Is Your Business Friendly Towards the Environment?

Whether in business for many years or starting one, how friendly are you with the environment?

In a day and age when there is more focus on how man impacts the environment, it is to your benefit to protect it.

That said your business can take a positive role in this effort each day.

So, is your business friendly towards the environment?

Ways You Can Contribute to a Healthier Environment

In looking to be a responsible business, here are ways you can help contribute to the environment:

  1. Recycling – Does your company recycle all kinds of different products? If you answered no, how about changing this moving forward? Recycling is a great means to help keep the environment cleaner. For example, you should have a place in your office where employees can recycle things. These would include papers, bottles and cans. It is quite easy to put some bins throughout the office for such matters. You might even have a contest each month to see which employee can come up with the most recycling. In doing this, you encourage your team to do their part for a better environment.
  2. Solar energy – What is your office building made of? If you had the chance to, were solar panels installed at the time of its construction? In the event you are building a new office complex, would you go solar if you have the option to? By using the energy from the sun, you can power your complex and save money on utilities in the process. As a business owner, saving money wherever you can should always be on your mind. You can also do your part to better keep the environment clean. If learning about solar and where and how to build an office, reach out to companies like Precision XYZ. Such brands can educate you on how best to make for a safe and money-saving office site.
  3. Education – While you never force workers into anything, do all you can to encourage them. As an example, provide them with reading materials and even a video or two to show during a company meeting. It may be a case where some employees want to do their part, yet they do not quite know how to go about it.

When you decided to go into business years ago or recently, you may not have had the environment on your mind in thinking where your next office will be built.

That said more business owners are stepping up to the plate in this all-important cause. As a result, it is opening more minds up on how they can do their part.

Take time to go online and see how your business could contribute to a better environment.

Not only will you and your employees be the beneficiaries of this, but others will too.

So, think about your role, the role of your employees, and then get to planning how you will all make a difference.

In the end, you might be quite pleased with what you come up with.

And you know the environment will be too.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes about business topics on the web.

 

 

Creating a Client-Worthy Home Office

With the number of home offices rising year after year, the design of these spaces is constantly getting improved and upgraded. The point of such an office is to give you a productive place to work, but also make an area for meeting the clients as well. An office will reflect your work habits and clients will pay attention to every detail in order to get a picture of your professional skills. The true challenge lies in dealing with shared space and being productive, and these are the things a good office can help you with. Achieving all of that in a place where you also live can be quite tricky, but there are a few simple rules you need to follow in order to make everything work.

Choose just one area

When welcoming clients into your office, it’s important to be able to separate everything else going on in the rest of your home. Firstly, choose a space that’s far away from the living room, because that’s usually the loudest room in the house. Apart from that, talk to your family or roommates, explain your delicate situation to them, and ask them to be quiet when you’re having meetings.

This space should be dedicated to your work only, and you should keep all the distractions outside. If you don’t have a spare room in your home, choose a quiet area and set your office there. Just make sure you have privacy, especially if you’re stuck with an open space.

Be professional straight away

Your front porch and the hallway will be the first things your clients are going to see, so try to make these clean and simple. When it comes to the outdoor area, always keep your porch clutter-free and add some plants to bring in a dose of nature into the picture. Be sure to have secure and sturdy entrance doors because that will show everyone your style and personality in a matter of minutes.

Keep the space from the entrance to your office clean and stylish, because you’ll have to walk with your clients through the house. Don’t put away your personal belongings because your clients will appreciate you more if you have pictures, travel memorabilia and personal items displayed in the hallway.

Provide comfortable seating

The seating area for your clients should be divided into two parts to make it work for different types of meetings. One should be right next to your desk and you can choose between comfortable and ergonomic chairs. That way, you’ll be able to work over some strategies on your laptop and deal with the paperwork. In addition to that, you can add a cozy sofa which will be great for brainstorming and going through different ideas.

By breaking the seating area into two sections, you’ll be able to meet everyone’s wishes and provide them with enough comfort, and your clients will cherish how you’ve thought of everything. Your desk and chair should be comfortable and positioned in the center of the office because you need to be able to work and function throughout the room when you have meetings.

The space should reflect the business

An organized space is one thing, but you’ll take everything to a whole new level if you opt for styling your office in accordance with the type of your business. For example, if you’re in the real estate business, you could hang pictures of modern houses and apartments, or showcase successful sales you’re proud of.

On the other hand, if you are a marketing guru, you can add a whiteboard to be able to show your clients some of the ideas you have for them. It’s important to connect the style of your home to your business, because that will show your professional side as well as your wish to always be productive.

