Tips to Avoid Lockouts at the Office

Whether it is your office, home or vehicle, facing a lockout is never an easy situation. It always creates a period of unnecessary stress and waste of time. If this happens on a regular basis, it is a red flag indication to understand that you need to invest in a new locking system for your property.  There are several choices available for business owners to secure the business and keep the environment in safe hands. The best person to go to during this crisis is a reliable and certified lock smith.

Valid lock smith companies help in providing the best lock options depending on the size of your business. They should not only guarantee their services, but they should also offer a 24/7 helpline to help you in the case of an emergency lockout.

We have gathered few options to help you prevent any lockout in your office.  Here are some of them:


These locks are not permanently attached to anything, which means you can use and reuse them anywhere. They come in two variations: keyed and combination. Keyed padlocks can be either rekeyable or non-rekeyable. If a padlock is non-rekeyable, then you cannot change the key that opens it. Combination locks have one or more number dials that open it depending on the combination entered. They are often easy to operate and decode.

Dead bolts

Dead bolts are common lock options for commercial and residential properties. They come in two variations of either single or double cylinders. A single cylinder can be locked and unlocked from the inside with turning your thumb, while a double cylinder requires a key to operate on both sides of the door.

Keypad Locks

These locks set different codes for individual employees and limits access to outsiders without a granted authority. The main advantage of these locks are that, you have access into the building even during power outages.

Scanner Locks

Scanner locks do not require keys or cards; it uses your fingerprint to make an entry into a building. Fingerprints are not easy to duplicate and most useful to store sensitive data to help you gain access into the office.

3 Ways to Finance Your New Business

Discovering and developing business ideas can be very exciting, but they are just the start of a long yet thrilling journey. With a mature idea ready to be converted into a successful business, the next step is starting a business. Naturally, there will be some obstacles to overcome along the way, including financing the new business and getting it off the ground.

When it comes to financing a new business, there are actually a lot of solutions you can consider. Both mainstream financing options and alternative ones are just as appealing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. In this part, we are going to take a closer look at three of the best ways to finance your new business.


It often doesn’t take much to start a new business, especially in today’s internet age. If you’re thinking about setting up a home business, you might not need to find other sources of financing at all; your savings and the cash you have are most likely enough to get the business going.

You can convert that old room you haven’t been utilizing into a home office. You can then invest in a good website and create social media profiles for the business. Of course, you still need to get the legality of the business in order, but won’t cost as much as you think.

Within a few days, you can start introducing your products to potential customers. Thanks to internet marketing instruments such as SEO and SEM, this is a task you can do without investing too much money in the process. You just have to be willing to invest some time instead.

This type of lean approach to setting up a new business means you have very low overhead costs, allowing the business to stay competitive early on in the game. You can also save a lot on interest and other costs associated with getting additional funding, while at the same time retaining 100% ownership.

Bank Loans

Let me start this part by saying that you should never finance a business using credit cards. Even the most affordable credit cards are still too expensive and may put your business – as well as your personal finances – in jeopardy. It is much better and more responsible to take out an unsecured loan if you really need extra funding and you want to use a bank loan to get it.

Secured loans are better. They are cheaper and will not affect your personal credit history in a negative way. They are also more flexible since you can set a longer repayment term for the loan. This means you have a lower monthly repayment amount to worry about, allowing you to stay focused on growing the business.

Take the time to compare home mortgage loans or equity loans and find one that suits you best. Certain offers – such as an interest lock and free refinancing – can make the mortgage loan even more suitable for starting a new business. Don’t forget to calculate the risks and long-term cost of using the loan before making the leap.

Bring in Investors

If the business idea is solid and you don’t mind losing a part of the company to investors, then getting a few more people onboard can be a good thing. You can start by looking at acceleration programs designed to help startups and new businesses get started. These programs will not only help you with funding, but also pair you with mentors and grant you access to more resources.

I’m a bit against working with relatives, but family members can also be great investors for your business. You can have several relatives investing in the new business idea. Before you take their investments, however, make sure you have every detail figured out; things such as profit sharing and contributions to the company often lead to breakups and other issues if they are not worked out at the beginning.

Lastly, look for angel investors and connect with them directly. There are a lot of investors looking for the next big thing. Your upcoming business may just be what they want. AngelList is a good place to start.

We haven’t talked about other alternative sources of funding such as crowdfunding and project-based funding. These alternatives are also great if you are in the process of starting a new business based on a good product idea. If you want to know more about these alternatives, be sure to stay tuned for updates right here on Business Plus Baby.

