6 ‘Frugalpreneurship’ Tips To Help Control Small Business Costs

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small business costsSmall business owners know the importance of controlling costs. You can run your business as efficiently as possible, and build your brand wisely, with these seven tips for saving money. Being frugal will help keep profits up and expenses down, so you and your business can succeed and grow.

Go Green and Go Paperless to Save More Money

Mailers and invoices sent through the post cost your business money. Save on postage whenever you can, and consider going paperless if possible. If your business does use traditional mail for marketing materials or product orders, get your mail out early in the morning. This will get your mail to its destination faster without the cost of an upgrade to priority or express delivery.

Staffing Solutions That Lead to Savings

Save on staffing with creative techniques like interns and virtual staff. Many university and college students receive class credits for internships in their area of study. Look toward your local youth to boost business during your busy season for less. Another great money saving solution is virtual staff. Virtual assistants and remote workers can cost you less, and do not require additional office space.

Utilize Energy-Saving Techniques to Reduce Monthly Bills

Energy-saving techniques do not just benefit the environment. Being power smart also saves money. Much of the power consumption today is actually wasted energy, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Using power strips is a great way to ensure you are not wasting energy when your electronics are powered off. Avoid power leakage by using power strips and turning electronics off this way. It is also wise to look at your bills as they come in, and see if there is any space for savings on telephone and other business-related bills.

Barter and Save on the Services You Need

All businesses need to spend on services. Whether it is manufacturing, design, marketing, or distribution, there could be room to save. Talk to your providers, and see if creative payment arrangements may be possible. Bartering is not dead, but it is somewhat of a lost art. You may have valuable products or services at your disposal that could save you on monetary costs. Negotiations can lead to savings, and you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Marketing and Promotions at a Lower Cost

Marketing doesn’t need to cost your business a fortune. The age of the Internet has connected consumers and businesses without high advertising costs. Take advantage of social media and other low-cost marketing techniques to save on marketing without suffering exposure. Contests and local community events are another great way to build your brand on a budget.

Shopping Smarter to Make Your Dollars Work Harder

Office furniture, supplies, and electronics are all business expenses. It is possible to save on these purchases in a variety of creative ways. Instead of shopping for office supplies once a week, buy in bulk once a month. Office furniture and electronics can be bargain shopped, found online, or bought at auction for a fraction of the cost of buying retail.

Owning your own company is both rewarding and challenging. Save yourself some stress, and increase your business’s cash flow with these tips for saving money. Controlling costs can be easy with creative techniques and frugal functionality. Find your inner penny pincher to push potential profits past expectation.

Why Proper Office Lighting Is Key to Productivity

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Why Proper Office Lighting Is Key to ProductivityThe human body is not designed to sit indoors in front of a computer screen for hours on end. A body is meant to enjoy the benefits of outdoor light from the sun. Proper lighting is essential to productivity in the workplace, although proper lighting doesn’t just mean using brighter light bulbs or flicking on more light switches. Office lighting is prehistoric in a lot of ways, and this article discusses how the kind of office lighting can play an integral role in the productivity levels of people working in an office setting.

Clear Vision and the Successful Completion of Projects

According to naturaleyecare.com, “over 100 million people in the United States today use computers” with 50 percent of those people experiencing some eyestrain, headache or other eye condition. With that many people in the office having troubled vision, it would only make sense that there are more errors and omissions in the work that’s being done.

Productivity is boosted by decreasing the amount of errors in work. In addition, by decreasing the likelihood that workers will end up with eyestrain, productivity will naturally flourish. In order to avoid eyestrain in the office, try taking breaks from the computer and finding other important tasks to do. Also, try exercising the eyes by looking back and forth, and by looking further than the computer screen. Another good idea is to trade traditional lighting with full-spectrum lighting, or use full-spectrum lamps by computers.

The Health Benefits of Full-Spectrum Lighting

Full-spectrum lighting offers some of the same benefits that the sunshine offers. A good full spectrum light is designed to replicate the same wavelengths of light that the sun emits, without containing the potentially harmful UVA and UVB of the actual sunshine. The initial expense from trading traditional office lighting for full spectrum lighting can be outweighed by the benefits of greater productivity over the long term.

Studies done by leading scientists in the full spectrum light industry have shown that people can actually experience health benefits beyond that of less eyestrain. Full spectrum light has been shown to reduce stress and fatigue, improve vision, counteract the health concerns of computer monitors, discourage SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and regulate sleep cycles.

Less Necessity for Break-Time

When people do not have eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue from sitting under poor lighting all day, people feel less of a need to take a break from work. If their health is improved, workers will require less time off work for sick-leave as well.

Poor office lighting leads to reduced productivity, and less productivity is something that every business owner understands well. If workers can be put into an environment that complements their bodies’ natural rhythms, then workers are more likely to be healthy and happy in the workplace, and less likely to feel the need to take excessive breaks and sick-time away from the office. Investigating full spectrum lighting and how it can affect productivity at the office can be a worthwhile use of time for any business owner

How To Boost Your Creativity At The Office

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How To Boost Your Creativity At The OfficeMuch research has been conducted to understand how brands can boost creativity at the office. According to researcher Yuri Martens, the performance of today’s brands is becoming increasingly dependant on its ability to be creative; thus, stimulating employee creativity is one of the major focuses of any company. And while no single method is guaranteed to work all the time, there are still actions a business can take to transform its culture into one of free thinking and innovation. Here are 5 tips on how to boost your creativity at the office:

Surround Yourself With Happy Colors & Images

An abundance of charts and grids can lead to restricted thinking as they create the appearance and feeling of structure and rules, leading to closed minds. To encourage thinking freely, put up visually appealing images that inspire mental clarity and happy thoughts, for example, images of nature. Color also plays a significant role in creativity. Light blue boosts mental clarity and stimulates the mind; in contrast, red can spark agression and anxiety and exacerbate negative feelings among workers, says a research report by InformeDesign. Red can also make employees pay more attention to minute details rather than the “bigger picture” — studies show that a balance of both is conducive to higher levels of creativity.

