Franchisees’ 3 Worst Nightmares

Franchisees’ 3 worst nightmares

(and why the Soapbox Franchise group is different)

Many would-be-entrepreneurs prefer to buy a franchise as opposed to starting a business from scratch, for obvious reasons: A successful franchise offers a proven business model; A franchise group already has brand awareness among its target market, which gives the franchisee a head start in marketing; The franchisor provides thorough training and ongoing support.

While buying into a franchise seems like your best bet, a lot of people would argue that just like a new start-up, being a franchisee has its fair share of challenges. Below are a Franchisees’ 3 worst nightmares and how and why Soapbox offers a different franchise solution. 

  1. High cost of purchasing a franchise

Franchises can cost anything from R500,000 to R10,000,000 and unless you have that amount of money at your disposal, gathering those funds can be extremely difficult, and can put you off the franchising route altogether.

However, a Soapbox Franchise can be purchased for only R250,000. This great purchase price includes a fully functional office, a show-room section with display cabinets, promotional stock and marketing material, plus our full guidance and support. You also get a thorough business plan and business coaching with practical strategic planning sessions every quarter to make sure you are headed for success.

  1. High overheads

Many people only realise how obscene their overheads are once they buy into a franchise.  The high cost of rental space in malls, and large staff components that will result in a huge salary bill. Even a small shop in a busy mall can cost up to R50,000 per month.

Soapbox is different in that it can be run from a home office with good internet or a small rented office, and you’d only need 2 people to run a successful Soapbox Franchise.

  1. Having to buy all stock from the franchisor at inflated prices.

Many franchise groups require their franchisees to purchase stock from head office at set prices. These prices are often higher than that of similar products bought from other suppliers, making it even harder for the franchisee to make a profit.

A Soapbox franchisee has direct access to all suppliers AND gets a group discount on most products from day 1, making the franchisee competitive in the market.

Buying into the Soapbox Franchise makes running your own business a more pleasant experience, leaving you more likely to succeed. The branded corporate clothing and gifts industry is big business and show no signs of slowing down. All the more reason to side with us.

Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

You can also contact Mias at mias@soapboxpromo.co.za for more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

4 Reasons Why Good Systems are key to Small Business Success

4 Reasons why systems are key to small business success

The importance of good systems within a business or company should never be underestimated. Poor systems or the complete absence of systems can cost you your business.

Below are reasons why good systems are crucial if you want to realize small business success.

  1. Systems that deliver consistent results drives Customer-satisfaction
    A successful business system is usually customer-centric. One of the best ways to measure if you have a good system in place is whether they are producing desired results – ultimate customer satisfaction… and delivers it time and again. Good systems ensure that the customer gets a consistently positive customer experience. This leads to trust, repeat business, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals. And having your customers recommend you to their circle of influence, is more valuable than any other form of marketing.
  2. Well-documented systems facilitate effective change management
    Good systems that are well documented, ensures that organisational or staff changes don’t result in disruption in service levels to your customers or overall low productivity levels. For instance, in small businesses a lot of the knowledge leaves when a staff member resigns. If the knowledge is built into the system, a new staff member can be trained quickly and with minimal impact on the customer experience.
  3. Effective systems produce maximum productivity
    A good system transcends the people who are doing and managing the work. A poor system can make your business inefficient. They usually result in tasks taking longer to complete, and unnecessary time and effort being wasted only to achieve minimal results.  Good systems mean less people can do more work in a shorter space of time. Greater productivity means a greater return on investment with regards to your salary bill.
  4.  Thorough reporting systems means business performance analysis becomes simpler and more accurate.
    Good systems provide the business owner with the tools to measure each aspect of his/her business’ performance. These insights help the owner to make good decisions based on actual data and not on guess work.

One of the most important advantages of buying a franchise as opposed to starting a new business from scratch, is the tried and tested systems for every part of the business. Soapbox Group has spent 11 years perfecting the systems, putting business success well within your reach.

  • HR systems Human Resource Systems (HR)
  • Financial systems
  • Stock control systems
  • Marketing systems
  • Sales systems
  • Systems for operations (Operations management systems)
  • CRM systems

So why not get yourself an up and running, safe and secure franchise business, today!

Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

You can also contact Mias at mias@soapboxpromo.co.za for more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

 

5 Things Most New Business Owners Aren’t Prepared For

5Things

And How to Overcome It

 

Ask any business owner about their journey of entrepreneurship and they will list the countless challenges they faced trying to get their new business off the ground. Although starting a business gives you the type of freedom employment otherwise wouldn’t, new entrepreneurs often don’t realise that they will have to wear many different hats as the owner of a small business. Many soon discover that they are kept busy with a whole lot of activities that has no direct bearing on the product they are selling or the service they are delivering. They get frustrated being bogged down with tasks that they are not skilled for and have no experience with. Lack of focus soon becomes evident and shows in the bottom line.

Below is a list of things most business owners aren’t prepared for, and some tips on how to overcome them.

  1. Staff and HR Issues

New business owners don’t realise that HR is more than just hiring and firing. They often make the mistakes of providing poor job descriptions, holding inadequate job interviews, lack of staff training  and poor organisational culture. And then there are all the labour law provisions that need to be adhered to. If things go really wrong, you may even end up at the CCMA.

A good set of employee policies are essential for any business. This can be challenging for new business owners who have no experience in writing employee policies.

If however, you join a franchise group such as the Soapbox Franchise group, you have the back-up of an established business with the policies and procedures already in place. You also have access to knowledgeable people at your franchise head office, should issues arise.

  1. Financial Management

You should be able to present evidence of all your business’ financial transactions and decisions, from inception to present. Small business owners make the mistake of not drawing up a budget let alone sticking to it; not separating their business and personal finances, and not having a competent system for tracking income and expenditure.

For many the best solution would be to hire a professional to deal with your business finances or to simply outsource their accounting activities altogether. This gives them more time to work on the business’ core activities, but leaves the business owner out of the loop. Often the business owner only realises that the business is in trouble when he/she runs into cash flow problems.

If you rather become a franchisee, the Soapbox Group will provide you with training on the basics of accounting and financial management.  They will go even further as to provide you with a customised accounting system with built-in early warning indicators that will let you know that your business is not doing as well as it should be. The franchisor also has a vested interest in your business doing well and will therefore assist you in any way possible to keep your business financially healthy.

  1. Marketing

Entrepreneurs either over-sell their brand, or don’t market it sufficiently. Most aren’t prepared for the amount of effort and time that goes into a good marketing strategy. The same amount of effort you would put into finances or production, needs to be put into your marketing. Compiling a marketing plan cannot be a hasty job. A lot of research and time needs to go into what your product is, what it can do for people, what makes it stand out, and which people would most benefit from it.

At the Soapbox Group we have spent a great deal of time and resources on developing a marketing strategy that produces quality leads and profitable business. The pooled marketing fund paid by all the franchisees also means that the franchisee gets much more for his/her marketing buck. The Soapbox Franchise package includes promotional stock and marketing material.

Furthermore, you will be incorporated into our national marketing strategy through our tried and tested methods and platforms, giving your franchise business maximum exposure!

  1. Sales

Many business owners believe that just because they have the entrepreneurial bug, then they are automatically good sales people. This isn’t always the case. There is more to sales than just making a sale. One must consider where it is their leads are coming from, how to gain new customers, ROI, or having a sales process in place. Many business owners can overcome their sales challenges by not trying to do it all by themselves. Calling in a bit of help on the sales side of things will save you a lot of money, confusion and disappointment.

As a Soapbox franchisee, you and your sales staff get trained in the best sales strategies and techniques, putting you on the path to success.

  1. Admin

Bet you were never prepared for the amount of admin that comes with running a business! When you are caught up in the bigger scheme of things, it is easy to forget the small details and the nitty-gritty behind the scenes. If neglected, admin tasks can cost you your business. Something as fundamental as filling in and presenting the necessary legal paperwork; tax admin; data management; returning phone calls can, if left undone, prove to be a major blow to your business. Organising and prioritizing the tasks ahead of you each day can stop you from falling behind on the admin work. If admin isn’t your thing, then calling in an extra pair of hands is the best solution.

As a franchisee, you will enjoy the benefit of your franchisor’s administration experience and systems, so you can hit the ground running!

So why not get yourself an up and running, safe and secure franchise business, today!

Click here if you are interested in receiving more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

You can also contact Mias at mias@soapboxpromo.co.za for more information about becoming a Soapbox Group Franchisee.

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6 Ways to be sun safe

The sunny days of summer are here and we are looking forward to the hot summer holidays only a few short weeks away – many of us not even realising that we live in the country that was voted the world’s top dream destination in May this year. The competition hosted by WAYN, the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social network, revealed that our sunny weather was amongst the top factors that helped us achieve this accolade.

Unfortunately, that’s not the only top spot attributed to South Africa. According to CANSA (The Cancer Association of South Africa), our country has the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world after Australia. Soapbox has decided to celebrate summer by joining the fight for sun safety. You can do it too.

