Business Plan

Slimming down at the office

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Guest Post

The office can be your enemy if you are trying to stay in shape, and desk jobs are the worst culprits of all. Sitting at a computer for eight hours a day with little to no activity is extremely unhealthy, and makes it all too easy to put on more weight, never mind shifting those extra pounds.

A sedentary lifestyle coupled with quick and easy junk food from office vending machines can leave many fighting a losing battle. However, it is possible to slim down at the office and ensure that you stay in shape by following a few simple tips.

Choose your snacks carefully

When you’re tired and hungry, the immediate satisfaction to be had from a bar of chocolate or a packet of crisps can seem too hard to resist. However, avoid processed sugar and opt instead for the natural sugar high found in fruit.

Daily fresh office fruit deliveries from are a fantastic way to ensure you have easy access to a healthy and delicious snack. Keep a fruit basket in your line of sight, and vary your fruit snacks so you don’t get bored. Munching on fruit can help sustain you throughout the day without you having to worry about your diet.

Stay hydrated

A cup of coffee might seem like exactly what you need, but the caffeine burst will be short lived and you’ll soon feel thirsty again. Instead, opt for water or herbal tea to quench your thirst.

Staying adequately hydrated is extremely important to keeping your body healthy. As well as this, hydration ensures that your brain is functioning at optimum levels, which is important for staying productive in the workplace. If you find plain water too boring, why not squeeze in some lemon or pop some berries into a water bottle to make it more interesting?

Take every opportunity to move

It’s easy to feel trapped at your desk, but moving around whenever you can is extremely beneficial. From simple desk exercises such as stretching, to taking a quick walk around the office, moving when you can is important to make yourself feel energised and invigorated.

Fresh air is even more important, so use your lunch break to fit a brisk walk into your day. You could even opt to walk or cycle to work, or simply park your car further away from your office building or get off the bus or train a little earlier so you can fit another walk into your day.

It may sound simple and straightforward, but by making some small adjustments to your daily routine, you could soon see a big difference.





Businesses Online

Getting the Source to Create a Video

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When you’re looking to create a video, the first thing you need is the source. In other words you need some form of recording, animation, or screen capture that you can then tweak before finally coming up with the finished product.

Getting that source nowadays is fairly interesting – simply because of the sheer number of choices that are on the table. For example, with Movavi’s suite of software you can choose to obtain that source via:

  • Screen capture – With the screen capture options available you could either record a video that is playing on the screen (such as a livestream or presentation) or you could record your actions on the computer.
  • 3rd Party Devices – The software supports pretty much any and every sort of 3rd party device that you can think of, so if you have a camcorder, smartphone or even VHS or DVD you can use it as the source of your video once you’ve plugged it in.
  • PowerPoint Presentations – If you like you could even convert your presentations into a video – complete with special effects for transitions and so on. Needless to say this is a good option for presentations in general.

As you should be starting to see, there are really numerous ways to get your video source. It is up to you to decide which would be the most suitable for your needs, and that will largely come down to the type of video you’re trying to create.

Now that you’re aware of the many different ways to obtain a source and create video, you can focus on planning out your video. With these options you’ll be able to decide exactly how you want your video to look and then choose a suitable source accordingly.

Just remember: Whatever choice you make you can always go back later on if you change your mind. More importantly, some videos even consist of several different types of sources that are meshed into a single video later on – which is something that you can do easily with the software that you have at your disposal.

Business Plan

When Do I Need to Buy Product Codes?

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Product codes can make it easier for you to do business, but you don’t want to go around just slapping codes on items all willy-nilly. You want to do it with purpose, so that you maximize the effectiveness of the product codes that you purchase and use within your business.

So when do you need to buy yourself product codes?

Starting a Business

The most important reason you’ll need to buy product codes is when you are starting a business, most especially if you’re moving into retail. While you could hand-mark your inventory with prices and count them by hand to keep track of how much inventory you are using, it would be more efficient, in terms of both time and money, to buy product codes to help you to keep track of your inventory. You’ll be able to scan items as they come in, as you sell them, and even as they are manufactured in whole or part. Coupled with an inventory management system, you won’t just know when you too much or too little of a given item, you’ll have the ability to track buying habits and trends with ease.

