Compact and Sleek: Your Shipping Container Home Office

Shipping container

There is a reason shipping containers have become mega popular these days. They offer much flexibility and could serve a wide range of functions. They could be employed at residential, commercial, and industrial properties since they could turn into every kind of room that you need exactly.

If you need a spare room to turn into your home office but you cannot have one inside the house, bringing in a shipping container shed could be a nice idea. That way, you will have an office feel without really going too far away from home, which means you are not separated with your mommy and wifey duties while you perform the tasks that your career requires.

A shipping container office is ideal for homemakers who are blessed with a home-based job. They can ably perform two different tasks at a time, juggling work with their primary responsibility in the house and getting satisfaction for both.

How can you achieve a winning home office design using a spare shipping container and some wits?

1. Have the perfect plan

As with any kind of project, working with a nice plan is the best way to start. A comprehensive plan that will cover not just design issues but budget issues as well will help you through the completion of the project. In the process, you must be able to tackle any possible concern that would come up along the way. For a good plan to work, get a little help from the following guidelines:

  • Establish a workable budget. Be specific of how much you could actually spend so you can develop a realistic plan based on your financial capabilities.
  • Decide on your preferred office design. Your home office must be styled according to your working habits, your job’s demands, and your own personal preference, of course. You are going to use the office. It is but right that you decide how you want it to be without going over your declared budget.
  • Make the most of your shipping container shed. One of the best things about these sheds is that they are almost complete. You only need touch-ups here and there to turn it into your most ideal workplace. It is very crucial that you maximise the sturdy construction and just take out those that you need to in order to suit up to your desired office design.

2. Find a good shipping container source

Shipping containers

The quality of the shipping container actually defines the quality d value of your home office. It is very important, therefore, that you find a good source. Choosing the best unit will define the success of your project.

To start with, never pay for a container shed before you lay your eyes on it. Make sure you are able to inspect the unit thoroughly before you consider the purchase. It is through an inspection that you will be able to establish if it is the right unit, of the right size, and in the best condition worth making an investment for.

Shipping containers are a spare room that you can turn to anything you like, much more into a home office. But you should not throw caution into the wind and buy blindly. Making educated, well-informed decisions are absolutely crucial to make sure you are making the most of your hard earned money.

The Struggle is Real: 3 Types of Fear Almost Every Starting Entrepreneur Experience

Female entrepreneur working

It’s not surprising that many people refuse to push through with a business idea or opportunity, even given the fact that it has a lot of potential. Starting an entrepreneurial endeavor is just beyond the comfort zone of most people. Simply put, it’s frightening.

If fear is keeping you from making your dream business a reality, the solution lies not in cowering to that paralyzing fear, but to make the effort to get past it. The first step in overcoming that is to know what exactly you’re afraid of.

Here are the common types of fears entrepreneurs have when starting their business:

Failure

You’ve probably heard of the harrowing statistics that 90% of start-ups fail in their first year. Or, perhaps, you personally know a friend who has dedicated all their life, savings, time, and energy to a promising business idea, only to find it crumbling down years later. The reality of failure in business is crystal clear. Indeed, this is one of the hard pills to swallow in this line of work.

Here’s an encouragement: You’re not doomed because you can build safeguards to keep your business from failure. Strengthen your foundations right from the start. Create a thorough yet simple business plan, then create a Plan B, C, and D. Improve it as you go along and make mistakes.

Gather a great team of talents and never stop training them. Organize your finances. If you need to start small to keep the funds from easily draining, do it. Explore businesses that are working already in the market, like retail clothing or restaurant franchise opportunities. With tried-and-tested models, you can reduce the chances of business failure.

Inadequacy

Many starting entrepreneurs feel that they’re simply incapable of doing what they plan to do. They’re afraid that eventually, they’ll screw up and people will see what they ‘really’ are: incompetent. If this is the type of fear you’re feeling, you need to drown that little voice of self-doubt.

