Archives For Entreprenuer

There has been a growing trend for sometime now that is pushing business owners out of their own real estate space. The trend of co-working environments is when companies utilize space along side of other companies within relatively the same suite, same address, same common space, office equipment etc. Experts predict this business trend will reach 21,306 facilities worldwide by the end of 2019. This concept may not be foreign to you but many visitors to Drive Planning still view it with a healthy curiosity.

James & Katie

Of course the curiosity ranges in degrees of understanding and interest. Most suggest they’ve heard about this and comment about the energy and cool atmosphere that it exudes. Many business owners or anyone with an entrepreneurial flare starts doing the math; Is this a good deal?…..is it right for them? You can see their wheels begin to turn.

The upside for a growing company is the flexibility to increase your Real Estate only as you increase Human Capital. For those who track with us routinely you recognize these as two of the four key elements to business as noted in The Big Four of Business. The ease and flexibility are undeniable. You’re never purchasing dead space while you are waiting to grow.

At Drive Planning, we certainly enjoy the productivity that comes from allowing our team to work close to home. Eliminating, or at least minimizing, extreme travel time for our team members and those clients visiting our office is certainly a strategic advantage. We are able to market locations in multiple areas thus allowing us to recruit new/local Consultants or new/local clients/Members.

This brings us to a critical piece of any organization, particularly startups! The ethos of an organization is discussed more today than ever, or at least more so than anytime I recall in my twenty four year career. Is it due to the millennials who get blamed for most things:) Could this conversation be the sole result of the Google’s, Facebooks and Apple type corporations famed offices. Likely a mixture of both.

The trends of open space, in office games, drinks and youthful energy are real and I love them! However, if you’re a start up business it would certainly be hard to justify a Ping Pong Table or a bar for your new office. This new style of office affords you that luxury/perk. So, I am fully into developing that edgy ethos and culture, creating that vibe; every company has one whether bad or good.

This is where the dark side of co-working space comes into play. Its when you’re creating that vibe or ethos that you desire but do not have full control. What happens when your company ends up in a location that doesn’t share your same energy.  It isn’t always that you have chosen poorly. Like I stated earlier, there are certainly lots of choices out there, more so than ever before. I have seen environments and cultures radically change due to a change within the hosts or community staff that manages the co-working space.

As a disclaimer we have only ran into this situation a couple of times over the years. Many of the community managers have appeared on our website, participated in our company outings and remain friends today. Some have not.

The staff or leaders of each community have a great impact on the success and feel of each location. The Co-Working Community Team become extensions of your office and company. They often times interact with your guests, answer telephone calls and sometimes have more impact administratively. These individuals aren’t staff that you have carefully chosen or vetted through your on-boarding process. You would have never discussed their level of pay, career goals, family dynamics, timelines or any other personal matters that impact employment, yet you are stuck with them for better or worse.

It can be frustrating to have staff members that you didn’t hire and you can’t fire!

                                                           – Todd Burkhalter

Tweet that Quote!

Whats the answer, unfortunately I do not have a proper end all solution. I merely have a band-aid and some potential preventative solutions.

When choosing a Co-Working Company:

  • Consider one with multiple locations – This will allow you to shift little more easily day to day meetings but even if you were to experience a staff member that wasn’t a good fit.
  • Ask a lot of questions – Determine how frequently they automatically change staff members to different locations. This isn’t fool proof but you can determine if there will automatically be a revolving door as opposed to the individual deciding to change positions.
  • Consider Community Events – How frequently will your location be hosting community events? What type of events will be held? Ask for a list of past events. Make sure that these will not be a constant disruption and fit within themes consistent with your values and corporate dynamics.
  • Consider The Networking – Ask for a list of companies that exist in the space. We have found these people will become friends, resources, potential business or clients.
  • The Dark Side – One last comment regarding that staff member that just ruins your day. Work to minimize your interaction through being able to transition locations but also consider hiring your own staff person that creates a majority of the customer reception or engagement.

Though there may be some downside risk; I believe that the Co-Working or Flexible Space Model has so many positives that it out-weighs the potential Dark Side which can be cast by a Staff person who likely will not be there very long. Let’s face it when someone has a poor attitude they aren’t likely to be around long term anyways.

Thanks for following along with The Life You Can Afford to Live! Keep up with me by connecting on-line through facebook, twitter or LinkedIn.

GoingGreenA Guest Post that addresses the on going global topic of climate change. It is often hard to maintain focus on such an idea as climate change when you are running your business. Sales, Deadlines, Taxes, Rent, Office Space, Employees, Providing Benefits, Selling Your Business, Climate Change??? Wait…. did that last one really fit in to your daily thoughts? Probably not! This Guest Post by Jennifer Carter provides 27 Ways that an entrepreneur/retailer can put systems in place that will make an impact.

About The Author

Jennifer Carter stays busy writing on various topics, including professional development, for Outbounding.com. In her spare time she’s quite handy; she’s currently working on a confined space entry certification.

 

27 Ways That Business Owners Can Prevent Climate Change

Global warming is an urgent problem facing our planet, but retailers are in a unique position to contribute to climate change prevention efforts. Dealing with large volumes of goods and having control over large spaces and employee culture means that a simple switch can have a noticeable impact when adopted by a retailer. Corporations such as Starbucks, Safeway, Tesco and Kingfisher have already pledged to make green changes to their stores, and many other retailers are following their lead.

