If and when you are in the market for an office space, what you settle for is important to your business overall objective, Bottom line of the business inclusive.
Not only does it affect your day to day operations and your staff morale, but also your brand image. There are so many things that can impact which office you choose; however, there are five factors that are absolutely crucial to the process. Overlook one of these, and you could end up disappointed.
The importance of location can not be over emphasized, needless to say location is key. Hence the popular quote in real estate industry, “Location, location, location.” which drives home just how important location is when choosing an office space.
Here are two really important questions to ask:
- Can my clients get there without a hassle?
- Can my employees get there easily?
If you find an office that ticks these two boxes, then you’re well on your way to finding a good location. Think about the security of the neighborhood as well and what’s close to the office. The environment should be serene and pristine to avoid disturbance and allow for easy flow of work.
Price ranks top of the list for most businesses and individuals when choosing a new office space. If you plan with a low budget, you will end up with a crappy office, and have to vacate after a few month. Spend too much, and you might struggle to maintain the rent or move again. Neither of the situation is suitable.
Here are a few recommendation to this quagmire:
- Consider a Virtual Office for your business. By this you get to save cost and use an office when you need one.
- Engage a fully serviced office and allow your overhead cost and every other cost to become the problem of the facility managers.
Always do a quick comparison with other offices spaces in the area to make sure you’re getting value for money.
3. Office Size
Obviously both of the factors mentioned previously—location and cost—will influence the size of the commercial premises you choose, but it’s as important as the rest.
As a very general rule, it’s normally recommended to have 70 square feet per person. However, you know your business best. If your office requirements need bigger desk or more storage space, then increase the space accordingly.
There’s also the issue of meeting and rest space. You’ll need an area to meet with clients, and your colleagues need somewhere to eat their lunch just like the Savvy Instant Offices’ facility in Abuja, Nigeria.
Here are a couple of simple questions that’ll help you work out if the offices you’re looking at are the right size:
- Will I have at least 70 square feet of floor space per person?
- Do I have room to grow staffing levels in line with growth projections?
- Do I have a dedicated space for meetings with clients?
- Are my employees going to be happy with their social/recreation areas?
There’s no doubt that a cramped office reduces productivity, so don’t skimp on floor space.
This is a more important feature for some businesses than others. Nowadays however, there aren’t many businesses that can function efficiently without a reliable Internet connection. Some offices, particularly managed or serviced offices, generally include Internet access as part of their rent. If you’re leasing somewhere privately though, you’ll need to factor in the cost of getting a line connected and the monthly payments for access.
The quality and reliability of the service matters too. There’s no point paying for a service that is being interrupted constantly or cracks under the strain of a particularly busy day.
Internet is key but other facilities to be considered includes but no limited to; correspondence, mail handling services and phone line answering service.
Here are factors to consider before signing your license agreement:
- Contact other businesses to share their experiences of the facility, Internet as key priority.
- Does the office handle mails?
- Ask facility managers for a speed test to ensure the ISP is providing efficient and effective service
- Factor in the cost of any Internet access into the price if you are providing this service yourself.
The speed test is a really simple thing you can do to try and get real data that answers your question. If the service is good, the owner won’t think twice about providing it.
What are your experiences in your current office space? What influenced your decision in taking up office space? Do you have any question about finding the right office for your business? Tell us in the comment box below.
There are two ways for your company to make more money. First, you could increase your sales and revenue. Second, you could reduce your expenses.
Increasing sales requires a lot of planning, strategy and moving pieces to fall in line, but reducing your company’s expenses is something you can do very easily – all it takes is a little bit of time. Here are eight ways to reduce your expenses, resulting in a larger bottom line.
1. Relocate your office to a more affordable area.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, not every business needs to rely on locations with highway access or high-foot traffic in order to be successful. Consider signing up to a virtual office package to reduce your monthly rent. Savvy Instant Offices is a great website to get everything flexible office solutions, from; serviced offices, virtual offices to affordable workstations.
Often times, especially in larger cities, the further away from the action you are, the lower the cost for commercial rent. While this won’t apply to every business, it’s something to consider if you don’t have walk-in customers, and service a customer base who isn’t local.
2. Convert your phones to a cloud-based system.
This is a tip geared more toward freelancers and solopreneurs, rather than larger businesses, but it’s something that smaller teams can consider as well. You can eliminate the cost of desk phones and high monthly plans by switching to a cloud-based system that routes calls through your mobile phone.
Most consumers would rather communicate through email, social media, live chat and web-forms, rather than pick up a phone. Take a look at your current phone usage, and if it’s minimal consider moving over to a cloud-based option.
3. Audit your monthly subscription billing.
Most businesses are subscribed to many SAAS software applications, yet never use them. You might sign up for a free trial and then forget about it, while it continues to hit your credit card month-after-month. If it’s a small ticket item, the amount might slip by undetected for a long period of time before you realize you have been wasting money.
It’s a good idea to audit your business bank statements often, at least quarterly, to see if you can spot any unnecessary spending. Cancelling unused subscription products or services can end up saving several thousands of dollars annually.
4. Turn unused office space into a co-working space.
Do you have some unused office space that’s just collecting dust? Consider subleasing it or turning it into a co-working space. Not only can this help to absorb some of your lease expense, but having more companies in the same space can help spark creativity and can lead to new partnerships and business opportunities.
You will have to check your current lease to see if subleasing is allowed, and you would most likely have to run a co-working proposal by the current landlord to see if it’s even a possibility.
5. Take advantage of travel reward credit cards.
You might be thinking, “Credit cards? Are you crazy? I want to save money, not accumulate more debt.” But there is a big difference between intelligent credit card usage and irresponsible and dangerous use.
Funneling all of your business expenses through one or two cards, and then paying off the balance in full every month is an easy way to accumulate enough points to save you a tremendous amount of money on airfare and hotels for your business travel needs.
Even if you don’t travel, there are plenty of cash back opportunities that can lead to less overall spending.
6. Always seek out multiple bids.
Whenever you are working with a vendor, manufacturer or supplier, it’s a good idea to seek out additional bids. Yes, it takes more time, but in the end the savings can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
I’ll give you a real-life example. A startup I’m involved with in the health and beauty space found a manufacturer and was set to move forward with a large production order. They only contacted two companies and then picked the supplier that they though was the best fit.
It took a day of hammering the phones and sending hundreds of emails, but in the end I was able to lock in a manufacturer that was 45 cents less expensive per unit. Now, at 10,000 units per order, that’s a savings of $4,500. Don’t be lazy. The extra work you put in can drastically reduce your expenses.
7. Constantly review, measure and optimize your ad spend.
If you have a set it and forget it mentality when it comes to paid media, such as social media, pay-per-click (PPC) and media buying, you will end up with a lot of wasted ad spend. Through my company, I consult with a lot of brands, and nine out of 10 times I find wasted ad spend simply because nobody was spending enough time on the review, measurement and optimization of the campaigns.
Split-test multiple copy and image variations of your ads, clip the non-performers, and constantly work to improve the performance of the ads that are generating a positive ROI. Reducing your cost-per-click (CPC) while increasing your conversions helps grow sales and lower your ad spend.
8. Negotiate a lower fee with your credit card processor.
If you have been with your current credit card processing company for a long time or if you are pushing a high dollar amount through them monthly, asking for a lower rate won’t hurt. If anything, it can help you reduce your processing fees, and your company retaining more of your revenue.
Most processing companies charge 2.9 percent and 30 cents per transaction, but if you have high dollar volume or longevity with them, it gives you leverage to negotiate a lower rate.
Incorporate these five important website elements into your site to build an online presence that brings customers directly to your business, no matter where they are located.
1. A powerful home page
- What your business does
- Who it serves
- Why it exists
- Why a customer should care
2. User-friendly navigation
- What broad categories of items or services do you sell?
- What do those products or services cost?
- Where is your business located; what are its hours of operation?
- How do customers purchase items or services, and what forms of payment do you accept?
3. Search features
4. Access to help
5. FAQ page
Why break the bank to rent office space when you can have one for just NGN100,000 per annum?
The significance of a virtual office in the life of every startup cannot be over emphasized in fact; it is boldly advertised in this short story of a young entrepreneur. As a fresher, he had his whole business life ahead of him with a great idea he pitches to anyone who cares to listen.
As a smart man, he used his friends’ workplace as his business address as so many young entrepreneurs would do without envisaging the damning consequence. While he goes around submitting business proposals to government agencies and searching for clients from every corner, he had no clue when the biggest opportunity of a lifetime will come knocking. The young entrepreneur used his friends’ office for correspondence, and occasionally meets with prospects when the friend’s boss is out of town.
A precarious arrangement it was, because when he finally got the attention of one of the top government agencies in Nigeria for a contract worth millions in Naira he never imagined due diligence will be carried out. When they came for sighting, the Managing Director of the firm was on seat. The dilemma was; how to tell the owner of the company where his friend works to leave while he acts as the Chief Executive Officer and that is how the cookies crumbled.
Simple lesson, there are alternatives to working from a café, restaurants, or any fixed location. There are more effective and efficient modern ways businesses can operate without tying down huge capital in rent. Virtual Office is the modern way of working as a business. It does not only save the business money, it also affords the startup operator time flexibility to concentrate in getting clients. Your business gets to benefit with; prestigious business address, mail handling system, lobby listing, use of boardroom for meetings and administrative support.
There are many of such businesses in Nigeria; you can check savvyinstantoffices.com for more information on how to get your business signed up virtual office.
Almost three-quarters of small-business owners are confident in their social media strategies. Still need help with yours? Try following these 7 tips.
Promotion and engagement are really two sides of the same coin. Engagement is rooted in consistently sharing insight and providing value every time you connect with a customer. This establishes credibility while building trust and inspiring customers to tell their friends about you. Promotion extends your engagement efforts by presenting a valuable offer that’s based on your customers’ interests and needs. Social media amplifies your efforts so you can be found and engage a wider audience to grow your business.
To put it all together, here are seven best practices for successfully engaging customers and promoting your small business through social media.
