Hotel room
Legal Branding

5 Hotel Lighting Design Ideas to Create a Seamless Guest Experience

Find out how hotel properties can benefit from better lighting design including lighting control systems and transitional lights

Interior of spacious lobby

A fancy golden hotel lobby is well decorated

In the hospitality industry, the guest experience is paramount. From the second a guest walks through the front doors of a hotel, they should have their needs met at all times. Since hotels are such busy atmospheres, it can be difficult to discern the impact of lighting design on the guest experience. In reality, lighting is one of the most important aspects of hotel design. From the lobby to the guest rooms, every area of the property should be lit in an appropriate, safe, and appealing way. In fact, good lighting can actually boost a guest’s mood upon arrival—it is that powerful!

To give you a bit of guidance as to what hotels should prioritize in terms of lighting, we’re going over some modern lighting design ideas & trends. We hope that our examples help you identify ways to improve your property from a design, building management, and guest experience perspective. Plus, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at how commercial control systems provide superior outputs for your customers. Let’s get started and discover how hotels can use lighting principles to enhance their service and ambiance.

1. Lighting Control Systems For Common Areas and Guest Rooms

These days, it is easier than ever for hotels to implement lighting control systems for adaptive fixtures

Luxury stylish kitchen and living room

A guest room is decorated with an LED lighting package

Lighting control creates more comfortable guest rooms.

Some of the greatest recent innovations in the lighting industry are thanks to lighting control systems. Many large properties will already have lighting control systems that are used to control lights in ballrooms for special events or potentially even outdoor lighting packages to create an appealing facade. Today, we are going to be talking about how lighting control systems work in common areas and guest rooms. 

As we mentioned, lighting can change a guest’s mood as they enter the property. So, in order to provide the best possible guest experience, you should provide the ideal amount of lighting. Since outdoor light changes throughout the day, implementing adaptive lighting is the only way to ensure that guests are always receiving the right amount of light in the hotel lobby and other common areas.

It is also beneficial to make sure that guests are getting the best lighting in their rooms as well. While guests still need to be able to control the brightness of their room light, hotels can use adaptive lighting to change the hue slightly to match a natural circadian rhythm. Simply put, when guests have the right kind of lighting brightness and hue, they’ll be able to fall asleep and stay asleep more easily. 

Luckily for hotel properties, it is easier than ever to introduce adaptive lighting elements without breaking the bank to retrofit every fixture. Hotels can achieve these adaptive lighting concepts through the Internet of Things (IoT)

An Internet of Things is a type of lighting control system that relies on WiFi connectivity to communicate between devices. In the cases we’ve just discussed, the two devices required are a light sensor and the light fixture itself. This is sometimes referred to as “smart lighting.” Communicating via the control system, the sensors instruct the lights on how to change and respond to natural lights. Using this technology, hotels can ensure that guests are getting the best lighting possible everywhere on the property.

2. Prioritize Natural Light

Use natural lighting as much as possible to integrate your property with its environment

Skylights are an excellent way to provide natural lighting for hotel lobbies.

When we spend too much time indoors, it tends to affect our mood. Going too long without natural sunlight makes anyone feel stressed, irritable, and impatient. This is especially true for travelers arriving in a hotel lobby. Your guests have likely been cooped up in a car or an airplane for the majority of their day. To combat stress caused by travel, we recommend that hotels use as much natural light as possible on their property.

Using large windows for natural light also helps tell the story of your property by showcasing the surrounding area. Whether your property is located at a tropical destination, a bustling downtown, or in a rural area, visitors will want to take a look around. By giving your guests opportunities to take in the surrounding area, they can essentially start exploring while they are in your lobby. Not to mention, the more there is for guests to view, the more time they are willing to spend in your lobby in the case of longer than normal wait times.

3. Match Lighting to Ceiling Height

When choosing lighting fixtures for common areas or rooms, make sure you are taking the ceiling height into account

Lower ceilings require recessed lighting.

Lighting design principles change based on the size of a room on your property. Essentially, your lighting design should be altered room by room based on the size and the design of the room. When planning out a lighting redesign, one of the most common mistakes made is not taking the ceiling height and composition into account. For example, if you have a large space with an exposed loft-style ceiling, you will need to choose bulbs and fixtures that are optimized to fill a room with light—including the ceiling above. For rooms like these—conference rooms, for example—you may want to use bay style lighting to properly light the room.

On the other hand, for a smaller room with a finished, plaster ceiling, it should absolutely not be lit with bay lights. For smaller rooms, recessed lights will be able to light a room properly without overlighting or influencing the room design too much.

4. Plan Out Transitional Lighting

Transitional lighting is essential to provide a seamless environment for guests

Transitional lighting helps guide the guest from room to room without barriers.

One of the key features of hotel design is the need for rooms with various different purposes. You have the lobby, guest rooms, common areas, conference rooms—and in some cases pools or restaurants. All of these areas will require slightly different lighting profiles. Because all of the areas will have different lighting, it is important that you plan for transitional lighting to avoid having areas be too bright or too dim.

For example, guests who exit a bright lobby and into a dim mood-lit hallway will likely have some difficulty adjusting. To combat this phenomenon, place transitional lights on either side of the entrance from the lobby to the hall. These transitional lights will help the guest’s eyes adapt to a change in light more gradually, as opposed to suddenly. This is also true for hotel elevators. If the elevator lighting is different from the guest floor hallway lighting, then transitional lights need to be placed in the elevator bay area to help people adjust as they find their room. 

