Expert’s Guide To Painless Business Relocation

Moving your business to a new office is a strange mix of daunting and exciting. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence and indeed, relocation can offer many benefits. On the other hand, it can also have a severe disruptive influence on your operations, clients, employees,and finances.

To maximize the positives and minimize the negatives, you have to plan and schedule activities ahead of time. So, embrace a systematic,proactive, and efficient approach. Get ready to organize everything from the nitty-gritty to the smallest detail. Here are some tips that should help you get on top of tasks and finish relocating with flying colors.

Formulating a game plan

Meticulous planning and preparation hold the key to a successful relocation.  Most often,businesses kick off this process several months up to a year in advance. They start by identifying all tasks and setting a time frame for them. In other words, one of the first steps is to put together a detailed checklist for the new office. Before you can do that, though, you need to take several tours.While at it, pay special attention to key aspects such as technology, furniture, utilities, connectivity, and office equipment. You must have all the essential elements of a productive work space in place and make them fall together seamlessly.

Mind the size and layout of the new space

The crucial thing is to look beyond your present needs and factor in how your business will grow and evolve in years to come. Office size and layout are the crucial aspects you need to grasp here. Modern businesses usually aim for a multi-functional space geared toward a dynamic workforce and flexible work styles. In recent years, an open floor plan is all the rage andit does have some great advantages. But, you need to do what makes the most sense for you, not what is trendy. It is also necessary to take care of some basics and designate the main areas. We are talking about the lobby,meeting/conference rooms, workstations, the front desk, private booths,chill-out zone, etc.

Doing packing the smart way

Packing is always one of the most dreaded aspects of moving. There are many ways to go about it, but one thing is certain. You must work out a system and prevent the chaos from ensuing.Double-check the inventory and confirm that you have enough storage units. Color-code your documents and label the boxes. Furthermore, take this chance to do some de-cluttering. There is really no need to bring excess belongings to your new office. That would only require additional resources and storage space. Thus,do not hesitate to purge everything that serves no clear purpose other than collecting dust.

Rally the troops

It pays off to actively involve your team members right from the get-go. To do it right, set clear roles and responsibilities and delegate as much as you can. At the same time, you should note that your equipment,furniture, and other belongings might need to be handled professionally. This especially goes for packing and transportation. Australian businesses, for instance, tend to hire local removalists in Sydney and other major cities, since expensive office equipment requires delicate handling, from packing,transporting to disassembling and assembling furniture and disconnecting and reconnecting appliances. Conduct a research and try to get the best relocation quote you can.  Make sure everything reaches the destination on time and intact.

Getting over a rough patch

One of the main overarching priorities is to mitigate the negative impact on your profit margins. Namely, you cannot afford to lose business to your competition because of the relocation. Notify all relevant parties, including your customers, stakeholders, and clients and explain how your services or communication will change during the relocation. Along the similar lines, see to it that your online information (especially on your website and social media profiles) is up to date. Do not overlook your traditional marketing tools like business cards and flyers. Spread the word out across all touch points so that no one is left in the dark.

Changing your base of operations can set you up nicely for growth. But, there is one problem: planning and executing a smooth move is no walk in the park. There are so many different things to keep a close eye on. So,come up with a solid plan that will allow you to stay in control during the whole process. You cannot go wrong following tried-and-tested steps presented above. Just do not try to do everything yourself. Summon professionals to your aid in order to avoid stress, delays, and headaches. Get back up running as soon as possible and open a brave new chapter of success.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

How to Give a Great Impression at a First Business Meeting

An important business meeting is coming up and you’re worried about giving a bad first impression? Well, you don’t have to worry at all because we’re here to help you out. Here are four important tips on how to nail this task and give a great impression, so check them out and enjoy!

Dress appropriately in the first place

’Dress for success’ – you’ve probably heard this phrase a million times, but you know what? Dressing appropriately is vital, especially when it comes to a first business meeting,so make sure to bear in mind the time of the day and the location of the upcoming meeting. Formal business attire in dark, neutral colors is a good choice if you’re meeting with representatives of other companies. Of course,you can also try to anticipate the style of other participants, as dressing too casually or too formally often means that you haven’t thought about the purpose of the meeting. On the other hand, meetings that take place outside the industry norms usually allow more casual outfits, but remember that clean hair and nails, properly ironed clothes, and freshly shined shoes are always a must!

