How Too Much Personal Debt Can Ruin Your Business

Personal Debt

Debt is inevitable. If you’re going to have a house, car, and other necessities in life, chances are you’re going to have to borrow money. Essentially, if you were to wait until you were debt-free to chase your dreams, you’d never accomplish anything. Sometimes, you just have to take a risk to get to the next level. Although there’s some truth to that line of thinking, making impulsive decisions when you’re inundated in debt isn’t ideal. 

Take starting a business, for example. Although it’s your goal, a company is a huge financial responsibility. If your finances aren’t intact, you’ll find it challenging to be successful. Most people think about the end result of starting a business, like the money you’ll make. Be that as it may, you have to invest before you ever see a penny. Let’s take a closer look at how personal finances impact professional success. 

 

Businesses Cost Money

Though modern times have opened the doors to affordable business opportunities, it doesn’t mean you won’t spend money. Whether it’s $10 a month for cloud storage services or $1,000 for a new laptop, you’re going to have to pay for business expenses. If you’re drowning in debt, it is challenging to afford the things you need to operate your company effectively. 

 

Your Credit Matters

If you plan on applying for a loan, credit card, or line of credit to start your business, your credit matters. Since your business is new, it hasn’t yet established enough credit to get lenders to give you the money you need. Ultimately, lenders and credit card companies will review your history to make an assessment. If you haven’t taken the time to learn how to pay off credit card debt, it will reflect negatively on your reputation as a borrower. Consequently, you won’t be approved for much. 

 

Cash-Fueled Decision-Making

As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to make decisions every day. It is vital to the success of your business to make informed and well-calculated choices. If you have too much debt, it’s a lot more challenging to master. Your priority becomes making the most money instead of enhancing your brand. You might take on more assignments than you can reasonably complete or invest in something that’s not lucrative. Essentially, cash-fueled decision-making can quickly lead to the demise of your business. 

 

Price Over Quality

When you have little money and financial resources to run your business, chances are price will overrule quality. You’ll opt for a free website platform instead of investing in paid services. You might skimp on production costs for your products. Although sticking to a budget in business is essential, quality is a significant factor to consider. When you cheapen your business just to increase your earnings, you ruin your brand and slow your path to success. 

 

Financial Stress

When you’re overwhelmed by debt, it stresses you out. You begin to experience physical and emotional problems that limit your ability to run your business. You make poor decisions, become sick more often, put off important tasks, and so much more. As a result, your company suffers. A stressed entrepreneur can only go so far. If you reduce the burden of debt, you can focus your attention on doing what’s best for your advancement. Look into debt management methods to see which is ideal for your circumstances.

 

As you can see, too much debt can impact your business in several ways. The best thing you can do to increase your chances of success is to get your finances in order. Although this might mean waiting a few months or even a year to start pursuing your dream, it’s a lot better than the outcomes described above. Evaluate your finances and develop a strategy to get your debt to a manageable level. When you no longer have a heaping pile of debt to worry about, you can focus your time, energy, and resources on ensuring your business is a success.

Tips for Hiring a Public Relations Firm for Your Company

Public Relations

Hiring a public relations firm for your company is a big decision. Even if you understand the benefits of doing so, you may have some reservations about moving forward.

For example, it’s common to have questions such as:

  • What services does a reputable public relations firm offer?
  • What’s the best way to compare public relations firms?
  • How much does it cost to hire a public relations firm?
  • Is it a full-service firm?
  • Do you have to sign a contract?

 

You get the point. There’s no shortage of questions to ask and answer on your path to hiring a public relations firm.

Fortunately, when you take a deep breath and slow down, you’ll find that hiring a public relations firm doesn’t have to cause you stress and cost you time.

Here are five tips that will make this easier on you:

 

1. Know Why You’re Hiring a Public Relations Firm

Don’t hire a public relations firm because everyone else in your industry is doing it. Do it because you have a specific need.

For example, you may hire a firm because you want to spread the word about a new product or service that is revolutionizing your industry. Or maybe you need a firm that can help you communicate your message when something goes wrong.

Once you know why you’re hiring a public relations firm it becomes easier to decide on the next steps. 

 

2. Do Your Own Research 

You can listen to one person after the next talk about public relations, but that is no replacement for doing your own research.

Spend a couple of hours searching online for local and national public relations firms. Make note of those that pique your interest so that you can double back with them when you’re ready to set up a meeting. 

 

3. Ask for Referrals

Along with doing your own research, ask people in your network for referrals. You don’t want to rely solely on referrals when making a decision, but it’ll definitely help. 

Ask questions such as:

  • Why do you recommend this public relations firm?
  • Is there anything you would like them to do better on your behalf?
  • Do you find value in the price that you pay? 
  • Do you consider the firm’s rates to be in line with the rest of the industry?
  • How many points of contact do you have at the firm?
  • Do they offer additional services, such as setting up and monitoring analytics associated with campaigns? 

 

The more questions you ask, the more you’ll come to understand what the firm has to offer. When combined with the information you compiled on your own, your search is starting to shape up. 

 

4. Ask for References

While requesting additional information from the public relations firms on your shortlist, don’t be shy about asking for a few references.

This allows you to contact companies that currently work with the firm. Once again, you should ask any questions that come to mind. The list in point #3 above is a good place to start.

Tip: if a public relations firm can’t provide you with references, there’s something wrong. They may be new to the industry or trying to hide a bad reputation. 

 

5. Find a Firm that Specializes

Maybe your company is in the medical industry. In this case, you’ll want to find a healthcare public relations firm that has experience in your niche.

Or perhaps you’re a startup technology company. A firm with knowledge of the startup industry is probably what you’re looking for.

Some public relations firms will tell you they specialize in everything. That’s not possible. 

If you’re going to pay for this service, you might as well enter into an agreement with a firm that has targeted experience and knowledge. This generally improves the odds of a successful relationship. 

 

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot that goes into hiring a public relations firm, but if it’s something your company needs you don’t want to wait any longer to take action.

