Category Archives: Business

interior of meeting room in modern office

Top Five Accessories for Your Boardroom

interior of meeting room in modern officeThe boardroom is an important part of any office. Whether your business is a start-up or a billion-dollar player in the industry, your top executives need a private, quiet and elegant place to meet and discuss business matters.

For companies aiming to impress investors, the quality of furniture you have inside your boardroom can make a big impression. Comfortable chairs, tasteful furnishings and top-of-the-line equipment are necessary to make meetings and presentations pleasant. If your boardroom furnishings need updating, here are five basic things you should consider.

Conference Table

This is the power table for corporate groups. The boardroom is where important meetings are held, negotiations and deals made, and agreements signed. At the centre of the room is the conference table, which is typically long, reflecting the wealth and power of the company.

Some tables are made of long planks of solid hardwood or have granite or marble tops. Contemporary conference tables have electric sockets in discreet receptacles in the middle or under the table. Even though WiFi is the norm, conference tables may also have gutters for LAN cables. More advanced tables also have controls for the room environment including drapes and shades, the projector screen, sound system and lights.

Executive Chairs

executive chairs in a rowAs a meeting place for long discussions, comfortable executive chairs surround the conference table. The latest models have mesh backs, neck rests, lumbar support and armrests. These seats are as comfortable as or may even be more comfortable than those used in executive suites.

Meetings can sometimes take all day, and during that time, the participants have to be alert and comfortable. The seats have to be relaxing without making the user feel drowsy.

Projector and Screen

The projector and screen are used for presentations with charts and slides. Meetings nowadays also have video presentations, as well as website access. A projector can show these presentations on a large screen, which can be seen by all the attendees.

Increasingly, HDTV monitors are replacing projectors and screens. For the truly high-tech offices, these are being replaced by video walls for a larger viewing space. At the same time, the attendees can view the same presentation on their own laptops.

Podiums and Lecterns

Every so often, a speaker may be invited for a presentation or a training session. Traditional lecterns are available where the speaker places the materials for the presentation. This is another piece of furniture that is falling in popularity and slowly disappearing from the boardroom.

However, the podium is a platform where the speaker stands a few inches above the boardroom floor. This provides the speaker with a seeming position of power and confidence needed to address the attendees.

Sideboard Cabinets

In some offices, a boardroom also serves as a study or a mini-library. Cabinets and sideboards are placed in the room for the convenience of those who need the space for research and study.

Law firms keep some of their books in the boardroom. The sideboard may also be used as a stand for refreshments and drinks during meetings. It is not uncommon to have some alcoholic drinks served after office hours to the executives gathered in the boardroom.

Comfort and convenience, as well as the latest technology, are common features of boardroom furniture. These are designed to project a company’s identity and vision to the attendees and guests. The room’s furnishings are meant to convey corporate identity and business direction.

Commercial retail space

Primary Types of Clauses in a Commercial Lease

Commercial retail spaceThe key element when starting or running a business is the type of office space you get for your venture. Most business owners will assume that this is as easy as identifying the ideal area for your business then signing a few forms to rent it. This is, however, a complex world filled with a language of its own. The landlord in your case will naturally have the upper hand in the negotiation of your commercial lease since he or she has already done it numerous times.

Without a tenant representation broker from Utah to guide you, it is extremely easy to make a mistake with your lease, which will result in your business’ downfall. This broker will not only help you negotiate favorable terms for your commercial contract but will also help you find an ideal spot for your business. One of the key elements that he or she will help you navigate are the clauses included in your lease. The following are the types of clauses contained in commercial leases:

Escalation and Rent Clauses

The base rent you will be required to pay within your initial year is included in the rent clause, but this is generally only a starting point. The escalation clause will set the guidelines for the periodical increment of your rent. The landlord will be exposed to rising rental and inflation rates in a highly volatile market. The escalation clause in a commercial lease is designed to keep the rent that you will be charged at the market level without having to renegotiate your contract annually.

