The First Steps of Building a Top-Notch Space for Your Home-Based Business

Running a home-based business allows you to cut all kinds of costs, as well as daily commute time, which are the primary reasons why so many people are going this route these days. But another benefit of working from home is that you can build your own workspace that specifically meets your needs. By eliminating the restrictions that come with a conventional office, a home office allows you to work when, where, and how you wish. And you can design it to your liking so that you can work comfortably and productively.

If you’re planning to build your own home office, here are some tips for the beginning stages:

Look at foreclosed homes.

If you need to buy a home in order to fit your home business, look into foreclosed homes—or homes owned by the bank—before anything else. Oftentimes, you can get amazing deals on foreclosed homes, which will leave you with more funds to put toward building your business. If you decide to go this route, here are a few guidelines to consider:

  • Hire a real estate agent with expertise in foreclosures.
  • Get a home inspection done on any home you’re considering.
  • Factor in the fact that you are buying a foreclosed home as-is.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.

Get your equipment.

One of the most important parts of building a home office is ensuring you have the right equipment. First of all, get a high-quality, comfortable chair. You will likely spend most of the workday sitting in this chair, so consider investing what is necessary.

Your desk is another important factor. Find a desk that will fit the room nicely, and make sure it provides enough surface for you to work comfortably. Many people are choosing standing desks for their offices—using them either solely or in conjunction with a sitting desk. If you need help with focus and productivity, standing desks are worth considering.

Moreover, you will want to make sure you have all the tech equipment you need, such as a computer, laptop, tablet, extra monitors, speakers, printer, fax machine, and so on. And make sure your workspace has internet, whether that means wiring it from scratch, extending your home’s Wi-Fi, or getting a hotspot device.

Paint it your way.

The color of the walls will make a big difference in the appeal and comfort of your home office. And one of the advantages of working from home is that you can create an office exactly how you wish. Think about what you want from your workspace when considering colors. For instance, a blue-gray tone represents a more professional environment. A yellow scheme can promote happiness and spark creativity. Light blue can make the office feel calm and peaceful.

Boost the lighting.

Then there’s the lighting. If you have windows in your home office, position your workstation(s) to catch the sunlight that comes through. Natural light not only can do wonders for your productivity, it can also provide you with a good daily amount of vitamin D and yield many other health benefits.

Having other lighting is important as well, especially for working at nighttime. Get a quality desk lamp, and add any other lamps (e.g., floor, overhead, etc.) necessary to increase visibility.

If you run a home business, it’s essential to build a home office that you love. Remember to consider foreclosures if you’re buying a new home. Outfit your workspace with all the right equipment, be intentional in how you paint the walls, and make sure the office has plenty of natural and artificial light. Then, you’ll be ready to furnish and decorate your home office to truly make it your own.

Image via Burst

Six Questions Retirees Should Ask Themselves Before Starting a Business

Baby boomers are changing the meaning of retirement. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the average age of new entrepreneurs is increasing — in 1996, 14.8 percent of new entrepreneurs were aged between 55 and 64, but in 2015 that figure had increased to 25 percent. This makes a lot of sense — retirees have a lifetime of experience, skills and connection to draw upon — all key qualities for a new business owner. Entrepreneurship can be a challenge, so here are a few questions to help you learn if this is for you.

Are You Up for the Challenge?

Among the personality traits of a business owner are passion, tenacity, resourcefulness, open-mindedness and a sponge-like nature to learn new things. Starting a successful business is different from a standard 9-5. Most businesses require a lot of time, and there will be difficulties — these traits are what will pull you through. Do you possess them?

Are You Fully Informed?

Don’t dive into this blindly – put that sponge-like nature to the test and get educated! Seek out people in the same line of work and find out how much time, effort and capital they needed. Look for sources of support including the Small Business Administration as a great start, and there may be local meet-up groups or training courses you can attend at low or no cost. Try to build a “master mind” — a group of advisors and mentors you can contact for support and advice. Above all, if your business has any significant capital costs, make sure you do your market research and you know there’s a market for what you’re selling.

Is a Low-Risk, Bootstrapped Business a Better Option?

