Thanksgiving is a time for celebration with those we love and the clients and staff members we appreciate—a time for giving thanks and enjoying a delicious holiday feast! But the best part of Thanksgiving isn’t the blissful food-induced coma we slip into while lounging in our elastic waist-band pants—it’s all about that Black Friday sale! And this year Black Friday is starting even earlier than ever—some of the best deals are going to ramp up starting as early as 5pm Thursday evening—that is, unless you live in Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island.
All of our favorite retailers and department stores have put together absolutely amazing deals on all sorts of holiday favorites for this year’s Black Friday savings. You can even take advantage of all sorts of sales and discounts without leaving the comfort of your home. Forget fighting through crowds of other shoppers or worrying about whether the items you’re after are all sold out. Get in on the action through your computer, tablet or smartphone and enjoy mind-blowing values on apparel, home goods, furniture, jewelry and everything in between! With all the savings you’ll enjoy, you can get something for every executive on your gift list (and be sure to check out our upcoming client appreciation gift guide for suggestions).
So relax, and don’t fret about getting your holiday shopping done—just sit back and help yourself to another slice of pumpkin pie. We’ve got you covered.*
JCPenney: Doors open Thanksgiving Thursday at 5:00pm. This year will be their biggest Jingle Sale ever including a special $100 coupon giveaway of instant savings. Earn $20 cash bonus when you spend $75 in store; $10 off $10 or more coupon giveaway; 60 to 70% off most apparel; $9.99 Cooks Kitchen Electronics after rebate; $2.99 towels; 60% off luggage; 60%-70% off all sheets; An extra 30% off fine jewelry already reduced 40-65%; Tons of DoorBuster deals in store.
Kohl’s: Sales begin Thursday at 6:00pm. Over 500 deals. 32” Direct LED TV for only $99.99; 50% off all toys; Get $15 in Kohl’s cash for every $50 spent; $179.99 Beats by Dr. Dre; Huge savings on all electronics; $79.99 Canon PowerShot Elph 135 Camera; $329.99 Xbox One; 55 to 60% off + additional 20% off selected fine jewelry; 40-50% off watches; $9.99 Kitchen Electronic Deals; $29.99 HP All-In-One Desktop Printer; and much more.
Macy’s: Doors open 6pm Thursday Nov. 27th to Friday Nov.28th at 10pm, and again Saturday from 7am-1pm. Rampage Boots Soon $19.99; Luxurious Cashmere Sweaters $39.99; Sherpa Comforter $49.99; Dyson Vacuum $299.99; Diamond Bangle $199; Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair & Supreme Set only $50; Julius Leather Sectional $2999; and a Yardley 3pc. Queen Bedroom Set $399; Huge rebates on men’s and women’s pants, sweaters, coats and jackets as well as home furnishings, bedding and bath accessories, home decor, jewelry, bags and much more.
Target: Doors open at 6pm on Thanksgiving Thursday Nov. 27. Here are just a few of the deals you can find inside: Beats By Dre Solo HD Drenched Headphones $97; Nikon L330 20.2MP digital camera w/ 26X zoom lens $99; Xbox One with Assassin’s Creed Unity & Black Flag $329.99; Element 40″ 1080p LED HDTV $119; and a NABI 2 8GB 7″ Kids’ Tablet $129.99; 100s of doorbusters and 1000s of amazing deals—HDTVs, computers, digital cameras, mobile devices, brand name kids’ toys and much more.
Walmart: Walmart is kicking off its Black Friday Event on Thursday Nov. 27th at 6pm with a one-hour guarantee (in-store only while supplies last). It will be open for Black Friday Nov. 28th from 6am on. This is the most anticipated Black Friday kick off of all major department stores. Deals include unbeatable doorbusters on the latest electronics, audio equipment, kids’ toys, home furnishings, and much more. Alongside some great savings on TVs, tablets and headphones; Buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s and get a $75 Walmart gift card; Trade-in your old smartphone and get up to $200 on a Walmart eGift Card.
Officense: This year we are offering a Black Friday special all our own! Receive One (1) month free when you sign up for a yearly membership until the end of December 2014! Call Kevin Feng for details 410 814 7500.
