The Universality of Duct Tape

By Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis

Duct Tape

We had intended on beginning a series of blogs about getting yourself ready for spring and posted the first of this series last week (see Spring Cleaning Just Ahead  Mar 18/15) but when we sat down to begin writing this week’s blog, our city was under a cold weather alert! It’s been almost one week and the warmer weather of spring has yet to arrive.  In light of this we thought it may be prudent to delay the second instalment and opted instead on writing a post about duct tape. Why duct tape you ask?  Last week one of our sons ripped his new spring coat in a road hockey game with some neighborhood friends. He was devastated, and as I looked at the rip in dismay (he had worn the jacket a total of 20 min), my husband calmly walked to the garage and came back with a roll of duct tape. My son and I watched stunned as he took the jacket from my hands, cut a piece off and plastered in on top of the rip.  He then handed it back to my son and sent him back outside. Game on!!!

“Duck” or “Duct” tape came into being during World War II when soldiers complained about how hard it was to open ammunition boxes out on the field, the seals were hard to break and not waterproof, the extra time it took to open the boxes could prove fatal.  Duct tape was created with the durable and adhesive ability of the original fabric tape BUT this new tape was waterproof and could be easily cut by hand.

Is there anything duct tape can’t fix? According to the Duct Tape Guys (Jim Berg and Tim Nyberg) who as of 2005 had written seven books about the virtues of duct tape (seriously I’m not making this up)  “Two rules to get you through life:  If it’s stuck and it’s not supposed to be, WD40 it.  If it’s not stuck and it’s supposed to be, duct tape it!” (1).

Since its creation duct tape has become a staple in every household and has been used by everyone to fix something at one time or another.  We were stunned to discover the wide ranging scope of its uses: it was used on the moon to repair a damaged fender on the lunar rover (works the same on a car fender), used to repair the Apollo 13 space module, re attaching the side view mirror to your car, hemming pants, curing warts, reinforcing the binding of a book, a temporary roof shingle, a lint brush, the list is endless. The more adventurous  have managed to fashion  wallets out of duct tape and our daughter has used it to help her fashion some new Barbie clothing, even the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under former President George Bush after 9/11 recommended that duct tape be included in every American’s “disaster supply kit”.

So whether you are an engineer, a do it yourself-er or a little boy who has ripped his brand spanking new spring jacket playing hockey, duct tape is a must for any tool box, toy box, sewing box, hockey bag, gym bag, household or work space.


Spring Cleaning Just Ahead

By Anastasia and Michael TsouroupakisSpring Cleaning

Spring has finally arrived! Winter was exceptionally brutal in our neck of the woods, with record breaking temperatures as low as -25 C and -40 C when you factor in the wind chill, but the end is finally in sight. This is why we decided to dedicate the next few blogs to getting ourselves ready for spring. Sunny days with the temperatures creeping their way over 0 C have resulted in huge snow melts where we can now see the sidewalks, driveways and lawns; they do not look pretty. Old man winter has left our homes looking worn, dirty and dreary. Here is a checklist to help you get the outside of your home ready for spring.

  1. Check your roof for any loose tiles and replace them immediately. The harsh winter weather wreaks havoc on your roof tiles, now is the time before the spring showers start to replace or fix any loose or damaged tiles.
  2. Clean out your gutters and make sure the downspouts are clear and aimed far away from your house. This will help prevent any spring thaw water damage to your home.
  3. Clear your front lawns, walkways, flower beds etc. of winter debris.
  4. Prune and mulch around your trees and bushes, this will get them ready for the spring bloom.
  5. Re-plant and replace the stuff winter killed. Our Canadian winters are hard on even the hardiest of plants, remove dead shrubs and clean up dead branches.
  6. Re Sod and re seed. The grass that lines your driveway and pathways is often a casualty of winter.  When we salt our driveways and pathways most times the salt ends up on the grass. Replace these brown and yellowed patches with either sod or seed.
  7. Change burned out outdoor bulbs.
  8. Clean up your doors and windows. Touch up your doors and door frames or slap on a fresh coat of paint altogether. Take the opportunity to clean your windows from the inside as well as the outside. Clean doors and window will instantly brighten the look of your home.

