How To Setup Office Space And Furniture

Choosing and creating an ergonomic office setting has gained a lot of importance in the recent past. While ergonomics was not thought of as much, was not all that accessible or was really expensive to implement, its importance is now more keenly felt and appreciated.

setting up office space and furniture

Creating an Ergonomic Office Space.

Choosing an ergonomic office setting is also now more affordable and easier to implement with many manufactures selling ergonomic office furniture.

Ergonomics of an office space could start with the office chairs that you use to the way you create the setup by placing equipment and arranging people in a strategic manner.

An ergonomic office chair means a chair that adjusts well to the contours of the body, allows adequate backrest, and position and height in order to be able to work comfortably on an office desk. Arranging the office equipment and finishing ergonomically means that the space is suited to the natural movements of the human body. An ergonomically designed office furniture as well as of the setup avoids stress injuries from typing, bending and can prevent common issues like back problems, tiring of hands from computer keyboards etc.

Office furniture such as office chairs and office desk cannot be finalized without having tried them out. As far as an office chair goes, just trusting the claim of the brand that it is ergonomic is not enough. Many business furniture brands today came the furniture to be economic. However, how much suits you and your employees and the kind of work that needs to be done in the office will all have a bearing on the choice that you make.

Choose an office chair that has an adjustable height, adjustable backrest, adjustable tension in the back support and perhaps even adjustable headrest and hand rests. Using a footrest is a good idea because it improves circulation and reduces back stress.

When working on a desk specially computer, the elbows and the rest should be in a straight line. They should be parallel to the floor. For this the height of the chair and the height of the desktop needs to be properly coordinated.

If need be, you can use the sleep out keyboard under the table so as to lower the height that hands have to be raised. This is possible even with laptops with built-in keyboards by attaching external keyboards to the laptop. Secondly, the screen of the computer should be at eye level or slightly below eye level. Once on this depends upon the coordination between the height of the chair and the height of the table.

If you have a lot of computer work to do, using an L shaped business table is a good idea.

You can put your computer on the L section or the printer and fax that in order to have easy access to it but have ample space for other jobs as well such as paperwork. It is also a good idea to have related equipment close by where you sit. If it is a small business office, you might want to have the printer, fax and telephone on a shelf to the side of the business table or right behind it. You should have easy access to any file cabinets and other documentation if you saw required. Proper wiring should allow you to use small electronics that you need to use such as mobile phones, microphones, video cameras, Bluetooth headsets comfortably.

Easy Sharing of Office Resources

If it is a larger business office space, equipment that is going to be shared jointly by various employees such as printers and faxes should be placed in easily accessible and shareable space. It could be a good idea to use a noise shield for your printers if you find that they create a lot of noise. Usually this used to be the problem with the older dotmatrix printers. However, the new laser printers and faxes hardly create any noise at all.

Ensuring Adequate Lighting In the Office

Another essential element of of space is the lighting.

The kind of lighting that you provide not only has a direct effect on the strain and workload of person but it has a direct connection to the environment of the office.

Adequate and bright lighting has a way of keeping the employees active and upbeat whereas dingy and dismal lighting may create a feeling of lethargy. Allow each desk to have its own liking if required. You can use many lamps to eliminate the desk work and help the eyes adjust from computer screens to underlie paper. You can install miniblinds to let each employee controls the amount of light to match the task at hand and time of the day.

The lighting in an office is an often overlooked aspect. But you must understand that the lighting in an office can be used very effectively to create the kind of atmosphere that you want. You can create a warm comfortable feeling, a cheerful bright environment or an easy-going relaxed environment or 5 rating the kind of lighting equipment that you use.

Making Sure the Ergonomics of Office Furniture are Sound

As mentioned before, many office furniture brands today tout the furniture to be ergonomic. However you cannot really buy office chairs and furniture without trying them out. Make sure that the chair is comfortable enough, offers the right kind of support for the head, back in the hands and that the office desk is of the right side with adequate leg space and storage space if required.

Buying Sturdy and Strong Office Furniture.

