The Best Ways to Improve How Your Bathroom Looks

After spending the whole long day at work, it’s nice to sit in a tub of warm water with your favourite bath soak while aromatic candles burn and mellow music plays in the background. What a relaxing treat! However, as you snap back to reality, you realise that your bathroom is far from your dream. In fact, it looks dull, boring, and untidy.

If you want to be that relaxed woman in your dream, you should start planning for a bathroom remodel. Sure, it might cost you hundreds or thousands of pounds, but at least you’re putting your money to good use.

Start getting rid of unwanted moisture

Bathrooms turn messy when there is too much unwanted moisture coming from the shower. That’s why it’s better to install shower pods. These bathroom structures will allow you to keep the moisture contained. You can finally put an end to your mould and mildew problem if you eliminate unwanted moisture in your bathroom.

There are many shower pods sold on the market today. All you need is to check the specification of the pods. This way, you can pick the most suitable option for your bathroom.

Maximise your storage area

Regardless of if you have a small, large, or medium-sized bathroom, expanding your storage area can help. If you have extra space, you can buy a small cabinet for your towels and toiletries. If the area is small, you should opt for hanging cabinets instead.

To keep the room spic and span, you must remove any unnecessary objects. Get rid of all those empty shampoo bottles. If you can, try to purchase glass containers with pumps for your bathroom toiletries. Also, don’t forget to discard small bits of soap and clean the drain.

Repaint the walls

Repaint jobs are very cheap, but they can instantly spruce up a room. If you’re tired of the same colour that you have, we recommend repainting the walls. Pick a cheerier tone if you have a small bathroom. Darker shades tend to make a room appear smaller. If you have a large or medium-sized bathroom, you can use a monochromatic palette.

Choose an environmentally-friendly paint product when you repaint your walls. These mostly come with a milder scent, compared to the usual types of paint products sold in DIY shops.

Buy a larger mirror

Mirrors make any space appear bigger. If you currently have a small mirror, you should consider installing a new, large one. Apart from the illusion that it provides, it will profoundly impact the overall appeal of your bathroom. If you already have a large mirror, be sure to wipe it clean every once in a while.

It’s high time to have your bathroom revamped. After all, it’s one of the rooms in your house where you spend the longest time each day. A simple addition of a bathroom fixture, regular bathroom clean-up, and compartmentalisation can help you enjoy a more relaxing bath time.

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4 Tasks Every Small Business Owner Should Outsource

As a small business owner, you are used to wearing many hats and acting as a Jack of all trades. You likely know a little about a lot, and it’s no wonder why. Running a business requires initiative, skill and savviness. You certainly benefit from the support of your staff, but at the end of the day, you are the one running the show. It can be difficult to delegate tasks to others when you trust yourself the most, and it might be even more difficult to outsource portions of your operation and let go of control completely.

Part of being an effective manager, though, is knowing when to do exactly this. There are several tasks that every small business owner should outsource. Outsourcing can help you free up resources, focus on the essential aspects of your business and avoid errors by getting help from experts trained in the task at hand. The following are some of the processes that might benefit from outsourcing.

Marketing

You might think that your marketing skills are sufficient for promoting your business and attracting customers, but sufficient is not good enough. You work hard to sustain your small business and provide customers with the best service possible. It would be a shame for these efforts to reach only a portion of the market containing potential customers. Rather than do your business a disservice by managing the task of marketing all on your own, consider the benefits of outsourcing it to a company that specializes in small business marketing. This can be a great way to reach new customers.

Bookkeeping

Too many businesses are crippled by the consequences of poor bookkeeping. It is absolutely imperative that you keep track of all revenue, outgoing funds, taxes and payroll. Outsourcing bookkeeping and/or payroll can help you avoid many of the problems that small businesses often encounter with money. Even if you use software and other resources, small mistakes can have major repercussions, and this is a task best left to professionals who are experts in managing small business finances. Outsourcing can also eliminate the stress of spending hours each week managing the minutia of your company’s money.

