Starbucks could talk to a barista or read quotes on its coffee cups.

“Love wins,” read quote No. 257, from television and radio host Tavis Smiley.

“Evolution is beautiful,” said No. 35, creating a bit of a stink in anti-evolution circles.

Now fans interact with the world’s largest coffee-shop chain without even visiting a cafe. They just log on to their favorite social-media site and there’s Starbucks or Frappuccino or Starbucks Indonesia chatting away.

One of the most successful brands using social media, Starbucks wins more than a popularity contest with its vast numbers of online fans. The sites have become an important way to advertise daily and, occasionally, drive huge numbers of customers into stores.

The fifth-largest brand on Facebook, with 34 million fans, Starbucks trails only Coca-Cola, Disney, Red Bull and Converse, according

Starbucks executives figure that through Facebook fans and their friends alone, they have access to nearly 1 billion people — a seventh of the world’s population.

On Twitter, its 3.6 million followers rank it fourth, behind Samsung Mobile, iTunes Music and NASA.

And that’s just for the main Starbucks name. The chain has dozens more pages and handles for Frappuccino, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Tazo Tea, other brands and foreign markets.

There are even “Starbucks Partners” pages for the chain’s employees, more than half of whom in the United States are 25 years old or younger. A recent Starbucks Partners photo on Instagram and Facebook touted a California store where three workers made 40 drinks in 10 minutes — for a nearby zombie movie shoot, naturally.

Fans into dollars

Although having followers is important, the real test is interaction and sales, and Starbucks has been winning there as well.

“Starbucks was holding Facebook promotions before most restaurants even figured out this was a space they needed to be in,” said Alicia Kelso, senior editor at Networld Media Group in Louisville, Ky., parent company of and other online trade publications that track the restaurant business.

Starbucks’ first big social-media promotion came in 2009, about a year after it launched on Facebook and Twitter. It offered a free pastry with drink purchase before 10:30 a.m.

A million people showed up, proving “the channels are not just about engaging and telling a story and connecting, but they can have a material impact on the business,” said Alexandra Wheeler, who’s in charge of Starbucks’ global digital marketing.

It is difficult to quantify a brand’s interaction quotient, but the site tries by using more than 400 pieces of information from various social-media networks.

Klout gives Starbucks a score of 83, better than Peet’s Coffee at 77 but below Dunkin’ Donuts at 86and McDonald’s at 92.

Not all interaction is welcome, however.

A McDonald’s campaign backfired last year when it tried to use Twitter to highlight the farmers from whom it buys produce.

Although McDonald’s used the “#McDStories” Twitter hashtag just twice, the Twitterverse quickly adopted it to post items denouncing and ridiculing it.

“My brother finding a fake finger nail in his fries. #McDStories,” tweeted someone with the handle PrettyTallerr.

Staffing social media

Posting on social-media sites used to be a one-person job at Starbucks.

Now five people are on the job, veterans of social media from Microsoft, the Seattle Art Museum and the Phoenix Suns.

Their charge is to “be authentic” and “be the best barista online.”

That means writing pithy posts like the recently popular, “Sometimes a good cappuccino and a good book are all you need.”

It also means being on top of popular culture.

Sometimes, there may be a reference that resonates with an older crowd, like a photograph on Dr. Seuss’ birthday of his cat’s striped hat drawn on a Starbucks coffee cup.

Often it’s something for younger people, responding, for example, to singer and actress Demi Lovato’s lament that Starbucks baristas do not know her name with a photograph of a specially decorated cup just for her.

Well-planned posts

The posts are not always so spontaneous.

Starbucks’ schedule for social-media topics looks like the departing-flights board at the airport.

Some weeks it focuses on Evolution Fresh juices, other weeks on its global month of (volunteer) service.

The whole social-media team takes photos for posts. Paige Dell’Armi, who has posted for Starbucks for about a year, even keeps backdrops tucked under her desk.

One recent weekday, she and others on the team shot photos and video of another headquarters employee, Major Cohen, making coffee in a French press. The post highlighted how to brew the perfect cup at home.

Whatever the focus, posts on each platform are relatively spare — maybe one a day, sometimes fewer.

“They’re not cluttering up your news feed,” said Kelso, of Networld Media Group. “That’s so important, because people do not want to have brands in their news feeds.”

Starbucks also does not push products or causes too hard, she said.

Its posts are just as likely to be a smiley face, an accidental tweet that in 2011 generated more than 1,500 retweets.

Often they call to mind the quotes on cups from way back in the mid-2000s, some of which are preserved on a Starbucks photo board at Pinterest.

There are new, noncup quotes there as well, like, “Keep calm and make coffee.”

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or Twitter @AllisonSeattle.

Best Advice: No Regrets, and Practicing What You Preach

I read this article on Linkedin, posted by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and found it invaluable to myself and for child education.

Original article:
“The best advice I ever received? Simple: Have no regrets. Who gave me the advice? Mum’s the word.

If you asked every person in the world who gave them their best advice, it is a safe bet that most would say it was their mother. I am no exception. My mother has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped shape my life. But having no regrets stands out above all others, because it has informed every aspect of my life and every business decision we have ever made.

