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Managing staff — Sometimes you just have to be an a******

Managing staff — Sometimes you just have to be an a******

There are many, many books, articles, and blog posts on how to manage staff. But sometimes you just have to be an a******. Well, at least that’s part of the management philosophy of the now ex-owner of a very big Canadian shop. I’m not going to name the shop or even the city because I haven’t specifically asked for permission to share this story. So let’s just call him Bob.

Bob is a mild-mannered, personable, considerate, unexcitable person—what most people would call an all-round decent guy. And this was reflected in his management style too. This is why when I heard this story years ago it tickled me then, and still does today.

Bob had established a designated smoking zone behind the shop for those essential smoke breaks that a number of his staff members apparently needed. He only had one rule—they had to place their cigarette butts in the provided bin. However, much to his annoyance the rule would be ignored and he’d find butts littering the ground. After repeatedly reminding the staff to use the butt bin, he apparently uncharacteristically “lost it” one day when he again found butts lying around.

He called the crowd of smokers into his office and shocked them by “going nuts.” As the saying goes, he went up one side of them and down the other. I understand that this was the end of cigarette butts on the ground. As Bob explained, “Sometimes you just have to be an a******!”

After-sale communication

After-sale communication

The thumbnail version:

  • Communication is an obvious but sadly neglected sales weapon

The full version:


In the previous post I wrote about the importance of communication with your customers if you expect them to visit your website. Now I’m going add that routine day-to-day communication is also vitally important to holding your customer base together with the ultimate objective of ensuring repeat business.

And here’s an idea that I know works very well . . . Thank every customer with a follow-up email after every sale. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and it’s appreciated. Remember that people like to do business with people they like, and people like people who apparently care about them and the business that they bring.

If you’re going to insist on using aerosol pallet adhesives . . .

If you’re going to insist on using aerosol pallet adhesives . . .

Tekmar's Target AV-1 for capturing aerosol adhesive overspray and airborne particles.

Tekmar’s Target AV-1 for capturing aerosol adhesive overspray and airborne particles.

I will never understand why aerosol pallet adhesives are still being used by so many textile screen printers when much more economical and eco-friendly water-based adhesives are available.

Overspray on the floor and airborne adhesive particles easily inhaled by press operators, are just two of the obvious problems with aerosol adhesives.

However, now there is a solution. To combat these two problems, Tekmar has introduced the Target AV-1 Adhesive Vacuum.

The AV-1 is positioned under the pallet where it creates a vortex to draw airborne adhesive particles into a disposable filter.

Don’t you think that a disposable filter is a much better place for adhesive particles than the floor or an operator’s lungs?

There’s more about the AV-1 here on Tekmar’s web site. You could also can Stanley’s Calgary office at 1 800 661 1583 for more information.

Why not?

Why not?

A good read.

A good read.

Seth Godin wrote a bestseller about twelve years ago, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable. It is as valid now as it was then.

The premise is that we have all driven by fields of cows without taking much notice of any one cow in particular. Why? Because they all look the same. But if one of the cows was purple we would notice it, be intrigued, and try to find out more about that particular stand-out cow.

The metaphor is of course obvious. If your business is but one in a field of similar-looking cows, it is difficult to attract attention, difficult to stand out from the crowd. The book is still in print and obtainable from bookstores or online from a number of sources. It is a good read for any textile screen shop owner trying to differentiate his or her shop from the clamouring crowd.

In a magazine article written at about the time of the release of the book Godin asks, “Why not?” to a number of suggestions for doing things differently. He encourages challenging conventional thinking to make your business stand out from the crowd. He suggests that you paint your cow purple.

Just some of his “Why not?” challenges . . .

– Why not pick one underserved niche to target (and to dominate)? What would it be? Why not launch a product that does nothing but appeal to that market?

– Why not differentiate your customers? Find the group that is most profitable. Figure out how to develop for, advertise to, or reward that group. Ignore the rest. Cater to the customers you would choose if you could choose your customers.

– Why not find things that are “just not done” in your industry and then go ahead and do them?

There are plenty more ideas worth considering in this bestseller. I suggest you get the book.