michael scott

What is a leader? One can define a leader as somebody whom people follow, who guides, or directs others. Whether it is the CEO of your company, or the captain of your varsity sports team, leaders come in all different forms, sizes, shapes and backgrounds. The one common thread is that leaders are needed in a group of people, and vice versa. A group of people without a leader becomes a disorganized mob, and a leader without a group is just someone walking a path all by themselves.

Not all leaders are destined to succeed, and even the ones that do have failed many times in order to achieve success. Steve Jobs got fired from Apple, and then went on to create NeXT and Pixar before being hired back and bringing Apple out of bankruptcy. What separates successful leaders from unsuccessful leaders is perseverance and learning from failure. Here are 10 reasons why leaders fail.

1. Arrogance too cool for school

Arrogance leads to thinking that you are “too cool for school.” Having a horrible student mentality is a major character flaw for aspiring leaders. You can always learn something new in life that can better yourself, and once you reach the pinnacle don’t stop learning. Arrogance goes beyond exaggeration of your abilities, as it also has to do with importance. This leads to the thought that rules and standards do not apply to you.

2. Melodrama 

The best leaders are always the ones who give credit to the team before themselves, the ones who use we instead of I. People who are melodramatic need to be the center of attention no matter what the situation is. They always have something going on that everyone “needs” to hear about.

3. Volatility turk

Someone who is volatile is by definition, “liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse.” These people tend to have mood swings. When you think of a leader, you always picture someone who has a great poker face. When the pressure is on, they never have a meltdown. Maybe they do behind closed doors, but they will never let you see them in that state of mind. No one wants to follow someone who cannot maintain their attitude, or someone who is very up and down.

4. Excessive Caution mj

Everyone is afraid to fail; however, not taking any risks at all in life will lead to failure. Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Like I said earlier, great leaders have failed multiple times on the road to success. They also weren’t afraid to make the big decisions. If a leader is not empowered enough to make tough calls, then they seem weak and no one wants to follow a weak leader. Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.

5. Habitual Distrust

These people will always focus on the negatives. Negative people lack the magnetism needed to attract and retain people. It also leads to insecurity which is not a great quality to have as a leader. Some of the best advice I have ever gotten from one of my former bosses was about trust. He said, “I know I’m going to get lied to. It’s my job. But I either have to completely trust someone or not at all. Once it gets to the grey area, there is no coming back from that.”

6. Aloofness ron swanson 2

People who are aloof are disengaged and disconnected. Some other adjectives are unfriendly, distant, detached, antisocial, and unapproachable. This should be self-explanatory as to why a leader might fail if they are aloof. Do I really what to follow someone who is completely uninterested in what I have to say? Great leaders are the ones who truly seem like they care about the individuals in their organization.

7. Eccentricity

Many young entrepreneurs are told to think outside the box, dare to stray away from the norm, and I couldn’t agree more with that statement. Being inventive, creative, and taking initiative leads to success; however, this is a completely different case. People who are eccentric are described as unusual, and have odd behavior. Basically, they try to be different just for the sake of it. Great leaders stay true to themselves.

8. Eagerness to Please 

officeww(pp_w880_h1232)Business is not a popularity contest. Most of the time leaders will have to make the unpopular decision in order to succeed. Nobody liked the teacher’s pet in school and no one likes the person eager to please everyone. You can’t make everyone like you so why waste your time?

 9. Passive Resistance

What they say is not what they believe. You wouldn’t buy a product from salesman who doesn’t believe in the product so why would you follow a leader that doesn’t believe in what he’s preaching? This leads to skepticism, skepticism leads to doubt, and doubt leads to people questioning your leadership.

10. Perfectionism perfectionist-image

You’re probably wondering how this can lead to failure. Perfectionists want to perfect everything, even the littlest details. This means that little things are always in place instead of the big things. Great leaders know what they are great at, and what they lack. They delegate what they are not great at instead of wasting time trying to perfect everything.

 Every leader has made one or more of these mistakes in their lifetime. I’m not afraid to say that I have. No one is perfect. What makes someone successful is they keep going and learn from their past failures. “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”  For leaders who are serious about their professional image, check out our Officense website and learn more about all the services that we provide that will help your business achieve success.