Web Design

Just as many small business owners are capable of basic bookkeeping, many small business owners are capable of basic web design. When you settle for basic, though, you are doing your company a major disservice. Utilizing a professional website builder is the better option, and it can boost your business’ revenue substantially. Many customers find businesses online, and when your website does not represent your company effectively, you are losing potential sales. A website builder can ensure that potential customers are motivated to follow through. Web design and marketing for small businesses is best left to dedicated professionals.

Conversion

At the end of the day, your ultimate objective is to convert potential customers into loyal clients. Maximizing your conversion statistics demands the use of proven strategies and an effective approach. This means you must utilize marketing, web presence and customer service effectively. Conversion experts who specialize in small businesses can help you use all of these tools to boost profits and reach your target market effectively. A good sales pitch alone won’t do the trick, so it is important to enlist help from specialists when you want to get conversion rates that are worthwhile.

Outsourcing is an important part of running a small business. No matter what industry you are in, you should consider outsourcing these aspects of your company to experts and focusing on what you do best—running the day-to-day operations of your business. This can alleviate stress and free up your time, so do not hesitate to outsource when it becomes necessary.

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Learning the Market

If you’re running a business, you have to be driven by success. So much is resting on your shoulders: the expectations of your customers, your ability to provide for yourself and your family, your employees who look to you for pay. Failure means letting down customers who rely on you, who may well see a business arrangement as a personal relationship, it means difficult times for you, your family and the employees who trusted you.

It’s more than clear that success is the most important thing you can shoot for, and every other aim is merely a step on the way. Innovation is a fine thing to value, but only in so far as it helps you succeed as a business, for example.

One thing that you need to succeed is to know your market. You need to know it in all its seasons, all its moods and all its behaviours. You need market intelligence delivered to your desk constantly so you can make the right decisions about what to do in the event of a new competitor emerging, a new product hitting the market, or any change that has the capacity to affect your business.

Without this kind of insight, you won’t even be able to recognise all of the things that could have an effect, let alone react to them effectively. The out of context problem, first defined by sci-fi author Iain M Banks describes a culture obliterated by a problem they don’t even have the understanding to frame effectively, let alone understand and respond to – picture the plight of the Aboriginals in Australia witnessing the sails of ships appear on the horizon, unable to see the relationship between those and their own canoes let alone predict the fatal impact the imperial settlers would have on their civilisation.

Businesses are just as vulnerable to an out of context problem, so it falls on you as the leader to expand your contextual understanding as much as possible to avoid unnecessary surprises. Engage in research that can help you predict long term trends as well as maximising your returns from changes in the short term.

As well as having a thorough research programme, you can also expand your understanding by making sure your hiring is diverse. People from different backgrounds bring new kinds of understanding, so make sure you’re putting them in senior roles. If your executive team all look and think like you, you’re limiting your ability to understand and predict your market and could be wiped out by the next unexpected sail on the horizon.

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Five Reasons Why Renting from a Plant Hire Company is a Wise Choice

Project-based constructions are often done by demand. This means that a contractor may have several projects lined up for a specific amount of time and have several months without any jobs at all. This is one of the reasons why investing in heavy equipment and machinery is not a priority. Instead, contractors look for plant hires to provide them with the needed equipment.

In comparison, buying equipment means you have to pay for the maintenance and storage. A piece of equipment, depending on the model, type, and size can cost a large amount of money. The money used for buying equipment would be better off used as part of the revolving capital of the company.

Furthermore, if the machinery is not being used, it can get rusty and become outdated. Aside from the savings of renting, there are other advantages to consider which makes renting a more sensible option.

Variety of options

Machinery devaluates over time. If you buy your own, you will have to worry about replacing parts and repairing damage just to keep it in good working condition. Renting from companies like Ruttle Plant Hire in Preston, you have a variety of equipment to choose from. Not only is the rental equipment in good condition. Some rental companies even invest in top of the line and the latest models of machinery to suit every type of construction job requirement. You can also choose from a bigger inventory, hence, you have the exact equipment needed to complete a job.

