6 Easy Ways to Keep Your Business Running More Efficiently

Messy Office DeskKeeping up in an increasingly competitive economy requires running your business as efficiently as possible. From the smallest sole proprietorships to massive multi-billion-dollar corporations, efficiency is a must. Believe it or not, it’s even more important for small- to medium-sized companies. Smaller businesses have fewer resources to fall back on than larger corporations, making efficiency in the workforce an absolute must.

Your company may be running smoothly, but there is likely room for improvement. Whether you find yourself running into setbacks that delay projects by a few days, you’re finding that your meetings are not productive and waste more time than they save or distractions are slowing down progress and driving up your expenses, there are several things that could be negatively impacting your company’s efficiency.

How can you correct these issues? Here are a few easy ways to keep your business running more efficiently.

Automate Anything You Can

Modern technology can save your business a lot of time and if you are not taking advantage of it, you are missing out. From sending pay stubs to employees to running backups to shipping receipts to vendors, there are several tasks that can be automated.

Once seen as a luxury, business automation has become a necessity in today’s competitive world. Automating monotonous tasks means that you–or your employees–can focus on tasks that require a human touch or more critical thinking than a program can perform.

Implementing automated processes sometimes comes at a steep price upfront, but the investment will pay off quickly. In the long run, business automation saves time and money while boosting efficiency.

Hold a Short Meeting Daily

Office Meeting

Monday morning meetings are a good way to start the week, but they shouldn’t be the only Ofimeeting for the entire week. Holding short, 10-minute meetings every day helps ensure that all employees are on the same page. Getting together daily keeps everyone up to speed on important company happenings and ensures that everyone knows exactly what they need to be doing.

That’s not the only benefit of a short, streamlined daily meeting, though.

Take a few minutes during each meeting to celebrate accomplishments, acknowledge achievements and praise employees for their good work. Make it known when someone goes the extra mile to improve the company or satisfy a customer. Doing so only takes a few seconds, but it goes a long way toward boosting morale and making workers feel appreciated. And happy employees who know they are appreciated work harder and more efficiently.

Increase Printing Efficiency

No matter what type of business you run, it is likely that you do a lot of printing. While it may not be something that you think about often, your printing process could be slowing down productivity and wasting money.

Choosing the right hardware helps you save money while improving efficiency. Choose printers that are appropriate for the size of your business and your printing needs. If you do a lot of printing, pay close attention to how many pages can be printed per minute.  If you primarily print text-based documents and you need to print several pages on a daily basis, laser printers could save you both time and money.

Prioritize black-and-white printing over color. Color toner and inkjet cartridges are more expensive than black. Printing in color also typically takes longer. Print most documents in monochrome and save your colored ink and toner for specific projects. If you have no need to print in color, a monochrome laser printer is an extremely affordable and efficient option.

Use Task Management Software

Emails and sticky notes on desks are not efficient methods of task management or collaboration. Task management software makes it much easier to assign projects and track progress. Projects can be broken down into individual tasks and assigned to the appropriate individuals. Task management software also allows teams to collaborate and work together in one space rather than going back and forth on email or leaving notes.

Using task management software also makes it easier to estimate how long various projects and tasks will take, simplifying the scheduling process. Programs like Asana, Trello and Wrike are flexible, affordable and make it much easier for everyone to work together.

Limit Interruptions

While it may be impossible to avoid all the distractions that tend to pop up on an hourly basis, there are steps you can take to limit interruptions. If work starts at 9 a.m., there is a staff meeting at 10 a.m., a client meeting at 11 a.m. and lunch at noon, your employees may find it nearly impossible to stay on track.

Rather than scheduling multiple meetings throughout the week, try to combine as many into one as possible. When multiple meetings are necessary, schedule them all on one day to ensure your employees have other days to work uninterrupted.

There are also tools to help you avoid distractions like email alerts, chat pop-ups and task management software notifications. Tools like Inbox Pause can be used to reduce email notifications, and a free app known as SelfControl can be used to block email, Web sites and distracting apps for set periods of time. Using these tools–or any of countless other options–helps limit interruptions and prevent distraction.

