Friday, January 21, 2011

Official Office Supplies Vendor for the BC Childrens Hospital 2011 Miracle Weekend

We are very pleased to announce that Costless Express has been selected to be the Official Office Supplies Vendor for the 2011 BC Children's Hospital Miracle Weekend.

Our supplies will assist in helping the thousands of staff and volunteers that are a part of this incredible event. Who knew how important binders, pens and post-it notes could be in raising money for sick kids? We are just so excited to help and be a part of this exciting weekend.

I am the Chair of the Retail & Wholesale Council of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. Last year, more than 100 retail and wholesale companies throughout British Columbia participated and raised an astounding $4,621,340 for BC Children’s Hospital. The consistent and outstanding success the Retail and Wholesale division has each year makes them one of the fundraising leaders of Miracle Weekend.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Where do good ideas come from?

Over the past 11 months, I have been involved in a side project along with my regular duties as CEO at Costless Express.

This other project (yet to be released) is being built with an assembly of seasoned entrepreneurs. When we are together "brainstorming," the meetings can become electric with innovation and ideas. We lose ourselves chattering about one idea to the next, and most often get so sidetracked from where we started that we don't accomplish much, if anything at all.

Or Do We?

Where do great ideas really come from? And what are the circumstances and the environment to make the "ah ha" moments happen?

If I were writing my thesis in university - this would have been a perfect topic. But since I wasn't, I wanted to see if someone else had done the research. Sure enough, I came across Steven Johnson (yes, this is my brother's name, but it's not him). His research and speech are full of interesting ideas and stories. How was GPS created, and why were coffee houses so important over the past 600 years?

Have a look at these two videos when you have a few minutes. 

This one is 4:07 long and gets you involved in the question - "Where Do Good Ideas Come From"? 

This Video is a bit more of a commitment at 17:46 minutes and is Steve Johnson's TED Talk.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More on Office Depot's State Contract Problems

Recently I spoke to a customer who was kind enough to call me and let me know our prices were fair, even a bit cheaper, but not enough to possibly change suppliers. They were really on the fence as to whether or not to change.
I suggested to let us do the analysis for them and show how we can really save them a ton of money. All we needed was the past few invoices and we would do the analysis ourselves. (At any time we can have dozens of them on the go for customers, and we have software to make the process accurate and quick).
The customer informed me that their finance people would not allow us to see their invoices. I have always wondered what the reason is that customers won't show us what they currently pay. Without the correct information to start with, how do any of the parties know what the best cost of the products is, or who would be the best supplier?
In this month's Independent Dealer - a monthly e-zine publication for the Office Supplies Dealer, there is an update on the Office Depot overcharging problems and lawsuits that are ongoing in each state. It was my friend Rick who helped crack the whole Office Depot overcharging case wide open a few years ago, all because he was supplied real invoices to do an analysis for an independent Office Supplier in the states.  
Where I going with this is, let suppliers see your invoices - only two things will happen. Lower Prices, or the bidding company will say they can't compete. Either way, you - the customer - wins.
Over charging is a common practice with the big box office supply companies, and they love it when customers refuse to turn over invoices to the Independent Dealer.
Here are a few issues Office Depot is now having now that each invoice is being audited.

North Carolina

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two silly questions...

Do you have a cell phone (silly question #1)? Do you hate telemarketers who call said cell phone (silly question #2)?

Did you know cell phone numbers go public next month in Canada?

Why not save yourself some grief and airtime costs and register on the DO NOT CALL LIST. It only takes 20 seconds so do it and then share with your friends and rid the country of annoying cell phone calls selling you newspapers (who reads papers anymore, anyways??)

Or if you feel like tormenting a telemarketer, watch this video - makes me laugh every time.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Design your success plan for 2011

Have you created your 90-day micro strategy for 2011? If not, access these tools to design your success plan for 2011.

Courtesy of my good friends over at CultureSync - the authors of the book Tribal Leadership. Click here to get your free audio copy of the book.
If you have created a micro strategy or are wondering what a micro strategy is, then let's review:

1. Did you clear the cobwebs from your mind? Are you now focused and committed to a great outcome about 90 days out? Great!

2. Did you identify an abundance of resources that will enable you you to achieve it within that time? Great!

3. Did you identify all the key behaviors that must be be completed to deliver that outcome? Great!

Sounds like you have an "unlocked strategy" and are ready for action.
There is now only one thing left to do...

Execute the behaviors on your strategy until your outcome is achieved.
That is it. Period.
One of the primary reasons people don't complete their strategy is that they have fallen into one of their habitual pitfalls, rather than doing the required actions. These are the areas where you " drift ."
There are certain behaviors that support effective leadership, falling into a pitfall is not one of them.

Enjoy the tools and create your 90-day micro strategy.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Remarkable Video

Here is a remarkable story I wanted to share.
Have a look at this video and it will tell part of the story.

The other side of this story is the unbelievable power of the internet. This video was uploaded 2 days ago and this morning (Jan 5) it was at 4 million views.

Now it's 2:30pm (Jan 5) it's over 6.2 million views and growing. That's remarkable!

Do you think this fellow knows how many people have seen him today? And just a few days ago possibly he rang in the new year with a wish to have a fresh start for 2011.

I don't know, but fate has sure served him a big serving of luck. I like to think this will change his life forever but let's see.

I'm going to try and follow this story for a while and track what happens to him over the following weeks.

What do you think will happen to him?

Comment back on this story to our Facebook page and put in your 2 cents.

Another question - have you ever stopped to talk to a homeless person? It could be amazing to hear their story. 6.2 million people seem to think this fellow has one.

Check out these incredible stats after only 2 days.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Are You LinkedIn?

What a great email to get to kick off 2011! My sales hero Brian Tracy is now part of my LinkedIn group.

Are you on LinkedIn?

If you are a business professional it may be something to consider if you are not yet. Here is my page  I see LinkedIn as your professional calling card and bio. There is no better way to build your professional network and showcase your talents. And also to see others whom you are doing business with or more important - who you plan to do business with.

Also, its a great place to build your reputation in a positive way. Sure you have to really lay yourself out there for others to view, comment and remark. But why not? We all want to be liked and recognized for having high integrity and to be trusted - so let others comment about you, they are your best promoters.

Calvin Johnson