Renewal Clauses

Landlord giving the keyThese clauses seem like they benefit your landlord but in essence favor you. A renewal clause gives you a right to extend your lease on pre-negotiated bases and an alternative of opting out after the lease’s initial term. Seven-, ten-, and five-year renewal terms are the common ones used in commercial leases. However, you might be at a disadvantage if the contract is signed. When the rental market has high rental rates but with a tenant representation broker, you will get optimal rates.

Subletting and Assignment Clauses

If your commercial space does not work for you, you have the option of subletting it if you have a subletting clause include in your lease. An assignment clause, on the other hand, allows you to walk away and give up on the contract wholly if the space does not work for your operation. However, this will work only if the landlord can find another tenant to take up the space you vacate.

The Right of First Refusal Clause

This clause requires a landlord to offer you any current vacant space on the premises first before he or she provides it to the general public. This will benefit you if you want additional space to expand your venture. This is because it prevents the landlord from getting new tenants who would sometimes set up a new business to compete with your business.

The clauses mentioned above might not be included in a lease in such clear wording. Therefore, it is easy to misunderstand them. The fee spent on hiring a tenant representative is minimal, but it makes the difference between you being a frustrated and happy commercial tenant.

Businessman in a tax paperwork pile

Don’t Let Your Tax Burden Break Your Business

Businessman in a tax paperwork pileNaturally, small businesses are interested in hanging on to most of the revenue they earn. Instead of evading taxes, there are legal ways to lower the tax burden and avoid running afoul of the law.

When you’re pinching pennies to get your business off the ground, the idea of paying taxes might seem unsettling. Instead of using all the revenue generated to grow your business, the government wants a cut. You should know that nothing good ever comes from trying to stiff the government.

Fortunately, taking tax-saving measures for business owners in Utah can help you lower the amount you owe. With proper planning, you can enjoy a considerable chunk of your business revenue without running into trouble.

Keep Excellent Records

You need to track and account for every penny that you shell out for business-related expenses. Favorably, most financial companies will send you a detailed history detailing your bank transactions. Accounting software also helps you track the daily running expenses, especially cash transactions.

An accounting system makes reconciling your business accounts quick. It means that when you won’t have to saddle your CPA with a cabinet full of old receipts. It also means that they get to handle your affairs efficiently without any error. Missing receipts can cause a considerable amount of headaches when accounts don’t balance out. Your accounting firms are likely to charge you extra for the additional work.

Pay Yourself First

Coins in a jar labeled as retirementAs a small business owner, you have many retirement options. You can combine the $5,500 Traditional IRA with other retirement plans such as SEP IRA or 401(k) and push your contributions up to $55,000 a year. You grow your retirement account by a factor of ten as a self-employed individual. If you’re over 50, you can increase that limit to $150,000 by adding a Cash Balance Pension Plan to your 401(k).

Any contribution that you make to your retirement accounts are tax-deductible. Consulting your financial planner can help you pick the best plan for your business. In addition to giving you a tax break, such moves let you secure your retirement.

Hire Family Members

Now, to be on the safe side, you should only hire someone, especially a family member, for a role that corresponds to their skills and abilities. You don’t want them undoing all your hard work and effort. You can even hire your kids to help with the paperwork or bookkeeping. Not only for the tax benefits but also for an opportunity to learn more about the business.

Hiring a spouse lets you double your contribution to your savings accounts. In the case of your teenage kids, they fall in a lower tax bracket, which reduces your family’s overall tax burden. Having your teen open a Roth IRA with the money they make can go a long way in securing their retirement as the account comes with excellent yearly returns.

It is only natural that you wish to lower the amount of money you pay in the form of taxes. There are many credible ways to reduce your tax burden without resorting to dubious means that can land you in legal trouble. Retaining the help of a reliable tax expert helps you pick the most effective methods to lower your tax obligations.

Great ID Ideas to Implement

Identification card

Identification cards are a critical component to any and every business. They afford your employees a means of identifying with your business and your organization.