Brainstorm The Right Way

While brainstorming has long been deemed an essential part of idea generation, many companies conduct brainstorming sessions in a way that actually decreases creative output. Brainstorming meetings often suppress original thinking and can actually make each individual less creative in the process. Why? Popular belief holds that being non-critical of group members’ ideas allows ideas to flow more freely; however, as author Jonah Lehrer points out, brainstorming in this way fails precisely because criticism and debate are necessary to generate new ideas. Without a candid discussion of mistakes — why a particular idea just won’t work — employees are less likely to come up with innovative alternatives because every single idea is considered a good one. Pyschologist Charlan Nemeth explains that proper criticism encourages more creativity as members feel the desire to want to improve upon someone else’s idea. In the absence of criticism, everyone is “right” and there is thus no need to push your own creativity to consider unexplored possibilities.

Encourage Interaction & Conversation

As Trend Hunter previously discussed, augmenting interaction and conversation at the office can lead to increased innovation. This is because the free sharing of knowledge, often through unstructured and unfocused conversations, can lead you to come up with more creative ideas and solutions. Change your office’s physical setup so that there are less private workspaces and more central meeting locations where people can relax and chat freely with one another. Install a coffee bar or lounge within your office space so that workers have a “third place” — an interactive area that is neither the home nor the work desk — where diverse employees can talk freely and enjoy their conversations. Such an environment has worked for Pixar, where the casual conversations and random encounters at the company’s lounges and bars often lead to new and creative ideas.

Allow Yourself To Play

While giving yourself time to ‘play’ seems counter-productive, studies have revealed that reduced stress as a result of playing can lead to more ideas, enhanced creativity and increased innovation. Companies like Google, Facebook, LEGO, Zynga and more are infusing their office environments with things like slides, interior gardens, writeable walls, pool tables and other game-like elements. Playtime might simply mean giving employees private time and a quiet space to doodle on a blank notepad — anything that helps them relax and clear their minds. In addition to lightening the mood at the office, giving yourself time to play also encourages you to interact with your co-workers — which, as we discussed above, can enhance creative thinking and problem-solving.

Increase Diversity

The importance of diversity at the office cannot be understated; an environment filled with people from different cultures, experience levels and specialties enhances creativity because the more diverse a group’s knowledge and beliefs are, the more diverse ideas and creative solutions will arise. When a company puts similar people of the same background, culture and function together, these people ultimately generate the same ideas because they think the same. Although people naturally want to work with their friends, such a situation means a hampering of creativity because friends, who have similar preferences and perspectives, are likely to come up with the same solutions to the same problems.

3 Ways Coffee Can Improve Your Health And Productivity

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Young woman using mobile phone and laptop in coffee shop, smiling

Office coffee can sometimes get a bad reputation, but having a daily cup or two might be better for you than you think. As most people like to indulge in at least one cup of coffee on a weekday morning, the drink that often gets a rough rap can actually work to improve your day as well as your performance at the office. You might feel guilty about grabbing that second cup, but here are a few reasons why you don’t need to be too strict about your coffee consumption.

It Gets You Involved with the Social Aspect of the Workplace

The water cooler might be the familiar centerpiece for office chit-chat, but going for a morning cup of coffee can actually get you into the kitchen and involved in an unexpected conversation with your co-workers. While another opportunity to talk with your fellow employees might not be a popular idea with your boss, it can actually be a good way to get away from your inbox for a few moments and get back to your desk with a fresh, new perspective. It can also be a great way to establish friendships with your co-workers that will enhance your experience at work.

It Can Make You More Focused, More Productive, More…

It might seem strange to think of coffee as something that can actually make you more productive, but the stimulating powers of caffeine, which work to block the inhibitive neurotransmitter Adenosine, can actually improve your efficiency at work. In effect, caffeine not only works to wake you up, but it can also make you feel better about your work day, boost your memory and reaction time, and make your projects and daily duties go off without a hitch so you don’t have to worry about a sleepy morning getting in the way of your productivity.

It Can Reduce the Risk of Many Common Health Ailments

While coffee is often given a bad reputation because of its stimulating properties, the beverage really can assist you in preventing a variety of health issues. In addition to automatically increasing your alertness, coffee can minimize the risk of diabetes, cirrhosis and other diseases like Cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. It can also be a source of additional vitamins like B2 and B5 as well as a source of potassium, manganese and riboflavin. All of these health benefits might just make you want to rush to the coffee pot a bit quicker in the morning!

Many people might be surprised by the health benefits of coffee, but this favorite morning drink can actually be a great source of vitamins and minerals and can also help to stave off many serious illnesses. Though moderation is important, there’s no use feeling guilty if you’re having a day that requires a second cup!