Much of the furniture that you will see will be made from lighter particleboard which is not really good for heavy use. Many of the ready to assemble office desks and furniture are made from this kind of board. Particle board is not really wood but compressed from sawdust and other elements of wood using machines.

If you find that real wood office desks and cabinets are too expensive, you may consider buying used office furniture as well. It is not so difficult to find furniture dealers who sell re-conditioned office furniture. It won’t be unusual for you to furnish your entire office using refurbished furniture that has been repaired, repainted and the polished.

It will also not be unusual to find that you can save more than 50% on your office furnishing cost. A quick way to find furniture sources will be to check the Yellow Pages or look in your local newspapers classified ad for individuals selling used furniture. Flea markets, auctions and estate sales may be another source of used furniture items.

Basic Of Designing Office Space

You could be starting a business that has a few employees or it could be just you. Starting a business at home could mean that you do not pay much attention to the office work space and make to with the existing furniture that you have at home. 

Starting by working on your bedroom writing desk or your dining room table may seem like a good and a cheap option. However, always remember that the office space and the way you design it is done in case linked to productivity and inspiration to work.

Designing an efficient office space is not just about looking good to the consumer but also about the productivity. 

Many small businesses overlook buying furniture for the office or spending money on designing a workspace. 

They are of course mostly on a limited budget for the business startup and they feel more inclined to spend more on marketing and advertising expenses and others such as product development leaving them little room and budget for anything else. This should not be done.

If you have limited budget, there are ways to get adequate office furniture and design a working space on a tight financial budget as well. We will talk about how to set up an office space and buy office furniture on a budget later on.

Having a proper working space, with proper office equipment and a good professional working environment, enhances productivity. You probably will not get the same feeling of involvement in your office work if you are working from your bedroom writing desk or from your kitchen table. You will probably feel very much a part of the rest of the household activities if you cannot find a way to seclude yourself in your professional work.

Another thing about having a proper office setup is that you should have everything you need to work close at hand and in a convenient manner. This increases the productivity by making it easier to accomplish your business functions.

There are so many other factors that concern a good working office space. It is not limited to finding comfortable office chairs but is also about making cubicles, having the right equipment nearby, disk space, meeting areas, office lighting, privacy and other things.

The kind of office that you create has a direct impact on the inspiration and involvement of employees.

Since the office is somewhere where you and your employees are going to spend a lot of your waking hours, it should be a place where you feel comfortable and are able to focus.

In order to create high-performance office space, you should figure out which person needs what kind of space and what equipment he needs to be close to in order to perform his function. 

If it is a cubicle system you’re looking at, then the various people whose jobs are intertwined with each other should be able to interact and perform teamwork as well. Major the off the offices are looking at a more fluid and flexible office environment rather than a closed office system where you have closed cabins and offices for certain people. This is especially true for small business where the business owner himself is involved in doing several other activities such as marketing, selling, dealing with customers etc.

If your office is also somewhere where your customers are going to visit then you also have to think about the image and the impression your office creates in their mind. You do not want them to see a chaotic office set up not a messy one. You want them to get an impression that everything is being done professionally, quietly and efficiently. 

This may mean segregating the real work section from the listing section also that is difficult to achieve with a small business start up budget. So what you need to instead is make sure that you organize the workspace accordingly where your employees can work in harmony without a lot of chaotic activity being present.

In certain businesses like advertising and publishing, there is always a lot of hustle bustle going around the office. This is not something bad and something that the customer actually expects. However, there are always ways of cutting down the noise in your office areas such as by placing noisy printers in a secluded area or covering them with noise Shield. 

In a nutshell, when your customers visit your office, they should see organized activity and good energy in your office. 

The way that you set up your office which means your furnishings, painting, decoration, interior designing, aesthetics are all going to make an impression on the customer. So you should bear all these points in mind as well and make sure that they reflect the business identity and image.

You should understand that you do not need to do all this yourself. 

When it comes to designing and shaping and office space, there is a lot of professional help available.

Depending upon the skill of business that you are starting and how much exposure your office space is going to get, you can choose the service accordingly. If you have a small business and are capable of implementing a few ideas, all you need is a good contractor to be able to do with the job for you.