It might seem a simple thing to get ID cards online in the UK, but you should give greater thought towards choosing an effective design for your identification card. Here are the most creative ID cards that you can implement to give your business and company a unique edge among all those out there.

Minimalist Identification

One of the things that people have surprising gripes about when it comes to IDs are the pictures on them. Not only are many people shy about getting their photographs taken, but they’re also hesitant to have it displayed. A great option, then, is to go for minimalist ID cards online in the UK.

These can contain just their names and a scannable barcode which does contain their image information for comparison and security measures — which should never be compromised.

Fun IDs

If your IDs are something that you expect your employees to use on a near constant basis, then you might want to make them fun to use all the same. Some people have taken to making ID cards that are highly colorful and even funny.

One great idea is a superhero-themed card that makes each one of your employees into a hero themselves. This will make it very easy for them to tote them around to brag about them. It also ensures that they use them constantly.

Access IDs

Another key function that needs to be considered with identification cards is the access they can provide to the more key area of your offices and building. Normally, you would have a separate access card to tap that will allow people to enter certain areas while restricting them to others.

access card

With advances in near field technology, you now have the option of integrating access chips into your company identification cards themselves. This is far more convenient and minimizes the risk for any lost access cards.

Incentive IDs

Incentives have long proven to be one of the most effective means by which to motivate an employee to work harder. One of the best ways to do this is to make their IDs into an effective discount card on the most popular establishments where they can dine, relax, and have fun.

When you integrate these into your ID cards, you make it easier for them to use and enjoy. You can partner up with these establishments to offer something truly desirable.

Information Cards

On the other end of the spectrum is ID cards that provide great utility. If you place the most important information on ID cards, it can be useful for individuals when they need to reference their tax numbers or their social security numbers.

Of course, you need to be careful when putting any personal information for display as it might be risky for identity thieves.

IDs can be more than just utilities; they can be fun and provide added value to your employees. When choosing to design your IDs, you can afford to be creative. These are just some of the ideas worth exploring.

Restaurant owners

Funding Your First Restaurant: Tips to Consider

Restaurant owners

Your road to becoming financially independent and being a successful person may lie in your desire to have your own restaurant. You may be an aspiring restaurateur who aims to come up with new recipes, fill people’s tummies, and make them happy. And that is a noble and profitable goal.

However, one thing is holding you back: your lack of funds. The lack of funds is a big hurdle you need to jump over. Sometimes, it is not an easy task. To get the funds that you need, there are still challenges that you will need to overcome, and one of them is self-doubt — what if the fund gets wasted?

Think not about it right now and be focused on your goals. Below are some of the things you need to keep in mind if you want to fund your restaurant business without causing your head to spin. Take things easy:

Funding Tip #1: Research on your costs first

To ensure that your business will materialize based on how you want things to operate, you need to have a blueprint — and this comes in the form of a business plan. The business plan should cover all the costs that will come with the plan, from branding to marketing, operations, and future expansions.

This plan will also help you identify if your plan is actually feasible or not. The same principles should also be considered if you are planning to franchise a business; there are also restaurant franchises costs to consider.

Funding Tip #2: Find an investor

Now that you have your plan, the first thing that you may want to do is to find an investor. Convincing an investor should not be difficult, especially if you have a business plan that they can look into.

Your business model should be sound and stable so that you will have more chances of getting your business funded. There are many angel investors and venture capitalists looking to diversify their portfolio, and they might be looking for a restaurant with massive growth potential.

Funding Tip #3: Why not do it yourself (or with a partner)?

Sometimes, it is better to work alone. But if you are funding your business without an investor, you will need to have a bigger cash reserve.

Bootstrapping may mean that you will be responsible for all the financial needs of your business. If you have estimated things wrongly, you will run the risk of losing money. You might even fund your business with a business loan.

If you are quite afraid of the risks, you may want to look for a business partner to create a bigger fund.

