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Mastering the Balance: Running a Business And a Household

Mastering the Balance: Running a Business And a Household

Friends have often asked if running a business and a household is even possible. There’s much to be desired in working from home. You don’t have to commute every day. You’re always home when your family needs you. Not to mention, you can make a sizeable income pursuing projects that you’re most passionate about. Yet, for every advantage to working from home, there’s a challenge attached. Though it would seem easier to be able to manage your career and family if you’re in the house, for many entrepreneurs, it’s quite the opposite.

Here are some of the difficulties working at home may entail.

The Other Side of Working From Home

There’s much to be desired in working from home. You don’t have to commute every day. You’re always home when your family needs you. Not to mention, you can make a sizeable income pursuing projects that you’re most passionate about. Yet, for every advantage to working from home, there’s a challenge attached. Though it would seem easier to be able to manage your career and family if you’re in the house, for many entrepreneurs, it’s quite the opposite. #workathomeHere’s what must be understood about working from home, there are several distractions you’ll have to deal with. You need to focus to be successful in running a business and a household. The increased demands of your children, the endless list of chores to be done around the house, the temptation of food, television, and being lazy, the difficulties in making time for yourself, can all get in the way turning your dream into a nightmare. There’s also the burning desire to succeed and make a living for your loved ones.

Some novice entrepreneurs become so stressed in trying to juggle all the responsibilities. These cause them to suffer from mental health problems like chronic stress, burnout, or depression. Others, turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to cope. As you are the most important element in this balancing act, your health is important. Even another hand at home, a house cleaner would be a big help. So, if you’re struggling with mental health issues or have turned to drugs or alcohol, it is best to put your health first. Find a rehab in culver  or find a detox in LA or some mental health and rehab facility to help you kick bad habits.

Finding a Better Balance

There are plenty of individuals who are successful business professionals and a household that’s intact. They didn’t accomplish this overnight, but with careful planning, discipline, and understanding, they were able to find better balance. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Set a Work Schedule (Based on Personal Needs) – The first bit of advice towards finding better work life balance would be to set a work schedule that is based on your personal needs. Being there for your family takes priority but should not consume your entire day. Determine what time you can dedicate towards your business. For example, If the kids get dropped off at school at 8 and get picked up at 3, perhaps a decent schedule might be 9am to 3pm.

  • Keep a Calendar – Time management is essential to finding better balance. Keep a calendar that tracks both your personal and professional schedules. This prevents you from overextending yourself, double booking, or having scheduling conflicts down the line. If you’re going on a family vacation, for instance, placing it on a calendar prevents you from promising clients to have projects done during that time.

  • Remove Distractions – When you don’t have a boss staring over your shoulders and you’re at home with a television and kitchen full of food, it can be easy to get distracted. You can remove or reduce the number of distractions by designing a fully-functional home office away from all the noise. You can turn it into a mini project and transform a spare room into your professional workspace. The room should be away from the television and kitchen and should provide as much peace and quiet as possible.

  • Ask for Family Assistance – Your family are your biggest supporters. Your significant other, parents, siblings, or even best friends can be very instrumental in helping you to find better balance. Explain your need to dedicate time to your business while still being there for your loved ones and ask them to help. Perhaps your spouse cooks dinner a few times out of the week or your parents watch the kids after school for a few hours to give you a break without you having to feel guilty.

  • Stay Social – Another downside to working from home is the loneliness. You’re often stuck in your house for hours either working or tending to your family. Life can get pretty boring if you don’t stay social. Schedule lunch dates with friends or family, find daytime events to attend and network, join online support groups, and find time in your schedule to go out and let your hair down.

Distracted by Mimi, smallish cat, and it’s ok.

cats
Two of my cats decided to take on on my work desk

Running a Business And a Household is Possible

You may be skilled at multi-tasking, but it’s nothing compared to running your own business and household. There are so many things that need to be done on both ends, but there’s only one of you.

To maintain your sanity and your health, it is imperative that you find ways to balance your work and home life. The above tips will get you started, but it will take real discipline and effort to truly succeed.

