Helping You Define Your Lifestyle

How to Have Great Success in the Bakery Business

For thousands of years societies have baked and for that same length of time people have loved eating baked goods. There is something about putting grain based food into a hot oven and sampling the results that get people excited all the world over. Maybe it has to do with the small which seems to have a physiological effect on some causing them to lose any choice as to whether they indulge. Or it could be the look of the food. Backed goods include some of the most beautiful food around. But more than likely it is the taste which can go from crunchy, to gooey. To melt in your mouth delicious. Whether it is one of these, more, or all three, the fact is that baked goods are hugely popular in cites suburbs and in the countryside of every country on Earth.

So if you want to start a baked goods business and you do it properly, you will surely have a successful business. Executives in the industry like Larry Polhill of Café Valley Bakery will tell you that the business is steady and with hard work and an understanding of the fundamentals, can grow considerably. Here are some of those fundamentals if you are considering opening your own bakery.

Know Your Market

Knowing your market begins with doing in-depth research about it.

The Marketplace – What is the size of the market? Is the market going up, down or remaining steady? Why is it growing or contracting? Is this reason cyclical?

Your Business Idea – What is the potential for your business idea in the marketplace you are targeting? How can you enter this marketplace successfully (look at the product, capital and marketing requirements)? How can you position your business in the marketplace so it is a winner?

Your Product Ideas – Are your bakery product ideas currently in demand, and is that demand rising, falling or remaining the same? If they are not in the marketplace currently, why do you believe people will buy them over a long period of time?

Your Potential Customers – Who are they, what baked products they buy currently and might be interested in purchasing, how do they buy them, and how much do they spend on these products each month?

Your Competition – Who are they, how successful are they, why do people buy from them, what products are they selling to the public, what is the quality of their products, what is their competitive advantage?

The process of answering these questions takes you on a journey where you will discover everything about your idea and if it is actually a good one. The key when gathering this information is to go where the facts lead you. If you find that one key aspect of your potential business seems to know be workable, be prepared to change it. Being stubborn and doing something because you like the idea is the reason why many businesses fail. The businesses that succeed always understand that the marketplace has to support its ideas. From this research you will be able to put together a plan in writing that can reflect every major area of your business.

This plan will be a template for your company and will determine everything you do from your products to your sales tactics. Remember though that it is a living document and must be reviewed and updated regularly because things change.

How to Use Poker as a Mindfulness Practice

Most common mindfulness practices are fundamentally simple. Things like deep breathing, counted breaths, and short breaks and walks can help to calm us, clear our minds, and generate simultaneous states of relaxation and awareness. As much purpose as these small, simple practices have though, there are also some more involved activities that can assist with the development of greater mindfulness. And it may surprise some to learn that the game of poker is among them.

Gaming and Meditation

It is first important to understand that a link has been established between gaming and meditation in general. For a long time there were a lot of misconceptions about gaming as an active, almost violent practice meant solely for young people. But perceptions have changed over time. We now understand that people in all age groups play games of all kinds, and we further accept that a lot of these games have meditative qualities. Gamer testaments and a few scientific studies alike have indicated that the right game can have a soothing effect on one’s mental state.

This is the case with poker as well. A passion for many around the world, it’s a unique game that doesn’t necessarily fall under the umbrella of traditional “gaming” as we tend to think of the term. It is nonetheless similar with regard to mindfulness, however. Approached with intention, it can be a calming, almost meditative hobby for players.

Mental and Emotional Calm

When considering the game of poker specifically, one tends to think first of strategy, luck, and mathematics. In some sense, these are the building blocks of any given game of poker, and it will of course be important for any aspiring player to learn how they all factor in. However, what really helps successful players to win at poker is a sound mindset. The manifestation of a sound overall poker game requires that players learn to accept defeat and to avoid getting too high from a win. It demands reasonable approaches to betting and competition, clear-eyed social interaction, and the ability to operate without ego.

Add those factors up, and what success in poker really demands is mental and emotional calm. Players need skill and strategy to be sure, but above all else they need to be able to clear their minds of various pressures and shut out hasty impulses. This in and of itself is nearly a form of meditation, and certainly serves as a sort of training for mindfulness practice.

Focused Meditation

Beyond helping players to establish a general sense of mental and emotional calm, poker also leads to an ability to focus that, in its own way, is meditative. Generally, a focused meditation is described as the practice of focusing on something intently as a way of staying in the present moment and slowing down inner dialogue. It more or less means zeroing in on one subject to the exclusion of all else for the purpose of clearing one’s head — which is pretty much exactly what one has to do in poker! Even the slightest distraction can be a problem, and while the game demands a lot of attention it still makes for such narrow focus that one can clear one’s mind in a useful and soothing way.

Even given all of these benefits, poker does not comprise an entire mindfulness or meditation routine. For those interested in working on these aspects of personal wellness though, it’s always good to have one more option! Some will find this simple, popular card game to be legitimately beneficial.

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like our piece on how to boost your energy, especially useful as we enter a new year and search for fresh motivations!

Earfree Nitebuds: For Better Sleep

Earfree Nitebuds, the two-in-one speaker and pillow that plays calming music, improving the quality of your sleep, is launching on Indiegogo.

The idea for the Nitebuds sleep pillow came from people who used to sleep with earphones in. Many of us who have trouble sleeping at night use earphones to listen to calming sleep music, but sleeping with earphones in is just too uncomfortable. Using earphones while you sleep can cause pain and inflammation in the ear; plus, earphones tend to fall out in the middle of the night. But the adverse effects of earphones on ear health is undoubtedly the most critical of these issues.

Nitebuds puts music IN the pillow to solve the problems caused by conventional earbuds. All you have to do is lay your head down on the pillow to be serenated with lovely music. There’s no earbuds involved – so you can roll around in bed all you like without having to worry about damage to your ears or earbuds falling out.

Nitebuds are simple to use. Just place the speakers in the special sleep-aid pillow, then use Bluetooth to pair your smartphone and begin your music therapy. Once your music is playing, Nitebuds’ crater-shaped design enhances the acoustics, making you feel like you’re listening in on a concert hall performance. This design also prevents the sound from leaking out, giving you the same quality of sound at a 30% lower volume, so as not to bother whoever’s sleeping next to you.

The Nitebuds app also provides free ASMR music and ambience, soothing the brain and easing any anxiety. This white noise works has great benefits on mental health and attentiveness, making the sleep music from the Nitebuds app particularly effective at inducing a natural sleep.

Nitebuds uses 3D mesh material for full, fluffy comfort. The mesh also helps the music play through the pillow without getting muffled, plus high-quality microfiber cotton is also used to give the perfect amount of depth and coziness. The microfiber cotton is also a renewable, biodegradable material, which means Nitebuds is eco-friendly, too.

Even though Nitebuds is electronic, the speaker and pillow are fully separable, meaning the pillow can be washed without issue. If you want, you can even use the pillow by itself without the speakers, or even place other items inside the pillow to help you sleep.

For instance, if you find yourself sweating a lot in those hot summer nights, you can place ice-packs in the pillow to help cool off. Or, when you’re stressed out and in the mood for aromatherapy, the CYPRESS insert can be used for some phytoncide healing.

Also, if you have a preference for a specific pillow height, just use the COTTON insert to adjust the pillow’s height to your preference.

You can back Earfree Nitebuds – the high-tech pillow that serenades you to sleep – by finding their campaign on Indiegogo.