“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.
“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
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.
“Going Green” is more than just a slogan you will find on the cover of a reusable shopping bag; it most likely describes the process of changing one’s lifestyle for the safety and benefit of the environment.
A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line.
Did you know that an average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year and that U.S. citizens alone throw out over four million disposable pens daily?
Find out how you can implement simple steps on your way to a greener office environment.
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Install recycling stations in high-traffic and easy accessible areas and locate explicit instruction labels on the bins.
Recycle just about any kind of paper you would encounter in an office including fax paper, envelopes, or junk mail.
Print smarter by printing on both sides of paper and using a smaller font.
Stock the office with reusable pens and refills.
2. Go paperless
Make it a habit to think before you print: eliminate waste in printing by increasing the numbers of digital storage devices and systems (external hard drive, cloud computing etc.)
Set up files to save emails instead of having a print version.
Instead of printing a meeting agenda, incorporate it as a slide show or send it via email.
3. Conserve to preserve
Use daylight whenever you can and turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.
Save 75 % of energy and cut energy costs by using compact fluorescent bulbs, which last about 10 times longer than conventional incandescent light bulbs.
Check that all computers/monitors are set to their most energy efficient settings and make sure to shut them down at the end of the day.
Adjust thermostat settings to no higher than 68 degrees Fahrenheit during winter month and no lower than 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the summer.
4. Telecommute or reconsider your transportation
Contemplate carpooling, taking public transportation, biking or walking to minimize the approximate 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic each year.
If you have the opportunity to work from home and take advantage of instant messaging, phone conferencing and invest in video conferencing.
5. Make eco-friendly product choices
Purchase chlorine-free paper with 100% recycled content for printing and copying.
Use biodegradable soaps, dish detergent and cleaners.
Replace disposable paper cups with washable, reusable mugs.
Replace the office coffee with a fair-trade, shade-grown or organic version.
Given how much time the average person spends at work, greening the work place is a logical extension of people wanting to maintain an environmentally conscious atmosphere.
Our shared meeting space at OFFICENSE is conveniently located in the heart of Baltimore. Not only can you reach us by utilizing public transportation, but most importantly use office or conference rooms when needed. Besides that we offer a wide range of business services including video conferencing to help you cut costs and focus on living a green life.
Summer has finally arrived and with the mercury rising so are our cravings for crabs! Even though you can eat crabs in the U.S. all year round, Marylanders know the best time to indulge in a Chesapeake blue crab feast is between May and September when the crabs are in season. Known for being the state’s official crustaceans, the Chesapeake blue crab’s scientific name, Callinectes sapidus, translates to savory beautiful swimmer and it’s the crab’s sapphire -tinted claws that merit their name.
So, besides color and a country, what separates the Atlantic Blue crab from the Pacific Dungeness crab? A lot, actually, from taste, size, to having opposing seasons, the crabs couldn’t be less alike. What makes the blue crab a MD favorite is its sweet and bountiful lump meat, ideal for crab cakes; yet, it’s the fun and delight of cracking steamed crabs and licking fingers smothered in the region’s signature seasoning, Old Bay, which makes our penchants for the crustacean persevere.
Besides a large group of family and friends, a proper crab feast requires bushels of crabs, pitchers of beers, mallets, corn in the husk, and plenty of newspaper! However, our individual appetite for crustaceans is not always shared by a large group; so how can you satisfy your craving without spending a bundle on a bushel? For those of us who prefer to play with our food before we eat it, there is always the option of buying live crabs and steaming them at home yourself. For the rest of us who would prefer our blue crabs red, Baltimore is a premier city for some of the state’s best crab houses including:
Captain James Landing– The seafood spot that looks like a commercial ship has earned itself the name of the most unique restaurant in the city! Besides, looking like a boat, you can actually get to Captain James Landing by boat. With its own water taxi stop, this restaurant truly offers water front dining. A Baltimore landmark since 1978, this crab house is a must for tourists and residents alike.
Riptide by the Bay – Located in Historic Fells Point, this restaurant serves up blue crabs all year round and authentic Maryland blue crabs during the season, between April and November. A favorite spot for locals, Riptide has crabs for eat-in, carry-out and on Tuesday’s the crabs are on special. Offering live music on the weekends, Riptide by the Bay is your place for everything seafood, especially Maryland Blue Crabs.
Canton Dockside – Available for eat-in, carry-out or catering, this family-owned eatery deals directly with crab fisherman to ensure they bring you the freshest crabs daily. The restaurant offers picnic-style outside seating where diners can delight in cracking crabs while overlooking the waters of the city’s Inner Harbor. The next time you’re in the Canton neighborhood on a beautiful day, make sure you drop by their patio for good eats!