Encourage “Single-Tasking”

multi tasking office workerJust about everyone claims to be an amazing multitasker. As I’m writing this article, I have six tabs open on my Web browser and that is a pretty conservative number compared to most days. While we all think we are great at multitasking, we may not necessarily be as productive as we would be if we focused on just one thing at a time. Committing to “single-tasking” could actually make your business a lot more efficient.

Single-tasking allows you to complete projects faster. Focusing on one thing at a time also helps decrease stress and results in a greater sense of accomplishment when a task is completed. By working on just one task at a time until a project is complete is much more satisfying than chipping away at several tasks at once and feeling like nothing ever gets finished.

Making your business run more efficiently helps you save time and money while improving company morale and ensuring that you meet your goals. In today’s market, being efficient isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. By implementing the simple tips listed above, you can help your business run smoother.

6 Ways to Improve Office Safety

Business owners have a lot on their plate. They have to worry about improving growth, hiring the right employees, managing office space and making the most of the time they have left over. However, there might be a hidden concern many offices today are failing to pay the right attention to. Office safety is an essential part of maintaining a quality workplace. Injuries and safety problems are expensive for the company, and it also puts employees at risk.

There’s an outdated idea that businesses have to make a decision between making a profit and safety. No matter the industry, that’s no longer the truth. From the risk of an intruder to injuries, no stone should be left unturned. Here are 6 ways to improve office safety today.

Office Safety

Image via Pexels

1. Invest in an Alarm System

An alarm system is a must no matter your office size or industry. Many new businesses make the mistake of assuming an alarm system is only needed for larger businesses, but that’s hardly the case. Intruders and thieves target businesses of all sizes, and offices are notoriously home to expensive electronic equipment that’s tempting to criminals.

Using an Alarm Grid system gives you a layer of protection. Even when you’re not currently in the office, you can monitor your status in real-time to ensure everything is safe no matter the time.

2. Keep a Clean Office

Did you know slip and falls are the most common type of office injury? It’s true that an unclean workspace is more than just unorganized. It might actually be a danger to your employees. Keep your workspace clutter-free and maintaining a clear line of vision will go a long way to preventing slip and fall injuries. In addition, encourage employees to be careful in their own space. For instance, use a step stool instead of a chair to reach a high location.

3. Provide Equipment Training

If your office uses any kind of equipment, it’s important to provide the right training. Don’t assume your employees know how to use equipment safely. Always be proactive with quarterly reminders about equipment safety and ongoing training. Even an adjustable chair can be unsafe when the employee isn’t trained to use it properly.

office space safety

Image via Pexels

4. Have a Fire Safety Plan

While you might think your days of emergency evacuations were left behind in school, you might need a refresher on fire safety. Not only should you always have your fire sprinklers and alarms checked regularly, but you should create a plan for your office in case of a fire emergency. This should include a designated meeting area, fire safety tips, and a clear escape route.

5. Run Background Checks

How well do you know your employees? If you’re not careful when hiring, you might unwillingly let in a criminal. While this doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone with a criminal background, knowing their history will help you make a smarter decision. Background screening is important, and it’s easier than you think.

6. Reward Safety

Finally, reward your best employees for practicing safety in the office. Make it easy for employees to report suspicious activity or anything they feel needs to be improved. Open a dialogue with your employees about being safe in the workplace.

Ultimately, office safety comes down to many factors. Is your physical location free from obstructions or unsafe condition? Are your employees themselves safe? Do you have a security system for keeping intruders out? All of these things together will create a safe office that works for everyone.

Mortgage Options When Buying an Office Building

Perfect office spaceBuying an office building can provide a lot of opportunities. It adds to the business assets. Provides a permanent place for your business and it can provide overflow space to lease which can help with mortgage payments. Generally to qualify for a mortgage you must own at least 51% of the property. If you are trying to decide whether to continue leasing or buying an office building for your company, checkout our lease vs buy considerations.

Types of Mortgages

Traditional

    This is usually offered by banks in order for you to purchase properties. It is more comprehensive than the other loans with no maximum limits and fit for the long-term. The basic requirement is that it must be owner-occupied and the property value meet the bank’s loan to value requirement. A good credit rating, not lower than 700, is needed and your business must have a good performance for the last 2 years of its operations. In other words, it may be difficult to qualify in this option.