Add some color

You should definitely forget the “office beige” and focus more on finding some color combinations that will help your productivity. One option is to use vibrant colors to boost the productivity level and combine this with some subtle décor.

On the other hand, many people like to use soft hues such as orange, green and blue, because these are both professional and playful, and can be combined with different types of furniture. However, if you want more style, you can use wallpapers and choose different types of patterns and prints.

When designing your own home office, make it inviting and professional, and create a balance you and your clients will love. They need to feel comfortable, but also know that you’ll do a good job and make your collaboration successful. Although it may seem like a lot of work for a home office, this is also a working area, and it should reflect all the abilities of your business. In the end, make sure you’re inspired because working from home has its advantages, but you’ll always struggle with trying to be productive.

Emma B. Joyce is a blogger based in Australia. She is a true home decor and DIY fanatic. Emma is interested in music and also is a big reading enthusiast. Finding new designs and patterns is her daily task. She is a regular contributor on https://smoothdecorator.com.

The Reality of Hiring a Consultant for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, you probably like to be involved with every aspect of your business, from the mundane to the most critical tasks. Hiring employees is one step to getting help for your business, but there may be some problems outside your and your employees’ knowledgeable scope.

Perhaps you need the help of more specific professionals — which is the void a consultant can handily fill. Still, you find yourself wondering if you really need a consultant, and if paying them would be worth the knowledge and skills they bring to the table. As a small business owner, you have to learn when to ask for — and find — cost-effective help.

Do You Really Need a Consultant?

Consultants come in a variety of flavors with different niche skill sets to potentially suit your needs. Trying to figure out if you need someone’s specific experience to help your business might be as easy as asking yourself a few questions.

First, make sure you’ve done all the research on the subject you could. If information was beyond your grasp or unavailable, reaching out for paid help might be the way to go. Second, focus on the job you want them to bring to your business. Is this skill something you or an employee can learn in a few days or weeks, or is this an area that takes years to master? If the funds are available, but the skill set isn’t, a consultant may be exactly what you need.

What Does a Consultant Do?

A consultant is an outside expert you hire through an agreed-upon contract to help your business. The consultant is independent of your company, so they keep to their own schedule and may have more clients than just you at one time. You might even hire a consulting team, rather than one person.

There are many different types of consultants for different jobs. Some of the most commonly used consultants work in accounting, IT, human resources and legal services, each able to bring a new and better direction for your business.

There is a general process for every consulting project. The pre-consulting phase is before the work starts, where you and the expert discuss terms and come to an agreement. The consulting period consists of discovery, research and the final presentation for your business. Lastly, the post-consulting phase is where you may choose to extend the agreement or implement your own.

Find a Consultant

Finding a consultant for your specific needs may be easier than you think. You have to know what you need from the hired expert. Searching through friends, business partners and online are sure ways to find the person you need. However, you need to make sure they fit the role. They should be fluent in data modeling, in addition to an ability to connect information from seemingly random sources, also known as dot-to-dot literacy.

An ideal consultant is someone who has experience as a coach and a fellow small business owner to relate to the process. Coaching skills are important so they can take action and get involved with your employees. You can also check their LinkedIn profile for testimonials and recommendations if you’re still in any doubt.

While looking around for a consultant, you may run into a lot of contractors and need to know the difference between the two. Both are temporary experts hired via a contract, but a consultant works outside the business, while a contractor is an internal component. Knowing the difference can keep you from hiring the wrong job title, especially if you’re in the market for a contractor instead.

Payment and Budget

Typically, your consultant is going to work with you for about three to six months, with the open option to renew the contract. The pre-consulting phase is the time where you talk to the expert you’re wanting to hire to hash out pay, time and your budget. An important bit of advice is to remember value determines price, not any pre-set rules.

However, on average, expect the price to be anywhere from $150 to $10,000 an hour, with projects ranging from $1,000 to $250,000. Here is where you have to find your budget. Once you discover how much the expert help is worth to you and how much you can afford, the rest should be easier. Figure out your sales percentages and where you need them to be, versus what you’re willing to pay the expert, and discuss your options with them personally.

What’s Best for Your Business

A consultant will be an expensive add-on to your business either way if you discover you need the help. However, the reward can easily outweigh the cost. Decide what you want the future of your business to look like, and explore all the avenues to get you there. A consultant may be expensive, and hiring one could be a process, but they could bring your business to new heights you likely hadn’t imagined before.