Always, always be punctual

Punctuality is another crucial factor that will help you give a great first impression at a first business meeting, so do your best to arrive on time no matter what. This is particularly true if you need to ride a bus or rely on any other mean of public transportation, so be sure to plan everything out to the tiniest detail. Renting a car is also a good idea,especially if you’re afraid that you’re going to be late, so go for an Avis Car Hire and you’ll undoubtedly make it on time. Just ensure not to arrive too early, as it’s likely to make other participants uncomfortable by cutting into their ability to prepare for the meeting. A few minutes before it is ideal, but you can always wash your hands, fix your hair, or drink some water if you arrive too early.

Try to make small talk before the meeting starts

Even though making small talk isn’t always desirable, the truth is that it’s more than welcome when it comes to giving a good impression at a first business meeting. It’s likely to put everyone at ease before the meeting starts, so do your best to relax a little bit and start by introducing yourself to the other participants. Besides that, you should also listen attentively to the conversation, without checking out your emails or scrolling down social media feed, which is quite rude in the business setting. Instead of that, just put away your phone and actually pay extra attention to the personal details that may seem irrelevant at that moment. In fact, these are quite meaningful if you think about it, as listening to other people and showing interest can help you make new friends and build a long-term relationship with other participants.

Do your research beforehand

Last but not least, doing your research beforehand is undoubtedly one of the most effective ways to give a great impression at a business meeting. First of all, you should review all business materials in advance, so that you can figure out the company’s initiatives, goals, key projects, and recent accomplishments. You can also browse through their website and get a bigger picture of their business techniques and policies, so that you can gain some insight into the history of that particular company. Besides that, you should also come up with a few key questions before the meeting, so that you can find out everything you need to know and cover the most important objectives of the meeting. If your potential business partners are from a foreign country, you should definitely get informed on how to interact with people from other cultures and backgrounds, which may contribute to a better final result everyone will be happy about.

As you can see, giving a great impression at a first business meeting doesn’t have to be as challenging as you probably thought. All you have to do is to stick to our tips and guidelines and you’ll successfully nail this task, without a shadow of a doubt!

Guest author, David Webb, is a Sydney-based business consultant,online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a regular author at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.

Top Careers to Pursue If You Want to Help People

Helping people is one of the noblest things in the world, and if you decide you want to pursue a career that focuses on offering people guidance, support or any kind of healing, you’ll be able to change people’s lives for the better. However, you need to have in mind the fact that you’ll need to be empathetic, considerate and most of all patient if you truly want to give your maximum to the people that need your help. If you’re ready for that kind of commitment, then browse through some of the following career options and you’ll certainly find your cup of tea.

Teaching and education

A career in teaching can be rewarding and exhausting at the same time, so before you decide you want to spend all of your working time around children or teenagers, think it through well. While this career allows you to help individuals very directly and see how they grow and progress before your very eyes, sometimes the kids will be so mischievous that you’ll have to put an extra effort into making them behave. Furthermore, schools for pupils with disabilities and special needs are also some of the places where you can pursue your career and help others.

Psychology

Psychology offers various types of careers you can pursue in this field of medicine, starting from health psychologists,to clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and to counselling psychologists. If you’d like to help people give up smoking, for example, or some other bad habit, you should consider health psychology. Mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety are the problems that fall under the specialty of clinical psychology and counselling,while neuropsychology deals with problems such as brain injuries. If you’d like to work with prisons to reduce re-offending then forensic psychology is your cup of tea.

Aged care

If you’ve always thought that helping the elderly is something you could be good at, then a career in aged care is something you should definitely consider. Working at a nursing home, or an aged care facility is a great way to take care of the seniors and make their golden years safe, fun and secure. Offering the elderly specialised aged care support will require you constantly being around them, helping them dress, walk, maybe even bathe if they’re facing disabilities. Just as children, older people can sometimes be a lot of work, because the fact that they can’t take care of themselves anymore isn’t always the fact that they accept lightly. 

Social work

When individuals and families need support, one of the options is to turn to social workers. They will do everything in their power to help adults with learning disabilities, mental or health issues,and elderly people live independently. Children in care or families in which there is a child protection concern of any kind are all taken care by a social worker. Fostered children or those that are going through an adoption process all spend a certain amount of time with social workers who manage all of those processes. 

