635606023196693744-569474344_DrSeuss

 

Over the past week, the world celebrated the birthday of one of the greatest minds to ever walk the earth. Theodor Seuss Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, would have turned 111 years old on March 2nd. Many adults, like myself, grew up reading Dr Seuss and his multiple brilliant works of literature, such as: The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, and many, many more. While some may quickly dismiss that anyone can learn life lessons from a children’s author, here are five quotes from Dr. Seuss, that are also important life lessons, for every entrepreneur.

“I’ve heard there are troubles of more than one kind; some come from ahead, and some come from behind. But I’ve brought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see; now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”

No matter what happens in life, there will always be roadblocks. Life isn’t perfect and anything worth having in life will not come easy. Successful people are always the ones who do not let roadblocks get in their way and have the perseverance to overcome every problem that comes their way. A lot of people might not know this, but here’s a fun fact about Dr. Seuss. His first book was rejected 27 times before finally being published. The world may have never known who Dr. Seuss was had he given up after the 26th time. So expect problems and mistakes to occur, but always face them head on and never quit because that 28th attempt to do something might just lead you to success.

‘‘Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!’’

Be yourself! Plain and simple. The most successful people in life are true to themselves and will not conform to anyone’s image of what they should be. Do you think Mark Cuban, Bill Gates, or Richard Branson got to where they are now by sucking up and doing what others thought they should be doing? Cuban was fired from his first job, Gates dropped out of college, and Branson was told he would end up in jail. Now they are all billionaires. Take risks and do what you love, but always remember to be yourself because you are ultimately going to be the one responsible for your successes in life.

LIB-Dr-Seuss-1-1g3f8dh

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.”

If you are not where you want to be in life, then do something about it. You are not a tree! The most successful people in life are the ones who are never content with what they have, and are always dreaming bigger. You are the only one with the power to improve on anything you want; but you have to be willing to take the risks and try. Many celebrities, such as Tyler Perry, Jim Carey, and Halle Berry were once homeless, but they knew what they wanted and never stopped trying to achieve their dreams. So understand what you want in life and that you are the only one who will determine where life will take you.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Always take time to educate yourself. If you are trying to be the next Steve Jobs, why not learn from his successes and failures? One of the best pieces of advice my former boss gave to me was to always find time to read for 30 minutes a day. No matter how old you are, or how wise you may think you are, there is always something new to learn. Knowledge is powerful and the more you know, the better equipped you will be at handling problems that will occur. So take some time out of your day and read something, whether it be a book or an online article, because the more you know, the more places you’ll go.

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Failure is a part of life. Every successful person in life has failed. What separates them from the average person is that they will not let failure be the end of the journey. No matter how many times you fall down, always get back up because if you persevere enough, you will ultimately get rewarded for it. So take the positives from your previous endeavors and learn from the mistakes because the lessons learned will build your character and help on your journey to success. Like the quote says, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.

It is truly amazing the impact that Dr. Seuss still continues to have on many people years after he published his last book. The lessons he teaches from them are clear reasons why he is still celebrated today. So conquer your troubles, be yourself, choose your destination, educate yourself, and learn from your mistakes. And for all those that think they cannot learn anything from a children’s author I leave you with another Dr. Seuss quote, “Adults are just outdated children.”

Dr-Seuss_The-Places-He-Went_HD_768x432-16x9

 

For any entrepreneur that would like to learn ways to improve their business, contact Officense, and find out about the many ways we will help your business succeed.

Written by KF

Posted in 2015, Arts and Entertainment, Biography, Business, Dr Seuss, entrepreneurs, growth, Inspiration, Personal Development | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

lent-ecardIt’s Friday night and you’re at your neighborhood sports pub for your usual ½ Price Pizza Pie Night when you notice your weekly pizza-night cohort ordering fish and chips. You think, has my friend been abducted by aliens and replaced with his British doppelganger? Then it hits you…Is it Lent already?!

The Lenten season’s origins can be  traced back to Roman times. Potential converts seeking to become Christian would spend several years in study and preparation. At the end of the intensive process, there would be a final period of “purification and enlightenment” for the remaining 40 days preceding a convert’s Baptism at Easter. The rest of the church began to observe the season of Lent in unity with the church’s newest Christians and so Lent became an opportunity for all Christians to recall and renew the commitments of their Baptisms.

Yesterday marked Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Day, the day devoted to indulging before the start of Lenten’s fast today on Ash Wednesday. During the fast, Christians will give up certain meats, and refrain from something they would normally indulge in or particularly enjoy… such as Pizza! Besides pizza, small business owners can use this period to give up some of their business bad habits in favor of good business. Here are a few extravagances to give up:

    Meeting in Excess 

  • MeetingMeetings are great and truly necessary to advance projects and ensure everyone is on the same track but nothing disrupts the flow of productivity like unnecessary meetings. With tools like email, instant messenger, video conferencing and chat platforms like Skype, it’s best to only use meetings for introductions and serious discussions that can only be held in person.
    • The United State Bureau of labor statistics found that in the USA alone, 11 million formal business meetings are had each day.
    • About $37 Billion is wasted in unnecessary meetings every year.
  • Founder of Blue Grace Logistics, Bobby Harris, recommends that people don’t accept meetings unless the person who requested it has put forth a clear agenda and stated exactly how much time that will be required.
  • Even then, Harris recommends giving the person half of the time they initially requested.