5. Balance Task Lighting with Decorative Lighting

Hotel lighting design should make a statement, but not if it means compromising task lighting

Stylish spacious lobby

A lobby is decorated with decorative lighting and task lighting

Design is important—but providing excellent service is more important.

In a lot of hotel lobbies, the lighting acts as both a practical lighting fixture and centerpiece. Chandeliers, fountains, and other fixtures often include lighting elements that add to the ambient light in a hotel lobby. While these are great for adding to the guest experience, it is important that task lighting is prioritized as well. At the front desk, luggage check, and valet stations, there should be ample light for guests and employee communication. These lights are referred to as task lights—which means they are used for an express purpose like completing a job task. By keeping task lighting as a priority in addition to decorative lighting, designers can create fashionable and functional hotel lobby lighting landscapes.

Commercial lighting is not easy when it comes to the hospitality industry. You have to take into account the emotions and motivations of everyone who uses the space—in addition to the architectural elements. We hope that you learned a bit more about how lighting is used in hotels and got a few ideas to improve your own property. While lighting for hospitality is not an exact science, following the design ideas we’ve presented will help you create seamless lighting for an optimized guest experience.

Digital Branding

How to Send Event Invitations Using a Gmail Mass Email Service

With a Gmail mass email service, you can instantly send personalized invites for your next major company event.

 Glass toast

Corporate people are dressed up and are toasting

No matter your industry, hosting special events and parties for customers, donors, or employees is a great way to inspire confidence in your brand and give guests an experience they won’t forget. The first step in planning a corporate event is to establish a guest list and send out invites. These days, most event invites arrive in an inbox rather than a physical mailbox, so you’ll need the email address of all of your guests in order to get started with your invites. If you are hosting an internal company party, getting the addresses should be no problem. If you are hosting a customer appreciation party or another type of event with external guests, you need to make sure they provide an address otherwise you’ll have to find their address on a social media platform like Facebook or Linkedin. Once those addresses are collected, you can compile them into an address list.  From there, you can get started composing and personalizing your invitations. If you haven’t done this before—you’re in luck! We’re showing you how to send mass email invitations for business events. Using our techniques, you’ll be able to garner a greater response rate and set yourself up for a successful event. Let’s dive in!

What Should Be Included in an Event Invitation?

Before we learn how to use a Gmail mass email service, we need to break down the basic parts of an event invitation

Presentation

A man is standing In front of people at a corporate conference with tables and chairs and a presentation on screen

Make sure you cover the basics in your invite.

Every event invite needs to contain certain basic information that guests will need in order to attend. It doesn’t matter how many design or personalization elements you add to the message, if the necessary information isn’t present, people will either be confused or will be hesitant to attend the event. Because of this, you need to include the following point in any invitation for a corporate event.

  1. Time and Place – The time and place of the event need to be clearly communicated. If the location is hard to find or has certain parking restrictions, you should list those as well.
  2. Links – Depending on the type of event, you will want to provide some context. For example, people like to know what charity is benefitting from a charity gala. Providing a link to the charity site helps educate guests on the organization before they contribute.
  3. Benefits – For some, attending an event is enough of a benefit—but that isn’t the case for everyone. In order to make sure you get the best attendance possible, list a few benefits or highlights that you want potential attendees to know about.
  4. Schedule – While not every event will have a fully fleshed out schedule by the time invitations are sent out, it is a good idea to give your guests an idea of what will take place at the event. This can include a lineup of speakers, cocktail hours, dinner times, etc.
  5. Food Options – If you are holding an event that is serving food, you should definitely list the options that will be provided. While this may not seem like the most important information regarding your event, it is essential for those with dietary restrictions.

Now that we know the most important parts of an email invitation, it is time to learn about writing and sending invites using a Gmail mass email service. 

Writing an Email Subject Line for a Corporate Event

A Gmail mass email service makes it easy to add personalized elements to your email copy

Audience

An audience is applauding to speaker at a work conference

Write an attention-grabbing email subject line.

To get started writing your invite, you should come up with a few ideas for a subject line. Your subject line is arguably the most important part of your invitation because it is the first thing a recipient will see when the message arrives in their inbox. If your subject line is unclear or just isn’t strong enough, you will likely end up with a lower response rate than you expected. We highly recommend using a Gmail mass email service to help you personalize your subject line. When people see their name mentioned in the subject line, they are far more likely to click than if the message looks like it could have been sent to anyone.

The second element of subject line writing that event planners need to pay attention to is word economy. A subject line is short, which means you have to use your words wisely to get your initial message across. A good example of a compelling subject line would be—”{first name} you’re invited to our Annual Gala!” In this example, the name is personalized and the intent of the message is clear. If there are other details you can fit into the subject line—that’s great! A good example of this would be including the name of the headlining speaker. However, in most cases, it is best to keep the subject as short and direct as possible.

Writing and Body Copy for Your Email Invite

Now that your subject line is taken care of, it’s time to give your guests the details in the body of the message

Man working on a laptop-

A man is smiling and sitting at a desk, writing emails while the woman takes notes

Include all essential information in your message copy.

