6 Businesses You Can Run from Self Storage Units

If you’re running a small business from home successfully, chances are that even though you’ve chosen a dedicated space just for work, the work has taken over the whole house nonetheless. Although you try to keep your business operations enclosed in a certain area, it somehow always manages to get out, in form of products all over the house, paperwork on the sofa and materials lying around.

If this is your case, it may be time to step things up with a more professional location — like an office or other place of business. However, if you’re not in the position to take out lease and add hundreds or even thousands a month to your overhead, there is another solution. A 20 to 30 square meter storage unit can be inexpensive and give you all the space you need. Here are some businesses you can take on from self-storage units:

E-shop

If you’re selling your products online, whether through your own shop or something like Ebay, a self-storage unit is an ideal solution for your business. Not only will you have an office where you will take in your orders, you can also use it as a photo studio for your merchandise and also store it there, where it will be safe. You probably have your goods piled up all around the house so you will make room in it by storing everything in the storage unit. If you’ve considered starting an online business, make sure to get all the information before you get started and follow the numerous guides you can find online.

Second-hand

If the facility allows such activity, opening the door to your store regularly could only mean popping the lock and sliding open the doors to your new second hand shop. Records shop, bookstore, clothing store, furniture studio – whatever it is, it can be done from a self-storage unit. Choose the right unit for your business and start selling things. Your home will be grateful for taking everything out of it and making more space. You can organize your shop by buying some nice shelves and putting clothes or whatever it is you’re selling on them, nicely decorating the unit and of course, don’t forget to set up a cash register near the entrance.

Read more

10 Effective Ways to Make Shopping Easier for Customers

Customer service is the heart of any business. Without your customers, your business would cease to exist. It makes sense that the most successful companies focus on great customer service. When you keep your customers happy, they will come back for return purchases in the future.

If you provide great customer service, your customers are also more likely to recommend your services to their friends and family. Word of mouth marketing has been proven to be the most effective method of business growth. Forbes highlighted the importance of word of mouth advertising in an article from 2014, stating, “According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. WOMMA and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find out exactly what brands were doing about that fact. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.”

The online marketplace is incredibly competitive. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016 that online shopping accounted for over half of all purchases made. Due to the rapid growth in the online marketplace, customers have a wide variety of vendors to choose from when making purchases. If your systems are outdated, or your customer service is lacking, your sales will suffer.

Keeping your customers happy should be your top business objective. If you want to continue to grow, customer service will become the lifeblood of your business. One facet of customer service is making the purchasing experience as pleasant as possible. When your systems function seamlessly it makes the shopping experience easier for your customers, ensuring that they will be satisfied by your service. Encourage your customers to become repeat buyers and increase your referral rate by improving your business processes.

Read more

Five Daily Habits You Should Have As a Business Owner

The aim of every business owner is to realize meaningful success. For this to happen, it is mandatory to have a well-planned daily business routine. This article discusses some of the habits you should have as a business owner.

1. Eat Healthy, Live Healthy

Personal health is of paramount importance for as far as business owners are concerned; being unhealthy translates to workplace absenteeism and less productivity. Your health is heavily dependent on your lifestyle regarding what you eat and the body exercises you undertake. As a conscious business owner, you must always avoid being ill by eating healthy foods and exercising regularly. Avoiding sickness means zero workplace absenteeism and an eventual business success. Besides absenteeism, being unhealthy means that as much as you may be ever present at the office, you will always be less productive. Business success is hard to come along without a 100 percent focus on its day-to-day running.

2. Understand Yourself, Plan Your Day Accordingly, and Save Time

As a business owner, you stand out as the most important asset in the business; your success is your business’ success and vice versa. In that regard, it is important to understand whether you are a morning or an evening person so that you can plan well. Important business affairs ought to be handled during the time that you are most active. During these active hours, you should try as much as possible to avoid unnecessary distractions, such as emails and phone calls.

With a good plan, time-saving comes as a by-product. However, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of saving time since every second in business matters.

3. Make Networking Your Lifestyle

There is a general misconception that business networking only entails swapping business cards during business meetings. The plain truth, however, is that networking can be as basic as discussing your business in informal discussions. As an entrepreneur, it is important to seize every opportunity to talk and campaign for your business. In the course of this informal conversation, you might end up meeting potential clients or business partners.

4. Be a Risk-Taker

Risk taking best defines business. The more eager you are to take risks, the higher the chances of succeeding in business. However, it is good to divorce reckless business investments and decisions from business risk-taking. While the former may be done from the point of naivety, the latter is informed by a clear analysis of the possible causes of either success or failure.

You realize that as much being conservative in business and fearing to venture into new business leads may appear safe, it may be a bottleneck to the growth of your business. As a business owner, it is advisable to always be on the look-out for potential business opportunities and to be ready to invest in them.

5. Be a Family Person

As much as you need to focus seriously on your business, forgetting to spend quality time with your family may not be the best thing to do as a business owner. Sparing a few hours from your busy business schedule to interact with your loved one is important in that you get to refresh your mind in readiness for further business interactions.