Most often, what it says is not true. Take concrete actions that would let you internalize your competence. For instance, attend conferences and seminars that would enrich your understanding of the industry you’re getting into. Read publications and stay updated with trends. Enroll in business classes, if necessary. This will all help improve your knowledge and skills, and thereby increase your confidence in yourself.

If you’re going to push through with buying a franchise, you’ll be able to take advantage of the brand’s training programs, which would give you the boldness you need in supervising your very own franchise.

Rejection

Entrepreneurs handshake

Some experience this when pitching to investors. Others struggle when it comes to introducing a new product to the market. It’s hard not to take rejection personally. Besides, it’s your own idea being ‘axed’.

For the most part in business, rejections are necessary. Mainly due to how it makes entrepreneurs thick-skinned, a trait crucial to businesspeople who want to stay in the business. This industry you’re entering is a cutthroat industry, and it leaves no space for the sensitive and fragile. Furthermore, you need a few no’s sometimes to finally get your idea right. The point is you have to see beyond the rejections you’ve received. Look for the value it adds to your character and the business.

Are fears keeping you from starting your business? Don’t let them. Know what you’re afraid about, and conquer them with determination, hope, and courage.

Keeping Safe on the Road with Construction Safety Equipment

Roadwork

Construction sites can become road obstructions if they do not use proper signage and safety products. They could even mean danger for the workers and the general public. Protecting people makes it a must to make street work safety a requirement.

Workplace safety can be challenging at road construction sites. There are heavy equipment, ladders, uneven flooring, ramps, and heavy material that can be found in the area. These require warning signs, hazard lights, and even special safety clothing to protect workers.

The welfare of workers is always at the forefront of workplace safety. Governments all over the world have made it mandatory for businesses to follow safety practices and require standard safety equipment in their work. For road construction projects, reflective vests and hard hats are part of these equipment standards.

But there are two essential elements to help keep street works safe: the signaller and the road safety or warning flag. One could not work efficiently without the other, and they both play crucial roles in regulating traffic flow around the construction site. They also protect the workers and give motorists a heads up about the work in progress – minimising the delays and the risks of accidents in the process.

The Flagman or the Signaller

The flagman has to stand up and manage the safety flags. This flagman or signaller needs to wave the flags to indicate the movement of traffic. He could also help pedestrians, the motorists, and the workers by signalling that construction in a specific area is ongoing.

But a flagman also needs the appropriate barricades, traffic lights, barriers, lane control devices, and other signalling tools. Safety flags are only part of the safety gear and could not be used alone. If it is a huge road construction site, the use of every possible road safety feature is a must, and you also need a couple of flagmen at that.

The Road Safety Flag

The road safety flag helps redirect traffic and control the crowd, are swayed to give passing vehicles and pedestrians a heads up about the construction work in a particular site. It is mostly made of reflective orange fabric that is visible even in the darkness. Although they can be made of different materials, most flags are made of waterproof and durable materials.

Safety flags are also useful at parking lots. Big construction equipment such as forklifts and oversized truckloads also make use of similar flags to signify any possible hazard.

Traffic Barriers and Cones

Traffic cone

These barricades have lights that act as a warning signal. They are often used for street work and construction. There are different kinds of barricades, but for lighter work, some people prefer to use traffic cones or A-fram barriers. They can be made of concrete or even water-filled jersey barriers, but it all depends on the size of the construction project.

Safety equipment is essential for any construction project, not only to make the project successful but also to protect workers and the general public. They are cost-effective equipment that will prevent accidents and injuries.

Buying a Home? Get It Right the First Time

Couple with an agent at a property visit

Home buyers who rush through the mortgage process often run into serious problems somewhere down the line. Instead of making the same mistake, take the time to prepare and increase your chances of success.

As a first-time home buyer, the worst thing you can do is to rush through the process unprepared. The allure of becoming a homeowner from being a tenant is strong but shouldn’t cause you to make rash decisions.

One misstep could turn your world upside down, leaving you in a financial cesspool that will stay with you for years. Luckily, it’s easy to side-step these life-changing mistakes. There are millions of happy homeowners and with a little effort; you can be one of them.