Now that you have your crab feast guide, all that’s left is getting here! Take a plane, train, car or cab and visit Baltimore for some of the best crabs this side of the Chesapeake. If you’re here on business, or just passing through on vacation, you can feast-assured that while you’re picking crabs, Officense will be here to answer your calls, receive your packages, and greet your clients before your lunch meeting!
You are a weekend warrior of the business world; a force to be reckoned with, especially when it comes to your company. And you know there is no such thing as nine to five. For you there is only one speed – Go! Sunday to Sunday and all the hours in between, you get after it like a tenacious wildfire. But you want to work on your own terms, when and where you want, with the flexibility that enables you to maintain a good work/life balance. And you are not alone.
It’s not about working LONGER. It’s about working SMARTER.
In today’s harsh financial climate, every day and every dollar needs to be dedicated to building your business. The question is, “How can I maintain the tenacity I need to stay ahead of my competition without having a phone glued to my ear or spending crucial funds needed to further grow my company on a support staff?” The answer is Virtual Assistants.
More and more businesses are benefiting from the rewards of a VA. They can help you cut costs and free up hours in your day. Virtual Assistants can streamline your workflow and take care of the tedious day to day tasks that prevent you from doing the actual work you love because you are too busy rescheduling the appointment you just scheduled 20 minutes ago.
If you are unaware of the flexibility and specialized support a virtual assistant can offer, they are worth the consideration. Most virtual assistants are well educated and highly trained professionals who have a myriad of skill sets. A virtual assistant can be a perfect solution when you need ongoing help (but can’t afford a permanent staff) or when you need a specialist for an important project or two that you can’t afford the precious hours to complete. From general administrative support to creative and technical projects, a virtual assistant can give you back some of those much needed hours in your day.
Workers who control their own hours are healthier because they are less stressed and get more rest.
You’ll be happier, less stressed and more fulfilled if you work more flexibly. So what does the work week of the next decade look like? It turns out, a whole lot freer. The current trend shows that flexible work, whether in office hours or location, is more cost efficient in both time and money spent, and there is no better argument for a world that’s still suffering from the recession. Now you can have your office at your fingertips, no matter where you are. If you will be happier and also see your business thrive, there’s no reason not to ditch the 9-5 with the extra 20 hours of overtime thrown in.
It looks like your calendar just opened up.
Give us a call today to see how we can get you out of the 9-5 (let’s be honest, it’s really more like 24/7) grind:
Provide the highest level of service
“Follow you” communications
Process mail and handle correspondence
Maintain your calendar and set up meetings
Follow up on leads
Manage your contact lists and customer spreadsheets
Prepare, collate and ship proposals, meeting materials or depositions
Send out requested information to customers
Handle client inquiries by phone or e-mail
Not only does it make good sense, it makes Officense.
As the New Year progresses and your calendar overflows with new responsibilities and challenges, make sure to free up some space to meet like-minded people.
Wouldn’t it be nice to connect with other business owners or entrepreneurs between important business meetings to exchange innovative ideas?
While social media networking is becoming an essential part of any company’s growth, don’t underestimate the importance of old fashioned “face to face” meet and greets. Don’t hide your ideas behind a “Like” or an eloquent comment on a social media website, when you are just a handshake away from creating an interpersonal business relationship.
Now it’s your time to shine by revealing that outstanding persona that is veiling behind your business card or logo. It has been proven that shaking hands at conferences and promotional chit chat at cocktail gatherings is still one of the best ways to expand your brand’s reach, build your business and create dynamic partnerships. Besides handing out your business cards, you will quickly realize that one of the main key points of joining networking events is “to give” by being genuine and engaging with others. For that reason it’s all about developing real, authentic relationships with people and nurturing them over a long period of time.
Plenty of businesses use the holiday time every year to engage their employees, clients as well as business partners for festive occasions to express their appreciation. Wouldn’t it be great to find more opportunities to meet one another?
Make sure to save the date for one of these events in the Maryland area:
NRG Networking Group – Every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at OFFICENSE
300 E. Lombard Street, Suite 840, Baltimore, MD 21202
While most networking events cater to professionals who want to expand their network and create new business opportunities, it’s important to have the perspective that your goal should be to help others first. “Building relationships without any expectation of what you are going to get is the best way to maximize your networking effort.” (Diane Helbig)
OFFICENSE can help you find the perfect platform for your emerging networking group by providing the ideal meeting room space. Please feel free to stop by and take a look at our facilities or even join the NRG Networking Group ever Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m..
