Innovative Behaviors Small Business Owners Need In Order For Their Startup To Succeed

Innovation seems to be the hot topic of the year. From the latest Kickstarter project to new technologies, everything is being labeled innovative and world changing. However, innovation is not always about changing the world or creating the next big trend. It often starts as a simple change that might not even be noticed. This is especially common in the small business sector. Though small businesses were once thought of as rigid and less than innovative, this is far from the truth. Most flourishing startups include some level of innovation. These nine behaviors are ways to ensure that innovation drives your startup or small business to succeed.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. Be Open to New Ways of Conducting Business

The most innovative small business owners are those that are willing to try new ideas. When you continue to do things the same way, it is easy to fall into a routine. When this happens, innovation is unlikely. From finding new ways to attract clients and customers to changing your standard workflow or business model, each method could offer new and innovative ways to push your startup to the next level.

2. Understand Your Customers

Most major innovations in the past decade were not a matter of simply creating something that others had not thought of before. It was the result of knowing the market, knowing customers and acting on their thoughts and opinions. At the end of the day, customers are what will decide the success of your startup. By truly connecting with them and getting to know them, you can improve innovation within your company and always ensure that you are aligned with the interests of your target audience. This has an added benefit of strengthening your brand as well.

3. Analyze Everything

Innovation is not always about overcoming failure. Sometimes, innovation is a product of success. A major aspect of cultivating innovation within a small business is analyzing everything. From the efficiency of payroll to employee or customer ideas on how to improve the business, considering every idea and weighing the benefits can lead to surprising results. If you are not always tracking and honing your business endeavors, you are missing golden opportunities and chances for success.

4. Create Solutions Not Products and Services

Innovation is about changing existing methods, creating new solutions and solving problems in previously unseen ways. While most small businesses focus on providing a product or service, innovative business owners are providing solutions. In many ways, this leads back to understanding your customers and market. If you see a common problem, you might be able to exploit it for short-term success. However, creating a solution will providing long-term results. This is the essence of innovation.

5. Be Proactive

Innovative businesses are not simply following business trends and keeping the business afloat. They are leading the way, charting new paths and creating tomorrow’s trends. Instead of reacting to market trends or other common issues, be proactive. Market research, trends analysis and constantly working to improve your business are great ways to ensure that you are a leader and proactive in your market.

6. Communicate Openly and Often

Innovation is often the result of looking at something differently than the competition. This means that the more angles and opinions you receive on a given issue, process or product, the greater the chance for innovation to occur. A great way to improve the number of inputs available to your business is to encourage open communication. From clients and customers to your accountant or employees, each thought that they have could be the next big step for your business. By encouraging and promoting open communication, these thoughts can be shared, adapted and applied to your business to help push it toward further success.

7. Never Settle

For the innovative entrepreneur, nothing is ever good enough. This does not mean that you should never acknowledge your own successes or should devote every second of your day to your business. It simply means that innovators realize that there is always room for improvement. When your business stops striving to improve, it also stops innovating. Experiment, communicate, analyze and use every tool that you have available to push your business forward and innovation is sure to follow.

8. Be Resourceful

Many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that innovation involves complex laboratories or massive investments. Not only is this untrue, it is actually the direct opposite of most cases. Small businesses are prime candidates for innovative discovery due to the lack of funding, size and stability that many larger businesses enjoy. This forces business owners to think of new ways to accomplish more with less. An innovative business owner does not merely invest money into problems—they invest minds as well.

9. Know Your Market and Your Competition

Sometimes innovation does not come from the inside of the business. Competitor successes and failures can be a valuable source of information for the innovative small business. Technology has made it easier than ever to keep in touch with peers, competitors and other sources of market information. Whether you are following major industry names on social media or networking at the local chamber of commerce, every piece of information you gain about the efforts of other businesses can help to spur change and innovation within your own business.

Innovation is not an event or process; it is a mindset. With the increasingly competitive nature of business in the digital world, small businesses are leading the way for innovation and driving new market trends. These 9 behaviors are ways to integrate innovation into any small business and improve your chances of success.