1. Refine your mortgage knowledge

Thanks to the high asking prices, a home is likely to be your biggest investment to date. The pricing points often make it impossible for most people to pay cash for their home, forcing them to take out lengthy mortgages.

If you plan on getting a home loan to buy a house, it’s imperative that you have deep insights into the process. It’s tempting to leave it up to the lenders to steer the loan application process, but you shouldn’t give into it.

What you might not know is that lenders work with what you give them when pondering your loan application. Therefore, the onus is on you to present them with the best possible scenario. There many resources to help refine and polish your knowledge of the mortgage process.

Make use of this information to improve your position, increase your chances of approval, and get the best mortgage terms on the market. Being informed about the mortgage requirement lets you avoid costly mistakes that could put your investment at risk.

2. Create a budget

Mortgage loan to buy a houseA mortgage process is a long-term financial commitment that can span up to 30 years. Like running a marathon, you need to prepare adequately to ensure that you don’t run out of steam midway and washout. The key to seeing it to the end lies in your ability to commit to affordable monthly payments.

To this end, you need to create a budget for your purchase before getting started with the process. A budget gives you great insights into your financial position, indebtedness, and spending habits. Most importantly, it shows you how much disposable income you have at the end of each month.

Remember that a mortgage comes with mandatory monthly payments that you can’t afford to skip. Working with a budget lets you zero in on the amount of money that you can comfortably commit towards paying for the mortgage.

You want to pick a realistic figure that won’t water down the quality of life. Engaging more than a third of your paycheck to the mortgage is a terrible idea and could put your finances in jeopardy.

You need to start your journey to own a home on solid footing to avoid running into severe headwinds somewhere down the line. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into and take precautions to avoid the numerous cesspools that dodge the process.

With a little research and preparation, you can get the best deal on your mortgage and move closer to owning your dream home. It’s crucial you commence the process from the point of knowledge.

Ways to Generate New Business Ideas

Are you thinking of entering the world of business? Successful business owners are some of the most creative people, and they use this creativity to make decisions every day. The same creativity is what they use to come up with new business ideas when diversifying their ventures. Are you curious about how you can do the same for your first business?

Consult Experts

Many people overlook the value of other people’s expertise. Talking to a business broker can give you great insight as to what business is good to open, be it a franchise or a fresh business idea. Talking to experts doesn’t only give you an opportunity to get new perspectives; it can also refresh your own thinking and brainstorming methods.

You can meet experts and other people in entrepreneurship by going to networking events. Maybe check out meet-up websites and social media groups. Take advantage of in-person gatherings and events, and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people. You’ll be surprised by how generous people are with their insights and advice.

Take Note of Problems

Thriving businesses all solve a problem. Commonly called “pain points” in business-speak, companies that address a prevalent issue in a new way often find success. Some of the biggest businesses like Google and Uber solve problems that seem to be simple. Google helps people find information on particular topics from different sources while Uber provides a cheaper and more convenient way for people who want a ride from point A to B. Seemingly simple problems, these have proved to be golden ideas for both companies.

A good habit to keep is to write down your pain points or those that you observe. Keep a notepad where you jot down these ideas. Set a day of the week where you’ll sit down and brainstorm on possible ways to address these issues.

Explore Your Interests

woma looking at laptop screen

Many successful business owners started companies in fields that are right in their interests. It’s a great idea to form a business around something you love. If you enjoy cooking, look into opening a business around food and entertaining. If your passion is in fitness, opening a gym or even a nutritional supplement store can be a rewarding journey for you.

Go on the Road

Outside your town is a great big world waiting to be explored, and in this world is a ton of business ideas. Going to new places isn’t only a great chance to see more; it also can give you a peek as to what services and products are not available in your area’s market. Finding a business idea while travelling is hitting the golden ticket, but even if you don’t get a business idea, travel is still a great way to hit the reset button and freshen up your brainstorming and idea-generating skills.

These are just some things to try when generating business ideas. Starting a business is one of the most rewarding things, and it has to start with a great idea. Good luck on your journey!