    Data Protection Denial

  • HackerShred-it Information Security Tracker 2013 survey, found that:This isn’t just a bad habit—it’s a dangerous one – as seen with the impending lawsuits Sony is facing after their systems were hacked leaking personal employee and celebrity information.
    • 69% of small-business owners are either unaware or don’t believe their companies could experience a financial impact if their data is lost or stolen.
    • 40% don’t even have protocols in place to secure data.
    • About 33% don’t train their staff about information security procedures.
    • 48% don’t even have anyone on staff that is responsible for the management of data security
  • All businesses need to regularly back up their data, create policies for employee use of social media and the Internet, and install software to protect their networks and their client’s data.

    Muffing Mobile Marketing

  • Mobile optimizedvSplash’s 2012 study found 98% of small businesses don’t have mobile-optimized sites.
  • 86 million Americans use their smartphones to get retail information and 62% of them use their smartphones to help them to shop at least once a month.
  • eMarketer reports that retail sales from mobile devices will top $38 billion this year, climb to $52 billion next year and soar to $109 billion by 2017.
  • With numbers like that isn’t it time you get on the mobile bandwagon? Be sure to have your web host utilize responsive design, which will provides users with an optimal viewing experience by offering easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling involved.

Traditionally, after being without during Lent, Easter can be a feast and all of the things you had given up will taste much sweeter upon getting them back. Now this isn’t true of the business indulgences above… give them up for Lent and hopefully you won’t want them back as you and your business will be much better off without them. For video-conferencing and other ways to optimize your business performance, call Officense and find out how we can help at the fraction of the cost!

http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/225362

http://www.businessinsider.com/bad-habits-that-are-killing-your-productivity-2014-12

https://www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/openforum/articles/bad-habits-in-business-to-break/

http://www.a2zbusinessbrokers.com/5-business-indulgences-to-give-up-for-lent/

http://bustedhalo.com/questionbox/why-do-we-give-up-something-for-lent

 

Posted in 2015, Administrative Assistant, After Hours, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Conference Room, Conference/Events, Cyber security, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, Holidays, marketing, meeting, professional, Small Business, Smart phone, success, Technology, video conference, virtual, Virtual Office, Work, workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Earth globe

Willy from Death of a Salesman famously advised his sons that in order to succeed, one needed to be “well-liked”. And for decades businesses have run on that concept. The likeable guy pushes his product until the client is backed into a corner called “the close”. Well the truth is that now, potential clientele aren’t simply looking for the likeable salesman. Because those clients being “closed” will soon feel closed in and claustrophobic with pushy business selling techniques. Prospects want someone who knows about their needs and can be an advisor for their concerns.

 Death of a Salesman

Stop Selling

When you’re growing your business, either from the fledgling stage or an established corporation, there is often the mindset to “sell, sell, sell”. However, when prospects feel like you’re chasing them down, they may perceive it as desperation from an unsuccessful business and that’s the death knell for your sales. If you want to generate a solid clientele base –Let go of selling.

 Start Chatting

Opening the door for conversation with an open ended question can be the beginning of a lasting business relationship between you and a prospect. The key is, they need to feel that you’re not just selling them something; but you actually have a way of benefiting them. And in order for them to feel that way it has to be true. So be interested in their goals; know the concerns in their industry and offer real solutions, not just whatever is most profitable for you.

Confident

Be Confident

If you don’t believe your product or service can help the clientele you are seeking, quit today. However, if you do believe it, then you need to communicate that clearly and in a way that’s comfortable and conversational for those you’re serving.

If your business has been running on “sales” for a long time than the separation from old ideologies may be difficult; but it’s definitely necessary.

Finish Well

Finish Well

When your client feels that your solution is no longer working for them, it’s okay to try to rework it and help them see the value. However, when they simply don’t—bow out gracefully. How you say goodbye to a client is often as critical as how you say hello. When you finish well with a client, they may eventually realize that they still needed you all along and since you were the company that respected their decision, they just may return.

Hire Wisely

Whether or not your business succeeds is often inextricably connected to how your clients perceive your business. Your support staff is the major key to this perception. Choose and treat your staff well and you will be abundantly rewarded with client satisfaction and business success. Yet sometimes you just don’t have the time or resources to get the staff you desire. That’s where Officense comes in. You can call us or stop by our office and we’ll talk with you about what solutions you may need.