Written by Kevin Feng

Posted in Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Big Business, boss, Business, Business Address, Business Plan, Executive Assistant, Group, growth, leader, leadership, linkedin, marketing, Office, Receptionist, Small Business, smarter, steps, success, Tips, Virtual Office, workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Redefining the Sole of the Shoe Industry

Bethlehem

 

 

 

 

Who: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Age: 34

What She’s Doing: There is a long standing tradition in Ethiopia of standing firm and
the shoes they wore became symbolic of the struggle. During the colonization period Ethiopian native tire-shoe clad rebels fought off invaders and went down in history as the only nation in Africa to never have been colonized. From this auspicious history was born the brand soleRebels, dreamed up by a daughter of that nation at the age of 24. The holistic model of the company celebrates the rich culture of Ethiopia and creates a sustainable boost to local economy by using 100% local resources, retaining the Ethiopian dedication to independence. Focusing on eco-consciousness and cruelty-free clothing, soleRebels produces popular footwear using recycled tires. The shoe designs are inspired by two other local companies that design shoes from tires. From slip-ons to lace-ups to sandals, these hand-made shoes are taking the footwear business by storm and have garnered a profitability of $5 million dollars in revenue.

The Young Fashionista

Isabella

 

 

 

 

Who: Isabella Rose Taylor

Age: 13

What She’s Doing:  From the time she began incorporating “mixed-media” in her finger-painting as a child, Isabella Rose Taylor has been an avid art lover. At the tender age of 13, the young artist has her own clothing line and is astonishing the fashion world with her exceptional design skills and “preternatural poise.” The vision of the Isabella Rose Taylor line is to create “art with legs” that reflects the collective and individual identity of girls and celebrate the “ever-evolving teen spirit.” The youthful fashionista has met and exceeded the expectations of many with managing a line being sold at high-class department store Nordstrom and even modeled on the runway during multiple fashion weeka, besides being a college sophomore.

 

The IT Kid

Jaylen Bledsoe

 

 

 

 

Who: Jaylen Bledsoe

Age: 16

What He’s Doing: At the age of 13, Jaylen began pursuing the dream of an IT business and three years later, the high school Junior is a noted motivational speaker, CEO of Bledsoe Technologies, LLC (an IT consulting firm), Board Director for the National Youth Rights Association of D.C. and a millionaire. Bledsoe Technologies focuses on providing technology consulting, Google AdWord marketing and other IT support services to small-to-medium sized businesses.

 

The Advertising Game Changer

Brian Wong

 

 

 

 

Who: Brian Wong

Age: 23

What He’s Doing: Over the years of his primary and secondary education Brian Wong’s intelligence and academic skill caused him to skip four grades. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the age of most people are beginning their freshman year of college. However, a couple of years after graduating and landing a dream job with Digg, he found himself unemployed and out of options. Until he caught a vision while pacing the aisles of a plane, watching people play games on their smartphones. Today, Brian Wong is the head of multi-million dollar company, Kiip, which gives people real rewards for high scores on games. It’s win-win for advertisers and users. Users don’t get annoyed by constant banner ads on games and advertisers get contact information since users have to submit emails in order to receive rewards, expanding business advertising reach.

Baby Entrepreneur and Her Boo Boo Goo

Kiowa Kavovit –Entrepreneur - Boo Boo Goo

 

 

 

 

Who: Kiowa Kavovit

Age: 6

What She’s Doing: At six-years-old this tiny inventor was featured on SharkTank and scored a $100,000 investment for her paint on bandages for kids. Since the March 2014 airing of the show, this mini business mogul is singing her ABC’s to the tune of over a million dollars in revenue. She has partnered with a team of wound specialists and is currently finalizing “Goo” plans with manufacturing companies.

Need a Business Incubator to kick start your youthful business? Call Officense! 410-814-7500 wwwofficense.com

Sources:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237318

http://www.isabellarosetaylor.com/

http://bledsoetechnologies.com/

http://www.kiip.me/

http://booboogoo.com/

 

Posted in Big Business, Business, Business Address, ecological, Economy, entrepreneurs, environment, Going Green, google+, growth, Office | Leave a comment

Whether you’re planning on starting your own business or are already an established business owner, raising capital is a core necessity on your way to success.

Therefore, your entrepreneur business plan is literally the bible of your start up’s vision in raising finances.

