Should You Lease An Office? 4 Reasons For And Against

Leasing – or renting – an office is still seen as the most popular method of running a business. Despite the work-from-home revolution, many companies still want to have office space to conduct their daily business. It's rare that companies will outright buy offices, purely because it's too expensive. Plus, small businesses move around quite a lot, so you might not stay in the building for long enough to warrant buying it. 

Having said all of this, leasing office space isn't the most advantageous idea of all time. There are some disadvantages as well, which begs the question; should you lease an office? Are there some better alternatives that might work well for your business?

To help you answer this question, you'll find some reasons for and against the concept of renting office space:

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For: A professional work environment

Having an office gives you a professional work environment that can help you be more productive. It allows you to keep all of your staff in one place, allowing for better collaboration on projects. Communication is much easier when everyone's in an office, and you don't have to worry about things like someone's internet breaking down. As we've all experienced over Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings, a dodgy internet connection can make communication a huge problem when remote working. 

Many people argue that working in an office is better for them mentally as they feel more professional. It's a way of letting people switch to ‘work mode' rather than working from home and feeling too relaxed and distracted. 

Against: A needless expense

On the other hand, you can easily argue that leasing an office is a needless expense. Sure, it has benefits, but do you actually need an office to run your business? Can you run it from home without any qualms or issues? The last 18 months have been a great way for businesses to test if remote working is effective for them or not. Ask yourself, have you seen significant drops in productivity over this period?

If the answer is no, then you may want to consider ditching the office altogether. You can clearly run your company with no issues if everyone works remotely, so why bother spending money on office rent? It's not just the cost of renting that's a factor; it's all the other expenses as well. Office energy bills, office equipment for all your employees – these things add up. Yes, some can be taken off your tax bill as business expenses, but you still have to purchase them, which may interrupt your cash flow. 

For: Free advertising

An underrated and unappreciated advantage of leasing an office is that it gives you free advertising. When you work in an office, you can place your sign outside. If you're the only business in the building, you can put clear signage outside the office for everyone to see. Even if multiple businesses work in the same building, there will usually be a sign outside with everyone's logos on it. You could even add signs to your windows to further promote your business. 

Ultimately, an office gives you a chance to promote your business to anyone that walks by. If you're located in a busy city center, you could potentially have hundreds of eyes on your logo and sign every day. This plants the seed of your business in people's minds, making them think about you subconsciously. They can also be intrigued by your business if you offer something they're interested in. In essence, you can potentially gain customers just by leasing an office. 

Against: Lateness

Another possible bad side of leasing office space is that it can lead to constant lateness from your employees. It all depends on your office location and how easy it is to get to. In some cases, there are no public transport links, so the only way to get there is by car or foot. If your whole team drives in from different locations, they can easily get caught in the morning traffic rush. This means that certain employees are always turning up late, and there's nothing they can do about it. 

By contrast, if everyone worked from home, you'd never have an issue with lateness. People don't have to commute to work every day, so you should be able to get more productive hours out of them. Granted, this point is definitely situational and depends on the office. You may find an office in an excellent location that's close to all of your employees and is easy to get to – even during rush hour. However, this brings us back to the money issue; offices like this will command a premium rental price!

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For: Sublease to make money

Again, an underrated benefit of leasing offices is that you do have the potential to make money from the space. In most office leasing contracts, you can sublease to let other businesses rent a share of the office space. Let's say you lease an office, but you only use around a third of the space you have in the building. Maybe, after last year, you realized that half of your team can work remotely, while the other half stay in the office. As a result, there's a lot of spare space lying around. You can then lease this to another business – or two – and they pay you to work there. 

This is a highly common idea, and it's called office sharing. Now, there's a key thing to understand, and it's that everyone subleasing from you will have their own separate office areas. They will work in the same office building, but not in your actual office. This differs from coworking, which is where everyone works together in the same place and shares resources. It can be confusing differentiating between the two, but there are some great points made in an article I read called 14 Ways Office Sharing Differs From Coworking that explains it all. The bottom line is that you can make money by leasing an office if you have extra space to sublease to others. As such, this can go some way to covering your own rental costs!