Another option to help with financing a business property loan may be to take out a mortgage on your home. You might want to check out the best of 2019 to find the best lender for you.

SBA 7(a)

Short for Small Businesses Administrations, this type of SBA can be used by business owners to buy different properties assuming the property is owner-occupied. As much as $5 million can be borrowed under this option. This can also be amortized for 25 years with fixed interest rates. Therefore the monthly payment will be fixed until the entire loan is paid in full. To qualify, the property must be owned at least 51%, with a credit score of at least 680 and the business has been existing and performing well in the last 2 years.

SBA 504 Loan

    This type of loan is also good for the long-term because there are no maximum limits. More so, it is comprised of 2 loans coming from banks, which will provide 50% of the total amount and from the Certified Development Company (CDC) to provide 40%. However, the remaining 10% will be provided by you. For example, if you are borrowing $10 million, 5 million comes from the bank, 4 million from CDC and 1 million from you. Like the other options, the property must be owner-occupied at least 51%, with a credit score of 680, and it should be an established business with at least 3 years of operations.

Conduit Loans

    This one is different from other loans as the mortgages are pooled together and eventually will be sold to a secondary market. As expected, the behavior of this loan will also be different. The lowest possible loans amount to $1 million up to $3 million with 10 – 30 years amortization. Likewise, terms of payment are fixed, together with the interest, but it is much lower compared to a traditional mortgage option.

Commercial Bridge Loans

For short-term purposes, commercial bridge loans may be a suitable one until further long-term funding is available. It is supposed to bridge the gap when there is no long-term financing yet, but you need to secure a property. Companies use this in minor projects such as renovations, repairs, and other fixtures. One of the advantages is that you can easily qualify here. You just need to show that you have been successful in the last 3 projects you were involved in, and a credit rating of 700. The amount that you can loan is just equivalent to your net worth. Furthermore, it is also easy to pay since it requires a low down payment.

Commercial Hard Money Loans

    This is similar to commercial bridge loans, however, hard money loans are offered by private companies. It is also for short-term uses such as renovations, small projects, and others that may be closed upon the completion of the project. The qualifications are not that strict compared to traditional loans.You just have to have a credit rating of 600, successful in the last 3 projects, and you should have a proof of downpayment. However, since it is short-term, the interests are higher.

Soft Loans

    This type of loan is like the hard money loans that are intended for short-term uses. The difference is that it bases the approval, not on the down payment, but rather on the strength of the application which is the credit rating. When approved, you may enjoy lower down payment and interest rates, and longer term of payment.

As you can see, when buying an office building there are quite a few options on how to finance it.  You can find out more Information here.

If you’d like assitance in finding and negotiating for an office building to purchase, we have a team of top notch brokers who can help. Contact us today!

The Importance of Your Office Location

Helpful tips for coworkingThere are many factors that can contribute to the success of your business. It includes your people, product, service, as well as customer service. All of which can be directly associated with your office location. Sometimes your office location can make or break you. It is important to both your customers and employees, so you need to take care in deciding on an office location for your business.

Let’s take a look at how your office location impacts your business.

Related Business

Do you ever wonder why gas stations are situated next to each other? Or why convenience stores pop up one block, face to face with one another? In business there is a term called benefit of localization. People tend to flock to a place where there are many options than an area with less choices. Not only does this keep you close to your market, but it also helps you to check in with your competitors from time to time.

In addition, if you are just starting out with your business finding an office space in an area known for your industry will help you get customers or clients and employees… A well-established area means people are aware that it is a place business like yours locate offices.

Where is the Talent

Your employees are the life-blood of your business. They are the ones that operate it and keep it running smoothly. The location of your office can contribute to the quality of talent available for hire. The availability of talent pool likely depends on your physical location because of a major factor, transportation.

If you are in an urban area you will have a higher talent pool than if you are in a rural area simply because of population. Also, how easy is it to get to your location. People will be attracted to how easy it is to get to your office.

As an example, if you are trying to staff doctors, a job near a medical school is a good choice because of  those students will be looking for jobs after graduation. The same goes for lawyers and law school. These students are familiar and comfortable in the area because they’ve spent so much time there.