Setting up an office space at home could simply mean taking up a separate room that is secluded from the rest of the home, putting up a few file cabinets and drawers, setting up a table for printer and fax, having a separate telephone line as well as a good working desk with ample space to get you started off. The importance of a comfortable ergonomic chair for the office cannot be underemphasized.

How To Protect Business Trademarks Copyrights And Patents

Copyright protection

Filing for Business Patent, Copyright and Trademark Registration Just like you protect the tangible property of your business with the security system, you need to protect the intellectual property of your business as well.

The intellectual property of the business is usually about the trademarks, product design, business idea, packaging design etc. You need the help of intellectual property laws in order to protect your intellectual business property.

It is important to use the protection provided by these laws early years in the business set up than later many small business startups tend to ignore this important aspect. Some of them don’t think it’s important enough and get too tied up with all the other aspects of starting a business whereas others do not want to increase their business start up expense and simply think that it is something that they can do later.

However, if your business startup is a huge success, you should realize that the competition might spring up fairly quickly and and before he would have had the chance to file the necessary documentation for trademark and patent protection.

Patent protection law

You can only actively defend your business intellectual property if you have registered your trademark, patent’s and copyrights. You should recognize the value of the intellectual property which could be your business concept or the intangible property of your business, product or idea.

If you have created a new product or brought about substantial and significant change in design or productivity of an existing product, you can protect your invention by filing for a patent. In order to effectively address the issues of intellectual property protection for the business you should take the assistance of an experienced intellectual property attorney and identify the issues at hand.

Sometimes the issues concerning trademark or copyright may not be clear to you. In order to discourage competitors from infringing and avoiding litigation later, address these issues before launching the business officially.

Basic Tips On Maintaining A Retail Store

Basic things to do to keep your business store in shape.

Retail store upkeep

When you have a retail business to, there are a few basic things you should keep in mind in order to assure that the customer has the comfortable experience and keeps coming back.

These are a few simple questions that you must ask yourself in order to determine and are certain that your store is well-maintained and well-designed.

  • All the shelves clean and neat?
  • Is the merchandise displayed in clear view of your consumer?
  • Is the area around your cash counter?
  • Are cash terminals clean and orderly?
  • Can you find all relevant material such as packaging, forms etc. easily and quickly to conclude the sale?
  • Does the store have adequate lighting and the lighting fixtures clean and working properly? Fused bulbs and lights not working creates an extremely bad impression on the consumer since it is something that can be easily maintained and fixed. Not doing so makes the consumer think that the business is in disrepair.
  • Is there ample space between counters and shelves and aisles that allow the customers to walk freely and comfortably?
  • Is the business told cleaned and vacuumed with all surfaces white and free of dust and stains?

Example of Negotiation Points In A Sales Contract

This is an example of the possible negotiating points in a sample sales contract.

Negotiation is not only about bargaining on the price of goods. Here is an example of some non-cash points that you can negotiate over.

  1. The number of goods to be sold.
  2. The condition of the goods at the time of delivery.
  3. Return privileges and credit for goods delivered and effective condition.
  4. Rebates for goods that aren’t sold within a specified period of time.
  5. Shipping and delivery dates.
  6. Date and duration of shipping.
  7. Method of shipping.
  8. Method of payment, money order, credit card, demand draft etc.
  9. Currency payment, for international sales.
  10. Bulk discounts/volume discounts.
  11. The timing and installment payment.
  12. Interest rate to be paid on any deferred portion of the purchase price.
  13. Penalty interest rate for delayed payment.
  14. Whether the seller will have a lien on the goods till the purchase price is paid.
  15. Whether the seller or buyer will pay sales tax or transfer tax.
  16. Whether the seller or buyer will insure goods during transit.
  17. When will the title of goods be transferred from seller to buyer after sale.
  18. Whether the seller will assume responsibility for the products.
  19. Liability and other legal claims of the goods not to be defective.
  20. Whether the seller will provide the buyer with advertising and promotional material to assist in marketing and sales.
  21. If a broker is involved, who will pay his/her commission?