About the Author: Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. In addition to writing for firms such as IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites, he also shoots, directs, and edits the hit celebrity web series “Teens Wanna Know”. Catch his rare blog posts on williepena.com, and connect with him on Google+, LinkedIn.

Dual-Action Branding: 5 Branding Materials That Do Double Duty!

It is common to think brands can be boiled down to color schemes and logos. But, they are so much more. Your brand is your business. It is your public face. It is your constant relationship builder. It communicates who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

branded pen
photo credit: TheSeafarer

Most likely, you have spent a lot of time, energy and money developing a strong brand. Why? Because it is the message you want to communicate with clients and prospects.

While you certainly want to use this branding as the foundation for designing and decorating your business’ location, website and graphics, why stop there? By incorporating your brand into all of your business’ materials, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI). This is especially true when you utilize branded materials.

What are Branded Materials?

Branded materials are any item (physical or digital) which is decorated with your company logo (aka branding stamp). While some of these, such as a sign above your door, simply mark your location, others are products your business uses on a regular basis.

By branding products you, your employees, and your customers will use anyways, you can:

  • Instantly create additional advertising for your business
  • Enjoy lower costs for materials (when you buy in bulk)
  • Develop brand recognition among consumers
  • Foster strong customer relationships linked closely to your brand

Brand Products that do Double Duty

Business cards are wonderful, and stationery is great. Both of these necessary business items should be branded. But, both of these items really only serve one purpose – sending/handing to a client or prospect.

These five branded materials provide more than one function for your business:

1. Pens

No matter how techy your business is, it’s nearly impossible to function without pens. Sometimes, you just need to write things down on real paper. Whether you and your employees are in the office or on the go, branded pens are a great way to continue sharing your message. They also make great, lasting, leave-behinds as people are likely to keep using them for some time.

2. Coasters

Coasters are one of those small, branded touches which help your business continue to communicate its brand while also keeping your space clean.

3. Cups, Mugs and To-Go Coffee Cups

Nearly everyone drinks coffee or some sort of warm beverage. Cups, mugs and to-go coffee cups are an excellent way to keep your brand visibly in your employees’ hands at all times.

4. iPhone Cases

Even though pens are a necessity, the digital, smartphone age is taking over. Going somewhere without your handheld device is often compared to walking around in your birthday suit. Supplying your employees with an attractively branded iPhone case will help you stay front and center. (Added love goes to the boss who also supplies their employees with an iPhone.)

5. Printed Shade Cloths

Shade cloths help control dust and debris in a variety of situations such as construction sites, large events and outdoor lunch gatherings. They can be attached to fending, scaffolding and buildings. While plain shade cloths can be attained, branded shade cloths maximize your business’ exposure and give it a professional look and feel.

About the Author: Nicole is a branding and marketing expert, and has been helping businesses brand their companies for years. In her experience, Site Shade offers the best printed shades she could find.

Three Reasons Why Instagram Is Good For Your Business

Instagram is an application for mobile devices that let you take photos and upload them instantly to social networking sites.  This is one of the fastest growing social media networks at this time and it is growing daily.  Many users say that Instagram is addictive and nearly all iPhone and Android users are using it more and more.  The savvy business owner knows that when a social media platform hits these heights that they need to take advantage of it.  The following are just three reasons why Instagram is good for your business and why need to get on board today.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

The Instantaneous Uploads

One of the top reasons for using Instagram is that the uploads are instantaneous so you don’t have to wait to post the pictures.  When you use a digital camera does not offer the instant uploads because you have to attach the camera or media card to a computer in order to upload them.  With Instagram, all you need to do is take the picture, make your edits to the photo or add your filters and you can instantly upload it to all of your social networking sites.  This allows you to share your brand with your viewers and fans immediately.

You can Make Your Brand More Interesting

They main point of using Instagram is to promote your business and your products.  When you take pictures that are interesting to your fans there is a higher chance that they will share and like these photos.  The more likes and shares you get the higher you go into the search engine rankings and that’s never a bad thing.  You can also give your brand a personality that they would lack otherwise and you can also offer your fans candid moments of your employees.  But more than anything, Instagram makes your products and services look cool and everyone likes that.

