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5 Questions to Ask When Selecting an Architect

Once you realize that it’s time for you to attain architectural services, you need to start looking for the right architect. To ensure that you can find the perfect professional to assist you with your commercial or residential project, be sure to ask the architect the following five questions:

1. Will You Provide A List Of Client References?

As noted in “25 Questions to Ask an Architect,” it’s important to request a list of client references when you’re ready to find the ideal architectural services. This process will help ensure that you’re attaining assistance from an individual who is known for attaining high levels of client satisfaction. In addition to reviewing any client references provided, be sure to go online and determine if any reviews have been left about the architect in question. If the majority of the reviews are positive, this is a good sign that the architect will provide you with the cutting edge, customized services you deserve.

2. Do You Have A Signature Style?

As noted in “7 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Architect,” discussing an architect’s unique style can empower you to determine whether she or he is a good fit for you. In some cases, architects may be astonishingly adaptable, meaning that they can tailor their styles to suit the house or office of each client regardless of her or his specific needs. In other cases, an architect will have a distinct sensibility or approach to work, and this methodology will have a deep impact on how the project is completed. For example, some architects specialize in reinterpreting historic houses, cultivating a beach cottage aesthetic, or implementing a sleek modernism schema. Know the architect’s style before you agree to do business.

3. What Attracted You To The Field Of Architecture?

This question is designed to help you build rapport. The question is rather personal in that it requires the architect to discuss a personal experience or idea that led her or him to want to pursue the field. Asking this question is also a good way for you to determine whether the architect is really passionate about the field or is simply doing their job.

4. Who Will Design The Project?

Unless you plan to hire a sole proprietor, the person you speak with may not be the individual who handles the design and execution of your architectural plan. As such, it’s important to ask the architect you meet with who will be handling your project.

5. Which Project Management Services Do You Offer?

Architects can provide clients with a wide set of project management services, so it’s important to gain clarity regarding which services are being offered. Some of them include:

• Helping you find a contractor
• Managing your project
• Checking your contractor’s work as the project develops
• Making adjustments to the design process as the project moves forward

Don’t Delay: Start Asking The Right Questions Today!

If you’re ready to select an architect, now is the time to know which questions to ask so that you can attain the top notch assistance you deserve. Use the information located in this quick reference guide to ensure that you attain the excellent, expedient architectural services you need!

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The Importance of Quality Executive Transportation in Business

You are involved in a thriving business where meetings, seminars, conferences, and other interactions are the every day norm. The executives may need to be at multiple locations and special functions, so providing them with first-class transportation can be a real benefit for them for the following reasons:

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Providing transportation to your clients and your executives will give your company an extremely upscale image. Having a limo or car service which drops your employees right outside of a workplace, meeting destination, or a special event is very impressive. The perception will be that the business must be very successful to be able to provide first-class transportation to its top executives.

Punctuality/Dependability
The best manner in which to get your executives to important meetings, conferences, and gatherings is to send a car or other vehicle for them. Sessions will begin on time and with full participation. There will not be any worries about multiple executives dealing with breakdowns, parking and traffic.

Parking
There are many areas in any given city where parking is an issue. Having a car or van that picks up employees and drops them off at the front door of the business will save much time and aggravation. There will be no driving around searching for available spaces and lots, and when it is time for departure, pick up can also be right up front.

Perks
Your executives may work very hard, and you may just want to show them how much you appreciate their loyalty and hard work. By supplying them with transportation, you are letting them know just how important they are to the business, and how much their presence means at the various meetings and conferences. It is also a great way to attract new and talented individuals to the company.

Availability
Most majors cities offer bus, van or limo service to the local companies and businesses. A company does not have to purchase a car and hire a driver. There are so many quality bus, limo and car companies that would be happy to supply the services on an as needed basis. The details of this business arrangement can be based on a monthly fee or per the mileage driven.

Providing transportation for your most important employees definitely has its advantages. It may be very costly to arrange and pay for, but the end results are well worth the cost. Always be sure to research the company you plan on using for your transportation needs. Ask about the drivers and their qualifications as well as the vehicles themselves. When seeking out a reputable transportation company, request a test drive with one of their best drivers in one of the vehicles provided and make your final decision from there.

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How Wholesale Companies Work

Wholesale companies occupy a significant place in the greater international market economy today. In fact, wholesale distribution represents an estimated seven percent of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with a $3.2 trillion reported annual sales. Knowing this, it is not difficult to understand why launching a wholesale company might sound attractive, and why so many retailers do business with wholesale companies.

