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ASAP is now proud to be 513 Green Workplace Certified! 

So what does that even mean? It means we have been recognized by the City of Cincinnati for doing our part to lessen the environmental impact of our operations. For example, we recycle an extensive amount of material from across our operations including the batteries and ink/toner in our office, food packaging and containers in our breakroom, and the vinyl and polyester scrap from our sign production. And of course, recycling all the paper and cardboard we use!<

Our clients can rest assured knowing we are doing everything we can to ensure the materials from their events are being recycled or reused in a responsible way.

Are you local and want to learn more about how to lessen your impact, either at home or in the workplace? Please visit https://www.hamiltoncountyrecycles.org/ for more information.

What a ride…

Well, it certainly doesn’t seem like 35 years!

On Friday April 12, 1985 I drove to Cleveland, OH with a group of friends to attend the Indians baseball home opener the next day. On our ride up from Cincinnati, in the backseat of Greg Steller’s Oldsmobile Cutlass, thus began the planning of a new business venture. Within the week I had secured a business trade name, attended a SCORE seminar on how to start a business (which they still conduct) and received a bank loan to fund the startup.

After a year and a half of working part-time on the fledgling enterprise, I tendered my resignation from the semi-secure corporate world I had become accustomed to and rode off into the land of entrepreneurship full time. I had literally no clue what adventures lay ahead and neither did my soon to be bride Betsy, who has been with me the entire ride. We simply would not be here today without her patience & wise counsel.

From the beginning, I have held onto the belief that our products and services – in small and sometimes BIG ways – actually work by helping our customers attract their customers. Despite the missteps that occur over such a long time, this belief has been proven through results in the marketplace: increased store traffic and improved $ales!

And so back to “the ride” where it started …. 35 years ago! A big shout out and THANK YOU to employees, customers, vendors, contractors, advisors and most importantly my family. Along with my business partner, Brittany Ulrich and everyone at ASAP Event Advertising, we hope to continue to earn your trust and support in the years ahead.

COLOR PSYCHOLOGY: WHAT THAT MEANS FOR YOU IN THE WORKPLACE

Colors – yes, they’re pretty and everyone has a favorite. But did you know – it’s possible for them to influence your mood and alter your perceptions?

Let me explain further. It has been observed that being in a room painted a warm color (such as orange or red) can cause people to perceive the room as warmer than it is actually. The opposite is true of rooms painted in cool colors (blue or light purple). (Morin, 2014)

It’s also been studied that the color green causes broader thinking and fosters creativity (Morin, 2014). Not surprising considering green is the primary color seen in nature. Green = nature = adventure and possibilities (… or something like that).

Other surprising color psychology facts are: Blue is the favorite (think blue skies and fresh water). Yellow is generally disliked, pink tends to calm the nerves, and white is boring. Huh… who knew? (Morin, 2014)

So why does color matter where work is concerned? Take a minute to consider where you see color? Um, everywhere! The effects of color touch everything: the room you are sitting in, your desktop background, company logo and website, even your email signature!

How is color making your customer, clients, or employees’ feel?

Morin, Amy. “How To Use Color Psychology To Give Your Business An Edge.” Forbes. Forbes.com LLC, 4 Feb 2014 Web. 7 Feb 2014.

THANKSGIVING OR BLACK THURSDAY?

Dust off your hat and gloves! ‘Tis the season for apple cider, bonfires and, of course, holiday shopping. Over the years, we have begun to see ads for holiday sales immediately following Halloween. Walking through your favorite stores, Christmas trees, lights and dancing elves greet you beginning on November 1st. It seems like America’s favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, has been lost in the shuffle of Fall sales. Should you say “my favorite holiday” instead?

More recently, Black Friday hours have been pushed earlier and earlier. This year, retailers are going as far as to have their stores open on Thanksgiving. Many people are speaking out and voicing their opinions – the question is, will retailers who are choosing to remain open Thanksgiving evening see a backlash?