Use the five tips above to point you in the right direction. From there, move forward one step at a time until you’re comfortable making a final decision. 

Taking A Responsible Approach To Reopen Businesses And Society

Sustainable business

We all know the disruption that came from the pandemic and its various forms of shutdowns that occurred. From social lives to business activities, the disruptions affected us all in numerous ways. 

Some of the disruptions were significant. Schools were disrupted, workers had to learn to stay home and work virtually, social lives were destroyed, and mental health suffered. 

But not every disruption was negative. 

One of the lesser-known benefits to come of the pandemic is that the carbon footprint of businesses on the environment dropped by over 6%.

The drop of 6% is the most significant carbon drop ever recorded. The question for society is, how do we maintain that momentum as we begin to open societies and industries back up? 

The challenge for everyone is to reintegrate the concept of “normalcy” without adding burdens to the environment. 


5 Ways To Become More Sustainable 

Many businesses are turning to more green solutions for their daily activities, and any discussion of reopening should include options for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly process. 

So what are the benefits to becoming more sustainable, and what are some of the best strategies? Benefits include being socially responsible and broadening your brand to new, potential customers looking to support green businesses, and there are some simple ways to become a greener organization. 

 

1. Use Green Energy Solutions

Consider alternative energy solutions within the office. Between solar power and cutting back on energy consumed in the office, there are multiple strategies you and your organization can consider with your energy. For example, keep your thermostat at a comfortable yet less energy-consuming 72 degrees, alternate light use within the office, and consider other ways to eliminate energy consumption within your organization.


2. Eliminate Unnecessary Food Waste

Most food eaten in the office is bought from an outside vendor, meaning that the packaging has a significant environmental impact in addition to food possibly being tossed out. Encourage your team members to bring food from home or provide in-office catering that uses less packaging. 

By offering in-house catering, you’re also cutting back on the travel of your team members, which may lessen the carbon impact of them driving to and from the office. 

 

3. Encourage Remote Work Opportunities

Everyone is tired of being at home and working. However, most respondents to surveys about work satisfaction reveal an interesting statistic. Most people claim to be happier working from home, report higher levels of productivity, but also claim that over 60% of people would like to return to the office, at least part-time. 

Therefore, organizations would be wise to consider a hybrid model for team members that allows the latitude for employees to work remotely and return to the office for a few days. This strategy will help reduce the drive and commute time employees take, which in turn helps reduce their carbon impact.


4. Repacking Options

Recycling was the buzzword through the later part of the 20th Century. Now it’s repackaging. Consider ways to use packaging more than once or find a vendor that provides packaging solutions from previously used sources. There are plenty of vendors that focus on green packaging solutions, and repurposing is a great way to show your customers you’re making an effort.


5. Eliminate Unnecessary Storage Spaces

One of the most significant impacts on the environment is storage spaces that rely on labor to maintain them and electricity to operate. Instead of having a dedicated warehouse for your physical products, consider utilizing a fulfillment center. 

This strategy is especially effective for ecommerce fulfillment, where storing your product may cost you more than the value you can gain from paying for a fulfillment center to run your logistics for your organization.

By taking a more sustainable approach to your business operations, you’re establishing your organization as a responsible partner in society which is attractive to many consumers. 

By taking a greener approach to your business operations, you’ll open your organization to more cross-over business opportunities. 

In addition, by becoming a sustainable business, you can pair with like-minded organizations that will help you and them broaden your brand appeal and reach. 

Consider all the waste areas within your organization and think of strategies that will eliminate waste and eliminate unnecessary expenditures. As a result, your bottom line will shrink. In addition, you’ll be a more socially responsible partner and open your business up to new clients looking to support socially conscious operations. 

It’s a win-win for your business and society at large. 

9 Healthy Tips For Working From Home

Work from home

Are you working from home? Do you find that you’re feeling more creative, at ease, and productive?

If you are working remotely, you’ve probably noticed it’s easier to stay focused when you aren’t worried about health and safety. Your company may be investigating ways to support health and safety in home offices.

Many business leaders are seeing that employees have adapted to working from home. For many employees, working at home offers peace of mind. Workers can manage multiple demands without the strain of a commute.

Is this true for you and your team?

 

What’s Great About Working Remotely?

One of the big factors in favor of remote work is no commute. If you’ve lived in or near an urban center, you know the challenges of a daily commute. Being able to roll out of bed and into your home office is certainly less stressful.

Additionally, virtual work makes it possible to manage other responsibilities without feeling pulled in seventeen directions. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you can organize your schedule to include work plus homeschooling. If you are caring for a relative or friend, you can include this in your daily calendar.

Business leaders and Chief Strategy Officers are developing policies to support health and safety. They are seeking practical solutions to support remote workers such as helping employees set up home offices for maximum productivity. 

Here are 9 tips to get you started.

 

Create A Healthy Workspace

 
1. Set Up a Comfortable Workspace

If you’re sitting at a desk, organize for office ergonomics. Pay attention to getting a good chair that helps you sit at a level that’s right for you. Notice any tension in your neck, back, wrists or fingers. By selecting a good chair, you can stay comfortable while working.

 

2. Check Your Foot Height

If your chair is too high to sit comfortably with your feet on the ground, use a footrest. If you don’t have one, create a stack of books, boards, or blocks for your feet.

 

3. Consider a New Desk 

A sit-stand desk enables you to sit for a while and stand for a while. You can alternate how long you are in each position. It’s a great alternative to encourage movement during work hours.

 

4. Get Great Lighting

Your office needs to be well lit. Pay attention to the lighting to ensure that you don’t have a glare on the screen.

 

5. Check Air Quality

If you can sit near a window or door, you can monitor air quality. Help yourself to some clean air by keeping doors and windows open.

 

Experiment With Healthy Habits

Having the right equipment sets you on the best path for building healthy work habits. Experiment and play around with these to support your health and fitness goals.

 

6. Try a Fake Commute 

While we’ve all complained and moaned about commuting, it turns out that without it—we miss the time. Many professionals find that a ‘fake commute’ solves this problem. What constitutes a fake commute? Walking around the block. Riding your bike in the early morning. Driving to pick up coffee at the local shop.