And don’t worry—we won’t close you in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2015, Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Executive Assistant, Funny, History, Inspiration, manager, Maryland, Office, Small Business, Theatre, Tips, Virtual Office, workplace | Leave a comment

How many times have you wished for a work-at home opportunity to knock at your door? Are you tired of the 3 hour commute each day and of being stuck in traffic?

You’re not alone. Times are changing and thanks to the daily advancing communication technology The Time is predicting that employers will increasingly encourage telecommuting. Let’s take a look at the statistics: According to the Forrester Research’s US Telecommuting Forecast 34 million Americans work from home and the number is expected to reach a staggering 63 million – or 43% of the U.S. workforce – by 2016.

Sounds like your wish of working from home might become reality sooner than expected. But let me give you a few words of advice on your way of becoming a digital nomad.

home office 1

Invest in creating a comfortable work area (that’s not your couch or bed).

The thought of conducting business from your bed might seem tempting; however, designate an office area to physically move from your personal to your work life while residing under the same roof. An office with a door is ideal, as it helps prevent distraction from household activity and creates an external cue that it’s time to work. If you’re not as fortunate and don’t have enough premises available, consider giving OFFICENSE a call.

Create your daily schedule and stick to it.

It’s easy to get sucked in to being available for work 24/7 and sometimes the lines get blurred, especially when you’re self-employed. That’s why you should maintain your normal business hours – whatever they may be. By keeping a relatively consistent schedule, it’s easier to maintain a distinction between your professional and personal lives.

shirts-591750_1280

Get dressed every day. (Or not.)

You don’t have to put on your best suit, but there certainly is a psychological benefit to swapping pajamas or sweats for decent clothes. While your favorite onesie might be super comfortable and cozy, it most likely won’t translate well into your work performance.

Draw a definite line between private and professional life.

Even a simple gesture, like closing the door while working, will send a distinct signal to your family or roommates. Sometimes you might even feel like changing your venue every now and then. Just give OFFICENSE a call and learn about our endless office space and service solutions. We have offices of all sizes and amenities in the prestigious Baltimore business district available.

Take breaks and aim to leave the house at least once per day.

Do what you would normally do on a lunch break at an off-site job. Would you go for a walk to grab a to-go sandwich at your favorite French bistro right around the corner? Or would you eat your lunch while watching the newest season of The Walking Dead? Even a quick nap will help to re-energize and prepare you for getting back to work.

African-American man working at home.

Keep distractions to a minimum.

While working from home has tons of advantages, it also sketches out distractions that can easily sway you from the tasks at hand. Your most dangerous enemy hereby is SOCIAL MEDIA. Surfing the net, posting pictures of your little ones or reading the hottest news on Twitter sounds like lots of fun, but it also lowers your work productivity.

No matter if you’re a work-at-home dad, virtual assistant, online reseller or remote IT project manager, the key is introducing a level of self-control that’s implicit when you’re in a traditional working environment. Take advantage of the fact that you can tailor your environment to your own particular preferences and strengths.

Make sure to stay on top of the game and most importantly… enjoy it!

Written by MP

Posted in Business, Conference Room, distraction, entrepreneurs, facebook, family, Guide, home, home office, Like, manager, professional, remotely, schedule, virtual, Work | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There are a lot of reasons why you, the entrepreneur or small business owner, do not have an office. Maybe this is your first start-up. You just got this thing off the ground and are still operating on financial fumes. There’s no money in your budget for a dedicated working space, despite how much you both want and need one.

Or maybe you, the roofing contractor, are out in the field all day every day and have never seen the need for an office. It’s an added expense with no justifiable reason. But then comes the day when you need to dedicate time in front of the computer to focus on those 8349857 estimates that needed to go out yesterday. But your laptop doesn’t balance very well on the center console in your work truck. Not to mention all the dirt and tools being in the way. So you head over to the coffee place twice a week and try to get things done.

The bottom line is as follows: for whatever reason, you think you are stuck working at your local coffee shop. You get there bright and early to claim a table as your own. And then set up camp… Because you will need to be there ALL day. Along with the 15 other solopreneurs.

coffee office

The coffee shop is not the place to be conducting your business.

Why is it not a good idea? Here is a whole plethora of reasons.

There is zero working space, private or otherwise. Just look at the example above. Every inch of table space is accounted for and odds are you are forced to share those precious few inches of tabletop with another guest. And let’s talk about laptop battery life. Being near an outlet is an absolute must. But if you have a laptop, a beverage, and a snack, there is no way you can work all that. Especially with only half of a standard sized café table that is normally grouped with the comfy chairs in the corner. Unless you’re good at this, of course.

plate-spinning

Not to mention the fact that all the other people need the same outlet you do. So the odds of actually being next to one are slim to none.

