Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Operational Transparency In Business

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

transparency-business_1940x900_33681Years ago, opening a business was a time consuming series of applications, red tape and waiting. Now, with the advent of online accessibility, all it takes is a few hours of online filing and the purchase of a domain name. Although a successful business requires much more than that to thrive, it is true that the internet provides information in lightning speed, information that is available to all.

At a time when many companies are struggling with today’s global economy, yet another attribute of online access, maintaining operational transparency has become much more than a corporate choice concerning integrity or regulatory compliance. In a sense, every business now has to learn, if it has not adapted such a culture from the onset, to manage its’ corporate and public image as a press agent would. Bad press can go around the world wide web as quickly as an endorsement or testimonial will, and rarely is one able to erase that which has already formed a digital footprint.

Business best practices today not only include reputable products and the like, but has evolved to include company personality and reputation almost as if it were of a living being. Businesses have come to be thought of in terms of the people behind them and reflect the values of its leadership. Never more than in recent years has the public become more intimately involved with the CEO’s , etc., behind big business, and the mistakes they have made. The key is to do away with the “behind the scenes” corporate mentality and realize that this practice will become increasingly important to owners, executives and managers. across the world. Adapting a company culture of honesty and integrity may quite possibly be one of the most important factors in building brand identity and trust.

True transparency means that that your business is clear and honest and easy to understand when potential customers are looking at you. It means that there are no hidden costs, add on extras or polices that are difficult for the public to understand. It means that your business is in collaboration with your customers, and that you both have the same agenda as posed to a hidden agenda, which ultimately is a happy customer, which equates to a company reputation that is trustworthy.

If your company needs a revamp of its internal operations, there are a few simple steps that can be taken. Begin by reassessing policies. Take a look at employee directives. Encourage collaboration between employees toward the common company vision as this can go a long way to genuine customer service practices. Employees in competition with each other for a sale or other benefit will only serve to deliver disingenuous interaction with customers.

I also believe that it is best to assess what your business does really well and do it. It may seem simple, but you do not have to be an expert in everything. Talking up a product or a service that does not deliver as well as you promise will only catch up with your viral reputation in the end. Gone are the days of product perception. Today performance counts and customers will talk much more positively about companies who do one thing really well, rather than those companies who perform ten tasks with average competence.

Consider getting management out into the community. People like to know who they are doing business with. Put a face to the brand, and find a way to give back to the community in some way. This can go a long way to promoting the values behind your business, build a feel good atmosphere and enlist trust in your company. Executives would benefit by making time to be available and reachable when possible.

If a business issue attracts unwanted critique, accept the feedback gracefully and get out in front of the issue. Be sure to own it. Most people like a comeback from a company owning and correcting an honest mistake rather than the company who passes the buck.

With so much digital access available it can often become confusing for business owners to manage the multitude of outlets of online information effectively. This can translate to confusion and a chaotic customer experience. Be careful not to overwhelm the public with information overload and do be succinct in your approach to online and social media marketing. It may be wise to appoint an employee versed in online marketing and strategy.

In an environment where companies as well as consumers are overcoming the struggles of the last few years and have abundant access to the internet, it is imperative to adopt a culture of business transparency and a focus on well-being for the public at large. Make sure your company is actually operating like one that you and your family would like to do business with. -KBC

Ironing Board Space Saving Solutions

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Most ironing boards are big, bulky and take up valuable space in a closet or laundry room.  We have 2 perfect space saving solutions!

Pressing Perfection™

Pressing Perfection™

1) Sidelines easy mount Pressing Perfection Ironing Board is only 5.5 inches wide when stored against a panel or wall.  When fully extended it swivels up to 90 degrees from mounting position and is universal for left or right mounting.  Easy installation in 10 minutes with 10 screws!

PressFix™

PressFix™

2) For compact storage and easy access, Sidelines Press Fix Ironing Board stores in the closet or laundry room on a 24 inch wide fixed shelf.  Installs in minutes with four top mounting screws!

 

Closet Solutions

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Shave time from your morning routine by slimming down what you own and what you truely wear.