Quality and condition

Plant hire companies specialise in providing machinery for every imaginable construction job. It is also their commitment to make sure that each piece of equipment is maintained to the highest standards. Some companies even guarantee repair and maintenance on site in case you encounter any problems while operating the machine.

Flexible options available on demand

Contractors are unlikely to have the same kind of project all the time. This means that every job requires special kinds of machinery that you may not always have available in your own fleet. Renting gives you the flexibility to have the required equipment on demand. Of course, you also need to book your rentals in advance so that you can pick from the best available equipment in the company’s fleet.

Avoid deprecation

If you invest in your own equipment, it will eventually depreciate in value. This can be a liability to the company in the long run. The cost of maintaining and repairing equipment can rack up over time. Another advantage of renting is that the cost can be included in the company’s tax deductibles.

Convenient and worry-free operation

Renting equipment also means you don’t have to worry about storage and clean-up after the equipment is used. The rental company will take care of the delivery and removal of the machinery as soon as the project is completed. They will also handle the care, maintenance, and clean-up. As long as the machine has not been damaged while in use, no further liabilities are incurred.

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Why the Location of a Crane Hire Provider Matters

One of the most important factors you need to consider when hiring a crane is the location. Generally, the nearer the crane service provider is, the better option it would be. If your project is in Peterborough, it is more convenient choosing a company offering crane hire in Peterborough instead of choosing those in Fenland, Cambridge, Huntingdonshire, or other districts. There are clear advantages in hiring a crane that is in close proximity to your project site, as briefly discussed below.

Faster arrival of the equipment

Obviously, equipment from a nearer location will become available faster than equipment that has to be shipped from a farther away district or city. If you need equipment quickly, it only makes sense getting it from the nearest provider. Depending on the service contract, you may have to pay for the fuel used to bring the crane to your location. You will end up paying more if you have to haul the equipment from a distance.

On the other hand, it will be easier to return the equipment if there is no great distance involved. Bear in mind that some service contracts hold the customer responsible for the equipment before it has been officially returned. Imagine the possibilities of encountering accidents or other untoward incidents on the road. The longer the return transit takes, the more probable an accident. Paying for any damage to the equipment would definitely be an unwanted additional expense. Even if the damage is covered by insurance, it will also be inconvenient having to spend time dealing with the problem.

Faster replacement or troubleshooting

Not everything might go as expected. Even the equipment from the best crane service companies will have issues every once in a while. There will be instances when the crane has to be replaced entirely or will require troubleshooting or repairs. If the company providing the crane you are using is a couple or more cities away, it will take time to have your problem addressed. The worst case is the need to have your crane completely replaced. The crane sent to your site may not be suitable for the project or the terrain. It would be a major inconvenience and waste of time having it replaced.

Permits and licenses

Another very important detail to take into account is the permit as well as the licenses for the equipment you will be needing. There can be complications if you have to hire a crane from a different district. You need to ascertain that the equipment is licensed and you also have to deal with the permit for hauling the heavy equipment. You will also have to worry about getting clearance to pass by certain roads. Oversized trucks with heavy loads (carrying the crane) may not be allowed to pass along certain roads. You will have to find a new route to haul the crane, which can add to the time and cost it takes to get the equipment.

Except when you are assured of clear benefits in hiring a crane from a farther away company, it is recommended giving preference to local crane service providers. Nearer is generally cheaper; unless the cost difference is significant without a difference in reliability (as well as the competence of the operator).

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Why It’s Important For Small Business Owners To Outsource

As a small business owner you will know only too well about how overwhelming this position can be. There is a temptation in the early stages of your business to micro-manage every aspect of the company in order to save money and assert control. This however, is not a sustainable attitude and it is one which will leave you burned out, and the business in an unstable place. The key to surviving in business is learning how and when to outsource various aspects of the business, and here is why doing so is extremely important.