Once you’ve settled on your subject line, you can shift your attention to the body of the message. While no event invitation should have paragraphs of copy, it is important that you hit the 5 main points we addressed earlier in the article.

One thing to keep in mind when writing your body copy is to do your best to sell the event. Be sure to highlight the most enticing parts of the event. If your event is a charity gala, showcase the charity and include a section about how much money you intend to raise/how much money was raised in the past. If you are sending out an invitation for a seminar, you will want to highlight the speakers and their credentials.

Once you feel that your body copy is well written and has hit the 5 major details to be included, you can move on to adding design elements.

Adding Design Elements to Your Invitation

To make your message even more appealing, you can add design elements, photos, or embedded videos

Mass email services make adding design elements super easy.

When the core of your message copy is ready to go, it is time to add even more appeal to your message by using design elements. Most event planners and marketers aren’t expert graphic designers—and that is ok! Using a mass email plugin, event planners can access drag and drop-style tools that make adding borders, backgrounds, pictures, and videos a cinch. Using the tools provided with your mass email service, you can create an appealing, professional message quickly and easily.

By including these elements in your invitation, you will set your email apart from other messages in an inbox and provide your recipient with more important information about the event. If you have a video from last year’s event or an example speech from the headlining speaker, you should include a video embed in the message to give attendees an idea of what your event entails.

Execute a Mail Merge to Automatically Personalize Your Messages

Once your message is all set, it’s time to run a mail merge and test that all personalization elements are being correctly input

Emails

Sending emails represents a concept of the art

A mail merge is a process that automatically adds personal information where designated.

Now that you’ve successfully designed your email with all of the essential elements, you are ready to execute a mail merge and start testing your messages. A mail merge is a process of automatically inputting information from your address list into each email. When you designate personalization elements using brackets like {first name}, double-check to make sure that the phrase in the brackets is the same as the phrase used in the vertical columns of your spreadsheet. That way, when you import your address list and begin the mail merge, you can be sure that the correct information is being put in the correct part of the message. You can also use more personalization elements than just a first name. For example, you may want to include the recipient’s profession or job title. As long as the information is present and properly organized in your address list, you can use it to personalize your invitations.

The last step you need to take before hitting send is to test your messages. Easily test your messages by sending yourself or a coworker a test message from your mass email service. Ensure that all photos, videos, and personalization elements appear correctly and your copy is free of errors. Once you are sure that your invitation is free of any errors, you are ready to hit send. 

Events are an important part of keeping customers, employees, or donors involved in your business. To make sure you put on the best event possible, you should follow our steps to craft compelling email invitations using the tools included in a mass email service. By following these steps, you can start sending out eye-catching invitations in a matter of hours.

Factors in SEO
Digital Branding

Top 10 SEO Companies for Small Businesses 

To survive in this competitive ecosystem, small businesses need to make themselves visible online. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your target market can find you when they’re looking for your products or services. The challenge, however, is finding the right SEO company that can deliver results without breaking the bank. In this article, we will have a look at 10 of the best SEO companies for small businesses. 

1. WebFX 

WebFX is a full-service digital marketing agency that offers SEO services specifically designed for small businesses. Their team of over 150 experts will work with you to create a custom SEO plan that meets your specific needs and budget. In addition to SEO, they also offer a suite of other digital marketing services such as social media marketing, PPC, web design, and more. Moreover, WebFX also offers priority customer support so that you can get the help you need when you need it. 

2. Ignite Visibility 

Ignite Visibility is one of the leading SEO companies in the world. They offer a comprehensive suite of SEO services that are designed to help small businesses reach the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs). In addition to SEO, they also offer PPC, social media marketing, web design, and more. Ignite Visibility is a great choice if you’re looking for an all-in-one digital marketing solution. 

3. EZ Rankings

Stay connected iwth social media

EZ Rankings is a results-driven digital marketing agency that specializes in SEO. Over the years, they have helped numerous small businesses improve their online visibility and reach their target market. Their team of experts will work closely with you to identify your business’s unique needs and come up with an effective SEO strategy that delivers results. They offer custom SEO packages that help you stay within your budget while still getting the most out of their services. If you are looking for an affordable and reliable SEO company, EZ Rankings is definitely worth checking out. 

4. Coalition Technologies 

The coalition is a global team of over 150 experts that has worked with clients such as Motorola, Manchester City Football Club, and the University of California. One of their unique selling points is their focus on long-term results, rather than short-term gains. This means that they will not take shortcuts that could jeopardize your website’s future success. Their popular services include SEO, web design, and social media marketing. If you’re a mid-sized business, Coalition should be at the top of your list. Their team will help you with everything from technical SEO to link building and content marketing. 

5. Thrive Internet Marketing Agency 

If you’re looking for an SEO partner that can help you achieve top rankings and increased traffic, look no further than Thrive Internet Marketing Agency. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, this company has a team of digital marketing experts that are more than capable of helping small businesses grow their online presence. Services offered by Thrive include search engine optimization, pay-per-click (PPC) management, social media marketing, and reputation management. In addition, they also offer web design and development services. They can help you quickly build a high-quality website that is optimized for search engines and easy to navigate. 