You see the good news is that skin cancer can be prevented. And businesses, like yours and ours, can help protect the people we value by providing the right products to keep them sun safe. That’s why we at Soapbox have made a conscious decision to make it easier for our clients to promote sun safety as part of their corporate philosophy. We stock everything necessary to provide sun safety products in a way that will not only benefit the recipient but your reputation as the gift giver.

But first things first … can we make a difference?

Yes, without a doubt. With every corporate sun safe item we supply we believe that the message will spread to a broader audience. Spreading awareness is a great start – there are a lot of myths out there that need busting. For example:

  • Myth 1: People with darker skins are not at risk for getting skin cancer. Unfortunately, people of all ages, skin types, genders and ethnic groups face the same serious risk of cancer. This disease does not discriminate.
  • Myth 2: Sunscreen will protect me completely from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. Sunscreen alone cannot protect you. Take a look at our 6 tips further down to find out what else you can do.
  • Myth 2: The sun is only dangerous in summer or on a hot day. The intensity of the sun’s rays can cause serious damage in any weather condition.
  • Myth 4: One or two sun burns can’t cause cancer. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to a sun burn which means that we all face the risk of cancer every time we burn.

(with our gratitude to CANSA for this information)

6 Ways to be sun smart during the holidays

And now that the myths have been busted, let’s look at six ways of being sun safe this summer.

  1. Wear sun-protective clothing specifically designed to keep you cool in the heat and protected from the sun. This type of clothing is usually tightly woven and loose fitting. A great example from our own catalogue is the Barron Outback shirt which is 100% cotton and boasts a back yoke and breeze vents.
  2. Wear a hat. But not just any hat. If you’re really looking for decent sun protection then wear a wide brim hat such as a cricket or bush hat. The wider brim offers better protection for your eyes, ears, face, and the back or your neck.
  3. Stay in the shade. There’s a great little shadow rule to keep in mind: “Watch your shadow – short shadow, seek shade”. The sun intensity increases towards midday so make sure you keep some sort of “portable” shade handy when you plan to be outdoors – like taking an umbrella with you to the beach or park.
  4. Use sun screen. Make sure your sun screen offers broad-spectrum (UVA & UVB) protection and that it is water resistant. Preferably choose the highest SPF available (never below SPF 30).
  5. Use protective lip balm. Your lips are one of the most vulnerable and easily forgotten parts of your body when it comes to sun protection. Regularly reapply lip balm with an SPF factor to protect your smoochers.
  6. Protect your eyes. Wearing sunglasses is not only about shielding your eyes from the harsh glare of sunlight, but about protecting you from the real threats of sun damage. The eyelid is very thin and contains many fragile tissues that may be injured by UV light. It doesn’t stop there. Inside the eye, the lens and the cornea exist to filter UV rays, but by doing so for many years, they may become damaged from excessive exposure.

sun graphicCome on, let’s fight this together

You can take a number of measures this summer to promote the sun safe message. Firstly, always be sun smart yourself. Teach your children and other family members the six sun safe ways this holiday.

Secondly, as a business, you can send a powerful message by giving staff and clients the coolest, branded sun safe packs – and branding these items will show that you took the time and attention to make this important purchase.

Soapbox stocks everything needed to cover all six sun safety tips and we can use your brand to make sure your clients remember exactly who is taking care of them this summer. It’s not too late to send a meaningful summer corporate gift before the December holidays. With our unique 72 hour express embroidery promise, you can have your selection branded and ready to go before the December school break. So give us a call on 012 804 0066 and we can help you plan the coolest sun safe holiday pack in no time at all.

The challenge is out there. Let’s join forces to spread the sun safe message this holiday season.

With you every stitch of the way

Your friends at Soapbox

Sealing that deal on the golf course

Why business happens on the golf course – and why your appearance could help you seal the deal.

Golf Shirts

Look your best on the course with Barron Golf shirts.

For as long as business and golf have crossed paths, the golf course has been considered the place where real business deals are made. Traditionally it was men who had the pleasure of networking on the course but these days quite a few female executives take to the greens with a view of building their business relationships and brand.

But what is all the fuss about the so called “green boardroom”?

Why on earth would golf be considered a non-negotiable skill for CEOs and Executives across the globe? It’s quite simply really. There are very few equal opportunities that allow you to spend three to four hours with a potential customer or business partner to build a solid relationship. Almost everything you need to know about a person’s true character and business potential can be learnt during a game of golf.

