Maintaining an Office Building? 4 Ways to Keep it Updated

Office buildings remain stuck in the day and age in which they were built. As companies grow, diversify and develop, the building stays the same. Many businesses will simply move their operations instead of investing more money in their building. However, some owners are stuck with their current building despite having a growing business. Here are four ways to keep an office building updated.

Hire a Professional Remodeler or Interior Designer

Many office buildings suffer from a lack of intentional design. Gray, tan, white, black and other boring colors typically dominate outdated office spaces. These colors have been shown to create a depressed atmosphere in the workplace. Hiring an interior designer is a great way to improve the aesthetics of the office space.

Increase the Amount of Light

Office buildings used to be built a lot like prisons. The construction was only designed to be efficient and productive. Not much thought was given to the effect that the building’s design would have on the workers inside. This carelessness left many office buildings today without ample lighting. Adding some extra sources of light can help boost morale and put employees in a better mood. There are special fluorescent bulbs that help to mimic light from the sun.

Have an Inspector Check for Structural Issues

Older office buildings aren’t only lacking in aesthetic and design features. There are certain structural improvements that should be updated as well. Business managers or property owners should hire a professional to inspect the inside of their office building. Inspectors can offer a thorough rundown of changes that should be made to keep a building updated. Whether installing waterproof lay-in ceiling tile or reinforcing some structural components, these changes can help make update the safety of the office building

Ask the Staff for Suggestions

Employees are the ones who have to enter the office building every day and work for hours. While there are some obvious components that need updating, other factors may be more subtle and subjective. It is helpful to ask staff members about their opinions regarding changes and updates in the workplace. After all, happier staff will lead to more productivity and profits for the company overall. Furthermore, no group of people will be able to deliver the same level of insight and expertise as the staff that works in the office each day.

Many businesses are suffering from outdated office buildings. Productivity, employee satisfaction and overall efficiency can suffer under these conditions. These four tips can help business owners update their buildings in an effective manner.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

Check your attic: these old items could be worth some money

Old, vintage stuff has always been in. Some people like them because of their unique and antique look while others appreciate them as valuable collectibles. Either way, if you checked your attic or basement, there is a vast chance you would find something from the old days that has some value on it. So, grab your flashlight and start your adventure through time! You might make someone’s day by providing an opportunity to gain something they have been looking for their entire lives and you didn’t even know you had it. The plus side for you is that you could earn some real money.

1.  Vintage spare time mementos

If you decide to embark on the mission of digging through your old things, be sure to check whether you have some of the early editions of comics. You can get big bucks for them if they are in mint condition, but also if they have been taken out of their original box. Another example of possible hidden treasures are figures, especially Star Wars figures from the ‘70s and ‘80s. Nevertheless, if you or your predecessors were into music – you can make a profit out of it, too. Namely, vinyl records have made a major comeback and a large number of collectors seek out for these. So, make sure to check your collection because some of the records may be worth serious money. Among the things people are ready to pay a lot of money, particularly if they are in good condition, are vintage record players.

2.  Toys from the olden days

Dive into the toy chest from your childhood and check whether you have some valuables there as well. Remember those Polly Pocket toys and sets from the ‘90s? Well, if you still have some of those, you have the opportunity to exchange them for cash. Even bigger fortune lies in American Girls dolls with their clothes and accessories, an example being Samantha, which sold for an amazing sum of $4,200 on e-Bay! Boys’ toys aren’t to be overlooked either. Vintage He-Man, Transformer and G.I. Joe toys in the original box and even out of the box can earn some real money. Collectible Pokémon cards and many other regular toys from the 1950s onward can bring you a few bucks.

3.  Antique currencies, coins and banknotes

If you bump into an old coin bank (which can also be worth some money, by the way), check thoroughly what is hidden and probably forgotten inside. You don’t even know it, but you can be lucky enough to be the owner of some rare, old coins which can bring you a fortune with a proper old coins valuation. These include some coins with errors, which were retracted immediately after being put into circulation but they can still serve as a valuable printing error to you. Yet another type is extremely rare coins such as 1943 Lincoln Head copper penny which you can sell for an astonishing $10,000 or even more! Moreover, if you possess some of the paper money from the previous decades, be ready to appraise them and to be amazed!