Nursing

Should you choose a career in nursing, you’ll be able to work with different types of people. From assisting surgeons and visiting people in their own homes, to being a specialised children’s nurse, or a neonatal nurse working with newborn babies, there’s a myriad of possibilities to help people. 

Charity career

There are so many people in need nowadays ,so becoming involved with charity work can really be an amazing way to help the less fortunate. You might interact directly with people, if you start working for a charity, or you might have an office-based job. Your job can be related to anything from lobbying parliament, to campaigning, marketing and fundraising. So, you need to be prepared to speak your mind and raise awareness often, so you can help those in need the best way possible.

From education, through aged care,psychology, social work, and to charity, there’s a full spectrum of amazing careers that’ll allow you to help people. Therefore, think well before you opt for the one you’d like to pursue, and make your dream a reality.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business news and new social media trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Warehouse Stuck in the Neolithic Age? 4 Ways to Automate Your Facility

When it comes to the warehouse industry, the future is automation. This involves several components that all work together in order to get the task done. Here are some of the ways that you can automate your facility and bring it into the next century. 

Cartonization 

Through the use of technology, you can save some money on your shipping costs by employing cartonization methods. This is where the size and number of boxes are calculated in the most efficient manner possible to get the order out the door. Automation has made this task a little bit easier because your employees don’t have to spend time trying to get all of your customer orders packaged into boxes safely for shipment. 

Robotic Technology 

Another advantage when it comes to automation is through the use of robots.There are any number of robotic technologies that can used across a variety of different types of manufacturing fields. For example, robotic arms can be used to remove and stock whole pallets or individual items on a shelving system in your warehouse. This may eliminate some of the concerns that are more prevalent when it comes to workplace injuries that could occur. 

Automatic Pallet Wrapping 

It may take two employees for you to be able wrap up your pallets for shipping without the use of technology. Automatic pallet wrapping systems are available for you to purchase from companies like Fox Packaging Services. The point of many these machines is that your employees only need to position the pallet and then push a button in order to have it done in the most efficient manner possible. This will prevent the loss of products during the shipping process. 

Automated Labeling Systems 

Labeling all of your products can be a tedious process. It can also lead to mistakes if you have a person completing this task. Using an automated printing and label applying machine ensures that the label is done correctly and applied in the correct location all of the time. It allows your employees to focus on the more important tasks when it comes to running your warehouse. More quality control steps can be taken to ensure that your products are the best on the market. 

There are advantages when it comes to the use of technology in manufacturing and warehouses. More automation often leads to higher-skilled labor who can work to refine the process further. Consider these reasons when it comes to the benefits of upgrading your facility.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Packaging Considerations For All Businesses

Developing an effective and beneficial product is only part of the process. You then need to market it and sell it in the best possible way. This involves packaging the product in an attractive and informative manner. With that being said, continue reading to find out more about important packaging considerations for all businesses.

Practicality comes first -We often tend to get wrapped up in the process of looking for vibrant and striking designs. While it is important to create packaging that looks amazing,this should never come at a sacrifice of practicality. After all, at heart, the primary job of your packaging is to make sure the product is protected physically. It can also act as a security aid, protecting against theft,depending on the nature of the product. You should never lose sight of this. Don’t ditch resealable plastic bags for bags without a seal simply because they look better.

Find a way to add some pizzazz – Once you have dealt with the practicalities, you need to make sure that your bag has the wow factor. After all, packaging needs to stand out from all of the other packages used. So, you need to choose something that makes your product seem better. Not only this, but the packaging you select can have a massive impact on the perceived retail value. This is something you shouldn’t overlook. You could easily add a dollar or two to the price with good packaging. All businesses need to consider the value when it comes to the packaging they select.

Make sure your packaging is informative – Aside from the points that have already been mentioned, you need to remember that your packaging is essentially an information-delivery system. It needs to tell the prospective buyer exactly what the product does and what it is for. While you need to keep things concise and ensure you don’t write anything unnecessary, living out imperative details is even more criminal. Moreover, think about where the eyes divert to first.

Telling a story– Last but not least, the final consideration you have when it comes to packaging is the story it tells. We don’t merely value products. We value the stories that go with them. This is something you really need to keep in mind when you are assessing different packaging options for your products. This is something that Apple do really well with their items, so it’s worth looking at their efforts for some inspiration.