The way a golfer approaches the game speaks volumes about their approach business and life in general.

Would you sign a deal with a player who kicks their ball out of the rough for a better lie? Or who shaves a few strokes off their scorecard to improve their overall position? Players who throw their golf clubs would probably not accept a business challenge with much grace.

On the other hand, players who abide by the golfing etiquette most likely display the same level of sophistication in business. Executives get a sense of a player’s integrity, sportsmanship, mannerisms and personality on the course. It soon becomes clear if you’re playing with the type of person you would be willing to trust in business or not.

Not just a game for men

Golf is a skill that’s fast becoming a necessity for women in business. The game often puts you in the right place with the right people, not only in your own business circles but also in the business community as a whole. Women who build good contacts on the golf course can leverage off these networks to benefit their own business.

Women have an even better chance to impress players on the course. Men know how difficult it is to break into the traditionally male dominated game and they tend to show a great amount of respect for women who can hold their own in the game.

Protect your brand on the course

If your business is represented on the golf course, then it will be worth your while to double check that you’ve covered all the angles needed to create a good impression. The best place to start is with your business’ golfing gear.

Golf is one of the few sports that has maintained a sense of pride in its uniform. Players who arrive wearing shoddy golf wear create the impression that they don’t honour golfing etiquette. Does this sound a bit harsh? Look at it from a business perspective. How is an employee viewed when they don’t make an effort to dress according to company standards? Since golf is synonymous with business, the wrong outfit may just cost you that contract.

Dress to impress

Make sure your team shows up with gear that says “I take this game as seriously as I take a business deal”.

Avid golfers can tell at a glance what type of player they’re up against simply by looking at the outfit. For example

  • Your golf shirt should have a slightly longer tail in the back to keep your shirt from being un-tucked when you move.
  • Golf pants don’t have cuffs. Any player who has ever spent time in a sand trap will tell you that cuffs trap dirt.
  • Both men and women golfers who want a more formal and professional look will wear a leather belt with their pants.
  • Hats are an important part of a golfing uniform. They help keep the glaring sun off a players face to improve vision during a swing. Baseball style caps are popular with men while women prefer golf visors to prevent messy hair. Broad brimmed hats are also a popular choice for both men and women who prefer more protection from the sun.

Your team’s golf outfit will not only create a favourable first impression, but it will also affect their comfort, movement, confidence and ultimately game play on the day. So it is really important to evaluate your golf uniform and make sure that it is both functional and fashionable.

When a serious golfer sees your brand embroidered on high quality golfing gear it tells them that you take golfing etiquette and golfing relationships seriously.

Brand. Brand. Brand.

Now throw the power of branding behind the power of style and you’ll have the ultimate combination. Your team can create a winning impression before they even tee off if they are given the right gear for the job.

Take the time to review your team’s golfing wardrobe. Look at your existing gear from the perspective of fellow golfers and what they might be reading between the lines. Over and above improving your golfing uniform, be sure to brief your team about the potential impact of their behavior and appearance before they represent your business on the course.

The combination of an impressive golf uniform and a well prepared team will go a long way in creating brand recognition and cementing good relationships.

Let us help you win them over

It’s because we understand how important golf is to your business that we supply over 400 styles of golf shirts for men and women. We also take the greatest pride in branding your golfing attire so that your team can put their best foot forward.

And, as always, we’d love to help you make the best choice for your brand and your budget. Give us a call on 012 804 0066 or email your requests to sales@soapboxpromo.co.za .

It’s our business to make your business look its best – both on and off the golf course.

To your golfing (and business) success

Your friends at Soapbox

Ps. This video shows how NOT to do it… but it’s good for a laugh

5 Tips to show your clients that you value them

Corporate Gift GivingIt’s early October and some stores are already adorned with festive decorations reminding us that it’s nearly time for the “season of giving”. This is a great time to make decisions about how you are going to thank clients that have supported your business this year. Presenting clients with a corporate gift is a great way to show that you have not only noted their support, but that you also value their relationship and loyalty.

Appreciation builds your brand, your relationships and ultimately, your business.

There’s a lot of advice out there on how corporate gifts can benefit your business. But today we’re keeping things simple with five homemade tips from the Soapbox team.

1. Show your heart

Choosing the most effective gift can be a little tricky. Even if you know your client well, you may not know their personal taste in gifts. You can side-step this problem by giving a gift related to a popular social or environmental cause. Apart from making a positive contribution to the cause, the gift will also contribute to your business’ image as a socially responsible business – a business with heart.