Balance Your Expenses

Renting an office space can be expensive. It is probably one of the top expenses of your operating budget. What you need to know is the pros and cons of your options. A few questions to ask include: Will spending a little more money on a better location generate more business or not? If so, how much more. How about your employees? Will a higher priced location make a difference in your retaining or attracting good talent? The answer to these questions can help you determine what is best for your company.

Zip Code Envy

When you hear 90210, you know that it is an expensive area. There is a zip code like that in every city. One that you just know is expensive.  It is teh same with a business location. If a business is in a downtown area with a downtonw sip code, that signals they are serious. If you think a business is serious, that must mean they are doing well and are good at their job.  This will help customers and employees have a good impression of you. When you are planning your office, think about what a zip code can do for you.

Location, Location, Location!

As with all real estate the three most important considerations for your office is Location. The wrong location can cause long term problems with customers and employee. Have an experienced tenant rep working for you will provide you the benefit of having someone who can provide insight into the office options you have.

Getting Reliable Help

If you need help finding and negotiating for office space, contact us and we will put you in touch with a great tenant rep who will help you at no cost to you.

How To Make The Most Out Of Your Office Space

Office spaceRunning a company involves a lot of implementation and execution of necessary business plans and procedures to run an office. These are not limited to things inside the office; it’s also essential to establish relationships between your business and potential clients, as well as the relationship within your team. If you’re starting your company from scratch, you have to look for a place to establish your business or office.

Here are some ideas on how you can find the perfect place to transform into an office space, and the ways how you can maximize the area:

Finding an office area

The first thing you need to establish regarding office spaces is where the physical location of your office will actually be. Usually, you’ll look for a space for lease in a commercial establishment or a building.

However, if you have long-term plans of establishing your company with a large headquarters, or you simply want your own office building, you might want to consider looking for infrastructures that you can convert to an office building, such as warehouses, abandoned buildings, or even former churches. There are some accounts of former churches that have been transformed into an office space because of their high ceilings, which can be remodeled to create multiple floors.

Some churches would have a larger parking space and lawn, with LED signs for churches that you can transform to accommodate your company’s branding and logo. Here’s an example video about LED signs, which can also serve as your guide in establishing your business’ branding and marketing strategies:

Maximizing Your Office Space

Once you’ve selected the place where you’ll establish your office, here are ways on how you can maximize the space you’ve chosen:

  1. Use a common office space

You will notice that as your business grows, it will be more difficult for the existing labor to keep up with the demands of the company, and the best solution for this is to hire more office staff. However, your office space has limited capacity because of the floor area. You’ll be having a hard time squeezing in a lot of employees to fit in comfortably inside the office space.

The best way to maximize the number of people in a limited space is by using a common office space. The office trend nowadays has shifted from rooms and cubicles to common office spaces consisting of long office tables. The improvement in technology from desktop computers to laptops has also made this adaptation possible in an enclosed office area.

A common office space setting also encourages more interactions between team members, thus improving communication skills and increasing camaraderie among employees.

  1. Declutter your area

A clean office space invites a positive vibe that enables your employees to work more productively and efficiently. Keeping it clean and well-organized will allow you to identify areas that can still be maximized.

You can adapt the 5S methodology to declutter:

  • Sort similar items in a single location and remove unnecessary items out.
  • Straighten all necessary items that have a similar function in a space in the workplace.
  • Sweep and clean your workplace on a regular basis.
  • Standardize procedure in sorting and organizing items in the workplace.
  • Self-discipline among all team members is essential in observing standard decluttering procedures in the workplace.

Also, keep your office furniture simple and minimalistic so it will not appear crowded.

  1. Try to reduce the paperwork

It’s easier to reduce paperwork because of technology, which allows online collaboration where you and your colleagues can access and work on a single document all at the same time.

Switching to electronic data management also reduces the need for storage cabinets designated for all your paperwork. External hard drives and cloud storages replace the large, metal cabinets that take too much space in the office.

  1. Improve lighting

If your office space has a lot of windows, make use of natural lighting as much as possible. This way, the entire office area will look bigger and brighter, which will bring about a lot of improvement in terms of the workspace environment.