In addition to helping save the planet, there are a variety of reasons for retailers to help prevent climate change. As consumers’ perspectives shift increasingly away from the idea that “going green” is just a trend to the understanding that sustainable practices are a necessity, retailers who follow suit are likely to see substantial spikes in business from environmentally minded shoppers. Add that to the fact that climate change prevention measures often save businesses money, and even non-environmentally minded retailers will want to start thinking about ways to go green.

Following are 27 ways you can work to prevent climate change in your retail store or stores, what you can encourage your employees to do, and how you can get customers in on it too.

What you as a retailer can do:

1. Get an energy audit. Your utility company can perform an energy audit to determine where you’re overusing energy. Many will do this for free, and the recommendations they give you will help you save money for years.

2. Recycle everything you can. Find out how you can start recycling paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, ink cartridges and cardboard.

 

recycling-bins3. Reuse whatever you can. Cardboard boxes and other packing materials are a great place to start.

4. Reduce paper use. Print double-sided, reuse printed paper for scrap paper, and think before you print.

5. Buy local. When possible, source your products from local distributors or producers to reduce fossil fuel use.

6. Go digital. Switch to digital bill payment, invoicing, banking and ordering. You can also send email rather than printed memos or offer downloadable employee handbooks. Use an eFax service instead of a paper machine.

7. Get rid of Styrofoam. Styrofoam is one of the least environmentally friendly products you can use. Find alternatives to Styrofoam for everything from cups to packing peanuts, both in what you sell and in what you use in the warehouse.

8. Eliminate disposables in the break room. Reusable cups, plates and utensils may come at a small up-front investment, but they pay for themselves quickly — the average employee uses 500 disposable cups per year!

9. Reduce energy use in the restrooms. Install low-flow toilets and urinals, and fix leaky sinks or toilets promptly. Install air dryers rather than offering paper towels. And lower the thermostat on hot water heaters to 115 degrees.

10. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products. Check out www.responsiblepurchasing.org and www.epa.gov/oppt/epp/pubs/vendors for options and information.

11. Xeriscape. Reduce water usage by replacing grass outside your store with native plants that use little water, and engage in other xeriscaping techniques.

12. Buy EnergyStar-certified equipment and maintain it properly. Read up on your options at www.energystar.gov.

13. Adjust your thermostat. Keep the thermostat on 68 in the winter, and 78 in the summer, and program it to automatically reduce energy use overnight.

14. Insulate the building(s). Use weather stripping and caulking to reduce energy consumption. Insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss.

15. Recycle or donate the old equipment. Not all electronics recyclers are created equal, though — choose an R2 certified recycler to ensure that your equipment will be recycled in earth-friendly ways. Start here: http://www.r2solutions.org/certified/electronic-recyclers-with-r2-certified-facilities/

16. Use natural lighting when possible, and switch to compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. CFLs can save up to $40 per year per bulb in energy costs over incandescents, and can last 13 times longer! Also, make sure all lights are turned out when everyone’s gone for the day.

17. Use Green Packaging. Educate yourself on the impact that your green packaging choices may have on the environment. In fact, your packaging can have a huge impact on sales too, not just the environment.

How to get employees involved:

18. Give recognition to employees who use green practices. People like being recognized for their efforts, and you’ll begin to create a company culture that values sustainability.

19. Offer incentives for walking, biking, bus riding or carpooling to work. These may be financial rewards, or allowing employees to leave early on days they don’t drive.

rideyourbike

 

20. Put a compost bin in the break room. Believe it or not, throwing break room food matter such as fruit peels, old bread and eggshells into the trash contributes more to global warming than does material that can’t be broken down. This is because the anaerobic decomposition in landfills produces significant quantities of methane, whereas composting food — an aerobic process — produces no methane.

21. Encourage employees to turn off and/or unplug appliances when not in use. Unplugging appliances is one of the easiest ways your store or stores can drastically reduce energy consumption. This goes for everything from the coffee maker in the break room to computers being turned off and unplugged overnight. Using power strips makes it easy to unplug several appliances at once.

22. Let employees work remotely if possible. Although this is not always feasible in retail stores, it’s possible that certain employees — such as upper management — can work from home on occasion, reducing their carbon footprint.

 

How to get customers involved in climate change prevention:

23. Offer digital receipts. Many retailers are now offering customers digital instead of paper receipts, which are easier to keep track of and save tons of paper. Some programs even allow you to offer a discount once customers have emailed themselves a certain number of receipts, which adds an extra incentive for them to go paperless.

24. Offer incentives for not driving. Consider offering a discount to customers who walk, bike or bus.

25. Reduce use of bags. Encourage your customers to bring their own bags by offering a discount to customers who do.

26. Sell reusable bags by the registers. Make it easy for customers to use reusable bags by selling them at cost when customers check out. And rather than asking, “Would you like a bag for that?” have cashiers ask, “Do you have reusable bags with you?”

27. Participate in a carbon offset program. If you offer online orders, offer carbon-neutral shipping or give customers the option to add a carbon offset to their order.

Once you’ve implemented the earth-friendly measures discussed here that make sense for your business, get another energy audit. You may be amazed how much of a difference a few changes can make — and you’ll be proud that you’re doing your part to prevent climate change!

 

Which of these ways will you place into your business? Please feel free to send me other things that you do to help!

 

 

The Original article by Jennifer can be found here