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Cool Office Space

Want to find a cool office environment?

Especially the next generation of entrepreneurs wants to work in a  cool office space environment. The way we do business nowadays has changed tremendously with the advances of computer and communications technology. Take Google's offices for example, the relative young company is not only innovative when it comes to their products and services, but also in the creation of work space. Modern companies understand that productivity in an office increases if the creativity of the employees is enhanced by particular designed areas for recreation. Additionally, features like stairs and elevators can be replaced with slides and ropes. This unusual design does not only create a cool office space, but also a more happy place for people to work. As a business owner it is important that you surround yourself with likeminded people to network with, trying to make everything happen from home can be challenging, particularly if you run into the dead ends we all know to well. Getting out of the home office can help you with a variety of benefits. Meet other company owners and expand your companies reach Participate in meetings of networking organizations Receive referrals from companies in the same office Meet new clients Brainstorm for new ideas to be more productive Discuss new ideas and possibilities for your product or services Find potential partners and funding opportunities Have a more professional support system on hand ( Phone answering service, virtual assistant, VPN, servers, etc.) Plug into the resources and technology of the office platform These are just an example of the many more benefits of working and meeting in a cool office space. People want to be entertained today and they will do business with you if they see and believe in your creativity. If you can differentiate yourself from your competition with innovative ideas and a hip way to capture their attention, you will most likely earn their business.      


How to Sell stuff

Selling a Product or Service? Create a System

How to sell a product or service strongly depends on your brand awareness and your specific market segment. Selling becomes easier if you have an established brand for what you are trying to sell. At the same time you still need to implement a system for selling specific items or services. In order to be successful at selling you need three mayor ingredients. A quality product or service Quality is the perception of fulfilling or exceeding your customers expectations in relation to competitors items and price. Nothing is easier today than finding reviews and evaluations of products and services online. They can be written by either a customer, who already owns the item, or by companies who test and write reviews professionally.  Either way, you can get a good impression about something before you buy it. Additionally, a great way to receive some free marketing, helping you selling your offer. A lesser quality product has to have a significant lower price in order to be competitive in the market. You will find buyers which are more budget oriented, as well as those who look for a superior product and are willing to pay a higher price. How to sell your particular offer needs exact determination of your niche. The system you establish to make people aware of it must be appealing, consistent with a clear call of action, and a follow up system. An excellent system in place to sell it The implementation of a how to sell system is also depending on your selling method and the market you target. Are you a wholesaler? Then your target would be retail shops and resellers. Are you operating online only? Then you need to establish a system which identifies and leads potential customers to your product. Do you sell in a retail store? Then your system would be more steered towards advertising campaigns on TV, Radio and billboards. In any event a how to sell system can be build best by gathering data about buying patterns. Then target your efforts towards building a list of potential customers and follow up with them in the future. What you want to accomplish is that you make people aware of your brand and offerings, and have the ability to target your market to those who have shown already interest in similar items or the same brand. By building a list of those potential clients you have a way to stay in front of them. Building the system includes: Determining your target market Marketing to potential clients Call to action List building Follow up system Retargeting if necessary Drive massive traffic to your offers The art of how to sell anything, finally needs a massive amount of potential customers looking at your offer and not somebody else's. Therefore you must drive traffic through your marketing campaigns. In the online world you would target specific "keywords", if you are a wholesaler you will do business to business advertising and as a retail shop you will specifically use a mix of advertising through the internet, newsletters, radio and TV shows. Local marketing and networking, as well as the usage of social media is strongly recommended for brand recognition and the establishment of trust. Remember to be consistent with your marketing strategy, ideally you want to plan for one full year of activities when you are starting out. Once you have established a list of customers you can work on a follow up strategy and also market new products or services to those clients first.


Business Environment

Are you choosing the right business environment?

Are you in the right business environment in order for your company to flourish? Experienced entrepreneurs know that next to being passionate and dedicated to their businesses, they need to surround themselves with the right people. When you are just starting out, chances are you work from home, just because it seems that is the cheapest alternative. Saving money and avoiding unnecessary expenses is a smart decision to make; however, you also do not want to socially isolate yourself. Nobody knows about your dreams and plans, if you do not share what you do. While this is mostly a marketing plans purpose, you also need to be in the right business environment in order to connect to the people who can help you stay focused and benefit you the most. There is a reason why tech-companies move to Silicon Valley, because that is where they find like-minded peers, mentors and investors for their start-ups. What business are you in? Are you networking with potential clients or companies who can refer business to you? Are you easy to find for people who are looking for the product or service you offer? Do you have a professional office setup where customers can find you or your representative? These are just some questions you need to consider in order to determine your company’s outreach. Being in the right business environment can help you to not only brainstorm with compatible businesses, but also gives you an instant exposure to potential costumers and other companies who can become strong referral partners for you. Trying to save money while at the same time you have zero marketing and exposure going, can be the reason why your business is not taking off. Being surrounded by people, who can motivate you in a more professional setting than a home office, will benefit your business in the long term. Making an investment, which is minimal, but gives you maximum results, definitely makes sense. Consider a few thoughts when it comes to the decision of where you want to be located and what you want to be recognized for. Who and where are your potential customers? Do your customers have multiple ways to find and contact you? Is your corporate headquarters situated in a business environment appropriate to your companies industry? Where can you surround yourself with companies beneficial to your business