Organizing Your Supply Closet

If your business is like so many others, you may find you have a difficult time keeping control of your supplies. Employees love to use supplies at work and it is your job as a business owner to provide them, but there comes a time when you notice that your supply costs are starting to eat into your profit margins. You can use the same inventory management methods that you would to track retail purchases to track the allocation and use of other company assets as well. Instead of having employees going into the supply closet and gathering supplies as they wish, you can have a system where they check them out using their smartphones. This will help you to know what equipment and supplies you need to reorder and which you don’t, and can also alert you to any alarming trends regarding their use.


Another reason you might need to buy product codes is when you are liquidating your business. Whether you are getting rid of office equipment to make room for a redesign of your office or trying to quickly move product out of your store, product codes will help you to keep track of what you are doing in an efficient manner. Not only will it help you to keep track of what you’ve sold, product codes will help you to keep track of what still needs to be sold. By ensuring that you have a good understanding of what you have in your business, you can efficiently manage the liquidation of your business or equipment.

Whether it’s an ecommerce store you want to open, internal assets you want tracked or trends you want to be analyzed, barcodes are the most efficient means at your disposal. You can purchase product codes in bulk, even sequentially if you like, from businesses like Speedy Barcodes. Buying product codes in bulk will help you to keep your costs low, even as you use the technology to further reduce the costs of doing business and increase your awareness of your business trends.

Business Plan

Case Studies of Businesses Destroyed by Internal Inefficiencies

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Everyone loves a success story — we love to hear how everything started out, who had the first idea, how much work it involved and how spectacular the outcome was. There’s something special to admire about successful entrepreneur stories and they are often portrayed as ideal examples of how ingenuity, hard work and diligence pays off in the end. Seeing people overcoming obstacles and build a thriving business inspire us in trying new challenges ourselves. We simply like learning from people who already found success, and we always want to replicate what they have done.

The business world, however, is a tough racket, and as most business owners know, for every success story there are tens of failures. It’s hard to know why some businesses fail: some entrepreneurs may have started out with a terrible idea, for others, their product was out of place or out of time. Perhaps they failed to capitalize on their idea or their funds depleted without even launching their product. Some businesses have even failed after years of being leaders in their market, due to ineffective decisions or crippling inefficiencies. We owe it to ourselves to learn from these examples just as much as we learn from examples of success.

Here are some case studies of businesses destroyed by internal inefficiencies:


Launched in early 2008, BricaBox was meant to be a new, revolutionary type of social media platform.

Developed by Nate Westheimer, a NY resident, BricaBox combined elements of social networking, content creation and interactive media into a new medium, called “social content platform”. Critics and tech journalists welcomed the idea, considering it fresh and exciting, offering a new user experience amid the relatively dry social media environment at the time. But the dream was over for the newly found BricaBox company in June, the same year. The golden age for the company lasted only four months and the final version wasn’t even out.

Users had only the beta version on their hands and the company failed to make any money. As Nate Westheimer puts it, the company failed because it had deep issues with its financial backers, traction, team and vision. The planning was poor, funds were insufficient and the work was poorly executed. Decisions were made on a short-term basis, internal inefficiencies abounded, and the long-term vision was patchy, at best.


Nicknamed the “MySpace for Cars”, Boompa was expected to become a huge online presence set to rake in millions of dollars every year. Unfortunately for the company created by Ethan Lance and Dave Snider, this was not the case. Shut down in 2006 after a string of poor decisions, the company experienced everything from a chronic lack of funds and uninterested partners to unmotivated team members.

Right from the beginning, Boompa started on a strange note, as Ethan and Dave explain: “We wanted to start an online company. Any company, but we had to start one.” While it may seem optimistic, this mindset won’t get you far in the business world. After a little more thought, Boompa was launched in 2005, as an alternative for car enthusiasts and professionals looking for information on every car make and model. This community site, or social media platform for cars, once started, quickly became popular.

So why did they fail? Firstly, neither Ethan nor Dave had any business experience, and they didn’t know how to manage their finances. Poor marketing decisions meant that they spent almost all of their funds on ineffective advertising campaigns. They also had problems with their office space, suppliers, and other contractors. Their partners weren’t by their side at all times, bills were left unpaid and, slowly, their employees began to abandon ship. This string of chronic internal inefficiencies resulted in one of the most sensational business flops of the mid-2000s.


IonLab is the perfect example of what can poor management do to an otherwise good company. They had it all: sufficient funds from the government of India, trusty business partners, a rock-solid idea and a good product. But what they lacked was good management and efficient decision making. As Swaroop CH explains, IonLab lacked maturity in its management, and this is what made it fail. Problems were popping up everywhere: from shipping to sales management, to customer relations and services, all the way to financials. Although Swaroop points out that IonLab had good products to sell, the mindset and execution behind the company was defective.

Lessons Learned

Having a good idea, even having some backing from investors, simply isn’t enough to succeed. You need to make sure that your efforts are intelligent and well-directed. Lean on the tools and resources available to you and make sure that your business plan truly has everything it needs. So many software solutions, like the Scoro Software platform for relationship and task management, exist to help business leaders organize their businesses and clients, communicate tasks and expectations, and control financials. Just like sourcing the lessons from all the stories of success and failure in the business world, you need to make sure you avail yourself of every advantage to ensure success.

Further Reading:

Flaviu Mircea is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes articles and insights into the challenges faced by the business community and, in particular, the issues facing the aspiring entrepreneur.

Businesses Online

Maritime Safety Regulations That Apply to Oil Rigs

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There are some jobs where you have to sit behind a desk in an air-conditioned, from 9 to 5 every day. There are also some jobs that don’t have the strict 8-hour a day work schedule like firefighters, police officers or commercial fishermen, which have a medium safety risk. But, at the far end of the spectrum, you will find the very risky jobs in the natural gas, oil and mining sectors. It’s no secret that these occupations almost always top the list when it comes to dangerous situations, accidents and job-related fatalities.

Everyone knows that oil and natural gas workers are putting themselves at higher risks than office workers. It is a simple fact that comes as no surprise. These employees have to work on pipelines, pumping stations and refineries that are often located in remote, wild areas, far away from hospitals and health care centers. But even in these high-risk economic sectors, some jobs are more dangerous than others — namely jobs on offshore oil rigs. Located tens or hundreds of miles away from the coastline, these man-made structures are essential for the oil extraction business.

Working on remote oil rigs is thoroughly regulated by federal and state laws (OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration and BOEMRE – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement), as well as internal safety processes. The main health risks associated with these jobs can be very diverse, ranging from malfunctioning equipment and tools to dangerous substances, fires, falls, hypothermia or drowning. Also, because many workers work in a long rotation system (6 months on the rig and 6 months off), psychological issues are also quite common, such as anguish, anxiety or depression.

Most of these job-related risks can be successfully avoided if the workers are trained and follow their relevant safety regulations. Even though every oil rig worker must attend a comprehensive safety training course before starting work, there are some rules that act as cornerstones for a safe working environment:

Keep a High Degree of Alertness at All Times

Accidents can happen anytime and without any prior warning — this is the first thing that every oil rig worker and company must remember. This rule is also present and enforced on any ocean vessel, ship or any other equipment that functions in a sea environment. Everyone working on an oil rig, whether it’s the engineers, mechanics or firefighters, should keep an eye out for every possible danger. Watch out for flying materials, falling or moving equipment, small devices or cables that may be in your way. Moreover, oil rigs, like most ocean going ships, have steep stairs, narrow passages, corridors and walkways that are extremely dangerous, especially in difficult weather conditions.

Wear Protective Gear

Quality protective gear is a must for dangerous working environments, and this applies to oil rigs as well. Maritime safety specialists point out that there special, state-regulated protective equipment, tools and accessories which every worker must wear. Similar to many other maritime workers, mechanics, heavy machine operators and oil pump experts must wear protective goggles, face protection devices, respiratory protection systems and gloves.

Have an Effective Fire Drill Training Plan

Fires are extremely dangerous in any maritime work environment, including ships or oil rigs. This is primarily because an efficient evacuation is difficult, time-consuming and risky. To properly combat this, every oil rig worker must be thoroughly trained to detect, limit and extinguish fires that may occur on board.

Workers must know how to use the fire fighting equipment and systems that are available on board and must understand the main fire-related risks. Also, workers must know the exact safety procedures that must be respected during fires, know the fire and emergency exits and gathering spots. To further help create an efficient rescue operation, fire drills must be performed at fixed intervals, as required by the law. To help businesses stay compliant and organize effective safety and training programs, innovative solutions like the platform offered at have developed to take advantage of technological advances and meet the challenges of a difficult industry.

Flaviu Mircea is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes articles and advice on a variety of topics involving technology and the business community.

Internet Marketing

Trust and The Content Marketing Revolution

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Content marketing is perhaps the most popular and most effective marketing technique in use today. Sharing content with other webmasters in your niche and promoting authoritative articles on social media can build you up as an expert in your niche and help you to become a brand that people recognise and turn to when they need your specific type of expertise.

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Good content is supposed to entertain and inform, but the goal of brand owners is to sell products. Striking the balance between selling and providing great content is important, because otherwise your readers will lose trust in you and assume that all you want to do is sell.

The idea of trust-based marketing was pioneered by Dr Glen L. Urban from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Dr Urban conducted a study on content marketing, where he offered unbiased reviews of trucks made by an imaginary brand, and compared those trucks to other competing brands. These unbiased reviews were incredibly effective for building trust, and 75% of the website visitors reported trusting this test website more than they trusted their previous truck dealer.

Trust is Fragile

The very nature of marketing means that you are trying to sell something. Trust is a very fragile thing whenever marketing is involved, but there are things that you can do to build trust. Social media can be helpful here – especially if you are aiming at women. Around 69% of web users are more likely to trust content that is shared through social media, and women are 20% more likely than men to trust content if it was shared by a friend or family member. Encouraging organic, not incentivised shares is a good way to appeal to that kind of consumer and break down the barriers that we naturally put up when we feel we are being advertised to.

It also helps if you provide verified sources for as many facts as you can, and share quality content written by other people. Promoting the services of a company that you trust and that is relevant to your customers, but not a direct competitor of yours, is a win-win move. For example, offers web design in Huntingdon. If they promoted a graphic designer or a printer then they would be offering a valuable service to their B2B customers.

Google Adopting Trust and Knowledge

Trust based marketing in the context used by Dr Urban is all about making your human visitors trust you, but the ideas he had showed incredible foresight. Google is always looking for ways to stop marketers manipulating the ranking system, and trustworthiness is one of the latest metrics that they are experimenting with. They are looking at ways to improve the knowledge graph and prioritise websites that are known to publish publish high quality content that is backed up by reputable research. No matter what your motivation, trust is going to be an important part of your future.

Business Plan

What Is a Hostile Workplace?

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As an employee of a company or business, you are entitled to certain rights and a standard of treatment. These are manifold and have been gradually won by workers over the past century or so in order to protect themselves when at work. This includes protection from conditions that may constitute towards a hostile workplace. But what is a hostile workplace? How is it legally defined?

First and foremost, it’s not really a case of your boss or co-workers being rude or insensitive. No one is legally obligated to be nice or polite. In those sorts of incidents, your best bet is to go to human resources rather than an attorney. Likewise, it does not cover instances where you feel as though there aren’t sufficient perks or benefits to your job, or that your work is not sufficiently recognized and rewarded. The problem is that these sorts of things are highly subjective.

Instead, a hostile workplace is defined as being a situation whereby the actions, communication or behavior of your superiors or co-workers makes it impossible for you to fulfill your job. It also includes situations whereby you are suffering directly from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

So suppose we go back to a situation where a person is being rude to you. If this person is generally rude, what you have is a rude coworker, not necessarily a hostile workplace in the legal sense. But if they are rude to you specifically because of your race, gender, religious or political beliefs, sexuality, or the like, then you could be looking at a hostile work environment. Under those circumstances, you are in a position where you can take the case to court.

What Makes a Hostile Workplace?

This definition allows us, then, to consider the issues in the terms of the specific behaviors that form a basis for legal action, rather than to focus on a general impression of what we might consider “hostile”. These sorts of things can include:

• Racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory remarks or behavior. This could be as overt as a direct statement or conversation, or it could be indirect. For example, male employees requesting a female co-worker to clean the office, make coffees, or perform other stereo typically feminine tasks instead of the duties of their actual professional position could constitute a hostile workplace.