No single source of funding is necessarily easier to come by than another. It depends on your business model, projections, and how well you can sell yourself to potential financial partners.

But what type of financing is best to shake the “money tree” for your business?

Here are some of the best options for securing appropriate funds to start or grow your own business.

save_money 1. Personal capital

Over 50 % of small business start-ups decide to raise money for their business from personal savings or borrow against a retirement plan, life insurance policy, credit card, or home equity.

2. Friends and family

If you can’t finance your business out of your own pocket, there is another great way to raise capital – friends and relatives. Although the idea of involving your friends and family in your business matters might cause a natural discomfort, it seems to be quite a popular option.

3. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money, typically via the internet.

The term crowdfunding was reportedly created in 2006 by a man named Michael Sullivan and has branched out into a myriad of online platforms for lending money, funding projects and sourcing information. Three of the best- known platforms are Kickstarter, Indiegogo and Pubslush.

4. Angel Investors  

calculator-178124_1280

Angel investors, who are typically well- connected, wealthy individuals, can be a good funding source to consider after you’ve tapped your friends and relatives.

However, be thoughtful in approaching prospective high net-worth investors since they’ll own a part of your company and most likely want a say in major decisions. Therefore,  “ACA recommends that entrepreneurs work with investors who are accredited investors (who meet requirements of the Securities and Exchange Commission) and who can add value to the company via high quality mentoring and advice.” (www.angelcapitalassociation.org)

5. Bank Financing

It’s important to note that small business loans are a lot like personal loans. In order to receive a bank loan you need to have a flawless credit profile and a well-structured and logical business plan. In other words, the bank does not want to lose money by taking too great of a risk.

Grow moneyRegardless of which path you choose, chances are that you may do all of these at some point as your business grows.

In today’s fast paced economic landscape we are forced to utilize our creativity and out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to financing. Let us lend you a hand by generating a professional image for your company presence. Not only do we offer the appropriate office and meeting room space to connect with potential VC’s or angel investors, we also provide a wide spectrum of business services to support your start up or established small business.

Posted in angel investors, bank loans, Business Plan, Capital, crowdfunding, Financing, investment, money, Savings, Small Business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Time magazine article, “Kmart Unleashes Season’s First Christmas Ad”  the airing of Kmart’s first Christmas commercial mere days within the Labor Day holiday, caused an uproar with consumers. The releasing of premature holiday ads kicked off in September of 2013 only mere days behind the NFL’s kick off date! This year K-Mart is at it again with a “Non-Christmas” ad which is more than a little reminiscent of the holiday. Meanwhile, consumers appalled by the premature marketing, took their frustrations to social media:

NBC-Clock-nightmare-before-christmas-17526564-2560-1714“What happened to Halloween and thanksgiving?” one commenter posted. “Stop with the Christmas commercials ALREADY!!” Another raged, “Why don’t you just start this on 1st each year! This is ridiculous and if I see an ad on TV I will never stop in your store!” Kmart’s “Non-Christmas” Ad

In light of this, we are dedicating our latest blog, in a most-timely fashion, to Halloween in Charm City! Whether you’ve been on the prowl for a ghost sighting or it’s the candy that you crave, Baltimore has got you covered! From family-friendly scares to adults only events, below you’ll find a miscellany of local activities sure to amplify your Halloween’s fear factor.

Fells Pt Relish in the cool crisp air of fall weather and take a stroll through one of Baltimore’s most widely contested haunted neighborhoods. The award winning Mount Vernon Ghost Tour allows thrill-seekers to appreciate the community’s historical architecture while guides, dressed in period-attire, escort you through the spirited neighborhood. If it’s another type of spirit that you’re after, check out the Fells Point Haunted Pub Crawl! Ghost-sightseers can sip on a pumpkin-ale while your tour guide accounts tales of spirits startling the local taverns workers and patrons. For a gravely different experience, visit the reportedly most haunted city in the state of Maryland and one of the most haunted cities in the United States, Frederick. This year, Candlelight tours will be extending a historic cemetery tour in addition to their nationally acclaimed ghost tours.

ZoobooCandy seekers can get their fill at the Maryland Zoo. October 24-26 marks the return of the Maryland Zoo’s Zoo-Boo event! Besides trick or treating, kids can enter in costume contests, participate in craft making, play carnival games, or visit their favorite animal. Food and live entertainment will be available.