If you haven’t tried a commute to start and end your day, you may find this is a great habit. It’s a way to get ready for work, as well as a signal to end the workday.

 

7. Get Dressed For Work

We’ve all done the sweats, pajamas, and yoga gear during the pandemic. Yet, business experts note that we’re more likely to be productive when we get dressed for work. Don’t take their word for it. Try it out for yourself. See if the clothes you are wearing affect your readiness to work.

 

8. Stretch and Move

Just because you’re working, doesn’t mean you are doomed to sit still. Set up stretch breaks throughout the day. With a sit-stand desk, you will do this naturally. However, to take things up a notch, set a timer and make exercise dates as part of your workday.

 

9. Exercise Together

Meet up with a colleague, friend, or relative to exercise. You can still maintain social distancing during a walk, jog, or run. Making a date with another person is a great way to stay committed to your health goals.

 

Sum Up

Working remotely is a terrific option for staying healthy and productive. If you are working from home, take this opportunity to set up a healthy home office – and practice healthy habits.

Work Post-Pandemic: How to Expertly Implement and Navigate a Hybrid Working Arrangement

Hybrid working

Duy Huynh, Founder, and CEO of Autonomous Inc leading with technological innovation in work for home products and software solutions.

As the reality of a reopened world materializes, many businesses and their employees are reassessing what the typical work-week will look like. Some offices have decided to go fully-remote, providing employees with flexibility and work-life balance while also saving money otherwise spent on overheads. Some have decided to fully return to on-site work, while others have adopted a hybrid working model, where employees split their time between remote working and onsite working.

Considering 76 percent of employees would rather not return to work onsite, and 56 percent of businesses are considering remote work long-term, the hybrid working model is an ideal compromise that blends the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, however, adjusting to yet another ‘new normal’ can be a challenge, with another set of new work regulations and office schedules causing overwhelm in even the most capable teams. While there is no universal formula or fix-all bandaid to make the shift easier, there are a number of factors that, if considered before implementing the change, will make the transition smoother regardless of business type or structure.

 

Determining needs

Some businesses embrace hybrid working more easily than others, and it makes sense considering that no two businesses are the same. Many sales-focused businesses, for example, require staff in the office every day of the week, and other types of business, like data management firms, don’t require staff to be in the office all the time. As such, it’s imperative for leaders to take the time analyzing every aspect of their business to see which working arrangements will address their unique needs.

Organizational culture is a key component of this, and leaders should consider how their employees interact and whether they rely on in-person teamwork for their long-term success. If they do, onsite working is likely the better option. For businesses that favor independence and autonomy however, like the majority of businesses across the United States, hybrid working is a viable and smart choice.

 

Organization

In-office organization can often feel like herding cats, where the moment that one aspect of work becomes fully organized, another immediately falls out of line. Unfortunately, home offices come with the same issue, except two-fold because both home and work need to be kept in order. Because of this, it’s vital to ensure all the right tools are supplied so employees can keep both their home and onsite offices tidy and organized. Storage boxes, filing cabinets, in and out trays and pin boards are great ways to reduce physical clutter, and keep files and miscellaneous work items organized and out of the way.

Organization also extends to personal and employee structure. Clear agendas are vital to the success of a business, and employees should be made aware of company expectations to maintain workflow efficiency and business growth. Advice and tools for keeping employees organized will be explored in more detail in the following section.

 

People and Environment

People are the number one resource in any organization, without them, not a lot gets done. As such, providing clear direction and support to employees during the transition to hybrid work is crucial. One way to do this is by empowering employees to create a dedicated workspace at home, while also creating a useful space for employees to connect and work onsite. For employees to build a productive and functional workspace, encourage them to find a dedicated area within their homes and ensure an adequate budget is allocated so they can purchase necessary items like adjustable desks and ergonomic chairs, as well as decorative items to create a productive atmosphere.

The environment onsite is an equally critical consideration. Think about whether employees need to have a dedicated workspace onsite, or whether a hot desk system will suffice. Additionally, the number of employees able to work in the office at any given time, as well as the specific departments that need to be onsite at the same time to complete their work should be considered, otherwise businesses may encounter the risk of not having enough capacity to host employees as needed. A great way to streamline the management of both employees and facilities is through software like Hybrid from Autonomous.ai, which has capabilities to map out offices, make rooms and desks available for booking, assign desks, optimize space and schedules, as well as set safe capacities to ensure OSHA regulations are followed.

While any transition comes with inherent challenges, preparation is the key to success. As the world moves forward with reopening, business leaders should consider which working arrangements will suit their company and employees best now, then work to pull together the framework for a smooth transition. By thoroughly determining business needs, ensuring aspects like organization and workspaces are covered, as well as ensuring all technological infrastructure is in place, businesses of any size can shift to a hybrid working model with as little disruption as possible.

Adjusting Following a Job Relocation

Job Relocation

Will you soon need to relocate for your job? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Millions of Americans move for their jobs each year. However, moving to a new place can be demanding, whether or not it’s for work. You need to adjust to a new role at work, a new city, and new people simultaneously. Here’s a quick look at a few tips that can help you with those things and help you get off on the right foot in your new city.

 

Avoid Negativity

No matter where in the US you move to, you want to make sure the neighborhood is safe and welcoming. Luckily, you can use tools like the Nextdoor racial profiling prevention system to help you get to know your neighbors without having to worry about racism or profiling. This social media site can be a positive way for you to meet and interact with new people in the area.

 

Start Off Right

When you move to a new city for your job, it’s rather stressful. However, opening a new store out of state can be made a bit easier with the right planning. Make sure you have enough time to pack. If you wait until the last minute, you’ll just be creating anxiety and panic for yourself. If you do that, by the time you get to the new place, you’ll just be exhausted. That said, you also need to pack in such a way that the things you’ll need for the first day on the new job will be easy to find. 