And speaking of private, working on private client details in public is a big no-no. I realize you’re probably not working on highly classified information every time you’re in a coffee shop, but you may at some point. It’s easy to forget where you are when you get caught up in work. The last thing you want to do is work on confidential client information while in a very public place. You never know who is peeking over your shoulder. Think about when you’re on a train. You wouldn’t have your laptop screen open with sensitive information on the screen while sitting next to someone on the train, right? The coffee shop is no different.

peeking eyes

You never know who’s listening.  All it takes is one person to hear the right tidbit of highly sensitive information from your phone call. Next thing you know, they are blowing up the Twittersphere with your coffeehouse conference call. It is never a good idea to conduct a private conversation in earshot of 20 other people. Not only is it rude to everyone involved, including your client, but it’s also no longer confidential. So that means you have to step outside and take the call. Even when it’s 20 below in the middle of a snow storm. No one wins here.

The rush hour distractions. High volume times = more customer turnover. As in Grand Central Station turnover with lines going all the way back to the front door. This also means more chaos and loud conversation. It’s hard to stay focused when you can’t even hear yourself think. Going during rush hour is risky anyway because it’s harder to find an outlet seat. Or any seat. Top all that off with our natural human desire to people watch means you aren’t getting any work done.

expensive-cup-of-coffee

You have to spend money.  Okay this one might be a stretch, but let’s look at it from the “being a good human” perspective. First of all, when you are there ALL day just purchasing one cup of coffee is probably pushing it a little. (Even if it is a $12 venti café mocha soy latte with a double shot, whipped cream and sprinkles.) Just like restaurants, the corner coffee shop is affected by turnover; if, for example, you are not going to the cafe to work, and you know that it will be full of people not getting up from their work and there will not be a seat, you will probably choose a different shop. That coffee shop just lost business due to low turnover of tables. If you are working all day, you would need to buy things at least once an hour to justify your all day occupancy. And don’t forget to tip. Well. This equates to your billable hourly rate taking a nose dive thanks to all those lattes and croissants you have to buy.

I think you’re starting to get what I’m putting down here.

Still need more convincing?

Ok, then. You have a crucial new client meeting. This is THE client you have been waiting to land. If you get this one account you’ll be set. Obviously, you have to make your absolute best first impression. But your current home office is mom’s basement. And that circa 1975 décor with the blue shag carpeting and your bean bag office chair and end table desk will most certainly do the opposite. The only other option is the kitchen. But it’s your mom’s turn to host bridge club. Not exactly professional. So you GPS yourself over to the tiny window table two inches from every other window table at Starbucks. When you walk in you realize it is mommy play day. And you learn that children can screech at the same decibel as a jet engine. Who knew?

coffee play date

You tell me. Is that really your best impression?

I didn’t think so. But we can help.

The truth is you are NOT STUCK working at your local java hut. Why not?

Because of Officense.

You can bring your clients to a Class A premium, well-appointed meeting space at a fraction of the cost of leasing your own space. We can help you make your best first impression every time when you need us. And you don’t have to worry about that extra overhead when you don’t.

Call us today to see how we can get you out of the Coffee Shop of Horrors rut and into the kind of non-branded office space you and your clients deserve.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

steve-jobs-31

 

December is one of the greatest months of the year. Many people from all over the world celebrate holidays during this wonderful month and the New Year is right around the corner. December is also a time when winter graduates finally complete their college experience and embark on their next journey into the real world. I myself was a winter graduate and I remember the scary, yet exciting ideas of what was next in my life. The possibilities were endless. Thinking about all of this brings me to a commencement speech given by one of the greatest entrepreneurs, Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple. The 2005 Stanford University commencement ceremony speech Jobs gave is arguably one of the greatest speeches of all time. Regardless of your background, career path, or goals, there are incredible lessons to be learned from it. The speech centers around the three themes: connecting the dots, love and loss, and death; with each part equally as fascinating as the others.

Connecting the Dots

In the first part of the speech, Jobs describes his early childhood up to college. Put up for adoption by his biological mother before he was born, he was all set to be adopted by a lawyer and his wife; however, at the last minute they decided they wanted a girl instead. His parents, who were on the waiting list, wanted him but his biological mother refused to sign the papers because his mother never finished college, and his father never finished high school. Jobs’ biological mother finally relented months later when his adoptive parents promised to her that he would go to college one day.

[Seventeen years later, while attending Reed College, Steve Jobs, unable to see the value in higher education, dropped out of college.]Over the next 18 months, Jobs slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, returned soda bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and walked 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. Jobs said dropping out was one of the best decisions he had made in his life; it enabled him to stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest him, and drop in on the ones that did. It was at this time that he started going to calligraphy classes and was fascinated by it. The content he learned in these classes later became his foundation for the Macintosh typography.

The core statement of the introductory part of his speech is about having faith in the future. There is no way of knowing what is in store for you, but you have to trust that everything you’re doing now will all connect together in the future. “Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Love and Loss

Jobs started Apple in his parents’ garage with Steve Wozniak when he was 20. Within 10 years, the company had grown into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. He was on top of the world at 30, and then he got fired. Steve Jobs had a falling out with the person he had appointed CEO of Apple and when he tried to organize a boardroom coup, the Board of Directors sided against Jobs and he was out. He felt like a failure, like he let the last generation of entrepreneurs down. What helped him persevere through this was that he still loved what he did, so he started over. “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

After getting fired from Apple, Jobs went on to create NeXT, a computer company, and Pixar, which created the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and met his future wife, Laurene. Pixar is now the most successful animation studio in the world, and NeXT ended up being bought by Apple, and the hardware created there became the foundation for Apple’s OS X and iOS.

