Monday, 28 October 2013

Preparing Your Business for an Office Relocation

Most businesses will have to go through the process of moving office at some point, whether it is due to expansion or simply the rental lease has come to an end and not to be renewed for some reason. To make your move run more smoothly the first thing to do is compile a checklist of what needs doing, with a time frame so it gets done in plenty of time.

There are particular people that you will need to notify if you want the business running smoothly in your new premises, this is known as a communication plan and ensures you don’t miss anyone off the list. Here is a rundown of who should be included in your plan:

  • Your employees – these should be amongst the first to know about the move and it’s essential they have all the details so they can be part of the process and know what is expected of them.
  • Your customers - all of your clients (especially regular and important customers) need to know about the move in advance, especially if you are changing phone numbers. If you can, notify these people via mail and email, as well as providing signing at your current operation.
  • Suppliers – your suppliers need to know the date and address of your move and location in order to get your delivery on schedule. 
  • Utilities and other services - you will still need electricity and other services at your new premises, so be sure to contact utility companies as well as courier services and the post office about the impending move.
  • Financial institutions - this is often forgotten these days with the prevalence of online banking. However, you will not want new company credit cards and account statements heading to your old address so this is very important.

Be sure to activate a voice message with details about the move if you are changing phone numbers. It is also a good idea to change email signatures to let people you deal with know about the relocation.

Make a plan for the new offices with regards to what each room is to be used as, where the offices are situated, and what special technology and equipment needs to be installed before the move. This also applies to any refurbishment or renovations that might be necessary for the business to run effectively and will be easier to complete before the building is full of people and furniture.
Moving a business can take up a lot of time so the more organized you are, the easier it will be. Moving and self storage services can provide complete packages where they do practically everything, from the packing and loading to the removal and unloading at the new location. If you have the budget for this then it might be worth saving yourself the headache of organizing it all yourself, if not then delegate certain tasks to other members of staff to share the load.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Dressing Up Your Home for Sale

Ever wonder why some of the best retailers who are carrying the same line of products with the rest are reaching or even exceeding their sales targets? There are so many factors that contribute to their success, but there are some obvious ones. Marketing, presentation, and packaging. Making your sales rack organized, well presented and easier to navigate is just one big factor that lead to high sales. This is also true when real estate companies and agents pre-sell properties - be it condominiums or landed properties. They create a 'showroom' where everything is well organized, planned and beautifully designed. These agents don't actually sell the property, but actually, the idea and lifestyle that entail the property. With a well-organized concept, potential buyers are not bothered with the clutter of the new home.

What if you are selling your home but don't have the resources like these property companies have? What can you do within your means?

You can make your home look as attractive as possible before you have sales inspections. By creating some space and de cluttering your house, you can achieve a faster sale and a better price. Dressing or 'staging' your home for sale is common practice, and involves using new furniture or adding decorative items to make your home more appealing:

  1. Start by simply tidying your home.
  2. Organise storage for furniture that looks worn or out of place. If you feel that there are some pieces of furniture that you don't need even at your new place, just sell or give these away. By doing so, you are saving some storage space and have some extra cash to do the next few items.
  3. Don't buy new furniture -  do this to create a lifestyle that you think your home can achieve to sell to potential buyers. Don't but but rent these instead for the period of the sale.
  4. Have your lawn mowed and your garden cleaned. It is not only about the inside of the house but the external fa├žade, as well. Add plants where needed. You can even plant temporarily, just dig the plant into the ground, pot and all.
  5. Remove all the clutter in your home and place this in self storage as well if you don't have space. But if you can just do away with these, do so. This will save you some money by only hiring a smaller storage space that is just enough for the items that you need.
  6. Make your home mildew free. Make your home smell as homey as possible, so make sure it smells good and has lots of fresh air through it

When you dress your home for sale, it is not about just cleaning it up, but it is all about creating that kind of idea of a lifestyle that you think fits your current home and your potential buyers could latch on and entice them to buy the house.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Tips For Renting Extra Storage