Steps to Take When Clients Don’t Pay

Life as a freelancer can sometimes be precarious. You don’t have the safety net of a regular monthly salary, so when clients are late paying, or worst case scenario, they don’t pay at all, you have a problem. Sometimes, there is a genuine reason why they haven’t sent a check, but unless you know them very well, you might not be aware of this, so what should you do?

We’ve all been there. Invoice reminders are ignored and emails go unanswered. You make a polite call but you put the phone down feeling rebuffed. The person on the other end of the line is evasive, hard to pin down, and you end up being given the run-around.

When you work for a credit control department, this is your bread and butter. You are paid to chase up debtors. Difficult clients and problem accounts won’t bother you in the slightest. However, when you are a freelancer and your talents lie elsewhere, chasing up people for money is surprisingly difficult.

The problem for many freelancers – particularly women – is that they are too polite. We are afraid of offending trusted clients, important clients. It’s even harder if you know this person on a personal level. Yes, they owe you money, but you had dinner with them last weekend, so surely there is a good reason why they aren’t acknowledging your email, right?

Slow paying or non-paying clients are a nightmare for a freelancer. You probably live from one payment to the next, so you can’t afford not to get paid. You need that money to pay your rent, buy food, and settle your own invoices. Being too nice about unpaid invoices is not good business practice, so if you have a problem client, here’s how to handle it.

Avoid Problem Clients

You can’t always avoid late payments, but you can practice due diligence and save yourself a lot of pain by avoiding problem clients. Always perform a few simple checks before agreeing to do a large contract for one client. Ask around and see if the client has a good reputation.

Don’t commit to work without having some simple payment protection terms in place. If this is a substantial amount of work that will tie you up for weeks or months, ask for some payment up front and include stage payments based on agreed deliverables.

Have a Contact

It’s very hard to chase money when you don’t know who to ask. Larger companies have specific departments to deal with invoice queries, but in smaller companies, there might only be one person in charge of the accounts. Find out who this person is and don’t be afraid of copying other, more important, people in on your communications. If a director authorized the work, copy them in on your correspondence. They need to know if you haven’t been paid.

Stop Work

Once a payment is overdue, stop work on the project until the issue is sorted. Do not continue accumulating billable hours until you have resolved the issue. All that does is create an even bigger problem.

Credit Control

Don’t let unpaid invoices slip through the cracks. As soon as an invoice becomes overdue, send out a reminder, along with a copy of the original email, via email or post, and back it up with a telephone call to find out why there is a delay.

If a reminder doesn’t do the trick, follow up with a second – and final – demand for payment. Keep the tone of your communication polite but firm. Let the client know you aren’t messing around and that if payment is not forthcoming by a specified date, you will have no choice but to take the matter further and add on further late-payment charges.

Taking Further Action

Chasing debt through the courts is an expensive and time consuming exercise. If your unpaid invoices are significant, this time and effort is worth your while, but do the math before you engage a lawyer. For slow payers, it may be worth using an invoice factoring company instead. This will free up cash flow until you are paid. Alternatively, sell on the debt to a credit collection agency. For a fee, they will take the unpaid invoice off your books and you can then forget about it.

It’s not unusual for freelancers to lose track of whether clients have paid their invoices. They are too busy working to worry about bookkeeping and credit control. However, keeping on top of unpaid invoices is never a waste of time. Cash flow matters to the business, so have a system in place that identifies when invoices are overdue.

Family-friendly employee incentives

It can be hard for employees to feel valued if they feel unable to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Corporate Rewards explain the ways you can offer employee incentives while avoiding the danger of them feeling separated from family by employment.

What are employee incentives?

Employee incentives are rewards, usually associated with sales targets and promotional events. They are used to motivate staff to work towards a goal by offering a reward to either individuals or entire teams based on performance.

The rewards can take a number of forms, from vouchers, to iPads, gig tickets and even trips abroad. They often focus purely on teams however some rewards can really help staff to enjoy time with their families.

Involve the whole family

While individual incentive rewards can make employees feel valued, parents of today can often find themselves too distracted by family obligations to find any real value in them.

Employers can help avoid this by offering family-inclusive rewards. Free entry at a local zoo or a family cinema pass are perfect options that the family can fit around their schedule.

An alternative way to approach incentives is to offer cinema vouchers or free entry as smaller incentives, while offering something larger as a reward for a sales incentive based competition. A day or weekend at a theme park, with VIP access, will leave the whole family feeling valued by your company, while allowing them to relax away from the stresses of work.