Use LED lights and minimalistic lamps so that it will not take too much space, which also allows you to save on electric costs. As for the windows, avoid using heavy curtains and draperies; switch to blinds and roman shades, which take up less space.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best area to transform into your office space should not be restricted to leasing spaces in a commercial establishment or a building. You can tap other alternatives, such as transforming warehouses and even former churches to create your office. Arranging an open area, limiting clutter and paperwork, and improving the lighting will maximize your office to create a lighter working environment that adds up to your employees’ performance and efficiency at work.

3 Tips to Help You Effectively Run Your Business from a Coworking Office

coworking office spaceBeing a business owner can get quite lonely. This is especially true if you offer remote services or freelance from your computer. Luckily, there are coworking offices that can allow you to get your work done while being around other people. These shared spaces can help you feel like you’re part of the community and keep you focused and productive.

Coworking offices are great for cutting back on the cost of rent while being able to interact day-to-day. These offices are excellent for startups and self-employed entrepreneurs–especially since they seem to attract a multitude of creative talent. They’re popular for numerous reasons like the versatility they offer.

If you decide to find the perfect coworking office, there are some things you’ll want to consider keeping yourself and those around you productive.

1.  Make Sure The Space Will Work for You Before You Commit

When shopping around and scoping out potential coworking office, make sure you find an environment that will work for you and your business. When you walk into a new space, it can overwhelm the sense, be sure to pay careful attention to:

  • Color: Is the office light, bright, and airy, or is it dim and cavelike? What works better for you? Most people prefer to work in light, bright offices. If you have your own space, you can ask if you can change the wall color to brighten things up.

Coloring and lighting can make you more or less productive. Make sure the lighting inspires you to work.

  • Size: Find out how many people will be working in the office and what the space is like when everyone is working diligently. Ask what peak hours are in the office. You can always schedule yourself before everyone gets in for the day or after everyone leaves.

Will you have enough space for everything you need? Many of us only use a laptop and a wireless mouse, but some people also need notebooks, files, and other bulkier items. Are you allocated enough room to work comfortably?

  • Storage: If you run an e-commerce site or have files to store, you’ll want to ask if the office space comes with secure storage, if you have to rent additional space in the office, or if you have to find storage elsewhere. This can be a deal breaker if you logistically need a bit more room.

 Internet Speed: If you run an online business or work as a freelancer, make sure your internet can keep up with your pace. This is another aspect you may want to try out before committing to renting space. Ask if you can come in for a trial then see is the internet is able to keep up.

  • Room to Grow Your Business: You may run a startup or simply be a self-employed writer, but you don’t know exactly what your business will look like in one year. If you need to bring another person into your business, will there be room for them, too? What if you need to increase inventory? Will the office space accommodate 100 more t-shirts?

2. Time Management is a Priority

While getting used a shared office can be excited, be sure to set aside time to tend to your business–especially when you first move into the office. When you first get into your new office, everyone will greet you with open arms and huge smiles. Make sure you’re just as friendly but establish time boundaries to keep you on track with everything you need to accomplish.

Try to keep regular hours. I don’t mean you need to work from 9 to 5, in fact, businesses often prosper when your hours a bit more untraditional. But you should establish a schedule and stay with it. It’s easy to miss out when you don’t have a definite in-time.

Keep a daily schedule or to-do list, too. If you need to update your website, that’s a priority if your income relies on it, make sure you have it written down so you don’t get distracted. If you’re just starting your business, register your domain name and spend time curating your e-commerce site and updating orders.

Always take the time at the end of your day to tidy up your area. This isn’t just courteous to your coworkers, but it will give you a clean slate for the next day. And factor breaks into your workday. Taking a quick break will reenergize you and help you be more productive in the long run.

3. Keep Sight of Your Goals and How to Accomplish Them

One of the best qualities of a coworking office is that everyone is there for a reason. Everyone is accomplishing goals and dreams. Let your coworkers’ ventures and successes inspire you and never lose sight of your goals.

Make your goals your priority. If you find yourself socializing too much, remind yourself that you’re at work to fulfill a goal, to make your business better and more profitable. You may want to hang a chalkboard, dry-erase board, or a calendar to help you keep track of your goals in the short term and long term.

Try to find a positive office with an inspiring group of people. Avoid negativity if it arises, it will drain your energy and your time.