SN_MG_4753

Purge the clothes that you don’t wear at the end of the season, when what you’ve worn and not worn is still fresh in your mind.  If you didn’t wear it this season , it’s time to let it go!  If you’re struggling to part with pieces, put them in a box and after six months, donate whatever is left in the box without opening it.  No peeking!

Organize clothes, including socks, by color – you will be able to find what you need faster.

 

Get Organized!

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Happy New Year!  Now that 2013 is behind us, it’s time to get a fresh start on the new year by getting organized.  January is national Get Organized month!  NAPO, The National Association of Professional Organizers, has declared January the national Get Organized month for the last  10 years and it’s still going strong.

Here are some quick and easy tips from NAPO to start your new year off on the right foot!

AT HOME

~ Make a landing zone for your incoming mail and process it at least twice a week.

~ Keep a donation bag on hand.  For each new item you bring into your home, consider donating something that you no longer use.

~ Get kids involved by letting them create their own labels for storing toys and games

 desk org

AT WORK

~ Identify your three most important daily tasks and focus your attention on getting them done.

~ Clear out your email inbox.  If you don’t need it, delete it.

~ Keep only current project files within reach and put everything else away.

These quick and easy tips will help you get started to an organized new year.

6 Tips to Organizing Your Digital Photos

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

It can be a pain to organize your photos. You probably have several digital cameras and smartphones in your household – plus even the kids’ have devices that take photos. On top of it, you have multiple desktop computers, laptops, and tablets with collections of photos you’ve accumulated over the years. Then people text you photos, share photos on Facebook and Instagram. The photos are everywhere! It’s easy to get overwhelmed and just let the photos pile up. But if you want to preserve your digital memories and easily reference them years from now, Here are 6 tips for how to organize photos.

camera

Centralize:     Keep all your photos in one spot. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to find old vacation photos, and they could be in one of several places. Maybe they’re on your laptop, maybe they’re on the external drive in the den, or maybe they’re on the old computer in the garage that crashed. Have all your photos on a desktop computer with a large hard drive. Many newer computers come with very large hard drives capable of storing a decade of family photos. If you have access to technical support, install a second large hard drive – with 2 or 3 terabytes of storage – in your desktop computer. A second drive won’t be running your operating system (eg: Windows), so it will spin less and likely have a longer life. Tip: Make a habit of downloading all your photos to your central location.

Cloud Caution:      Isn’t the cloud supposed to be the one of the latest and greatest trends in computing? Yes! But storing your life’s photos in the cloud (on someone else’s servers) as the one and only location can be problematic for a few reasons. Some photo services will size down your photos when you upload them, so you lose the original photos’ quality and metadata (the timestamp, camera model, and even location). So don’t delete those originals! For instance, you may have a 10MB photo from your camera, and when you upload it to your photo service’s site, it might be 1MB and half the resolution. There are some great sites like Snapfish and Flickr that offer many options for uploading and sharing photos, but use these as secondary locations for the photos you want to share, not your primary, one-and-only location. Photo website’s may have changing storage policies, limits, and price increases that can creep up with little notice, and while they have extensive backup systems, they’re not exempt from systems failure and data loss. Tip: Own your own storage for all your photos and use cloud services for sharing and secondary storage.

Create Folders:      The key to organizing collections of photos on your hard drive is a well thought out folder, or directory, structure. The surest way to organize photos is by maintaining a set of folders on your computer, just like you may do with emails or documents you save. Creating folders of photos on your hard drive will future proof your collection and can be moved from computer to computer for decades to come, since folders and files can easily be migrated to newer and different systems. Create sets of folders for all the photos you download from your devices. Use a Year/Month/Day naming format, so you can easily find photos by date – without that you’ll end up with just a giant set of arbitrarily named folders. Tip: It’s worth the effort to organize your photos with a logical hierarchy of folders in order to stay organized long term.