FrightfestNow through November 2, Six Flags America will be hosting its annual Fright Fest! Here kids can enjoy a pre-Halloween trick or treat trail, Halloween-themed shows, haunted houses and all the usual thrill rides. Fright Fest isn’t just for kids though; check the schedule, as the park is closed to children several evenings for adults-only events, and several new attractions have been added for the 2014 season!

pumpPonyFor family friendly events that won’t put your children at risk for nightmares, Baltimore has several festivals that guarantee fun for all ages. The Harbor Harvest commences its Halloween inspired festivals on October 19. The 7th annual, two day, waterfront festival will be featuring a hay maze, petting zoo, pony rides, face-painting, live music, pumpkins patches and even pumpkin decorating! The event takes place between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and both admission and activities are free.

LanternparadeFinally, the 15th annual Great Halloween Lantern Parade and Festival: Kaleidoscope in Baltimore is no ordinary costume parade. Creative Alliance will be hosting this true community art project where visitors are encouraged to build their own lanterns, learn to walk on stilts, and even participate in the parade as puppeteers! Live music, hay rides, food trucks, various workshops, and the parade of course will be taking place on October 25 between 3:30-9 p.m.

Whatever ghoulish plans you may partake in, you can find comfort in knowing Officense is signing for your packages, screening your calls, and setting your appointments. Likewise, if you need an office to tie up some last minute business, we are conveniently located in the Inner Harbor for you to quickly return to your Halloween festivities!

Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, Arts and Entertainment, Autumn, Baltimore, Big Business, Business, Business Address, Christmas, Community, cut-costs, entrepreneurs, Events, Executive Assistant, family, Festivals, Food, free, fun, Guide, Halloween, Holidays, Maryland, Parade, Pumpkin, Receptionist, Sight Seeing, Small Business, To-Do, Tourism, Trick or treat, Virtual Office, weather, Zoo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anatomy of Businss Plan Cover_text

 

What is a Business Plan?

A business plan is a written description of your business’s future. Simply stated—it’s a document that details what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. If you jot down a quick couple of sentences on the back of a cocktail napkin describing your business strategy, you’ve written a plan, or at least a seedling of a plan.

proper planning

Why Do You Need One?

The answer is simple. It enables you to evaluate the feasibility of your idea. It provides an operating plan so you know what to expect. And it gives you a clear picture of what kind of financial commitment will be required. Remember you are crafting your plan to:

✓ Avoid Making a Huge Mistake – The last thing you want to do is work on your start-up for a year, only to realize you were doomed to fail from the start. No one wants to learn the hard way that they didn’t set aside enough capital to reach their goals, took on partners with the wrong skills and resources, or don’t have a viable way to make money. Developing and sharing a business plan can help ensure that you’re moving on the right path.

✓ Develop a Game Plan – At a start-up, execution is everything. That means you have to set priorities, establish goals, and measure performance.  You also need to identify the key questions to answer, like “What features do customers really want?” or “Will customers buy our product and how much will they pay?” and “How can we attract  or  market to our customers in a way that’s cost effective?”  These are all things you need to address during the business planning process.

✓  Raise Capital – The last thing you want to do is start up your dream business and be completely unprepared for all that is entailed, especially in terms of operation costs, and then not be able to keep your dream afloat.

No time Graphicbusiness-plan

Now you know the “what” and “why” of a business plan, but this only brings about more questions. Where do you find the time? What do you write? What about all these financials? Here are three key points to remember once you are putting pen to paper.

1 – No one’s got time for that
Writing a business plan will take some time. There’s no getting around that part. But you don’t have the time to sit and write for hours. Not many of us do. An easy solution to make it more feasible for your schedule is to break it up into sections. Focus on smaller chunks at a time to help make the lengthy task more manageable.