In this portion of the speech, Jobs emphasizes persevering through roadblocks and loving what you do. The most successful people in life are the ones that fight through the hardships and failures. “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.”

Death

In closing, Jobs talks about how he was diagnosed with an almost certainly incurable form of pancreatic cancer; however, the doctors discovered that it could be treated with surgery and that he was fine now. Unfortunately, no one at that moment in time knew what was going to happen years later. The cancer returned and Jobs passed away in 2011. However, at the time of his initial diagnosis, Jobs stared death in the eyes and beat it. Having faced death, his message was live everyday like it was your last. One of the most memorable quotes during that speech was, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Don’t be afraid to take chances because the most successful people in life are the ones that did repeatedly.

The speech ends with a story of Steve Jobs and a publication that he loved growing up called The Whole Earth Catalog. On the final issue, there was a quote in it that stuck with Jobs throughout his life and that was, “Stay hungry, Stay foolish.” As he wrapped up his speech, he wished the graduates the same words that he had always wished for himself. 4 simple words yet they tied together all the parts of his speech and life perfectly. So to all the new December graduates looking to start the next part of their lives, Stay hungry, Stay foolish.

If you would like to get your business started or to help your current one flourish, contact Officense and find out about the many ways we will help your business succeed.

Posted in 2011, 2014, 2015, Apple Inc, Biography, Business, Death, entrepreneurs, growth, Inspiration, iPad, iPhone, Laurene Jobs, leader, leadership, Mac, NeXT, Perspective, Pixar, Speech, Steve Jobs, success, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There is a special feeling ‘round the world in this time. It’s in the crispness of the winter chill, triumphant song  and humble gratitude. It’s in the scent of cumin and warm spices of varying colors. Traditions of the Christmas celebration have danced across centuries, nations and the hearts of merry-makers.

Asia

From stolen moments of Sung Tan Jul to large parades, romantic dinners, mango and large quantities of fried Chicken, the Christmas traditions of Asia are as varying as the cultures of the people on the largest continent on earth.

Although Christmas joys can come with a penalty in North Korea, South Koreans enjoy festive trees and ice cream cakes. In Japan, the holiday has become similar to Valentine’s Day with festivities centering around romantic excursions for couples, but singles and couples alike enjoy KFC and often need to make reservations to ensure they get their share. In China, the holiday is not official, school and work remain in session; but celebrators still enjoy decorations such as the Tree of Light, decorated with paper flowers and chains. In India, those who celebrate do so by decorating mango and banana trees.

 

Africa

 

Merry Kisimusi is the thing to say (amongst other greetings) on a bright African Christmas Day. The nations celebrate in different ways and merry-makers are of a variety of backgrounds. In Senegal plastic trees and blow up Santas are purchased. Nairobi utilizes fake snow to imitate a white Christmas; Ghana celebrates with candlelit palm trees, while Liberians gather ‘round bell laden oil trees.

 

All the décor however, doesn’t compare to the celebrations found in countries across the continent. Celebrators attend church and then form a festive parade in some locales, carrying carefully crafted paper lanterns or children swathed in leaf skirts dance and sing with homemade instruments.

North America

 

From Alaskan pineapple doorways to Canadian Mumurings to the Rockefeller Christmas Tree lighting and the Native festive dances, Christmas is celebrated in many ways in North America.

Many enjoy cozying up by the crackling fireplace with stockings hanging from the mantle, attending a candlelit service or singing carols through snow quieted streets and drinking cider with friends in the United States. Canadians enjoy Christmas day, but the festivities continue through early January as “Mumerers” attempt to fool friends and loved ones by disguising their voices and yelling outside the door of their homes in exchange for treats. Alaskans carry a star on a pole through the streets of towns and stage roadside plays which commemorate the Nativity story. In New Mexico, Natives of the old tribes celebrate the Christmas story with a service and dances.

South America

 

Ancient tradition and the inevitable effects of modernity both play their part in South American Christmas celebrations. Some attend the midnight mass, called the mass Misa del Gallo in Chile, and enjoy large feasts of dainties. Argentinians believe the birth of the Christ child occurred on 24th and so celebrate on Christmas Eve. Peruvians and Venezuelans celebrate through the beginning of January. The children of Venezuela set out straw and water for the Magi’s camel and hope to awake with the black smudge of Balthazar’s kiss on their cheek for luck. We can also thank the warmth of Latin America for the beautiful Poinsettia plant that reminds us all of Christmas joys.

