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Interview With Bear Mattress Founder Scott Paladini

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For those with an active lifestyle, sleep is a time for recovery and recharging your batteries. Scott Paladini is the founder of Bear Mattress, a bed-in-a-box targeting athletes that you can purchase online. The mattress is made with Quick Response foam, Graphite gel-infused foam, and Celliant™ technologies and is designed to improve sleep and increase energy levels. With Bear Mattress, you will sleep cool because the foam technology helps regulate heat transfer from your body to the mattress. Their return policy is simple. Put the mattress to the test for 100 days, and if you don’t like it, you can return it hassle free.

Bear Mattress recently launched several accessories including the Bear Pillow. The best differentiating factor of Bear Pillow to traditional pillows is that Bear Pillow remains cool and provides optimal support for your neck and head as you sleep. It is made with Loft-X foam on the inside and Double Ice Fabric Technology on the outside, which offers the contouring support of memory foam along with some resistance and bounce that you would not get from a conventional pillow. Choosing a pillow is a personal process, so they allow you to try it out to see if it is the right fit.

Along with having professional athletes like Cole Beasley of the Dallas Cowboys promoting their product, Bear Mattress has partnered with Good Sports, a nonprofit that gives opportunities to kids to participate in sports. With each Bear Product sold, 1% of the proceeds will be donated to Good Sports, allowing children to partake in athletic and fitness opportunities. The donations support schools, community programs, after school programs, and equipment for over 3200 organizations across the country.

Scott Paladini opens up about Bear Mattress.

What keeps you motivated?

I draw motivation from a number of places both personally and professionally, but the biggest overall influence in my life is my family — my wife and my newborn son. Branching out and starting your own business is one of the biggest risks you can take and my wife has been there in support every step of the way. Having a newborn is exhilarating, exhausting and comes with its own set of added pressures, but at the end of the day I want to make this business work for them as much for them as for myself. They help me stay motivated and keep things in perspective.

Why mattresses?

A good mattress is essential to getting a better, healthier sleep. It was while training for a marathon that I noticed the important role that rest played in muscle recovery. I saw a need for an affordable mattress specifically created for athletes, and set out to create a mattress designed to help promote muscle recovery. After over a year of product development and testing, we launched Bear Mattress in September 2015.

Utilizing eco-friendly materials and the latest advancements in sleep technology, Bear Mattress improves muscle recovery, promotes cooling and elevates overall sleep quality. Bear Mattress has quickly become the brand of choice for professional athletes, weekend warriors and casual fitness lovers alike.

That said, Bear is more than just a great mattress. We have grown tremendously over the past year and recently launched a line of sleep accessories that help people get a cooler, healthier and more restorative sleep.  

What makes your customers different from traditional mattress customers?

Our customers are a new generation of mattress customers. They are conscious of their time, money, and understand the value that a great night’s sleep provides. They don’t have the time to go to the mattress store, and they don’t want to pay the middleman.

That said, I don’t think there is such a thing as a ‘traditional’ mattress customer. In fact, we’re actually seeing an influx in Baby Boomers purchasing the mattress online. These customers are looking to increase muscle recovery time (and often times reduce back pain), and are convinced by our nearly 500 genuine 5-star reviews.

What helped you the most when starting Bear Mattress?

I think my experience in the mattress industry, coupled with my interest in health and athletics, has been instrumental to Bear’s success.

What is your team like?

For the first year in business there was no Bear “team”- I ran all operations myself. I was very conscious to grow the business at a manageable and realistic rate. When we surpassed seven figures in revenue I knew to get to the next level we needed more hands on deck, and we began the hiring process.

Today the Bear team is comprised of industry experts who aren’t afraid to think outside the box and roll-up their sleeves to get things done. We have a team mentality in the office, and genuinely enjoy working together. Everyone has a voice and brings different ideas to the table.

Who inspires you?

I’m most inspired each day by the real-life feedback we receive from customers. From the beginning, our goal with Bear has been to help people sleep better, but at the outset I didn’t fully realize just how tangible the positive impact of our product could be. Literally everyday we receive calls and messages from satisfied customers, many of whom have struggled with chronic back pain for years. They tell us all about their story and the different ways in which Bear has helped to improve their quality of life across the board. These are special interactions that make us feel good and inspire us to continually evaluate how our products can be optimized to meet customer needs.

What are some things we can look forward to in 2017 from Bear Mattress?

In 2017 you can expect to see new, innovative products from Bear. We recently launched Bear Pillow, Bear Protect and Bear Foundation, and are looking forward to introducing new products that will improve muscle recovery, promote cooling and elevate overall sleep quality. We’re also eager to expand our customer base into Canada this year.