Here are some thoughts from friends and family chiming in on the subject:

“Lots of people believe Black Friday is the day (and night) of the best deals for the holiday season. Being in retail, I have noticed retailers offering these deals prior to the official Black Friday date and also offering even better deals than Black Friday the week before Christmas. For customers, this means you can avoid the late night/early morning madness and get better deals without having to suffer lack of sleep and dark under eye circles! As an employee I am fortunate my company puts value in family over profit and allows me to work normal every day hours during Black Friday. I feel for those without that luxury who rush through Thanksgiving dinner or, even worse, don’t get to spend time with their family because they have to be at work Thanksgiving evening. It contradicts the entire meaning behind the holiday not getting a chance to spend time with those that you are most thankful for”.

“While I feel bad for employees that are required to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other holiday, that is what you signed up for. It’s called working in retail. Restaurants are open on Christmas Eve – what’s the difference?”

“I think it’s crazy being open on Thanksgiving and I feel sorry for all of the people who have to work. I am choosing not to shop with companies that are remaining open, versus allowing workers to enjoy the holiday with their families – I would rather spend a little more money, then support a company that does not value their employees”.

Retailers are split – some holding true to tradition and waiting for Friday to kick off their holiday shopping, while others are opening around 4PM, or even earlier Thanksgiving Day. All are speaking out, in many cases, to defend their choice to open their doors early for Black Friday sales.

Nordstrom Inc. wrote on its Facebook page: “We won’t be decking our halls” until Black Friday because “we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”

A Macy’s Inc. spokesman said, “We are opening because customers tell us they are interested in shopping on Thanksgiving evening”

“Some things are more important than money”, said Ace Hardware about keeping its 4,600 stores nationwide closed on Thanksgiving.

“Almost everybody to date has moved up, at least one hour, if not more,” said a Walmart’s representative. “We thought 6 o’clock was the exact right time to win the weekend.”

Many retailers, like Macy’s, are emphasizing that their decision to remain open was prompted by customers expressing an interest in shopping on Thanksgiving. Some are providing employees with increased pay, a higher percentage off personal transactions and even a Thanksgiving meal. Some made the decision to remain closed, not so much to honor the holiday, but because in past years their Black Friday sales numbers have not been worth dragging employee’s out of the house and away from families.

There is always going to be someone disappointed, or in many cases, outraged with the decision. Regardless, it seems like the majority of the companies made their decisions based on financial gain, be it they remain opened or closed. Maybe this is just the name of the game now? Retailers are changing their strategies in the fight to win sales and compete with online only companies.

Or maybe, in our fast paced, profit driven world, we have just lost sight of what is really important…family.

Let us know how you feel about the Black Friday controversy.

For a full list of retailers, both open and closed on Thanksgiving, please see the below links.

Stores open for business:

http://www.theblackfriday.com/stores-opening-on-thanksgiving.php

Stores closed on Thanksgiving:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/11/04/costco-publix-lead-charge-as-stores-refuse-to-open-on-thanksgiving-day/

THE CASE OF THE MONDAYS

If that just made your stomach drop, you’re not alone. I think it’s safe to say there are a lot of Monday-haters out there. I get it – it’s hard to come back to work after a fun weekend. Monday means back to the daily grind. For the next five days.

So, what can we do about it?

I’ve learned to appreciate a few things about my workweek. To start, I like the structure of it all. You might think that sounds terrible, but just bear with me. Lets say you have an off day, and your schedule is free. You probably have a list of all the productive things you want to get done that day. But my guess is a few to none will get accomplished because the entire day will be spent binge watching something on Netflix.

If I have all day to do something, it will probably get done last minute, if at all. However, if I’m forced to make due with every hour I’ve got, suddenly I’m superwoman. I can work all day, go for a run, stop at the grocery, and even have time to sit down and watch a movie. And it feels great! It doesn’t matter who you are – that sense of accomplishment feels so rewarding.