Antarctica

 

What would seem a winter-wonderland to those in warmer parts of the world is actually a summer scene in Antarctica. Christmas is celebrated by Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with a footrace around the world (those who wish to use other means besides their feet may do so). However, at the South Pole the journey is not nearly as arduous as it may sound. In fact, the journey could be made in a few minutes, but for kicks they make the course a few miles long. Yet, beyond the races is the quietude of the holiday celebrations. Christmas is greeted in the evening with soft carols of the station choir, gentle reflection on the meaning and the longing from researchers for home and family.

Europe

Everywhere there is a feast, streets are filled with carol and song as Europeans recognize the biggest holiday of the year. Christmas in Europe is greeted with Christmas markets from Brussels to London, pine trees, decor and gifts. Lights dazzle Parisian socializers, and a midnight mass of organ and song soothes the ears. Finland may consider their country to be the Christmas capitol as the nation is widely named as the home of Santa. Yet, in Rome, it is not Saint Nicolaus who receives wish lists from children, but the famed Santo Bambino, whose statue isn’t far from where the Pope delivers a Christmas message in Saint Peter’s Square.

Australia

For Aussies, Christmas is in the warmer months, so Santa comes in on the beach and the day is also often celebrated away from home. People eat outdoors and exchange gifts during the holiday that marks their summer break. Christmas trees are still a staple and plenty of goodies to eat are a must. As in many other parts of the world, Australians enjoys Christmas lights; however, since it’s in the summer, they can enjoy them without the shivering cold.

 

No matter what traditions you enjoy, Officense has your business needs covered and can even cover you with 24/7 communications if your Christmas goes global.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.antarcticaonline.com/culture/culture.htm

http://mentalfloss.com/article/58810/8-antarctic-traditions

http://www.worldofchristmas.net/christmas-world/south-america.html

http://www.latina.com/lifestyle/christmas-facts-latin-america

http://traditionscustoms.com/christmas-traditions/christmas-north-america

http://www.ilac.com/news/a-north-american-christmas-an-inside-look-for-esl-students/

http://goafrica.about.com/od/peopleandculture/a/christmas.htm

http://www.one.org/us/2012/12/17/how-africa-celebrates-christmas-2/

http://www.xmyase.com/asia.php

http://www.mydestination.com/travel-articles/721444/100-christmas-traditions

http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/australia.shtml

http://travel.aarp.org/articles-tips/articles/info-10-2013/travel-in-europe-christmas-holiday.page.2.html

Posted in 2014, Christmas, Fireworks, Holidays, New York City, Outdoors, Perspective, Small Business, Virtual Office | Leave a comment

Witcrowdsh Christmas so near it would seem there would be an abundance of holiday cheer. Mere weeks away though, stressed out gift-givers can be found across shopping centers fighting over parking spaces, the year’s “it” toy, and spreading words and actions that don’t reminisce with the joy, peace, and love intended of the holiday. Luckily, Baltimore has a great line-up of holiday inspired events to keep you in high and holiest spirits to keep you cheerful this season

  • A Miracle on 34th Streetmiracle

A block in Hamden that bears the same street name as the famous 1947 Christmas movie, truly is quite the spectacle. Since 1947, the 700 block of row homes on 34th street has taken the meaning of “deck the halls” to a whole new level as neighbors adorn their homes with giant inflatable snow globes, musical trains, and even a life size Grinch. The Christmas decorations and lights display, rumored to be visible from space, will be celebrating its 67th year this season. See one of Baltimore’s greatest community light shows through January 1st, including all night on Christmas Eve.

  • MonumentThe Holly Jolly Holiday Lights Trolley Tour

Love the lights, but hate the parking around 34th Street? Then come enjoy the splendor of Baltimore’s holiday lights on the Holly Jolly Trolley. Departing from the Inner Harbor, this whimsical trolley ride will take you on a festive tour of Baltimore’s most decorated neighborhoods and attractions. Avoid the crowds and see Hamden’s world famous 34th street Christmas Festival of Lights and the first monument to George Washington light up Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. Through December 28th, the trolley departs from the Pier 5 Hotel in Harbor East on weekends and tickets are available via: http://tickets.baltimore.org/default.asp

  • A Christmas Carol presented by The Chesapeake Shakespeare Companyxmas carol

One of Christmas’s most enduring stories, A Christmas Carol, is coming to Baltimore! Until December 23rd, the Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic tale of the season’s most famous bah-humbug will be presented by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. With a Charm City Twist, Join Scrooge as he embarks on his journey through past, present, and future in Baltimore’s 19th century business district in the heart of Baltimore’s business district, the Inner Harbor. For tickets, visit: www.chesapeakeshakespeare.com/tickets

  • The new skating rink at McKeldin Square located at the intersection of Pratt Street. and Calvert Street is due to open up.  We are lIce Rink at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor

The Waterfront Partnership’s newest addition to McKeldin Plaza is a great way to spice up your next date night, teach your kids how to ice skate or simply get fit while having fun! The Inner Harbor’s ice skating rink will be open daily, with special programming and events happening throughout the season and up to January 19th. See more at: http://baltimore.org/article/ice-rink-baltimores-inner-harbor#sthash.3Wb4iFtd.dpuf

  • The Polar Express 4-D Experience4d

The beloved Caldecott Medal winning children’s book, The Polar Express, will be playing at the Baltimore National Aquarium in stunning 3-D and further brought to life with 4D effects. This multi-sensory experience follows a young boy on his extraordinary journey to the North Pole. An immersive experience for the whole family to enjoy, embark on the train ride of the season through January 1st. http://www.aqua.org/

  • German Christmas Villagegcm2

Christmas Village is returning to the Inner Harbor’s West Shore Park for a German inspired winter-wonderland marketplace! Festival goers can shop at the 45 various arts and crafts vendors in the beautiful outdoor wooden booths, surrounding the Christmas tree. Take a lunch break from holiday shopping for a Bratwurst, Lebkuchen [German for Gingerbread], warm up with mulled wine, or sip on a German beer at the Bavarian Beer Garden. Then take a warmth break within the festival’s heated tent and revel in the daily performances of local choirs, bands and performers. This cultural experience is taking place through Christmas Eve. Learn more at http://baltimore.org/article/german-christmas-village#sthash.fTXehczn.dpuf

  • Ring in the New Yearfws

After all these events, if you still can’t embrace the Christmas spirit; know there’s always next year! The celebration kicks off at 9 p.m. at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater with a variety of live music. The largest fireworks display in the region will commemorate the countdown to 2015 at the stroke of midnight. For details, please visit www.bop.org

However you choose to celebrate the holidays, you can rest assured your calls are being answered, your packages received, and appointments are set. From all of us at Officense, have a safe and happy holiday season, and Cheers to a prosperous New Year!

Posted in 2015, Business, Business Address, Chesapeake, Christmas, Conference/Events, entrepreneurs, Events, Executive Assistant, family, Festivals, Fireworks, free, fun, Holidays, Maryland, New Year's, Office, Small Business, snow, Theatre, To-Do, Tourism, video conference, Virtual Office, winter | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It is goodbye turkey and hello Monday – Cyber Monday! Here are some Cyber Monday deals to take care of all your geek and gadget gift giving needs. Be prepared for limited supplies, limited-time sales and restrictions though. So get your mouse clicking finger ready, it’s time to save.

Best Cyber Monday Deals 2014

Amazon

Amazon’s Fire phone is available unlocked for $199, originally $649, in a limited promotion that ends Monday. The phone works with GSM carriers including AT&T, T-Mobile, Metro PCS and Cricket. It comes with a full year of Amazon Prime membership for free two-day shipping and access to free streaming movies and television shows, like FX’s “The Americans.”

Amazon’s new Fire HD 7 tablet deal began Thursday and ends Monday. It’s available for $109 (regularly $139) in six-inch and seven-inch models plus five color choices.

Best Buy

If you’re looking to get your hands on Android Wear for as cheap as possible, we might have a deal for you. Best Buy is selling the LG G Watch, one of the very first Android Wear devices, for $79 as part of its Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. That’s even better than Google’s sale on the watch, and it’s $150 off the device’s list price. Now, we don’t recommend the G Watch — it’s already been superseded by a newer model and it’s been left in the dust by the competition — but it’d definitely a bargain-basement price. It looks like it’s sold out online, but you might be able to find it at a local Best Buy near you. Best Buy is also offering a $50 Google Play credit with purchase, which makes this an incredible deal.

GameStop

Starting at 12:01 a.m. on Cyber Monday through Sunday, Dec. 7, GameStop.com will offer deals on new and pre-owned video games, consoles, smartphones and more. All week long, customers can snag deals both online and in its more than 4,200 retail stores.

  • Online Monday only: save $70 off Xbox One Holiday Value Bundle ($329.99) and $50 off Xbox 360 500GB Holiday Value Bundle ($199.99).
  • Online and in-store Monday: $20 off new video game titles for Xbox 360 and PS3: NBA 2K15 ($39.99), Borderlands the Pre Sequel ($39.99), WWE 2K15 ($39.99); and $10 off BioShock Infinite Complete ($29.99).
  • All week online: pre-owned PlayStation 3 console bundles for $199.99 and Xbox 360 console bundle for $149.99.
  • All week online and in-store: pre-owned Wii console bundle for $89.99 and Nintendo DS bundle for $69.99.

techie gift ideas

Google Play

Though this year’s details haven’t been released, last year Google Play had free MP3s, including pop hits and classics.

“If last year’s spoils were anything to go by, Google Play will be the one-stop shop for any movie buff or music-lover who may have overstretched themselves on Black Friday,” according to DealNews.

Kmart

Kmart and Sears’ Cyber Week deals start Sunday, Nov. 30 at midnight until Saturday, Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. The two sister companies interchangeably allow free in-store pick-up at any of 1,800 Sears or Kmart locations nationwide.