1. Follow the one-in-seven rule.
This rule is where only one of every seven posts overtly promotes your business. The remaining six should be focused on sharing valuable content, including posts from the community. This doesn’t mean you can’t promote your business in those other posts; just be sure you pair it with great content.
2. Ask conversation-starter questions.
Most people enjoy sharing their opinions, so ask Facebook fans to weigh in on topics that are relevant to your business and interesting to them. For example, a fitness center may ask fans to vote on their favorite summer sports in order to be entered into a drawing to win private lessons for them and a friend who joins the club. The questions should engage fans and inspire them to refer business while giving the business owner great insight.
3. Share your expertise.
Post little-known, fun facts in the form of questions with a special offer presented to the first person to answer correctly.
4. Provide value.
While including fun posts that reflect your personality is a must, it’s important to create content that benefits your followers. That can mean posting tips on best practices, providing access to white papers, or offering special deals on products or services.
5. Enhance the rewards for virtual check-ins.
For a specific period of time, double the points each time a customer checks in on Foursquare and triple the points each time he or she brings a friend. Their friends on social networks will see when they’ve checked in while you expand your reach exponentially.
6. Create a Pinterest board.
Make sure the board has eye-catching visuals and run a contest through it that will inspire and reward customers for their participation. Be sure to encourage them to re-pin and create their own boards that reflect the initial contest for additional social amplification of your campaign.
7. Avoid syndicated messages.
While you can use tools that allow you to write one message and have it appear on a variety of social media outlets, you risk losing the sincerity behind the message. You can use similar language as you promote your offer on different sites; just be sure to change up the words while reflecting the tone of each network.
If you find that your customers are scattered across a variety of networks, focus your efforts where they’re most active. Not sure? Ask. Otherwise, you may waste a lot of time skimming the surface of multiple networks with little results.
When small-business owners apply these best practices to social media engagement and promotion, we’ll likely see that already impressive 72 percent success statistic continue to rise.
Starting a business or running an existing business is not a daunting task, especially when you have limited capital or cash-flow. Nigeria have suffered economic crunch since 2015 when the oil price plummeted; this has impeded business growth and stopped a lot of startups from springing up. It has also made it near impossible to access funds in Nigeria, but here are solutions.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
The Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had created NGN220 billion fund initiative for startups. However, according to the Governor of the apex bank, only 30% of the N220 billion Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund had so far released because of the tough conditions startups must meet before accessing the fund.
To ensure that more startups access the fund, CBN has directed financial institutions across the country to accept applicants’ educational certificates as collateral.
According to the new guideline, loans granted to startup businesses by deposit money banks and development finance institutions will have as collateral “educational certificates such as Senior School Certificate (SSCE), National Diploma (ND), National Certificate of Education (NCE), National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB), Higher National Diploma (HND), University degree (NYSC Certificate where applicable) and a guarantor.”
Entrepreneurs are also required to present their Bank Verification Number (BVN) while Venture Capital Firms (VCFs) that wish to finance startups in form of equity participation shall be eligible to access the MSMEDF at 2% for investment in startup projects. The collateral for such facility to the VCF shall be bank guarantee.
Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP)
TEEP, the flagship programme of The Tony Elumelu Foundation, is a Naira 17bn (US$100m equivalent) initiative to support emerging entrepreneurs across Africa over 10 years, aiming to generate a projected $10bn in revenues for the Continent and one new million jobs for its citizens. The 2015 round drew over 20,000 applicants from 51 countries and has created partnerships with entrepreneurs, the private sector and governments across Africa and internationally.
Bank of Industry/Dangote Foundation Fund
The Dangote Foundation/BOI Fund is a N5bn matching fund, which could be accessed by Enterprises and Limited Liability Companies engaged in the Manufacturing, Agro-Processing and Merchandising sectors for made in Nigeria goods, with single obligor limit of N50.0 Million with an interest rate of 5%.
You have a small business and you haven’t bought into the social media frenzy? Guess what? Inaction is no longer an option. People are online talking about your business as you read this, whether you like or not. If you don’t engage in the conversation, you risk losing your customers or worst still, your business being misrepresented.
Here are some basic guidelines for announcing your presence on Social Media. We hope it helps you with your online Social Media strategy.
1. Define your offerings: The first step you should take before engaging in online marketing or social media marketing and engagement is to look at what are you are trying to promote. What are your offerings? Who are your target customers? It may seem obvious to you but you need to make them clear to the target audience.
2. Sign-up for Social Media: That is if you don’t already have one. It is now unusual to find someone without a presence on one of the many social platforms. To name a few, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are the most popular but there are many others. For instance, Facebook allows you to create a business page from your personal account Make sure you read the rules for businesses first. Others follow a similar pattern and they all offer free sign up.
3. Find a Social Media Manager: Managing multiple social networks is daunting. So, before you start posting content, requesting friends and adding followers, it is advisable to engage a Social Media Manager who will be responsible for deploying your strategy and ensuring that your business is projected in the right manner to the world.
Please share your Social Media experiences with us.
visit us: www.savvyinstantoffices.com