By now Americans’ most prevalent New Year’s resolution, losing weight, has been discarded by 25% of dieters. In another month, about half of resolutions will be abandoned. Meanwhile, research findings in Forbes article, “Why Sitting at Work Can Be so Deadly” reveal an increase in mortality as positively correlated to an increase in body mass index (BMI). BMI surges as a result of spending long amounts of time sedentary, which in office environments, is the norm.
In “Sitting is the New Smoking”, sedentary lifestyles were found to contribute 10% to breast and colon cancer risks, 6% to heart disease and 7% to Type 2 diabetes. The national kidney foundation chimes in citing the strong link between sedentary lifestyles and the most common of chronic illnesses, kidney disease. Considering office workers gain about a stone or 14 pounds each year and since even those who regularly exercise will sustain an increased risk of death due to metabolic and cardiac diseases, it seems the office may be killing us.
From office “Biggest Loser” competitions, corporate gym memberships, to Lufthansa’s Fly-Robics videos, progressively more companies are taking notice of the damage sitting for long periods of time does to the human body. It seems the problem is two-fold, fewer calories are burned whilst sitting and more profoundly, marathon sitting sessions alter our bodies’ metabolisms. In between conference calls, emails and meetings, there are several exercises designed to be done right from your desk chair to build strength and flexibility and ward off the silent killer known as your office:
The Wooden Leg
While sitting in your chair, extend one leg out straight in front of you. Hold it up for two seconds and then raise it up as high as you can. Hold again for another 2 seconds and repeat with each leg 15 times to build lower-body strength.
The Magic Carpet Ride
To strengthen your core and arms, sit in your chair with your legs crossed and feet on the seat. Placing your hands on the armrests, raise yourself a few inches above the seat engaging your abdomen muscles and the muscles of your hands. Holding for 10-20 seconds and then resting for 30 seconds, complete 5 reps.
Copy Machine Catapults
Time spent waiting for your copies to feed is time wasted indeed. Next time you’re standing at the copy machine, standing with one leg straight try to kick your butt with the heel of your other leg. Repeat this ten times with each leg to stretch out your hamstrings and productively make copies.
Switch out your chair on wheels for a stationary seat for this whole-body work-out: Sit at the edge of your chair and press down on the table with both hands. Simultaneously, lift both legs as high as you can. Despite that you’re actually working-out you will appear attentive and alert to those around you.
Regardless of the resolution you’ve chosen for 2014 and whether or not you uphold it, your health and well-being are always paramount. Even if you don’t have the freedom to move about your office, there are plenty of isometrics you can append to your normal work-out routine to keep fit. Likewise if you’re still tied down to the ball-and-chain of a traditional office and don’t have the freedom to move about,New Years is the perfect time to revolutionize yourself and your business practices. Officense not only gives you the freedom to manage your business from anywhere in the world while still maintaining your professional image, our clients find comfort in knowing while they’re out on a run, we’re here exercising at our desks by running their business.
During the 19th Century, the “Wild West” of the United States saw dramatic growth. Towns arose seemingly overnight on the frontier landscapes and business minded individuals were quick to take advantage of the “booming business”, thus the term “boomtown”.
However, they also saw the advantage of prestigious appearances and low overhead costs; they constructed their stores with so-called “false fronts” which made their businesses appear to be larger, and thereby more successful, then they actually were. Yet, this concept had downsides; anyone who took a closer look could easily see the deception.
Unfortunately, many virtual office services operate based upon this concept. Businesses receive a professional phone number and address without the actual support of a staff.
That’s where Officense differs; we offer customized business services which provide all of the support of a hired staff without the overhead of hiring onsite staff. From call transfers to anywhere in the world, to transcription services, to appointment setting, Officense will make sense of your business needs.
Christmas has come and gone. You’ve collected all your gift cards, decided you’ll exchange that gift from your crazy aunt, and you still have your eye on that special item that wasn’t under your tree this year. So, what’s left to do? Shop the after-Christmas sales.
Many of your favorite stores are offering deals and discounts for shoppers to take advantage of Thursday in an effort to clear store shelves of items not sold before the holiday. Major retailers including Macy’s, Target, Best Buy and Walmart are offering discounts up to 70 percent off select merchandise to entice shoppers on Dec. 26.
