How to Make Your Office a Much Greener Place

How to Make Your Office a Much Greener Place

When you are working on creating a more eco-friendly life, it is ideal to extend your efforts to the office. You have spent a lot of time making your home greener, but you can do a variety of things at work to help reduce the entire company’s carbon footprint. Look for inspiration from projects, such as the Cadiz Water Project, and others that are helping to make life more sustainable on a larger scale. Starting with a few basic ideas, however, is sure to make the process relatively simple and smooth.

Check Your Electricity Usage

In an office, you often have bright lights on all day and this can result in dramatic electricity usage. Consider putting smaller lamps at everyone’s desks and whenever it is daytime, take advantage of the natural light. Open all blinds or curtains so the sunlight filters in and shut off the overhead lights. This can result in a significant decrease in electricity usage. It also allows for a more ambient and pleasant environment that might help folks to feel less stress while they work.

Be Mindful of Office Water Usage

Using too much water is one of the biggest factors in an office that is not eco-friendly, but there are methods you can employ to change this. For example, look to do something similar to the Cadiz Water Project, but on a smaller scale. This means you can look for ways to reuse water so that it is renewable in your office environment. For example, get a bucket for the community refrigerator and instead of tossing the leftover water in people’s bottles, put it into the bucket. Once it is full, you can use it for cleaning the office.

Create an Office Recycling Program

Between office supplies and lunch items, you probably accumulate a lot of waste every week. You would be amazed how much less waste you would have if you recycled. This is relatively easy to implement in an office environment. Start with the lunch area and the room where you keep your supplies. Take three small bins and put a set in each of these rooms, with one bin for glass, one for plastic and one for paper. At the end of the week, you just need to quickly bag it up and drop the recycling off at the local center.

Switch to Recycled Products

There are multiple office supplies that you can find that are made from recycled products. These also tend to be relatively inexpensive, so it will not add much to the budget of the company. You can find products, such as refillable ink cartridges, recycled paper and non-toxic highlighters for this purpose. In fact, between non-toxic and recycled items, you should be able to replace most of the items in your office with more eco-friendly ones.

Consider the Office Food Choices

If you do a lot of potlucks and similar events in the office, be careful about the foods you choose. Look for produce that was grown sustainably and reduce how much meat is served. You should also avoid serving it on products, such as paper plates, and opt for those that can be washed and reused instead for a greener environment.

Switch to Cleaning Products That Are Non-Toxic

Most of the cleaning products used in the office environment are incredibly harsh and this can have a major impact on how eco-friendly everything is. There are products that you can switch to that do not contain any harsh chemicals. They allow you to fully clean your office without the risk of harsh fumes or degrading any of the surfaces. You might also consider basic items, such as white vinegar and baking soda, since these are non-toxic and can be used to clean an array of surfaces.

Work on an Office Carpool

One of the biggest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to reduce your reliance on your vehicle. Since driving to work is likely something you cannot skip, if you share a ride with your coworkers, you are decreasing how many cars are on the road during your commute. You can switch off who drives each week, so that factors, such as vehicle wear and tear and fuel, are evenly split between everyone who joins the carpool.

You might also talk to the boss about creating telecommuting opportunities if this is possible. This means that people can spend one or more days a week working from home to avoid having to drive their vehicle at all.

You can see that it is not too harder to make your office much greener for yourself and everyone else. Once you start implementing changes, it will not be too hard to get your coworkers to join in. Just start small so that the process is not too overwhelming for yourself and everyone else that wants to lend their help and support.

Top Tips for Marketing Your New Counseling Business

Top Tips for Marketing Your New Counseling Business

Source

It can take a lot of time, energy, and soul-searching to find that perfect career path to take in life. For many people, the field of counseling is one that is extremely attractive and rewarding. There’s also the fact that it’s going through a stage of serious growth, 19% growth between now and 2024 to be exact. These numbers are straight from the U.S. Bureau of Statistics.

With more and more companies and insurance policies now covering counseling services, it seems that more people are looking to make use of these family, marriage, and mental health counselors and therapists.