6. Victorious 

With a focus on small and medium-sized businesses, Victorious is one of the leading SEO agencies in the game. Their team of experts is dedicated to helping brands grow their organic search visibility and drive more qualified traffic to their website. One of the things that set Victorious apart from other agencies is their use of data and analytics to drive their campaigns. This ensures that they are always on the pulse of the latest algorithm changes and can adjust their strategies accordingly.

7. Captivate Designs 

Captivate Designs is an SEO company that specializes in small businesses. They have a team of experts that will help you with everything from keyword research to link building. Their services are affordable and they offer a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with their results. Moreover, if you are looking for a long-term SEO partner, Captivate Designs is the perfect option. They offer affordable monthly SEO packages that will help you achieve and maintain your desired ranking. 

8. DAR (Digital Agency Reseller) 

They are among the leading SEO resellers in the USA and work with over 500 digital agencies. They help small businesses with their search engine optimization needs by providing them access to a team of SEO experts. This is a great option if you’re working with a limited budget as you only need to pay for the services that you use. If you don’t need the complete SEO services offered in a package, you can pick a few à la carte services. This is a very practical and affordable solution for small businesses. They use data-driven methods to come up with the best possible strategies for their clients. So, whether you’re a startup or a small business owner, you can customize your SEO plan with DAR.

Let your personality shine through on social medial9. Market Keep 

Market Keep is a results-driven SEO agency that specializes in small businesses. Their team of experts will help you create and implement an effective SEO strategy tailored to your unique needs, ensuring that your website ranks high on search engines and drives organic traffic. In addition, they also offer other digital marketing services such as social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing. Moreover, if you need dedicated assistance, you can opt for their VIP service which provides you with a personal account manager.

10. SEO India Online 

SEO India Online has been in business for over 10 years. The company offers a wide range of SEO services including on-page optimization, off-page optimization, and link building. SEO India Online also provides social media marketing, reputation management, and web design services. 

Wrapping up! 

There you have it! These are 10 of the best SEO companies for small businesses. By working with any of these agencies, you’ll be sure to improve the visibility and traffic that you need to take your business to the next level. You can get in touch with these companies and request a proposal so that you can compare their services and find the perfect fit for your business. 

  

Warehouse
Legal Branding

The Best Guide for Moving a Warehouse with Ease

As if getting a tooth pulled or traveling a large distance through a tedious landscape, moving is a challenge nearly everyone must overcome. However, it can be sorted out by hiring the best long-distance movers. You can find the best moving companies on a moving service broker platform like Moving Apt.

It is not always lovely and seldom delightful, but it usually has a beneficial end. Moving, in particular, requires careful preparation and avoidance of moving blunders to ensure a successful outcome.

Look Closely at the Results of Your Facility

If you are relocating, you’ll have the chance to reorganize the layout of your present warehouse. This is an excellent time to iron out any creases in the distribution chain. Inquire about the efficiency of your company’s process and maintain an open mind for fresh ideas and solutions. Is reorganizing some departments more efficient? The capacity of storage racks may be better used if they were put up differently.

Is it possible to lessen travel time by shifting specific departments to various parts of the floor? Get to work designing the architecture of your new warehouse based on the most efficient version of your current facility.

Workplace Organization

Some warehouse transfers do not need any staff at all. They are simply informed they were to type in to get into the new location. Employee relocation expenditures may also fall under this category if your business is relocating substantially. You should have frequent meetings and offer them reading material, so there is no doubt about what is expected of them.

Minimize Shipping and Delivery Problems

The worst-case scenario is the mid-move realization that a big customer is due for delivery. If you are moving, it’s essential to talk to the shipping managers and devise a strategy for how shipments will be made while the warehouse is being moved. Maintain a clearly labeled location for goods that need to be sent so that they are not mixed up with other shipments and end up in a different warehouse.

Pay Attention to Even the Smallest Modifications

In addition to updating your mailing address, you must request mail forwarding and transfer utilities such as power and broadband to your distribution facility. These minor issues may easily slip through the cracks, but they can result in substantial delays if ignored.

Your Permissions Should Be Up To Date

Your warehouse transfer might be halted if you do not have the proper papers. The proper construction, fire, occupancy, and other permissions must be obtained before relocating your warehouses. Make sure businesses have the proper documentation and procedures by checking with your local towns. This is particularly crucial if you are relocating to a new state, city, or county since codes may differ widely from place to place.

Make a Well-Intentioned Plan

Planning the complete move from start to end is essential. Staff and workers need to be aware that many of them will have to take on new duties for short periods, and the sooner you start the better.

Setting a budget and a cost plan might help avoid any unexpected costs. Consider if you will need to buy more racks or shelves for the distribution facility and how much workforce it will take to set up the new operations.

Deliveries Are Nearing, So Consider Them

Consider if you will receive shipments either during the transfer and plan appropriately. It is advantageous to get deliveries post-move, but if the notion of checking in many deliveries before moving into a new home is frightening, you may want to have them delivered before the transfer.

Remember the Essentials of a House-Moving Organizing Plan

The logistical challenges make it easy to ignore the little details while moving a warehouse. Send out a change of address notice, forward mail, and plan the transfer of utilities such as phone and internet service providers.

Fill The Workplaces

There is a strong chance you have offices in your storage facility. Individuals may be responsible for their own offices if there are many offices, or at least for personal things.

Look At the New Warehouse’s Design

Analyze your current process and determine whether a different setup at your new site will be more beneficial to your company.