Abercrombie & Fitch: Abercrombie is being very super secret santa with all their planned Black Friday goodness. They are asking that you sign up and #stayupallnight to get in on the all the details. They said “We’ll text you the Black Friday deets on the year’s biggest deal! Just text ALLNIGHT to 231892!” and you’ll get on the list. Current offerings are 50% off all flannels; All jeans 50% off; Outerwear $100 off; Free shipping over $75.
Aeropostale: Same as Abercrombie, no specific Black Friday deals are posted yet. They do have a gift guide available featuring gifts for Him & Her; Gifts under $10; Gifts under $20; Stocking stuffer specials with selected items more than 50% off; Many clearance items.
American Eagle: Current offerings include AEO Holiday Collection Buy one get one 50% off; Additional 25% off AEO clearance items for a savings up to 70%.
Bloomingdale’s: There will be special savings for early shoppers, available from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28—Receive a $15 money card with almost any $100 purchase; Get an extra $25 off a selection of women’s cashmere sweaters; Get an extra $50 off when you spend $100-$499.99 on almost all women’s and men’s coats; take an extra $100 off almost all women’s and men’s coats priced at $500 or more.
Express: Coldwear and Outerwear 50% off; Mix & Match Sale – Buy one, Get one $19.90; Must have his or hers sweaters – Buy one, Get one $19.90; Mens & Women’s Jeans – Buy one, Get one $19.90; 50% off men’s suits and blazers.
Forever 21: This year they are offering an email exclusive set of Black Friday deals starting at $3 – Must subscribe to get the perks; Up to 50% Winter Styles; Free shipping on orders over $30.
H&M: Already offering online and in store Black Friday Daily Deals as low as $4.95 in all departments – Ladies, Mens, Kids and Home; Free shipping on orders over $50.
Hollister: This year Hollister is having a House party offer the biggest deals all week long. You must text PARTY to 743722 to get in on all the savings.
Old Navy: Doors open Thanksgiving day at 4pm. 50% off everything in the store. Doorbusters on jeans, v-neck tees, scarves, sweaters, coats, jackets and kids’ apparel; Women’s Jeans $14.75; V-Neck Women’s Tees $5; Girls Toddler Half-Zip Pullovers $5; Wool-Blend Mens Peacoats $39.97; Wool-Blend Boys Moto Jackets $24.97; Wool-Blend Boys Moto Jackets $24.97; Old Navy Boys Long Sleeve Tees $4.97-6.47; Plus, be one of the first 100 customers in line at your store for a chance to win Old Navy’s Overnight Millionaire giveaway.
Amazon: It seems Amazon didn’t want you to have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday deals, so they kicked off the savings VERY early. As in it’s already happening. They are counting down to the big day with even more deals, all day, every day. They ask that you subscribe to their daily deals email to assure you won’t miss out on any of the last minute savings.
Barnes & Noble: Barnes and Noble is running out of the gate with early savings but these deals will only last from November 21 to the 23 so act fast. The Nook-branded 7-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is down to $149.99 after a $50 instant rebate, while the 10-inch model, after a $100 rebate of its own, gets a $249.99 price tag. If e-readers are more your type, the Nook GlowLight is down to a rock-bottom $99.
Best Buy: Go online Thursday Nov. 27 and Friday Nov. 28 (plus score online exclusive doorbusters all day on Thursday), or you can head out to a local Best Buy store Thursday starting at 5pm and Friday at 8am. Huge doorbuster savings on all your favorite gizmos and gadgets.
Bath & Body Works: Their special showcases a tote bag valued at over $100, containing 5 popular products: Holiday Wish 3-Wick Candle, A Thousand Wishes Body Lotion, A Thousand Wishes Fine Fragrance Mist, Winter Cranberry All New Hand Soap, and Forever Red Mini Eau de Parfum.
Dicks Sporting Goods: Black Friday deals start on Thursday at 5pm. Huge 50% off doorbuster deals and free shipping when shopping online.