You’ve Got the Educational Background but Not the Marketing Skills

If you’re just earned your online masters in counseling from a school such as Regis College and you’ve decided that the private/public sectors aren’t for you, then you may instead be considering opening your own practice. While your online counseling degree programs prepared you from a knowledge standpoint, it would not have taught you how to market your own business.

Not to worry though, just because you haven’t been formally trained in marketing, it doesn’t mean you can put some standard tips to good use that will help get your name out there and start bringing in the clients. Here’s a look at some tips that you can use to get your business off to a good start.

Set Up Free Wellness Seminars

There are so many different ways to advertise a business, but the problem with advertising is that everyone else is doing it too. This means you need to have a unique, eye-catching, and memorable campaign that sets you apart from your competition.

Why not aim to become an expert in your town/city? This can be done by setting up wellness seminars that are open to the public to attend. The seminar can be free to all and you can make it an interactive experience so that attendees can ask questions and get a real feel for you. Of course, there will be a cost you’ll need to put out for renting the space, but the idea is that you will be able to garner a host of new clients through this seminar.

Be sure to put together a small information packet about what you discussed and include a business card or your contact information.

Set Up a Website

Another tip is to set up your own website. If this is outside your realm of expertise you can always hire a web developer to do it for you. The website should be engaging and informative to bring traffic to it.

Become a Blogger

To increase traffic on your website, you’ll want to start blogging. You can even bring in guest bloggers that add substance to the website and talk about subjects that are of interest to your readers. To get your name out there further, you can offer guest blogging services to other websites.

Stick with It

Marketing your new counseling business will take time, energy, and a lot of work, but if you stick with it, you’ll find that you will start to build a steady flow of new clients.

Cyber Attacks a Big Threat for Networks

Cyber Attacks a Big Threat for Networks

Internet users are vulnerable and exposed to different online threats. Many users are prone to cyber attacks each day. Cybersecurity has become one of the most important aspects at the moment. A group known as OurMine hacked HBO’s social media accounts and leaked unwatched episode of Game of Thrones Season 7. This is a major blow for the satellite TV network. Recently HBO was hacked by another group, hackers entered HBO’s servers and browsed through its internal documents and unreleased TV shows.

Hackers who name themselves “Mr Smith Group” have also threatened to leak the finale of Game of Thrones Season 7 before its air date after they released HBO social media passwords. The group is demanding a huge payout amounting to $6.5 million as ransom.  On the other hand, reports from the Pentagon states that cyber threat to national security is growing. Pentagon is looking into an option of using cyber security shield to safe guard its military information. This shield is called Blockchain Technology.

Blockchain Technology

The Blockchain Technology is regarded as a secure firewall for networks, especially where a lot of financial transactions take place like internet gambling services. Blockchain Technology is a technological innovation of Bitcoin. Bitcoin uses this technology to protect its accounts from hacks.  It records valuable information especially transaction between two parties into incorruptible blocks not only financial information but any essential information. Once the block is created it is stored into permanent data and another new block is created. Blockchain is designed to be secure and these blocks are resistant to any changes without altering all the blocks.

Therefore make information safe from any threat. Blockchain is useful in recording health information, events, financial transaction processing, and records management including documentation and identity management. It is designed to protect the company’s units and departments. It is also usable on aeroplanes, connected vehicles, and satellites.

Simple Things Every Company Needs To Succeed

Simple Things Every Company Needs To Succeed

Managing a business is difficult, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. You have to have the right attitude and mindset to make it seem easier than it is in reality. Avoid over thinking it and making you sick trying to decide what to do next.

Analyze where you’re at and where you’d like to be. Step back and give your company room to breathe while you sort it all out. Prepare yourself to make changes that are going to affect your business, but not put any extra stress in on you in the process. See simple things every company needs to succeed.

Goals

It’s quite simple; you need goals and objectives to keep you moving forward. You don’t want to stay where you are forever. Your goals will keep you and your team on track for advancing and improving your business. Work won’t get done without goals and objectives in place. Have a vision and share it with everyone. Map it all out and communicate to your team what they’re working towards each day. This will motivate them to do their job better because they’ll have a purpose.