Against: A bad work-life balance

Achieving a good work-life balance is essential if you want to get the most from your employees. A good balance between the two means that people can easily drift between work and their personal lives. Essentially, it mainly revolves around the idea of bringing work stress back home with them or having enough time to themselves at the end of each day. Leasing an office could lead to a bad work-life balance, particularly when compared to working from home. 

Did you know that a lot of workers found that working from home provided them with a better work-life balance in 2020? Over 4,000 people were surveyed by FlexJobs, and they discovered that 73% believed they had a better work-life balance by being at home. Why? Because it allowed them to cut down on commuting, letting them spend more time with their kids, partners, pets, etc. Not having to go to the office every morning also meant they could sleep in an hour later than usual in some cases, leading to a better sleep schedule and decreasing stress. This might not be the case for everyone, but the stats show that a large majority of workers have a worse work-life balance in the office. 

For: Better networking opportunities

The last point in the ‘for' column is that an office gives you more opportunities to network. If you sublease to other companies, you could have someone right next to you that provides the services you need. Likewise, if you're in a building that loads of other businesses are also in, the same networking opportunities present themselves. 

A significant downside of working from home is that you miss out on these ongoing networking and relationship-building opportunities. 

Against: A higher carbon footprint

Finally, one argument against leasing offices is that they make your business generate a larger carbon footprint. By working from home, you prevent the need for commuting, saving many carbon emissions from being pumped into the air every day. It's not something you tend to think about that often, but it's a genuine problem. 

You also use less energy as you won't have numerous PCs plugged into the wall every single day – or loads of other office equipment. So, you can run a greener business by not having an office. 

Overall, leasing an office can be both beneficial and disruptive. It depends on your business and the issues you hold closest to your heart. Also, some businesses may have to work in an office for one reason or another. In this case, leasing is definitely better and more financially savvy than buying an office building. Ultimately, it comes down to what you think will benefit your business the most. Can you work from home without any productivity issues? Can you rent an office without seeing the financial problems? 

Here Are Things No One Tells You About Online Trading

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Online trading is a booming industry that has been around for over 20 years. The internet and the introduction of online brokers have made it easier than ever to invest in stocks, forex, and commodities. But there are things no one tells you about the world of online trading before you get started:

You Should Avoid Penny Stocks

It would help if you avoided penny stocks over the long term. Some of these stocks can exponentially increase in value. However, on rare occasions, penny stocks may become lucrative investments and yield high returns over a short period. 

However, many investors lose money because they are not aware that most penny stock investments are speculative. The significant risk involved with trading penny stocks is that it is easy to lose money. The penny stocks listed on the OTC Bulletin Board or Pink Sheets can be hazardous and volatile, and you should avoid them altogether if possible.

You should not invest in penny stocks if you are going through a rough financial patch because they will only stress your situation. It is not a brilliant idea to invest in penny stocks when your main priority is paying the bills and taking care of yourself, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck. When it comes to making investments, sometimes all you can think about is how much money you have lost or what amount you might be able to make instead.

You Should Stick to One Trading Platform

Sticking to one platform like MetaTrader 4 is good because it allows you to develop the skills and strategies needed for trading. You should try out different platforms, but if one works well with your needs, then stick to that one. There is also a lot of community support on many of these sites, which can also help. It's important not to get distracted by other platforms because you might get confused or trade poorly.

You Should Have Enough Funds When Starting

You should have enough funds when starting online trading. That means you don't need to borrow money or pay with your credit card because it can be easy to get into this situation if you are not careful and end up losing more than what you started with. 

If the market is doing well, that might work in your favour, but there's no guarantee that it will, and you could lose a lot of money. So you should set aside some money for this purpose before even starting online trading so that if something does go wrong, you have the funds to cover your losses.

You Should Be Realistic About Profits To Avoid Losses

It would help if you were realistic about the potential profits that you might make. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Do not expect huge returns because someone gave you a tip, or there are rumors online of quick success stories. With anything in life, if something seems like easy money – it usually isn't and will end up costing you.

Conclusion

Now that you have a better idea of what it takes to be an online trader, you might want to give it a try. There are many benefits associated with this type of trading, and having the correct information can help even beginners get started on their journey without any hiccups along the way. So don't think about it any longer, and get started today!