Toys R Us: Thanksgiving Thursday will also feature special 4 hour deals (while supplies last) between 5pm and 9pm. Doors open Thanksgiving Thursday Nov.27th at 5pm and stay open through Saturday until close. Specials on VTech InnoTab Connect WiFi Learning Tablet $39.99; Disney Frozen Olaf Jumbo Plush $19.99; LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer $24.99; Imaginarium 55-pc. $249.98; All Disney Princess & Me 18″ Dolls $19.99; Fisher-Price Imaginext Batcave $29; True Heroes Sentinel 1 Military Vehicles Set $39.99; Stats 10′ Round Trampoline and Enclosure $149.99; Nintendo 3DS XL Handheld Gaming System Soon $179.99; Razor PowerRider 360 Soon $99.99.
GameStop: Most of the best GameStop deals come in the form of console bundles. If you’re in the market for a game console, new or old, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for on GameStop’s list of bundles. Save up to 50% on bundles; Huge savings on preowned Video Games.
But Do I Really Have to Do the Shopping Thing?!
Absolutely not! We completely understand the urge to avoid malls and shopping centers on the busiest and most congested day of the year. Never fear, our What Fun Stuff Can I Do in Baltimore Instead of Shopping with My Family Activity Guide is here! We’ve got irresistible outings and events for both young and old alike that’ll make your escape plan solid and guilt free. Because, really… who can fault you for wanting to participate in a 5K Turkey Trot for charity in lieu of, well, see visual aid below.
Blessing of the Hounds November 27, 2014 – Each Thanksgiving, it is a time-honored Maryland tradition to hold blessings of fox-hunters’ hounds and horses. More info…
Baltimore City Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K November 27, 2014 – Every year, thousands of individuals from local communities come together to join the Y of Central Maryland for the annual Y Turkey Trot Charity 5K, a Thanksgiving Day tradition that raises critically-needed funds to support kids whose families live in poverty throughout Central Maryland. More info…
8th Annual Bulle Rock Turkey Trot November 27, 2014 – Open to the public for all age groups and fitness levels, this Thanksgiving 5K run and 1-mile walk will raise money for the Susquehanna Hose Company. More info…
Hearth and Home in Early Maryland November 29-30, 2013 - Explore the colonial table and discover how Maryland’s first settlers celebrated the end of the harvest season. Help churn butter, shuck beans, grind corn and learn about the many tasks required to cook the family feast over a 17th-century hearth. Discover a Southern Maryland delicacy – stuffed ham. Visitors contributing a non-perishable food item will receive a $1 discount off admission benefiting the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Historic St. Mary’s City | Rt 5 and Rosecroft Rd South of Leonardtown | St. Mary’s City, MD 20686 | t – 240 895 4967 More info…
Thanksgiving Extravaganza at Port Discovery November 28-30, 2014 – The weekend will be full of fun performances and loads of family activities. Port Discovery, Baltimore. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Ages 10 and under. Free w/ admission. More info…
Don’t Forget Cyber Monday!
Forgot to add something to your holiday shopping list? Missed out on that excellent deal? Or perhaps your must have items were sold out? Don’t fret, Cyber Monday is here! If you thought that Black Friday sales were the end of it, think again! Even more great deals are on the way to make sure your holiday shopping is complete! We’ve got the whole list for all those irresistible savings on all kinds of gift goodies—now this is a Monday to actually look forward to! Check out our Cyber Monday Gift Guide coming soon.
*Officense has got you covered. While you are inundated with client requests, holiday gift lists and a million other things to wrap up before the end of the year, we can handle all your calls. We can create custom business solutions specifically for you and your business that will make getting through the rest of the season a breeze.
Give us a call today to take advantage of our Black Friday offer so you can mark one more thing of that monster to do list!
Posted in 2014, family, Festivals, History, Holidays, Maryland
Tagged Baltimore, Black Friday, Christmas, cyber Monday, Gifts, Shopping, Thanksgiving
For voters, Election Day is anticipated as the day their voices may finally be heard as state and federal representatives are elected. For others it’s just another Tuesday in November. In these modern times of absentee ballots, Election Day has evolved to embrace early voting as much as weeks in advance. Have you ever wondered why elections are held on a Tuesday in November to begin with? Well it all began in 1845…
Previous to 1845, states were allowed to hold elections at any time of year, as long as the elections took place within a 34-day period, and that the period ended prior to the first Wednesday in December. As you can imagine, this system created critical flaws to the electoral system. To begin, the elective results for states which voted earlier in the year had the potential to affect the ‘voter turn-out’ in states holding later elections. More so, the opinions of voters in these late-casting states could be swayed by the results of early-voting states. As a result, Congress originated the current Election Day with the intent of having a consistent and efficient voting model.