Get Followers Easily

You cannot post any types of links on Instagram so your followers don’t feel as if they are being advertised to.  It also keeps them from feeling like that are being spammed if they want to follow your business page.  An added benefit to this is that when you are uploading photos that are interesting people are more likely to want to follow you.  You can build your brand presence much easier on this site than other social media network.  You can also associate your Instagram account with other social media networks like Facebook and Twitter.  This allows you to upload one picture to all your social media sites that are supported.  Instagram is a great marketing tool if it is used properly and search engines like Google are now targeting these sites for SEO purposes.  You have the ability to make instantaneous uploads of your photos and you can also make your brand more interesting to your followers.  Also, because there are no links allowed, it is much easier to get people to follow you than it would be on other sites. Ryan Leeds has had an interest in social media since he started his blog ten years ago and has been activity writing on the topic.

Increasing small business profit with recession proof marketing plan – top concerns

Sales in small business are usually all that keeps the lifeblood of the entire set up going and hence it’s no big deal to conclude that the marketing plans are nearly the soul of every business strategy making. When the strategy goes wrong – everything goes wrong and when the real damage has been made, there is hardly any ‘good fix’ available for the solution to make a comeback. Though it may seem to be a little boring to some entrepreneurs but they are required to invest some portion of their quality time to develop a market plan that is not just operative but also recession proof.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Marketing plans should be made to ensure business success in the long run but there are various factors that might affect the entire setup and one of them is recession. However, when you know you have taken time to get back to the basics and walked on the path you were expected to, even recession fails to hamper your business productivity. Curious to know what they are? Very quickly, we will tell you about the pointers you should keep in mind while designing your small business marketing plan that would also help you boost your small business profits.

So who is your target market?

This is one of the concerns that may be sounding obviously noticeable but unfortunately not many prefer to have an eye for detail on this one. If you are not thinking on this one at an early stage, you are probably going to spend a lot of your time and energy sometime soon. You are wasting a lot of your budget, time and effort when you are not figuring out your target market. Here are a few more pointers that can help you with this

  • It is always better to design immensely great and effective marketing campaigns which are also designed keeping in mind the much smaller audience than targeting wider audience poorly
  • It is not always possible to offer and be everything for every group or market; it is rather advisable to focus entirely on a smaller section that is your target audience and work in that direction
  • Look for the other businesses in the same sector and find out how and what they are marketing and to whom. You can also join their online communities and learn a few things from them but don’t plainly imitate

How are you going to reach your prospects?

Now when you have explored your target audience, the next obvious concern in line should be – how you are going to get your message delivered to them. A lot of entrepreneurs feel that keeping their active feet on social networking websites is going to serve the purpose completely – this is a prevailing myth! You can choose to focus on your local market first, particularly when you are a local small business. Your presence in some much notable industry trade show should do the needful. A good telecommunication campaign should also be capable of serving the purpose.

You will actually require a good mix of the marketing channels in order to reach to your target market rather than chasing every ‘looks to be promising’ networking channel without identifying your goals.

Are you going to keep your marketing strategy ‘agile’?

This is going to be one of the toughest calls – full of challenges. It is extremely important for you to ensure that your business has adopted agile marketing approach to the strategy in place. Since the modern and the digital marketplace are well known to change at the blink of an eye, it becomes important to position your business in a way such that it is open to marketing strategies. This will ensure that your business remains recession proof which means adaptability is the key.

Make sure that you analyse and also measure your marketing strategy from time to time rather than looking through it after months. Don’t forget that it is equally important to have a good deal of flexibility in your small business marketing plan. This would also help you in smartly adapting to the changing customer requirements and the shifting markets. This would further ensure that your small business can not only generate the desirable leads but is also capable of bringing on the new prospects even during the most unpredictable times! Face the recession and challenge the market with your recession proof strategy and by now you know that it’s possible!

About the Author: Colin Boykins is a passionate blogger and social media addict. He is currently associated with a UK based supplier of platform trucks – Flatbed-Truck.co.uk.

Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Medical Transcriptionist?