Your business deserves a great workspace where your ideas and dreams can grow a flourish. Use these tips to help keep you on track for success if you’re searching or found great coworking offices. Keep your e-commerce site up-to-date and your freelance clients happy and you’ll be able to enjoy the productive environment of shared space.

If you need help finding the right coworking offices, contact us. It is what we do.

Moving Up: From Working at Home to Coworking

Helpful tips for coworking5 Tips to Make a Smooth Transition to Coworking

You were tired of working in a large office environment with a lot of unmotivated people and wanted to have the freedom of working at home. You stumbled upon the Y Combinator site and noticed a coding school called Lambda. You signed up, learned to code in 30 weeks and got some great clients. The only problem is that while you worked at home from your super cheap apartment near campus in, let’s say, Bloomington, Indiana, there were lots of distractions, and the fridge and TV were only a few feet away.

You also found that you were less able to separate working hours from leisure time, and you began to think about getting a spot in a coworking space. Following are five important things to consider as you make the change.

Check It Out

Just because someone says that XYZ coworking is a great spot to be, don’t make a rash decision, and be sure you carefully vet it and all of your options before you consider signing a lease. Always visit potential coworking areas during primetime–10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.–and be convinced that the vibe is what you are looking for.

If you make a lot of phone calls, your prospective space should afford the privacy you need; if you need to meet clients at your office, conference rooms should be available. If you need quiet, a rowdy coworking space obviously won’t suffice.

In short, the other inhabitants of your coworking area need to be compatible with your needs.

Internet

This should go without saying, and while well-established coworking concerns like WeWork undoubtedly have great connectivity, a smaller independent coworking space may not, so make sure first that outages very rarely occur, and that there is enough bandwidth for your needs. Also, Wi-Fi connectivity can be less robust than an old-school ethernet cable connection, so make sure that whatever it is that you are doing is well-supported by the signal you pay for.

Schedule

Discipline is needed to make the shared workspace experience successful. This may have been one of your working at home issues, and one great way to attack the problem is to get to work at the same time every day. That way, work time is separated from leisure time. Of course, it’s OK to try a flex-time schedule and make a self-imposed rule that you will work a certain number of hours each day after you arrive at the office. For example, if you want to do eight-hour days and you get to work at 11:00 a.m., you’ll have to stay until 9:00 p.m. that night.

Getting Along

When you take a college class, there is always an annoying student that talks incessantly, monopolizes conversations, takes up everyone’s time and is a general pain. Generally known as the class idiot, if you haven’t figured out who he or she is by the third week of school, it’s probably you! The same holds true for existing in a coworking environment. Respect your peers, don’t infringe on their time, don’t look over their shoulders at their screens, and save socializing for those Friday afternoon happy hours.

In the food department, just make sure you’re not the smelly food guy. That three-day-old tuna casserole that you really like may not have offended anyone while you were working at home, but you’re the odor of your lunch being nuked in the community microwave, may make you some enemies quite quickly.

Adapting to a Community Environment

If you have lived in an apartment or a single-family home your entire life and decide to move into a condo and purchase your first place, you are transitioning from a private to a community environment. In a condo complex or a high-rise, you have shared spaces, and your privacy may be limited to your interior area. Greenspace and parking facilities will have to be shared by others, and if you’re used to taking out the trash at 2:00 a.m. while in your pajamas, you may be surprised to meet another person in the elevator.

In a coworking space, you’ll have to share restrooms, and possibly office equipment. Yes, you won’t have to keep buying expensive ink cartridges for your printer, but there may be a line at peak times in front of the coworking space’s printer/scanner/fax, so you may have to be patient.

Other important things to consider while in your coworking environment are:

  • Don’t sign up for a shared workspace to mine for new clients. If you are identified early as a salesperson merely trolling for business, you will quickly be ignored by your coworkers.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t know the snack protocol, or if you need private conference space on short notice, don’t hesitate to ask the staff or a co-tenant to help you out.
  • Be aware of the advantages that your space provides you with. Coworking areas many times contract with local vendors for discounts on things like food and office supplies plus perks like free deliveries on some items. Make sure you avail yourself of these valuable extras.
  • If your space uses an app like Slack, get on it so that you can get help if you need it. There may certainly be a designer in the space that can help you on a project and using a communication tool like Slack can be a great way to solve problems.