Hardworking Employees

You have to have hardworking employees in your corner if you’re going to succeed. You can’t do it all alone. Be strategic in your hiring decisions and only bring on board those who you know are fit for the role and company. Take your time and do it right the first time. Ask multiple people in your company to interview the candidate and make sure they match your list of desired qualities. You want everyone on the same page and working together toward a common goal. Lousy employees will bring you down and make more work for everyone.

Policies & Procedures

Write policies and procedures that staff is to follow to keep order in your office. You never know when an incident will arise and you’ll need to refer to your documents for guidance. Protect yourself and your business by having guidelines in place for sticky situations. For instance, employees may act out, or you could be faced with a hard drive failure. In this case, you would know who to call for an HDD repair when at your office because you were prepared. Not knowing what to do in an emergency wastes time and puts you at risk for worse consequences.

Happy Customers

Always remember to focus on your customers. Keep your clients happy, and everyone will be satisfied. Tell them how much you appreciate their business and be there to help them out when they run into issues. Work as a team to ensure clients are being heard and feel valued. Put a customer service department in place that goes above and beyond to please the customer. Losing clients is never a good feeling. Avoid this circumstance by putting in the hard work upfront to put smiles on their faces.

Conclusion

Every business needs a boost once in a while. There are ways to improve the current environment without breaking your back. These are simple things every company needs to succeed.

Business Rates Issues Continue to Cause Financial Problems for Start-ups

Business Rates Issues Continue to Cause Financial Problems for Start-ups

More than 500,000 businesses in Britain have are still experiencing problems following the latest business rates regulation changes. Start-ups in the UK were forced to pay more in business rates without knowing whether they will benefit from the announced £300 million relief package. Following the announcement, which can into fruition in March, news have surfaced that the ‘relief fund’ has still yet to be paid out and it is causing major problems for UK businesses.

Restaurants, shops and businesses in southern England have been hit the most following the first revaluation in over 7 years. Recent news articles broadcasted that certain start-ups have been faced with massive 50% rise in business tax, and with the new support fund announced by the Chancellor still not functioning, these business are still unsure of whether they will be able to benefit or lose out. Worry remains that businesses will be left in the dark for more months to come and with no announcements on the horizons, will people get their money back? Experts fear that the longer this is drawn out, businesses could be forced to relocate or go under.

Following the flood of news, Government sources leap to the defence of the fund by stating that it will be ready by the end of summer. Jerry Schurder, head of business rates at Gerald Eve, said: “Whilst the package of measures announced in the Budget will eventually bring benefit to some businesses, the current uncertainty as to who will qualify and to what extent, is of huge concern… Rates bills landing on doormats now do not include any of the new reliefs and demand payment of the first monthly instalment within the next few days.

“In the meantime, Government is still consulting as to how the £300m discretionary relief fund will be divvied up amongst councils. Only once it has made decisions and advised local authorities as to the categories of business Government believes should be considered for relief will the process begin… Councils will have to devise their own guidance as to which of their local businesses might qualify, programme their billing systems, create application procedures and put in place resources to manage what could well be a torrent of applications for these discretionary reliefs. We could be well into the summer before businesses learn what share of the pie, if any, they will be granted.”

As stated, over half a million UK businesses have seen a spike in their business rates. The Government have however, disputed this change by releasing figures that show that 420,000 will play the same amount as previous, with 920,000 companies set to see a decrease following estimates after the first quarter.

The magnifying glass was firmly shone on ministers before the Budget as support was being called upon for those affected by doublings in rates after sharp housing price increases. Following this, the Chancellor announced 3 different measures in July that meant that start-ups facing those larger rates would get more help, that 90% of pubs would be given a thousand pounds off of their bills and finally, that the third measure was the article based topic surrounding the £300 million fund for firms raising council given tax rates rises – the same fund that businesses are waiting to claim a business rates appeal.

Despite this, owners as well as critics are still skeptical about this as they are still being forced to pay increased bills today without knowing whether they will be able to get the money back or the financial help that they have been promised. Each local council can also choose its own rules for who gets the funds, leaving business facing more uncertainty according to experts.