Focus

The biggest reason for a small business owner to outsource areas of their business is so that they can spend their time focussing on what they do best, which is running the business. For example let’s say that you are an excellent restauranteur who has just opened a French Bistro, how well do you think you are going to be able to focus on the restaurant itself, when you are getting bogged down in human resources stuff or the supply chain? The truth is that you cannot and the more time that you spend on areas of the business which don’t need you to be managing them, the less time you can spend on the areas which do require your attention.

Skill

Outsourcing is not just a time saver, it is also about letting experts take the reigns on certain parts of the business. For example let’s say that you start getting bogged down in bookkeeping and accounting for the business, in a effort to save some money. You may very well be able to work your way around the balance sheet, and use free budget templates to see the ins and outs of the business, but the time that it will take is likely to be double that of an expert in this field. The smart option is to outsource and area of the business such as accounting, in order to let the experts complete what for them, are very simple tasks, rather than you spending hours on such an activity.

Time

One thing which business owners want more than anything else is more time, something which is not easy to come by, especially in the early years. When you outsource an aspect fo the company however, one of the best returns on this investment is the gift of time which it will give you. Business owners need to be at their best at all times, so the additional hours in the day can help to keep you more focussed. As we have preciously mentioned, with this extra time you can focus on the right parts of the business where you can be effective, rather than the areas where you cannot.

The idea of outsourcing is to make the business more productive and more dynamic, to offer a higher standard in many aspect fo the company and ultimately to allow you to focus on the important stuff and not the minutiae.

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Choosing the Right Business Premises

You might be a tiny start-up or a more established business that needs to move to a bigger, better place. Whatever your reasons for upping sticks, there’s four things you have to consider before choosing the right dotted line for you and your enterprise.

Your location

Of course, this depends a lot on the nature of your business. If you’re an interior design company, you’ll need a big window with lots of footfall so passers-by can see what you’re all about. If you’re an IT-based company then you might be better off in one of the many offices to let in Teddington or nearby.

You already know that business premises get more expensive the nearer to the city centre they are. However, this doesn’t mean that you should settle for a cheap out-of-town place because the lack of passers-by might kill you off. You also, no matter what your business, need room for customer and employee parking and delivery vehicles.

It’s fine to ask around for advice – solicitors, your business advisor, your associates – but you shouldn’t feel pushed into anything. Your location is, alongside your finances, the biggest consideration, so don’t just jump in.

Your finances

If your ideal location is way out of your budget then you’ll just have to carry on dreaming. Avoid wasting too much time on the “if onlys” by restricting your search to your budget. Your first big decision is whether to rent or buy. These days, rental options are brilliant because there’s a culture of shared office spaces which are brilliant for techy start-ups.

If you’re having to rent a large unit, though, and you’re not planning to move for a good few years, then think about buying premises. Once you’ve pinned this fundamental decision down, look at what your business rates will be, as well as all your utilities, insurance, taxes, maintenance and security costs.

Your look

It’s unlikely that you’ll walk straight into your premises and not have to change a thing. Most of your changes will be cosmetic, probably – don’t go mad making big changes of any kind to start with, as this is a big drain on money. Just make sure that the outside looks presentable and inviting, as well as any interior areas that customers see. You don’t want to deter clients.

Space is also important. Have you got enough room for your immediate growth plans? Can you afford to have a waiting room or reception area? These things matter to clients and suppliers alike – they need to have confidence in you.

Your legal considerations

You also have some legal things to consider. There are several different types of commercial licences and not all premises have the same ones, so make sure your shortlisted premises have all the paperwork you need.

It’s also important that your building is fully compliant with all the legal regulations, like ventilation, fire, space, hygiene and heating.

Lastly, you need to make sure the infrastructure around your place is sufficient. If you’re a manufacturer, is there space to store waste until it’s disposed of? Can your delivery drivers make collections and drop-offs all day or are there time restrictions?

There’s a lot to think about, so talking to a commercial letting agency is always a good idea.