As a retiree, you have a massive advantage over the young folk — a stable source of income that requires none of your time. This is ideal for low-risk businesses with low upfront capital costs. You don’t have to worry about making enough to pay the bills, and you’re free to reinvest all your profit back into the business. For example, imagine that you make handmade craft goods. Instead of renting a brick-and-mortar store, you could sell through your own website or sites such as Etsy, or eBay. This costs very little to set up, and if you start to make money, you can think about expansion — maybe through hiring someone to help create the products, or getting a stall at a local market.

Can You Protect Your Assets?

The last thing you want is to be personally liable for costs incurred by your business, which could eat into your retirement funds and jeopardize your income. Make sure you structure your business in such a way as to protect your personal assets. Usually, you do this by setting up a corporation. There are different types of corporations (as well as other asset-protection strategies), and the exact type of company you can form depends on your location. This Investopedia article features an overview of your options, and if you’re unsure what to do, leave it to the professionals and seek legal advice.

Can You Embrace Technology?

A survey by Bright Local found that 61 percent of people are more likely to contact a local business if they have a mobile site. This is the digital age, and today the vast majority of businesses need an online presence to thrive. This applies even if you don’t actually use the Internet to sell your products. If you’re a life coach, a hairdresser, or you run a cafe, people will still find you through their phones and their computers. You don’t have to be a tech genius to start a website or get set up on social media – a lot of services are very plug-and-play. However, you do need to be willing to embrace technology and keep up with the changing online landscape.

Do You Have an Exit Strategy?

You might have the passion, drive and commitment to start a restaurant at the age of 65, but will that drive still be there at 75? Or, 85? Maybe you plan to keep working indefinitely, but if not, you need an exit strategy, especially if you have business assets that you will need to deal with. Will you pass on the business to a family member? Or, will you liquidate and sell off the assets? Circumstances can change quickly, so it’s prudent to plan ahead.

Many of today’s retirees feel a huge void after the end of their working life, and they look for something engaging to fill that gap. Starting a business is an exciting, challenging and rewarding way to do that. Just think your business idea though carefully, and don’t jump in without a plan and you’ll have great odds of success. Good luck!

This article is brought to you by BootUP Ventures: The Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. BootUP specializes in providing your startup with everything it might need from funding, to mentorship to office space and much more. For more information contact us at info@bootupventures.com.

Photo: Pexels

Social Media Stories – A New Way to Jump-Start a Business

There is a common saying; a human being is a social animal. Talking about the social animal, we are living in a world of social media. One thing that everyone goes checking early in the morning before even a shower is social media.

Social media found its place by evolving from MySpace to Facebook and Instagram. With the invention of blogging, posts, chats, etc. social media now seems to be a part of every industry.

The local business competition evolved and shifted online, targeting larger audiences. In a desire to achieve the goals, even small businesses explore new tech trends to engage with more users.

From all the latest tech trends, social media stories are grabbing the attention of the audiences on a larger scale.

Impact of social media stories

In an interactive chain of events, social media stories are attracting trendy lifestyles of social media users. Instagram and Snapchat influencers help other businesses to create brand awareness. It creates a different impact on the users, and the factor of relatability also grabs more relevant audiences/customers.

According to the survey, Facebook stories succeeded in creating a huge difference in promoting business. It is said to be 23% impactful as it is used by 300million people/day.

Still asking about the benefit? Well, it creates trust and builds up brands of the future, and margins of engagement also increase.

Clever ways to use social media stories for branding

There is no denying that; the content is the king. Your social media story is also content that can make people learn about the latest happenings in your organizations.

Therefore, it needs to be engaging, and one must learn some clever ways to make your content go viral on social media.

One way to improve the content is to use the tips or services of Assignment writing service for better results. Then, Grammarly is another tool boosting the brand through promotional stories.

You can learn more tactics and tips to increase content engagement by following the ways given below:

·      Polls

An interactive poll feature for the stories jumps up the height of user engagement. Within little time it proved to attract the attention of the audience. Poll questions can relate to any niche or even personal question related to the daily lives of the user.

It creates a sense of affiliation. To use this tool, you can go for the A/B testing tool (asking for their preference). Also, it helps you to create a fad trend to test a theory before the product launch.

·      Links

YouTube bloggers have hit the market with the latest trends of using links. The tutorial video seems a good strategy to promote the product. The bloggers also add links (for subscription or otherwise) in the product reviews.

Adding links to stories is a good tactic to increase sales and boost website traffic. For improved results, you can use another strategic tool; such as URL shortener (Goo.gl, etc.), to shorten links, so it covers less space.

