Archive | December 2016

To Make Mega Money As An Architect, You Have To Start Your Own Business

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Going into architecture is one of the best paying and most prestigious careers out there. But to really start making money, you have to leave your regular architecture firm behind and strike out on your own. It’s a big decision, but you’d be amazed and just how few resources are needed to make it happen.

As an independent architect, you’ll have the freedom to gather your own clients and work on projects that you love. No boss is telling you what to do, and there’s no timetable you have to fulfill: just you and your customers telling you what they want.

Here are some tips for starting your own architect business.

Make A Brand, Not A Logo

Branding is about much more than simply designing a logo or coming up with a catchy slogan: it’s the whole personality of your company, all based on the product it sells.

There are dozens of architects to choose from, so customers need a particular reason to want you; otherwise you risk being sidelined by those businesses who get their marketing right.

Take the architecture company 30X40. It’s a company dedicated to designing luxury barns. It got its name from the traditional dimension of barns used in New England states in the past. These barns used to be 30 feet by 40 feet.

But the name also has what marketers like to call “remarkability.” That’s because the name causes you to go digging: you want to find out why a barn company is called 30X40 and what the story is behind the name.

This is turn makes the brand more memorable. The more rich history a brand name contains, the more intrigue it’ll produce out in the marketplace and the more it’ll come to be trusted.

Don’t Rely On The Techniques You Learned In College

Things in the world of architecture have moved on considerably since you were in college. The march of technology now means that it is cheaper and easier than ever before to design a house from scratch.

But if you don’t use the latest technology, like building information modeling, you risk falling behind your competitors. BIM technologies allow groups of architects to work on various layers of a project at the same time. The program automatically reacts to changes made on different layers – say, the electrics – ensuring that there are no clashes or incongruities between layers.

Modern architects are using these tools to make sure that when it comes to actually building their projects that they aren’t going to end up having to make expensive alterations on the fly. The latest software technology reduces the chance of error and the risk that projects will need a radical redesign part way through completion.

Envision Your Success

Many architects staff off small but find that their businesses grow uncontrollably. Just take a look at what happened to Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. That company started with just three members, and now it’s grown to more than 1,600, operating all over the world.

It’s hard to predict exactly where your business venture will take you, but be prepared to be inundated, especially if you get the branding and the technology right.


Rental Investments: Things to Consider Before Renting out Your Property

So perhaps you’ve come into possession of a property. Maybe you’re moving out or thinking of switching homes, but you’re not sure what to do with your old home. The most obvious option would be to just sell it, especially if there’s still a mortgage on it.

You might even be able to make a small profit if you’ve had the home for a while and property prices have risen in your area. But have you considered the option of renting it out?

Renting your property comes with a unique set of challenges, but it’s also quite a profitable real estate investment and even if you have a mortgage on the property, you might be able to continue paying it off or at least get some money to help you pay it off by renting it out.

However, it’s important to let your mortgage lender know because buy-to-let mortgages are different to standard ones. If you’ve ever thought about renting your property, take a look at some of these pointers before you make a decision.

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Landlord responsibilities

If you rent out a property you’re considered a landlord. You have a lot of responsibilities when it comes to your property, such as making sure it’s free from health and safety hazards, carrying out the relevant gas safety checks and also checking if your tenants are legally allowed to rent properties in your country.

You’ll also need to book health and safety inspections to confirm that your property is safe to live in, and any problems that the inspector finds has to be fixed before you’re allowed to rent it out. This can include dodgy structural damage, uneven stairs or cracks in the walls.

If your tenants report a repair or a broken appliance that’s part of your property, then it’s your responsibility to make sure the relevant works are carried out and paid for. You’re responsible for most, if not all the repairs and it will come out of your own pocket, so make sure the tenants you rent the property to are capable of keeping it in good condition if you don’t want to be refurbishing it once their contract expires.

Finding tenants

There are rental property management services you can hire to hold onto and advertise your property to potential clients. They’ll usually charge a fixed fee or a percentage of what you make, but it makes sense to leave it to the experts to manage your property if you’re not too sure how to do it.

You can use the internet to reach the masses if you want to advertise your property on your own. You can use directories such as craigslist or websites dedicated to properties. Many websites will offer you a free listing opportunity so you don’t need to pay for your first time. You could also use social media and connect with local property rental services or speak directly to potential tenants.

A more traditional option is to advertise in printed media such as magazines, publications and of course, posting adverts in local store windows that allow for it.