 

Relax

As tempting as it might be for you to not go near all of those boxes for a while, it’s always better to get unpacked as quickly as you can. Living amongst a lot of cardboard boxes can be inherently reminiscent of your move and keep you from relaxing. Getting rid of those boxes, on the other hand, can create a relaxing space. Turning your place into one that’s inviting and relaxing can be so much better for your stress levels. Also, when all of your things are in place in your home, it can also help to make the new area feel more like home too.

 

Establish a Routine

When you find yourself in a completely new environment, injecting your familiar routine into it can lessen the overall shock to your senses. For example, do you generally attend yoga classes? Maybe you do your grocery shopping on Sunday afternoons or go for a walk in the park each weekend. 

Whatever it is that makes up your routine, keeping to it can help to ease you into your fascinating new town. Yes, the yoga teacher, market, and parks are all new and different, but the overall routine itself can ease you into your new home.

 

Say Yes

Once you begin meeting people in the neighborhood and coworkers at work, you may begin to get invitations to go out. Whenever it’s possible, say yes. Being open to new people and experiences can allow your network to grow and help you learn even more about the new city.

 

Adjusting Following a Job Relocation Can Be Easy Breezy

By avoiding negativity, starting off right, relaxing, establishing a routine, and saying yes, you’ll soon come to find that you and your family are actually settling into your new lives and the new city a bit more quickly than you may have thought possible. Having to move for a job can really open up your world to new, exciting possibilities and experiences. All you need is the energy to accomplish it and a bit of time to adjust. With the proper planning and a bit of time, you’ll be back to normal in no time flat.

Reharvest Timber: Recycling with a Difference

Reharvest Timber

A driving force behind environmental sustainability and responsibility in waste management, Reharvest Timber is an efficient full-service company that handles timber recycling with innovation in mind. Due to this, it has recently been accredited with the Best Eco-Friendly Landscape Product Supply Firm award for 2021.

Reharvest Timber Products Ltd is a timber waste, removal, and recycling company established in 1994 that creates premium products from wood waste. All its services are eco-friendly and are, as a priority, the safest option they can possibly be for children, animals, and the environment. Having been in operation for over 25 years now, it has enjoyed decades of leading its industry into the future with its innovative and forward-thinking operational model. It accepts a wide variety of general timber waste from factory off cuts to prefab timber-walls, but it cannot take wood treated with loaded paint, CCA treated wood, penta or creosote coated wood, or wood treated by insecticide or pesticide. This is all part of its dedication to creating the products that it recycles this wood into with environmental sustainability and customer safety in mind. In this way, it truly ‘reharvests’ used and unwanted timber, using it to create garden mulch, its playground Cushionfall, and animal and equestrian Cushionride. All the latter are biodegradable and have become highly popular across the country.

Its garden product, Enviromulch, is made entirely of untreated and recycled timber, developed to serve any gardening needs no matter what the plot may grow. It can be laid on both flat and sloping surfaces, making it an excellent solution for all kinds of allotments and gardens across a variety of environments. It is both self-stabilizing and wind resistant. Furthermore, it is exemplary for acting as a deterrent to weeds as they find it far more difficult to take root. It also aids in moisture retention across the board, encouraging the health of what the client seeks to grow and being completely non-toxic. As a final note on Enviromulch, it is also far from dull; this solution is available in 5 different colours. Its playground Cushionfall product is similarly notable in its lack of any harmful substances or treatments, being the only five-star rated surfacing solution in New Zealand trusted by childcare institutions across the nation.

It was also rigorously tested during all stages to ensure the best results and the most effective product, which it was only satisfied with after 2 years of intensive product development and 3 years on on-site playground testing. This incredible attention to detail and the creation of an unscrupulous product has been what makes Cushionfall so widely endorsed. The culmination of all this testing was a strict adherence to New Zealand and Australian playground standards of safety, with the product performing in an exemplary manner on international impact absorbance tests. Since its release, Cushionfall has been the preferred choice for municipal and governing bodies, such as the Ministry of Education, Kindergarten Associations, Playcentres Associations, and Pre School Centres.

Its other flagship project is Cushionride, a woodchip surfacing solution for equestrian arenas and animal care industries. Much like Cushionfall, it is focused on impact absorbance as a specialty; however, it has been specifically developed this time for being load-bearing. This quality allows riders and horses to travel over the surface rather than through it, which tends to be the case with many of its competitors’ products or the general grounding services that can be found in its industry. Travelling over rather than through a surface minimizes the likelihood of joint damage, causing far less strain on horses’ hocks, knees, and lower legs when training or competing. This means for significantly less down-time and recovery periods being needed, allowing equestrians to focus on intensive training schedules without risking damage to the animal.

Cushionride has also been specifically designed to be an all-weather solution that enables stellar performance all year round through any conditions or challenges. In this way, it aids drainage so that it doesn’t freeze, and puddles don’t form that could pose a potential threat to animals travelling at speed across it. It is also dust and stone free, reassuring its clients that they will encounter a comfortable and secure ride. Cushionride has become widely lauded across all equestrian disciplines, from dressage and show jumping to trotting, racing, and even polo. It is also the perfect choice for equestrian establishments such as horse-riding arenas, gallops, horse walkers, and breeding sheds. Across the month of January, it has been active in Wanaka, Taupo, and the Dairy Flats, actively working to improve equine arena surfacing in facilities across the areas, a service that is only improving Reharvest Timber’s reputation as a company that gives back to the community.

In the case of all its woodchip surfacing services, its products undergo thorough testing and performance review before it leaves its manufacturing plants. All its processes have been developed to maximise safety and minimise threat to both the environment and the customer, ensuring that there are absolutely no nails, staples, or other unwelcome debris in its products. To this end, it has even implemented a three-year testing regimen to ensure that it is holding itself to its own impact efficiency and general quality standards. In tandem with this, its dedication to environmental corporate responsibility has earned it an Oceania Business Award for the Best Recycled Products Manufacturer, given to it in 2017. Reharvest Timber also prides itself on its ease of installation, offering means by which its wood chips can be pumped in through large pipes from carparks or roads. This negates the need for any back-breaking work to lay the chip and saves money on heavy machinery. The 100% recycled nature of the woodchip also reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfill, helping in the national waste reduction effort.