The Government this week have responded by outlining the £6.7 billion package that is set to commerce to aid businesses with the revaluation, stating that the fund would be functioning “as soon as possible… We’ve listened to the concerns of businesses and are giving an extra £435 million to help those facing the steepest increases in their bills. Working with local authorities, we’re making sure this extra support gets to businesses as soon as possible.”

That however, is still no help for businesses financial concerns today and as it has now been many months since this business rates relief was set to take place, they are still no closer to an answer. Continued stalling on this policy could massively hit the UK economy with start-up going out of business. That mixed with uncertainty regarding Brexit changes and free movement regulations could produce mass problems for the business climate within the country.

How To Shop For Used CMMs

How To Shop For Used CMMs

Metrology machines are not just the most effective way of inspecting the components made in your shop, they are a sign to your clients that you take quality and efficiency seriously. The right combination of coordinate measuring machines, laser scanners, new software, controllers, and computers, can deliver highly precise, highly repeatable parts inspections. Clients look for suppliers who take metrology and inspection seriously; a supplier with a quick and robust inspection process is more likely to deliver accurate parts and deliver on time than someone using out-of-date technology.

However, that doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to spend top dollar on a brand-new coordinate measuring machine. As long as you’re shopping for internationally reputable OEMs, names like Brown and Sharpe, Sheffield, Romer, Faro, Mitutoyo, Zeiss, OGP, LK, Leitz, DEA, and others, you can buy used equipment at half to two-thirds the original price. When it comes to coordinate measuring machines in particular, the structures are so mechanically sound that they have a life expectancy of 25 to 30 years or longer with the right maintenance, care, and retrofits. Unlike machine tools, they aren’t bearing stress daily, so even a machine built in the early 2000s or in the ’90s will have years left of use.

That leaves the question of where you should go when you’re looking for used CMMs. You may have heard of great prices available online or at auctions, but you’re taking a gamble when you buy from sources that aren’t proven. You should look for a metrology dealer who inspects the equipment, provides delivery as part of the price, provides ongoing support for maintaining and repairing the machine, makes upgrades and retrofits available, and has operation and programming training for your staff.

The first step is inspection: North American metrology company Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM) inspects the probing systems, air lines, bearings, drive systems, and cabling of all machines they get before resale. They repair any issues and give buyers a guarantee that the equipment will perform to original specifications on arrival, something no auction house can provide.

According to CMM, almost all of the used coordinate measuring machines they sell receive some kind of upgrade before they arrive at their destination. While they may be mechanically sound for decades, you will have to replace things like computers, controllers, and the software as technology advances. Upgraded software, new probing systems, and new fixture plates are not only common upgrades, they can also make a big difference in the efficiency of your inspections.

Last but not least, look for a metrology supplier who can also provide training for your staff. You may not be in a position to hire someone who already knows how to program the software for machine. It can be expensive to send a set of hands off-site for several days, which is why it’s so important that you can now find E-Learning courses for major software programs like PC-DMIS. Training is the last step in acquiring a new technology for your shop floor, but it’s not one to forget.Well-trained staff will reduce the time your shop spends on programming, be able to fix issues that arise with the machine, and keep things running smoothly. Of course, for advanced problems, you want to be able to call on expert metrologists who can troubleshoot the issue and get you back online.

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board Software Transforms Your Meetings

Board meetings are rarely high up on anyone’s list of favorite activities, as even the directors who sit on them complain about how long and tedious they can be. The work of the board is essential, overseeing management and providing organizations, businesses, government agencies, and financial institutions with direction and strategy. That should be compelling stuff, but director engagement remains a challenge for many.

Enter the board portal: a board software solution that digitizes board documents and puts collaborative tools in directors’ hands that they can use between meetings. Board software is the tool that can make meetings more efficient, more focused, and revive engagement by offering a few key features.

Easy Updates – At the heart of board software is an easy solution to the problem of distributing board books and other documents. Back in the days of paper board books, administrators would struggle to keep every director informed of the latest updates, especially when documents or financial reports were updated last minute. It cost a fortune to courier everything to directors who could be anywhere in the world at any given minute. Today, electronic board books are much more common, but board portal software offers superior security compared to other file sharing methods, especially as many have become popular tools for masking cybercrime attacks.