Key Areas in Your Business to Work on Before the Year Ends

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The end of the year is quickly approaching. This means it's time to start thinking about what you need to accomplish before the year is over! Of course, there are many things on your mind, but some critical areas in your business should be at the top of your list. 

Whether you're a small business owner or an entrepreneur, these are all essential tasks for every company to have accomplished this year! Here is a list to guide you. 

Your Market Share 

It is common for companies to have market share reports and analyses on their annual performance. This is also one of the most sought-after information for new companies to know how they are doing compared to competitors in their industry.

To improve your market share, you can create new products, start advertising more, lower prices, increase quality and strengthen customer relationships. You can also improve market share with People Ai

Your Employees' Skills 

Employees are the backbones of your business. They make sure that everything is running smoothly, and if they're not happy with something in the company, then either you or them will be unhappy. So, it makes sense to keep your employees happy. 

Start by grading your employees. You can do it on many factors, like communication skills and punctuality, but you will also need to know how skilled they are in their jobs. For example, if a customer service agent is not knowledgeable about the products they are selling, their customers won't have a good experience.

Your Warehousing

Your warehousing is critical to the success of your company. It's a space where you can keep all your inventory and be able to track products sold, who ordered those items from you, as well as where they're going.  Make sure you organize it, so things don't get lost or misplaced in this vital area of your business.

Your Products and Services

Your products and services are some of the essential things in your business. They need to be fully developed, marketed well-enough so that you know what they can do for clients, and put out there so potential buyers or clients can see them. There is a lot of work involved with this process, but it's essential to your business.

Your Production Systems

Your production systems are the backbone of your business and can be a key area you need to work on before year-end.  One thing that will help you grow is efficient production systems, so everything runs smoothly with little downtime or stress caused by a lack of materials.

Planning for this replenishment process takes careful calculation and consideration, especially if you are hiring additional staff to help with the workload.  You can begin this process by first determining how much material is needed each day and establishing a plan for getting that amount of inventory into your business.

Your IT Department 

Your IT department is your business's backbone and needs the attention it deserves. If you're looking for an IT support service provider, you need to know what critical areas in your business to work on before the year ends. Looking for an IT support service provider will help you improve your business' operations and prepare it to face the future.

Your Customers 

The customer is the reason why you're in business. Make sure you meet their needs to maintain your reputation as an industry leader. It would help if you also focused on creating efficient communication channels with customers so they know how to contact you when problems arise. The last thing you want at this point is to lose customer trust because of poor communication.

Your Website 

You'll also need to keep an eye on your business' website and make sure it's mobile-friendly. Many customers look for information online when researching about products or services they want to buy, so if you don't have a good presence in the digital world, then there is no point in running a business.

Your Procurement Activities

As the eCommerce business grows, it is essential to have an effective procurement strategy. The biggest challenge that most online stores face today is managing their growing inventory well and controlling expenses simultaneously. 

If you want to grow your income with better margins this year, having a good supply chain management process in place will help you achieve it much more manageable.

This article gave you an overall focus on things to work on for your business. The covered areas are some of the main important ones, but this is not all-inclusive as there will be other aspects in your business that need attention before year-end.

How will DCB revolutionize e-commerce?

How will DCB revolutionize e-commerce?

The rise and development of information technology and the Internet have created a great environment for online businesses to thrive. The Internet has a great influence on our lives, it has developed so much, it has become one of the main mediums where we do our purchases, communicate with others. It's a virtual meeting place for the majority of our daily operations.

Along with its development, a change in the business environment happened. Businesses are now racing to offer a seamless service as possible and as convenient as it can be for the customers. One of the methods that allow brands to be more approachable to customers in the ways of how we deal with money transactions. Direct Carrier Billing, as a payment method, has a great potential to speed up the purchasing process and improve customer experience. And it's threatening to revolutionize e-commerce. Let's see how.

What is DCB?

But, before we dive in and explain how Direct Carrier Billing revolutionizes e-commerce, let’s see what DCB is.

Direct Carrier Billing or, shortly, DCB is an online purchasing method that allows customers to pay for the services by charging them on their mobile phone bills. Besides mobile phones, DCB works on almost any tech device, ranging from tablets to smart TVs. 