In 1845 congress decided to streamline an election day. The first Tuesday in November may not seem the most logical selection now, but back then it specifically appealed to 19th Century American farmers. You see in the 1800s, most citizens worked in the agricultural sector and lived quite far from their polling places. Generally, it would take these farmers at least a day of travel just to cast their ballots. Given that travel time alone was a full day, congress knew they needed to allow a two-day window for Election Days. But, still, why a Tuesday? Well, weekends weren’t practical since many voters spent their Sundays in church and Wednesdays were “Market Day” for farmers. It just so happened, Tuesday was the first opportune and most convenient day of the week to hold elections.
Now you know why Election Day is on a Tuesday, but you may still be wondering why elections are held in November. Believe it or not, you can blame farm culture for this one too. Throughout the spring and early summer months, it was planting season and so an Election Day during those seasons would overlap with the farmer’s sowings. Meanwhile, late summer and early fall elections would impede with the farmer’s harvest season. As you can see Congress was quickly running out of seasons, because as you can remember, travel in the 19th century was no easy feat, and this was especially true during harsh winter weather. Congress was essentially left with the late fall month of November as the best choice, perhaps only choice, to host Election Day; after the fall’s harvest and before winter weather could delay voters and their travels.
Over 150 years later, we still vote on the first Tuesday in November. Why elections are still being held on this date is a mystery and some have contested that moving the date to the weekend would increase voter turnout. Until then, you at least have all the history you need about Election Day to share with your polling place as you fulfill your civic duty tomorrow! Before you cast your ballot, remember to update your Officense status so you can “vote”-assured that your business’s calls are being answered and packages received. Your friendly Officense receptionists have sent in their absentee ballots so we can be here greeting your clients and maintaining your business image while you vote for the laws affecting your business’s operations!
Posted in 2014, Administrative Assistant, america, Baltimore, Business, Business Address, Community, Conference Room, Conference/Events, Economy, Election Day, entrepreneurs, Executive Assistant, History, Holidays, Office, patriotic, politics, Receptionist, video conference, Virtual Office, weather, workplace
Tagged Address Services, advanced business, Baltimore, Baltimore Virtual Assistant, Baltimore Virtual Office, Business, Election Day, History, Holidays, MD Virtual Office, Officense, Politics, Virtual office, Virtual Office in MD
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.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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
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.
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 achievement, advanced business, boss, Business, difference, Entrepreneur, failure, importance, leader, leadership, learning process, Officense, professionalism, risk, small business, success
Redefining the Sole of the Shoe Industry
Who: Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
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
Who: Isabella Rose Taylor
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
Who: Jaylen Bledsoe
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
Who: Brian Wong
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
Who: Kiowa Kavovit
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
Posted in Big Business, Business, Business Address, ecological, Economy, entrepreneurs, environment, Going Green, google+, growth, Office
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.
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.
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
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.
Regardless 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 ACA, angel investors, Company, credit card, crowdfunding, financing, funds, loan, Michael Sullivan, money, project, Raise Capital, small business, sources, start ups, Venture capital
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:
“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.
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.
Candy 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.
Now 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!
For 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.
Finally, 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 Baltimore, Baltimore Office Space, Baltimore Virtual Assistant, Baltimore Virtual Office, Business Services, Charm city, downtown, Event, Events, Festivals, Food, Fun, Halloween, Holidays, Officense, Things to do, Trick or Treat
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Address Services, advanced business, Advancement, Back to school, Baltimore, Baltimore Office Space, Baltimore Virtual Assistant, Baltimore Virtual Office, Business, Business and Economy, Business Services, Company, Customer service, Instant Business Office, MD Office Space, Office Space Baltimore MD, Officense, promotion, save money, school, Summer, Vacation, video conferencing, Virtual Assistant MD, Virtual office, Virtual Office in MD
Let’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!
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.
Get 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 printing 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 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!
Alternatively, 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 Banking, Business, capitalism, consumerism, consumers, Credit, economy, money, Officense, Recycle, Save, small business, Taxes, United States, Virtual office