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How to Start a Business After Bankruptcy

One often overlooked advantages of living in the U.S. is the fact that the bankruptcy laws tend to be much more forgiving than other countries. This can be seen when it comes to starting a business as some countries don’t even let those with a bankruptcy open a bank account.

However, there are no such prohibitions in the U.S. and if you are looking to start over by starting a new business, then read on as this article will give you some pointers on how to make it happen.

Don’t Mix Accounts

Granted, you don’t need a bankruptcy to do this but if when you have a business you don’t want to mix your personal and your corporate accounts. Doing so can not only lead to an accounting nightmare but it might make it harder for your new business to establish credit and trade lines.

As such, get started by incorporating. The truth is that it has never been easier to set up a company and the new tax laws make it to your advantage to do so. By doing so, you will make sure that your company can establish the credit it needs to grow without you being the co-signer. Granted, this does not mean that you will be able to get a million-dollar loan for your new business but you will be able to open the trade lines you will need to operate.

Register for a Tax ID Number

Also known as an Employer Identification Number, think of this as a Social Security number for your business. Getting a new number is especially critical if your previous business was involved in your bankruptcy proceedings.

However, you want to keep in mind that businesses, unlike people, cannot be discharged from Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This means that if you reboot the business, then creditors might still try to act against you. While this shouldn’t happen, there is a risk and as such you will want to discuss this with your lawyer. If you are not sure where to start, then you might want to check out this site – https://www.getfreeofbills.com/chapter-7-bankruptcy-attorney/.

Be Prepared

One thing that bankruptcy should have taught you is that things can change; sometimes rather quickly. While this can lead to a sense of uncertainty, you can harness this to your advantage. Part of this is knowing that you need to be prepared when things aren’t going as planned.

When it comes to your business, this means you need to keep an eye on two things. First, what is your cash position? Remember cash is king and having a good handle on where your company stands will be vital to your long-term success.

Second, you will need to have a plan to get small fast. Often this is how companies get into trouble as they assume the good times will last forever, and then live in denial when the market starts to turn. History is strewn with companies that thought they could weather the storm – remember Lehman Brothers.

Creating Financing

Let’s face it, most banks are not going to welcome you with open arms just after a bankruptcy. However, this does not mean that you are completely cut off from getting the money you need for your business; it just means that you need to get creative.

This includes picking a business that does not require significant capital – including a home-based business or some sort of professional service business. You could also look at working as a subcontractor first – at least until your cash flow stabilizes.

Beyond this, you can look for a partner or seek outside investors and then there are always your customers. Maybe some will be willing to pay upfront for your product or service and this will help to offset the cost of getting your company off the ground.

Look Out for Minefields

One way people can get into trouble with your business is by not paying their taxes. Not only can this create problems with the IRS but you could also run into trouble with the revenue department in your state.

Don’t let this happen to you, make sure you keep clean records and that you file your taxes on time. Keep in mind when it comes to income taxes, you can carry forward the accumulated losses from starting your business. As such, it pays to keep track of your taxes.

Be Very Careful of Giving Payment Terms to Customers

It’s a competitive market and customers have choices. However, you want to be very careful of giving payment terms to your customers as this can come back to haunt you – especially if the economy turns. Remember, cash is king and if you are starting a business after bankruptcy having cash in the bank is more important than being owed $1,000,000 from your customers.

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Start-ups: Don’t buy into all of the myths

Over the last few years it would be fair to say that the start-up culture has really come into its own. Whether it was the economic dip, or a completely unrelated reason, we’re not going to speculate. However, start-ups are popping up in all sorts of places, and entrepreneurs are constantly being bred.

At the same time, the surge in start-up culture has led to a lot of misinformation being published about new businesses. Myths have been developed and as the title of today’s post might have already suggested, we are today going to scrutinize some of these misconceptions and reveal the real truths behind them.