On the Lookout: Ways to Spot Gaps in the Market for Your Business

entreprenuer on the phone

A timeless piece of business advice from seasoned entrepreneurs and mentors is this: always find gaps in your market. Such discrepancies are promising opportunities for businesses. They can either be an avenue for expanding current operations or be an entirely new money-making venture. But how exactly do you spot such potential? Here are some ways to do that:

Look for problems

In essence, gaps in the market are unmet needs. So, when scouring the industry, look for pain points. What are your customers’ frustrations? Is it the long queues in your restaurant? Perhaps a self-ordering kiosk can be of help. Is it the lack of healthy, quick bites in your locale? Perhaps opening a sandwich shop like Jon Smith Subs would solve the problem. When you’re able to pin down what exactly people are pining over, you can almost guarantee that your products and services will sell themselves. The best way to learn your market’s problems is to ask them directly. Conduct customer surveys. Or if you haven’t launched yet, do some case studies on your target audience.

thumbs down

Checking out the negative reviews of your potential competitor will also offer great insights. When you know what’s not working, you can strategise how to avoid it and make yours work. So again, the principle is to seek your market’s pain points.

Track pending legislation

Sometimes, you can tell the direction the industry is going by looking at the changes in local, state, or federal laws. It can open up a new market segment or point to a promising venture. So if you could keep an eye on reforms, or better yet, predict them, then you can better position yourself and be one step ahead in your industry. Get yourself in the loop of trade organisations’ updates.

Turn on your Google Alerts, key in keywords, and make it a habit to read two to three articles a week about your industry. Of course, nothing beats having a mentor, someone who’s been in the game for a long time. They won’t just keep you informed about trends but also train you to make a forecast of the industry. So, look for business coaches. Grab every networking opportunity. Meet your ‘heroes’ at conferences and workshops.

Get inspired by the ‘outside.’

Don’t be limited to the businesses you see in your community now. Think outside the box, or in more concrete terms, go travel. Overseas, you might just run into something unique that you can’t find it in your own country or a new way of doing things, which can highlight the gaps you might have missed looking at your industry. Research businesses are booming in other countries. Learn why they’re successful. From there, see how you can do a relatively similar business that will work in your context.

In the end, the gaps in your market are opportunities in disguise. Don’t lose sight of them. Instead, seek them out. Take note of these tips to get you into the habit of looking for promising opportunities.

Mind Over Matter: Success Mantras for Every Entrepreneur

entrepreneur in her shop

Success in business starts not with a good business plan or the sellable idea. Instead, it begins with the mind. Your greatest cheerleader and your worst enemy are your thoughts. If you can win the battle in your mind, you can guarantee that you’ll emerge victorious from any of the business challenges coming at you. Just take a cue from the most influential entrepreneurs today who set aside a huge chunk of their time every day just for meditation. As you start your business, begin internalizing these mantras to position yourself for success:

Find passion

Passion is the very thing that changes the status quo. It’s what inspires one to shift from the 9-5 desk job to a 24/7 gym business lifestyle (even though it looks crazy). It’s what gets you up in the morning and keeps you awake at night. It’s what inspires you to keep fighting even at the darkest of times down the road. So, it’s essential that your business coincides with your passion, right from the beginning. For some, they’re lucky to know what exactly they want in life. For others, they have to find it earnestly. Take an inventory of your strengths. What is it that you excel doing? Think about what frustrates you in the industry. What is a problem in your community that you want to solve? Your strengths and people’s challenges can fuel your business.

Take the risk

female entrepreneur talking on the phone

There are no certainties in business. As they say, this industry is like a gamble. You won’t know if your bets will pay off. Right from the start, you have to take the risk of leaving a stable job and a good paycheck, sacrificing your savings or introducing a new product to the market. But embrace the uncertainty, nonetheless. One way you can be comfortable at this is to have a mentor who can give you advice on how to take smart risks and show you exactly what it means. Consider what most starting entrepreneurs do: consulting franchisors. Seasoned entrepreneurs can teach you the tricks of the trade and offer you a less risky venture option compared to building a business from scratch. If you want to push through with that gym business lifestyle, go ahead and pursue fitness franchise opportunities.