Further helping to ensure that future generations inherit a better looked after world is Reharvest’s sister company. This business, Wastewood Management, enables the collection and removal of the wood that Reharvest uses in its products. In handling its own collections, it can assure itself and its clients that its flawless operational process is present in every element of its work. It can also better control the timber that makes its way to its plants, reducing the amount that must be turned away and making itself a shining example of efficiency in the recycling industry. It takes timber that it can discern is up to standard, from wood pallet waste to timber waste wood and box wood removal.

 

Company: Reharvest Timber Ltd

Website: www.reharvest.co.nz / www.wastewoodmanagement

Tidy space, tidy mind

SmartaVal

Best Commercial & Professional Cleaning Company 2021 – Sweden

 

At SmartaVal AB, the key to a happier, more balanced life is simple: find more free time. As a vast majority of the population suffers the anxiety and stress of juggling the many aspects of daily life, the Swedish firm is on-hand with a full-service household solution. From domestic to office cleaning, gardening to maintenance services, SmartaVal can handle a vast array of household services, so that you don’t have to. In addition, SmartaVal works with businesses across Stockholm and beyond, promoting household services as a salary benefit for employees in an initiative that is seeing tangible results in happier, more productive teams. CEO and Founder Mila Viniavska tells us more. 

For Founder and CEO Mila Viniavska, achieving an orderly, satisfying life requires a careful balance of work, leisure, and the many other components that keep us busy; family, relationships, running a home, pursuing dreams, and all the other necessities of daily life. It is a tricky balance to maintain, but without it, life can soon become stressful and draining, leading to unproductivity and dissatisfaction.

According to statistics, 80% of the population of Sweden have experienced the overwhelming sense of lost balance, and Mila was among them. Feeling stress, anxiety and resulting poor health of managing life felt like the inevitable, when in fact the solution lay simply in finding more free time. In 2012, Mila founded SmartaVal to deliver just that.

A full-service company offering comprehensive services in household and commercial cleaning, window cleaning, gardening, and craftsman or handyman services, SmartaVal is designed to fit seamlessly into everyday life. Offering flexible, friendly service that is affordable and environmentally responsible, SmartaVal’s purpose is two-fold: to make clean and tidy spaces for better living and working, and to alleviate the day-to-day tasks that add to the pressures of working life. In brief, to make life happier and healthier.

It is a concept that is becoming increasingly prevalent across Sweden, as stress-induced sick leave has taken a sudden upwards turn. As a result, many employers across the country have begun to introduce allowances and household services as salary benefits to help reduce stress, enabling employees to concentrate more energy into their work and seeing a consequent rise in productivity and positive business outcomes.

“Imagine what would happen if companies’ revenues were to double as a result of our collaboration!” says Mila. “Promoting prosperous and long-term health as a business strategy is key for future employers.”

Indeed, many of SmartaVal’s business clients are passionate advocates for the household service salary benefit concept, as one customer attests: “The job is a big part of life and offering household-related services as a salary benefit is a smart way for a good leader to make it easier for his employees to make life come together. As an employer, you get increased profitability with satisfied employees, reduced sick leave and a really proactive part of rehabilitation work. It is an investment that pays off.”

Despite the glowing testimonials of employers and employees alike, there are some businesses that are yet to adopt the innovative rehabilitation and support concept as a salary benefit. For Mila, it is vital that this mentality changes: “Have you ever seen an employee perform to his full potential when he does not have time at home to rest and recover?” she queries.

In addition to its employee benefits, SmartaVal also offers additional B2B services across Stockholm and beyond. Specialists in office and property cleaning, stair cleaning, school, kindergarten and shop cleaning, complete with window services, SmartaVal breathes new life into workplaces and environments. The SmartaVal team works around its clients, operating in the mornings, afternoons, and after-hours, any day of the week, to ensure clients are fully satisfied with the whole cleaning experience.

SmartaVal’s personal services are similarly comprehensive. “Give me your to-do list and I will do my best to accommodate your wishes so that you will have time for positive lifestyle changes,” says Mila. Offering weekly cleaning services or one-off cleaning for a house move, spring clean, or tidying up after an event, SmartaVal provides a team of highly qualified, meticulous cleaners who will work around homeowners and clients to fit their schedules, going above and beyond to deliver cleans that exceed expectations, and make returning home at the end of the day a joy.

SmartaVal also has a team of experienced handymen which clients call on to handle everything from small fixing jobs to laying a new floor or repainting the house, all delivered with the company’s signature superior customer service and a quality guarantee. This guarantee extends to the firm’s other household services in gardening that is billed by the hour with no hidden costs, window plastering, and snow shovelling, as well as a full range of cleaning products and equipment to purchase. Whatever your home needs to achieve perfection, the SmartaVal team is on hand to deliver.

The firm also launched an ECO-Clean service that uses organic steam cleaning as a chemical-free alternative that is good for the environment and health. This service is one of the key areas in which SmartaVal is contributing towards a more sustainable future, and becoming the greener choice for customers across Stockholm. Its mission is to reduce the direct and indirect environmental impacts of its services and products by offering climate-smart solutions, streamlining processes to be more efficient, employing innovative technology, and working with partners who share its sustainable values. SmartaVal also listens to its clients to learn how it can improve on its sustainability initiatives, in order to understand how to better serve its customers and the planet too.

Moreover, the more you make use of the firm’s award-winning service, the more you will feel the benefits. Thanks to SmartaVal’s loyalty card program, customers are not only able to enjoy multiple deals and benefits, they are able to share them out to friends and loved ones too. This is just another way in which SmartaVal delivers on its commitment to make life a little brighter.