It is possible to plan depending on an imagined warehouse form before deciding on new premises. Remember, though, that you may have to make a few concessions. Upright positioning is a key contrast between earlier manufacturing warehouses and contemporary ones, with the former being close together without much consideration for storage architecture.

In other words, you should plan for more room than you think you’ll need so you can adjust to how a new facility looks.

Conclusion

Make as many lists as you need for the relocation, and do not feel bad about it! Make sure to phone the relocation company a week before confirming the relocation.

Brand
Legal Branding

6 Reasons Brand Image is Important for Your Business

Forbes indicates that business branding is more important than you might think. Business branding is more than your company logos, name, and colors. It includes everything that gives identity to your business, making it distinct from competitors. Your business brand image brings out what your enterprise stands for. In today’s business environment, a positive brand image is a more crucial component of business than ever. Proper branding based on the technology will give your company an edge in the competitive business environment.

Below are reasons why the brand image is important for your business.

1. Improves Recognition of Your Business

Among the reasons to create a brand image for your business is to make it recognized. Therefore, if your business branding is positive and strong, customers will notice it more. Solid branding makes your business remain in peoples’ minds longer.

So, your business should possess visual elements like a distinct logo to make it unforgettable to your customers. You can also use customized embossed stationery to make an enduring impression on your customers. You can use it on; thank you notes for special occasions like when appreciating your loyal customers. Embossing is a stylish way to present your business name or logo, leaving a lasting impression.

2. Helps to Create Trust

A reputable brand image will generate a lot of trust among your clients. A trusted brand will create a good perception amongst customers and the public in general. Consequently, your brand will earn a positive reputation making your brand to be robust.

Nevertheless, your branding should not only strike a healthy level of trust between your company and its stakeholders but also maintain it. You can attain this if you can set realistic promises that strategically position your brand in the market and then deliver on the promises.

Once the promise is delivered, trust automatically builds in your clients’ thoughts. Indeed, trust will distinguish your brand and give your company a competitive advantage in the crowded market.

3. Motivates Your Employees

Every employee takes pride in working for a company with a strong brand name. The satisfaction that comes with working in such a company is a strong motivating factor. Nothing is as fulfilling for an employee as working for a reputable brand. It gives job satisfaction and makes working for such a company both pleasant and fulfilling.

More importantly, your employees are part of the stakeholders of your brand image. They form the first line of communication for your brand hence the first ambassadors. If your employees associate well with your brand, they will disseminate it to customers and other strategic partners. Remember! Your employees interact more frequently with company partners.

4. Branding Brings New Customers

One of the benefits of a good brand is to increase referral business. When your company has a strong brand image, it creates a positive impression on clients. Customers like a familiar and dependable company based on the brand’s trust. Consequently, they will likely engage in business because of your company’s good name.

All that counts is establishing a good perception of your brand in the market. What follows is the influx of new customers. So, a positive reputation will drive a chain of new clients to your brand leading to more purchases.

5. Branding Boosts Business Value

advertising-brand-branding

Branding is crucial if you are focused on generating future business ventures. If your brand is solid, it can boost your business value by giving your company extra leverage over competitors. Eventually, your company becomes an attractive investment vehicle since it is well grounded in the market.

When your brand earns a good reputation, its rise in value will be consummated. So, a robust standing is equivalent to a strong brand, in turn, rendering into great value. Apart from being an asset, a business brand holds fiscal value. Hence, it increases the general worth of your company.

6. Supports Your Advertising Efforts

Advertising is one of the most vital elements of your brand image. You should stage a comprehensive promotion of your brand if you are to expand. If you want to create a good brand image, you must focus. Subsequently, you will be able to create a lasting positive impression of your company in clients’ minds.

Concluding Remarks

The concept of branding is an ever-evolving subject. It encompasses several areas of expertise, such as marketing, business management, and psychology. While the brand image is not the same as marketing, the two are subordinate to one another.

If the idea of building a brand name from scratch sounds daunting to you and would prefer to start a business with an already established & trusted brand name for a low fee you should consider opening a franchise business. You can find the best franchises available in the United Kingdom at a website called www.franchise-uk.co.uk

 

Guest post contributed by Tracie Johnson

Email
Digital BrandingSaaS Branding

4 Benefits of PO Box Alternatives

The advances in technology today have made a lot of older practices look outdated and obsolete. A P.O. box is one such practice. Frequently used by small business owners, frequent travelers, digital nomads, and anybody else not looking to have their mail delivered directly to their homes, a standard post office box has now been replaced by newer PO box alternatives that provide all the convenience and none of the downsides.

A virtual mailbox, the cutting-edge alternative to the old PO box, is the perfect modern solution to all your snail mail needs. Here’s a look at what a virtual mailbox means, and the four key benefits it offers.

What Is a Virtual Mailbox?

Looking to travel often but need someone to not only receive but also go through your mail to let you know what is urgent and what isn’t? A professional virtual mailbox service such as the one offered by PhysicalAddress.com is better than a po box since you don’t have to drop everything to come and collect your mail every time you receive new mail.

PO box alternatives like physicaladdress.com offer a scan and email feature where every item in your new mail gets scanned and the images of the scan sent to you via email. You can then decide if the mail is urgent enough for you to pick up immediately or be forwarded to you, or whether it can also be sent to you at a later date along with other incoming packages.