As you can see, there are a number of different considerations when it comes to product packaging for your business. If you contemplate all of the pointers that have been discussed above, you should be able to come up with something that is right for your brand and your products.

Workplace Safety: Online and Physical

Managing safety in the workplace — both in the office as well as online — is becoming a more complicated task by the day. Whether the concern is about hackers coming for your intellectual property, or process ownership during building maintenance, the security of your people is nothing to take for granted. Here are five things any company leader can do to make a greater effort in the name of safety.

Make Sure Everybody Understands What’Be Prepared’ Means

The impression that the world is unsafe and violent has only been amplified by popular media. We have, regrettably, let ourselves fall victim to a false narrative where our collective security is concerned. Nevertheless: it’s clear that when unfortunate events do occur in the world, they can happen just about anyplace.

What does “being prepared” look like for your workplace?If you ask different employees, will they tell you different things? Does everybody have a planned way out of the building or off your campus? It might sound too theoretical to justify spending time on it, but your company should have detailed contingency plans already drawn up for a variety of possible events — be it natural, as in extreme weather events, or something regrettably more man-made.

Perform Intermittent Online Security Audits

Since we’re talking about online and offline security, let’s talk about how business leaders can know, one way or another, whether their employees are practicing good security “hygiene” at work. There are two things you should be doing:

  1. Consider having an outside security company perform penetration testing for your company’s networks. They should be able to help you find any weak points that would-be criminals could exploit purposefully, or undisciplined employees could trigger accidentally.
  2. And when it comes to employees, have your IT team or that same third-party consultant perform or schedule fake phishing attempts for all of your company email addresses. Done correctly, the email will look like a plea for personal information, a reply, or for the user to click a link. Knowing how, and whether, your employees are interacting with emails like these, even fake ones,will tell you something about how at-risk your organization is.

Take Another Look at Your Building and the State of Its Maintenance

With the exception of companies that get started in attics,basements, and garages, most business visionaries take great pride in their immediate surroundings, including their business locations, their employees’accommodations and any environment in which a customer or client might find themselves.

We’re talking about two different things here. The first is curb appeal and “atmosphere.” Your workplace should present itself as a harmonious, well-considered space with tasteful and comfortable furnishings.Someplace employees can feel at home, in other words — since we know (workplaces with objectively pleasing aesthetics) tend to encourage creative free-thought,lower levels of aggression and heightened productivity overall.

But the second part of taking stock of your location and its amenities is a little more serious. It concerns the environment within your building, including its temperature during highs and lows and the quality of air your people are breathing all day. The phrase might sound alarmist, but”Sick Building Syndrome” is very real — and it generally results from poor air circulation in an environment already compromised by end-of-life HVAC systems, dirty duct work and noxious chemicals in furniture and building materials.

Implement BYOD Policies Responsibly

In another return to online safety, so-called “BYOD culture” is worth a look at as another potential threat vector in the well-being of your company and its employees. If the work you perform is conducive to it, you’ve likely already implemented, or plan to explore, BYOD policies. The benefits to company morale and productivity can be significant.When employees can do their work on familiar platforms and using hardware they’re comfortable with, it makes sense that they’d get more done.

The thing is, even if your workflows aren’t necessarily conducive to BYOD culture, your employees and guests might be bringing in smartwatches and other devices that aren’t as obvious. You might even have deployed these and other IoT devices yourself, as part of an internal wellness program. This itself can be a great influence on your organization’s collective health, and consequently your safety and productivity.

You’ve likely heard something about the several recent high-profile data breaches, including several, like Wanna Cry and Petya, which preyed specifically on unsecured and unsiloed IoT devices. Objects like these can be a boon in the workplace for many reasons, but the least you can do,safety-wise, is create a separate internal network for any connected devices you can’t vouch for 100 percent, including for employee BYOD programs as well as guests to your campus who might just want to use some free Wi-Fi.

Know Who’s Accountable and Have a Reporting Process in Place

This final point is a reminder about accountability in the workplace. We’re not talking about pointing fingers — we’re talking about”process ownership” and the idea that anything significant that requires doing deserves a specific appointed person to oversee it. If you do business in a climate where employee or customer safety depends on contacting snow removal companies quickly, you need a chain of command to get this and any other mission-critical safety or productivity concerns taken care of.