✓  Section One – Executive Summary
✓  Section Two – financials
✓  Section Three – Support to Back Up the First Two Sections

2 – Relinquish  the Verbosity
The most effective business writing is simple, to the point and easy to read. People are generally busy and will opt to skim your plan versus studying it thoroughly – instead choosing to read it while talking on the phone or checking their email. Save the eloquent sentence enhancers and verbosity for that great American novel you’ll write later. When you’re crafting your plan, remember these tips:

✓  Keep it short
✓  But Be Thorough

3-Show Me The Money
Your financial projections should be based on facts and not wild guesses. Be prepared to justify your numbers to those from whom you are seeking financial assistance. It’s crucial to understand the cost before you get in too deep. That is why your financial analysis is very important.

✓  Create a One Page “Break Even” Analysis
✓  Show how you will gain profits and be a good investment

Business-Consulting1

short expiration

You have a vision for a small business. Putting that vision in writing gets it one step closer to reality and assuring your success. Here are the most important aspects of a business plan to guide you through the process:

✓  Define your product or service
✓  Research your industry & Market
✓  Identify your competitors
✓  Plan how you will market your product
✓  Estimate your Sales
✓  Assign Key Management members
✓  Plan how you will deliver your products or services
✓  Plan your financial statements for 3-5 years in advance
✓  Look into cost saving options like a virtual office space

So, as you can see, a business plan is much more than just a fund-raising tool. You’ll use it for managing yourself, for operating your business and for recruiting your staff. Call us today so we can show you how we can help turn your entrepreneurial dream into a reality.

http://officense.com/

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Happy Labor Day

The aroma of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken grilling with that special sauce your Uncle Lou or Auntie Sally has passed down for generations is wafting through the air. We know your inbox has filled to the max with emails promoting items that have had their prices inflated and then discounted to lure you into the crowded malls and dealership parking lots. You know what this means, it’s Labor Day Weekend.

In Charm City there are loads of attractions and ways of celebrating this well-deserved break (our condolences if you still have to work).

 

 

Maryland State Fair

 

From Cow Palace and Goat Mountain to Karaoke Contests and a Dance explosion, there’s loads of entertainment at the Maryland State Fair grounds. Plus, if you’re missing the hum of engines and longing for the excitement of a good race since the Grand Prix has left Baltimore, you will love the Thoroughbred races on the fair grounds. For those in the mood for old fashioned enjoyment, check out the carnival rides and concession stands.

 

Maryland Renaissance Festival

 

We have few affairs in Maryland that are more old fashioned than the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Lords, ladies, maidens and fools, will all be found upon the grounds in Crownsville,  MD (that was very proclamation-ey). On this year’s docket for an appearance from centuries past are the infamous King Henry VIII and ill-fated Katherine of Aragon. Explore history, experience a by-gone era…and play dress-up at the Maryland Renaissance Festival.

Chris Robinson & Robot Films Presents The Labor Day Robot Weekend

 

Okay, we know we’re supposed to be remembering the laborers of the past and present and the struggle for hard won rights, but you might not be able to resist a form of entertainment far more futuristic—doing the robot, with robots. Check out Chris Robinson & Robot Films’ The Labor Day Robot Weekend.

National Hard Crab Derby

 

If you are a Baltimorean, or if you simply know that crustaceans are best a beautiful red orange and steamed in Old Bay, you don’t want to miss this event. Crab cooking contest, rides, a swim meet, dance contest and a crab pageant –yes a crab pageant. This annual tradition is sure to have attractions for the whole family or an outing for one.

Relax

Labor Day Weekend is meant to be a rest for the weary, so don’t get so busy thrill seeking that you forget to take time for a little R & R. Sunbathe in your backyard or a park that’s not too popular, or read a good book so you can have some “me time”. And if you do need do a little business during the weekend, make it stress free by calling Officense and asking about 24 hour access to meeting space.

 

 

Posted in 2014, After Hours, Baltimore, Beach, Business, Chesapeake, family, Fireworks, Food, Funny, History, Holidays, Labor Day, Maryland, Maryland Rennaissance Festival, Renaissance Festival, Uncategorized, Virtual Office | Leave a comment

The time has come, fall is just around the corner and your summer vacation is in the rear view. While you are in the process of getting last minute school supplies and dorm room accessories for your children, don’t forget that the end of summer also means time to refocus on your work priorities.

Father getting kids ready for school

Now, you finally have the opportunity to shift all your attention to your business and presenting a professional image.

We at Officense understand your relief of having your kids back at school and offer the most effective support. As one of the superior Virtual Office providers in Maryland, we know the importance of a well-structured and maintained business.