Rhino Bracelet

SOUTH AFRICA’S #1 SELLING RHINO BRACELET
R6.50 from the sale of each bracelet is used in the protection and relocation of rhinos. RHINO FORCE supports the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) principle of trans location to save a species from extinction.

Our range of locally produced beaded bracelets is a great example of socially responsible gifts. Not only are the bracelets fashionable and affordable but proceeds from each sale goes towards local employment creation plus one of four worthy causes. The four bracelets available are:

  • Save the Rhino: helps raise awareness and funds for rhino conservation and relocation
  • Save the Earth: raises awareness and funds to conserve and protect our beautiful planet
  • Feed South Africa: helps feed the hearts, minds and tummies of poverty-stricken communities
  • I am Literacy: supports the improvement of literacy across SA

2. More than just a tokenBamboo Mousepad and Mouse set

Apart from giving a token gift that supports a good cause, you can also show that you business is environmentally aware by giving an eco-friendly gift.

Soapbox is continuously adding environmentally friendly gifts to our catalogue and our clients love them! The most popular items are those made of recycled materials or renewable energy sources such as the solar powered cell phone charger and bamboo computer accessories.

You can take this theme a step further by wrapping the gifts in newspaper or recycled paper with beautiful ribbon and a recycle symbol sticker to trim it off. This presentation will definitely make for a memorable gift and will inspire some conversation about the giver.

3. When it comes to class

When your goal is to really impress your client (or even a competitor), you’ll need to choose a gift with an extra touch of class.

In these cases you can never go wrong with high end designer gifts. We offer beautiful office or home ware ranges by local designers Carrol Boyes and Diana Carmichael. Or how about genuine leather travel bags from the Gary Player range. The options are endless and we are here to help you make the right choice.

4. Show appreciation throughout the year

Tokens of gratitude at appropriate times throughout the year show that you are aware of the relationships that make your business successful. No matter how big or small, these tokens show people how much you value them and their contributions on any day.

A business, like all individuals and families, has significant dates on their business calendar that can be used to show your appreciation to clients.  It could be the anniversary of your establishment, a special landmark in your relationship with the client or a milestone that signifies a success to your business. Mark these dates in the calendar and use them to acknowledge clients that helped you get to these points.

5. Plan ahead

Don’t forget to add a line item to your 2014 budget for appreciation. Take into account your acknowledgement plan for the next year and budget for each occasion. Planning ahead also gives you an opportunity to buy in bulk while the pre-festive season specials are available. Give us a call to find out how you can take advantage of bulk deals.

In fact we would like to help you with every aspect of your choice. There’s always a reason to give, but the wrong gift can cause more harm than good. Take the headache out of making the right choice by letting us help you with your selection – at no extra cost.

So with these five tips behind us, we leave you with one last surprise.

Stand a chance to win

One of our favourite suppliers, Barron, has released a holiday gift guide with exclusive ideas for the end of year season. Barron is giving Soapbox clients a chance to win a trip for two to Mauritius, as well as loads of other great prizes. All you need to do is ask us for a copy of the Barron Holiday Gift Guide. You can do this by emailing us at sales@soapboxpromo.co.za or give us a call on 012 804 0066. And then follow the instructions on the guide. Who knows – Santa may be bringing one of you an early Christmas gift this year.

And while you’re waiting to hear the results of the competition we can use our years of experience to help you source, fresh thoughtful and memorable gifts for your business.

After all, there is always joy in giving.

Your friends at Soapbox

What message is your outfit sending you?

starburst4Isn’t it amazing how life is unfolding all around us? The warmth of Spring has brought with it a multitude of new colours. Don’t you feel more alive than you did during the cold, dull winter months? That’s the power of colour. Some colours uplift and inspire while others dull the senses. Some inspire confidence while others just make you want to climb back into bed. Imagine harnessing some of that power in your corporate wardrobe? Our team at Soapbox loves colour and we’ve found great pleasure in helping our clients use colour wisely for many years.

Let’s face the facts

Research done by CCICOLOR (the Institute for Colour Research), revealed that people make a subconscious judgment about a person, environment, business or product within 90 seconds of first seeing them. Where does colour fit into the equation? Up to 85% of that initial 90 second brand assessment is based on colour alone! The use of colour sends messages to customers before we even say a word.

An expert’s point of view

In her book “7 Mistakes Most Business Owners Make With Their Branding Colours”, Karen Haller, a colour and branding expert, points out that one of the biggest mistakes that a business owner can make is when they don’t pull their brand colour though to their corporate wardrobe.