Everything is Negotiable In a Business Deal

Everything Is Negotiable – Understanding This Is Important

Experienced negotiators know something very important. They know that every single point during the negotiation is negotiable. Many people who have not negotiated the past are simply too hesitant or scared to negotiate about certain things because they generally feel that those points cannot possibly be open to negotiation. However, this is not the case. Even the points that you think are nonnegotiable are in fact just that. If you need the deal badly enough, it may even be possible to compromise on points that you think are crucial to your business as long as you are benefiting from the deal anyway. A very good example of how everything is negotiable and how people do not understand this can be taken from our daily lives.

Right from the household items that you buy at the maximum retail price to the car loan, real estate loan or any other financial transaction, negotiation is always possible.

The maximum retail price on products is just that. You can always negotiate for a discount. This is what many supermarkets in fact do. Haven’t you ever wondered how they managed to sell you products at low-cost price than your closest grocery store? It’s because the closest grocery store is selling the same product at a higher profit margin. The same goes for whenever you’re dealing with bankers and lending institutions.

Whenever you are ready to negotiate you can always lower your interest rate and monthly payment provided you have something they need.

In case of banks and lending institutions it could be your good credit rating which makes you desirable as a customer. They want your business and therefore may be agreeable to reducing your interest rate if only you would take the trouble to negotiate. The very same thing holds true for any business deal.

Right from dealing with your vendors to choosing real estate and even setting a price for your customers, you negotiate to get the best terms possible. Do not be afraid to press the points that you really want and be wary about giving away a few points to the other side as long as it is to the overall benefit of the business.

3 Stages Of A Business Negotiation

The Steps in a Negotiation Process

Each negotiation usually follows a certain pattern. There are typically 3 stages to any negotiation which might follow the order given below or not.

Step 1: State your position.

Right at the outset of a negotiation, both parties usually gets together and clearly state what they want.

If there are any points that you already agree on, those points can be picked up and taken off the list as it would not require any further negotiation this helps both the parties focus on what they do not agree on and need time to negotiate over.

Step 2: Analyze and dissect other parties demands.

This is where a party states what it wants from you.

But you do not just give it to them and rather analyze what they are really looking at. It is common during the negotiation process for either of the party to ask for much more than what they really need. This is because they are expecting to be brought down in their demands. You take a careful look at what the other side is demanding and see how you can narrow down and reduce the compromise that you need to make. Since the other party is likely to do the same with your demands, you are better off starting off with inflated demand yourself. But at all points of time be really very clear about how much you want to get from negotiating on a particular point.

Step 3: Do a little horse trading.

There comes a point in almost every negotiation where no more compromises possible.

At this point you need to take a careful look at the points of debate that are still open and not been agreed upon. You may decide that out of the 3 points or 4 points that are still unsettled, only 2 are crucial to your business or in other words are deal points. The other 2 maybe trading points that you may be willing to hand over to the other side in return of agreement on the main business point. Also, it is possible that your trading point maybe more important to them and they are agreeable to this exchange. However, if your deal point is the same as their deal point, the negotiation is probably over and the only option left open to you will be walk away from the table and look for a better deal somewhere else.

In order to understand what the deal points are and what your trading points, the most basic way to figure out the differences that the ones that will take cash out of your business and reduce your profit are more likely to be deal points and the ones that do not are usually trading points.

Be Clear About The Results You Want From The Negotiation Process

Figure out What You Need and Want before the Negotiation

Before you even sit down on the negotiation table you need to be absolutely clear what you want to get out of the deal. Also remember, the outcome that you want from the negotiation is not necessarily what you will start out by asking. Your approach has to be carefully planned which might involve starting with asking for more than you require. If you start by stating only what you need, the likelihood is that you will be pushed down and have to compromise on that. Basically, when you sit down with a piece of paper and try to put down what you need to get out of the negotiation process, you need to make 2 lists, one that has the deal points and the other the trading points.

Deal points are something that you must win and if you can’t get those the negotiation will be of no value. Trading points however, are something that you can compromise on without creating too much of trouble for your business and which even maybe a deal point for the other side. In a negotiation your goal is to get as many trading points as possible and all of your deal points. Simply put, deal points are those points that concern your profit and spending money directly. All others are trading points.