Why will DCB revolutionize e-commerce?

Now when we’ve explained what DCB is, let’s see how it can revolutionize e-commerce.

  • It’s easy to use.

One of the main reasons why we think Direct Carrier Billing is going to revolutionize e-commerce is the fact it simplifies the payment process. Since DCB isn’t dependent on any banking infrastructure, customers don’t have to disclose all the details and leighty information they’re putting in when they use other payment options. This makes DCB an easy and convenient payment option, and it’s seen as a great tool that can help in customer acquisition.

  • It’s accessible.

Using DCB in online purchases means that customers just have to have their smart devices at hand to make a payment. They don’t need to sign up each time, fill in leighty and sensitive information. They don’t even have to have a credit card!

Since there are more people in the world owning a smartphone than credit cards, integrating DCB as a payment option for your business will allow those people to seamlessly make their purchase, but open up space for a greater customer pool.

  • It increases customers’ trust.

As we said before, DCB doesn’t require customers to put in their sensitive information to make a purchase, making it one of the safest payment methods. Besides that, given that DCB payments are secured with multiple levels of security and don’t pose a risk to the customer, users feel safe and comfortable while purchasing products. Because of all this, consumers have more trust in this type of payment, making it one of the most desirable forms of payment.

  • It’s able to increase conversions.

Since it’s generally easy to use, using DCB for your business has a great potential to decrease cart abandonment rates. Due to its simplicity, DCB works the best with businesses where customers are more likely to impulse buy products, such as the gaming and gambling industry, for instance.

  • It offers a possibility of tapping into undeveloped markets.

Surprisingly, there are more smartphone users than credit card owners in the world. And while this might pose a problem for other payment options, DCB allows brands to tap into undeveloped markets with poorly developed banking infrastructure, broadening their customer pool.

Wrapping it up.

With a fast change of technology comes the fast change in how we conduct our purchases. E-commerce businesses need to adapt to these changes fastly and be agile if they want to stay competitive. DCB is one of the trends that it's not new, but its potential is yet to be seen. And we cannot wait for it to happen!

10 Things To Consider When Building An App

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Developing an app is now easier than ever before. However, there are still many careful considerations that need to be made if you want your app to be a success. Below are 10 important things to consider when building an app. 

What is the purpose of your app?

You shouldn’t build an app just because it’s the hip and trendy thing to do. There needs to be a clear purpose to building an app – and there should be clear benefits for its users. 

For instance, if you own a gym, creating an app could be useful for allowing members to easily scan themselves in, as well as potentially allowing them to track their workout (the app could be linked up to machines in the gym to digitally track performance). You could even offer vouchers to loyal members that can be used in local restaurants or shops, which could serve as an added incentive to download the app, as well as helping to retain members at your gym.

The app may even be your product. Perhaps you have a creative idea for a mobile game or personal finance app. In this case, there is a clear purpose to the app.

Make sure that your app isn’t just a copy of your website or a copy of your company software. You should also make sure that there isn’t an existing app out there that already serves your purpose. 

Will you build it yourself or hire developers?

You have two choices when developing an app: build it yourself or hire developers.

If you’re a skilled programmer, you may feel up for the challenge of coding your own app from scratch. There are also free and cheap drag-and-drop app builders out there that require no programming know-how – these are useful for creating simple apps.

Hiring developers may be better suited if you want to create a unique or complex app. Most companies choose to hire developers. There are various different types of developer to choose from including small companies and large companies, depending on the complexity of the app you’re designing, which leads onto the next important consideration…

How complex will your app be?

Will your app have a basic purpose (such as serving as a digital loyalty card)? Or will it be very complex (for instance, an AR app)? 

The complexity of your app is important to consider as it will affect the type of developer that you should hire and the amount of maintenance that is likely to be required to keep it running. A complex app is also likely to cost more, which leads onto the next point…

How much will your app cost?

The cost of developing an app can vary. You can code an app from scratch yourself for $100 – or you can pay developers $1,000,000 to create the next Uber or Tinder. 

The majority of good quality company apps cost between $10,000 and $100,000. When creating a basic small company app, you should expect the price to be towards the lower end of this range. When creating a complex enterprise app, you should expect the price to be towards the higher end of this range. 