Now you might ask: “What is a virtual office?”

That’s a great question. It basically is a combination of off-site live communication, address and meeting room services that allow businesses to reduce traditional office costs while still maintaining business professionalism. Whether you’re a small business owner or an employee, you will now have the freedom of working from any location you want by using modern technology such as laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc.

Work from anywhere

How does Officense help your business cut costs?

By comparing the operations of a virtual office and those of traditional ones, you will rapidly realize that virtual offices are not only an innovative approach to office management but are also much more cost effective. But let’s take a closer look.

Take into consideration how much money you spend on leasing office space, utilities, furniture, a receptionist or administrative assistant on a monthly basis. Now imagine having all of this, whenever you need it, without the heavy financial burden. Our Virtual Office space allows you to have an address for your professional image and access to all the necessary amenities to strive as a business. It also allows you access to conference rooms for a proficient meeting atmosphere and access to technology such as video conferencing.

 

Large Conference Room Officense

Here are some of the diverse services we provide:

  • An impressive, Baltimore downtown location to serve as your business address where we offer a variety of mail options.
  • Live- answering service, screening and forwarding to another number or to a voice mailbox.
  • A phone number with a local area code or a toll-free phone number is provided for business communication.
  • Beautifully furnished offices with window views guaranteed.
  • On-site, professional Executive Assistants, who greet your clients and can even maintain your calendar.
  •  Video Conferencing
  • And many more.

 

virtual assistant

As you can see our options are endless and ideal for small companies and large corporations, as well as entrepreneurs who run their business from home but are interested in expanding to a more professional environment.

With technology advancing so rapidly and workloads increasing along with it, the desire to work from home and alleviate some of the stress that comes along with commuting, juggling family life, etc. has also become very strong.

At OFFICENSE, we understand that it is difficult to run a successful business while making the kids realize that the end of summer also means back to school. Let us help you make the transition as smooth as possible. Call us now at (410) 814-7500 and mention the promo code “Back To School” for 1 month off when registering.

 

Your New Business Office in Baltimore 06.24.14 MP

Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, After Hours, Back to school, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Conference Room, Conference/Events, cut-costs, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, meeting, Office, promotion, summer, vacation, video conference, Virtual Office | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Save keybdLet’s face it, since the decline of the United States’ economy in 2008 Americans everywhere have been forced to make each dollar stretch. Affecting the employees of declining business, individuals have faced pay cuts, layoffs, and a general lack of opportunity. Unfortunately most individuals do not have access to government bailouts or business tax credits and, as our economy relies on consumerism, the demise of consumer confidence continues to take its toll on capitalism. Small businesses and startups also may not have access to big government bail outs and in the face of adversity shouldn’t have to sacrifice to cut costs. Here are some of the top money-saving techniques for your business, big or small, and some, you can even apply to your personal finances!

entrepreneur-home-office

Home-based? If you work out of a home office, a portion of your rent or mortgage, interest and utilities could qualify as business expenses.  You may also deduct a percentage of many home maintenance expenses, along with a portion of the costs of services like

 

Fill it out for free. Instead of buying forms at your local office supply store or spending time creating them yourself, you can find tons of free templates online that you can download, customize and print. Free forms on Form.net can get you started.

Consult with consultants. Thanks to the rapport you’ve probably already developed with them, the professionals you work with regularly are often quite easy to bargain with. Ask your insurance agent, accountant or lawyer how you can cut back on their costs. You’d be surprised at the suggestions they might offer on ways you can cut your premiums, reduce billable hours or avoid huge retainers. You might also be able to barter some of your services in the process.

restaurant biz mtgGet out on the town. If your business requires you to meet clients at their offices or restaurants, don’t forget to take those deductions! For 2014, you can deduct 56 cents per mile to cover your transportation expenses. Additionally, you can even deduct a portion of your entertainment costs if you entertain clients or even potential clients to discuss a current or future project. Just remember to maintain a log of the entertainment-related expenses you plan to deduct.

Compare Credit. If you run unpaid balances on your credit cards at the end of the month, it’s time to shop for a card with a low interest rate. If you pay in full, it’s more important you avoid an annual fee and look for a longer grace period.  Some credit card issuers will actually waive the annual fee or even reduce the interest rate if you ask. Tell your credit card company you’ve received offers from other companies with lower interest rates or no annual fees, and ask if they will reduce yours.