While renting a storage unit may sound simple, there are some easy ways to make even better use of any paid storage solution. Not only will you want your items to remain in pristine condition, but you also want them to be as safe as possible while fitting in as much as you can for your money.
  • Flooring - while storage lockers are dry, it is a good idea to use pallets to keep your items off the floor.
  • Label everything - make sure you can easily identify what you have in your storage room by labeling all boxes and keeping a list.
  • Keep it clean and tidy - you don't want to damage your goods, but you also want to avoid damaging your storage unit. Make sure nothing can fall or scrape against the door or walls.
  • Pack it in - make sure you try and fill up as much empty space as possible without it becoming dangerous. Pack heavy items at the bottom and use the space on top of these items for lighter objects.
  • Put anything you think you might need to get hold of during the storage period at the front of the unit for easy access.
  • Make yourself a little plan of what is in each box and where exactly in the unit that box is located. Then if there is any need to find a particular item you will be able to put your hands on it straight away.
  • Have a small ladder of stool on hand in case you need to reach the higher levels of the unit. Make sure that whatever it is you use it’s sturdy enough to hold your weight and the weight of the object or box you will be lifting down.
  • Furniture can often be taken apart and this makes it a lot more efficient to pack. Chair or table legs might be able to be unscrewed and bed frames dismantled. Remember to keep all the nuts & bolts and screws all together so they can easily be put together again when the time comes.
  •  Chairs can be stacked seat to seat and placed on the tops of tables to make more efficient use of the space.
  • Don’t be afraid to stack high, as long as the items are secure against the walls it shouldn’t be a problem.

If there is furniture in your unit then use the space they offer. For example wardrobes can have items stacked inside, drawers can be used for books and papers, even the interior of fridges can be used for extra storage space. Just be aware that the door of a fridge has to be kept open otherwise it will go musty inside and smell.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Renting a Storage Unit for your Business

Storage units are a great option for businesses that need to free up some space, or have a lot of surplus stock or extra equipment lying around that they don’t want to part with. It’s especially useful for businesses that experience seasonal demand or for storing backup equipment safely, expensive machinery, computers, cooking equipment or any other business equipment that’s costly to replace.

When looking for business storage, make sure you research the facility you intend to use by dropping by and inspecting the location and the building. You’ll also need a list, or at least an idea, of what you want to store (as well as its size) so that you can have a clear idea about the size of the unit or storage space required.

If storing expensive equipment then you may also need to look at insuring it. Whilst the storage units will be insured by the company it’s probably only covered for a minimal amount, which is unlikely to be enough to replace any equipment in the rare case of damages or loss.

Another point to consider is if you’re using the storage unit for emergency equipment, promotional materials, retail stock or seasonal supplies, find out how easily or quickly you can have access to your belongings if it is not 'self storage'. Some facilities will incur a charge each time you want access and so costs can soon mount up if this is the case. Or they may actually close at certain times and you might find you can’t get into the unit until the following day. These are all factors you need to take into consideration before choosing a particular storage facility.

Businesses need to look for a facility that is flexible and secure, as well as being affordable, available 7 days a week and conveniently located. Whether your business is small-scale or a multi-national corporation a business centre self-storage service can assist with freeing up space in your premises and clearing clutter. Money can be saved too as you won’t have to rent a larger building or hire extra security to safeguard the equipment or supplies.  

Storage units are also useful for storing private files and documents and past clients files, these can easily mount up as, by law, client records have to be kept for a certain number of years. These are the kinds of things that take up a lot of space but are hardly ever looked at unless there is an issue that arises where past records have to be examined.

Think of your storage facility as having extra premises but not having to maintain them as the storage service will take care of everything, including the cleaning and security. All you have to do is pay the fee each month and leave the rest up to them. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Self Storage and Hollywood

Whilst it might seem a long way from being a glamorous destination, a self-storage facility has featured numerous times in films, books, and TV, either as the main character, so to speak, or in a cameo role. 

Self storage units have appeared in television shows, such as Auction Hunters, Dexter, 24, and Criminal Minds, and made it to the big screen in:
  • Citizen Kane - this movie made in the 1930s mentions a storage unit.
  • Larry Crowne – this 2011 Tom Hanks movie is about a middle-aged guy who reinvents himself after losing his long-term job and decides to go back to school. Some of the filming for a scene is shot at a storage location.
  • Steel Homes – this is a Scottish documentary about the fascinating contents and history of storage units, released in 2008. Reality TV is extremely popular and this is a series that has taken off as people are fascinated by the things that these containers can conceal and what they can tell about people’s lives. Storage Wars is another documentary that follows 4 people in competition with each other as they bid frantically to buy up the best units and discover what fortunes they have won. Then there is Auction Hunters with 2 guys travelling all over America to find the best units.  
  • Primer - a science fiction film where time machines that were used in the film were located in a storage facility.
  • Esposito is a feature-length romantic comedy made in 2011 that tells the story of a guy who wins his dream girl’s storage locker at auction and puts the contents to good use by winning her affection.
  • There have also been two major films called Self Storage. One is a drama about a man with a broken marriage, while the second, in 2013, is a horror flick. It’s a story of Jake, a night watchman at a self storage facility, whose pals are home from college. He invites them to the facility to party and the night turns into one of pure terror.
  • Breaking Bad – In season 5 Sklyer has to decide what to do with all the illicit money coming into her car wash and, as she can’t launder all of Walt’s cash without making people suspicious, she does what any clever criminal would do and goes ahead and rents a self-storage unit.

It seems that writers find the idea of a storage facility as a great creative outlet for their mysterious characters and dramatic plots, and when you think about all the stories that exist behind locked doors in a storage facility and the secrets and mysteries they could possibly hold, you can understand the appeal they have.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

How to Start Your Own Business Through Bootstrapping

You may not have a lot of cash on hand, but that doesn’t mean that it is not possible to start your own business. While it requires much creativity and resourcefulness, creating a successful venture through bootstrapping is highly feasible. This article lets you in on some useful tips and ideas on making it work.

In a way, bootstrapping is starting your own business without proper financing. And to do so without risking failure, it requires highly creative means of acquisition and use of resources. It also relies a great deal on establishing networks, trust and cooperation with external parties. With clever use of innovative ideas and resources, it is highly possible to create a successful venture which you can call your own. Here are some ideas on what you can do to make it work:
1.       Buy on consignment
If you are running a retail business, be it an online or brick and mortar store, inventory usually takes up a large portion of your budget. The good news is, you don’t have to pay for the stock up front. Buying on consignment means getting the goods from your suppliers first and paying only what you eventually sell. You can return the rest of the unsold goods to them, provided, of course, that they are in the original and undamaged condition. Your cash flow will look a great deal better if you made your purchases on a consignment basis.
2.       Get the cheapest self storage available
It’s important that you have somewhere to store your inventory. Even if you are selling the stuff online and you don’t really have a retail space, storing them in your home is not a good idea. Your dog, cat, or even kids may try to help themselves with whatever you are selling, thereby damaging or even consuming your inventory without you knowing. One of the best and cheapest ways to store your inventory is to rent a self storage unit. Besides getting a good price (which is, again, important to your cash flow), it provides flexibility in terms of storage size and rental period. Some of the most successful online stores started with the help of self storage facilities.
3.       Use pre-owned office equipment
You want to save every cent you can, so forget about getting the latest laptop, printers or photocopiers. Go for pre-owned office equipment instead of new ones. It frees up your cash for other more important stuff.
4.       Work from home
This is probably the oldest trick in the book, but it is still the best, particularly if your business is online or doesn’t require an office to receive customers. Rental can often make or break a small business, especially when it is just starting up.
5.       Obtain loans from relatives and friends
If cash is absolutely running out, the banks are not loaning and you don’t want to give up a piece of your company to any angel investors or venture capitalists, perhaps friends and relatives could be of some help. Many successful ventures start with small, friendly loans. Of course, it is important that you pay back the money as soon as you can, or else you run the risk of losing your friends and family!
It is possible to start a business with very little cash, and with some creative ideas, who knows where it can bring you!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

The Storage and Maintenance of Training Equipment for Martial Arts Schools

With the popularity of the martial arts rising around the world, martial arts schools are increasingly becoming common in many places. Whatever the style, the type of training equipment can be more or less the same. This article shows you how to maintain the training equipment when they are not in use. 