5 Top Secret Sauce Of Real Estate Investment

Investing in real estate is one of those things that everyone thinks will make them a fortune – but it’s simply not the case. Going in blind can end up costing you more than you bargained for, and it’s vital to do your homework.

Don’t forget, competition in the real estate market can be fierce, too, so staying ahead of the rest should be your ultimate priority. With this in mind, we thought we would reveal some of the secrets to real estate that all pro investors understand. Let’s take a look with some of the most valuable tips you will learn about buying and selling a property.



It’s all about pricing

If you want to start making money through real estate, you have to study pricing in the area that interests you. Some houses on the market will be pitched just about right. Others will be asking way over the odds.

But the sweet spot is those properties that are a fair price but are located in an area where demand is accelerating. It’s these kinds of areas that will often give you the highest return over the shortest period.

Search for local services

The best real estate investors know how to spot an up-and-coming area. The pros look at a location and find out whether there are plans for redevelopment in the future. For example, a particular location might be run down right now.

But if the local state or city have it marked down to build new schools, coffee shop areas, and other services, you can guarantee house prices will skyrocket. Again, it might only take a few years for those market prices to rise and give you an incredibly healthy return on your investment.

They know when to sell

Not all real estate investments pay off – and you will have to accept that. However, the best investors understand they can’t keep hold of a duff investment as it will end up losing them money. When you start to invest, it’s important to be able to find trusted home buyers in your area who you know will take your property off your hands when the time comes.

It will free up your portfolio and give you the injection you need to buy elsewhere, as well as save you a lot of time and energy on a home that won’t sell elsewhere.

They understand schools

Schools have an enormous impact on house prices – and the market can go crazy in certain scenarios. Even the appointment of a new principal at a poor-performing school can have a positive effect. Parents will flock to the area if they think it will give their children an advantage – and they will be willing to pay big bucks for it.

So, keep your ears to the ground with regards to your local education system. And if a principal with an exceptional record in turning around underachieving schools shows up, it might be time to invest in some property.

They are prepared to travel

Finally, all cities and states have their expensive areas, but there is usually no value in buying property there. Travel out of these regions and focus on developing areas and in just a few years, it will be a different story.

Once a major city or town starts to become overpriced, the outskirt towns will almost always follow suit at a later date. And if you are savvy enough to buy when the prices are low, you can make a killing.


3 Fundamental Skills Every Marketer Should Have


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Marketing is one of the most important and central aspects of running a business. If you want your business to get ahead, you need to ensure that you are hiring only the best marketing gurus and aficionados. With that in mind, it is helpful to know exactly what kind of qualities you are looking for in those people.

Often, people get entirely the wrong idea about marketers and it is helpful to know what it is that they really need to be able to do, and what skills and attributes they should ideally have, in order to better promote your business and its wares. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four essential skills that every marketer needs to have.

Easy Communication

Communication is a hugely important part of the marketing process. Ultimately, the marketing itself is always some form of communication with the customer – or potential customer – so it is clear that being able to express oneself well is going to be a distinct advantage.

When you are looking for people for your marketing team, pay close attention during the interview stage. You want to look out for those people who are able to express themselves as much as possible.

Ability To Learn New Skills

In truth, marketing is one of those roles which takes on a huge number of varying different roles and tasks all at once. If you look, you will see that those marketers who tend to really succeed are exactly those who are able to take on a wide variety of different skills and attributes at will.

There is a huge number of different skills you might need to become proficient at marketing, and you might not be aware of what they all are straight away. Look for people, therefore, who are adept at as many things as possible – and don’t’ be afraid to train them up.

If it’s SEO they need help with, then send them to the real seo hero website. If it’s social media management, then let them get used to Twitter. This is important for their development and the business’ development.


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Analytical Thinking

It can be difficult getting to grips with the many different tasks inherent within marketing. It is a huge plus, therefore, if your marketers have some kind of genuine ability when it comes to analytical thinking.

Having a strong analytical mind is likely to come in handy when it comes to developing marketing strategies and campaigns. You want to know that the people you are hiring are going to be trustworthy in this respect. It might be a good idea, therefore, to test your potential candidates during the recruitment process.

Set them the task of designing a marketing campaign based on a case study, and then compare the results to find your preferred marketer. With this method, you are much more likely to end up with someone who will do your business proud in terms of the marketing.