Remember, however, that coworking is not for everyone. You may find yourself annoyed by others that infringe upon your space, and you may also conclude that it’s hard to concentrate for various reasons like the number of people in the room, the noise level, or even harsh lighting. If this occurs, you could first try to find a different coworking space that better fits your needs. If not, the experience may have actually proven to you that working at home could succeed, and if you decide to try the process again at home, you may be more motivated to make it work.

If you need help in finding a coworking space, we can help. Let us know where you are looking by  Contacting us.

How to Make Your Office Space Greener

In big ways and small ways, many of us are looking for ways to make a positive impact on the environment. For some, that may mean installing low-flow water fixtures at home, or re-committing to becoming a great recycler in the kitchen. Others may grow an expansive garden as a way of encouraging wildlife, or even ditch the throw-away coffee cups. But when it comes to our actions, what we do at work may be an important part of the environmental equation. That’s because we spend a lot of time there, and do many of the things that we do elsewhere, such as throw away trash, cook and eat food, and rely on paper and other supplies.

So what can you do at work in order to boost how you’re saving on waste and being mindful of consumption? Well, it’s helpful to break an office space down into areas and tackle them one at a time, starting with the reception space. This graphic offers some ideas.

Green Break Room

Green Kitchen office space

Green Reception Area

Green office space

Info Graphic detals and more available at ZeroCater

5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Office Location for Your Business

A business’ office location is crucial to its success.

It’s a decision that can impact sales, brand image, employee satisfaction and even the ease with which a business can grow.

This is obviously a big call that packs significant logistical considerations too. For example, in some US cities, the cost of renting an office can rack up to around $95 per square foot, per year. That’s a serious commitment if you’re a business that needs a lot of space!

Perfect office space

Clearly, picking the perfect location for your office requires careful consideration. The wrong choice can have serious implications. How do you make the right decision?

Keep reading to discover 5 tips that’ll ensure you do.

5 Tips for Picking Your Business’ Office Location

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when deciding where to set up shop with your offices.

1. Consider the Cost

Cost considerations are almost always a factor for businesses. The same goes when deciding your office location.

The prices will vary widely depending on where you want to set up shop. You need to think about your budget and see how far it can stretch to accommodate your other office location requirements.

This holds true whether you decide to lease or buy. However, it’s crucial to consider business rates tax too that’ll vary depending on your location.

Oh, and if you’re renting then absolutely ascertain the stability of your rent. Will it increase exponentially over time?

2. Don’t Think (Or Buy) Too Small

There’s no point in buying a small office location if you expect your business to grow quickly.

Obviously, it’s hard to tell the future. But plan ahead sensibly anyway.

You could choose to rent initially in order to get a feel for your potential growth. If things move rapidly and you find yourself expanding, then a purchase of a larger office space could be justified.

Remember, if you buy then you’ll steadily build equity in your property too.

3. Consider Ease of Access

It’s important to think about your office’s accessibility.

How straightforward is it for your potential customers and clients to find? And what about your employees?

Your company could work in fields as varied as student loan refinancing, public relations, marketing, or any other number of professions!

But in order to attract custom and make it easier for your employees, you want to ensure the office is easily accessible. For instance, it’s always good to be close to transport links and sees lots of people pass by every day during business hours.

It’ll depend a little on your business’s office operations though. If customers/clients will rarely (if ever) visit your office, then accessibility will only really be an issue for employees.

4. Make Sure It’s Not Overly Competitive

Choosing an office that’s surrounded by competitors can set your business back from the outset.

Some competition’s healthy and may even help your business expand. But you can be competed out of the market when it’s too extreme and the competition’s too well established.

5. Consider Your Brand Image

Finally, your office space speaks volumes about your business.

It’s like the clothes you wear on your back. Your company location sends signals to those in your environment, including your customers and competition.

A lush, wealthy-looking location can at once impress your customers or make them question if they’re paying you too much! A drab, outdated area can indicate your business is struggling.

Be sure to think about how your office space will be interpreted from the outside.

Time to Wrap Up

There you have it: 5 Tips for picking the perfect office location for your business.