Accept defeat and failures

Not everything will go smoothly in your business. Along with the good days and triumphs, there will be bad days. There will be people who don’t believe in you, as well as rejections along the way. There might be no assurance of putting food on the table. There’s a possibility of hitting rock bottom. You need to accept this reality as early as now. By being fully aware, you’ll be able to prepare better and keep yourself humble through the years. Should you experience the most significant defeat, losing everything in business, profits and reputation, accept it wholeheartedly and start over again.
Again, success begins with the mind If you’re able to tame your thoughts and direct them to your goal, you can win half the battle. Internalize these success mantras every day.

Catering Equipment Maintenance: What Needs to be Checked?

catering food choices

When you’re running a catering business, food quality and customer service are the two top considerations on your priority list. However, before you go out and cater to an event, your kitchen is where all the action happens first. This is why it is important to have in your kitchen the catering equipment and supplies that will be able to bring your menu to life.

Keeping your kitchen and catering equipment in tip-top shape is equally important so they remain fully operational and safe to use. Companies that offer catering equipment repair services may help you in conducting regular maintenance and safety inspections to detect wear-and-tear damage, prevent machine breakdown and repair your catering equipment, if necessary.

The following are some of the equipment that you should have in your catering business and the possible repair issues that they may encounter.

Freezers and Refrigerators

Commercial-grade refrigeration systems can either be reach-in or walk-in units. They are a key component in your kitchen as cold food storage units preserve the freshness of your ingredients.

When inspecting freezers and refrigerators, you need to check if the compressor is free from dirt and grease. Not being able to keep the compressor clean will cause temperature problems in your refrigerator, hence, affect its ability to keep your food frozen or cool enough. Other issues that may cause temperature problems with your refrigerators and freezers include a broken thermostat, loose door gaskets, clogged air vents and refrigerant leaks.

If you have a faulty or broken refrigerator, you need to have it repaired immediately to prevent the contents from being spoilt.

Cooking Equipment

Catering business kitchenCooking equipment includes cooking ranges, ovens, grills and fryers. Cooking equipment issues, if not repaired right away, will hamper the operations in your kitchen or worse, may result in electrical issues and cause a fire.

An indication that you have faulty or broken cooking equipment is when the burners won’t heat, turn on or adjust the temperature. If only a single burner is the problem, it may mean that the heating coil is damaged. However, if all burners won’t work, it could mean a more serious electrical issue. If you’re using an electric stove, you may be dealing with a broken wire or temperature sensor. If you’re using a gas stove, you may need to check for a faulty gas control, igniter or valve.

Since checking on these issues involves the risk of electric shock, it is better that a technician have a look at your equipment.

Food Mixers and Processors

Commercial mixers blend ingredients for making cookies, pasta, bread or sauces. They are built with many small moving parts which are controlled at different speeds depending on the type of mixture that you want to produce.

If the mixer runs when you turn it on, it could have a blown fuse, defective motor or a faulty switch. If it won’t function at certain speeds, the speed control switch may be the issue. Or, if the motor hums but the beaters won’t turn, the motor might need to be checked or replaced. When there is excessive vibration while them mixer is being used, it may have misaligned gears or bent beater shafts.

As a catering business owner, ensuring that your catering equipment runs efficiently is a critical responsibility. You need to have your equipment checked for repairs regularly to avoid complications and accidents that may put your business and the lives of your workers at risk.

What Happens When Your Tenant Doesn’t Pay?

notice to vacate with money concept

It happens. A tenant could miss the monthly payments for the lease. Sometimes, you have to wait for a few more days after the deadline to receive it. The reasons are aplenty. The economy isn’t doing well, or the business changed leadership. The cash flow is tight, or it can no longer afford the rent anymore. What if the tenant doesn’t pay for months? As a landlord, what are your options to recover what is due to you?

1. Consider Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR)

Back in the old days, landlords could be brutal in their approach to lease collection. For example, they could change the locks of the office and then seize all the goods inside. They then had the prerogative to sell them to recoup their losses. The term for this process was distress.