Business Advice: When And Where To Seek It


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There’s a common assumption that entrepreneurs know everything when it comes to business. This is simply not the case. Successful business people know when to enlist the help of others; whether it comes to seeking advice and consultation or hiring talented people.

Legal Advice

Unless you’re a lawyer, never take chances when it comes to the law. It’s not just about keeping to rules and regulations, it’s also about process. For example, the HR cases that are most frequently lost are when employers didn’t follow the processes. Don’t leave it to chance and cross your fingers with a template you downloaded online. Take advantage of one of the many places that offer legal advice for businesses.

Financial Advice

No matter how good at math and accounting you were at college, taking financial advice is likely to save you money. You may be able to submit your taxes accurately and efficiently like a pro. But a seasoned accountant can tell you how to reduce them. Let the experts take care of your business accounts, and you can get on with growing your business.

If your business involves making investments, it’s worth keeping ahead by reading around the topic. For example, being aware of 1031 exchanges will assist you to defer capital gains tax. And you should never get too comfortable and believe you know everything there is to know about investing. Always go through a process and ask questions before taking the plunge.


In the early days of your business, it may have been necessary, in terms of costs, to deal with recruitment yourself. But that’s no longer the case. Regardless, many entrepreneurs retain this task to keep a close eye on who works in their business. This is understandable. As the person who built the enterprise from scratch, you want to ensure it is in good hands.

However, this may not be the best course of action. In every decision that is made, it is human nature to add personal thoughts and feelings into the process. It is hard not to do this. On occasion, it can get in the way of making the best decision.

An HR expert will approach this from a different angle. They will be less personally invested in the decision and so can make a more objective choice. You can still be involved but it’s worth enlisting professional help and advice to lead you through the process.

HR professionals will also guide you through the legalities, of which there are many. They will ensure that all documentation, from the initial ad and job description to the contract, is watertight. They will also oversee and manage processes in the correct way, adhering to legal regulations.

In Summary

Never be afraid to ask for help and advice. Just because you’re the boss, doesn’t mean you need to know everything. There’s a well-known saying in business, and that is that you can achieve anything at all if you don’t mind who takes the credit for it. Successful people know this and embrace it. They employ people smarter than themselves and with different skillsets. And they always know when to take advice.

4 Manufacturing Advice Your Business Shouldn’t be Without

Manufacturing is one of those sectors that can weather during the bad times. People always need important things to be made and shipped to them. But there is some manufacturing tips and advice that every company in the sector should be making the most of. Below, you will find information on manufacturing advice your business definitely shouldn’t be without.

Invest in Your Machinery and Parts

To start with, you should make sure that you keep on investing in the machinery you rely on, as well as the parts inside it. Without strong machinery to keep your business moving forward, there is no way to get the work done. You are 100% reliant on the machinery in your workplace when you run a business that operates in this sector, so don’t forget that.

If your machinery is getting old or past its best, you need to update and upgrade it.  You should get the best Schaeffler bearings and replacement parts if things are moving more slowly than you’d like too.


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Find Real Ways to Keep Costs Down

Keeping your costs down is one of the most important things you can do when you work in this sector. If you allow costs to get out of your control, it won’t be long before your business starts to struggle. When you spend more, you have to make more in order to maintain a healthy level of profit.

In other words, failing to keep costs down just allows things to get out of your control, which is never a good thing. It’s easier said than done, though. And only you can take steps to ensure that your business doesn’t spend more than it needs to. Look for areas of waste and make cutbacks there.

Monitor Efficiency and Pinpoint Weaknesses

Efficiency is a big deal in the world of manufacturing. If your business isn’t operating in a way that’s inefficient, you will waste money, and you won’t get what you need coming out of the other end. It’s a weakness that you really need to address if you can.

And it’s not the only weakness that needs to be addressed when you spot it. You should be monitoring the performance of your manufacturing efforts overall. You can then pinpoint specific weaknesses and make sure that they don’t become bigger and more damaging in the future. It’s something you really need to pay attention to.

Monitor the Sales Trends

Sales trend also need to be monitored. As a manufacturer, you will get all kinds of different orders from different people. It’s up to you to ensure that you are remaining profitable throughout the year. When you monitor the sales trends that the business experiences, you will be prepared for seasonal lulls in activity.

You can then organize your finances in a way that means you are prepared for these times and what they could mean for the business. You don’t want to be left lagging behind because of a drop in orders and sales. This could be too much for the business to handle.