Funding Tip #4: Consider starting small

Restraurant owner using laptop

Step back and gauge if your business is actually feasible. If it’s too grand for your budget, you may want to scale down your business. So instead of a restaurant, why not come up with a small catering business that you can have at your own home. Expand when you have the means to do so.

Funding your business may feel difficult at the beginning. But if you have the right plan and the right support, this should not be hard work.

young business woman

Trendy Business Opportunities for Millennials

milennial Business

Grim reports about the financial fate of millennials abound. For one, college tuition in the U.S. has more than doubled since the 1980s, resulting in sky-high student loans with an average credit of $17,126 per graduate.

Moreover, the value of homes has increased by 73% since the 1960s, resulting in this scenario: millennials buying their first home today will pay 39% more of what baby boomers paid for their first home in the 1980s.

The economic challenges passed down to millennials by the boomers aren’t easy to tackle, but one of the best ways to rise above it is entrepreneurship. If you can come up with a business idea that will solve a specific problem for thousands of people, you can buy your ticket to financial freedom despite the odds. For the entrepreneurial millennials, here are four excellent business ideas:

1. Develop apps

Apps are the new websites. Businesses love apps because it’s much more personal for the users. It lives on their phone 24/7, making it easier for companies to interact with customers and build customer loyalty quickly.

You don’t even have to know how to code. If you have a great idea that can potentially help solve a specific problem of the digital world, you can hire someone or work with a friend to develop your app.

Apps earn by displaying ads for other companies. You can even sell it soon as it starts making enough and getting more users.

2. Vape shops

vape shop

Everywhere you go there are vape users. In malls, parks, even subway stations. Touted as the “healthier cigarettes,” vapes are attractive to people because they smell better and don’t have as many harmful chemicals as cigarettes do.

If you want an easier route, you can buy a vape franchise. You’ll get training on how to run a vape shop and how to market and sell. Most importantly, you’ll skip the hard part of building a brand that people will recognize, and you’ll start earning right away.

3. Blogging or vlogging

One of the millennial’s biggest assets is their digital know-how. Just a quick tutorial on YouTube and you’ll quickly know how to set up your own blog or vlog.

In setting up a blog or vlog, the first thing you have to do is to brainstorm your niche. It could be urban gardening, office work life, a hobby like painting, and even about your pet. There’s no limit to what you can share to people as long as it’s exciting and something that many will find useful.

As for vlogging, you may need a good camera to start, but most phones nowadays already have amazing cameras. Then you’ll need to study video editing. But you’re editing vlogs, not Oscar-nominated films, so with a few practices, you can definitely learn it.

Although millennials face severe economic challenges, they are also the most passionate generation this world has seen. If you have something you genuinely care about, turning it into a profitable business is only a matter of creativity and persistence.

Container ship

Choosing Marine Policy Providers: Why Being Deliberate Matters

Container ship

Ask anyone that has been in the marine industry for a long time, and they will tell you that you can never adequately prepare for most of the maritime disputes. On the other hand, you can learn from weather forecasts when and where typhoons, cyclones and hurricanes are likely to hit. For that, you can reschedule plans to or reroute your ships.

Either way, your shipping business is always at risk of financial loss. Moreover, following up claims can be costlier even than the claims. So, what’s the solution here? Marine policies.

But, where and from whom do you get the right maritime policy to cover these risks, or better yet, an all-risks marine policy? You will require looking further than your local listings to find a marine policy provider that will best cover your shipping investment. More importantly, if you are hiring shipping vessels, it is best if your policy provider offers a charterers’ liability cover. So, where should you be looking? Here is a concise guide of three of the top qualities to check:

Reach of the company

Shipping is hardly a regional industry. Typically, that is because your ships and cargo might require crossing different territorial seas before they reach their destination. Also, world events such as natural catastrophes, political tussles, economic instability, and military coups, can affect your shipping services. So, considering the reach of your shipping business, it is best that you choose an international marine policy provider. With that, you are confident that each of their policies covers global as well as local and regional marine issues.