Remember, when trying to get the other side to agree on your most deal points, you might have to give consideration to theirs and may have to compromise a few of your demands. This is extremely important. Do not agree to give up something without asking for something else in return. Do not let go of things that you want to so easily even when you think that it is fair and generous. The other side is not going to perceive it like that and will probably see it as a sign of weakness and press you for even more concessions.

When trying to figure out the important points that you need from the negotiation, you need to be realistic. Be careful in evaluating the things that you really need and the things that you can compromise on. Don’t waste a lot of time and effort concentrating on something that you can afford to overlook as that may result in you having to gave way on the more important factors.

Be absolutely clear about what you want and make it absolutely clear to the other party on the points that you are not willing to compromise on. The secret to a good initiation is using any and all leverage that you possibly can. If you can make the other party sweat it out a bit, then do so. Do not panic, do not get nervous and more importantly, never let the other side see you nervous.

While you can take your time to think about things, and even let the negotiation carry on to a 2nd meeting, never ever give the impression that you are willing to compromise on the deal points that are crucial to your business. Make that absolutely clear. Also, if the other party requests time to think over the points that you brought up, make sure that you make them understand what points are negotiable and which are not. Also ask for a definitive time frame and date when they will be able to provide you with a definitive answer or hold a 2nd meeting. If you do not want to waste too much time with the negotiation tell them clearly that you expect an answer from them in the 2nd meeting.

Steps For a Successful Business Negotiation

There are a few basic steps that you must understand and take in order to prepare yourself for the business negotiation.

What is your bargaining position.

It is extremely important in a business negotiation to know what position of strength or weakness that you are operating from. 1st of all, it is advisable to be in a position of strength rather than weakness in order to have a successful negotiation. For example, let us say that you have found this great piece of real estate which is just perfect for your business. The problem is that the rent is really high and more than what you would like to pay. However, this piece of real estate happens to be in a really popular area of commercial real estate and many other businesses are vying after the same deal. This puts you in a weak negotiating position because the landlord knows that he does not have to reduce the rent for you or Negotiate with you because he is likely to find another larger and cash-rich business that will pay him the rent that he wants.

It is important to understand what negotiating position you are in because while you may be in a weak position, you can come up with some sort of trade-off which will allow you to negotiate in your favor. Taking the example above, you may offer the landlord a certain bonus at the end of the lease year from your business profits. This might tilt the deal in your favor. It is hard to negotiate from a position of weakness and once you understand what your position is, you can work on it and points of strength.

Get to Know the Perspective of the Other Side

It is extremely important to know the perspective of the other side when negotiating. The better you understand where the other side is coming from, the better you will know what steps to take and how to negotiate the best of your business interest. Taking the same example as above, let us say that the same commercial real estate property has been vacant for a long time. If you find this out, you would probably know that the landlord is desperate to get somebody to take it on rent. This will automatically put you in a stronger negotiating position to turn things in your favor.

Similarly, whenever you are negotiating and you are excited about the deal and it is something that you want, never show your enthusiasm. Just like in a poker game where the players can change the game in their favor not just on the basis of how good their cards but also by making other players believe how good or bad their cards are, you can do the same with the business negotiation process. Even if the deal is something you really want, you can make the other party believe that it is not something you really want or you will walk away from it if they do not consent to the terms and conditions that you want. If they feel this is true and everything else about you and your business prospect comes from a position of strength, there will be more willing to negotiate and compromise on their own conditions and demands. The idea is that not only you but the other side should worry about loosing the deal if they do not agree to your terms and conditions.

Figure out Your Negotiating Style

There are ways in which you can negotiate a business deal. You can be aggressive in your negotiation method or you can choose to be the calm and matter-of-fact person. In most cases, a person is suited to one particular style of negotiation which he is best at. However, many good negotiators use a blend of tactics for maximum effect. For example, being almost always aggressive in every situation can be counterproductive. Sometimes being silent and raising the anxiety of the other party by not saying much and not responding to their aggressiveness can be most effective. Even when it comes to being aggressive during negotiation, there is a skill attached to it. Remember that it is a game.