Mastering the Balance: Running a Business And a Household
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Basic Strategies in Starting a Small Business

Basic Strategies in Starting a Small Business

If you’re ready to start your own business, here are some strategies to jumpstart what you’ve always dreamed of – to be your own boss and work in your own time. By now, you have probably decided what kind of small business you want and what sort of products or services to sell. Becoming an entrepreneur is no easy task; it’s even quite daunting, to say the least. However, here are some helpful but basic strategies in starting a small business to get you on your way.

Back to the Basics

These things to consider is by no means an exhaustive list, it’s just a few helpful reminders to get that small business up and running.

1. To run a small business successfully, do what you like doing and what you know. It’s a great help to know the industry you’re joining but most of all, success is guaranteed if you focus on your interests and strengths.

2. Choose the name of your business that will be eye catching or that will grab people’s attention.

3. Get an email address for your business. It can be part of your email web address where people can communicate with you. This is important especially if you’re selling a product or service.

4. Make a business plan. People often overlook this one important aspect. The business plan must include details like names of customers, your competition in the business, and budget, most of all.

5. Have business cards printed. Many inexpensive printers out there on the web can do this for you. Your business card must include your name, address, telephone and cell phone numbers, website address, Facebook or other social media address to send out to potential customers.

More Strategies for the Entrepreneur

It makes for sound business sense to be aware of this short list of strategies that can be useful for you in the long run. However, there are a few more points to consider when starting a small business that you should bear in mind.

1. Get help from the pros like an accountant or a lawyer who can help you with licensing requirements and tax credits if need be. Chances are the government grants tax credits when you run a business from your home. A lawyer can help you with business permits and rules pertaining to home based or small business in your area or state.

2. Use a business credit card for your business to keep your personal finances separate from the profits of your fledgling business.

3. Do your homework. Establish a network where you can connect with people and market your product or service even before you open your doors.

4. Invest on a special telephone number that potential customers could reach 24/7. A 1300 number would be a good idea, and if you need to buy 1300 number, you have several options to choose from. A 1300 number could give your business the credibility and authority it needs to make customers feel secured, and it can also help your business improve its sales.

5. Harness the power of the web. Even before you start selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make a blog for your business where you can input information about yourself, your service and product and contact numbers. The blog acts as an info sheet on the internet where people can get the latest information on your business.

6. Try to get financial aid, if possible. There are a lot of financing with easy term payments out there especially from banks just in case the money you’ve saved is not enough.

7. Back up your documents. It’s a good idea to keep track and store your files in a fire proof vault in case your lap top gets stolen or lost.

There you have it in a nutshell, some basic strategies in starting a small business and a few tips more to get you going on your way to achieving your dreams of being your own boss.

 

 

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How Colour In The Workplace Affects Employees

How Colour In The Workplace Affects Employees

 

image via http://www.121creative.com.au/




As we make our way into our place of work each day (be it a home office or otherwise) – no matter what our work involves – we are constantly influenced by our surroundings. We may not realise it, but colour plays a vital role in the choices we make, the way we feel and our productivity, amongst other things.

Meanwhile, what many business owners don’t realise either, is that the colours you choose for your workforce to spend their days in can also have a subliminal effect on your clients too.

Basically, the colours we choose to include in workspace décor is seen to reflect the business’s personality and values. However, it is quite a complex science as the colours used should also reflect the type of industry you are in as well.

image via http://www.interaction.uk.com/

Many brands are even recognisable by the colour of their branding – such as Tiffany’s blue boxes, proving that colour in the workplace really does get under our skin more than we realise it. And furthermore, often the colour of their branding or packaging can influence the way we feel about that brand and what we associate them with.

But these are no happy accidents – these huge brands will spend large amounts of money and put plenty of time into researching the science and psychology behind it. Then they will make very carefully considered choices about their brand colours based on studies and lengthy board meetings.

What different colours mean:

So what’s it all about? Well, here is a summary of what most colours are thought to mean – obviously, however, this is just a simplified summary and there are varying factors, which we will go into later on:

RED = Power and passion, confidence and energy.
GREEN = Money, environment, attractive to youth.
BLUE = Trust, integration, communication, relates to the mind.
PURPLE = Luxurious and whimsical, can sometimes appear not in touch with reality though.
• BLACK = Exclusivity and glamour, sophistication.
YELLOW = Fun and friendly. Happiness, optimism and friendliness.
ORANGE = Playfulness, comfort, enjoying interaction. Can appear frivolous.
PINK = Sweet and sexy. Femininity, love and caring.
BROWN = Warmth and dependability. Safe and reliable.