• Consistent behavior that is not limited to a one-off remark or incident — behavior that frequently occurs over a prolonged period and may indicate a pervasive culture. In this case, the behavior may not even be investigated by the organization when reported, and may follow the victim throughout the workplace.

• It negatively impacts the victim’s job and career progression. For example, deliberately assigning menial tasks that interfere with what the victim is actually supposed to be doing. Another form may be if the hostile behavior was directly responsible for the victim being refused a promotion or work rotation.

• If your employer is aware of the harassment and does nothing about it, they too can be held to be responsible for the creation of a hostile workplace. Subsequently, they too can be brought to court over it and sued for damages.

If you want to build up a credible case, it’s important you record all instances of hostile behavior you or a colleague has experienced to be presented at court. Ideally, you want hard, physical evidence, such as video or sound recording, copies of any incriminating communications or messages, or eyewitnesses willing to testify on your behalf. Any recorded incidents held by the human resources department would also help.

What to Do

If you believe yourself to be the victim of a hostile work environment, you do not have to take it lying down. Seeking advice from a lawyer about what you can do to protect yourself and your career is a perfectly valid option, and most legal firms would be happy to hear your case. Many, such as Heil-Law in Orlando, also offer a free consultation — use this as an opportunity to explore your claim and the options you can pursue.

Christian Mills is a freelance writer and professional student who contributes articles and insights into business trends and issues that affect family life.

Businesses Online

How to Make Your Website Stand Out

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Everyone today has a website, from the biggest corporations down to the smallest of start-ups. With so many sites jostling for attention, it can seem an impossible task to attract visitors. However, there are plenty of things that you can do to bring your site to the attention of the masses. It just takes a little time, planning and know-how, starting with the following suggestions to get you on track.

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Keep It Original

It gets so boring to be confronted with the same information time and time again, so make sure that your site offers something a little bit different. Forbes suggests using your own photographs rather than using the typical stock photos that so many sites seem to rely on. Using your own content framed in your own words is also a good way of drawing in the search engine robots and boosting your site higher up the ranks.

Get Professional Help

According to TheSelfemployed, your website is vying for attention with well over half a billion other sites. That’s a huge amount of competition, so unless you happen to be a qualified web designer with SEO skills to match, it’s well worth finding a great designer to help you build a site.

A unique site will stand out from the template-driven masses, incorporating unique touches that will give your site the edge against competitors. You should be able to find a local design team that will work with you to develop your vision at prices that won’t blow your budget. Whether you’re looking for web design in Cheltenham or e-commerce solutions in Edgbaston, experienced design companies such as can help to make your site irresistible to search engines and visitors alike.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn have become an invaluable tool for promoting websites. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring this trend, as a well-placed update or Tweet can quickly get your name out to hundreds of new potential visitors faster than almost any other type of advertising, and at no cost to your business.

Offer incentives, such as entering re-tweeters or posters into a prize draw, or offer visitors a freebie such as an e-book or e-zine. This not only draws new visitors in, but also fosters a feeling of goodwill towards your brand, which could help to increase your profitability in the long run.

Don’t Follow the Herd

Websites are one area where it pays to buck the trend. When fashions dictate that web pages should be long, scroll-down affairs, then head in the opposite direction and go for short and punchy pages. If pastels are the Big New Thing, then go bold with primary colours. You have to take risks if you want to stand out, so be bold and go against the flow – not with it.

Be Trustworthy

The internet is a faceless place, so make your site a warm and welcoming exception. Provide clear contact details and, if possible, a photograph of yourself and/or your team so that visitors can personalise their experience and put a face to your name.

Smart Security Camera System

Having a Business Security System in Healthcare Facilities

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Healthcare facilities are easily accessible, so prevention methods are not a high priority. It is best to have a business security system that can manage the amount of people who enter the property while monitoring all other aspects of the facility. Entrance prevention is not necessary, but keeping a close eye on everyone who enters the property will help with understanding events as they occur, and can possibly stay ahead of it and contain it. Healthcare facilities are targeted for many reasons by criminals, but the multitude of prescription drugs can be a driving force for many unwanted individuals to gain access. The key here is to put access control in specified areas of the facility to limit their exposure to suspected perpetrators.