In this post, learn the nuts and bolts of how the wholesale distribution system works and where it fits into the greater sales cycle.

Wholesale Distribution Defined
The word “wholesale” denotes larger bulk orders intended to be resold. In general, wholesalers work with products that are already at high demand by customers. They purchase larger lots of these items at low (“wholesale”) cost, then turn around and resell them to retailers with their own profit margin built in.

An example: Let’s say you wanted to add motorized scooters to your retail store inventory. You would seek out a wholesale distribution company that sells motorized scooters, negotiate a bulk price for a certain number of scooters (for either a one-time order or for repeat orders) and pay a lower price per scooter than what it would cost you to buy the same number of scooters at full retail price.

Where the Money Is

The profit in wholesale distribution comes from volume, not price. In other words, because a wholesale is selling large lots of popular items with a small built-in profit margin, there is the potential for larger profits as sales increase.

For retailers, the cost savings that can be found through buying inventory from a wholesale distributer contribute to a higher profit per sale than what could be realized when reselling retail priced inventory.

Here, it becomes clear that both wholesaler and retailer stand to benefit from establishing an ongoing business relationship.

How to Select a Wholesale Business Partner
With more than 300,000 wholesalers to choose from in the United States alone, it can help to have a clear outline of what to look for when beginning a new business relationship with a wholesale company.

Here is a list of tips to follow:

– Look for an established company with long-term success in the wholesale industry.
– Research the company’s reputation online, with trade associations and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and with references.
– Learn about volume discounts, minimum quantities per order, order lead times and other fine print before signing any contracts.
– For lower volume orders, consider a local or regional wholesaler which may have lower shipping costs (and thus be able to pass product on to you at a lower wholesale price).

Since it can take time to find the right wholesale partner, be sure to allow yourself adequate lead time to do this research before you need to receive your first shipment of inventory.

With this information in hand, you can feel confident to begin working with or in the wholesale industry from a knowledgeable foundation.

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Five Ways A Loan Can Help Your Small Business Grow

Organizations are conceived from dreams. Yet once your business is up and running, those same dreams can become greater than your little office. In the event that they’re to end up a reality, you’ll have to grow your business admirably, rapidly, and soon. However new companies don’t have long records and notorieties as other, more settled organizations. Which makes getting financing for development an included test. This is the reason it’s advantageous to consider option banks to give the financing you need.*

Here are five approaches to extend utilizing little business startup credits:

1. Fund new hardware/innovation

As a startup, your efficiency levels are regularly reliant on your present gear and innovation. You will require financing for new and overhauled hardware, programming, and gadgets to meet requests and to guarantee the development of your yield.

2. Redesign your business storefront

In the event that you are a retailer or administration supplier with a store, consider the storefront to be the substance of your business. It makes an early introduction on your clients and requires an engaging showcase passing on style and polished methodology. You might need to apply to finance to guarantee your business storefront looks great including new signage, lighting, and different components.

3. Support new item improvement

While your offerings might be at first fruitful, changes in the business and buyer tastes might require some item alterations. Financing new item improvement is exorbitant, particularly with regards to subsidizing work and materials. Be that as it may, startup financing could lessen the cost weight of innovative work.

4. Contract new workers.

To keep your business on track for development, you might need to contract more specialists to manage a relentless yield. One straightforward business control: Regardless, your specialists must be adjusted. The worry is cash from customers can be postponed or not yet existing. Financing can go about as an extension to ensure your specialists’ pay goes continuous.

5. Rent another space

While your present space may be fine today, a bigger space might be expected to suit expanding number of staff, hardware, and then some. In the event that you need to move into another space, you will require capital for extra lease and renovating. A startup advance will give you trust in knowing you will have the capital before you sign a lease.

Distinctive advance alternatives

While you could apply to finance with the U.S. Little Business Organization and conventional loan specialists, they might have confinements that keep you from acquiring the subsidizing you requirement for a startup. They additionally can give financing stipulations in the matter of how it is to be utilized for your business.

Instead of adhere to these run of the mill loaning procedures, consider applying for a little business startup credit with an option moneylender. While numerous option loan specialists don’t give financing to new businesses, some will consider loaning to them. LoanMe, a main option little business moneylender, gives cash-flow to organizations that have just been working for two months. We perceive that with regards to your organization’s proceeded with development, you know best.

Not at all like SBA advances and private financial specialists, LoanMe permits you to utilize your assets for any business reason. LoanMe comprehends this is the sort of opportunity that permits genuine business visionaries to flourish.