The five habits discussed in this article are just a few of the many regular habits that you should always have as a business owner. When applied in the right way, then success is guaranteed.

———–

Brian Rees is a media relations representative for FB Solutions. In his spare time, he enjoys writing, music, and spending time outside.

 

8 Tips for Finding the Best Outsourcing Solution for your Business

During these times of great uncertainty and the persistence of unstable global economic conditions, outsourcing remains the best solution for your business. As a process, it will help you streamline costs and maintain a degree of profitability even if business activity is slow.

But not all outsourcing partners can get the job done. It’s not just because there are unqualified service providers out there. You must also do your part to ensure the success of the outsourcing arrangement.

Here are 8 tips for finding the best outsourcing solution for your business:

  1. Research on Outsourcing

Some businesses make the mistake of jumping on the outsourcing bandwagon without doing research. They believe its benefits are automatic and immediate.

Unfortunately, they realize that like all processes, outsourcing takes time. It faces challenges and not all service providers are effective. Research opens your mind to all the possibilities. It helps you anticipate the challenges that lie ahead and develop an understanding of what to expect during the process.

In addition to online research, interview businesses that have outsourced and learn from their experiences. The more you know, the better you will be prepared to move forward with outsourcing.

Read more

Taking a Break to Improve Your Productivity

Do you do anything ‘fun’ during your typical work day to help keep you focused? It’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of business and often we just need to give our brains a break for the sake of our work, colleagues and customers. Oddly, this intentional act of removing ourselves from our work environment can in fact vastly improve our productivity levels. But taking these brain breaks consistently is no picnic. Whilst there are many ways to take a break from the demands of your business, as with most attempts at behavioral change, incorporating these into your daily routine is the only way to increase your chances of following through and seeing results.

Here are some tips to help you find ways to give yourself a true business break:

Get out for lunch

It may sound far too obvious but eating lunch at your desk five or six days a week is not a lunch break. Continuing work whilst eating not only reduces your effectiveness at the tasks you are completing but it also has a tendency to foster poor nutritional choices when it comes to what you actually eat. A couple of times a week you should actually go out for lunch for a full hour. Even better take a colleague, client or friend with you and make it a point to not talk business. You’ll be surprised about the serendipitous discoveries you may achieve whilst out and what you’ll learn about the people you already know. If you can get away with not having a device with you during lunch, you’ll be giving yourself some space to unwind without projects still floating around in your mind. By the time you get back to the office, the second half of your day should see you refreshed, full of energy and crushing it.

Get some fresh air

There is nothing better than to completely leave the confines of your office and take a walk around the block. Not only will it take your mind temporarily away from what you’re working on, the physical activity will help energise you and shrug off any sluggishness. Whilst walking you may want to just focus on your breathing so that you that you can find another level of calm. Another favourite is to take a picnic rug with you to a local park and sit with your headphones on and your favourite tunes. The goal here is to get you into the real environment that includes fresh air and natural sunlight. These elements can have a huge impact on the rest of your day and will positively impact your productivity more than if you just stayed in front of your computer.

Get in the break routine

Even if all you can manage in your particular work environment is short little breaks from time to time, take them. Even use them to reward yourself throughout the day as something to look forward to. As soon as you finish the next segment of the big project you are working on, celebrate hitting that milestone with a short break. Some people like to work with countdown timers that alert them when a certain period of time is over. This practice helps you stick to the routine of breaks but it will also help you fit more into your day as you give task’s deadlines to these chunks of time. These repeated breaks will help enormously, even if all you do is get out of your chair and in the hallway for a few moments. The idea is to get away from your computer or desk just long enough to feel you’ve been gone from them. Bathroom breaks don’t count.

Get the first break early

One great way to boost your productivity is to have your first break of the day early in your work day. That can be something as simple as a coffee break at 10:00 AM. If you started work at 9:00 AM, you have an hour to accomplish something more than weeding through e-mails and Boom! Time for a break. It will give you great motivation each morning, especially on those Mondays that never seem to end. An early break will make that day seem shorter and if you add another short break at 3:00 PM, you can really bust up a day and still be fresh and productive.

There is nothing wrong with working hard at your business but in the long run if you overdo it you won’t be much fun to be around and your brain will turn to mush. To avoid this try giving your mind and body frequent breaks during the day. In the competitive world of business, you need the edge to stay competitive and your productivity will do that and if you do it right.

———–

Carl is the co-founder of www.baskpicnicrugs.com.au Bask, an Australian store that specialises in premium picnic rugs designed especially for the lifestyles of active, healthy Australians. Bask’s unique range of picnic blankets compliment their philosophy about the importance of getting outside and among nature more often.

Lessons Learned About Time Management From a Puppy & Pneumonia

Sounds completely ridiculous, right?  But believe it or not, I’ve accomplished more in the last three weeks of being hospitalized and getting an 8 week old puppy than I have in the last few months!  How did I do it?  Well, I thought I would share some key points here because I feel in this current age of faster and faster and everyone appearing to want everything done yesterday, the points are probably going to hit home to a lot of people.

