Sleeping On an Old Mattress Can Kill You

Should that be the headline of every mattress ad ever written?

Seriously, think about that for a second because most consumers have absolutely no idea how important it is to sleep on a comfortable mattress. It’s important because the right mattress will give them the restorative sleep they desperately need. You think I am being too dramatic? Consider the following. Bad Mattress Can Kill You Sleeping On an Old Mattress Can Kill You

“According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2005 Sleep in America poll, 60% of adult drivers – about 168 million people – say they have driven a vehicle while feeling drowsy in the past year, and more than one-third, (37% or 103 million people), have actually fallen asleep at the wheel! … The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration conservatively estimates that 100,000 police-reported crashes are the direct result of driver fatigue each year. This results in an estimated 1,550 deaths, 71,000 injuries, and $12.5 billion in monetary losses.” Read more about that survey hereContinue reading

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What Can We Learn from the NCAA Championship?

First, I have to confess that I am not an avid basketball fan, so you are not going to get any great sports analysis about Monday’s game. I have been to the Final Four and watched my team, the Kansas Jayhawks, win the title, so I am a huge fan of the event itself. (I know what some of you are thinking. Step up, haters.)1396931697002 2014 04 07 UConn Kentucky58 300x225 What Can We Learn from the NCAA Championship?

There is nothing like college basketball, and to be in that stadium with my father and brother is something I will never forget. It’s just fun to be around a bunch of college students rooting on their team, and to watch athletes play for something other than an extension on their contact. So how can we learn something from what we saw? Let me give it a shot.

  • Experience matters. Kentucky was starting five freshmen against a veteran Huskies team. Don’t get me wrong, those freshmen are incredibly talented, but having a team with more games under their belt did make a difference. When you are filling key positions in your company, it may take you more time to find that perfect candidate and it may cost you more, but you get what you pay for, so consider a proven player for the spot.
  • Be brilliant on the basics. Kentucky shot 13 of 24 from the free throw line. UConn was 10 for 10. They were perfect. I have heard it said so many times that free throws win games and you can see the impact here with only six points separating the two teams in the end. What could you be working on that would make the difference in your company? Are you good at writing thank you notes to customers? Do you plan your business strategy well or just run around putting out fires? Are you the best out there when it comes to telling your own story? These are the things that matter and the good news is anyone can be great doing them. Are you?
  • Top dog doesn’t always win. Never before has #7 played #8 in the championship game. You heard a lot of talk about fans losing early in their brackets because nobody expected these teams to be playing in the final game. It is very easy to sit back and think the larger companies you compete against are going to win by default because they have more resources. The underdog can win and, in this case, did.
  • Team over the individual. In the NBA there is a lot of talk about franchise players like LeBron James or Kevin Durant. In college it is much more about the team performance, NOT the individual. UConn has a few stars, no doubt, but the team unit is where the focus is placed. If you have someone in your company that thinks they are more important than the team, you have to give that a serious look. If you as a manager shine the light on a single person too often, it will have a negative effect on the total outcome. Celebrate an individual’s success but remember that the supporting roles are just as important.

2014 bracket 1024x791 What Can We Learn from the NCAA Championship?How did your bracket do; were you a winner? Is your business’ team ready for the Final Four? Tell me in the comments section and congratulations to both teams for a great season!

 

 

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No Man’s Land

Thanks to my trusted friend, Wikipedia, I now know that the term “No Man’s Land” dates back to 1320, where the expression was used to describe a territory over which there was a legal disagreement. Later it was assigned as the place of execution on a small plot of land outside the north wall of London. For me, I like the second definition better because if you find yourself living in No Man’s Land in the mattress industry, chances are your business will ultimately die.

Strong words, eh? Think about it for a minute and maybe you will agree. Was Montgomery Ward a discounter? Were they a department store? They weren’t really either toward the end. Their merchandising was on the low to middle side of the quality scale but they didn’t tout an “everyday low price” strategy or speak of themselves as the place to save big money. They even considered moving their cash registers to the front of the store well before Walmart got going in that direction but decided that was not who they were. (I know this because my father worked there years ago and was the one pushing the change. Good thinking, Dad.) One of the reasons for their ultimate demise was the fact that they didn’t have an identity anymore.

If you don’t know who you are, how are your customers supposed to know what to think about you? Are you the innovation company? Are you the low-end, product-for-a-price company? Are you the luxury brand? I don’t really care who you are, but be SOMEBODY! One of the things I love about Corsicana Bedding as a product and brand is that they know exactly what they are and who their customer is. Their goal is to drive hard value to the consumer as a result of being operationally efficient; it says so right there on the website. And they do it as well as anyone.