Besides the mail pickup, these types of virtual mailbox services also offer you an actual physical address to use for your business and other communication if you want to keep your personal address private. Let’s take a closer look at all the benefits of a virtual mailbox.

You Don’t Need to Keep Going to Your Mailbox

Unless you’re expecting a package that you’ve been really looking forward to, commuting every time to check your mail can feel like a needless, thankless chore. It may also not be physically possible for you to keep checking on your PO box in person. This might be due to a number of reasons. Some people intentionally prefer the thrill of being a digital nomad where you’re constantly on the move, be it for personal or professional reasons.

An old-style P.O. box is pretty burdensome in such cases, where you might be out of the country, not just out of the city or state, too often to actually keep checking on your PO box. This might also be the case for frequent business travelers. Or someone in poor health might have difficulties in getting to their PO box often. A virtual mailbox does away with this need to be there in person to check your mail. When you compare a po box’s price to the bare-bones services it offers, a virtual mailbox emerges as the clear winner.

See Your Mail in Your Inbox Before You Get It

Most professional virtual mailbox providers offer a scan and forward service. This entails scanning all your new mail and sending you these images of your packages and envelopes to you in your email. You can thus sort out for yourself which mail is important enough to be picked up or forwarded to you and which mail can be kept until your next mail package. The scan feature also ensures you could be anywhere in the world and yet know when and what new mail you’ve received.

Get Your Mail Forwarded to You

A great benefit of a professional virtual mailbox is that you don’t need to go physically to retrieve important emails. You can decide if you want every bit of mail forwarded to you, or just the important ones, based on the images of the mail sent to you in your inbox. You can also choose to have your non-essential mail privately and confidentially shredded to de-clutter your mail.

Seen this way, the virtual mailbox service plays the important role of a virtual assistant that can help you sort out your mail, simplify your chores, and make your personal and professional life easier. What’s more, you can look for a service that does not involve third parties to sift through your mail, but their own, confidentiality-bound employees. These benefits of a virtual mailbox far outweigh the cost of a po box and the meager benefits it offers.

Keep Your Personal Address Private

The physical address feature of a virtual mailbox ensures you never have to share your personal address if you don’t want to. For frequent travelers and digital nomads, this means your lifestyle does not need to get in the way of having a single, consistent address for your packages. You could be on a whole different continent every month, and yet be able to retain a regular address.

For small business owners, if you have a marketing campaign in mind, then you’ll need to send a lot of emails. Most business emails and newsletters require an official business address. A physical address via a virtual mailbox is the perfect solution when you don’t want to advertise your real or personal address to the hundreds of people you want to send your newsletter to.

Another key benefit for small business owners is that the professional address provided by a virtual mailbox service usually looks far more business-oriented and professional than a private, residential address. Use the business address for all your official, government, and marketing communication to send the signal that yours is a serious, ‘real’ business. Remember that a number of banks and businesses too might not accept a mere PO box for an address.

Take advantage of the virtual mailbox to help your small business and your personal life thrive without the inconveniences of an older service where you need to do all the physical labor of traveling or commuting. With the virtual mailbox, you can keep track of all the really important mail you need easily and conveniently from wherever you are around the world. The virtual mailbox is thus truly an important and handy advancement in technology for small business owners and world travelers.

Warehouse
Personal Branding

Is it Better to Purchase or Lease a Warehouse for Your Biz?

Getting ready to launch your business involves several crucial choices. If you plan to have a physical business, you may need to think about finding a location for storage. You will be faced with the question of whether to buy or lease a warehouse. This is an issue with pros and cons you will need to ponder.

Leasing Costs More in the Long Term

Finding a warehouse for sale in Houston will never be a problem. The issue you will face is how long you want to stay in a particular location and how much this will cost you. For this reason, you may first wish to lease, rather than buy, a warehouse. This may be because you want to see how well things go within a particular space of time.

This is a strategy that may be recommended if you are starting on a budget that is less than forgiving. If this is the case, it may well be a good idea to limit your upfront costs by leasing. Should the worst occur, you will at least have minimized your losses by not being tied to a building you now have to sell.

However, should the opposite occur, you may need to reconsider this state of affairs. As time goes on and your business begins to prosper, leasing may be a strategy that begins to cost you a lot of money. Your business may be giving you the economic pull you need to begin thinking about owning a space of your own.

Should this be the case, now is an excellent time to consider buying a warehouse property. Although it may seem like a major investment in the short term, this is a move that is bound to pay off. The money that you save by being an owner rather than a renter can be focused elsewhere to help your business expand.

Buying Leads to an Investment That Appreciates

When you are making your initial decision to lease or own a warehouse property, you need to keep the future of your business in mind. Doing so will help you arrive at a state of mind where you can think more clearly about your upcoming moves. One of the choices in front of you in future days will be whether or not all of your business assets are growing in value.

This will not be the case with any properties that you are leasing. They are not your properties, to begin with. If you want to take advantage of rising prices in the commercial real estate market, you will need to have skin in the game. The only benefit that comes otherwise will be to the owner that raises your rent.

How Long Will You Stay in Business?

Another major question that needs to be pondered on is just how long you plan to stay in this particular venture. If this business does succeed, will it be your main focus for years to come? Will you sell it at the first sign of a major profit? Or will you build it for a few years while developing your future plans?