Firstly, listen to your body!  Now I haven’t had Pneumonia for nearly 10 years but when it happens it is smackdown!  There really isn’t much you either have the desire to do nor the energy.  So what did I do for the fortnight I was laid up I hear you ask?  Well, besides re-scheduling and/or cancelling a bunch of appointments and initially feeling very sorry for myself, I actually sat down and put together my goals and then a plan for the next 12 months.  Now I know with all of the so-called “busyness” of life these days, I would never have got that done had I not been laid up.  And I am so incredibly grateful that I was!  The amount of fun I had doing it, which in turn put my entire biochemistry into such a positive and uplifting energy vibration that then healed me, was just amazing.  Within days of completing my goals for 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, this month and next month – I was back to normal.  Coincidence you say?  Well, maybe.  But learn to listen to your body – sometimes it is purely and simply telling you to stop and take a break.  And sometimes those messages are louder than others – mine was a brick!

Since then, I’ve put into place weekly and daily goals.  Which, unbelievably, I’ve managed to accomplish fairly easily and effortlessly.  Before I became ill I surrounded myself with lists.  I really am a list kind of gal.  But the lists never really had a deadline attached to them.  The power of seeing a date and “Weekly Goals” at the top of the sheet really sent my sub-conscious mind a very clear message – that this stuff was just going to get done no matter what.  And for some strange and unknown reason, I’ve started seeing things differently.  For instance, not spending so long going through e-mails.  And I’ve become much more decisive on what I read and give energy to.  I’ve become more energized in the sense that when a task needs to be completed – I just keep going until it’s done.  It really has been an epiphany that I just cannot fully explain.

Read more

Seven Ways to Organize Your Home Office to Create More Space

Keeping an organized and tidy workspace is essential. Studies have shown that concentration is negatively affected in an untidy work environment. So it’s just as important for home workers to keep their workspace clean as it is in a conventional office. As the specialists in both home and office cleaning, at Helpling, we’re uniquely qualified to offer tips on how to keep your home office clean and organized. We’ve put together some of our top tips on how home workers can keep a neat and tidy workspace.

1. Go digital

If you’re working from a home office, space is likely at a premium. Maximise what room you have by digitizing as much of your paperwork as you can. Use laptops or iPads for meetings to shorten your paper trail and reduce printing costs. It is also much better for the environment.

Read more

Time Management Tips For Small Business

As an entrepreneur running my own business, time management can become an issue if not managed properly.

Time is unlike anything else in the business world. Lose some, or worst still, waste it and you will never get it back. Making the most of your time is perhaps one of the most crucial aspects of running a small business successfully.

But how should you manage your time in the small business environment? I’ve compiled a list of simple techniques that you as the small business owner can use to ensure time management doesn’t become an issue for you.

Prioritize tasks

Often as an entrepreneur, the tasks that you need to complete will fall into your lap. This is especially true when you are starting out and may not have the capital outlay to employ extra staff.

A great idea is to prioritize your tasks on a daily basis. Rank them in order of importance for the day and begin to work on them in that order. Bear in mind that everybody is different. You might not be the most productive person in the morning, perhaps working at your best after lunch. Leave the most important task for then, unless there is a pressing morning deadline.

As someone who works at my best in the morning, I prefer to get all the important things done when I am at my freshest, leaving smaller, less important tasks for later in the day.

Read more

Tips For Running a Business With Your Loved One

Running a business with someone you love can be tricky at times but the many benefits that come with it far outweigh the challenges. My partner and I started our business together about 3 years ago and I can honestly say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Having said that, there have been plenty of obstacles along the way and 3 years in, we’ve got a few tips that might help other couples who are starting out in business together.

We started our ecommerce business as a side project while we both had full time jobs. Over the years we gradually reduced our time at our jobs as the business grew. Now we are both about to make the leap into full time entrepreneurship and we are more than a little excited! Not only will we get to choose what we do when we wake up everyday, we’ll also get to spend the majority of our time together, instead of with work colleagues.

Here are some tips we’ve learned along that way that have really helped us to succeed in our business:

1)    Plan your life and business goals together. When your income and life are so intertwined, having life goals that are fuelled by your business success can be the best motivator there is! Location independence is one of the most motivating incentives for us and has helped drive us through the tough times. Connect something you want in your life to the success of your business and you’ll have all the motivation you’ll need to make it work.

Read more

How to keep your Computer and Network Safe

Keep all software up to date including the operating system

Software isn’t perfect. It’s bad enough that bugs in the code occasionally make a program crash. What’s worse is that cyber criminals are constantly seeking flaws in operating systems and other software, vulnerabilities that will let them steal your passwords, install malware, and otherwise give you grief. For these reasons it is vitally important that you install the recommended updates. Recommended updates can also address non-critical problems and also make your computer and network perform better.

Install antivirus and malware protection

This will protect against viruses and malware that can come from emails, files on disks or downloads from the internet. Make sure to use the very latest version of your antivirus or security suite. The bad guys are always inventing new tricks to try to correct your Computer and network. If you’re using an old security tool you won’t have the new fixes. If you make certain to keep these essential programs up to date, you should stay safe from most known threats.

Read more