With a vision to spread goodness and joy, SmartaVal relies heavily on its team to extend that goodwill out to its broad network of clients. “We want our employees to work with passion, drive and customer focus,” Mila tells us. “For us at SmartaVal, the most important thing is that we work for a good cause. SmartaVal relieves people of their everyday life and gives them more time to live life. We have a clear vision that works both internally and externally to create a better everyday life for people. It should be fun to go to work, but it should be nice to come home!”

Thus, in giving its employees a purpose in their work, SmartaVal is able to instil a sense of pride in each member, that drives them to be better. As the leader of the company, Mila strives to build relationships of trust and respect between her and her team, ensuring that they benefit from a positive working environment that allows them to reach their full potential.

“My staff is the most valuable thing I have, as they are my proud ambassadors,” adds Mila. “In my leadership, I take advantage of my employees’ previous knowledge and skills [and channel it into] personal development. The staff has different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, religions and religious convictions. I work on the basis of the equal value of everyone, and my employees’ differences are my company’s asset and strength.”

Driven by the company’s values of Presence, Proactive, and Pro-Responsibility, SmartaVal’s team is committed to being flexible and accessible, organised, and focused on building long-term partnerships that facilitate sustainable development and social responsibility.

It is a core philosophy that translates into excellence as a team, and has seen Mila’s team recognised with numerous awards, including Glansföretag in the Clean Bright Awards 2019 and 2020, Prins Daniels Fellowship, Gazelleföretag 2018 and Arbetsmiljöpeppen 2019. These awards have been added to a roster which also features Winner of the Stockholm Prestige Awards 2020, Professional Cleaning Service of the Year 2020, a well-deserved final place as the Leadership Profile of the Year 2020, and now Best Commercial & Professional Cleaning Company 2021 in Sweden at the Corporate Excellence Awards.

Whilst the multitude of awards and brand recognition of SmartaVal placed it in a secure and well-established position before the pandemic, when Covid-19 hit in March 2020, the firm nonetheless had to adapt to survive uncertain climates like so many other businesses. As panicked cancellations increased and potential financial instability made rewarding employees an area for concern, SmartaVal quickly set about making plans to adjust. Fortunately, it found itself in a relatively secure position, that meant the staff’s reduced employment rate would not need to exceed 20%.

“We are glad that the pandemic has not affected us as much as we initially thought it might,” says Mila. “The situation is still unstable as we are occasionally affected both positively and negatively by various restrictions. As for the gardening services and window cleaning, we have not seen any noticeable impact on the business.”

Business operations have had to be adjusted in a lot of ways for SmartaVal, yet a physical presence is crucial in its services. As such, Mila has implemented strict protocols across the business, ensuring that any staff who have symptoms of Covid-19 stay home in accordance with the Public Health Agency’s recommendations. When the team does work, they follow strict hygiene practices to minimise the risk of infection, from keeping distanced from their customers to using full PPE.

However, with customers working remotely and office cleaning dropping in demand, SmartaVal is embracing technology as a means of opening up new opportunities for itself and its clients. “We have begun to look at how we can switch and what new services we can develop through enhanced skillsets to offer to customers digitally,” Mila tells us. “For example, we are exploring educative concepts such as cleaning coaches, ‘Order Consultants’, and a course for children called ‘Order and Order’.

“We also participate in an EU-funded project, called ‘On The Way Forward’. The project, funded by the ESF Council, will contribute to strengthening the members in household services in the form of skills development, employment measures or integration initiatives.”

Initiatives like On The Way Forward are  supporting Mila and her team’s continued commitment to moving forwards as a company, striving onwards in the face of adversity. “We change and we do not give up! We adjust the direction, but we continue to move towards the same goal. Of course, it may take a little longer, but we see many new opportunities that have opened up.” Having onboarded a coach and mentor in the company’s growth program that was initiated prior to the pandemic, SmartaVal has had a long-standing culture of support and positive thinking, built on a solution-oriented business model that looks ahead to long-term goals.

Changes in customer habits and transformations across the cleaning industry are inevitable following the pandemic, but for SmartaVal, many of them present new opportunities for success. Whilst hotel and office cleaning may take a back seat as a result of the drop of tourism and rise in remote working, and pressure on the financial situations of private clients may be of some detriment to SmartaVal, the firm is able to look to other areas, in particular where demand for higher standards of hygiene is increasing. “In public places, schools and preschools, hygiene requirements will be raised, which will lead to more demand and focus on price will be replaced by quality,” predicts Mila. Also, “people are staying at home and placing greater value on creating a pleasant, orderly and nice home and work environment, which leads to greater demand for household-related services. Adversity breed success!” she adds.

Thus, as SmartaVal looks ahead, it is with great enthusiasm, anticipating an increase in its clientele of companies that hope to make use of the salary benefit service, as well as seeing an increase in demand from private clients too. True to its founding mission, SmartaVal puts the control back into the hands of its customers, giving them the choice to claim back the freedom of time. “But we won’t tell you what to do – it’s your decision!”, concludes Mila. “Just start with answering one question: do you live to work, or do you work to live?”

 

Company: SmartaVal AB

Web Address: http://www.smarta-val.se/

The Future Is Now: Choosing A Greener Commute

Cycle to work

Whether you’re a small business owner, a CEO, or a sales rep, you may be very familiar with the pains and strains of a daily commute. As we’ve seen, in the last year with COVID-19, many companies opted for remote working as a viable alternative to onsite work.

If you’re part of the growing group of people who find this beneficial, you can take action to extend remote work, pick earth-friendly transportation, and support climate health. Here are 4 ideas for choosing a greener commute.

 

1. Extend Remote Working

A recent survey from the Pew Research centre shows that 54% of American employees say that they would prefer to continue working from home, even after the pandemic.

The most obvious action is to extend remote working flexibility. In many companies, employees are eager to continue working from home offices. 

If you’re not sure how this could work for your company, take some time to explore the options. There are many ways your company can develop policies regarding virtual work. Your strategic initiatives can help support employee mental health, reduce pollution, and cut down on the number of drivers on the road.

 

2. Opt for Cycling

Although many people prefer to work from home, another way to transform the commute is to choose alternative transportation.