Buy recycled. Local recycled printer cartridge suppliers can be found through most directories or google. Better yet, you can blend your charitable instincts with your printingEnegy-save mone needs.  LaserMonks.com, a re-manufacturing printing supply company out of Wisconsin, is run by a group of monks who, after paying their business expenses, donate their profits. house cleaning and lawn care. Talk to your tax adviser for more information or check the IRS’s website.

Check overstock or used. Why buy new when you can save as much as 60% off retail by buying used or overstock computer equipment, copiers and office furniture from stores like Aaron Rents & Sells? Auctions, newspaper classifieds, and sites like Craigslist.org are all great sources of used office equipment.

Save on Shipping. If you’re near your suppliers, pick up your order yourself-or perhaps have a friend or family member do it for you. Just remember to only pick up supplies yourself when it truly saves you money. If it’s taking you away from a revenue-producing activity, you’re not really saving.

Bank

Bank Early. Make bank deposits early enough in the day so you get credit and can start earning interest that day.

Be a legal eagle. When you hire an attorney, make sure you have a written fee agreement to prevent surprise fees. It should include an estimate of the time to be spent on your case and specify what is covered in the fee-including typing or copying-and what is not.

Learn something new. Rather than hire a consultant to write your press releases, instead, pay one for an hour or two to show you how to do it yourself. You’ll have the added benefit of gaining a new skill which will save you lots in the long run by never having to hire again!

pigattacheAlternatively, a virtual office can be a choice solution for your business-saving needs. For about 10% of the cost of maintaining office facilities and administrative staff! Virtual offices that offer customizable packages, like Officense, allow for you to add and remove services as your business needs change. Call us today to find out more ways we can help you save instead of spend!

 

Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, Baltimore, Big Business, Business, Business Address, cut-costs, Economy, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, growth, meeting, Office, Receptionist, simple, Small Business, video conference, Virtual Office, workplace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remember when you were in seventh grade and the science teacher grouped you up and told you to work as a team and figure out how to drop an egg out of the 4th story lab window without breaking it? Team building for grownups… Yes. It’s exactly like that.

Officese Teamwork

The list of companies and organizations that use team building activities is as vast as the reasons for using them. Some of the more important reasons for implementing them into your workplace: boosting morale, improving communication, increasing motivation and productivity, breaking the ice, learning about strengths and weaknesses and plenty of others. These types of activities can be used by any company, any size, to create a better sense of camaraderie in the workplace, and as most owners, organizers and managers know, having a cohesive, happy team is one of the biggest factors associated with a company’s success. The idea is to create something that is both fun and challenging.

 teamwork puzzle

Communication, problem solving, ice breakers, and tasks that focus on building trust are the four main types of team building activities. The idea is to create something that is both fun and challenging. Here are a few great activities to get you started.

Two Truths and a Lie – Ice Breaker
Have each team member write down two truths and one lie about themselves. Each participant reads their statements, and the other members try to guess which one is false. This game helps to encourage better communication in the office, as well as letting you get to know your coworkers better.

The Great Egg Drop (See? I told you.) – Problem Solving
This messy, yet classic and fun problem solving activity requires splitting the room into two groups to build an egg package that can sustain an eight foot drop. Be sure to provide tools and other materials to the teams. It will be just as fun as you remembered it.

Gossip – Ice Breaker
The group sits in a circle and the “gossip” begins with one person sharing a secret with the person sitting next to them in the circle. The secret is passed as each person shares it with the next person. In telling the secret, it may not be repeated twice to the same person (so the listener must get it all the first time.) When the secret makes its way back to the person who started the “gossip”, it is shared out loud. That person then reads their original and a comparison is made. Laughter and a valuable lesson in communication will ensue.

M&M or Skittle Game – Ice Breaker
Have the group sit in a circle. Pass the bag around and ask people to help themselves to a handful of Skittles or M&Ms, but not to eat them yet. When the bag has been around the full circle, each person must tell one thing about themselves for every piece of candy they took. A variation is to assign a number of things a person must tell about themselves to every color. Of course, don’t tell people about this aspect of the game until they have already grabbed a handful.