The martial arts often conjure an image of a solitary hero doing spectacular kicks and strikes to his multiple opponents. It is precisely this image that has propelled the proliferation of martial arts schools around the world, no matter whether the style is from China, Japan, Korea or Brazil. With this come many different types of training equipment, from the punching bag to crash mats to kicking pads. These equipment can last a long time, provided they are maintained well. Here are a few points to take note of when maintaining equipment.
1. Clean regularly
This cannot be emphasized enough. Cleaning with an anti-bacterial agent gets rid of bacteria that can otherwise spread to other students. Cleaning also helps maintain the material of equipment such as kicking pads and punching bags. Of course, the most important equipment that needs cleaning is the training mat. Make sure training mats are cleaned before and after a training session as those are the biggest breeding ground for bacteria.
2. Repair any damage fast
Why not wait, you ask? Well, it’s simple; it saves you loads of money. Smaller equipment like target pads are easily torn and will get worse if not repaired promptly. The target becomes harder to repair when stitching come off too much. Start repairing with the damage is small and it will save you a whole lot of money in the long run. Many repairs can be made with some glue and leather patches. Smaller ones can even be repaired with bicycle tire patches.
3. Check all screws regularly
Equipment installed with screws have to be checked regularly. This is most important for chin up bars and other hanging equipment. A loose screw can mean a major injury for a child or an older person. Make sure screws are well oiled and tightened just right. Make sure also no weight baring metal cables are rusted as this can potentially weaken them. Ban any use of weights machine if the cables are rusted or stretched. Get them replaced.
4. Storing
You might have some spare equipment or extra mats that you feel need not be in the school all the time, or if you regularly organise competitions that require equipment to be in tip top condition, you need to find proper storage for them. A self storage facility could be an option as they usually have enough space for big equipment. Make sure all equipment are cleaned before storage to prevent mold from growing on them. Wrap them in cellophane if you will not use them for a long time.
A well maintained set of equipment will show the professionalism and dedication of the school owner and thus, gain the respect of all the students.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Valid Reasons for Taking A Gap Year Between University & Your Working Life

As a student you have to work hard at your studies to get the grades you want, and then it’s straight into the workforce. Taking a gap year means you get the chance to relax after all that academia and to re-energise before you start out on the road to adulthood and responsibilities.

 A gap year is simply taking a break after college or university and before you launch yourself into a busy working life; it can be fun and life-changing and is something that many young people decide to do. It can also be a time for them to reflect on how they live their life and make changes in certain areas, or even to come to a decision about what they actually want to do with their lives.

A gap year can entail anything you want it to, as long as you have the funds! Some people just pack a bag and get a cheap flight somewhere exotic with a rough plan of which countries they intend to visit, they go with the flow having adventures and making new friends along the way. Others plan every step down to the last detail and book all their flights before leaving and have an itinerary to follow. Whilst some work as they go to create extra funds, or volunteer their skills, others just take it easy and use their cash wisely so it lasts them the journey.

Hiking in the Himalayas, volunteering as a teacher in Kenya, working with the street children in Delhi, taking a road trip through America or surfing the seas of Australia, the world really is your oyster and the options numerous. Travel overland, fly, sail, cycle, trek, or do a combination of them all.

A plan is always a good idea, it doesn’t have to be too detailed but you need to have some kind of idea of where you want to go as you’ll need to consider finances, as well as visas and passport issues. A route makes sense too as you’ll need to think about how much time you want to spend in each place in order to see everything, and the last think you want is to have your year finish whilst only half-way through your intended destinations!

Start to plan well in advance as this will give you the time to work out how much cash may be needed, apply for visas and ensure your passport is up to date. Flight tickets can often be cheaper when booked in advance and you’ll have better options for finding discounted fares and cheaper rates. A round the-world ticket can work out a lot cheaper than buying separate tickets for various flight routes, check out STA as they are one of the biggest student flight companies in the world and have numerous routes with low rates, you can also change the itinerary on many of them to suit your destination plan.

However busy you are planning a year’s travel, don’t forget that before you go you will need to organize practical issues at home. If you rent a house then the odds are that you’ll have to give a few months’ notice to the landlord, try to settle your bills before leaving the country as you don’t want the hassle of trying to pay whilst abroad.

Even though a year sounds like a long time it can go very quickly, and then you’ll be back on home ground having to sort out accommodation and look for a job. Coming back to reality can be hard after the freedom travelling offers so you want to make things as easy as possible.

If you have a lot of belongings and furniture already it’s a shame to simply throw them away or sell them, consider putting them into a storage facility so you can reclaim them on your return. This will make life a lot easier as you’ll have all your familiar bits and pieces back and don’t have to go shopping to buy new things, check out your options there are lots of storage companies out there that offer reasonable and low rates for students.