·      Location tags

One of the easiest ways to locate a business is through using location tags. It’s a great way to promote your business location if you are planning to target niche according to area-segment.

For instance, Snapchat geo-filters are accessible in the current location of its user. It’s quite like a digital sticker with a location tag to accessorize the post.

·      Mention your users

On a story, you can mention your users as well. You pay a blogger to promote the product, but it’s a two-way ticket. Tag your user (influencer), and you can increase their followers, and that is one of the trendiest tactics these days. It’s like a digital form of tagging.

·      Live video

Live broadcasts give an authentic feel to the users. You can see the reactions and comments online and provide live feedback too. Building trust matters to the users, and you can relate your experiences in a more personal way.

It suffices to say it’s one of the most interactive formats of live viewership. For instance, one must learn ways to utilize Facebook stories to promote their brand. It creates a huge market segment of niche audiences when Facebook influencers share the live feed.

·      Invite your visitors

A little tease is an excellent way to engage users actively.

Adding some Call-to-action is a way to increase its ratings. Add images with engaging and content-focused taglines. As it will urge the user to become curious, open the story, and click on the URL link given alongside.

Besides, guests tagging other users and even brands are one of the helpful strategies. The concept is like TV commercials, where a brand ambassador promotes the brand. Invite bloggers with huge followers.

Offer a special viewership or giveaways, so once they use your product, they will sell it out by giving a product review. Ask them to upload their social media stories on their profile and embed the link to the brand.

·      BTS (behind the scene) videos

Sharing the curtain view is another of the engaging scenes. Certain brands are using behind the scene storytelling views. One of the emotional leverages a business can have over the user is to share what happens when the cameras are off. These consist of a short series of videos or funny GIFs. Once again, you can directly engage more by doing life behind the scene video.

·      Leveraging influencers

Influencers, no doubt, bring a distinct edge to your brand. But if you need to influence the influencer before they can help you promote your business. By offering them the best co-working spaces as an offer to work with you.

Always look for an authentic influencer. Yes, the number of followers gives away how much the person is in good books of the followers. The right marketing strategy also affects a good storyline.

Use the perfect strategy to leverage influencer on social media inconclusive way.  It will promote not only the brand but also will create affection.

How to produce engaging social media story content

Some of the best co-working spaces have helped boost businesses overnight by saving costs on maintenance. Business needs to work smart; likewise, some tools are more useful than any other such as:

  • The use of Grammarly is the best way to make sure social media story content is precise, and with the Australian Master, you can get a quick copy. Not only this will help you learn, but to also produce more engaging content.
  • The use of Copyscape to avoid plagiarism is the most VITAL tool when it comes to producing engaging content. Be creative in content curation. Sometimes, it comes as easy as a piece of cake and sometimes not.
  • You can increase your readability scores. Such as using ReadablePro, It enables you to assess the readability criteria of your content.
  • Another way is to make sure the word count doesn’t variate than necessary. You need to produce content for social media stories with short taglines. Do it to the point, a phrase that would give a certain edge to your story. King Essay can be the guidance tool for making accurate content without exceeding the word count.

Famous brands that are crushing it with stories

Some of the famous brands chose a smart way. They made the right decision at the right time. They engage with their users by productively using social media stories. Some of the popular brands are mentioned below:

  • Starbucks – they arepromoting their Unicorn Frappuccino by using a fruity and bright color promoting the theme of the beverage.
  • IHop – they changed its brand name to IHob (with a “b”) questioning users to guess what it stands for.
  • Wix – theyused stories to promote video features during the Super Bowl campaign.
  • Airbnb used its Facebook story live feature to promote the travel experience, etc.

Your brand can also be on the list if you apply the tactics and tricks we discussed in the article. Tips given in the articles are recommendations from the experts. You can make use of the given tools to achieve efficiency, productivity, and accuracy, along with the engagement of the content.

Conclusion

Stories are bringing new moves on the table. Therefore, brands need to work in the right manner to engage their audience. Give your brand a twist of latest strategies by making the social media stories of your page more engaging and eye-catching. Your new business idea is ready to launch if you understand the tactics of marketing.

Author bio:

Stella Lincoln is a compulsive and hardworking business executive, currently working at Academist Help. She owns the website Educator House to share her perspective and learning. Stella is also an active member of the social media community herself. People follows Stella due to her great sense of humor.