If you are planning on staying with this present venture for the long haul, there is no reason not to consider buying a warehouse. This will be a move that gives added stability to your day-to-day operations. The warehouse you buy will be the cornerstone of your enterprise for many more years to come.

On the other hand, if this is not a business you plan on owning for a long time, it may be better to lease. You want to limit your losses in case it fails. You also want to be able to divest quickly from the entire operation once you sign a deal to sell it.

Buying or Leasing Depends on Your Finances

At the end of the day, the issue of whether to buy or lease a warehouse property will come down to your present and future financial health. If you can foresee a time in the future where your profits enable it, you should plan to buy. If this venture is a stepping stone to other pursuits, leasing may be best.

 

Legal BrandingPersonal Branding

10 Licenses you Need to Open a Restaurant in the US

Opening a restaurant, like any business, is a long and complicated process. Once you’ve got a solid business plan and investors, the next step is the most difficult and time-consuming part of the process, the licensing. While different states may vary slightly on the exact licenses you need to have to open a restaurant, these are some of the ten most important licenses you will need to open a restaurant in the US.

1. Business License

The very first thing you are going to need to open a restaurant or any business at all in the United States is a business license. This allows new businesses to be recognized as legal entities.

Depending on your new restaurant’s location, you may have to pay a yearly fee for this, or a percentage of your total sales.

If you are planning to sell alcohol in your restaurant, you will need to apply for both a state business license and an additional federal business license.

2. Employer Identification Number (EIN)

As well as a business license, every business in the US must obtain an employee identification number to operate. The EIN is given to every business by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and serves as a tax ID number. However, be warned that the IRS only issues one EIN each day, so be prepared for a long wait on this one.

3. Certificate of Occupancy

After your business location passes its final building inspection, your city’s local zoning or building department will issue you with a certificate of occupancy. This will legally state that the building has been built and maintained to an adequate standard.

4. Liquor License

If you want to serve alcohol at your restaurant, you will need to know how to get a liquor license. Depending on your state, you may have to apply for a liquor license as well as a beer and wine license. These applications can take months to process so make sure to start this process as early as you’re able.

5. Food Service License

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You can usually apply for a food service license from your city or county health department. They will usually then visit your restaurant to ensure that all food safety regulations are being followed. Once you have successfully gained this license, the health department will regularly visit your restaurant for inspections. If at any point you are found to fail one of these inspections, you may face losing your food service license.

6. Building Health Permit

In some states, it is required that all restaurant buildings are inspected for a building health permit, particularly if you are building the location yourself.

This could be included in your business license, however, you should be sure to double-check if your state requires a building health permit too.

7. Employee Health Permit

As well as a health permit for your building, you will need to get a health permit for every employee who is handling food and beverages. There are specific training resources available from the FDA for employee health and food protection. In most cases, employees will need to complete a state-approved food handler’s course and gain a food handler’s permit. This teaches employees important food safety points such as proper sanitation practices, food handling, and food storage to ensure food safety in your business.

8. Sign Permit

Every business or storefront will want to put up a sign to market their business and attract customers from the streets. However, before you put up a sign you will need to be awarded a sign permit from your city government. Each city has its own regulations about what size, lighting, and locations are acceptable for your business’s sign. It is also important if you are renting or leasing the building your business is in to make sure you get written approval from your landlord to display your sign as well as the state-issued sign permit.

9. Music License

All good restaurants will play music to create an atmosphere and personality. To avoid any copyright infringement claims you will need to purchase a music license to cover all forms of music from a CD to streaming services to live music performances.

Playing copyrighted music without first purchasing a license could incur a fine of anywhere between $750 to $30,000 so this license is well worth the fee.

10. Seller’s Permit

A seller’s permit is something that allows a business to be identified by the state as a collector of sales tax. This is a particularly important permit in the state of California. In other states, this may be referred to as a “sales tax permit” or license. This is important for most businesses in the US, particularly restaurants and other businesses handling food and drink.

Legal Branding

What are the Key Benefits of Sales CRM for Small Businesses?

Small businesses needlessly waste time, effort, and financial resources trying to manually manage all prospects and optimize their sales processes. Implementing a sales CRM system can make your sales processes much more efficient and effective for all teams.

A customer relationship management system is a centralized platform your teams can use to shorten the sales cycle, personalize the customer experience, and build lifelong brand advocates. But that’s just the beginning.  

In reality, there are many benefits to using a sales CRM tool over the long term, allowing you to add value to your business and minimize financial waste. Let’s talk about the key benefits of sales CRM and how it can help you take your small business to the next level. 

Seamless and effective contact management

The first and probably the most obvious pain point that a good CRM can solve is contact management. Small businesses struggle to manage all their prospects, customers, and suppliers efficiently, let alone set follow-up tasks or organize the sales process per the customer’s unique requirements.

marketingfounders

A comprehensive sales CRM system allows you to:

  • Track and organize all prospects and customers
  • Contact them and communicate with them in a personalized way
  • Identify the stage they’re at in their journey
  • Optimize your approach according to their location in the sales funnel
  • Communicate all information with other teams to align your strategies
  • Set follow-up tasks for each contact and outline the next steps toward conversion

Efficient and effective contact management allows your teams to manage your sales pipeline as well, which is the next important benefit of sales CRM.