Reputable

How reputable is the company from which you plan to take your marine policies? How well do they rate in timeliness and professionalism? You want a marine policy provider that is always available to address any issue with your shipping business. Any wasted minute could mean a lost client or business opportunity or a forfeited claim. It is imperative that your policy provider handles every concern that you raise with the highest degree of professionalism. That should include, following industry requirements and understanding your needs.

Dedicated

Men standing on dock

You can tell whether or not you are dealing with a dedicated policy provider from how they commit to offering quality services. They avail detailed information about the different policies for both shipowners and charterers. That also includes the liability that each policy covers. Moreover, they invest in follow-ups to ensure that you follow the right procedures not to forfeit your policies. It is never about them but how best your shipping business can be a success.

Additionally, they are more than willing to have you engaging them so that they can tailor their services and packages to your needs. And, they have a well-trained team with vast experience to nib all sorts of unforeseeable maritime insurance issues before they arise.

It is not enough to get a maritime insurance cover. You want a surety that you will get full compensation from any risk that your marine business will face. Choosing the right marine policy provider can make a whole lot of difference in how much you get from these claims. So, be deliberate!

Catering food service

Four Basic Catering Equipment That Can Ensure Your Success

Catering food service

So you have finally decided to pursue your passion for cooking. While it sounds like a great idea, you will soon realise just how much effort you need to put into it to ensure that your catering business will be a success. On top of the pieces of equipment you need to invest in, you also need to consider the maintenance and repairs of your catering equipment.

Before you dive into the unknown, here are some of the things that you will likely need as soon as you start your business.

1. Basic Kitchen Tools

Before you even begin to canvass a few larger pieces of equipment, you first need to learn and understand the necessary tools in catering. For example, depending on the kind of dishes that you will be cooking, you need variations of knives to prepare each meal.

Also, you need to have a complete selection of other utensils within your reach. It is best to prepare all the knives, roasting pans and other pieces of equipment that you might need for cooking.

2. Table Settings

If you are planning to start from the basics, you will need to have bread, salad and dinner plates for a full-course meal. But if you are serving other dishes such as soup, then it is best to prepare a few soup bowls as well. You should also prepare a few wine glasses.

Also, it is an eyesore if you will place everything on a bare table. So do not forget to decorate it with beautiful tablecloths, napkins and centrepieces to complete the look. Meanwhile, do not forget to include a few basic condiments such as salt and pepper and place them in beautiful containers.

3. Buffet Equipment

Buffet catering equipments

You will need to have the same serving equipment if you are serving a buffet. However, you need to have decent extra pairs of hands to accommodate the long line of the hungry crowd. Moreover, a buffet setting has higher chances of things accidentally breaking, which can affect your revenue.

That is why you need to be smart enough when handling your buffet equipment. Prepare the tongs and large spoons for serving a few of your meals. Meanwhile, get a cutting board ready for meats that require cutting, like turkey, roast beef or lamb.

4. Beverage Station

Another must-have in most catering services is the coffee or beverage station. Depending on what you are serving, you need to prepare a few dozens of cups or glasses near the beverage station. You can also place a few selections of teas and cocoa to give them options. To keep everything in order, set up a wastebasket near your guests or toss the little trash immediately to make the cleanup a lot easier.

Running a catering business is not a walk in the park. You need to be prepared for everything that might happen, including a few unexpected repairs now and then. You should always find a supplier who can help you source new catering equipment at an affordable rate.

Salad Dish

Must-Do’s When Putting Up a Salad Restaurant

Salad Restaurant

Want to open a salad restaurant? That would be a good idea, considering that more people are becoming health-conscious these days. You may opt to put up your own place or go for a food franchise — either way, your business has a great potential to be a hit.

What are the things that you should consider when putting up a salad restaurant, or really, any health food franchise?

Know Your Market

As you know, not all people like salads. And not all salad lovers may want to consume what you offer. For this, you need to be in the know of specific products that cater to the needs of specific consumers. Want to make salads to be sold in food trucks? How about those that are perfect for customers on weight loss programs?