It’s obvious to some that these activities are both entertaining and useful. On the other hand, if you know that your staff equates these teambuilding sessions to several wasted hours of their lives sitting in a semicircle talking about their feelings or playing silly games, then a different approach may work best. No one will be happier to see those events removed from their weekend calendar than your staff. Instead, look no further than your own backyard to help build your team.

According to Amanda Schneider of IdeaPaint, the most dynamic workspace is all you need to facilitate spontaneous collaboration and inspire creativity; just use the Five C’s: Comfort, Connectivity, Central location, Coffee, and CNN.

Comfy Office Space

The “Five C’s”

  1. Comfortable spaces have soothing colors, plush furniture, and open spaces in a clean and fragrant environment – so much so that people actually want to go into the office.
  2. Communal spots positioned centrally where people pass builds trust among employees. Steve Jobs believed in the power of casual interactions and the spontaneous conversations and ideas that germinate from those encounters – and thus designed Apple headquarters accordingly.
  3. Connectivity is key so visitors and employees can immediately connect to their electronic and mobile devices on-the-fly without anxiety.
  4. Workers always want a good cup of coffee and a friend to talk to. That not only makes their work experience genuinely enjoyable but also facilitates casual conversations and quick idea exchanges that often turn into more effective collaboration than formal meetings.
  5. CNN on a TV nearby gives employees a connection to the real world so they don’t feel like they are suffocating in a cloistered office without a refresher break.

With the boom in telecommuting over the past six years, it’s been widely believed that the physical office space would go away. Yet today, we are finding the opposite to be true.

Workers may be more productive at home, but they are more creative in the office,” Schneider said. “The office is where we go to be together. Being in one place builds teams much faster – and teams with higher trust levels have much higher rates of productivity than others.”

No one understands the need for creative space more than the staff at Officense. Give us a call today to schedule a tour of our dedicated office and meeting spaces. Let your creativity start here.

For more great team building activities, check out this link: http://lc.wayne.edu/pdf/icebreakers_teambuilders.pdf

And check out these 10 cool workspaces for inspiration:
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/03/08/10-cool-office-spaces/

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Neil Armstrong Blog Image

“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

With these words, Neil Armstrong, and the nation he represented, would be inscribed in history as the first to land on the moon on July 20th, 1969. The Apollo 11 mission wasn’t very long and the brave team splashed down in the cerulean waters of Hawaii on July 24th. But this short week in history lifted the spirits of the American people and changed the course of space exploration and scientific innovation. Experiments are yet being performed based on what had been started on our fateful mission to the moon. A dozen more men would walk in Armstrong’s footsteps on the cold white orb that millennia of people had looked upon in the thousands of nights past.

JFK-

“I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to

Earth.”-JFK

A copper-haired American president, considered veritable royalty at the time, issued those words before a gathered crowd on May 25th, 1961. The crowd was comprised of citizens of the United States who had not yet achieved their bi-centennial and were still reeling from a failed challenge to a large and ancient nation—Russia.

In the last decade Russia and the U.S. had stretched their respective budgets, staffs and pilots in the mad dash to succeed in the mission of launching the first man into space; in April 1961 Russia won. Just over a month later, licking their wounds from the lost bid to beat the arctic nation into the stars, the citizens of our nation rallied around an inspiring promise from a beloved president—that an American would trace the smile of the man in the moon.

The idea of this mission to the moon was birthed at the height of the Cold War and brought the attention of nations higher than the grievances on our tiny planet. To this nation it was proven that there was something great that could be achieved and, to the world, it was said that beyond the borders of this blue-green sphere the drawn lines on our maps became meaningless. Innovation had changed the way people saw themselves and the world around them.

In this same way, corporations, small businesses and one-person-freelance operations prove to themselves every day that they can reach beyond expectations, beyond imposed boundaries of thought. Something incredible happens when you achieve that which creates meaning in the world, even if it’s only your portion of it.

When you leave the “daily grind” behind and choose a life that allows you to invest time into the things that matter most, you have changed your corner of the planet. And you don’t have to do it alone. Innovative communication technology is offered to business owners by Officense every day. When you’re ready to support your business through cutting edge technology and sensible business practices, we’re the ones to contact.

 

http://www.nasa.gov/vision/space/features/jfk_speech.html

 

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