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

 

Staying Fit And Productive When You Work From Home

Working from home has an astonishing potential for increasing productivity, with telecommuters more likely to go above and beyond expectations, while taking shorter breaks and fewer sick days. Those who work from home claim that they find it easier to concentrate and have more energy throughout the workday. However, getting the most out of your time requires you to come up with a schedule and set of practices that allow for the greatest output. Staying fit and healthy ensure that you retain the mental energy required to excel, whether as an employee or when running your own business.

When and how to take breaks

At a traditional office job, you may be assigned a set time to take a break. This could be a legal requirement or an attempt by your boss to boost productivity. At home, it can be tempting to skip breaks and get through everything as quickly as possible. However, this will ultimately lead to you working more slowly.

Regular breaks help the brain to focus when in work mode. You should ideally take a 5-10 minute break each hour. During this time, give your eyes a rest by looking at something in the distance and get your blood flowing with some moderate exercise. You’ll return to work refreshed and energized.

Maintaining energy levels

Staying healthy, while a good aim in itself, is essential for productivity. Start the day right with a healthy breakfast. Oats, fruit and low-fat proteins like eggs or yogurts offer slow release energy, which will keep you feeling full throughout the day so that you can spend less time eating and more time focusing on business. Tiredness slows down your reaction speed and ability to concentrate on and complete tasks, so a trip to the coffee machine for a cup of joe before you sit down to work is recommended.

Throughout the workday, choose healthy snacks such as seeds, nuts, protein bars, and fruit. This will leave you feeling full and won’t lead to a crash in energy levels later on in the way that sugary snacks do. Also be sure to keep a bottle of water on your desk, as hydration aids concentration and reduces fatigue.

Protecting your posture

Sitting for hours at a time isn’t good for your health and certainly isn’t what humans evolved for. Invest in an ergonomic chair and desk so that you aren’t putting any strain on your body as you work. You should consider working while standing up if you feel that you are sitting for too long at a time. When you are in brainstorming mode, walk around your house to keep muscles moving and blood flowing. This will stimulate your creative juices and prevent the onset of bodily aches and pains.

Working from home is the best thing you can do for productivity, but it requires some thought and discipline. Start the day right with a morning routine that involves a healthy breakfast, then take regular breaks throughout the day. Moderate exercise keeps energy levels high and prevents muscular pain which can harm productivity. Follow these tips to reach your potential each and every day.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Why Your Small Business Needs a Lawyer

When you start a business, hiring a lawyer probably isn’t the first thing on your mind. You might think that you can handle everything yourself, and there won’t be a need to get a lawyer involved in anything until your business has reached a certain size. But there’s no business too small for hiring a lawyer. You don’t necessarily need one on your staff, but it can be useful to have someone in your contacts or even pay a retainer to someone you might need regularly. Before you dismiss the idea completely, consider these key reasons for having an attorney on your side.

Protect Your Business

You might not like the sound of it, but your business could be sued at any time and for any reason. If you do get sued, you can, of course, begin the search for an attorney. But by then, the damage could already be done. It could affect your reputation and your finances. While you can’t completely prevent people suing you, you can take steps to lower the chances of it happening. A lawyer can give you the advice you need to keep your business safe and avoid any serious problems.

Make Contracts Watertight

Getting contracts right is essential in business. You need contracts that protect you, but your clients, suppliers or anyone else you work with also wants to make sure that the contract benefits them. A contract lawyer specializes in making sure all of the contracts that you deal with are up to scratch. They will learn to understand your business and how it operates. Your attorney can prepare standard contracts for you to use with clients and suppliers, as well as help you to check over contracts that other people send to you. It’s worth having someone to deal with your paperwork for you.

Image from Pixabay

Have Access to Important Connections

Working with a business lawyer can be a great way to make sure useful connections. Firstly, you have your lawyer on hand if you need advice or help. You can also ask them to refer you to other legal professionals if there’s something that they’re not best placed to do. You could even make some useful connections in the business or political worlds. Any legal professionals like Mike Crapo move into politics. Your attorney could have valuable connections like these that can help you out if you need a favor or for various other reasons.

Safely Grow Your Business

As you grow your business, you can find yourself dealing with a lot of legal issues, from intellectual property to buying real estate. Every new issue that you need to deal with might require help from a legal professional, especially if you want to avoid any serious problems. It’s important to remember, however, that you might need a different attorney for different matters. Some might specialize in contracts, but others are more familiar with real estate or patents.

Keep your business on the straight and narrow by having an attorney in your contacts. You should be able to protect your business, no matter how big it is.