Coworking Space

What actually is coworking space?

Coworking is often referred to as an environment or network of independent workers, coming together to fulfill a task. These workers are generally work from home or in a shared work space environment and are connected virtually. Many companies see the advantage of hiring freelancers to work on projects, rather than hiring employees. Also many start-up companies are looking for coworking space where they can commingle with other related businesses. The concept is perfect for many reasons and is widely spread throughout the world. In the USA alone more than 1200 locations are in existence in the majority of the metropol cities. But also Europe, Asia and UK have widespread locations to offer, enabling companies to utilize cost effective working space. In the last few years business centers have opened in many locations with different strategies. While some offer the more exclusive private office environment, others bet on an open space concept in a very lush work setting. Here amongst work stations and tables also more comfortable and relaxing areas can be found. Both attract their own category of coworking businesses, very much depending on the exact field they are in. It also helps many of the independent workers not to be socially disconnected and at the same time not to be distracted by the coffee shop or home office environment. The cost are very minimal and flexible, many locations start for around $50 per month for the most basic virtual office package and offer different packages depending on your specific needs. Services or office space which you are utilizing is only paid for the exact time you require it. Wired and wireless internet as well as VOIP phone technology and videoconferencing is the standard for almost all of the coworking spaces. All this makes the concept a very smart decision to either start or run a business in multiple locations for very marginal pricing.    


Fear of Failure

Why many businesses are unsuccessful due to the lack of understanding fear and failure

Fear of Failure can quickly cause your business to decline or may stop any growth process in the making. When things are running smoothly we usually "feel" on top of the world and our imaginations do not know any limits. It is very unfortunate that most of us learn limitations while we grow up directly through our environment. We are not born with any limits, as children we explore without fear until limitations are set by our parents. This continuous throughout life for the majority of people, in school, in college, in your whole social environment. It is called social conditioning. If you are not realizing early on that you have the choice to create your own believe system, then you will just stereotype after the masses. In order to get control of any fear of failure, you need first to understand that fear is nothing but an emotion and emotions are created by how you think about something. Thoughts can be changed if you chose to do so and therefore you can also adjust the way you feel. Like with anything else in life, we have learned and trained ourselves to run certain programs on autopilot. While in many instances this can be very helpful, it may be very destructive in other situations. As an example, take the way we learn to drive a car, particularly one with stick-shift. At the beginning you can barely coordinate all the task you have to exercise at the same time, but with proper training you stimulate your neural system to memorize everything, so it becomes habitual. We do not even think about how to drive a car, we just do. In this example we have learned to operate a machine safely and we created a habit which serves us. Unfortunately the same technique applies to many bad habits we develop. If we hear, see, think and feel something often enough, we basically practice by repetition and it becomes a habit. Smoking, drinking, excessive eating, anger, frustration, wasting time watching to much TV or play video games, overspending and overuse of medical drugs are just some of the typical destructive habits you can create. Being to fearful and worry all the time can create a strong "feeling" and fear of failure. It literally becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You may have done whatever it took to prepare an outstanding presentation to get this new important customer, but still it did not work out. If this happens several times you may not want to try again, because your mind thrives into the wrong thinking process, making you "feel" like a failure. It does not mean you really are, but because you are not looking at the whole picture, you only find this one possible explanation. There can be many other possible reasons why a customer does not close on a specific deal, trust me in most of the cases it is not you. Instead of sinking into self-pity, analyze a situation in the whole. Take responsibility if you find you could have done something better, but leave all possibilities on the table. Learn from an unsuccessful experience, adjust and move on. Sometimes things are just not happening the way you want them too. This is a normal part of life, it does not mean you have to give a negative label to it or "feel" bad about it. The fear of failure is nothing else but a response you trained yourself to feel. It is not real, only if you make it so by believing it.  


Frustrated with your business?

How do you deal with frustration in your business?