Game apps can meanwhile cost between $5,000 and $250,000 to build depending on the complexity. 

How will you fund your app?

Most people don’t have $10,000 lying around to spend on an app – let alone $100,000. You should consider how you will fund your app. This could be via a business loan or it could be via the help of investors. 

When choosing a business loan, shop around for rates. It’s worth exploring a range of bank loans and private loans. Some app development companies may even offer finance.

When choosing to use investors, consider whether to crowdfund or to pitch to angel investors. Crowdfunding can be more straightforward but slower.

How fast do you want the app to be developed?

You can spend years developing an app or you can develop an app in a series of weeks. 

In order to develop an app quickly, you’ll need a team of developers and you’ll need to be willing to pay more. There are some developers that specialise in rapid application development. This is much faster than the traditional ‘waterfall’ development method. 

Slower development may be better suited if you are on a budget and feel that there is no rush to get it built.

How much communication is necessary with developers?

Do you want to pitch your idea and leave the rest up to your developers? Or do you want to be involved every step of the way?

Some developers may prefer one method over the other. This is worth enquiring into when hiring a developer so that you can keep the right level of communication. A more hands-off approach may be better when designing a basic app, while a more complex app may require a lot more communication between developer and client. 

Which devices will your app be available on?

Separate apps will need to be coded for iOS and Android devices. iOS apps tend to be faster, easier and cheaper to build. That said, there are more Android users than iOS users. In most cases, it’s worth focusing on one first and then building an app for the other platform if this is successful. 

How will you test your app?

Testing your app before you launch it will help you to iron out any bugs. Developers will usually be able to do some of this testing. You may also be able to hire third-party testers to look for bugs. 

It could also be worth testing your app on consumers. This can help you to make sure that your app is user friendly. Continuous testing could be worthwhile for constantly improving your app and giving customers the best experience. 

How will you promote your app?

If you don’t promote your app, no-one will know it exists. The best way to market an app depends very much on the type of app. If you’re designing a company app, you may be able to promote it on your website, via company emails and in your store. Promoting a mobile game app meanwhile may require looking into in-app advertising, getting reviews from mobile game publications and promoting your app on social media. Make sure that you’ve developed a marketing strategy before your app is ready to be made public. 

Home Office Essentials To Make Your Life Easier

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Working at home is something that many of us have had to get used to in recent months; and in fact, a lot of companies have decided to make the move to remote working official and permanent to cut down costs. 

If you are currently working at home or you will be doing soon in the future the most important asset you can have is a home office. Having somewhere specific to your work is important not only for your own convenience and comfort but also to ensure that when you switch off for the night you can really leave work behind. 

A home office might be a separate room in your house, or a small corner you have created for yourself to work from, and to make it the best it can be there are some things you need to do. From looking at your screens to ensuring plenty of natural light; we want to note a few items that will make your home office working experience so much better this year. 

Multiple screens

One of the first items that will make your life easier when working at home is having more than one screen to look at. It can be both annoying and time waiting throughout your day to have to constantly flick from window to window when doing your work. Whether you are using something as a reference or you need access to multiple documents at once; we know how hard it can be to manage with only one screen. Computer monitors can be bought for a very reasonable price and by having these in your possession you will likely be able to work more efficiently and more productively. 

A comfortable chair 

It is crucial to ensure your own comfort when it comes to working at home. You need to make sure that you are able to work for long hours every day without damaging your back, and a comfortable chair will not only help you work more productively but it will improve your overall posture. Make sure to invest in a good chair because this is where you will be spending a huge chunk of your time throughout the week. 

A cable organizer 

One thing you may not have considered about working from home is how many cables you will end up with under your desk. Devices need power, and power means cables and sockets. First of all, ensure you have enough sockets in your chosen location to withstand the devices you need for work and ensure that you organize them in a way that they won’t get in your way. It might also be a good idea to know a good personal injury law firm if you have a whole lot of cables to use for your role. 

A whiteboard

To help you stay focused when working at home one thing you can consider doing is hanging a whiteboard somewhere above your desk where you can see it every day. A whiteboard will allow you to write down important tasks and notes and this will ultimately help you stay on track.