4.  Fine dining

Everybody has that one cabinet where their grandmothers or even great-grandmothers keep a fancy china set that you never get to use, but is saved for some important guests, right? Well, if you are one of these people and want to offload some of these things, do your research because some of these sets can you bring you money. People also go crazy for the vintage Pyrex dishes! Another valuable thing: sterling silverware. Full sets of sterling silverware sell for hundreds and even thousands of dollars. Watch out for those dusty, old lunchboxes. Wipe off the dust and check if you have a lunchbox featuring cartoon characters, rock groups, superheroes or movie stars – and if you do, then you’re in for a real ’green’ treat. You could be in for a real payday if you possess any antique kitchen utensils such as upside-down ball mason jars, milk glass banana stands, ball jugs and many others.

5.  Valuable literature

You may have some cash sitting in your old, covered-in-dust bookshelf. Classic books and first edition books go for a high price online. Related to the topic of literature, the machine used for writing them can also be sold for much money. Typewriters that are both functional and fashionable can hold real value. The value goes even higher if you are an owner of a bubblegum pink color typewriter since these models are very rare.

As you can see, vintage things from every aspect of our lives can be worth some money. I don’t know what exactly is it about them that makes them so special, is it the mystery of past lives they were part of? Is it a prestige stemming from being a proud owner of something that not many people in the world possess or yet the idea that every patina or chipping that is a part of them acts as a unique color or shape? No matter the reason, it seems that vintage never goes out of style.

Lucas is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking and traveling.

Kitting Out Your First Brick-and-Mortar Store

Making the move into a brick-and-mortar store is a fantastic achievement but it requires a lot of thought. You can’t just move into a space, put your name on the door and hope that’s enough to tempt people in. You need to think about how your brand can come across in a physical location.

Just as you should take care to organize and brand your website to suit your customers, you must do the same with your bricks-and-mortar store. The experience of shopping online and in store should mesh together neatly so that customers take as much joy from coming to visit you in-store as they would shopping from their sofa.

Floors and Walls

Though floors and walls might not seem like the most important part of your store, they form a critical foundation to build from. Once you have put up your shelves and filled up with your wares, you aren’t going to get another chance at doing these areas so you must do them first.

Think about all the shops you have been in recently and what the floor was like. Perhaps it was a simple vinyl or maybe varnished wooden boards. Epoxy floor coatings are a popular choice as they are easy to maintain and can be finished nicely. As you imagine the floors you have seen, which ones stand out and attach themselves to the brand? Was the floor a distraction or did it blend in with the rest of the interior design?

Your walls should be approached in a similar way. Bare bricks are having a moment right now but there is nothing wrong with painted plasterboard if you want a cleaner look. Consider adding your brand colors to feature walls and areas you want to highlight so your customers know immediately where they are.

Shelves and Displays

How you display your wares is a crucial factor in ensuring that your customers get the right impression of your store. Though gondola shelving is a really popular method in supermarkets, if you are feeling more creative and your shop is a little more niche, you must think outside the box.

Any business can learn a lot from the styling techniques used in boutique clothes shops. These shops are reliant on their customers picking things up, feeling the materials and immediately spotting a complimentary item nearby. Whether you are selling soaps or books, or comic book paraphernalia, this sense of flow is vital to keep people moving around your shop and exploring every nook.

Whether you are kitting out your home or your store, the lighting you use has a massive impact on the rest of your design. While you must ensure that your customers can see what they are doing and the products around them, you can make use of light and shade to draw their attention to different things. Be smart with your lighting and you will see better results.

Kitting out your first shop is about recognizing the ways that your online experience can translate into the real world. Giving your customers a seamless way to transition between shopping modes is a great way to draw them in and persuade them to come back again and again.

Feeling Burnt out on Business? Spark Creativity with These Ideas

It’s not just artists who need to be creative in their work. When you’re a business owner or an entrepreneur, your bread and butter is likely to be your ideas, whether your next big thing is a new project, product, or branding strategy.

But if you’ve been doing the same thing day in and day-out, you might find your usual creative spark fading. Don’t bang your head against the wall (or the desk—or the conference table) trying to come up with a brilliant new idea for your business. Push through your creative block with a few of these tips, and you might just find yourself overflowing with creative energy:

1. Build a New Morning Routine

You might not be a morning person, but you likely have a regular morning routine, especially if you happen to be an entrepreneur who works from home or has a long commute. While most rely on their morning ritual to fully wake up, sometimes that creativity comes to the less-awoken (or, at least, the more unkempt). Instead of going through the motions—showering, brushing teeth, the usual—try going straight to your desk or dining room table, cracking open your laptop or notebook, and jotting down a few ideas. Even if you’re wedded to your six-step skin care ritual, you might find a little jolt from shaking up your routine at the office with small changes, such as switching up your usual coffee run or taking a different route to work.