  • Save $100 on a RCA 46-inch 1080p LED HDTV, paying $349.99.
  • Get 50 percent off Hasbro games.
  • Save $70 on Craftsman 42 piece 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Drive Bit and Torx Bit Socket Wrench Set, paying only $29.99.
  • Receive up to 40 percent off Joe Boxer apparel for the family plus save 15 to 25 percent off with code CYBER25.

Office Depot and OfficeMax

The sister stores Office Depot and OfficeMax will have exclusive online deals with a Cyber Monday pre-sale beginning on Sunday through Monday, Dec. 1. Then, the stores will have deals through the week on laptops and tablets through officedepot.com/cybermonday.

Sears

  • Save $80 on Kenmore Elite 5 Qt. 400 Watt Stand Mixers and pay $169.99.
  • Save $30 on Craftsman C3 19.2V Lithium-Ion Hammer Drill Kit and pay $99.99; plus Shop Your Way members get an extra 10 percent off tools purchases at Sears.com, with some exclusions.
  • Save $530 on the Kenmore 25 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator and pay $819.99. Save up to 50 percent on all outerwear for men, women and children (regularly priced from $30 to $180), plus an extra 25 percent off using coupon code: CYBER25.

cyber monday onling shopping_2

Staples

  • Save $100 on an Asus X205 laptop, spend $149 online only.
  • Get a Dell 24-inch monitor for $99 online, saving $100.
  • Get 40 percent off select custom holiday cards and photo calendars in-store and online.
Posted in 2014, Christmas, Hanukkah, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With Thanksgiving right around the corner and holidays such as Hanukkah and Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on this year’s accomplishments.

You’ve been working extra hard to achieve your goals, improve your marketing strategies and dedicate yourself to bringing in new clients.

Remember all the sleepless nights, the overtime you put in on weekends and the valuable moments with your family you’ve invested in attracting new clients? Let me ask you this: How often did you take out the time to show your old and current clients your appreciation?

Research has shown that it takes 8 times the investment to win a new client as it does to retain an existing one. So don’t make the mistake and overlook your present and past customers as they build the foundation of your business and without them; your business would not exist.

To get your creative juices flowing, we at Officense would like to share our top 10 ideas for your own client appreciation campaign that will create a remarkable impression.

keep calm because you're invited MP

1. HOST A CLIENT APPRECIATION EVENT
A client appreciation event is a great opportunity of getting some face-to-face time with your former and current clients. Contact OFFICENSE to find out more about our yearly appreciation luncheon in December.
2. SEND GREETING CARDS ON UNIQUE HOLIDAYS
How many times are we overwhelmed by the piles of holiday cards we receive for Christmas, Hanukkah or New Years? Lessen the chance your card gets overlooked by sending it to customers on a unique holiday. Ground hog day, National Chocolate Day just to name a few… Now it’s time to get innovative.

3. A PERSONAL CALL
There’s no need to break the bank with a lavish gift to thank a customer. By simply picking up the phone and saying “Thank You” or “Happy Holidays” you will make a powerful statement and unique impression.

pick up phone

4. SEND A HANDWRITTEN NOTE
Some might call it Old School others unique. Let’s switch it up a little and send a personal handwritten note instead of an email or tweet. You’ll make your customer’s day—everyone loves receiving real mail!

5. DISCOUNT THE BILL OF YOUR LONG-TIME CLIENTS, JUST BECAUSE
Send a note telling your client you’ve taken a few bugs off their June bill as a way of showing your appreciation for their loyalty.

6. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – SHARE IT!
You’re the expert on your product and service, so show it off a bit to provide useful information and educate your customers. An email newsletter or blog would be a great start.

7. MAIL HEALTHY SNACKS TO THEIR OFFICE
Who doesn’t like snacks during a busy day at work? By sending a healthy snack variety you show more than just appreciation.

Thank you in different languages

8. CREATE AN HONOR ROLL ON YOUR WEBSITE OR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE
Even though it’s not The Nobel Prize or The Grammys, you can still make your clients feel special by highlighting your best customers.

9. SEND SMALL GIFTS OR GIFT CARDS
Cupcakes from your local bakery, a Starbucks gift card, and even movie tickets are a great way to say “Thank You”. The better you match your client’s personality the more you show just how well you know them.

10. GIVE REFERRAL REWARDS
One of the most valued compliments you can get is a referral to your business.

Of course our list could go on and on, but now it’s up to you. Try out some of our tips or incorporate your own ideas to make a positive statement. We can guarantee that it will set you apart from competitors, cultivate client retention and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

For more information call (410) 814-7500.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving 11.26.14 mP

Written by MP

Posted in 2014, appreciation, Autumn, call, Christmas, client, Coffee, discount, Food, free, fun, Hanukkah, Holidays, loyalty, note, presents, referral, relationship, rewards, social media, Thanksgiving, unique | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment