Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses
15 October

Seasonal Planning: For More Than Just Seasonal Businesses

You may think holiday marketing doesn’t apply to your particular business niche, but the truth is, seasonal planning is for all businesses, no matter the goods or services provided. If your business is hand-crafted toys or candies, it’s quite obvious the holiday season is peak time for sales, but it’s also the same for practically every other form of business out there.

Know Your Angle

If you’re struggling to come up with an angle for your seasonal strategies, start by looking at your books. Find out what your customers have been interested in the most and use that information to anticipate what they may be needing shortly.

Remember that holiday planning isn’t all about retail sales and shopping. Consumers also have needs for specific services, practical items, and unique finds as well. Figure out what you can offer them and plan to highlight that for your campaign.

Begin to Prepare

Understanding that seasonal planning begins well before the holiday season begins, is the most important aspect of your process. It’s recommended to begin your planning months in advance – some even beginning as early as mid-summer. Why?

By allowing yourself ample time to research your top performers, study customer habits, and brainstorm with your team members for campaign ideas, you’ll give yourself the best chance at a highly successful campaign. You should always allow plenty of time for changes, new ideas and stocking any necessary supplies for the season.

Take Stock

Seasonal planning is more than simply finding the greatest marketing campaign to put out there this year. It also entails making sure you are fully stocked on any anticipated items, well-staffed for an influx of customers, and prepared for all your basic needs as well. How do you do this?

Start by taking inventory on your stock. Determine what items you’ll need to order if you are in the retail business. Plan for any additional stock items like shopping bags, receipt paper, shipping supplies for online orders, and any seasonal items like specialty flavors of coffee or printed fliers to hand out at purchase time.

Plan Your Schedule in Advance

Another key seasonal planning step is to make sure you are fully staffed to cover any potential increase in customer activity. It can help to make up schedules well in advance to allow employees time to plan for working hours around the holidays, as well as note any potential scheduling issues before they become problematic down the road.

Get Festive

Even if you’re not big into the holiday scene, getting festive at work is part of the seasonal planning process and your customers (as well as employees) will appreciate the gesture. There are a number of ways you can accomplish this – from simple decorations to planning events for employees and/or clients.

If you need ideas on how to get festive, include your team members in a brainstorming session to get their input – this is especially helpful in coworking spaces where members come from all walks of business (and all walks of ideas!). Not a coworking space? No problem – do some online research on local events to see what fun things are going on around you that you could include in your seasonal planning.

The best thing you can do is understand that seasonal planning takes time, and it’s not something you want to miss out on. Start planning early and get those festive ideas flowing to set your plan in motion!

Improved Productivity: Making Your Workspace Work for You
15 September

Improved Productivity: Making Your Workspace Work for You

Practically everyone in the working world is familiar with the concept of improved productivity. The phrase is tossed around by employers everywhere and is often considered one of the most coveted assets.

Whether you’re being encouraged by your boss to improve productivity in your work place, or you’re a self-employed entrepreneur looking for a productive boost, workplace productivity has likely entered your vernacular on more than a few occasions. So just how do you go about achieving this boost?

“Workplace productivity isn’t about getting from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time… Your personal workspace is one of the most overlooked factors that affect productivity,” explains Jamie Fertsch, Director and Co-Founder of XDesk, via an interview with BusinessNewsDaily.com.

Improved Productivity Starts in Your Workspace

Increasing your productivity is a much larger picture than simply churning out projects and tasks in shorter time. There are many factors involved in reaching optimal productiveness, and it’s easy to get stressed out trying to keep up if any of these factors are out of whack.

In fact, according to Fertsch, the first step in becoming more productive should lie within the spaces closest to you during working hours: your workspace. By tackling a few simple things within your work area, you can cut stressors and increase productivity simultaneously.

Staying Organized

It may seem like a no-brainer, but the most important step to streamlining your workspace is to stay organized. Keeping files in optimal order with clear labels will help save time and frustration when searching for items later.

Beyond the obvious filing, you’ll want to cut down on any unnecessary items within your space that take up room. A junk drawer or odd knick-knacks that cover your spaces or clutter your drawers can detract from potential workspace optimization. They also serve to add tension and crowd movement and free-thinking by adding stress.

Give Yourself Space

Once you’ve got your space optimally organized and decluttered, make sure you give yourself space as well. Sometimes when working, our minds can become too overloaded to efficiently finish a task or train of thought.

Fertsch recommends that you allow for ample break times and changes of pace. If you feel you’ve reached a wall, get up and take a breather. Go for a quick walk, spend 5 minutes outside or chatting with a coworker to reset your mind and then come back to your task to try again.

“Productivity is not directly correlated with time spent on a task… it’s important to make sure that you’re recalibrating and refueling every once and a while,” Fertsch explains.

Give Your Tech Items a Space

One of the greatest detractors of productivity is our beloved tech gadgets. The ping of a new email or ring of a new text message is often too powerful to ignore. While we understand there are times when we truly need to have up-to-the-minute notifications for things, let’s be honest, most times those items can stand to wait until we’re ready to answer them.

Designating a space in your work area to keep tech gadgets stored until you’re ready to check them can help increase productivity big time. Make sure the volume is off and place phones, tablets, smart watches, etc. in an area that’s out of view to keep you on track without unnecessary distractions.

Consider a New Workspace

Sometimes the best thing you can do for your productivity is a change of scenery. Coworking spaces offer a great way to maximize your space and get the most out of your work day. How?

Since coworking spaces offer a community setting with professionals from all walks of business, you’re essentially giving yourself a never-ending supply of networking and communication opportunities to bounce ideas off of during those productivity slumps.

Another bonus? Most coworking spaces offer a level of flexibility not seen by traditional workspaces, making it easy to come and go as you need in order to maximize that productivity!

 

The World's Most Unique Coworking Spaces
1 September

The World’s Most Unique Coworking Spaces

When it comes to work spaces, most people think of the same basic essentials: desks, connectivity, technology, and room for meetings. While these things are certainly the core of any working space, many creators are taking inventiveness to a whole new level with some of the most unique coworking spaces around the world.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, coworking is one of the latest trends in the entrepreneurial world. By allowing individuals and small businesses of all kinds to co-work in a single space, these community work areas are gaining momentum all over the globe. The reason? They allow for an affordable and professional work space and an invaluable set of coworking mentors and essential networking.

That said, here are some of the world’s most unique coworking spaces that take this experience to a whole new level:

The Hub – Chiang Mai, Thailand

While you think of the basic essentials for a work space, there is nothing basic about The Hub coworking space in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Made entirely of repurposed shipping containers, The Hub has one of the most unique designs of any space around the world.

With out-of-the-box thinking and architectural design, The Hub is truly a unique working space atmosphere that is said to inspire creativity and productivity. The shipping containers allow for a resourceful use of existing elements, giving a green element to the coworking experience.

Village Underground – Lisbon, Portugal

Similar to The Hub, Village Underground in Lisbon, Portugal makes use of recycled shipping containers for coworking spaces. The repurposed containers give ample office spaces that are shared by creative entrepreneurs of all walks of life, but they aren’t the most unique aspect of this space.

In addition to the unusual office space design, Village Underground boasts even more architectural creativity. The space includes attached double-decker buses that have been transformed into an on-site café and restaurant as well as a recording studio for its audio artists.

Naplab – Bangkok, Thailand

If you’re the type who just needs a quiet space to work, then Naplab coworking spaces in Bangkok, Thailand may be perfect for you. Known for its quiet spaces, Naplab caters to entrepreneurs who need some serious focus time.

As the name suggests, this coworking spot includes a second level designated solely for – you guessed it – nap time. Yes, this space has individual bunks and pods where its members can retreat for a nap to recharge their minds on-site.

Dojo – Bali, Indonesia

If it’s a retreat you’re looking for, then you can’t go wrong with Dojo – the tropical coworking experience in Bangkok, Thailand. It’s most unique feature? Take your pick between the open-air conference areas, private poolside nooks or the mere one-minute walk to world famous Echo Beach.

In addition to the resort-like atmosphere for working spaces, Dojo also offers extended stay options. Yes, they have rooms you can rent for an overnight stay, making it a great place to plan a company retreat.

Coboat – Providence Mahe, Seychelles

Want to shuck the whole concept of an office in general? Coboat in Providence Mahe, Seychelles will definitely get you there! The concept? Coworkers can book their stay on the Coboat, sharing working space on an enormous catamaran as it sails around the globe.