Collaboration Between Meetings – Board software should come with tools that make it easy for directors to do their job in between meetings. For example, annotation tools are used in Aprio Boardroom, a leading board software solution, that let directors mark up documents either with private notes or to share with their peers. Everyone knows that when an idea strikes, you can’t wait until the next meeting. If you want to develop a more thorough conversation, you have to be able to work in between meetings.

Another great feature of Aprio is the freedom to vote remotely with an electronic signature. It helps boards make more time for key decisions, as the freedom to vote remotely means matters like agreeing on minutes can be dealt with beforehand.

Desktop and Tablet – Flexibility is key for directors who regularly travel and split their responsibilities. Any board software you consider should be compatible on Android, Apple, and Windows tablets, as well as offer offline access to documents.

For many organizations, board portals are already standard, but if you’ve been using this transformative technology already, consider how the industry has changed over the last few years. If your board’s contract with your current board software vendor needs to be renewed, now may be a good time to reassess. In the early days of board software, portals offering better security – the kind of security required by financial institutions, health agencies, and Fortune 500 companies – came at a premium. Those security options are now no longer so expensive, though some portal vendors are still charging higher rates. You can learn more about how security has changed, and become more accessible for all, at Aprio.net and exploring their options for board software. Whether your board’s contract is up or you haven’t yet made the shift to secure electronic board books, do your due diligence, request several demos from vendors, and be sure to compare products based on customer support, security, and price.

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

Your Reputation Should Be Your Number One Concern

If you want to be able to do business online, you have to make sure that you keep your name visible to potential customers. But you also have to make sure that what people see is positive. This is why SEO and branding is hugely important, but reputation management should be your top priority.

Building a Positive Reputation

Before any of your marketing and SEO efforts can pay off, people have to recognize your brand as a trustworthy and authority source. Once you have established that reputation, you have to make sure it is maintained as well. If you are a new business, your first step should be, therefore, to create positive content and to nurture this as much as possible. This is a lot of hard work, particularly since the world is so competitive nowadays. Customer service has to be your top priority, as this will help to build your positive reputation.

You simply cannot leave this as an afterthought. If you do, any other effort you engage in to build trust won’t work, and you will end up having to invest heavily in damage control. Hence, reputation management should be your first important action if you want your business to succeed.

You Need Positive Feedback

Every business wants to have happy, satisfied customers. Your goal should be to make them talk about that, however, thereby building your reputation. You can achieve that in a variety of different ways. Firstly, you need to list any products you sell on websites that allow for reviews, such as Amazon. Secondly, you need to have a Facebook business page with review options switched on. Thirdly, you need to make sure your website has a customer feedback form included on it. Last but not least, you should list on local directory sites, such as Yelp and Google My Business, again ensuring that people can find you and talk about you. You should also make sure that you link to all of these pages on your website, your social media accounts, and any online communication and newsletters you send out.

Stand Out with Reputation Management

You must pay very close attention to what is said about you, so you can truly benefit from it. Indeed, you can even benefit from negative comments, so long as you address them properly. If someone looks you up and sees a negative review, but then also sees that you have tried to remedy the issue, they will be far more forgiving. They old saying “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” continues to ring true today.

You may feel confused about choosing a marketing plan that works for you, and that is no surprise considering everything is suddenly online, competition is fierce, and changes are made on a daily basis. But if you take reputation management as your starting point, and consider that everything you do online is to give people the opportunity to see you in a positive light, you will come a long way.

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Some Considerations to Make if You Use Email in Your Business

Email conversations can be professional or just a bit of fun. Either way, it is information that comes out of your head, which means that you own it. Not just that, you may even suddenly find that you actually need it again, at which point you have to be able to find it somewhere among the thousands of emails you have sent. That is when you suddenly find you need email archive solutions.

These solutions are in place to make sure you are compliant with a range of different federal regulations. Those have been put in place to make sure businesses comply with e-discovery requests, and they have a legal obligation to be able to do that. But organizations have multiple employees, who all send hundreds of emails a day. So how is it possible to find anything in among all of that?