If you are a cyclist, you’re already sold on using your bicycle for commuting as well as on the weekends. Cyclists are keen to share their love of cycling as well as sharing the many health benefits that come from this activity.

Just imagine. Instead of feeling stressed from driving, your daily commute could become one of the most powerful components in your pursuit of fitness.

If you’re not in the best shape, consider getting started with a motorized bicycle. With a few extra boosts of energy, those steep hills will not be a problem.

May 21, 2021 is Bike to Work Day. Whether you’re already cycling to work or just considering it, this is a great time to show your support for alternative modes of transportation.

 

3. Choose the Best Car

It’s no surprise that many professionals want to continue to commute by car. An automobile is convenient and offers instant access to get where you need to go. While the average commute time is 30 minutes or more, choosing a comfortable and energy-efficient car is key.

Consider if your current car is up to the standards that you’d like. Perhaps you would like to investigate driving an electric or hybrid car to cut down on emissions. Many companies are encouraging their employees to reduce dependence on non-renewable resources.

If you’re thinking of buying or leasing a more energy-efficient car, get ready before you shop. Car financing experts encourage shoppers to take these measures for an easy, pain-free car selection.

First, find out your borrowing capacity. Depending on your credit score, income, and history, you’ll have a clear sense of which car fits your budget.

Second, check out loan options. Buying a car is a major purchase. Getting the best loan will have an impact on you for months and years to come. Financial experts encourage evaluating loans such as a credit union auto loan, bank loans, and dealership loans. 

Third, get pre-approved. You can get pre-approved for a specific amount. This is a smart move as it gives you a clear budget and greater flexibility when negotiating.

Fourth, consider your entire lifestyle, family, and uses of the car. You may find that you have additional needs such as safety for your children, hauling equipment, or transporting pets. Pick a car that supports what you value most: people, pets, sports, travel…and commuting.

 

4. Use Public Transportation

With the last year of social distancing, there’s been a dip in the use of public transportation. However, futurists predict that as we get back to normal, public transit will recover in the coming years.

Many people enjoy using light rail, buses, and vanpools to transform their daily commute. Without the stress of driving, this time can be spent on more energizing activities such as learning, reading, and writing. Professionals often find this is one of the most productive times of the day, as the commute is ideal for uninterrupted reflection.

 

Embracing the Future 

Looking towards the future, it’s essential to investigate how to support your employees’ mental and physical health. As your company develops future policy, focus on how to help your employees have options to work virtually and travel safely.

 

Putting the DO in your Business To-do List: What Every Business Needs to go the Distance

Checklist

If you’re in business, you know every day presents a new pitfall or challenge that may potentially threaten the growth of your endeavours. Owning and managing your business isn’t for the faint of heart, but the rewards can be lucrative and satisfying.  That’s why you keep striving to fuel the ongoing momentum that leads to the fruition of all your hard work.  In the spirit of sustaining the livelihood of your business over the long haul, here are the top three “to-do’s” and basic practices that can help your business stay strong and stable now and long into the future.

 

Working the Long Game:  3 Basic Practices Your Business Needs for Longevity

The secret sauce to long-term business survival isn’t a secret recipe at all. It’s all about prevention, and protecting your business so your assets and efforts can weather any storm it may encounter. Here are some tips that will help maintain longevity for you and your business.

 

1) Stay Organized

It may seem like the most absurdly obvious practice, but you might be surprised at how many businesses crumple like a cheap suit when it comes to staying organized. Keeping your records, accounts, and client information organized is crucial to sustaining your business in the future.

Consider these gripping questions while you think about the organization of your business: What if I’m audited by the IRS? What if my business is slapped with a lawsuit? What if I’m held liable? What if my business partner bails? 

For every one of these “what ifs” (and a million others that crop up when conducting business), do you know exactly where to look for supporting documentation to cover your assets amid these threats? Having employee records, business contracts, warranties, and all the mountainous business documentation available for proof and evidence isn’t easy to handle. However, cataloging all these mounds of minutia is vital to keeping your business running efficiently.

If organizing isn’t your thing, then hire an employee in charge of maintaining and keeping fundamental paperwork (electronic PDFs, and/or hard copies) filed in supreme order.  Better yet, consider contracting a consultant who can assess your business’s organizational needs and centralize essential memorandums and pivotal documents, so you never have to dive through another chaotic pile of papers to justify your business’s position again.

 

2) Install Backup Plans

Plan B is great if plan A doesn’t pan out, but in today’s business, you need plans C-Z to make sure your business survives long-term.  Backup plans are not supposed to be exclusively for cases of emergencies or failures. We’re talking contingency plans set in place to keep you, your employees, and your business stabilized in every scenario. 

Some backup plans include implementing structured procedures for your employees about proper business practices in any situation. Another example of backup plan deals with literally backing up your network, online information, and e-data on a cloud or external server so your information is safe and secured in the event of an outage. 

The ultimate safety net for your business lies in negotiating insurance contracts so your assets and employees are safeguarded. Insuring yourself and your business is a titanic and necessary practice when it comes to seeing your business thrive in the future. Don’t rely on good luck to protect your business. Plan for success by establishing reliable, preventative measures so your business is protected today and long into the next century.

 

3) Encourage Communication

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you have; your long-term success relies on staying connected with your clients, customers, employees, collaborators, service providers, etc.  Transparent, clear communication is epic when it comes to keeping your endeavours online and ongoing. 

Mistakes in communication can kill results in your business and shove a major roadblock onto your path towards upward mobility in sales and success. Too often, business owners get stuck in a rut, making them inert or inflexible to feedback. Don’t be a victim of this grave error in business practice. 

Listen to your customers. Take notes about what your employees are suggesting. Communicate effectively with your vendors, and establish clear understandings about the expectations of your business agreements.  This may seem incredibly oversimplified, but keeping your finger on the pulse of communications about your business is a top-ranking solution to maintaining success in the long run.

 

Going to Infinity and Beyond with Your Business

As a business owner, you’ve proven yourself as an individual with grit, stamina, and guts. No one is questioning that. However, the everyday details to keep a business running and growing long into the future requires attention to details.  