Stay on Top of It:      Immediately get into the habit of downloading photos regularly. Of course it’s easy to let your camera’s memory card fill up before thinking about downloading to your computer. But if you stay up on it, you’re not only saving yourself from a larger chunk of work later on, you’re protecting yourself from data loss. It’s risky to carry your camera around with hundreds of precious photos because it’s vulnerable to being lost, stolen, or damaged. Pop that memory card into your computer as soon as you can to cut and paste those photos into the right folder on your hard drive. Even if you don’t have time to put all the photos into the right folders now, it’s at least better to put them in a generic folder that you can sort through later. Tip: Download frequently to make it easy on yourself and take away the worry of losing photos.

iphone

The Social Life of Photos:   A large part of your life in photos may actually be snapped by some other friend or family member. Those photos can be all over the place: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Emails, and Text Messages to name a few. Some of those photos can be great memories for years to come, but when they live in those locations, they scroll up and away from memory.  Save any photo that you really like that comes your way. Facebook on your computer’s browser has a “Download” option for every image you open up. Smartphones allow you to save most photos to your camera roll, which then will make it to your hard drive when you download. Tip: If you’re a fanatic about a having a photo box of memories then grabbing pics from those who share them is a great way to build a story of your life.

Protect Yourself:      Last, but most important, backup your photos. Without a backup, your hard drive of lifetime photos is at risk of being lost. Computers fail, get stolen, damaged, and just don’t last. Tip: With a good backup strategy, you have peace of mind that your digital memories are with you forever.

Closet Details

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Special organizing touches help you pull together the perfect look for any occasion.

Rainbow Connection ~ Spray paint wood hangers to give your closet a style upgrade and introduce a color coded wardrobe management system.  Assign colors to different types of garments, seasons, or users.

Drop – Ins ~ Some articles of clothing – socks, workout clothes, pajamas – are difficult to keep folded and stacked.  Avoid toppling piles by setting items in labeled Sidelines baskets.

Tag ~ Tie gift tags to wire shelves to designate storage zones.  Affix an envelope of blank tags and extra ties to the back of the door so you can update labels quickly.

Eye of the Beholder ~ Use digital or instant photos as visual reminders of what’s inside boxes and bins.  While you’re snapping away, take pictures of favorite combinations of clothing, shoes, and accessories.  That way, you can assemble an outfit in a flash

 

Organizing for Back – To – School

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Organizing for Back – To – School

Even though many kids don’t go back to school until the first of September, many of us have kids going back to school in August.

Yes it’s definitely that time of the year again when the lazy days of summer can quickly turn into an overwhelmed chaotic nightmare if we aren’t prepared for back to school. And by prepared I mean organized.

Incorporating some simple organized solutions into your day can take you from stressed out to calm and controlled when it comes to getting the kids out the door and off to school each day.

Establish Evening and Morning Routines:

Nothing will set up your day better than when everyone knows exactly what is expected of them. Take some time before school starts to figure out what types of steps and regular routines are required to make sure everyone gets out the door on time with everything they need.

School Clothes:

In preparation of the big day, go through all of your children’s clothes and create an inventory of what they have and what they’ll needThe night before school,  put the clothes out that they will wear in the morning including socks and shoes.

Backpack Station:

The biggest contributing factor for staying on top of the school craziness is having a designated backpack station by the front door.

The kids know exactly where their backpacks need to go when they get home from school and the central location allows you the opportunity to check the backpacks each day to ensure notes are received and homework is done. Mornings are also a snap because backpacks can quickly be grabbed on the way out the door.

Command Central:

As for all the school papers, and boy there’s a lot of them!   Set up a Command Central to keep important papers and calendars all in one place that everyone can check on a daily basis.

Before you know it the first day of school will be here and we’ll be back in the swing of things trying to keep up with it all.  By implementing a few simple strategies as listed above you’ll be able to navigate through the school year like a pro.

How To Organize Anything

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Four simple steps are all it takes to conquer clutter!

From kitchen counters to the coat closet, getting organized is easier than you think.  Just follow this process: Empty, Sort, Shop, and Reassemble.  It works for any space in the house, adapts to the busiest schedule, and is guaranteed to reduce stress.

Step 1: Empty

Whatever you are organizing, empty it completely to gain a full understanding of what you own.  That doesn’t mean you have to empty your entire bedroom all at once.  Tackle the closet first.  Or if time is limited, just organize your shoes.

Step 2: Sort

Quick decision-making is the key to letting go of clutter.  As you evalute each item, ask: Do I like this?  Do I use it?  Do I have a place to keep it?  Then decide what you are going to keep, donate or sell.