Here are a few reasons to make sure that you are not operating in No Man’s Land:

  1. When you don’t clearly define who you are that typically means you are trying to be everything to everybody. If that is the case then you are going to be spread to thin and your efforts will not be concentrated enough in one area to make impact. Not only that but if you try to be great at everything it usually means you are not good an anything.
  2. If there are some blurred lines (insert Robin Thicke soundtrack here), then you are going to waste a lot of time trying to run your business. Your meetings will last longer, and the internal debates will RAGE, on everything from merchandising decisions to how you market the business. Not knowing who you are will paralyze and frustrate you.
  3. pinholezoneplate 110846 5657 300x200 No Mans LandIf people see you in a soft-focus kind of way, they are going to miss out on the details that make you great. If you aren’t strong in how you define yourself, don’t worry, your customer is going to do it for you and they will likely tag you with something like “irrelevant.” Not clearly standing for something means that you stand for nothing, which I guess means that you do actually stand for something, which is nothing. Never mind, you know what I mean.
     

My challenge to you is to ask five people today what your company stands for. If all five come back with the same answer, you are excused from class with an A+. If not, you might want to hold a strategy meeting to decide what you are and where you are going. Remember that you are on a path that will take you to a destination. Is that destination going to be success or will it lead to obscurity? That one is up to you.

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Being Prepared Is Not an Option

Tomorrow, I leave for the International Sleep Products Association Expo in the BIG EASY, folks. That’s right, New Orleans, Louisiana!

shutterstock 163804754 300x200 Being Prepared Is Not an Option

We will have many people coming in from many different parts of my company for this four-day event. Most of our team flies in the day before the show starts and leaves the day it ends – they see the Leggett & Platt show space and tell us how great everything looks. What they don’t realize is how much work it took to get us to that point. We plan this event for an entire year before it happens, because being prepared is the key to its success.

I am sure you have heard the famous quote by Louis Pasteur, which says, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  If you don’t like that one, you can go with this from the Roman philosopher Seneca, who said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Maybe you would like to quote me instead, “If you don’t prepare, your screwed.” Isn’t it true? Think back to the guy that sits in a meeting with nothing in front of him and when asked to give an opinion has no clue what to say. How about the mattress store you visit where there are no balloons, the new price signs aren’t out, and the manager has absolutely no idea what marketing campaign is hitting the paper that day? Or a bedding rep that just gets in his car every day ready to hit seven retail doors with no agenda or real purpose other than some back slapping and sharing some conversation about conspiracy theories surrounding the missing flight MH370, or whatever else is in the news.

Planning and preparation are so big when it comes to being ready when success comes knocking. Think about the Olympic athletes and how they make their sport look so darn easy, and then think about the thousands of hours they spend preparing for that one race. It’s not about luck. It’s about being ready and getting a plan in place, finding the right people, searching for the right resources, and checking and double-checking all the details. That is the difference between luck and calculated success.

My first few years of college, I used to hate Sundays because it was my guilt day. It was my guilt day because I was rarely prepared for my week. Many times, I had not studied for a test or my paper was not ready for the professor to review. It took me a while, but I realized that not being ready caused me more pain and frustration than making the effort to be in a good place Sunday night, ready to hit Monday right in the jaw.

You might get lucky once or twice flying by the seat of your pants but that approach rarely delivers consistent results. Take the time to get ready, prepare answers to the questions that “might get asked,” learn something about the subject, and be more informed than anyone in the room. Go over and above learning your way in, and I guarantee you will come out on top more often than not.

So give me an example of when you just weren’t ready – did you learn your lesson? Tell me in the comments section.

Products, People, Party: ISPA 2014 Is Coming

Rarely, if ever, do I use this blog to talk about my company or the products we create for the industry, but I am going to make an exception today as we approach our Super Bowl, the ISPA Expo 2014.  NOLA w tag 4C 244x300 Products, People, Party: ISPA 2014 Is Coming

Every two years the International Sleep Products Association hosts companies from around the globe and this year the event takes place in one of the most exciting cities in the world – New Orleans, Louisiana.

If you are new, this is the trade show where the largest mattress industry suppliers in the world come together to display the latest and greatest components, machines, and processes so we might produce sleep solutions that are more compelling and relevant to the consumers out there. The question is, will it be exciting enough to get their interest?

If you are a bedding brand planning to attend ISPA, here are a few thoughts on criteria when selecting supplier partners to help you launch your new lines.  Continue reading

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