Something else I find helpful is to start small and look for pleasure in the little things. For example, enjoying your morning coffee or telling your co-workers a funny story from your weekend can make Monday morning a little less gloomy. Give yourself a “Monday” treat – whether that is going out with friends or making your favorite dinner or dessert. Looking forward to something can make Monday seem a little less like a waste of a day.

MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR S.M.A.R.T

Soon we will be ringing in the New Year. Personally, I plan to enjoy the festivities by my fireplace watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. This year I want to forgo those unrealistic resolutions and make SMART goals instead.

The SMART methodology is a management strategy, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Based. Setting a goal will enable me to work smarter by creating a path with goals along the way to help me achieve my final outcome.

Specific (pick an area for improvement)
Measurable (criteria for measuring progress to achieve goal)
Attainable (objective is within reach)
Realistic (goal must have meaning to you)
Time- bound (time-line for accomplishing goal)

Don’t set yourself up for failure making unrealistic resolutions. Now go write down a detailed goal you would like to achieve professionally. Be specific, set deadlines and work daily on the steps that will help you achieve your goal. Do your best to record the results. This will help you to pinpoint problem areas where you can improve to get better results.

This methodology can be applied on a number of levels in both professional and personal goals. It doesn’t guarantee success, but at least it gives you the ability to apply a measuring stick.

I hope everyone has a safe, warm holiday with plenty of joy and laughter!

If you would like to learn more read, The SMART Goals Book by Anna Stevens.

HOLIDAY SEASON 2014

Thank you to all of our clients for another great year!
ASAP employee’s were blessed to be able to donate $1,000 again this year, to a charity of their choosing.
Holiday 2014Please see our selections below and follow the links to read further on these organizations:

Center for Lakes & Streams, Grace College – www.lakes.grace.edu

League for Animal Welfare – www.lfaw.org

Sheltered Paws Dog Rescue – www.shelteredpaws.com

Canines for Disable Kids – www.caninesforkids.org

Susan G. Komen – ww5.komen.org

Luv Fur Mutts – www.luvfurmutts.com

The Library Foundation of Cincinnati & Hamilton County – www.foundation.cincinnatilibrary.org

The HEAL Program – http://www.atriummedcenter.org/heal

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR THE OFFICE

New Years Resolutions for the Office

The beginning of the New Year is an opportunity for fresh ideas and new goals. For many, that means its time to enroll in a gym membership, start that diet, join Match.com or hit those personal financial goals. The start of a new year is also an excellent time to evaluate your job and set some goals at work. Here are a few simple resolutions to consider for the New Year.

Learning Something New/Cross Training

Constant learning is very important in the workplace because processes can always be improved. Whether it is taking a class, enrolling in a seminar or cross training with other departments, extended learning can decrease cost and increase productivity.

Integrate fun

Take initiative on setting a positive work atmosphere. Work with others to find ways to create a positive and fun working environment. You can even look into arranging out of the office activities. Time spent away from the office is a great tool for team building and boosting office morale.

Set Goals

This may seem like a pretty obvious resolution, as company goals and hitting numbers are obviously very important. It is also important to set some personal goals. What do you want to personally achieve at work? Maybe it is to take ownership of a new project or become a contributor on an existing project.

Give Something Back to Your Community

This goal is very important to ASAP. There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Find a cause that matters to you and propose your volunteer or fundraising idea to your office management or team. Check out ASAP’s Giving Back page to see how we have recently given back to our community and organizations close to our heart – https://asapevents.com/who-we-are/giving-back

Setting company resolutions can increase work satisfaction, company moral and productivity. Examine goals you want to set personally, as well as, within a group at work to benefit you and your company.

INNOVATION OR IMITATION?

Recently, we found yet another competitor who finds it’s easier to steal than to work. In this case, they’re using the EXACT ad copy we had posted on our websites over 2 years ago… Really? Really.