Personally we do not recommend shouting and screaming during negotiation even though many people use this technique to great effect. You can be polite and convey your willingness to get the deal done. One of the most important thing during a negotiation is to stay calm and not panic.

Remember, you can never truly negotiate on something that you really want. So even if you really want the deal needed for business, your negotiation should always come from a place where you act and behave like you really don’t need it and can just as easily walk away from it. Even if you cannot really afford to walk away from the, at least pretend that you can. An effective negotiation usually involves doing the following.

  • Convincing the other side that you do not need the deal so much,
  • Convincing the other side that they need the deal more than you do and
  • Any combination of the above points.

Preparing Yourself for a Business Negotiation

While preparing for a business negotiation, you must first understand what the essence of each negotiation procedure is. Negotiating with another person on a business deal is not about being fair, about being just or giving in to your inherent desire to be generous. The negotiation is about getting the best possible deal in the best possible interest of your business. It is your duty and your right to try and maximize the benefit as best as you can.

When you initially start a business relationship with any person, that person will want to maximize his profits as well. Till the time that you can develop some sort of an amicable and long-term relationship, that person is not likely to offer you the best deal that he can. When 2 people negotiate over the business transaction, both want to maximize their profit. Sellers want to maximize the money they can make from sale whereas buyers are worried about losing money and wants to pay as little as possible so that they can make maximum profit on the sale. Between these 2, there is a deal waiting to happen. This is where negotiating comes in.

If you simply accept what the seller offers you because you think it’s fair or right or correct, you could be doing your business a grave injustice. Your lack of initiative will also probably get perceived as weakness and ineptness rather than your sense of fairness and justice. You do not want that to happen right at the beginning of a business relationship with another person. It could mean that other side just keeps pushing for more and more concession which reduces your business benefits.

There is only one simple goal in a negotiation and that is to get the best deal possible. Another thing that needs to be understood about negotiating is that almost every single thing is open to negotiation. Right from the smallest purchase to the biggest transaction, everything is negotiable if you know how to approach it and are not afraid to take the issue of price and a better deal head-on.

The trick is to know how to approach the negotiation, how to ask for what you want, how to juggle getting what you want and giving the other person something in return and when to know that you have got the best deal possible and stopping further negotiation before the deal becomes useless altogether.

The Importance of Negotiation In a Business

Good negotiation skills can never be overlooked for running a business successfully. Whenever you are running a business, a major part of what you do will involve transacting with other people. These people could be your suppliers, vendors, your customers, your bankers, landlords etc. Virtually every single key that you do in a business will be about transacting with another person. If you do these deals without negotiating or not being prepared to negotiate, you are in a way undermining your business potential.

Negotiation happens at all levels of a business. Right from the time that you start approaching bankers and lenders to give you money to start your business or you need investors to invest in your business so you can grow, you will need to negotiate. If you are looking for office space for your business, you should negotiate with the landlord. Even when it comes to selling your service or product to a consumer, you will probably face negotiation.

Before you can market your product to other wholesalers or retailers, you would have to negotiate for their own profit margin. Basically, if you ignore this important skill, it could be a possible setback to your business.

Even if you do succeed and do make a profit, you are not maximizing your business potential if you are not negotiating wherever you can.

Most of the people are scared of having to negotiate. Most of the people and especially the first-time entrepreneurs are extremely shaky about their ability to negotiate successfully. They are hesitant to do so. And not without good reason.

Negotiating can be a lot about play acting and may even require you to get aggressive.

Negotiating can also put you on the very edge of having to turn down a deal that you sorely want. But you must understand that when you’re in a business, negotiating the best possible deal for yourself is the highest priority.

Specially when the transactions are of the long-term nature, putting yourself through the initial discomfort and getting the best deal possible can save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run. Basically, you shouldn’t be hesitant or self-conscious when you negotiate.

While larger companies have the luxury of being able to hire other people to do the negotiating for them, these people being professional negotiators, as a small business owner, you will probably not have this luxury. As a small business owner you need to step in to this important position and fulfill the role as a negotiator for your business. In our next few posts we will discuss what is business negotiation and how you can prepare yourself to negotiate well on business deals.