But this year, retailers are offering “after-Christmas” sales earlier than ever, some even beginning before Christmas. Or, as Forbes put it: “Just like Black Friday started the day before on Thanksgiving, after-Christmas sales won’t wait for their appointed day.”
Amazon.com began offering its sales on Christmas Day, along with OldNavy.com. Target.com and Kohls.com are slated to roll out their after-Christmas sales by midday. Other stores like Walmart will open on Thursday at 5 a.m. to cater to shoppers who are returning gifts, buying additional presents or using their gift cards.
So why so early this year? Given the short holiday shopping season, retailers have been coming up with all sorts of innovative ways to bring consumers into their stores or click on their web pages. Since Thanksgiving fell so late, cutting shopping time from four weeks down to three weeks, stores have been reporting “lackluster” sales, so they’ve responded by offering heavy discounts and gimmicky bargains to entice shoppers.
One result is that after-Christmas sales will be better than expected, according to DealNews.com, which said prices are expected to be slashed up to 70 percent off some items.
So where are the greatest sales for Dec. 26? Here are 30 of the best after-Christmas deals and discounts.
JCPenney: 60 to 70% off men’s outwear, hats, gloves and scarves; $10 off athletic shoes; $9.99 women’s sweaters; 50 to 60% off sheets and sheet sets; $10 off purchases of $25 or more on apparel, shoes, accessories and home plus an extra 10% off furniture, mattresses, blinds, fine jewelry and watches using this coupon; Tons of Door Busters in store from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 26
Kohl’s: Spend $100 or more and save 20% or Spend under $100 and save 15% using this coupon; 10 to 33% off kitchen electrics; 60 to 70% off sweaters plus and extra 10% off holiday sweaters and fleece; 55 to 60% off fine and silvery jewelry; 60% off outerwear; 60 to 70% off sleepwear; 100+ more early bird savings
Macy’s: 15% off sale and clearance apparel, fine and fashion jewelry; 10% off sale and clearance watches, coats, suits, dresses, intimates, select shoes and home items using this coupon; Buy two bras, get two free; $10 off your purchase of $25 or more using this coupon or coupon code “AFTER25″
Target: $499.99 for XBox One; $399.99 for Sony PlayStation 4; $39.99 select video games; $199.99 Beats by Dre Solo HD Headphones; $99.99 FitBit Wireless Wristband; $15 select Blu-Ray movies; $199.99 32″ Element LED HDTV; $99.99 Apple TV; 50% off Christmas
Walmart: $143.92 Bissell ProHeat Pet Carpet Cleaner; Holiday organization from $4.97; $179 XBox 360; $998 Vizio 60″ Smart HDTV
Aeropostale: Everything up to 70% off; Extra 15% off using coupon code “GIFT15″ until 11:59 p.m. EST 12/25
Aldo: 30% off everything for Boxing Day; 50% off original price of select styles
American Eagle: 25% off new arrivals using coupon code “82X978R1″; All jeans under $30; 50% off clearance #AEOsale
BCBGMAXAZRIA: 50% off regular-priced items at checkout; Free shipping on all orders; 60% off plus 20% extra off sale items
Bloomingdale’s: Through Jan. 1, 75% off women’s, contemporary, shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories, men, kids, home and fine jewelry; Free shipping on online orders of $100 or more; Semi-annual handbag sale with 30% off select styles
The Children’s Place: 30% off and free shipping on all orders with coupon code “D5H30EM”; Up to 75% off clearance
Express: 50% off men’s and women’s shirts and jeans
Forever 21: Buy one, get one 50% off sale using coupon code “BOGO“; Free shipping on orders over $50
Gap: Up to 50% off winter apparel or 60% off in-stores; free shipping on all orders over $50; get $25 Gap cash when you spend $50, $50 when you spend $100 and $75 when you spend $150
Hollister: 50% off entire store; Free shipping on all orders over $75
J. Crew: 30% off regular-priced styles with coupon code “GIFTNO”; Extra 40% off sale items with coupon code “GIFTNOW”
Lord &Taylor: 20% off sale and clearance using coupon code “AFTER” or this coupon; 60% off coats; 50% off Lord & Taylor gloves, hats and scarves; Extra 50% off already-reduced handbags and accessories;
Nordstrom: Up to 50% off sale items; Earn double points through Dec. 27
Old Navy: Up to 75% off in store or up to 60% off online until Dec. 31
Saks Fifth Avenue: 70% off designer sale online Dec. 25 and in stores Dec. 26 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Free shipping using coupon code “HOLIDAY”
Victoria’s Secret: Semi-annual sale with 25 to 40% off bras, up to 40% off sleep, up to 70% off clothing and clearance bras and panties; Free shipping on orders of $100 or more using code “100SHIP”
Barnes & Noble: 50% off best-selling Nook Books; 40% off covers for Nook HD; free shipping on orders of $25 or more
Best Buy: 50% off select Samsung Galaxy flip covers; $10 off all modal iPhone 5/5s and iPhone 5c cases; $15 off Bose sport earbud headphones; $99.99 Fitbit wireless activity and sleep tracker wristband
One of the best ways to improve your business is retrospection. The need to look forward is often emphasized; however, as the old adage says, hindsight is 20/20. Success, failure and general client feedback are a business owner’s curriculum for discovering ways of improving processes, expanding the clientele base and maintaining patron satisfaction.