How To Stand Out in a Saturated Gig Economy

In 2017, more than 57 million people worked freelance in the US as short-term talent continues to be in high demand. As we weave ourselves deeper into the digital world and Internet of Things, the necessity to stick to one job for a lifetime simply doesn’t hold much relevance. The gig economy is booming and it is here to stay. However, with many people shifting to the remote-working freelance lifestyle, you will want to ensure you know exactly how to market yourself and stand out as a professional “gigger” in order to receive top-notch jobs that provides you with consistent work.

Market Yourself to Local Stores & Small Businesses

In the past, small businesses didn’t have access to a pool of freelancers who could do a variety of small, short-term jobs  for them. If they wanted a new marketing campaign they had to be prepared to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to a major agency or learn to do it themselves. However, even in a gig economy, many small businesses and local stores still don’t understand how to harness the power of the talent they have access to. Help them unlock this power by being the go-to freelancer in your area for all small businesses and local shops. Whether you are great at programming, interior design, copywriting, or even SEO, they likely need your skills and expertise and are willing to pay you for it. Begin cultivating this network by attending local small business meetings and chamber of commerce events in order to build your reputation as the go-to person in your local area for your particular skill. The benefit here is that word-of-mouth is so powerful that once you establish yourself in-person with these people, you will likely find that your outstanding service and work will speak for itself and they will do your marketing for you.

Develop a Personal Brand

Why do you think so many people around the world know what McDonald’s is? They have worked hard in establishing a very unique and consistent brand. If you want to be successful and stand out in the gig economy, you should do the same. You can begin doing this by always putting customer service and communication at the forefront of everything you do regarding freelance work. Communicating in real time increases engagement and builds community. Try to make the central focus of each gig to be on solving a problem for your client rather than simply performing a task and always focus on increasing your online visibility to ensure future clients have access to your work as well as customer reviews.

Building a Thriving Business

In the gig economy, you are your own boss and you should think of the work you do as running a business. Ensure that you ask yourself each day how you can improve your business operations, brand and overall efforts in ensuring customer satisfaction. By focusing on quality over quantity and making an effort to be personable and even in-person, you will be able to find lasting success in the saturated gig economy without having to worry about finding clients for years to come.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

A Brief Guide on Evolving From Startup to SME

Startups are constantly under pressure to keep their head above water and ensure that they can stay relevant. It doesn’t take much for a larger company to bully a startup out of existence, and there’s nothing worse than a slow and painful company death that not only wastes money but also time.

So to keep your business successful, we’re going to help you by offering a brief guide on how to evolve your startup into an SME with minimal stress and maximum efficiency.

Fail Faster?

Failing faster is a mantra that entrepreneurs swear by, but as with any controversial statement that is misunderstood, it’s often over exaggerated. Failing faster doesn’t mean to quite literally fail faster, and it also doesn’t mean that you should give up your business and run it into the ground just for the sake of failing. Some people assume it means pushing boundaries to see how far you can go with an idea, but the reality is that you can’t exactly use that as a method of failing faster.

Failing faster is another way of saying “learn faster”. You learn through failures because you figure out what you did wrong and how to fix it. The idea of failing faster is so that you can understand what mistakes you made so you can correct them the next time around, and this is a key of evolving from a startup to an SME. You need to realize what you’ve done poorly and how you can improve your next project.

In short, you need to fail in order to grow your business, but it takes a lot of time until you’ve built up the necessary knowledge to learn efficiently from your mistakes. Many people consider failing faster to be a ridiculous way to learn and progress, but in reality, it’s one of the fastest ways to improve your company and your practices as long as you’re consistent and mindful.

Recognizing When You Need Help

Another common issue with startups is that they’re typically very stubborn. Many companies refuse to rely on outside help, believing it to be too expensive, or saying that their employees won’t learn much if they rely too much on outside help. However, outsourced IT support, outsourcing repairs and other services can be incredibly important to the productivity and efficiency of any business.

It’s important to realize that you can’t go alone, even as an entrepreneur with a small startup. Services need to be relied on if you want the best from your business and to actually make a profit while also growing your business. Be it community management, social media assistance, computer repairs or technological advice, make sure you outsource any services that you’re unfamiliar with or don’t have much experience with.

Final Words

Growing a business from a mere startup is a challenging task, but with the right mindset, it’s possible to make great strides and surge into the industry. Evolving into an SME is no easy task, and it comes with many unique challenges that are bound to trip you up. However, by recognizing when you need help, it’s entirely possible to overcome those problems.