2. Catch Some Zzz’s

In this case, snoozing definitely doesn’t mean losing. If you’ve been pouring over a problem for the past several weeks, you and your team are probably suffering from lack of sleep. Research indicates that sleeping on some of your best ideas can help more to come, not to mention it can help you retain facts and memories. Don’t stay up past bedtime waiting for inspiration. Turn in early as many nights as you can. And when you do hit the hay, try to shut off screens—you can improve your quality of sleep by maintaining good sleep hygiene, and that includes cutting out the time spent scrolling on your phone before bed. A good way to monitor your screen time is to use a screen time tracker app like Moment.

3. Practice, Practice, Practice (and Then Practice Some More)

Practice makes perfect, so they say—and they’re right. Sometimes the absolute best thing you can do to get unstuck from a major creative block is to make a practice of your work. Take time each day to write down a new idea or ask your team to brainstorm one new strategy a day. Even if you’re not feeling the spark of inspiration, it helps to schedule time every day to come up with new ideas, rather than waiting for a thunderbolt of new creative energy. Bonus, too—practicing creative thought every day will help you even in your off hours.

4. Keep an Idea Notebook

Sometimes you’ll be shopping at grocery store, other times you’ll be putting gas in your car for your commute or you’ll be out on the town with friends. A genius idea can hit any time, especially if you’re working in time for creative thought every day. Carry a pocket notebook with you to jot down your big ideas on the go, from brunch to business meeting.

5. Think Outside the Box—But Get in the Box, First

You’ve probably heard of thinking outside the box, and if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you’ve likely done plenty of your best thinking outside of the box. But you can’t always reinvent the wheel—sometimes you’ll find the best idea is something solidly within the box, a solution that easily solves consumers’ day-to-day problems. Build on useful ideas you know work, and go from there.

6. Try New Things

Another way to come up with new, fresh ideas? Trying new things yourself! Stretch yourself and take a class in something you’ve always wanted to try. Take some gal pals out on an adventure, or try a wine and painting night at a local studio. Go sky diving, learn a new skill, or just try a new bar or a restaurant that you’ve been eyeing. Where you can try many things for half the cost to bolster your creative thoughts. You’ll find the more you push yourself, the more new ideas you’ll have.

7. Try Mind Mapping

Having you and your team’s ideas organized visually can help you come up with new solutions and new concepts for your business. Maybe this year is the year you purchase a drop-shipping fleet or decide to host online seminars. Using mind maps, word association, post-it boards, and even online tools can help you fill in the cracks in your knowledge, and help you think of new approaches to your business model.

8. Exercise

When all else fails, strap on your sneakers and hit the pavement. Exercise helps the brain and the body, improving cognition and focus. So it should be no surprise that a short run, weight training, or really any kind of sustained exercise can help you shake out some of the cobwebs.

9. Bounce Ideas Off of Friends and Mentors

It never hurts to ask for a little help. If you’re having trouble connecting point A to C, then you might find it useful to bounce some of your preliminary ideas off of colleagues, friends, and mentors. Ask those in your field if they wouldn’t mind grabbing a cup of coffee, or ask a girlfriend to grab a quick cocktail. Brainstorm ideas with them, or map out some of the ideas and logistics around your current projects. Even a friend with a completely unrelated business might have some useful advice for you as you’re starting to generate ideas for your business or for your products (and hopefully, they’ll help you with generating a little revenue).

10. Don’t Force It

At the end of the day, make sure you’re looking out for number one—you and your business! Having a regular creative practice can help you and your business thrive, but you’ll always want to make sure you’re not only taking breaks, and taking time out of the day to treat yourself.

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

Food Product Ready for the Shelf? 4 Packaging-Design Strategies

Only sell food products that are ready for the shelf. It takes some marketing skills to know what sells and good strategic skills to find out how to improve sales. Review 4 different ways to create effective packaging designs. 

Clear Design 

Your package design should clearly identify what type of product it contains, leaving no ambiguity. Also, create packaging with large fonts and images that can be seen by visually impaired people. There are millions of people who cannot see correctly either up close or far away. They are more likely to put the product back if they cannot read the labels. Also, larger images are seen as more visually appealing by shoppers. 