It is a problem when your uniform (or lack of uniform) gives a completely different message to what you are telling customers through your logo, tagline, and marketing content. Not getting the uniform in sync with the rest of the brand creates confusion for the consumer because they will know on a sub-conscious level that something isn’t right.

On the other hand, correctly branded corporate wear not only give staff a sense of pride, belonging and equality but it has overall benefits to the business brand and also builds trust with your customers. (You can read more about this in our free bonus at the end of the blog.)

‘Reinforcing your brand through your staff’s work wear of is a bit like identifying your favourite chocolate bar by the wrapper. You know what’s on the inside by what appears on the outside.”

Karen Haller

The many voices of colour

In Western society there are definitely general colour thinking patterns that have been proven from decades of research on the topic. Here’s a quick rundown of what popular colours could signify in your corporate outfits.

Blue

Blue

Blue is both friendly and powerful. It inspires confidence in the wearer and creates the perception of loyalty. It can help you establish a sense of trust, loyalty and credibility. Read more about blue…

RedRed

Red is the most emotionally intense colour and stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. It demands attention. Read more about red…

beigeBeige

In general the rule is that the darker the colour, the more powerful the look. According to the experts, it’s hard for a male executive to be taken seriously in a beige suit. Whether you’re wearing a suit or not, using beige as the predominant colour in your outfit can make you look drab, dull and average.

Whitewhite

White is popular because it is light, neutral, and goes with almost every other colour. Wear it when you want to enliven the other colours that you’re wearing. In the majority of western cultures it’s associated with peace, innocence, simplicity, and cleanliness. Read more about white…

 greenGreen

Darker greens can signify power, class, strength and conservatism. Brighter greens tell people you’re sporty, more casual and often cheerful. Read more about green…

Pinkpink

Men who wear pale pink or salmon accents tell the world they’re confident, daring and independent. Women can use it to soften a strong, dark-coloured suit and look more approachable. Read more about pink…

yellowYellow

Cheerful, sunny yellow is an attention getter. It tells people you’re casual, playful, cheerful, approachable and not afraid to take risks. Read more about yellow…

Blackblack

Black is the colour that creates a perception of authority and power. It signifies control, seriousness and responsibility –  all qualities the boss is likely looking for. It is popular in fashion because it is stylish, timeless and makes people appear thinner.

Brown

Brown is a great substitute for black as it is not as severe or formal. Solid brown is the colour of reliability while light brown implies genuineness. Brown clothing has to have the right cut and fit to look good.

These descriptions are generalisations based on research. The good news for those who have already chosen a brand is that there is no right or wrong colour. Each colour has both a negative and positive impact on people’s thinking. Some carry a little more authority than others. The trick is to pick the right tones, the right combinations and the right proportions in relation to your brand.

The big test is not what colour you choose, but how your business uses it.

Decisions, decision, decisions…

Choosing the colour of your corporate wardrobe is both a science and an art. It is also one of our passions here at Soapbox.

We would love to give you free, no obligation advice about how to best incorporate your brand colour into your corporate wardrobe. We understand that corporate wear is a great investment and we want to help you make the right choice – not only on the colour but style as well. Contact us on 012 804 0066 for our expert advice or email us at sales@soapboxpromo.co.za . As always, you can see our catalogue and promotions at www.soapboxpromo.co.za

Free bonus link

We really enjoyed reading Karen Haller’s e-book and would love to share it with you.  We’re including a link to this information gem for those who want to go grab a copy for themselves. It’s free of charge when you request it through Karen’s website http://www.karenhaller.co.uk/freebook7mistakes.htm

We look forward to seeing the colours enfold in your teams as we enjoy the warmth of Spring together.

With you every stitch of the way

Your friends at Soapbox


The power of colour continued …

Blue

A peaceful, tranquil blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals and can help you feel more relaxed if you’re stressed. It is also believed to make you more creative so keep that in mind for the next brainstorm session. Back to blog…

Red

Red is powerful and strong and shows that the wearer is not afraid to stand out. It gets you attention!  Too much may make you appear intimidating so keep it to a splash of colour unless you intentionally want to stand out from the crowd. Back to blog…

White

White uniforms, like the ones used by a doctor or nurse, give the impression of sterility and demands that people give you the space to do your job. For this reason, plain white is perhaps not the best choice to encourage interaction. Back to blog…

Green

Using different shades of green will be calming and soothing. Green is also refreshing and has been found to reduce stress in those who look at it. If your colleagues are feeling really overwhelmed during the last stretch of the year, add green to your outfits and you might find a more relaxed team in the morning. Back to blog…