Contributing factors

How serious is the business

Looking at the degree of seriousness within the business, some of the logic behind these colours will be more applicable to some businesses because of the type of work they do, rather than others.

For example, one design agency undertook a study, painting the office a different colour every week and reviewing staff reactions. But as the business involved sales, staff preferred red and black, above the soothing blues and greens. This proves therefore that it really depends on the type of industry the company is in as to which colours the staff will respond best to.

Likewise, usually more corporate businesses like bankers, accountants, lawyers prefer natural colours. However, if the business is corporate, yet with an element of fun mixed in, then it’s a good idea to include a hint of something more playful, such as orange or yellow. Planscape provide office furniture in various colours to add an accent colour in for a burst of energy or splash of creativity, amongst your primary corporate colour.

Where the colour is being used

You also need to think about where you use colour – from creating the right first impression in the reception; to the general office in which you want to create an aura of performance, productivity and teamwork; then meeting and training rooms, where it is often a good idea to choose colours encouraging creativity and communication.

And if you still don’t believe that colour matters in the workplace, then how about this statistic from colour psychologist, Dr David Lewis, who found that 80% of UK office staff believe the colour of their surroundings has a significant impact on their emotions and performance.



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A Complete Guide to Moving into a New Office

A Complete Guide to Moving into a New Office

 




When a company moves into a new office is like moving house albeit smaller, it rarely goes smoothly. If you’ve never moved offices before, you may be under the impression that it’s a relatively simple process, but this tends not to be the case.

Moving into a brand new base of operations is a stressful act; it can be incredibly time consuming, and there are frequently niggles and disasters, which could not be foreseen, yet set you back nonetheless.

To put it bluntly, it’s not fun.

If you are planning on moving office any time soon – or even if you’re merely considering a future move – we’ve got a few tips to help the whole process go a little more smoothly. No more panicked last minute phone calls!

Pick Your Premises

This should always be your first step. You could, if needs be, go all-out and focus all your energies into finding a new place in a few short weeks, but we would advise setting aside three months as a minimum – this allows for a more leisurely pace. Make sure you set yourself a deadline, however.

As a small business, don’t be overly fussy about the aesthetics. No one expects you to be winning any fashion awards. Get a lease that suits your budget, and make sure that it fits all your requirements.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Because there are so many things that will need doing, you’ll have to start planning early. You will forget something otherwise.

If you can, start planning about three months before move-in. You’ll want to measure the premises and sort out furnishings, have a security company conduct a survey, obtain quotes on removals, sort out insurance, get the computers and phone lines sorted… the list goes on (and on).

Try and get the phone lines and the internet installed and ready to go a week before you move in. This allows a bit of wiggle room for delays.

Find Your Furniture

If you’re not looking to move all your current furnishings over to the new premises, you’d best get on the look-out for some new stuff!

There are two ways to go about this. First of all, you can choose everything yourself. Although this allows for the ultimate in customisation and you can shop around for the best deals, it can be very time-consuming.

The other way is to hire the services of a company that specialises in commercial interiors. Innova Solutions is one such company (though there are certainly others out there) – these firms can design, manufacture and even install your new office from ceiling to floor. Of course, they won’t come particularly cheap, but they can be worth it in terms of time saving.

Moving Day!

It has finally arrived. You will need the help of a removals firm; make sure your employees aren’t doing any heavy lifting.

Give the company a checklist of everything that needs to be moved; this ensures that they bring a van big enough for the job. It can be stressful to go back to work the day after the move, so perhaps give everyone the day off. Then you can crack open the bubbly and raise a toast to your fancy new HQ!

image via http://www.hometone.com



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How Office Lighting Is Connected To Productivity

How Office Lighting Is Connected To Productivity

 

There are several components that make for a successful office environment, such as furniture, technology as well as design. But what about lighting? Are there proof that office lighting is connected to productivity?

With many office workers dependent on computers, this means that a lot of our work days are spent staring intensely at a screen – which in some unfortunate cases, can cause severe eye strain. However, other factors can impact upon our eyesight including an abundance of sunlight and overhead fluorescent lights.

What are the benefits of a well-lit office?