Happy Cleaning!!

Customer Experience….It’s all in the Attitude

By Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis

Attitude is Everything

Customer Experience…. It’s all in the Attitude

Customers will always return to those businesses which provided them with a memorable customer experience and some cases regardless of the cost.  In order to create such an experience you and your employees must possess a certain attitude… well actually three kinds of attitude; Positive, Pro Active and Problem Solving Attitudes.   If you and your employees are in possession of these 3 P’s you will be able to give your customers a memorable experience.

The first P or Positive Attitude: A genuinely positive attitude can become infectious.  A positive attitude is relayed in your body language, and facial expressions.  A customer can walk into your office in the worst mood and if he or she is greeted with a smile and a kind word you have instantly set the tone for a positive and productive interaction.  As an employer when you provide a positive work environment your employees will model your positive behaviour, and will always strive to do their best work, providing your customers with an exceptional customer experience.

The second P or Pro Active Attitude:  Too many businesses practise “reactive customer service” in that the only interaction they have with their customers is reacting to problems as they arise.  While this practise may satisfy your customers immediate needs, you are by no means creating an exciting customer experience.  Always follow up with your customers for instance, if your business is providing them with an ongoing service, call them and ask how they are enjoying your company’s service?  Some would say reaching out like this is asking for trouble, such is not the case, by regularly checking in with your customers you are showing them that you value their business and are looking for ways make the services they pay for better.  Furthermore if they are a little dissatisfied with something you can address the issue before it becomes something bigger and more difficult to handle.

The third P or Problem Solving Attitude:  In life stuff happens!  Mistakes are made, customers misunderstand, and people get upset.  You and your employees MUST possess a problem solving attitude in order to deal with such situations.  A sincere smile and the words “I’m sorry this happened, let me try to fix this.” or “I’m not exactly sure how to handle this but,  let me call someone who I know will be able to help.” goes a long way to diffuse a  potentially volatile situation.   In doing this you have shown your customer two things, the first is that you empathize with their situation, and the second is you have every intention of trying to find an acceptable solution.
The three P’s Positive, Pro Active and Problem Solving Attitudes, will not only guarantee a memorable and exciting customer experience, but will help to pave the way to a healthier and more profitable business.

Three Ways to Survive Your First Year In Business

“In a company’s first year, your goal should be simply to survive, and this will likely take everything you’ve got. No matter how tired or afraid you are, you have to figure out how to keep going.” Richard Branson

By Anastasia and Michael Tsouroupakis

Tight rope walkingThis quote perfectly describes our first year in business. We were both scared and exhilarated at the thought of running our own storage company and, were fortunate enough to know some very successful, seasoned business owners who helped us navigate the rough waters of our first year. While each one had their own recipe for success they all had these three basic ingredients;

  • Resist Temptation

We all know how easy it is to go over budget, some expenses are unforeseen and cannot be avoided, and there are others however that are unnecessary. Resist the urge to splurge on luxury office furniture and decor, high end computers, cell phones and high end vehicles leased to the business. These expenses serve no purpose other than putting an unnecessary strain on your cash flow.  Always ask yourself is this expense going to make me money or just cost me money?  If the answer is the former then DON’T DO IT!

2.) Operating Budget

We cannot stress enough how important this is, your business plan MUST include an Operating Budget. Businesses that have shown great potential have failed within the first year because they ran out of money.  When asked, most owners suggest that 40% of your overall budget cost be designated towards the Operating Budget.  You will be out of business if you can’t meet your weekly payroll, pay your rent, utilities etc.

3.) You are your best employee

What does this mean? Resist the urge to hire outside services to perform tasks you can do on your own i.e. cleaning bathrooms, floors, dusting, windows etc.  You can save money by doing this on your own. Resist the urge to go on a hiring spree; you should be working the majority of your operational hours. This serves two purposes; first it saves money and second, it allows you to gain a feel for your business and your customers, so when you need to hire extra staff, you now know what type of employee will best suit your business.

Best of Luck

Carnforth Self Storage