You require only three archives to apply for a little business credit, making the application prepare speedy and simple.

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How to Avoid Dangerous Shifting of Cargo Shipments

The modern human mechanized society has come to be almost totally reliant on modern material moving machines. These include ocean going ships, trains that snake across the landscape, and the ubiquitous semi-trailer. As cumbersome and sometimes irritating as the technologies sometimes can be, life as we know it would grind to a halt without their presence.

That being said, when these transportation systems sometimes go wrong, the results can be tragic and truly catastrophic. This is especially the case when tractor trailers are involved, as they tend to operate in and around major population centers.

One of the most commonly seen issues with tractor trailers involves improper load distribution or securement. This ongoing problem is responsible for many accidents and fatalities, and knowing how to safely transport loads is a skill that every driver of these vehicles should master.

This article will take a closer look at this subject, and will enumerate some ways in which the dangerous shifting of cargo items can be eliminated, and subsequent accidents prevented before they start.

HOW TO AVOID DANGEROUS SHIFTING OF CARGO LOADS

Preventing dangerous shifting of loads of cargo sounds more difficult than it is. Individuals that take note of and apply the following points will be taking great strides towards improving safety conditions on the open road.

* ANCHOR POINTS

Anchor points are areas on the vehicle that are specially reinforced and are used to anchor securing cables that are meant to contain cargo. The main thing to remember about anchor points is that they should always have a load rating that meets or exceeds the intended force that will be acting on these points. If this procedure is followed, catastrophic failures can be prevented.

* TIE DOWNS

Tie downs are another critical link in the cargo securing chain. Many are of the ratcheting type, though quite a few individuals make use of flexible ones. Whichever one is utilized, the key will be for personnel to have the proper training in terms of deploying these critical items safely and securely.

* FRICTION

The main factor involved in preventing cargo from shifting is actually friction. Because of this, friction levels should always be high enough to resist any movement of cargo. Practically speaking, this means that cargo handling equipment such as skids should be designed with a sufficiently high coefficient of friction. Rubber mats are one such tool that have been proven to increase friction levels on many different kinds of cargoes and decking materials.

* PROPER OPERATOR TRAINING

It is also of great importance for individuals that operate vehicles that bear heavy loads to the well trained in how to safely maneuver on the open road. According to dmv.org, several habits should be formed that will serve to increase safety. These include always performing a pre-trip check to make sure that the trailer is connected securely to the hitch, and also that the signal lights are in proper working condition.

In addition to this, prospective trailer operators will want to get used to basic maneuvers such as backups, turns, and even emergency stops. A few minutes of practice can make all the difference in an emergency situation, and can help prevent things like this from happening.

Tractor trailers and similar vehicles are here to stay. That said, who take their responsibility to safely operate such vehicles seriously will be enhancing the safety of themselves as well as their fellow drivers.

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Outsourcing Payroll: What are the Major Benefits?

In the past small businesses didn’t have to worry about the increasing complexity of government tax regulations. Tax rules were fairly simple and straight forward, but as time wore on the tax rules became more and more complicated. In the past bookkeepers remained with the same company or organization for many years. There was a sense of loyalty. In the past many organizations used paper processes to do their payroll. Today new technology has created time saving methods for processing payrolls.

SurePayroll, a PayChex® company suggests that there are 8 benefits to outsourcing payroll. The first benefit mentioned is time restraints. Small business owners specifically claim that bookkeeping tasks take time away from the business. It isn’t just time restraints that bog down businesses. It is also the mistakes that happen that no one catches that trip businesses up. The major benefits to outsourcing payroll are:

1. Accuracy and compliance
Payroll mistakes can cost both time and money. In a New York Times article, “Should You Keep Your Payroll In-House or outsource it?” the argument for outsourcing payroll is that having payroll automated by a third party eliminates the inaccuracies that occur when compliance issues are discovered. The main argument for outsourcing payroll is that small businesses haven’t the time or the information to keep up with the many government regulations out there.

2. Time Savings
The average time spent on payroll and administrative tasks vary from business to business. Small businesses cite that bookkeepers on average spend between 3 to 5 hours a month on in-house payroll. The burden of complying with complex regulations and compliance issues is what causes the most headaches.An Accounting Today article, states 26 percent of the small business owners polled by SCORE cited that time restraints and compliance issues were the worst part of running a business. Outsourcing payroll saves businesses time so they can concentrate on their core business.