It became the norm for many years until 2014 when the UK introduced commercial rent arrears recovery (CRAR). The regulations are more transparent, but the limitations are also stricter. These include the non-seizure of the business assets, which only a certified enforcement agent or a bailiff can do.

Under this process, the landlord can enforce collections on delayed or missed rent for commercial tenancies only. They can do so as early as seven days after the tenants failed to pay. The landlord can also claim the arrears from the sub-tenants.

CRAR has a prescription period, and with many rules to follow, it can be confusing. Landlords can then consider commercial rent recovery services. They don’t have to worry about the fees. They will become part of the tenant’s due.

for rent sign with a couple behind2. Talk to the Guarantor

It will be easier if the tenant has a guarantor, who can pay on behalf of the tenant. It reduces the collection process and saves you a lot of headaches. Note, though, that you may not reach out to the guarantor immediately. The first person you should talk to is the tenant. For a paper trail, request collection in writing. After two weeks of non-payment, you can then send another demand letter to the tenant, as well as inform the guarantor of the situation. You may repeat this procedure within 21 days of non-collection.

3. Pursue Section 8

Section 8 Notice is also Notice to Quit. It means that you believe the tenant breached the lease contract and that you want to possess the property again. It also implies you’re bringing the other party to court to recover the rent.

It is a lengthy and particular process. It needs to follow a specific format to be valid. The form, for example, may have to include the name of the tenant, property address, and grounds for possession. It will also indicate the expiry date of the notice. The tenant doesn’t need to leave the property until they receive the note, and even then, you may still have to apply for a possession order if they don’t vacate.

The process of getting what is yours may be time-consuming, but it’s always worth pursuing. After all, it’s also a matter of justice and fairness.

4 Reasons People Are Very Much In Love with Apple Devices

iPhone on a Facebook app

Apple, one of the most valuable brands in the world, has a huge following that any other tech brand could ever dream of. Its followers are religious and devoted to whatever Apple has to release. And this brand success did not happen overnight.

Many years ago, Apple, in its beginnings, has its own share of troubles that can bend and break the will of the strongest leaders. But with the strategy, commitment to technology, and sound marketing tactics, Apps has emerged as one of the most valuable companies in the world.

This is why a lot of businesspeople and even large companies capitalise on Apple. Some even get an Apple franchise. You may be thinking of getting on it, but before you fully decide on it, you will need to understand the factors that make Apple one of the most loved brands in the world.

Below are some of the reasons people are really in love with their Apple devices.

Reason #1: Keep It Simple

A lot of devices, even before, have grand promises. These promises seemed flamboyant and useful, but Apple did the contrary. They stripped down their designs and made sure that what will remain are the essentials. Therefore, they keep their devices simple.

And that can be even easily observed in the sleek body of their devices — from their MacBooks to iPods, iPhones, and iPads. They are bound by the philosophy; simplicity is a beauty. And it truly works for them and for their customers.

Reason #2: Usability at Its Finest

iPhone 6

Apple devices have this reputation of being easy to use. And this is credited to their teams of experts that focus on improving the user experience and interface of their devices. The device is highly intuitive that anyone can use it without having to refer to the manual.

They have mastered the use of touch technology. The sync function of Apple devices allows you to access the same file and items through different devices. In this regard, Apple has won in the consistency game.

Reason #3: Keeping Up with Consumer Needs

Technology has always evolved and will evolve. And in this era, it has evolved faster than expected. Apple has always been at the forefront of the game, meaning they have always followed trends and improved their design based on these. You can safely say that Apple does not follow the trend; they are even the ones who start them.

Reason #4: User-Centric

Apple’s commitment to service does not end in their sales team. Their aftersales team has always been dedicated to answer queries and fix their customers’ problem with their Apple devices.

This is why many customers hail Apple as one of the companies that offer the best customer service. The commitment to everything great and good will always be reflected in the different segments of the company — from production to sales.

These are only some of the top reasons people love their Apple products. And if you are using Apple products, you will realise that all of these are true.

Read more at Daily Bumps.