Medical transcription services are an important part of keeping the healthcare industry organized and documented. The medical transcriptionists that are in charge of putting together each detailed and accurate patient report are trained to have specific skills that will make them successful in their field. Transcribing the illegible handwritten notes or hasty audio recordings of a physician into precise records that document patient visits, diagnoses, treatments, procedures, medications, etc. can be a challenging task. However, the expertise and abilities of a medical transcriptionist will allow for getting an efficient job done that all healthcare professionals and patients can rely on.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

Knowledge of Medical Terminology and Research Practices

Even though transcriptionists aren’t required to go through years and years of med school, they are still expected to be versed in terminology that is commonly used in the healthcare industry. This will allow a medical transcriptionist to do their job in a more timely fashion if they aren’t having to look up every other word. Doctors are known for using abbreviations and codes in their notes, and it will be up to the transcriber to translate those correctly. Advancements in the medical field are constantly being made, so it’s important for transcriptionists to hone their research skills and keep up on the latest terms and technologies and be able to find hospital and physician names quickly.

Proficient in Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation

An accurate report largely depends on its grammar, spelling and punctuation. Without these skills and a good command of the English language, a transcriptionist can’t expect to flourish in their career choice. Having a dictionary on hand can be useful, but it shouldn’t be relied on so heavily that it takes time away from typing up the necessary documents.

Advanced Typing Skills

Healthcare facilities needing medical transcription services are looking for someone that can get the job done flawlessly in a short period of time. They often require a very quick turnaround, and slow typing speeds won’t cut it. A medical transcriptionist must be able to type at higher speeds while maintaining an error-free document.

Concern for Detail and Accuracy

Medical transcriptionists cannot get away with playing the guessing game. They have to understand how important their job is to the healthcare process and uphold a professional level of responsibility that will ensure accuracy in every report. Typos or neglecting to verify unfamiliar terminology could result in misguided care of a patient.

Capability to Maintain Focus Without Guidance

Many physicians and healthcare facilities are choosing to outsource their transcription needs to save on overhead costs. This means it’s possible for a medical transcriptionist to take advantage of the perks of working from home, but it also takes a lot of self-discipline and focus. Deadlines must still be met no matter where reports are being put together, and it can take a great deal of motivation to stay on top of the job when you’re left to your own devices. Transcriptionists can’t let distractions get the better of them because this is where many mistakes can be made.

Jobs in the healthcare industry are always in demand, but it is vital for a medical transcriptionist to possess all of these skills if they are looking to have a truly rewarding and accomplished career in the medical field.

About the Author: Tiffany Olson makes her home in Northern California and loves to blog on career related topics, especially those in the healthcare field. When she’s not writing you’ll usually find her at the library reading or in the kitchen cooking.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be Without PR

The world of public relations is one that is sometimes misconstrued and some people struggle to differentiate between this and marketing. However, both departments fulfil distinct roles and are equally important to the plight of a business. Whilst marketing concerns itself with trying to sell, and make people aware of, your products and services; public relations overseas the whole company and is tasked with building bridges with the people that will be interacting with your brand.

Image Source
Image Source

Any small business will be wondering if they really need to fund and grow this area of their company or whether they can do without PR altogether. However, there are many reasons why you should look to either form your own department for this area of business or, better yet, outsource it to an agency that could really get things moving in the right direction. So why should you not be without PR?

You’re Practically Invisible If The Public Have Never Heard Of You –

It’s great if you have the best products and services around but if nobody knows about your business then this is largely futile. It’s so important to let your consumer base get to know the brand behind your products so that you can begin to build relationships with them for the future. Unless you really connect with them through your PR you will struggle to have them coming back time and time again to the products you sell.

PR can build brand loyalty and put your business at the forefront of the market in which you operate. You want your customers to immediately think of you in relation to anything which you sell.

Your Reputation Could Take a Serious Hit –

Another job of public relations is to manage the reputation of the company so that any potential disasters are dealt with swiftly and effectively without damaging the business’s name. If you don’t have the procedures in place for this then your brand’s reputation could take a serious hit and the future of your company could be put in doubt. At times when disaster has struck there is the need for a measured and tactile approach as well as a timely response and these things can only come from prior planning.

Having an experienced and knowledgeable PR company to advise you in situations like this will be invaluable in your attempts to rebuild or keep intact the opinion that the public has of your business. And with the rise of social media there are increased risks of misadventure meaning every company needs to be prepared for the worst.