3. Technology and Knowledge
This is an important key factor when considering outsourcing payroll. Third Party Payroll Companies have the latest technology to enhance your financial processes. Many of these vendors also have financial knowledge that could help your business grow financially. One of the drawbacks of having an in-house payroll is that fact that your bookkeeper or accountant may decide to leave the company and take his financial knowledge with him. With an outsourced payroll, there is no worry that your company will be left in the lurch.

4. Long term cost savings
Cost savings over time is what most small businesses need to think about when considering outsourcing payroll. The long term benefits of outsourcing payroll to an outside organization add up when you consider the expense of maintaining an in-house bookkeeper and the risk of paying for payroll mistakes.

 

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Converting a Van into a Cargo Van: The Step by Step Process

For small businesses just starting out, a cargo van can be an invaluable resource. On the other hand, they can also be very expensive and difficult to acquire. Finding a used passenger van is much cheaper. Luckily for many small business owners, converting a passenger van into a cargo van isn’t a very difficult task. Here’s how to do it.

1. Disconnect the battery.

While performing the conversion, you may need to remove electrical components. By disconnecting the battery you eliminate the risk of electrical shock to yourself. This may not be necessary in all vans, however.

2. Remove the back seats.

In vans that have second and third row seating, you’ll want to remove all of the seats. Try to ask a friend for help with this part; the seats tend to be very heavy. To reduce your risk of injury, it’s better to not attempt this on your own.

3. Take out the carpeting.

The majority of vans will have carpeting lining the back. Using a standard carpeting tool or even a household knife, cut around the edges and remove the carpeting from the vehicle. While this is an optional step, carpet is difficult to clean and dirties easily. Cut a line between the back and front seats, and then secure the carpet to the ground. This will allow you to leave carpeting under the front seats.

4. Lay a floor lining in the rear of the van.

Vehicle floor linings can be purchased at most automotive stores. Rubber floor mats can be used, as well as pieces of wood or metal. You want to create a solid, secure surface in the rear of the van. Secure it to the vehicle with screws, taking care not to damage the vehicle when you do.

5. Remove the windows.

 

This step may require professional help. Remove the side and rear windows and replace them with metal. You’ll want to ensure the replacement metal is flush with the side of the van to reduce the amount of drag produced while going down the highway. If the area doesn’t feel secure, place metal bars across the area where the window once was. This will keep the metal in place more thoroughly.

By removing the internal components of the van, you open it up to hold cargo in the back. You may want to build and secure a partition between the front seats and the rear to prevent equipment from sliding forward when you have to slam on brakes. While it is better to get professional help while constructing this sort of van, it can be done as a DIY project.

 

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4 Ways to Increase Work Productivity and Efficiency

Productivity at work is an important component of the sustainability and survival of a business. It ensures that an enterprise is maximizing its returns and that employees are making the most of out of their work time. Productivity does not come cheap and may be a challenge to give the best either at home or work. It requires smart and focused strategies. These tactics need to be implemented on a regular basis so that they become routine. The following are some effective methods of increasing productivity and efficiency at work while increasing output.

1. USE TECHNOLOGY.

Technology has revolutionized how we do work in the office. They are excellent tools that can be used to increase productivity, efficiency, make life easier and save valuable time at work. Evernote and GoogleDocs are some applications that one can use to collaborate with colleagues on documents. One can sync weekly schedules with colleagues using calendar planning tools. Instead of traveling for meetings, video conferencing tools can be used saving time and money. Web based Time Tracking Software can to track employees’ attendance and leave time to ensure that every staff member gets paid the amount of time they work.

2. ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY

Every business has standards that need to be meet. Every employee knows what is expected regarding what they should do, allocated roles and clear consequences. Members of staff who lack accountability eventually make excuses when they miss targets, slack off and postpone work. Therefore, responsibility should be set up from the beginning to ensure a high-quality work output.

3. REMOVE DISTRACTIONS.

Distractions are sources of massive waste of time. These distractions can be emails, social media websites, texting or a colleague wanting to make a rapport. Minimal distractions affect the work pattern leading to a drop in productivity. Setting office hours, installing firewalls to keep surfing hours in check and working from a home office on sensitive projects are some ways to minimize interruptions. It is important for one to resist temptations of destructions and make a conscious decision to use breaks efficiently.

4. EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION.

Effective communication is a valuable component in the way a business functions. It ensures achievement of targets and goals, and employees and customers’ needs, are satisfied professionally. It is about using appropriate channels of communication to attain the necessities of an enterprise. Members of staff should know how to reach the management about their concerns as well as the management knowing how to communicate duties and information with employees. Enhancing communication can be through the use of enterprise social platforms like Yammer that makes it easier and quicker for employees to get in touch, contribute to the business and help new colleagues with onboarding.