Avoid purely financial rewards

While it may seem like an annual bonus injected directly into your employee’s pay packet will leave them feeling rewarded, financial incentives no longer hold the same lustre they once might have. A short-term cash injection will likely find itself absorbed by the general day-to-day expenditure of a household. This is especially the case when it comes to families who are handling the extra expense of raising children.

Incentives such as the family trips mentioned above are more personalised, thoughtful and rewarding. You could also consider some form of internal reward catalogue for your staff to choose from. By offering a wide variety of incentives, your staff feel motivated to work towards the choices that they would prefer, and they are more likely to appreciate it once they’ve earned their chosen incentive.

Show your employees their time is valuable to you

It is important that staff don’t feel as though they are somehow “lesser” in the company due to the obligations they must meet by virtue of being parents. To put across your company’s engagement with its workforce, demonstrate some understanding of the commitments that parents in your employment have.

A Modern Families Index study, published in 2013, found that 49% of households have both parents working, which means these families will often be forced to rely on babysitters during some periods. Couple that statistic with their finding that most parental annual leave is used to cover childcare, and the suggestion is that parents have little option other than to take annual leave around school half-terms whenever a sitter isn’t available, or to cover last-minute sickness. This can leave staff feeling “locked in” and having no flexibility with their free time.

Balancing the stresses of work and life in this manner is likely to leave staff burned out, especially given the MFI’s final finding that parents feel ashamed of the additional burden parenthood can be, leaving them feeling obligated to work up to an additional ten hours per week outside of contracted hours, adding up to a staggering extra 74 days per year. Ease up some of the stress your staff are going through by taking advantage of seasonal events.

If you know some staff handle childcare over Easter half term, schedule an incentive family day out for that period so your staff still feel rewarded, while keeping the family together and enjoying themselves.

Giving due consideration to an employee’s family when rewarding and incentivising their performance is a simple way to leave your staff content in the workplace, and motivated for further success.

5 Household Tasks That Can Be Delegated To Make You More Time Rich

As necessary as housework and chores are, they’re also tedious, boring, and time-consuming. People who aren’t responsible for keeping a home or apartment clean don’t think that it takes that much time, but some tasks are enormous time-suckers. In other cases, it’s just hard to find time away from work, studying, taking care of the kids, or dealing with other jobs around the house. That’s why delegation is such a great thing. There are some tasks you can easily pass off to your spouse or partner, roommates, close friends, family members who live with you, or even the kids.

Washing the Dishes

Naturally, younger children can’t do the dishes—they probably can’t even reach the sink—but, then again, there are even ways for the tiny tots to pitch in and lend a hand. Washing up takes time that’s usually better spent on something else. Even if you have a dishwasher, you have to deal with rinsing, loading, unloading, and then reloading, ad infinitum. Pass off the chore to someone else to save yourself a ton of time.

If you do have a dishwasher and any younger children, charge them with emptying it—but exercise caution, of course. For example, after you or someone else unloads all the glassware and utensils, the younger kiddos can take out plastic pieces, mixing bowls, sippy cups, and similar items.

They’ll probably be delighted to help, plus you’re teaching them good habits from an early age. You’re also teaching them to follow instructions, which can help later in life when you need the kids to help with bigger projects.

Doing the Laundry

Handling the laundry is a multi-level task. Typically, you have to gather up the dirty clothes, towels, and linens, not just from the hampers but assorted spots throughout the house, too. You then have to sort the laundry, wash and dry each load, possibly hang up certain items to dry, maybe hand wash a few things, then fold or hang up each piece, and finally put away everything in its proper spot.

That’s a hassle and a half. The laundry is a task that practically begs for delegation. Split it up between helpers if you need to, but don’t feel bad about asking for a hand.

Sweeping the Floor

Almost anyone can pick up a broom and a dustpan. It’s not hard to turn on the vacuum cleaner, either. Regarding sheer square footage, cleaning the floor takes approximately forever, especially if you live in a multi-story home—sweeping steps is the worst. As long as there’s someone in the house you trust to do a good job, assign this task immediately.

Making the Beds

Even little kids can make the bed. This isn’t a terribly tedious task unless you have a full house with lots of beds to make, in which case changing the linens is also a time-consuming nightmare. That’s another job entirely, and it, too, deserves delegation. Making the bed is simple, easy, and essential. Give someone else the job, or invite everyone to make their own beds.

Dusting the House

You have to stay up on dusting, or else all the dander gets the upper hand. It’s difficult to keep it up yourself, so feel free to ask for help. Assign different rooms to the different people in the house, or ask someone new to do this chore each week. The house will always sparkle!

Are there any tasks you hate to do? Do you delegate them to someone else?

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