You Will Struggle To Grow As A Business –

The ultimate goal for any business is likely to be to make a profit and grow into a bigger company. However it’s very difficult to do this if nobody is working at building relationships with the general public. When it comes down to it; it is going to be your customers who decide how much you can expand and just how successful you can be, and so failing to address them directly through your PR is missing out on a great opportunity.

The more that people can learn about and relate to your brand the more likely they are to continue using it and fund your growth. The relationships that you have with your clients and consumers should be some of the strongest your business forms, and without doubt the best way to do this is through a well thought-out and consistent PR strategy.

About the Author: Chris Mayhew knows the importance of PR from his time working in the marketing industry. He would recommend that anyone looking for an agency to outsource their public relations to looks not further than Eclat Marketing.

Do You Really Know The Rules Of Business Etiquette?

You may know the rules when it comes to working in an office, but this doesn’t really mean that you know the common business etiquette you need to follow in your workplace. Knowing the business etiquette well means making yourself look serious and responsible enough, and also straightforward when it comes to doing your duties. This will make you feel more comfortable in your work environment and won’t lead to any misunderstandings.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

First, business etiquette must not be mistaken with office policy that every company has. Unlike the requirements that apply to some specific behaviour you need to follow when in your workplace, business etiquette is a whole system of common rules that are required in any work environment. These rules help you deal with the awkward situations with some tact and diplomacy that can really make your elegant and sophisticated part of your personality stand out.

Second, unlike most people’s beliefs, business etiquette is not related to being perfect and pedantic but to behaving intelligently and diplomatically in your work environment. And this means saying the right things in the perfect timing, picking the right clothes and making the right decisions when necessary. If we need to put that in other words, this means that you need to behave in the best way you possibly can. That is the reason why many people, often without even realizing it, show some disrespect towards their job and their position and become a pain in the back for their colleagues and bosses.

Here are a couple of several mandatory rules you need to follow in order to fit in a normal business environment. These rules always impress professionals and are a religion to all proven careerists. Check on how well you know business etiquette and what you need to change in order to have greater success in your job:

  1. Going on time for a business appointment means you are late. What do we mean by that? If you have an appointment with a potential customer, you are the one, who is supposed to be waiting for the other person to arrive, because you are actually depending on that person on becoming a regular customer of your company. This also applies to all cases when you get a certain fee for this appointment or are supposed to provide your partner with certain resources.
  2. You are supposed to use your cell phone or other mobile devices when you are out of the reach of the person next to you. Otherwise you break their privacy and concentration on what they are doing. In addition, you are also supposed to turn your cell phone off when you have a business meeting or another appointment. If you are expecting an important call, find a way to redirect your calls or ask somebody to take a message for you.
  3. Avoid making friends. Business environment is primarily formal, which means that you are not supposed to become too close with your business partners or other co-workers. Any emotional attachments and engagements in your job can be risky to your career, so you better think twice before starting a relationship with a colleague or a business partner. Of course, this doesn’t mean you need to ignore any friendly contacts with your colleagues but you better stick to the rule “do not mix business with pleasure” when communicating in your work place.
  4. Avoid using your social network accounts when in the office. This includes avoiding surfing on the Internet for purposes not connected to your job, using your Facebook and Tweeter accounts and your other messengers while working. Every big company has some technical supports specialists whose task is to monitor the efficiency of the employees. Which means that you don’t need to put yourself in trouble just because you are risking being caught. Leave social networks and surfing on the Internet for your leisure time and do your job the way you are supposed in order to have success.
  5. Be careful what you wear. The truth is that your outfit is very important when it comes to business environment. Neat and strictly business appearance will make a tremendously positive impression. So, keep to more standard business clothing in neutral colours and you won’t have to be worried about anything.

About the Author: Morgan Johnes is a manager in BinaryTribune. He really knows how to behave in the office. Here are few simple tips taken from his practice. 

Eight Things To Remember When Relocating Your Business

Relocating your office or business can be a tricky process that requires a lot of careful thought and planning. There are many aspects that can be easily overlooked or that you may not even think to consider. Preparation is essential when moving from one location to another, so here is a list of eight important things to remember when relocating your business.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. Set up a time frame

Staying organized and on schedule will reduce a lot of stresses of moving. Make a timetable of when you want to be out of your old location and into your new and have a schedule of tasks you wish to complete by what day for the move. Being well prepared for moving day will allow you to dive right into your new location so you won’t lose business.