All of the essential working space necessities are included (high-speed internet, tech gadgets, etc.), as well as ever-changing high-seas views. The concept allows coworkers to stay connected while simultaneously embarking on coastal adventures and truly fresh air thinking as they detach themselves from the mainland for weeks at a time.

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)
15 August

Coworking Spaces: So Much More Than a Rental (and Other Myths Debunked)

If you’ve ever considered trying out a coworking space for your business, you’ve likely heard several “myths” surrounding them. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions and confusion out there in regard to shared spaces, but the truth is, most offer invaluable benefits when compared to traditional spaces. To better understand what coworking spaces are (and if they’re right for you), it helps to know what they aren’t. Here is a look at some of the most common coworking myths and why they are debunked:

Myth #1: Coworking Spaces Are Only for Millennials and Freelancers

Since coworking spaces are a relatively new (but rapidly expanding) concept, it’s easy to understand how some may be confused as to what they are and who they are for. Somewhere along the way, coworking spaces have gained a reputation for catering only to those who are freshly entering the working world or only in specific areas of interest.

The truth is, coworking spaces are offered across the globe in record numbers and cater to all individuals and businesses. In fact, most spaces pride themselves on incorporating a highly diverse group of professionals in their spaces. Keeping a workplace community with individuals in all stages and areas of business offers members an unparalleled set of resources in the same space.

Myth #2: You Must be a Social Butterfly to be a Member

While it’s true that coworking spaces provide fantastic social and networking opportunities on a daily basis, you don’t need to worry about privacy or space to work on your own. Since most spaces offer private office spaces, cubes, or designated quiet areas, there’s always somewhere for those who wish to have a more solo experience as well.

Myth #3: You’re Limited to Access the Things You Need

Many people assume that a coworking space will limit their accessibility to things they need. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth.

With coworking spaces, you’re free to come and go as you please – meaning, you create your own hours. As you continue your coworking membership and get to know others in your shared spaces, you will begin to mesh out a schedule that works best for you and doesn’t interfere with anyone else in the space.

Myth #4: You Must Sign a Long-Term Contract or Lease

Another myth is that coworking spaces run like rental properties and leases, requiring you to sign a designated contract ensuring you’ll stay for a specified length of time. Since this can be quite a detraction for those who need flexibility, many swear off coworking spaces before they even get inside the door of one to check it out.

The truth? While there are likely some spaces that operate that way, most coworking communities are designed specifically to help those with flexibility needs. Meaning, the majority of shared spaces offer many different tiers of membership options that allow you to utilize the space only as you need it. In other words, most offer simple pay-as-you-go options that require no long-term contracts.

While all spaces operate under their own policies and procedures, you’ll never know if they’re right for you unless you chuck the myths and check them out on your own. Ask someone who participates in coworking spaces or take a visit of a nearby shared community – those are the best ways to debunk the myths and find what works for you.

 

Keeping Start-Up Costs at a Minimum: Tips for New Business Owners
1 August

Keeping Start-Up Costs at a Minimum: Tips for New Business Owners

When you’re contemplating a start-up, few things are as vital as budget and costs. In fact, often times a budget can either make or break a decision to begin your venture – but it shouldn’t. If you find yourself fretting over your start-up bottom line, rest assured, there are ways to keep your costs under control.

Keeping Start-Up Costs in Check

Chances are, if you’re looking at budgets and start-up costs, you’ve already done your fair share of research on what to expect. You’ve also likely heard that you need to have a solid plan in place in order to give your venture a clear shot at success. So, what does that mean exactly?

For starters, yes, you need to create a budget that takes as many factors into consideration as possible – but that’s not all. When it comes time to putting your budget and plan in motion, there are ways to be smart about your spending that will help you keep your costs in check.

Buy Smart

It may seem like a no-brainer, but before you go writing checks for your start-up needs, make sure you shop around. Just like you would take advantage of holiday sales or special discounts for everything else in your personal life, you need to do the same with your business.