Why Are Email Archiving Strategies Needed?

Different regulations have put rules in place in terms of how long emails have to be stored. Consider, for instance, that you probably come into work on a Monday morning to around 200 unread messages, and you will start to understand the volume of this task. Yet, you have to keep all of those messages somehow because you could face some very serious penalties if you didn’t.

Some of the risks you run by not having email archiving solutions include:

  • Hefty financial penalties.
  • Imprisonment.
  • Having to settle in lawsuits because you cannot provide the necessary information.
  • Losing a lawsuit because you cannot evidence your point of view.
  • Loss of intellectual property.

One of the worst offenses you can commit is destroying emails that do not go in your favor. This is classed as obstruction of justice and can lead to your imprisonment. Not just that, in a litigation, you will be presumed guilty for destroying the evidence.

When someone provides you with an e-discovery request, you only have a limited amount of time to present the evidence they have requested. This means that you have to have solutions in place that allow you to quickly and accurately retrieve information. Email archiving solutions can do this, and you even have three options to choose from. Those are:

  1. On-site solutions.
  2. Hosted solutions.
  3. Cloud solution.

There are a few things you need to consider to help you choose between these different solutions, including:

  1. Is the solution cost-effective? Generally speaking, having a solution on site is the most expensive, because it means you also have to run, operate, maintain, and update the service. Cloud storage is usually the cheapest.
  2. Is the solution reliable? If it is unstable, clunky, or regularly crashes, you still won’t be able to comply with e-discovery requests.

E-discovery and email archiving may sound complex, but it isn’t all that bad. Once you have the right solution in place for your needs, it basically runs itself. Just make sure you spend some time comparing the available options to get the right one.

4 Tips to Fostering a Healthy Work-Life Balance as a Business Owner

4 Tips to Fostering a Healthy Work-Life Balance as a Business Owner

Running a business is hard work. Lots of business owners struggle finding a good balance between their work and home life, as many tend to be “work-aholics”.

After all, that mindset and drive is likely what led them to owning and managing a business. But, at the same time, it can wreak havoc on quality of life outside work.

Plus, burnout can happen, and no one can operate a business effectively at their wit’s end.

If you’re looking to find a healthy work-life balance, below are 4 tips you should try.

Set Boundaries

Boundaries are important in many different facets of your life, but they are especially important in your work life.

Business owners and other entrepreneurs tend to work 24-7, foregoing evening and weekend activities in lieu of squeezing in a few extra hours of work. That’s no way to live.

When you stop to consider the longer term effects of working around the clock, you’ll realize that it’s simply not sustainable. Sooner or later, your body will break down and you’ll be forced to take a break, if not step away forever.

Setting strict work hours and times for people to contact you about work-related issues is a great start to fostering a healthy work-life balance.

Schedule Time to Do Things You Love

With your boundaries set, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have outside of work.

It’s super important to get involved in hobbies and doing things you enjoy to boost mood and even improve your work life, too.

No matter how small the activity, if you enjoy it, do more of it.

Like to go rock climbing but haven’t in a while? Schedule a trip.

Enjoy vaping on your breaks to take the edge off? Go buy the best ejuice you can find and get after it.

The key to a happier life is doing things you love, so it only makes sense that it would be critical in creating an effective work-life balance.

Hire Well and Delegate

If you try to do everything yourself, you’ll end up doing some things fairly well, but most things really poorly. Plus, you’ll work long hours and drive yourself crazy.

It’s important to know your limits and be able to determine tasks that are critical for you to perform, and those which can be handled by someone else.

In a small business of one, that means reaching outside your company for help from freelancers or virtual assistants. If you are lucky enough to have employees, then learn how to delegate appropriately.

Ask for Help

If you’ve done all of the above and you’re still drowning, then don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most people have at least one person they can turn to who would be more than glad to step in and give aid to a friend or family member in need.

Or, consider hiring a business mentor – someone who has been in your shoes before and has made it through successfully.

Asking for help isn’t considered a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of courage and intelligence.

Closing Thoughts

Work-life balance doesn’t just affect you, it affects everyone around you. Use the tips above to run your business effectively while maintaining a healthy personal life.