Alarm systems can help send notification of an attempt by a person trying to break-in to a restricted access area. With the instant alarm sent out, it can help security authorities capture the incident as it occurs. With high tech software and technology, there have been advancements with alarms that can do more than just set off a siren. It can trigger an automated containment of the situation. If someone attempts to gain unauthorized access, the alarm can set off a signal to the doors and contain the individual to one area of the facility. There is no chance the perpetrator can escape the intelligence of the business security system, and the healthcare facility can rest easy knowing that all of the guests and employees will remain safe from the event.

In a public healthcare facility, it is necessary to have smoke and heat detection as a part of their business security system. Beyond the basic technology, there is detectors that can be integrated with your system, and can alert authorized individuals as well as an emergency representative to help take immediate action. There is no wiggle room when patients and employees lives are on the line with a potential fire hazard. Staying ahead of the situation is the best preventative method available. A fire can’t be prevented, but quick action can be taken with proper and immediate notification.

Security cameras are a great addition to any business security system, and can provide needed surveillance to monitor all activity at the facility. Security guards can be constantly informed of where all persons are in the building, and can have the tools to discover and react quickly to any situation that occurs. Any event that takes place leaves innocent bystanders in danger’s path, and makes the facility liable. Protect both the individuals at your property and the standards for which your location would like to uphold. Having a business security system that is maintained and functioning at a high level will keep all safe, and can leave no unwanted criminals a chance to complete their plan of attack. Stay a step ahead of them at all times, as well as any unfortunate incident that may also occur at your property.

Businesses Online

Clarence Gooden: Active Environmental Advocate

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For the past ten years, Clarence Gooden has been the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and Chief Commercial Officer of CSX Corporation, a leading supplier of railway freight transportation across North America. Mr Gooden’s tenure in his current position at CSX has seen the company’s transportation portfolio grow to a value of $11 billion. His forty years of experience with CSX at various levels of the company has seen him working as Senior Vice President of CSX’s Marketing Services Group and Vice President of Network Operations.

CSX has a strong environmental track record, encouraging its customers to use rail, not only because it benefits the company but because it’s better for the planet too. Despite being more environmentally-friendly than air or road freight anyway, they are not resting on their laurels: They do everything they can to decrease ‘idling time’ (switching off things when they are not in use), increase recycling and create operational efficiencies that make the company work more smoothly and also help save our planet for everyone. Clarence Gooden’s blog carries more information about CSX Corporation’s environmental work, and is updated regularly.

Mr. Gooden also serves on the board of directors at TTX Corporation, another rail company with a strong environmental track record. His work with the National Association of Manufacturers as a Director allows him to make the CSX case for environmentally-friendly corporate practices to a wide range of manufacturers, providing concrete examples of efficiency savings that help everyone, from manufacturers to the end customers. His position on the Trade and Transport Advisory Council for Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank also allows him to advise the bank on sustainable investments and policy in the domestic transport industry.

While at CSX, Mr. Gooden has driven the adoption of digital communication and tools to help customers track and manage their shipments. Recognising the complexity of some of these technologies to new users, he has also created programs to educate customers in the use of these applications, taking advantage of CSX’s range of locations to host training on-site. He has also promoted webinars, mailing lists and social networks as a way of empowering CSX’s customers to take control of tracking their shipments across the company’s entire rail network.

Clarence Gooden’s blog lists many of his achievements with CSX but is relatively modest about his charitable activities. For example, he currently serves on the Board of the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, helping to promote the museum’s work as a prime location for contemporary art exhibitions in Jacksonville, Florida, and it’s charitable work in the community, which focuses on encouraging everyone, especially children, to take an interest in and appreciate art, and perhaps even become artists themselves.

In his spare time, Mr. Gooden is a keen follower of golf. His blog is evidence of this as, alongside an embedded Twitter feed mainly showing his support for environmental issues that CSX specialises in and frequent posts about his work at CSX, he also writes an insightful and interesting series of blog posts about all the big golfing events.