Fudged Your Company’s Finances? Here’s Why You Need An Accountant



How were your business’s finances throughout 2016? Hopefully, they were healthy and stable! However, even if they were fine and you didn’t have too many problems with this year’s finances, there is still one thing that could have tripped you up. And that would be if you did your own finances and taxes. This is a very dangerous game to play, especially if you don’t have in-depth previous financial experiences.

You will find that your finances look a lot better and that you reduce your risk of making any big mistakes with your taxes if you hire an accountant. Still not convinced? Here are some reasons that should sway you!

You Will Have More Time For Your Other Tasks

As an entrepreneur, you will be one very busy person indeed! And trying to do your company’s own taxes and bookkeeping are just some more jobs to add to your to-do list. Do you really have the time to get all these things done in time?

The answer is probably not. You will find that outsourcing all of your finances to an account such as Raffingers will free up more time for you to get on with managing your business and operations.

You Will Be Able To Better Understand Your Company’s Finances

You might find that when you are examining your business’s books, you don’t really understand what all the figures mean. You might also not totally understand everything there is to know about your taxes. You simply work out the figures and fill them into the forms.

But it is very important that you try and educate yourself to understand as much as possible about your company’s finances and its financial situation. And the best person who can educate you about your finances is an accountant. They will be able to sit down with you and go over all of the important figures and tell you exactly what they mean from a business point of view.

You Can Create A More Realistic Business Plan

Generally speaking, the majority of entrepreneurs have fantastic business ideas. But not many know whether or not these ideas will translate into financial successes. This is where your accountant comes in. They will be able to work with you to create a business plan that is both idealistic and will prove to be a realistic success. Your accountant can also create reports and financial forecasts that will help steer your ideas in the right direction.

You Have A Better Chance Of Getting A Business Loan

Getting a business loan approved can prove quite tricky. Especially if your business has been going through a rough patch. But, as long as you can show the bank that you are able to pay back the money you loan, you will stand a better chance of getting one.

And this is something your accountant can help you with! They will be able to help you decide which type of loan is most favorable to you and can prepare financial reports that you can show the bank.

4 Top Tips on How To Win In The Residential Property Market

If you’re tempted by the idea of investing in residential property, then it’s obviously going to feel like a pretty daunting challenge to rise to. The most experienced property investors out there will have had years to learn from their mistakes, and formulate a method that gives them the best chance of success. If you’re not quite there, here are some rules you should follow to get the highest possible returns.



Buy Property That Will Grow in Value

I know this sounds obvious; after all, owning something that increases in value is the most basic principle behind any kind of investment. However, there are countless people who still manage to make rash decisions when they first get started in property investments, and wind up sitting in properties which do nothing but stagnate.

Look for residential properties which are close to a thriving business district, schools, beaches, and leisure facilities, as these will have the best chance of piling on value. New build developments such as the ones from Serenity Homes also usually have bright futures.

Create Equity Through Renovations

Easy, low-cost renovations, such as a fresh paint job, new flooring, extensive landscaping and so on, will have a huge impact on the value of property, raking in equity with minimal strain on your time and money.

As soon as you’ve polished off the purchase, you should be making plans to carry out some home improvements and generate some instant equity. Just make sure you’re doing your homework beforehand though.

Certain additions, such as pools or ultra-modern features in a rustic house, can in fact sap the value of a home, rather than bolster it.

Give Yourself a Safety Net with Refinancing

When your property begins to grow in value, it’s a good idea to refinance it, and give yourself a buffer which will act as a financial safety net. When you protect yourself through refinancing, you’ll be able to rest easy about the future of your investment to some degree.

All too often, would-be investors fail to take this step, hit some rough waters, and find themselves unable to keep up with mortgage payments.  If you get yourself into a forced-sale position, the best price for your property will be out of your reach, and you may find yourself having to deal with expenses like capital gains tax.

Get an Independent Valuation and Don’t Get Emotional

If there’s one mistake in property investment that you should avoid at all costs, it’s bringing your emotions into the picture. Countless investors let their emotions get the better of them when they’re searching for prospective investments, and end up buying a property for far more than it’s really worth.

You’re probably not experienced enough to value property on your own steam, so consider getting an independent valuation done. While these aren’t exactly cheap, it’s the fastest and most effective way to protect yourself from paying too much, and shooting yourself in the foot further down the line.

When you dive into the real estate market, be sure to keep these tips in mind!