Failure is Fertile Ground for the Seeds of Success
You may have excellent business processes, trustworthy, efficient staff and an overall excellent rapport with clientele; yet, where humanity is, human error will follow. The important part is the response. If a business owner is willing to be honest about a mistake and take immediate action towards a solution, then a problem can be transformed into an opportunity to build client trust.
Don’t Let Success Make You Overly Confident
When a business owner meets with great success at the launch of a new product or service, this may influence him or her to develop a cocksure attitude which can be deadly for a company. When results are achieved from doing something in a certain way it can easily be assumed that the process will repeat itself; however, “correlation does not imply causation”.
Your Clients Are like Teeth, Ignore them and They’ll Go Away
Client statements that begin with “You know it would be great if…” or “I wish you guys offered…” can be the start of the next successful product launch or service offering. Your customers see your business from an entirely different perspective than you and your employees; however, business owners often don’t hear them unless they’re bringing a negative report. While addressing complaints is important, hearing from your clients in a positive environment and responding can be even more powerful. Also, when you do implement changes according to customer feedback, don’t forget to tell them. Imagine how great a client will feel when you send them a letter saying, “Remember when you asked for this? We listened.”
Finally, don’t forget the reason you are striving for success. Many entrepreneurs start their business to enable them to spend more time with their family and loved ones; however, as business grows and needs mount, the original purpose can be forgotten. So remember to reflect on what you’ve learned this year, prepare for 2014, gather with those you love and “have yourself a merry little Christmas”.
Need Officense to wrap up business details while you engage in retrospection?
A few days ago many travelers had never heard of WestJet Airlines. Then WestJet spent time, money and some marketing elbow grease to make themselves heard. They didn’t rent extraneous billboards. They didn’t advertise a huge promotion on social media. They didn’t even max out your spam folder limit with emails.
Travel weary passengers checking in for their flight were surprised by an invitation to say what they wanted for Christmas. These amused airway trekkers requested everything from tube socks to flat screen TV’s to tablets. Yet the last thing they expected was what awaited them in the baggage claim of their destination— wrapped, personalized gifts that exactly matched their wish list.
Some are skeptical of the gesture, cynical about the lengths companies will go to expand their marketing reach. However, during this season, the most important concept is the gift of giving and many are saying the WestJet embodied the spirit of Christmas by their decision to give back to their clients rather than asking for something from them, especially when there is no immediate gain for the company.
Yet even the toughest cynics would have to admit that in terms of holiday marketing standards WestJet hit the nail on the head. So let’s look at it from a consumer perspective. We remember commercials
From MasterCard’s “There Are Some Things in Life that Money Can’t Buy” campaign to the Campbell’s Soup “Snowman” commercial, sentimentality makes us connect and remember a company with a sense of fondness or at least familiarity. It’s something we discuss with our family and friends.
And people are definitely talking about WestJet. With an initial expectation of about 800,000 views of their YouTube video, “Christmas Miracle“, the company actually achieved a view count of over 19 Million international hits—and counting. This viral spread has in effect expanded the market reach of the company by this number.at make us identify with the company.
So this holiday season don’t forget the power of giving and connecting on a personal level with your clients. You may not have the resources to pull off a marketing effort like WestJet’s Christmas Miracle but you would be surprised how much your business can grow from simple giving. Many have found that volunteering at the soup kitchen or giving to holiday charities like Angel Tree can make a world of difference.
Opportunities like this may not build your business, according to some skeptics or they may not raise brand recognition; but it can always build the spirit of giving in your team and help them feel a kinship with each other. And sometimes giving is its own reward.
Need a helping hand to get all your business needs taken care of while you embrace the spirit of giving? Call Officense! We can provide office space, answering services, video conferencing or a professional business address. 410-814-7500