Step3: Shop

Too many people shop for containers first, figuring it will make it easy for them to get organized.  Instead, decide what you’re keeping, measure it, and determine where it’s going to be stored.  Then you can go shopping for right sized pieces that you need.

Step 4: Reassemble

Store things where you use them.  Any area at eye level you can easily reach is where things you use every day should go.  Place items used weekly in slightly less convenient storage areas.  Put rarely used items such as holiday decorations in the least accessible locations – ones that require you to get a step stool or bend to reach them.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a big organizing project.  That’s why you have to take it one step at a time.  Organzing for lasting results is a process.  Take your time and you will reach your ultimate goal of a neat, organized room.

 

 

 

Designers and Psychology of the Closet Sale

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Closets have a life of their own, as do their owners and as such require a unique set of skills to bring them to life. For most closet companies, it is the designer who introduces the potential customer to the initial point of physical contact to the product.  Whether in the home or in the showroom, it is the designer who provides the initial introduction of the solution for your customer and a key factor in closing the deal. The designer needs to understand not only the product line and organizational advantages, but the psychology of the customer and the true nature of their need. They face a multitude of challenges. Here’s how to help your designers make the most of their valuable time with their customers.

One concrete expectation of closet designers is that they know their product line. But do they? If I have heard it once at trade shows, I have heard it a thousand times. Designers often do not know the complete product offering of the companies they represent. Business owners can help this situation by providing intervals for their designers to be briefed and updated. Designers can’t sell what they are not aware of. The responsibility for the information highway lies is in management, not design. If your designers know what is available to solve the customers’ problems, they will sell it. Provide them with the tools they need to be the educated and resourceful professional that you already know they are. This is Closets 101.

Designers also need to be a psychologist of sorts. Many times customers come to them already in a disorganized crisis! Some customers are excited to become organized, but there is certainly a fair share of those who are already in a funk. Often they are in the midst of construction overload, or simply buried in their own bulk. These types of customers need the designer’s help but don’t necessarily know what they need. The solution for these customers is not only structural in nature, but lies in the talent of the designer to get inside the customer’s head and steer through their confusion. The successful designer is able to think through the confusion or frustration and emerge enthusiastically and resourcefully with with a customer feeling focused and engaged. Dealing with the public is not always easy, and at times there is more value in emotionally supporting your designers than there is offering them other perks.

Another slice of the design pie is the final installation. It is often said that sales and accounting are on opposite sides of the table. This can also be true of designers and installers, but it doesn’t have to be. Include your designer in the technicalities of production. Even an hour a month discussing the latest edge banding technique or why your new point to point offers a superior outcome can help the designer. Keep it simple so designers can keep it smart. There are times when an extra dose of knowledge is the tipping point for the sale to a savvy customer.

Designers are one of several right hands business owners rely on daily. At the forefront of every thriving custom closet company are its empowered designers

By Kris Costa for ClosetsDaily.Com

 

Closet Expo 2013

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The Closet Expo in Edison, NJ had a very nice turn out this year, busy with attendees and vendors.   It was nice to see friends, colleagues and a pleasure to meet with new clients.

Sidelines was proud to introduce the following products at our booth this year.

New & Improved Sliding Tie – Belt Racks!

New Improved Sidelines_TieBelt Hooks Render

Sidelines_THREE Render

STATIONARY RACKS with 6 non-slip arms which can be used for ties, belts, or scarves.  Can be mounted quickly & easily with 2 screws to a wall or vertical partition.  One push down on the rack enables the spring loaded mechanism to pop up & out at 45 degrees to the wall.

SLIDING RACKS with 3 separate sets of 6 hooks are pre-mounted to a beautiful housing unit and lie flat to the wall or vertical partition.  Simple pull-out and then push down to allow each rack to pop-up & out.  Same spring loaded feature as used with the stationary rack.  This unit holds 18 belts, ties or scarves.

Our new and improved Telescopic Valet Rod is now spring loaded to automatically extend with one push.

We are proud to introduce the new Wardrobe Lift.

We’ll have more on these new products as they become available.

If you would like a packet with Sidelines brochures and information please contact us at 480-767-9091.