Bold Colors 

Some advertisers place human faces on their packages to appeal to different demographics of people. They want to appeal to people’s emotions by showing sad or happy faces. Those techniques work, but the most effective one of them all is the use of colors. Everyone enjoys looking at colors, and shoppers love buying colorful items. Use a variety of colors to represent an entire line of products. Some companies stick to one or two colors like black or gold to appeal to the visual senses. 

Eye-Catching Messages 

The best advertising is bold and catches the attention of viewers in a unique way. It’s the most effective because it gets the most amount of attention, whether it’s good or bad. Some companies and organizations are known to make their ads controversial to attract attention to certain social problems. The same idea of using specific words or images to attract people can be applied to designs for food packaging. You may also consider including messages that highlight consumer preferences. Whether your product is gluten-free or dairy-free, be sure your product undergoes nutritional profiling so you can back up these statements on the packaging.

Ease of Use 

Consumers always avoid products that are difficult to use. These include wine bottles that cannot be opened or closed easily, glass bottles that slip out of the hand too easily, and pump bottles that eject too easily. The problems may seem trivial, but companies can lose countless customers by not fixing problems with ease of use. No one wants to struggle with a complicated item when an easier, and cheaper, one is ready for purchase. 

Every product seller in every industry has many competitors to deal with. The growth of online businesses has made it harder to compete and win. Making bold packaging designs for your products is one way to grab the most attention from consumers. Make it a top priority to promote good advertising through packaging.

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

4 Things That Change When Your House Becomes Your Workplace

With 70% of people working remotely at least once a week, the odds are high that you won’t be stuck in the office. And, since the internet has made launching a startup a piece of cake, you might find your new office is your home.

Aside from a welcome mat at the door and inspirational quotes on the walls, your workplace might look similar to before. Usually, this isn’t helpful because it encourages freelancers to slip into bad habits, they kind they would never do in a traditional office.

With that in mind, there are some things you should change and you can find them underneath.

The Lighting

It’s the back end of autumn and winter is almost here, so your home will reflect that fact. Lots of homeowners take lighting seriously because they want to create a dark, cozy mood to go with the new season. With lots of lamps and lanterns around the living room, you’ve pulled it off to a T. Sadly, they need to go as it isn’t a productive atmosphere. Natural and artificial lights boost serotonin levels as well as a person’s mood, making them happy and more likely to be productive. Therefore, the curtains and table lamps are out and the blinds and focal light fixture are in.

The Mess

There is never enough time to clean up, plus you spend most of the day out of the house. It makes sense to leave it until you come home to tidy up. Now that you’re in the house from morning until the evening, this is an unproductive routine. The brain sees clutter and takes it on board, causing the mind to feel littered and unorganized too. From a work standpoint, this isn’t healthy for productivity. A commercial cleaning service will sanitize the area and make it simpler to perform basic tasks. Stop calling it “organized chaos” because it’s a cop out!

The Main Room

Typically, people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen or living room as they have focal points. Plus, it’s practical to watch TV where there is a set and to cook where there are utensils. For work purposes, it’s better to switch up which room you spend your days in. Otherwise, you’ll get easily distracted and do nothing. The obvious example is sitting watching television rather than sending emails or writing content. A bedroom, especially a spare room, should become your office as it has zero diversions. After a while, you’ll get into a healthy work routine.

The Name

Correspondence to and from a residential address is a sign you’re not a big fish. As soon as clients and customers recognize this, they might bounce due to a lack of trust. All it takes to change this is to come up with a new name for your home, something corporate-like. As long as the zip code is the same, all of your mail should forward to the same address.

Another option is to hire a P.O Box and use their location for customer and client services.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation

How do you current and potential customers find you? That is the conundrum for every company in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to have a location, or to have a location that’s close to others who might add synergy to your business’s stability.

And while technology might seem like it would be an easy way to garner a wider, more solid core of customers, in fact websites and email aren’t enough either. Add to the mix social media (and the realization that one site isn’t enough either) and you’ve got a very confusing mix of how to reach people.

 But luckily, data has given us some insights into what we do need to know about our customers—not just where they live but what their lives look like and how their internal lives work, too. So how do you segment what you know and what you need to know? This graphic explains it.

Why You Need to Use Behavioral Segmentation