Keep Up With Your Competition

The competition is tough in almost every industry. For this, it is important to check your competitors and make sure to keep up with them. Do your research and make a list of important comparisons; for instance, why your products are better than theirs or why some of their products are doing great in the market.

Go for Menu Diversity

restaurant

Sure, you need to have a theme. But it is likewise important to offer other types of food like wraps, sandwiches, and other dishes. By doing this, you draw the attention of more potential customers. One customer may come to your restaurants for salads, but his friends and family may enjoy other dishes that you offer.

Make Food Safety Your Top Priority

You may have the best marketing strategies, but none of them will be enough if you fail to maintain your food’s safety. As a responsible restaurant owner, make sure to educate yourself and your staff regarding food safety. Publish sanitation guidelines and always look for updated information on product safety concerns.

Choose the Right Location

Check your potential areas during day and night to know how many customers might enter your store on specific time and days. Doing so contributes a lot to attract prospective customers. Once you have chosen an area, check if it is eligible for preparing and serving food.

Choose the Best Supplier

Look for reputable fresh produce suppliers and pick the one whose products and services match your needs. You may also want to opt for multiple produce wholesalers, for doing so will help you prevent supply chain disruptions.

Buy the Right Service Pieces

Putting up a salad restaurant requires enough knowledge of various service pieces. Know the right ones for each type of salad and make sure to stock your restaurant with lots of them. This also applies to every service accessory that you plan to use.

There you have it — the things you should know and do when putting up a salad restaurant. You’ve got a lot of tasks to accomplish, so you better start making your list and getting things done. With enough knowledge and the right people to help you, your business will surely succeed.

Businessmen handshake

Easiest Franchises If You Want a Low-Maintenance Business

Businessmen handshake

Starting a business is often intimidating with the big capital requirement, the pressures of building a brand, and managing it at the same time. This makes franchising the perfect entry-point for entrepreneurs. If you want low-cost and low-maintenance franchise ideas, you’ve come to the right place.

Own a laundry shop

One of the easiest businesses to operate is a laundromat. Simply make sure that there’s power, all the pieces of equipment are working, there are laundry supplies like soap, and you’re good to go. Since your equipment is self-service, you don’t really need full-time staff to constantly assist the customers. One staff to man the cashier and assist the customers from time to time is usually enough. Plus, people regularly need clean clothes, so there’s a strong potential to get repeat customers. Just make sure that your customer service is stellar.

You should also think of ways to stand out from your competitors. Maybe you can offer babysitting services while parents do the laundry? Or maybe you can add an automatic folding machine to make their lives even easier. Think out of the box ideas of how to further help your target market.

Offer cleaning services

Maybe you’re in an area where there are a lot of working moms or two-working-parent households. These families often lack time to clean their homes, making cleaning services their only option. The thing about cleaning service companies is that you have to earn their trust first before they let you into their homes. That’s why buying a franchise from a well-established brand that people already know is easier than starting your own.

A big trend in this industry is the demand for eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Homeowners are now becoming more concerned with the environment and the effects of chemical cleaners on the health of their children, so make sure to take this into consideration. You can do the cleaning yourself while you’re still starting and gradually bring more people into your team.

Buy a hot dog franchise

Hot dogs

Theme parks, malls, parks—they all have one thing in common. Hot dog stands are a mainstay in any fun-filled places where kids are supposed to go to enjoy. A hot dog franchise is very simple to operate. You just have to make sure that there is fresh hot dog supply every day and that there are enough oil and gas. It’s not that hard to make, either. You literally just have to cook some hot dogs to earn money!

What’s great about hot dog franchise opportunities is that they’re pretty easy to operate. You won’t have to be physically there to earn. You can hire full-time staff to man your stall. One or two is enough depending on how big it is.

These three franchise options present you an amazing opportunity to own and run a business the easiest way possible. Research the market and industry first. Once you’ve decided on the business you want, it’s time to look for a franchise. Make sure to find one that gives adequate support to franchisees to help them run their new business and earn a profit.