2. Inform and involve your employees

Your employees should be up to date on your relocation plans and understand any responsibilities they may have regarding the move, such as packing up their own office.

3. Inform your customers

It is also important to keep your customers in the know about your move. There are many simple ways to do this depending on what type of business you are running: hang up signs in the front of your store with details of your relocation, send out an informative email, or update your social media letting followers know where your new location is, when it will be open, and how the move is going.

4. Update information

You will want to update any and all information regarding your location across many platforms. Your website, business cards, social media, email signatures, etc. will all have information based on your old location. Preorder business cards with updated contact information so you have them once your business is relocated and be sure to update your virtual information with your new address, phone number, fax, etc.

5. Packing

Packing is one of the more time consuming aspects of moving. To make this part a little less stressful, take a look and see what things you can pack up in advance to get them out of the way and determine what needs to be packed last. Make sure you have proper packing supplies, including the appropriate boxes. Labeling boxes with where they will go in the office and what it contains will also make your move go much smoother.

6. Forward your mail

Don’t let your bills and fan mail get sent to your old address! USPS offers a free change of address service that you can fill out online or in paper form from your mail deliverer.

7. Contact service providers

Ensure that you contact all of your service providers and inform them of your relocation. You should also be sure that new service providers are aware of installation dates.

8. Inform surrounding businesses

During your move, at the new location and old, you will most likely be blocking entrances or taking up extra parking spaces. Let other businesses around you know and if you can, give them a time frame of when your move will take place so they can be prepared and inform their employees.

About the Author: This article is by a contributor from Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), a coalition dedicated to helping new businesses start and existing businesses grow.

How To Boost Productivity By Changing Your Office Layout

For a lot of us worker bees, our Mondays to Fridays look like this:

image source
image source

7am brings a dawn chorus of alarm clocks followed by the communal battering of the snooze button. Generally, we like to avoid the puffy-eyed glares of our fellow disenchanted colleagues on our well-trodden route to work. It can often feel like we’re all putting on a variation of the same suit and sloping of to trudge through another day, another inbox full of gubbins we’re only pretending to understand. Poorly-planned office spaces only emphasise the mundane existence of 9 to 5; nothing kills inspiration like a generic space. Then thank heavens it’s Friday; see you later, I’m off to the pub. Paycheque, please.

This is the challenge facing office-job employers. How unenviable. But, of course, there are ways to pull your workforce out of the mill, motivate them to achieve and, as a result, boost your profit.

Know Thine Enemy: Open Plan Problems.

Aside from often being a decidedly uninspiring place to work, open plan offices can create their own little unhappy ecosystems, breeding apathy and discontentment in a workplace Petri dish. If colleagues are getting along, the noise of chatter and babble can distract those trying to focus. If chalk and cheese happen to be seated near each other, sparks can fly where nobody wants them.

If an office is deathly quiet, it can be very difficult to pass confidential information. Add in bad personal habits, powerful lunchtime odours, and personal preferences (air-con, music, light levels…) and it’s little wonder that productivity is the first casualty of a malfunctioning office space. So what to do about it?

Love thy neighbour: Open Plan Solutions

Open plan offices can tick all the boxes for an employer if laid out correctly. They’re significantly cheaper than individual offices, communication is easier across the board and team working is all but unavoidable (unless you build yourself a desk fort out of stationary and, let’s face it, that’s not the adult response to workplace challenges!).

Divide and Conquer

Draw up an office floor-plan, dividing up the space based on which teams complement each other. Your analytics team may need good access to peace and quiet, so best not to place them near the sales team. You’ve noticed two teams who need to talk to each other simply aren’t: make sure they need to pass each other to get anywhere! Mapping out space and communicating it to everyone ensures everyone knows what’s going on in the whole office, not just at their desk.

Often, people gravitate towards people they work really well with. If you spot people who work fantastically in a team, seat them near each other. It’s extremely motivating to be surrounded by positive, proactive teams – although there’s a definite, and distracting, difference between excellent teamwork and best mates getting along like a house on fire!