How many times per week are you getting frustrated with your business? How do you usually deal with it? As business owners we have a higher rate of problems that we are usually facing on a daily bases. The good news is that we can learn how to face and handle them better. Frustration is the result of a thought process, an opinion you have about that particular occurrence. If you think it is bad, if you give it the emotional meaning of being frustrated, than you probably will be. Monitoring your thoughts can help you to better understand that nothing what apparently happens to you is neither good or bad, it is just there. The label or value is given by the observer, so what ever might be frustrating for you, might not bother me at all and vice-versa. Now that we know that, we can adjust the way we think, we can just look at a situation as it really is, not making it better or worse. Especially do not give it any emotional meaning. The emotion of the frustration you feel, comes from the wrong thinking you do and thoughts can be changed. Now this all sounds pretty easy, but changing anything, is always harder done than said. If you have trained yourself unconsciously  to react in a certain way instead of observing the situation first, then you body has memorized this emotional label. This functions similar to a hard drive on a computer, but on a biochemical level in your neural system. Every time something similar happens your body will go back in the same state almost automatically, exactly like a program you have started on your computer. This reaction, needs to be interrupted in order for you to be able to change it. The pattern has repeated itself many times and your response program to be frustrated runs on autopilot. It has become a habit, like brushing your teeth in the morning. Something what you do, without having to think about it. Now, we human beings are choice makers, other like an animal who can only react instinctively, we have been given free will. You can interrupt the process by stopping for a moment and become aware of your reaction, than disregard the upcoming feeling and neutralize it. If you do this multiple times you can basically un-train your body to react, the feeling of being frustrated will parish, as you now have given the circumstance a different, less or entirely not frustrating emotion.


The Economy Today

How does it influence your business

The economy today is oftentimes made responsible for once own financial situation, when in fact each cycle of the economy has the potential to earn a significant amount of money. Business people and investors know that, they study and anticipate how the market will develop and than act in accordance with their findings. Unfortunately the average employee most likely wont know about a change in the economic cycle and is faced with the facts when it is already to late to act. Having one hand on the pulse of the market can help you making the right decisions before you are faced with the inevitable. You can not necessarily believe what the media or the government will tell you about the economy today, according to them the economy is never bad. Fortunately there are many very good independent sources to find out about the state of an economy. First you have to understand that there are economic seasons. Similar to the four seasons of an annual cycle, the economic cycle also has a Summer - This is when the economy is booming, sales are up, house prices are through the roof, it is easy to get a loan and everyone feels that they are missing out on something, when they are not investing in the stock market right now. Everybody is talking about it, get on board, otherwise you will regret it later. Here is the problem, in summertime it is already to late to invest, because everything is overpriced and over valuated. If you know that, you better get prepared to liquidate your assets take the capital gain and reinvest it at a better time. If you sell in summer, you will get most of the money for your assets. Autumn - This is where the shift happens, sales are slowing down, the supply exceeds the demand, prices start to stagnate and eventually begin to fall. If you have not sold your assets yet, this would be a good time to still try, otherwise you will have to sit it out throughout the winter. Look at the economy today in a critical way, make decisions based on facts, not hearsay. For a business autumn is a great time to work on and improve marketing strategies, the business now goes mainly to the brands which are recognized and have a strong marketing plan. Top corporations are experts in forecasting the economy today, they have too, in order to make the right decisions at the right moment. Companies who believe they can just wait it out until the market picks up again are sometimes disappearing overnight. An example of that could be seen in 2008 when the economy basically collapsed due to the housing bubble. The recovery is still holding on until today. Winter - In the economic winter time, we are actually in a depression, the prices for housing and goods fall. This is the time where the few people who have liquidated their assets in summertime now make a killing. Properties are bought at rock bottom prices, very often for pennies on the dollar. This is how you create the economy today for a richer tomorrow. Cash is king and many are looking to invest slightly before the market goes into spring time. For businesses, winter time is great to get prepared for the next upswing, train your people, work on your marketing and sales strategy. Look for new markets with a more stable economy. Expand and invest into your business, so you can benefit the most once the recovery phase has started. Spring - In the economic spring time, we are entering the recovery curve, meaning the economy is starting to improve. This can be seen by lower unemployment rates, increased returns and profits. Don't forget it is the people who decide when they are ready to start spending again. The smart entrepreneur now starts through to explode into the improved economy, prepared with a great marketing plan and motivated staff, you know work on increasing your market share, gain more customers and invest smartly to expand your enterprise. The economy today and its seasons described above run in cycles of about 10 years. That is the reason why many successful people say that overnight success will take you ten years to accomplish. If you are starting or building your business, it is best not to participate in the opinion of the mob. You will learn quickly that you cannot get discouraged by bad news or a fluctuating economy. You rather must develop the skills to find the right information and act on your intuition. After all you know your business best and anticipation of economic development is key for your business to become successful.