4 Important Elements That Will Determine Your Business Success

When it comes to developing a business, you need to know what the important elements are. And that means considering what matters as a company and a brand. You need to make important decisions in your career, and these can have a huge impact on what you do and the direction your career takes. So, think about some of the key things you need to consider and make sure you get right.

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Working From Home?

Many people consider the ideas of working from home, and that’s something you need to think about. Running a business from home can be fun and exciting, but there is also a lot more responsibility involved. You have to weigh up the positives and the negatives of taking this approach.

Starting a home business is convenience and cost effective, but you also need to be wary. Make sure you are professional and treat it as a business as much as possible. For instance, you may decide to add a business line and create a home office. You may also wish to use a business mail redirect service to maintain a more professional image.

Moving to a New Office

It’s also important to think about your business headquarters. You need to work in an office that’s going to provide you with what you need. That means if you are at home you have to create a home office in the best possible way you can. If you’re not working at home, then it becomes a case of choosing the right offices for your company.

And this can actually be more difficult than people might realize. Consider what you need to get out of offices or commercial property. There has to be a lot of space and a great deal of power source as well. You will need facilities, equipment and meeting rooms. And that’s not to mention things like secure access and storage facilities. So you have to make sure you make the correct decision when choosing an office.

Hiring the Right People

Business success is largely determined by the people you hire for your business. That’s why you have to do as much as possible to make sure you bring in the best possible employees. There are so many different types of people out there, and the trick is to find someone who fits well with your business.

So, this is a case of looking at someone’s experience as well as their personality and character. You need to get as strong recruitment process in place that will help you secure the best possible people.

Securing the Company

You also have to make sure you secure your company as best you can. That means looking after assets and protecting your reputation. So, you need to start by looking at business insurance rates, making sure the premises are secure, and boosting your public profile.

There are so many things you might like to do to help you secure your company better. But this is vital for success and for building a future as a company and a brand. It’s something you need to think about and get sorted as soon as you can.

As you can see, there are plenty of important elements that determine success in the business world. You need to make sure you do as much as possible to consider and action all the most important elements. This post will certainly help you to achieve that.



Could Your Employees Be A Detriment To Your Business?


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Your business success largely depends on the team you build. You need the right people who are going to help your business improve and prosper. It’s crucial that you take the hiring process seriously and make sure you find someone who’s perfect for each role.

You might think any employee is better than no employee, but that’s not always the case. In fact, there are many ways that employees can hurt your business. A poor hiring choice can result in damage to your profits, reputation, and business productivity. Here are some of the ways your employees could be a detriment to your business.

When The Costs Outweigh The Benefits

To get the best employees, you need to offer competitive salaries. Those with the right experience will have multiple options. Offering the right wages can ensure the best candidates pick you over your competitors.

But you need to consider if your payroll is paying off. In some cases, employees might not give you a good return on your investment. If workers aren’t contributing to your business in a way that helps improve your company’s success, consider letting them go.

For instance, your business could hire a whole manufacturing department. But if training them and supplying them with the right equipment costs too much, it might be more cost-efficient to outsource the job. You can avoid dwindling profits and still get the task handled.

Unmotivated Employees

It’s only natural that you expect all your workers to be hard-working and committed to their job. But when workers suffer from a lack of motivation, it can severely impact business efficiency. They’ll get less work done and hold your business back.

Firing a lazy employee isn’t always the best option. It’s important that you communicate with them first. Perhaps they’re dealing with some personal issues and need some time off. Maybe they aren’t feeling challenged by their role anymore and need a new one. Figuring out a solution together is much more beneficial for all parties involved.

Keep in mind that motivation also starts with you. Find ways to reward your employees for good work, and they’ll repay you by keeping up their performance.

Fraudulent Employees

Business fraud is often committed by employees inside a company. It can take many forms too. Workers might fake an injury for compensation or find ways to take money from the company.

A fraudulent employee can cause lots of damage to your business, so get rid of them ASAP. Find a PI service or investigator website to help collect evidence and take legal action against them.

Stopping fraudulent employees in their tracks can protect your business assets. You can also gain reparations for damages they have caused.

Negative Employees

Some employees just lack motivation or experience. But in worst case scenarios, you may have to deal with downright negative employees.

You might have workers who are rude to clients or customers. They will reflect on your company poorly and lose you a lot of business. You may also have bullies in the workplace. Cases of workplace bullying or discrimination can result in legal action against your business.

If you have a negative employee, fire them immediately. Even if you don’t have a replacement, getting rid of negative behavior will prevent your business from suffering further.