And that’s not all, either. When something unexpected happens, whether it’s an accident, damage to company property or infrastructure, bad-faith bookkeeping, or workplace harassment of some kind, your employees deserve some kind of accommodating, anonymizing reporting process for elevating their concerns to their managers or impartial third parties. They shouldn’t be left guessing who to talk to, or what to do if they’ve just been through something upsetting.

You’re going to find that your employees are only too happy to help you keep your company and its work areas safe and sound. But they need to know what’s expected of them and they need to know they have your ear when they have concerns of their own. As usual, it’s about communication.

Bio: Nathan Sykes is the editor of Finding an Outlet, a source for the latest in IT and business news and trends.

How to Deduct the Business-Use of Your Car this Year

Many business owners and employees have to use a personal car for business purposes, and luckily it’s quite simple to claim these as business expenses following IRS regulations. In order to do so, it’s paramount that you keep accurate mileage and depreciation records. If you’rereading this thinking, “Oh no, I haven’t kept track of any of that this year.”You may have to wait until next year, but you have the ability to begin your record keeping soon, on January 1.

If you use your car for only business purposes, you can deduct its entire cost of operation, with some limitations discussed below. If you use your car for both business and personal purposes, you may only deduct the costs from business use.

In both cases, everything must be documented and strictly business-related. Keep reading for more on this to get started and be sure to consult with a tax advisor. Each individual business situation is unique and can be very complex, so expert advice will definitely help ensure you are following all the rules correctly.

Keep Detailed Records

The IRS is very detail-oriented, and they expect you to be the same. Keep a record of all your expenses and business miles that you want to write off with a vehicle expense log. You can pick one of these up at most office supply or stationery stores. There are also a number of apps available for mileage tracking that will do it for you.

Items to support the deductions you claim include receipts, canceled checks, and bills. For each business trip in the car,be sure to log the date, miles traveled, destination, and the purpose, such as whether it is for business, personal use, or your commute. It’s best to have a car with great MPG,because there is a standard deduction per mile. For more information on record keeping, you can check out Topic No. 305 from the IRS.

Standard Mileage Rate

The IRS allows self-employed individuals and employees to use a standard mileage rate when submitting business claims.To use the standard mileage rate for a car, you must own or lease the car and use it in within the first year of your business. It’s fairly simple to track your total mileage for the year–write down the odometer reading of the first day you start using the car for business purposes and on the day the year ends.

Business miles include anything actually driven for business, such as visiting a client, going to the bank, or meeting with an accountant or lawyer. All of this counts towards your deduction, as well as the cost of parking fees and tolls you pay for the business.

If you’re self-employed, you can deduct your car loan interest that’s related to the business use of the car. Commuting time and running personal errands is travel that is not considered business related. For the most up-to-date standard mileage rate, check out Publication 463 from the IRS.

Actual Vehicle Expenses

The other method for claiming your personal car for business use is called the actual expense method. To utilize this, you must determine the actual cost to own and operate the car for business purposes. This includes gas, oil, repairs, insurance, licenses, tires,registration fees, and lease payments from the total business miles driven.

Depreciation

Depreciation is the amount you can deduct overtime for standard wear and tear the vehicle obtains over time. If you use the standard mileage rate, you cannot deduct depreciation on the vehicle,unless you use your car for 50% or less for business reasons.

Typically, the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System is the only method that can be used if your car was placed in service after 1986, but be sure to check with a tax advisor. Depreciation can be a very complicated subject and you want to make sure you are doing it right for your business. For more information, refer to TopicNo. 704 from the IRS.

Ownership

Knowing the different types of car ownership will help you determine how to claim your car for business use the correct way. A sole proprietor or self-employed owner is one that is a single-member LLC and files a Schedule C their personal tax return. Like this,you can choose to use either the standard mileage rate or actual expense method.

An S Corporation/C Corporation requires a vehicle used for business to be owned by the corporation or by an employee. The method of claiming the deduction will depend on this ownership. If the vehicle is owned by an employee or a shareholder-employee, they can submit a request for reimbursement to their employer based on their documented business miles.

Typically, the corporation or business can then reimburse the employee based on the standard rate. It’s also generally easier for a business to allow an employee to use their own personal vehicle for work and submit an expense reimbursement request. This puts the responsibility of record-keeping on the employee, which saves time and money for the employer.

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.