Enhance support and personalization with detailed reports

Sales optimization and improvement rely heavily on business intelligence. You need the right data and insights to guide your decision-making process and allow your teams to build personalized strategies for customer acquisition and retention. 

The beauty of sales CRM in a small business environment is that it provides you with actionable reports and allows you to visualize your data so that you can monitor and improve your performance. As your company grows and you continue to handle an increasing number of leads and customers, your CRM tool will be able to scale its reporting to fit your evolving needs.

This allows your teams to retain a detailed overview of all sales processes, analyze their performance and KPIs, and adapt on the fly.

Efficiently manage your sales pipeline

Successful sales teams need to be able to track all sales opportunities from the moment they become qualified leads to the moment they become your devoted brand advocates. This is a long and resource-intensive process that you cannot do manually, at least not in a cost-effective way if you’re looking to incentivize business growth.

When using a sales CRM tool, your sales experts can easily track all leads and nurture them until they become paying customers. The great thing about sales CRM is that it allows you to create detailed sales opportunities and assign value to each potential deal, which is data you can use to prioritize leads, optimize your approach, and create more accurate sales forecasts.

5 Famous Rebrands and What We Can Learn From Them

Manage your workload with tasks and calendars

When leads start piling up and your sales opportunities continue to grow, your sales, marketing, and support teams will find themselves unable to effectively manage everything at once. To avoid confusion and costly setbacks like missed sales opportunities, you need a sales CRM system to manage the teams’ workload.

Pulling the data directly from your CRM allows you to schedule and prioritize tasks, making sure to maintain contact with each prospect regardless of their position in the sales funnel. Needless to say, this will also help you encourage customers to come back for more. When a marketer decides that the lead is ready to transition over to one of your sales experts, they can easily assign the task to a salesperson who will then take full advantage of the opportunity.

This ensures that no prospect is left behind.

Guide customers through the buyer’s journey

One of the biggest perks of a dedicated sales CRM system is that you can use all the data within to seamlessly guide your prospects and customers through their journey. Always keep in mind that different customers are at different stages of that journey, so your sales experts need to adapt their approach for each prospect.

If a customer is at the discovery stage, your salesperson cannot try to push an offer their way just yet. On the other hand, if a customer is ready to buy, your sales experts need to optimize their communication to finalize the deal. For instance, let’s say you provide social media services for local businesses. A thorough social media strategy proposal can be enough to get your deal over the line for leads that are more or less ready to buy. Your CRM tool will ensure they always take the right approach. 

Over to you

Using a sales CRM in your small business is one of the best ways to empower your sales, marketing, and support teams to boost lead management, conversion, and customer lifetime value. A comprehensive CRM system will allow you to manage all aspects of the buyer’s journey and optimize all sales processes to convert quickly but also build lifelong brand-consumer relationships.

Local Branding

6 Hacks for Levelling up Your Photocopying Game

Photocopying may seem to be a really simple and straightforward operation, especially when used for branding your business. But that’s not to say that every time you photocopy something you’re going to get the very best outcome, nor does it mean that the process of photocopying several files will always be a smooth one. Operating a photocopier or digital duplicator machine can be far more complex than you’d imagine, especially with the different options and settings many of them come with.

That said, you needn’t worry about your photocopy concerns anymore, as we’re here to outline 6 hacks for leveling up your photocopying game.

1. Properly prepare the original copies

Once you’ve decided to photocopy something, you should always do everything you can to ensure that the original copy is in top-notch condition. If the original copies are carefully preserved then they will produce the greatest copies, so it’s a wise idea to keep your original papers in excellent condition. Even if you have more than one original copy, keep them all in fantastic condition in case anything happens to the other copies.

2. Always use quality copy paper

The quality of copy paper you use can ultimately determine the overall outcome of your copies. To start with, you should decide on the paper weight you want to use. Standard weight paper is cost-effective and compatible with faster, more efficient copiers. The heavyweight paper offers a smooth texture, but it might slow down copy machines. You can enhance the perception of the copy by printing the original on heavyweight paper.


budget wedding

3. Ensure you clean the photocopier or machine

Having a clean photocopier or digital duplicator machine will improve the overall quality and outcome of your photocopy, hence why you need to ensure it is clean before you use it to copy absolutely anything. Avoid contacting the glass with your fingertips or anything else to help keep the machine clean for future uses and operation.

Take the time to clean off the glass before you begin copying to remove any foreign objects or debris that might affect your copies. The glass should be cleaned with glass cleaner before being dried with an appropriate cloth.

4. Avoid creasing your original papers

If your original copy is folded or crumpled, seek to get rid of them as soon as possible. If you try to copy a folded or pleated piece, the copies will be far less clear.

5. Reconsider using sticky notes

 If you are copying sticky notes or ‘post-it notes’, be careful since the sticky residue might collect dirt, which can damage the machine or ruin the original you’re trying to reproduce.

6. Prepare the machine until it’s perfect

If you’re not pleased with your test copy, you should spend some time adjusting the machine’s specifications until you have the copy you want. Once you’re satisfied with the copy, you can enter the quantity required. In the event that something goes wrong with your photocopy, simply stop the process and preserve your original paper until it’s solved.

As you can see, photocopying doesn’t have to be the same old thing every time! With these 6 hacks, you will be able to level up your photocopying game, revolutionizing the quality of your prints.