This is a crucial call with a lot riding on it. You want to make the right decision.

Hopefully, these tips have helped. Remember, think about the cost (and your budget) and accessibility of the property, as well as the potential growth in the coming years. Next, make sure the location isn’t overly competitive and that it sends the right signal about your business.

With these things in mind, you’ll be on your way to renting an office in the perfect location in no time.

Now we’d like to hear from you! What’s your primary concern in choosing your renting an office? Let us know in the comments!

And be sure to contact us to learn how we can help you find the ideal office space.

Improving Your Relationship With Customers

Handshake

There’s a good chance you have worked at a job in which the importance of “people skills” and customer satisfaction was stressed by your higher-ups. There is good reason for employers to place value on such aspects because when it boils down to it, a business’ relationship with customers is the backbone of its very existence.

It can be easy to get preoccupied and start to let shinier things like a cool new logo or fancy new webpage take precedence over the essentials. While these things may help, it’s important to understand that relationships are paramount to your success. Forging good relationships will expedite your business success into realms that can quite frankly surprise you.

Below, we will explore ways to cultivate and maintain positive impact and relations with customers.

Be Systematic

Developing a system for handling customers may take a bit of time, but having one is of utmost importance. It ensures that a plan is in place regardless of the situation, whether it be an unsatisfied customer, dwindling retention, or anything else. Few things are worse than encountering a situation with an angry customer and not having a procedure in place, leaving you improvising while juggling all of the other administrative duties.

Consider employing the use of regular email newsletters, which will keep you in the minds of customers. Email marketing has a proven track record of increasing the likelihood of customer retention. If a customer buys your product or service and then never hears from you again, it can be easy for them to forget about you entirely.

Another effective strategy could be looking for feedback after your exchange. Look over example survey questions to get an idea for valuable and pertinent information. Have an email with a survey or opportunity for feedback and you will receive guidance to show you what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Let Them Know They Are Important

Many businesses find success by going the extra mile and making the customer feel special. You might be surprised how far small gestures like a specially designed Christmas card go to humanize your brand and make customers feel valued. This is not merely a psychological manipulation either – these people are important to you, and so it makes sense that you convey that.

Never Underestimate Quality Customer Service

Cafe Handshake

You likely hear this point stressed often, but some maxims are worth repeating. Customer service should regard customer satisfaction as the most valuable part of the equation. If they complain about something, make it right. Make sure you are responsive, expressive of sympathy, and quick to act. This can help you avert disaster and drastically improve the likelihood that they will return.

Even the most furious of customers can often be charmed by kindness and understanding. Depending on the severity of the error, this may involve going above and beyond, but remember that the future of your business is predicated on their happiness.

Use Social Media

Smart Phone Social Media

There are a host of benefits to be had from a vibrant social media presence. Social media outlets allow for an unprecedented level of customer communication and feedback, while also conferring the familiarity benefits of increased exposure. Once upon a time, having a simple website was enough, but to keep up with competition today means embracing social media wholeheartedly.

Social media like Instagram and Facebook employ algorithms which decide the relative prominence of content. Increasing interaction via replies or comments helps to bolster your standing, and attain greater visibility.

Social media analytics also provide a bounty of value for the savvy business-runner. This data provides useful information in regard to what gets people’s attention and what people find unappealing. Facebook and Twitter show you these trends and allow you to configure your approach appropriately.

Reaching out to influencers can also be a good strategy to build rapport with well-known entities and further craft the aesthetic of your brand. If your business caters to a certain age-group for example, try to affiliate yourself with brands or Smart Phone socialcelebrities affiliated with the same demographic.

Craft A Clear And Distinct Identity

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The internet offers tremendous potential, but many brands get lost in the sea of other entities. Observe other websites or social media accounts and take note of what you like and what you dislike. This will help you learn how to curate your brand to your liking. If you happen to have photography skills, maybe this can work to improve your online image. If you value quick wit, you may want to emulate something akin to the Wendy’s Twitter.

You should also be articulate and consistent in what exactly your business has to offer. Perhaps consider a logo or using common colors across your website or various platforms to create a sense of cohesion for your brand. This will allow customers to easily identify and familiarize themselves with your brand.