What is it they say? “Imitation is the best form of flattery” – Based on the amount of Ad copy and product names of ours stolen over the years, I guess we should be pretty flattered then!

During our 30 years in business we’ve seen lots of companies come and go. Most are well intentioned, but for various reasons, they usually don’t last. Whether it be poor business practices, financial weakness, lack of integrity, just plain laziness or a combination of factors, these companies eventually fail.

Inevitably, some of the survivors resort to “copy cat” techniques because they lack ingenuity themselves. Why come up with better products, services, or even ad copy, when you can just steal them?

At ASAP, we pride ourselves in having a bias toward innovation vs simple imitation. The industry, as well as customers and competitors, see us as innovators; that’s a role we are good at and enjoy.

A good example of that can be seen in our Adverflag® roof stand. While our very first generation roof stand was acceptable, it simply is not as safe, reliable and efficient as the one we use today. In fact, I’m sure you’ve seen these products on the side of the highway during construction season! Our innovation was in adapting an existing product for our use, but all the while realizing that this could be a short term solution that would need improvement. And that is what we did. Here I am testing out the first generation roof stand:

So why change? Today’s version has been revised a few times – in conjunction with a longstanding supplier – in order to improve its performance. Today’s roof stand improved stability and increased wind resistance by over 40%, while reducing its shipping weight by 33%. Oh yeah, reduced roof damage from 3 instances to zero. Oh yeah #2, 20% less cost. Here’s a current photo of the stands in action:

Our Adverflag® roof stand is just an example of leadership, innovation, and a desire to continuously improve vs. the mindset of a follower, where imitation and a desire to rip off someone’s idea without improvement is the best you’ll ever get.

At ASAP we’re proud to be the one that sets the pace, we are continuously looking for ways to improve our products and services as well as our customer’s experience. The possibility of our good ideas being stolen is not going to stop us from continuing to innovate and grow.

LEADERSHIP QUALITIES

I recently read an article that discussed what employees expect, need, and want from the people in leadership roles at their place of employment. With the ever-changing economy, employees want to be able to go into work confidentially, feeling that they are valued, and not constantly worrying about a round of layoffs or reorganizations that require them to put in more time without extra compensation.

Leaders in the workplace should make employees feel safe and secure, while providing them the right environment and the opportunity to thrive and be successful in their specific roles. Good leaders build trust with their employees, have their employee’s backs, and are humble, compassionate, and empathetic. There are seven things that employees specifically expect from their leadership: specificity, empowerment, vulnerability, honesty, accountability, respect, and authenticity. To be an effective leader, you should have an excellent balance of these seven qualities.

A leader needs to be specific. They need to be clear when giving direction and goals to their employees. If employees are given specific directions from their leaders, they will be better prepared for anything that comes up.

A good leader will empower their employees. The staff should not have to go to their boss or manager for every decision that needs to be made. Employees should be given enough information to make decisions by themselves. A good leader trusts their employees to make the right decisions.

An excellent leader also needs to be vulnerable. They should not claim to have all of the answers, or claim to be the best at anything. Employees respect leaders who are aware that they, too, have areas of improvement.

Employees respect a leader who is honest. It is not always easy to hear the truth, but an employee also does not want to be blindsided. A good leader should be transparent, so that employees know about things going on in the workplace that effect them and their jobs.

A good leader is someone who is accountable to others and themselves. A good leader would never delegate too much, or push off problems to others that they should handle on their own. A good leader is not afraid to admit when something went wrong that they are responsible for.

Leaders who are respectful to their employees also gain the respect of their employees. A good leader respects and values each employee’s individual contributions.

Lastly, a leader needs to be authentic. A leader who shows their true self, as opposed to having a “game face” on all the time is authentic. Authenticity breeds productivity from the employees, and creates an environment that employees want to work in.

Here at ASAP, we have great leaders that demonstrate all of these qualities. How are the leaders in your workplace? Share a great leadership or a not-so-great leadership experience with us!