Research area businesses that may be having a close-out sale, or maybe a going-out-of-business sale can help you score some quality used pieces on a budget-friendly purchase. It’s always good to check tag sales and estate sales or auctions for items you may need as well. Remember to keep things in check by ensuring you’re truly buying what you need, and not just what is convenient or something that lured you in for “extras” you could really do without right away.

Start Simply

In the beginning, you’ll likely have a difficult time keeping up with the expenses of bringing on a full-time (or even part-time) staff. One way to help off-set this expense is by avoiding it altogether. How? Try subcontracting work out on an as-needed basis.

There are plenty of sites and sources for employees looking to work on a contract-only basis, meaning you simply pay for what you need without all the overhead for insurance premiums and salaries. As time goes on and you get more established, you can look to add more permanent staff members later.

Alternative Spaces

Being budget conscious about your start-up equipment and staff needs are a large part of the puzzle, but there’s another one you need to focus on as well: your business space. Starting your own business doesn’t mean you need to go out shopping for primo store fronts or the typical brick-and-mortar buildings.

There is a plethora of options out there for those just starting out in their business ventures today (and even for those well-established ones who are looking for a more budget-friendly avenue). Many choose to carve out a space in their residence to help cut costs that way, but there’s a third option to consider as well: coworking spaces.

Coworking spaces can be a great way to keep your start-up costs in check because they offer a fantastic business setting without the fantastic pricing. Essentially, you share a communal office area that comes complete with all your basic needs (so you’ll cut down on equipment expense as well) and offers a professional atmosphere to present to clients.

Overall, there are a number of ways you can stay under budget on your start-up, you just need to be smart and resourceful about it. Do your research, stick to what you need, and explore options that give you the most bang for your buck.

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces
15 July

Conference Room for Rent? Wowing Clients with Professional Spaces

As the coworking movement continues to trend, entrepreneurs are beginning to see more and more of the advantageous benefits of their memberships. Among them is the ability to wow prospective clients with amazing professional spaces on a budget. Some of the greatest advantages to coworking spaces and conference room rentals is the minimal overhead and maximum utilization.

Professional Space Memberships and Rentals

If you’re unfamiliar with the coworking trend, it’s essentially a shared office space which allows freelancers and entrepreneurs alike to work alongside others in a professional setting with minimal costs. It’s catching on quickly, in large part because it allows business professionals to work in some amazing (and fully equipped) spaces with very little overhead expense.

With several options available today, memberships range from full-usage, unlimited access, to conference room rentals for specific meetings. These spaces are designed specifically to meet the needs of any business professional while allowing for budget-friendly flexibility and accessibility.

What Conference Room Rentals Offer

There are a number of reasons you may find the need for a larger meeting space. Annual budget meetings, conferences, or even just to impress a specific client – whatever your need, conference room rentals might be a great option.

Many people think of these areas as hotel meeting rooms with closed off panels and outdated décor. It’s difficult to make a good impression with outdated surroundings weighing in on the meeting. That’s where the coworking movement and conference room rentals come in. Today, there are several options available for coworking spaces and conference room rentals in much more elaborate (and fully equipped) settings.

The Benefits of Conference Room Rentals

Whatever your reason for considering a conference room rental, there are numerous benefits to the rented space options. If you’re considering a conference room or meeting room rental, here is a look at some of the greatest benefits to keep in mind:

1 – The Wow Factor

Perhaps you don’t have the space in your existing office environment to accommodate a larger meeting, or maybe you just want something with an impressive view. No matter what your reasoning, renting conference rooms can offer you the chance to truly impress potential clients with functional and updated areas. Particularly, if you’re conducting business out of a small home office, professional conference spaces can supply you with a much more professional atmosphere for meetings.

2 – Fully Equipped

It’s difficult to host a meeting if you’re lacking specific technology and equipment. Depending upon your current office situation, it may be quite costly to purchase items such as multiple phone lines, projection screens, interactive whiteboards and other tech needs. Renting conference rooms offers all of the technology you will need to hold a successful meeting without the ridiculous overhead expense.

3 – Convenience and Budget-Friendly

If you’re a budget-conscious entrepreneur (and let’s face it, we all are), coworking spaces and conference room rentals are a fantastic way to stay in the black. By keeping costs to a minimum and offering flexibility of usage, these shared spaces are a great way to conveniently take care of some of the basics of your business needs.