Creating shared spaces appropriate to all needs is a winning trick and doesn’t have to cost the earth or isolate your workers. Glass partitions and be used to build a transparent meeting place for sharing confidential information or providing a quiet space for analytical tasks. Combination working, whereby workers are empowered to change their environment depending on their need, allows people to concentrate for longer by varying their surroundings. A big concern about cubicle working has always been the limitation of light, but with clear partitions, privacy, peace and natural light are entirely possible.

Ctrl+P

A central printer in a large office can create discord: nobody takes responsibility when the toner needs replacing and there’s always a print queue and of stuff that always seem far less important than your own. Invest in equipment to be shared by fewer people, thereby creating an opportunity to catch up as well as diffusing bust-ups before they have a chance to happen.

Be creative

If a desk is wall-facing then add some inspiration by mounting a colourful picture with some depth perspective. You don’t need to spend thousands to brighten up the wall space and inspire more thought than a bland, blank wall.

Even a visually-appealing desk layout can serve to improve productivity. Curves, levels and organised space are aesthetically much nicer to look at than cluttered, overcrowded rectangles laid out like a chicken farm. Given that it’s easy to rent desk furniture by the month, it doesn’t have to break the bank to inspire a team with a visually pleasing, clever layout. Clever you.

Do you have any tips for boosting productivity through creating a better workspace? Share your suggestions with us!

About the Author: Claire Hovey is a marketing freelancer who has seen her fair share of nightmare office environments as well as one or two impressive and inspired layout designs. She recommends Applied Workplace for affordable office solutions.

Which Disaster Can Your Business Plan For?

Disasters can take many forms but their common element is that they are sudden and unpredictable. How do you know what type of disaster to insure for? You can get liability and disaster insurance for your business from most companies, but not all policies cover all potential disasters. Paying for a policy that covers all of them may not fit your company budget, or be necessary.

Image Source
Image Source

The European Commission recently issued a green paper on the insurability rates of natural and man-made disasters that looks to clear up the understanding of what you can insure for specifically, and what a general policy would be your best hope.

Can you predict the future?

Having insurance for your business beyond liability, health and worker’s compensation is very much like trying to foretell the future. How can you know what will happen? A “disaster” policy isn’t offered by insurance companies, but based on your market, you can predict what other types of business insurance will be most helpful to you. The European Commission looked not at the rate of incidences to try and project what may happen in the future, but a different set of criteria.

The green paper reports on which businesses and markets would recover the swiftest if their damage had been covered by insurance, rather than relying on government aid and intervention to rebuild. From there, they have made certain recommendations about the best types of insurance to have in place that will allow for disaster coverage.

Here are a few types of business insurances that can keep you covered in the event of a disaster.

Business Interruption/Loss of Earnings:

This insurance is an option offered on most Property Insurances for businesses. It doesn’t look to specify why the business was interrupted except that it was out of reasonable control. This can help immediately in assuming payments in wages, bills and coverages necessary to be continued even if the business itself has lost its physical location.

Business Owner’s Policy (BOP):

This is the closest to an umbrella policy that is offered to businesses that includes vehicle, property and business interruption insurance. It is not suitable for every business, however, because it may cover too much. If you don’t have a fleet of commercial vehicles, you may not be able to opt out of that addition in coverage.

Commercial Property/Vehicle Coverage:

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that their rental or lease agreements and insurances will be enough to cover their equipment in the event of a disaster. If you lease, it is wise to carry a separate policy from what the leasing company offers to protect your business should a disaster interrupt your earnings or damage the equipment. For those who own property and equipment, a policy addition that specifically addresses their coverage is wise.

As seen on Confia Insurance Agency, Business Insurance is not a single commodity that you can purchase and have all your bases covered. By thinking through what potential problems your type of business, and market, may encounter you will be prepared.

About the Author: As the asst. administrator for an search engine marketing business, Daniel toils as a visiting poster to assist corporations from the Mother Land. He lives in SoCal, and is drinking in these times along with his pleasant wife and three munchkins. D-to-the-H requests sightseers to look at his Google society when they can.