Myth #1 – You need too much capital

Once upon a time, this was completely true. After all, most new businesses were started in a bricks-and-mortar form, and this in itself added more costs. However, through the power of the internet there is no doubt that this myth has been reset so to speak, and you don’t necessarily have to have a lot of capital to get going.

Of course, there are exceptions. If a bricks-and-mortar store is going to be at the forefront of your enterprise, you do need some form of funding. However, don’t be put off by the suggestion that items such as point-of-sale terminals are going to hike up your costs – these are low cost, or even free, to install with vendors making their money on small transaction fees (that will barely touch your bottom line).

Myth #2 – Customers will flock to your great store or product

This next misconception is at the other side of the spectrum. A lot of new businesses are under the belief that customers will flock to their new product, under the “build it and they will come” philosophy. Without trying to be party-poopers, this isn’t going to happen. Sure, you may have released the best product of its kind on the market, but if nobody knows about it this is all for nothing.

You need a solid marketing plan in place long before your product hits the shelves. People need to be aware of it and without this awareness, you really will be on a hiding to nothing.

Myth #3 – You can do it all yourself

With funding low initially, this next myth is hardly surprising. However, as much as you might want to carry out every task yourself, we would advise exercising caution. Sure, you’re not going to be in a position to afford full time staff, but the rise of the freelance economy means that there are a whole host of skilled, temporary workers out there who can help you with everything from marketing to product design.

Remember, if you do it yourself you might save money, but by just having one extra pair of hands you can effectively double your output.

Myth #4 – Big companies eat start-ups for breakfast

It can be hard to not be scared by the big competitors in your field, but this should only occur if you can’t differentiate yourselves from them. If your service is the same, you are destined to fail. If you can offer differences, and ultimately an advantage to the customer, this is where you can prosper.

Remember, some customers are just scared and put off by big brands – and this is a unique advantage that you hold in itself. You can give a personal service, which is something that is greatly appreciated in the modern-day market.

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Employee development: The term on the tip of company tongues right now

If we were to wind back the clock a couple of decades ago, we would assume that the term “employee development” did not exist. Even if companies were aware of its meaning, the chances of them implementing its philosophies would be slim to say the least.

However, over recent times there has really been a shift in culture in relation to this. Big companies in particular are happier to invest in the development of their employees, whether it’s through training programs or even just sending them to industry conferences.

Whether or not this is the case for smaller companies, who perhaps have more constraints in relation to budgets, is debatable. However, business education is shifting; whether it’s from single day training courses or online MBA programs.

Following on from the above, let’s now take a look at some of the reasons more companies are getting more comfortable with employee development, and how you might decide to follow the same pathway.

The employee turnover numbers

Any company that has a high turnover of employees is asking for trouble. Let’s not forget that the recruitment business is an expensive game. Positions tend to be left open for long periods of time, leading to unproductivity, while once you do find your star candidate there is every chance that you might have to pay a recruiter fee or something else to guarantee their signature.

As such, training is a means of keeping employees and ultimately making your business a much nicer place to work. It is regarded as a “perk”, and a way of showing your employees that you respect their career. It’s something that will tend to breed loyalty and ultimately, weaken the chances of them jumping ship at the first opportunity.

It becomes easier to promote from within

This follows a similar vein to the previous point we looked at. As anyone who has been involved in recruitment will testify, as soon as you start looking to fill more senior positions the business becomes much tougher. There are far fewer candidates out there, while their higher salaries naturally means it’s a bigger risk.

If someone is trained internally meanwhile, the process can be made much easier. They already know the culture of your company, while you already know all about them so the risk is much smaller.

Employees tend to be more engaged at work

This next benefit works in several ways. Firstly, an employee who is picking up new skills suddenly has a lot more options available at work. They can apply themselves in different ways and this should, theoretically at least, prevent boredom occurring.

Then, there is the training itself. Once upon a time training courses were one of those things that everyone tried to avoid – they were boring to say the least. Now, the outlook has changed, and an interactive way of learning means that employees actually look forward to them, and see them as a positive to their daily routine.

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