What is some advice you can give to entrepreneurs?

I guess my advice to other entrepreneurs would be to not rush into things, particularly when it comes to investments from VC’s and others who may take an interest in your business. It’s important to remember that business is more a marathon than a sprint. If you believe in the product then take your time. Don’t jump at every opportunity that presents itself. Work towards creating a company with a solid foundation that’s built to last — not just to be sold.

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Salesforce Predicts Shoppers Moving To Mobile Shopping

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Analytics have confirmed the presence of shoppers to be on their own mobile smartphones. Jeff Barnett, CEO of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, shares his team’s vision on what’s to come for commerce in 2017. Shoppers are spotted to be taking their shopping online, strictly on mobile devices. Reports of a rate of 47% of orders from smartphones on U.S. sites grew in a span of a year alone, with costs of $2.08 worth of average spending on across U.S. E-commerce sites. In total, 4% of total traffic growth are summit to U.S. digital commerce sites. The data is looking at an uprise on mobile shopping, but in a downgrade on traditional brick and mortar retail. 

Discussion on stores making the ultimate decision on either changing their platform or to simply die off are being requested by retailers demanding flexibility in stores. The statics for mobile shopping means a decrease in retail profits. Customers have their attention on their mobile devices, neglecting traditional shopping. This forces retailers to upgrade and expand their business to newer areas.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers should shift themselves to mobile in order for their business to stay afloat. Selling online will keep the business staying competitive and consumer needs met. A majority of customers are already online, all retailers need to do is meet with them there. Distribution is made to be an easier process, with the supply being from one location. Already predicting the end of ATMs, shoppers are beginning to ditch cash with cards. With cards, customers are able to get more purchases to be conducted with extreme convenience. This is a win for both parties.

About 15% of U.S. malls will be disposed or will be converted into non-rental spaces within the next 10 years. Within 15 to 20 years, Howard Davidowitz, a retail consultant expects a near estimate of half of America’s shopping malls to fail. More and more retailers are moving their business online to secure their awareness.

“Three trends are upon us, AI, mobile, and chat, put them together, add water and shake, and what do you get, a long abated killer app for mobile commerce”. Rama Ramakrishnan, the Chief Data Scientist says. 2017 will be the year when AI chatbots for commas will soar and shift into mainstream across all stages of the shopping experience. “This time next year, we’ll look back and wonder how we ever shopped without them”.

With the promise in accelerated delivery, the mobile shopping experience is only improving. Prediction that our own voices will be the next user interface for shopping in 2017. Through services like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, consumers can do more than web searches, but can also purchase products and services online as well. Customer centricity is becoming everyone’s main task on the use of mobile shopping. Without predicting what consumers want, through online history and searches customers can get exactly what they want in their own time of need.

The new shopping method seems to be in favor of the consumers, with new features created to cater shoppers. The evolution of shopping has changed drastically due to technology advancements, their efficiency has allowed many opportunities to open. Although the benefits are in reach for most, traditional retailers much adapt well in order to catch up with the competition. Once the adjustment is complete, finding customers and companies will be much easier.

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Getting Recognition Builds Productivity

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Getting recognition is one of the top motivators and drivers among employees in the workplace. According to studies, 78% of employees work harder if they are better recognized. More recognition for a job well done translates to better productivity and happy employees. This sounds very simple, but is actually a bit more complicated to implement. This is because employees today don’t want just compensation as a form of getting recognition. They also want a close-knit office culture, volunteer opportunities, praises, rewards and genuine recognition for their efforts. Here’s how to do it:

Reward the Right Things

Rewarding employees for every achievement is counterproductive. Instead of singing their praises for everything they do well, reward the right things such as:

  • Actions that align with the company’s strategies and goals. Recognize behavior that aligns with the company’s overall mission. If you don’t have a mission statement, now is the time to define it.
  • Big wins and small wins should also be celebrated. Big projects usually have higher risks and setbacks. To keep your team from being frustrated, celebrate the small ones as well.
  • Being a team player is essential to the survival of your organization. As such this behavior is important because employees who work well together do not let their egos into the organization. Employees like this know how to put the team in front of their own personal interests.

Understand Why It Matters

According to a study by BambooHR, 82% of employees feel that they do not get recognition for their work and are considering leaving the company. Recognition seems like a small thing and not understanding why it is needed could hurt an organization’s profitability. Think about it, a few simple words of encouragement or gratitude can save your company thousands of dollars in recruitment and training new talent. Recognition helps revenue. When an employee gets the recognition they deserve they are happy and happy employees are more productive. Companies who recognize their employees have 2.5 times more revenue compared to companies that do not reward their employees. This means that high engagement translates to a third higher profitability.