 

 

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Creating an Advantageous Expo Circuit

Expos are excellent business opportunities for sales, networking and raising brand awareness. However, competition will be fierce, so expo attendees should create an advantageous expo circuit through following the advice below.

Preparation
According to Entrepreneur magazine, industry expos provide the best PR, prospect and partner opportunities. However, advantageous expo circuits required detailed planning and preparation. First, before even committing to attend an expo, entrepreneurs should first attend a show in order to understand the layout and attendance demographics. If this is not possible, they should at least talk with past attendees in order to gain valuable information about what the expo is like beforehand. Once the expo registration is complete, entrepreneurs should review the session lineup and exhibitor list so they can plan who they will reach out to and what special considerations will be needed. However, anyone with an expo booth must carefully craft a killer presentation.

Create an Appealing Pitch
Expo pitches need hands-on demonstration and interactive presentations. Simply handing out flyers or greeting visitors is very ineffectual. For example, a plumbing company should have model equipment with running water hooked up for expo attendees to try out. An athletics equipment company should have sports equipment that people can handle and examine. For example, consider setting up a single miniature golf hole with interchangeable obstacles. In addition to this, engaging demonstrations must have enthusiastic speakers who are pleasant, persuasive and persistent. Presenters should have a set of succinct taglines that can be used on different target groups. Finally, consider playing a video demo outside the booth. Keep in mind that the video must be brief, convincing and full of energy.

Create a Customized Pitch
In addition to having a general pitch for random attendees, be sure to create a customized pitch for the most important exhibit attendee cohorts. This will require pre-expo market research in order to create personalized handouts for the biggest buyers. According to the American Society of Association Executives(ASAE), all marketing materials should be based on what the target cohort needs in order to remain competitive and excel in their field. For example, an expo participant who is a government contractor should focus on how their products or services will save money. On the other hand, an expo participant who caters to health care organizations should focus on quality consistency. One final method is to send out experienced sales people to personally call on the most important expo customers so they can demonstrate the product of service benefits.

In the end, attending expos are a great way to accomplish months of sales, marketing and advertising activities in only a few days. Therefore, be sure to properly prepare and create engaging pitches for both high profile customers and general audiences.

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Healthcare Organizations: How to Improve Daily Operations

According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), every health care organization should start the day with a quick meeting to review safety and operational issues. The HBR reports that health care organizations who have daily morning huddles experience 40 percent more reporting safety reporting. However, improving daily operations goes beyond standard morning business huddles.

Continuous Improvement
The best way to improve daily operations is through a solid quality improvement program. As mentioned above, health care organizations should start the day with a brief meeting that highlights major issues. However, without management intervention and documentation, these issues will continue to occur every day. This will result in frustrated patients and employees. Therefore, health care organizations should have daily morning huddles that result in documented goals and tasks. This action list is a great way to ensure accountability and transparency. In addition to this, there should be thorough quality discussions with management in order to allocate and prioritize processes and resources. Ideally, the health care organization will adopt the ISO 9000 quality management system or an equally beneficial program.

Operations Management
In today’s health care environment, employees must do all they can to just keep up with the fast workflow and intense job duties. Supervisors and managers may actually spend more time putting out fires or dealing with day-to-day issues instead of performing important managerial tasks. For example, health care management should proactively delegate tasks to their subordinates. This will be beneficial for management in the long-run because they will be able to identify subordinates who demonstrate strong organizational and leadership skills. As their star employees take on more challenging responsibilities and complex assignments, they will be able to transition into leadership positions. As a result of better operations control, management will be able to focus on more serious issues related to HR and compliance. In fact, these two issues are best handled through preventative planning and preemptive action.

Budgeting Monitoring
Effective budgeting oversight is a way that health care executives can contribute to operational improvements. This is accomplished through the executives comparing the costs of specific services to the actual revenue generated. As a result, the executives are able to effectively prioritize financial decisions and appropriately adjust their strategic planning. For example, finalizing approaching fiscal budgets will take into account department project requests and their projected revenue increase. Executives can make the best financial decision that will benefit both patients and employees. On the other hand, in-depth financial analysis will also help executives decide whether to increase or decrease departmental operating hours or services. For instance, lab services may be in high demand and therefore need more staff and resources. However, radiology technology must result in a transition to an online platform that requires fewer employees and less administration.

Health care organizations can improve their daily operations through continuous improvement, quality management and budget monitoring.