In addition to making the workplace look inviting, good lighting can:

·       Restrict glare

·       Limit extreme contrasts

·       Enhance performance

·       Minimise the risk of eye damage

Due to such visual demands, it’s imperative that the workplace is well-lit for maximum comfort and effectiveness; ensuring that both our health and productivity remains uncompromised.

Yet what constitutes as good lighting? According to The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the only legal requirement is that it is ‘sufficient and suitable’ (and any other similar wording in health and safety rulings). So long as there is enough illumination that allows workers to see clearly displayed, handwritten or printed documents whilst not being blinded by excessively high levels of light (ie glares), then such levels are deemed safe.

What are the signs of poor quality lighting?

The most common problems experienced as a result of poorly-lit workplaces include:

·       Blurry vision

·       Burning sensation/dry eyes

·       Difficulty viewing a document/screen (too much/too little light)

·       Eye discomfort/irritation

·       Eye strain

·       Headaches

It’s of huge importance that your office is optimally lit as bad lighting not only impacts upon the ocular system, but can also affect your muscles (such as causing shoulder aches and stiff necks) – because in an attempt to improve reading conditions, many will adopt awkward stances and as a result, damage their postures.

How Office Lighting Is Connected To Productivity

What else can contribute to eye strain?

Other factors considered as risks to eye discomfort are as follows:

·       Glare from unshaded light fittings

·       Low ambience

·       Lack of varied colour within a worker’s surroundings

·       Staring too close at a screen (or staring for too long)

·       Uncorrected vision problems

How can these risks be reduced?

From adjusting overhead lighting to altering to the office layout, try out these suggestions:

·       Blinds for windows

·    Change the brightness and contrast on your monitor to meet your preferences

·       Filters to diffuse overhead lighting

·       Position the monitor away from windows and lights

·       Use matte finishes on floors, furniture and walls

Office Lighting Is Connected To Productivity

Best performance is given in the best environment. Minimise everyday visual issues and maximise on quality lighting accessories with Planscape. Don’t be kept in the dark – see the light now, with one of the UK’s leading office furniture suppliers.

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Saving the Environment One Toner Cartridge at a Time

Saving the Environment One Toner Cartridge at a Time

Although there is much buzz about living green and being eco-friendly, many of the modern conveniences that people today enjoy are not exactly good for the environment.  Packaging materials like plastics and Styrofoam are fast filling up the world’s landfills and sea beds.  The same holds true for our electronic gadgets and peripherals.  Although we cannot do away with most of these things, there are ways through which we can lessen their impact on the environment.  For example, the life cycle of toner cartridge packages can be prolonged so that they remain useful and stay out of the landfills for a longer time.  About a million toner cartridges are thrown away every day.  Making the conscious effort to put one less toner cartridge in the trash can go a long way in preventing further environmental damage. This begins at home too, especially if you have a home office.

image via http://napamailcenter.com

To keep your toner cartridge useful for a longer time, try the following techniques:

Shake, shake, shake.

Don’t always believe the indicator on your printer.  Just because it flashes to indicate that you are low on ink does not mean that you really need to replace your cartridge.  In most cases, the sensor reads your cartridge as empty because of the clumping of ink particles.  Take your toner cartridge out of your printer.  Hold it horizontally with each hand on one end of the cartridge.  Shake it from side to side to redistribute the ink particles.  When you put it back into your printer, you will find that there is still enough ink to last you more than a few printed pages.




Change your print resolution.

You do not have to go high res all the time.  You can change your print settings to print on econo mode to save on toner.  The lower your print resolution settings are, the less toner you need.  This stretches your cartridge’s printing capacity.  You might even find that your print output surpasses the maximum print pages indicated in your cartridge’s packaging.

Refurbish your cartridges.

There are companies that take your old toner cartridges for refurbishing.  They will take these cartridges apart and replace any parts that are worn out.  The cartridges will be refilled with ink and then resealed and packaged.  This practice does not only keep the cartridge from getting tossed in the trash.  This also saves you a whole lot of money.  Price comparisons show that you can save about 30% to 50% on your toner cartridge costs. And yes, it’s a good practice for the benefit of the environment too. Saving the environment one toner cartridge at a time will be worth a cause.

Add appeal to your home office by keeping it “green”
image via http://www.potterybarn.com