Culture of Recognition

Create a culture of recognition within your organization. For example, you can ring a bell and call everybody’s attention whenever somebody does a good job. This way everybody knows whenever the bell is rung that something amazing has happened. This action also recognizes the achievement of an employee. Soon your office will associate bell rings for getting recognition and will aspire to have the bell rung in their honor.

Tailor Fit Your Recognition

Teams within organizations can have their own culture. For example, this team loves bowling or comic books. Aside from the usual phrases and accolades typically bestowed on them, go a bit further by tailoring recognition for their internal culture like going on a celebratory bowling game after a job well done or treating them to a couple of comic books. These small actions do not only show recognition but it shows that you respect the individuality of your members as a team.

Link Recognition with Performance

The key is to promote good behavior through recognition. In the long run, the goal is to achieve better attitude and improved performance. Therefore managers should know how to tie recognition, company objectives and individual performance. Connecting behavior with specific behavior helps to drive better performance. For example, your goal as a company is to implement zero accidents in the workplace. Be sure to reward employees for avoiding accidents or coming up with a new system to improve safety. To truly drive behavior and reinforce performance, recognition from superiors should be more than just a few nice words. Superiors, management, team leaders and even the CEO should connect saying thank you (gratitude) with behavior (the purpose). Influencing behavior can boost performance and productivity while boosting morale.

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How To Connect With Employees As A CEO

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Thirty years ago, a CEO’s focus was on customers and profit. Nowadays we know that CEOs have a bigger impact. A good CEO knows that a company is more than just their customers and profits. A good connection with employees is also important to keep productivity and motivation up. CEOs need to connect with employees on a regular basis not only to inspire but also to know what is going on at the company’s most basic level. Here are ways a CEO can connect with his employees.

Social Media

Many CEOs use social media to reach out to their clients and customers in an effort to humanize their company. Why not use the same social media to connect with employees too? Sending a congratulatory tweet to a team or following an employee on Facebook can be very flattering to employees.

To some of them, the boss is on the top floor only accessible to a select few VIPs. Being called to the CEOs office is very rare except maybe if they did something wrong. Social media brings everybody closer together because they are used by all kinds of people. Connect with employees on social media to make yourself more reachable, friendly and more human.

Take Mark Zuckerberg for example. Facebook’s CEO is very accessible to all people on his social media. He shares pictures of his kids and daily activities of their family life. This makes Mr. Zuckerberg seem more relatable, not only to employees but to many people as well.

Family Day

Family day is not only a great way for families to get together on company time (and expense), it is also a good time for the boss to connect with employees. Being called by your boss by your first name can be very gratifying for employees because the CEO remembers you. This simple act of remembering first names can be very inspiring and motivating to employees.

Employees also like to see their boss in casual clothing. To them it makes them look friendly and approachable. You can be surprised how many more employees approach their CEOs when they are seen wearing casual clothing. The friendly setting of family day is also a good way for CEOs and their employees to bond and get to know each other outside the workplace.

One-on-One

Having a one-on-one with the CEO can be very intimidating. What does he want with you anyway?

This is not necessarily true. A good way to get to know employees and make them feel important is to schedule a short one on one. It does not necessarily have to be about work. It can be about getting to know each other or catching up. This has to do with people wanting to feel that they are important. A CEO’s day is full of meeting with important people and spending time with ordinary employees will make them feel special. It is an easy motivational tool that does not cost anything but time

Open Door Policy

An open door policy makes CEOs more accessible to ordinary employees. They understand that a CEO’s time is important but an open door policy also makes them feel welcome. This is one of the reasons why many CEOs prefer to have meetings in a conference room rather than their private offices. This is to ensure that ordinary employees can walk in and talk to them if needed.

The door does not have to be literally open. Just make sure they understand that they can drop in anytime or arrange for an appointment to talk with you.

Share Meetings With Employees

Employees like to know what’s going on in the company. It makes them feel involved and valuable. One of the best ways to make them feel that their contribution is important is to record your meetings and share it with them. Sharing is a good idea because it’s a communication vehicle, it shows employees how decisions are made and it encourages precise thinking, communication that reduces politicking.

Leadership style differs from one CEO to the next. CEOs wear different hats all the time. The key is to remember that employees are the lifeblood of a company and finding ways to keep them motivated is one of the duties of a good CEO.

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