If the ancillary essentials and particulars about preparation and fall-back plans aren’t in your wheelhouse, then seek out third-party resources that can help you with these basic elements to help keep business flourishing. Whatever way you choose to tackle these 3 must-do’s on your to-do list, always remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in terms of the longevity of your business.  

Outsourcing Your HR: How It Can Benefit Your Small Business in 2021

Outsourcing Your HR

When people start up a new company it can be both exciting and challenging; there are so many new things to learn and to put in place. Whilst companies are keen to focus on providing their goods and services, many are held back by their admin and paperwork.

One major area is the HR function. It covers everything from recruitment to staff benefits and salaries. The bigger the company grows, the more time will be required to oversee it. As a result, more and more people are outsourcing this area to external HR companies. We will now discuss some of the reasons why this might be a good idea for your business.  

Assistance With Recruitment

It’s possible for specialist third parties to advertise the vacancies and to assist with the interviews. They can also perform the necessary background checks and oversee the probationary periods for the successful candidates.

You can also take on additional HR support for small businesses. Providers such as Spencers Solicitors can offer a range of services, including the creation of employment contracts, help arranging interviews, background checks and more. Third parties such as these can use their expertise to incorporate such things as maternity/paternity leave or grievance/disciplinary policies within the wording.

A Pool Of Resource

If a company employs its own HR staff, time needs to be spent on the induction and ongoing training. Should a person leave, the whole process has to repeat itself. The benefit of using external HR specialists is that they can provide a whole team of qualified workers, many of whom specialise in different areas.

Every employee will bring different needs to their company. As the number of staff increases, so will the complexity of the HR function. When CIPD qualified professionals are gained through outsourcing, they are best placed to cover every area.

Maintaining Compliance

When aspects of employment are externally regulated, it can be a real challenge to manage. Legislation can affect a wide range of factors, from working hours to minimum wages, and from health and safety to paternity leave. If small businesses don’t stay abreast of all the changes, they can be penalised.

When outsourcing is achieved, it’s easier to stay compliant. The third parties will be familiar with the law, including any recent changes. Should a business be externally audited, the process can become far less stressful as a result.


An Extra Contact Point

Once the work has been outsourced, employees can contact the external company directly with their HR queries. They could be regarding anything from holiday requests to questions about salaries and expenses. In turn, this frees up the small business to focus on its business plans and daily duties.


An Objective Voice  

The HR company can make its own assessment of your business needs. It can also comment on sensitive matters like staff discipline or restructures and redundancies. Because they are objective on such issues, staff will be less likely to feel targeted or victimised.

It’s advisable to find a quality HR provider and to stick with them. The longer they work for you, the more valuable their input will become.

 

 

How to Get Your Business Ready for Online Education

Business education

The world turned on its head, and after a year of tumbling around, most industries and businesses are just now getting their bearings. Nearly overnight, the world switched from working in an office to working remotely.

Now, everything seems to be remote, and as it turns out, people seem to like the option of off-site working. 

Yet, as industries are shaking off the shock, they also need to come to grips with this new normal and figure out how to proceed with remote operations long-term. Even though the threat may be passing, the scars are fresh, and people are cautious about going back to their “old” lives.

While that can be all well and good for daily operations, what is your business doing about continued learning? Is your business ready for online education? 

Whether you are looking for online accelerated BSN programs to help close the gap of available nurses or you simply want to supply continuing education for your workers, this article will explain how to get your business ready for online instruction:   

 

Gather Information

When you commence your idea to offer online education for your employees, you want to gather information like you would for any other decision. You should consult your workers by taking a survey, a poll, or just bringing it up during a meeting.

You need to gather this information the best way possible for your specific organization, but getting this intel is essential. This information gathering will help set the course for the rest of the actions taken for getting ready for online education.

 

Shop Around

If you are going to provide online education for your employees, you need to know what is available for the expertise you need.

After all, you don’t want to be waiting years for your next foreman or manager to get their certification. You want to know what is available, a possible timeframe, and what you are looking to offer first. 

Plus, you want to know how much (both in time and money) the online education candidate will be missing work to pursue their certification. 

While many programs will likely work with your business to accommodate you, some certifications require time during business hours. You need to be aware of this and have an idea of how to handle it.

 

Come Up with a Plan

When you are implementing anything in business, you want to come up with a plan. So, if you decide to move forward with online education, this initiative should not be different. 

You need to develop a plan of what you need, what you intend to offer, and who you intend to extend the offer to first.

The plan you come up with should have at least two parts: Short-term and long-term.

The short-term plan should be the actions you want to take first:

 

  • The certifications you want to offer
  • The list of people you want to get the certifications
  • Specifics on how to handle financials
  • Time constraints and other related issues  

 

The long-term plan should encompass your future goals if the initial offerings go well:

 

  • Which certifications would you like to offer in the future
  • The time frames between being hired and being eligible for certifications
  • Contractual obligations of those who work for you and get certified (if applicable)

 

Expand Gradually

Once the plan is in place and you get the ball rolling for online education, you want to keep this new endeavor manageable. You don’t want to take on too much too soon. There will likely be issues that you need to deal with along the way. So, you always want to mitigate your risk.

To mitigate your risk as successfully as possible, you want to start slow and expand gradually.

 

Ensure the Benefits Match the Investment

Always remember that your business is not a charity. The reason you are even considering online education is to help your business thrive. While it does help your employees, ultimately, having certified employees helps your business. 

So, after a couple of rounds of certifications, ensure that the benefits match (or exceed) the investment. If you are losing money, you cannot continue certification programs at that level.

Fortunately, with investing in certifications and online education, the benefits to your company should be fairly easy to see.

Ultimately, everything from commuting to the day-to-day business routine has gone through a transformation. Yet, when it comes to continuing education and certifying those in your business looking for more responsibility, most companies are still uncertain of how to proceed. However, if you follow this article’s guidance, you will be well on your way to getting ready for online education.