In this month's edition of Business Bookmarks, we take a closer look at one of the UK's first packaging-free supermarket trials, how to successfully lead a productive tech team, and why having a strong brand voice is crucial to any small business.
The packaging-free supermarket
As part of a ground-breaking trial, a Waitrose supermarket in Oxford offered customers the opportunity to purchase some of their weekly staples directly from dispensers and refill stations.
Prices were set to around 15% lower than their packaged alternatives, demonstrating the benefits to both the environment and customers’ pockets. Whilst many independent packaging-free general stores and delicatessens are popping up across the country to meet environmentally-conscious shoppers’ needs, this is one of the first examples of a large British supermarket doing the same. It makes an interesting read if you're thinking of ways to go green without impacting your profit margins. (Via The Guardian)
Getting Pride right
In the wake of Pride Month, Sonia Thompson considers the impact of large corporations ‘cashing in’ on festivities by getting caught up in the euphoria of Pride fever.
In this detailed and thought-provoking article, Sonia highlights how three brands manage to use their voice to back LGBT rights year-long, as opposed to capitalising off Pride Month or jumping on the bandwagon by using Pride Month for self-promotion. She emphasizes the dangers of showing superficial support without following through. From standing up to homophobia on social media to creating speciality product branding to celebrate same-sex marriage legalisation, here’s how to get inclusion right. (Via Inc.)
Productivity life hacks
If you’ve ever wondered how to optimize your personal life so that you can perform better at work, this one’s for you. Wired speaks to four ‘extreme life hackers’ on how they hack their personal time to get the most out of each and every day.
Specifically, the article explores the impact of their particular habits on productivity, such as waking up at a specific time every morning and performing data analysis on how time is spent each day. If you're a small business owner looking for ways to increase your overall productivity, this article will provide some interesting ways to get started. (Via Wired)
Leading a successful tech team
Making the transition from team player to leader can be a challenge. In this article for the Knowledge Hub, Mark Hill of Pearson Frank shares three ways to cement your status as a great tech manager, especially if you’re new to the game.
From ensuring your leadership style caters to different personalities to exploring tactics that can make your team feel better valued, this article delves into the nitty-gritty of successful management of any tech team. In particular, Mark emphasizes how important it is to be a coach first and foremost by teaching as opposed to telling. If you’re looking for ways to improve your management style, no matter which industry you’re in, this one’s well worth a read. (Via The Knowledge Hub)
Launching a tech company in a developing country
Farid Ismayilzada, Founder of GoldenPay, shares the story of how he created a thriving tech business in his homeland of Azerbaijan, despite the country’s lack of skilled researchers and capital.
Farid attributes his success to his unique three-step blueprint, which allowed him to create a system that now accounts for 70% of Azerbaijan’s online payment transactions. The key, he argues, is taking the time to actually understand what local markets need and providing them with simple solutions to meet these needs. The same applies to global products – meeting the needs of the masses by listening closely to what they're asking for as opposed to automatically seeking overly innovative or complicated solutions. Learn more about his philosophy by reading the full article. (Via Entrepreneur)
The women rising above prejudice
Fast Company speaks to five executives at Facebook, Netflix and other companies who are overcoming adversity to navigate motherhood, careers, happiness and health.
It’s been reported that black mothers in the USA experience a wage gap of $30,000 a year when compared to working fathers. With race not factored in, the average wage gap is just over half of this, at $18,000. In this candid article for Fast Company, five female leaders share the reality of what it’s like to manage bias, motherhood and happiness. It’s an intimate look at the reality of working life for black women, and provides an insightful read for any business owner who wants to ensure they’re promoting a fair working environment. (Via Fast Company)
The role of a product manager
Justin Ziccardi, Product Manager at Tonal, joins host Matthew Encina and Mark Contreas to talk about what product management is and the characteristics and management style that make a successful product manager.
In this podcast-style interview, Justin shares his experiences of the day-to-day work involved in product management, and covers the three fundamental elements of great product management: ensuring products are usable, valuable and feasible. He also speaks about the importance of Agile working and how it's crucial to ensure that teams have the tools and leadership they need to thrive, along with covering how to get into a career in product management. (Via The Futur)
How to write for your brand
In this video, HubSpot explains how tone, voice and style work together to create a strong brand voice for any small business, and how to ensure you're constantly portraying a strong brand image through your content.
Brand consistency creates an authentic image of your overall business in the eyes of customers, which is crucial for growth and success. Having strong editorial resources in place, such as a style guide and content editor, are great ways to bring in contributing guest writers without sacrificing your company’s brand. You can learn more about how to write for your brand and ensure you have a consistent brand voice by watching the full video below. (Via HubSpot Academy)
Enjoyed this month’s collection? Stay up to date with the latest business advice and articles by following us on, and .