Mari

Archive for the ‘Org B’ Category

Geoff: P-Touch Everything.

In Org B, Organization, Super Helpful Info on 01/27/2013 at 4:41 pm

Geoff Alexander, who’s currently the Managing VP of extremely-social-media-savvy Wow Bao, has been an amazing mentor, friend and colleague for the past several years. I met him when we first were on the Twitterbox, talking about Foiled and Wow Bao donating food through a project we put together that year, “Chicago Soup.”

Ever since then, we’ve managed to get together every so often. He inspires me. Geoff is the kind of guy who gets you excited to take action and move your business along. (For this reason alone, I should probably hang out with him every day.)

One afternoon, I was running around and caught him at one of his stores. He took me to the back so I could check out his operations, which always seem so flawless. I asked him how he kept everything organized. He held up a P-Touch Label Maker.

Wow Bao P Touch

“Mari, this will change your life. P-Touch EVERYTHING. We label every single thing.”

And it’s true. Behind the counter, every single thing is labeled, clearly, with a simple P-Touch labeler. So easy. Time to do this at our packaging stations and kitchen.

Matthew: One Week Away = Ready to Scale

In Business, Org B, Strategy, Super Helpful Info, Take action on 01/27/2013 at 4:04 pm

Wayne, one of my SCORE advisors, introduced me to Matthew D’Agostino, retired third-generation owner of La Bonbonniere in central New Jersey. When I was on the east coast to work on a project for Foiled, he was gracious enough to take me to a deli lunch (despite his vegetarian diet) and talk ACTUAL bakery talk for a couple of hours.

I gleaned close to 200 bits and pieces of helpful information, but the most valuable was this:

“If you can figure out how to run your business while you’re away from it for one full week, then you’re ready to scale it out.

Foiled Cupcakes Scale It Out

This really made me think: what are the pain points that my business experiences when I’m gone? I identified four:
– Nobody to do supply deliveries while I’m gone. (I hired one of our drivers to do this.)
– We need a new supplier for foils that we don’t have to pickup from. (I found a new supplier that can ship directly to the kitchen.)
– When deliveries go awry, I step in and fill in the gaps. (I doubled up on drivers.)
– Custom cupcakes are tough to execute. (Setup longer lead times for customization.)

Thanks, Matt, for what is probably the most useful piece of advice I’ve ever worked towards in this entire business.

Debbie: Power Hour

In Brainstorm, Business, Human behavior, Marketing, Org B, Organization, Shoes, Strategy, Take action on 01/26/2010 at 12:59 pm

If you’re like me, you get distracted by phone calls, emails, Facebook notifications, Tweetdeck chirping in the background, a 4 year old who wants yogurt or string cheese or candy or cupcakes, a buzzing dryer, online Sudoku, blogs, Google calendar, the need to shower, etc.

My former business coach Debbie taught me that each distraction actually takes 4 times as long to tend to, which is why she told me to start my Power Hour: focused, non-distracted work time to get through things that are critical for maintaining business. I go to my office and shut the door with a little post-it that says “Working” on it so everyone knows not to interrupt.

I break down my daily Power Hour into four 15-minute segments. (I do 15 because I’m so ADD to begin with; anything longer would require way too much brainpower. :))

1. Reply to e-mails. DO NOT OPEN TWEETDECK, FACEBOOK, OTHER BROWSERS. (SO super challenging.)
2. Make outreach business building, focused phone calls. I hate making phone calls, so often I’ll bribe myself with shoes. (For every 100 phone calls I make, I get to buy a new pair of shoes. :))
3. Strategize. I’ll focus on different areas daily, such as operations, marketing or networking. A 15 minute timeframe makes me think critically and acutely.
4. Learn. I’ll read an article, a chapter out of a business book, blog post, etc.

What are the four areas in your life you need to maintain daily? And what would happen if you could do them without being interrupted?

Debbie, I love you for making me create my own power hour. My life is infinitely more productive, serene, and less cluttered by distractions. LOVE YOU FOR IT.

Justin: The Workplace Generation Gap.

In Human behavior, Org B, Strategy, Tolerance on 10/01/2009 at 1:18 pm

Justin Roy (@justingroy) is my designated Twitter BFF. In his blog post about the workplace generation gap, he wrote:

“With potentially four generations in the office, there is bound to be animosity, mostly based on the lack of understanding of each others values.”

We all value different things based on our cultural, political, religious, sociological, and now technological experiences – but looking back, I can see how this spectrum of values (with which I didn’t always agree) shaped me in my adult life:

COLLEGE: Political Science professor (Baby Boomer) gave me a “C” on a paper (my first one ever) and said I needed to think more ambitiously. Initially took it as a slap in the face; now can attribute 95 percent of my critical thinking skills to Professor Bowen.

FIRST JOB OUT OF COLLEGE AT LAW FIRM: Partners were noticeably absent (Gen X). R-C-F (the partners) would collaborate on the golf course. Me and the other Gen Y-ers devised strategies to post-it-note their offices. They caught us and joined in the fun. I realized that bosses aren’t always intimidating.

MY OWN ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURES: Parents (silently) skeptical. Co-generational friends supportive by saying stuff like “Mari’s a do-er.” Tons of social interaction and idea sharing. I take two hour lunches. (Justin does too = BFF). I am happy with my life; full circle = my parents are happy.

I’ve learned a lot from other generations. Though it’s clear I think much differently than they do.

Since this conversation, I’ve been thinking to myself – what can I do to increase my own tolerance of others’ values and viewpoints in my own professional and personal organizations? How can I help foster this culture among my employees?

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