Pink

Pale Pink is very calming, so don’t wear it if you need tons of energy. On the other extreme, bright, bubblegum pink or fuchsia worn from head to toe just hurts people’s eyes. Let’s not wear the fuchsia suits to work shall we. Back to blog…

Yellow

Yellow is the perfect colour to cheer you up on a bad day. It is the most difficult colour for the eye to take in, so it can be overpowering if overused. Yellow is also the colour also associated with intelligence and inspiration. Back to blog…

Do your clothes control your mind?

active wear

You may think that the Soapbox team has lost its mind, but in our company we believe that clothes control a lot more than they allow us to believe. Oh yes, they could even convince us to behave in a certain way when we put them on. That perfect gym top not only makes you look good but convinces you to choose the treadmill over the couch. The clean cut tailored shirt will show you exactly how to climb the corporate ladder. Your clothes convince you willingly, without being asked, because the ability to convince us is embedded in their thread count.  And we’re not the only ones who believe this.

What are we thinking?

There’s a proven science that teaches us that the clothes we wear will have a direct influence on how we behave. This scientific phenomenon is called “enclothed cognition” or “embodied cognition”. And no, we’re not just making that up. The New York Times science desk published one of many available articles on the topic in April last year and a couple of sentences caught our attention.

Professor Adam Galinsky, who was quoted in the article, explained how we not only think with our brains but we also think with our bodies. He went on to explain that the clothes we wear help to shape the way that we think and behave while we are wearing them.

Apparently the phenomenon doesn’t work when you just look at an item of clothing in a closet or catalogue. You have to wear it, see it on your body and feel it on your skin for it to affect your thinking. Dr Galinsky’s conclusion after many years of research is that clothes invade the body and brain, putting the wearer into a specific psychological state.

How does the theory work in the real world?

As the weather warms up we find ourselves migrating away from winter woollies and triple layers, to t-shirts and strappy tops. As we dig out our summer wear from the bottom of our closets we also dig out the desire to look our best. From the research we’ve seen, we now also know that having the right gym wear can actually give us the attitude boost to get the job done. We believe that our clothes secretly know that the better they make you feel, the more you will choose to show them off. Just think about it. How often does your old worn out varsity sweatshirt make its way to the gym? It knows that it can’t inspire you to hit the gym and so it hides at the bottom of the winter pile. But the new Slazenger number? That’s a different story. The perfect fitting, well engineered gym accessory will whisper sweet inspiration to your mind simply by slipping it on. Clothe the body and you’ll clothe the mind.

How to make it work for your business

The gym is not the only place where we can create a great attitude by wearing great clothing. Can you imagine being able to influence the behaviour of your teams simply by making sure that they look the part? Every business that aims to bring out the best in their teams should consider the influence that the current employee outfits may have on current behaviour.

An employee who feels insignificant can be transformed into a confident member of the team when they have a uniform that they are proud to wear each day. A team that feels distant and disconnected can begin to feel like they belong to a greater purpose when they share a powerful brand image on their corporate wear. Why does this work? It’s an amazing function of the human brain. When you wear it, you feel it, you believe it and your mind automatically wants to achieve it.

How can we help you?

At Soapbox we believe in the power of clothing and we want to help you bring out the best in your teams. You may want to purchase some team motivation in the form of new branded summer wear. Or you may just have a need to replace your gym wear that mysteriously shrunk in the wash. Whatever your goal, we are here for you. We can help you feel and look great when you shed your winter woolies.

Take a look at our range of active wear at www.soapboxpromo.co.za or give us a call on 012 804 0066 to get expert advice and unbeatable service.

As always, we are with you every stitch of the way

Your friends at Soapbox

Secretary Day: The horse does the work and the coachman gets tipped?..

Some call themselves administrative assistants while others prefer to be called administrative professionals. And every so often you meet someone who doesn’t mind to be called by the older title of secretary. But no one can deny that most of these roses, by any other name, would still be indispensible to their organisations.

 

The other day I overheard one assistant saying to another: “Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties.” (Sic).

Don’t worry ladies (and gentlemen), your day is coming – very soon.