It is one thing to dish out advice; it is another to lead by example and show exactly what you mean through your actions. My mum has always had a keen entrepreneurial streak herself, and still does today. When I was a child, she inspired me to take risks in all manner of business ventures. Most of them didn’t work out (notably growing Christmas trees and breeding budgerigars!) but the lessons learned were invaluable.

The amount of time people spend looking back on failed projects has always astounded me. If we were to add up all of the hours spent regretting mistakes and use that time to develop new ideas, who knows how many brilliant new businesses would be created. Even now my mother starts more new projects in a week than most people do in a year.

She explained how to think of setbacks as part of a learning curve. Sometimes it will be steep, but if you concentrate on looking forward rather than back, the climb will be easier. My mother was able to ingrain that advice in me – not just through words, but through actions.”

by Richard Branson

How the most successful people treat everything–Including Problems–As An Asset.

I read this article ( by Paul B. Brown on, and thought it’s truly inspirational.

I need to learn treating everything – including problems – as an Asset.

“The key is to focus on your goal and not on the plan that you initially drew up to get there.”

“With this approach, your objective doesn’t change, but you accept the fact that how you may get there might. For anyone who has put together a five year plan or even an annual budget, this is going to require thinking differently, something which is never a walk in the park. But it can be done.

To see how we need to begin by taking a step back.

However, in today’s world, it is all about exploiting the contingencies and leveraging the uncertainty by treating unexpected events as an opportunity to exercise control over the emerging situation. (Don’t believe me? Think of the last time you drew up a plan to accomplish something and it went off without a hitch.)

Those who are successful in starting companies, or creating anything new for that matter, learn not only to work with the surprise factor, but also to take advantage of it.”

“Plan B can be good, too”

“In most contingency plans, surprises are bad; the “what if?” scenarios are usually worst-case ones. But people who accept the world is much more complex today do not tie themselves to any theorized or preconceived market, strategic universe, or fixed path for making their idea a reality. For them, problems are a potential resource, as opposed to a disadvantage. They very often do something with the things that surprise them, treating those surprises as a potential asset.

How do you get creative with a surprise? Well, if the surprise is a good one, you take full advantage of it. For example, you thought the world would love your new iPhone accessory. But you have been overwhelmed by demand. The logical thing to do is to ramp up production, add distributors (perhaps worldwide), and think about creating additional products not only for the iPhone but for all other smart phones as well.

If that surprise was a negative one—i.e., your actions did not go as you thought they would; you encountered a problem or even a setback—it is then time to figure out a way of using that negative to your advantage. Problems and even setbacks are resources to be employed to your advantage.”

“Problems = Advantage

“Running headlong into a problem and then solving it can give you a barrier to competition, or at least a remarkable head start in the marketplace. Why? Because you acted, and the competition didn’t. As a result, you know something they don’t.

Isadore Sharp, founder of the extremely upscale Four Seasons hotel chain, serves as a case in point. When he started out, he assumed that the only thing that would matter for him was to be in the best locations. The problem he ran into was that every other hotel chain had the same idea. That was a huge negative surprise. If you are doing what everyone else is, you don’t have an advantage.

In solving that problem, he stumbled on what turned out to be the Four Seasons’ ultimate competitive advantage. He created a two-pronged barrier to entry, as he explains in his autobiography, Four Seasons: The Story of a Business Philosophy. “One was our inventory of hotels . . . the largest group of authentically first-class hotels in the world, a physical product no other company had to the same degree.”

The advantage was that he could offer the frequent traveler who wanted luxury one-stop shopping when it came to staying in any of the world’s major cities. The other advantage was his people. “Three decades ago, we had decided that what our customers most desired was whatever would make time away from home most pleasurable and productive, so we set about raising service levels to match our first-class decor, an historic judgment call that had made superior service the major determinant of hotel profitability and competitiveness, and while finally recognized now by every hotel company in the world, we had a long head start, so that all our staff in all our hotels were service-oriented, and every employee was focused on delivering service no other company could match.”

According to Sharp, “Location was no longer foremost in getting and keeping customers, it was people, people, people. This was now the decisive factor in our two-fold barrier to entry.”

That negative surprise you encounter can ultimately become a barrier to competition, if you treat it as an asset as Sharp did. He accepted the problem that what he thought was going to be an advantage—location—wasn’t. (Everyone else could build in the same place.) He then took that fact (we have terrific locations, but many other people do too) and asked what he could do with that. His conclusion: We can provide excellent service at these superior locations. That has given him a terrific edge in the marketplace.”

“Coming full circle”

“We began by talking about business clichés. Let’s end the same way. The takeaway from this post is clear. If you come across lemons—otherwise known as business problems/obstacles—do indeed make lemonade.

Try this approach next time you encounter something unexpected. Despite how unpleasant it seems, say, “This is really good news,” and then try to make it so.

The big idea here is you want to develop the ability to turn the unexpected into the profitable. That means your default position should be that there is never a problem without a potential profitable/pleasant solution lurking somewhere. The understanding that a) not all surprises are bad, and b) surprises, whether good or bad, can be used to create something new, is a central to the way we need to think going forward.

The thing is to do something positive with those surprises.”


Paul B. Brown is the co-author (along with Leonard A. Schlesinger and Charles F. Kiefer) of Just Start: Take Action; Embrace Uncertainty and Create the Future recently published by Harvard Business Review Press.

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