Business Ethics

Use your common sense

To keep it simple, business ethics is nothing else but being honest and truthful with your customers and other businesses. Conducting yourself and your company in a truthful manner, avoiding trick and scheme to gain profits. Sounds pretty much like common sense does it? Yet still everyday we hear about corrupt business practices for capital gain, some industries are more susceptible than others. While we can expect that every company makes it sound like their products or services are the best or do not disclose any weaknesses, we need to find the fine line of effective marketing and unethical business practices. If the perceived value of the advertising is fulfilled by the expectation of the customer or the company has a return policy, than no harm is being done. On the other hand, if the direct opposite is the case and you make promises which you knowingly cannot fulfill, than you act unethical and fraudulent. To maintain proper business ethics just align yourself with some basic rules of conduct. Tell the truth and disclose what you know Don't do to others what you don't want others to do to you. Be honest and admit mistakes you will gain your customers trust and respect Don't try to make yourself or your company look better than you actually are. Always tell the truth over popularity. Before selling, build a relationship with your customers Exceed your customers expectations. Under-promise and over-deliver. Create a true value for your customers. Use your common sense in difficult situations and have a strong customer service policy. If there is a doubt, than the customer is right. Educate your staff to present your company in an ethical manner. Build a strong reputation by maintaining high standards of business ethics. It is hard to believe that companies have difficulties to align themselves with these simple, most logical steps. Lawsuits and costly litigation procedures are happening all the time just because of misconception or non-dislosure. This can simply be avoided by creating strong policies and uphold of a honest business approach. Think long term success and not temporary gain.


Home Office Tax Deduction

Home Office verses Virtual Office

A home office tax deduction quickly comes to mind when starting your business from home. Likely you want to save the money for the office expenses and associated commute. These are probably your first thoughts, cutting expenses where ever possible, until your start-up becomes profitable. While this occurs to be a good initial solution there are a few things you have to know in order to qualify for the home office tax deduction 1. Your place of business has to be registered at your home address 2. Your home office is a separate room which is solely used for your business, it needs to be clearly identified as an office. 3. The exact square footage of your home office needs to be measured and disclosed. Only under the above circumstances are you allowed to claim your tax deduction for your home office, but it probably comes to a bit of a surprise that you wont save a lot of money. Lets assume you have a house which has a total living area of 2000 sqft, your mortgage interest payment and related cost for utilities is $1500 per month. Your allocated home office is 120 sqft, so your tax deduction for the home office is $90 per month. The annual total amount cant be used against any business losses, but must be carried over. In many cases the home office tax deduction only comes out to a few dollars. Remember you can only claim the cost associated with the exact size of your home office. Having a virtual office or an executive office suite on the other hand is a business expense that can be deducted in full. The cost are very marginal, at the same time you have a more professional office appearance with administrative staff on site, representing your company. Even if you do not really need an office all the time, having a real commercial business address has its benefits. Many banks require you to have a real business address and do not accept the home address as the primary place of business. This is particularly applicable if you have incorporated your company. If you chose a business center as your main address for your company, do not claim your home office tax deduction, the IRS likes to check on the home office status quite often.


Shared Office Space increases by 80%

An exploding industry

By the year 2020 it is estimated that 40% of the workforce will have a shared office environment as their primary workplace. The co-working office space concept is an exploding industry and has increased by over 80% in just one year. This is not only creating employment, but also creates a significant part of the GDP worldwide. Technology makes it possible, it connects the world and makes virtual communication possible. Video conferencing and even virtual cyberspace meeting rooms are the norm of today's high tech business centers. The perfect solution for the small business, professional or even established company. Whether you are a start-up or a business who expands in other markets. The shared office space concept just makes sense. It is not only cost effective, but also gives you the freedom of flexibility while maintaining a very professional image for your company. A variety of virtual office plans are at your disposal to minimize initial cost, you can just use the business centers business address to register your company and utilize the office space just as you need it. You can scale your plan up or down, depending on your needs or the performance of your business. The turnkey office space solutions make it possible for you to start working immediately, just plug in and work. Many business owners are concerned with the high cost and long term commitment, required by traditional leases. This in turn has lead the industry to adjust to the modern entrepreneurs needs. Virtual Office workers are at your disposal in the same way. The shared receptionist and phone answering staff are widely available. You may also hire virtual administrative personal to assist you with a variety of everyday task. The trend is clearly visible, virtualization is the key word to the future business world. Shared office space has come a long way in the past ten years with an exploding increase of the industry just recently. This shows clearly that even in a declining economy, new businesses and opportunities can flourish. Innovative concepts emerge when they are needed and make progress possible.


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