At Soapbox we believe that next to excellence is the appreciation thereof. To all the bosses out there: Here are some tips on how to show more appreciation towards your right hand lady in the workplace.0544b

  • Show praise – No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. Appreciate everything your assistants do for the business. Nothing else can quite substitute for a few well-chosen, well-timed, sincere words of praise – they’re absolutely free and worth a fortune.
  • Ask Questions – Try to get to know your secretary, this will make them feel like you are interested in their lives outside of work too and make them feel valued and cared about.
  • Small gestures – everyone needs food, correct? When you run out to buy yourself something to eat, grab something for your secretary whether is peanuts or chocolates, everyone enjoys receiving something as it makes us feel special. It has been said that time is an illusion. For most assistants lunchtime is doubly so.
  • The extra mile – Your secretary goes the extra mile for you daily, try doing the same by decorating their table or office when it’s their birthday or when they have accomplished a personal or work related goal.
  • Gifts – small gifts show remarkable return on investment? An assistant who feels appreciated and acknowledged achieves more and has a better attitude. A good idea is to stock up on small gifts and periodically show your appreciation by giving a gift – don’t only wait for secretary day. If creative gift giving is not you thing, visit http://www.soapboxpromo.co.za and get a few ideas.

34766With that said, what does it take to be a good secretary? We looked at a few factors that make a good secretary, ensuring that your boss will appreciate your more.

  • Be punctual – Be on time for work, being late will obviously not impress your boss.
  • Expect the unexpected – Secretaries are second in line when it comes to knowing everything in the work environment, after the boss. Be prepared for any unexpected questions that your boss might need answers to, make sure you are always on track with goals and things happening within in the company.
  • Make your bosses diary your priority – Your boss has many other things to worry about so the probability of him/her forgetting something is a given. Ensure that you stay on top of your boss’s diary so that you can always remind them of any meetings or important tasks that need to be done.
  •  Pay Attention to detail – Listen to everything! If you find it difficult to remember certain things then try making notes.
  • Keep a secret will you – Your boss is likely to share a lot of confidential information with you regarding the company, thus confidentiality is a very important quality that is expected of a secretary.  Don’t share information that you know is not to be shared.
  • Be professional and LOOK professional – Since you are the first impression clients will get of your boss and your organisation, it is important to make a great first impression and then live up to that promise. Always wear clothes that speak of good taste and sophistication.

If you would like to spoil you secretary this Secretary’s Day contact Soapbox Promo & Gifts on 012 804 0066 or visit our website at www.soapboxpromo.co.za today!

My blood is green once more…

I can almost hear PJ Powers and Ladismith Black Mambazo singing: “The world in union…” as I prepare to once again put on my green Springbok supporters shirt for the much anticipated match of the Springboks against Argentine Pumas on Saturday. What a thrill to see, when all falls into place and 22 individual players become ONE TEAM.

The American star basket ball player, Michael Jordan, has been quoted as saying the following:

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Much has been said over the years about teamwork in business and theoretically it should be just as exhilarating to work together in a team in a business as it is when our sports icons do it. Then why is it not? I believe the answer lies with TEAM SPIRIT and not merely in TEAMWORK.

When I think of TEAMWORK it makes me think of a clock with a great number of gears and parts performing with great efficiency – each part doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing, when it’s supposed to be doing it. Yet the whole process is not particularly inspired.

TEAM SPIRIT however is much greater than TEAMWORK – it is inspired efficiency and it helps the team achieve much more.

HOW TO INCREASE TEAM SPIRIT

  1. Identify a common goal.
    Many will tell you that the secret to setting a goal is making sure that it is achievable. For most people this translates as “not too high”. However when you set a “not too high”-goal it is hardly inspiring. Be bold and set audacious goals that inspire your team to be greater than they have ever been. The Springboks always aim to be world champs, not merely to make the final rounds.
  2. Have fun!
    Incorporate fun activities into the everyday routine. Team building and retreats have their place, but most people find it hard to bring the team spirit back to the office after a retreat. Instead create a silly game that you can play every day at lunch time with a scoreboard to keep track of the game.
  3. Unite for a cause.
    There are few things as inspiring as a great charitable cause. Knowing that the team is making a difference in the community gives everyone a sense of achievement. This outside achievement creates momentum for success, spilling over into the business. Most top level sports teams are involved with some charity or another and I would like to believe that it provides them with inspiration as much as it is a good PR exercise.
  4. Create a team uniform.
    Whether working with a sports team or a sales team, having matching uniforms for special events can help everyone like they are part of a team.

Hopefully, this weekend we will once again see team spirit in action when the Springboks thrash the Pumas.

If you would like to support the Springboks by wearing a Springbok Jersey or T-Shirt please contact Soapbox Promo & Gifts on 012 804 0066 or www.soapbox.co.za and place your order!

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