Financial benefits of renting office space

benefits of rentingIf you’re a small business or start up it can be hard to see the benefits of renting office space, especially from a cost effectiveness perspective. But if you’re shrewd, you can end up with your business in impressive new premises while still pushing forward towards your financial goals.

The latest trend is shared offices – taking part of an office that is managed by another firm on monthly running contract, rather than the old leasing model that sees all the responsibility and admin heaped on your company. Of course, desk rental isn’t for everyone. But have a read through this short office space rental guide to see if either renting, or renting out, desk space might be viable for your business.

1) The office gives you the edge

If you’re not already in an office – perhaps working from home – there is a lot to be said fro renting office space. First, there is professionalism – depending on the business and the type of clients you may have, simply having an office address, being in the town centre or regular access a meeting room can raise your businesses stakes. If you’re a start-up looking to spread your base, nothing says you mean business like moving into a quality commercial unit.

2) Contacts and inspiration

When you rent desk space in a shared office, you get the benefit of being in an environment with other small businesses. You tend to find many small businesses and freelancers who take advantage of serviced or shared office space are from creative professions such as writers, designers and web developers. This can create a great office buzz, where like minded people can share ideas and ask advice, as well as offering up opportunities not only for business deals but also friendships.

3) Spend a little more, get a little more

If you’ve looked at moving into office space, but found you can’t get what you need for the money, try looking at somewhere a little bigger. Sounds crazy, but if you can agree with whoever you’re leasing from to sub-let some of the space you can recoup the extra space, or more, by getting others in to share your offices with you. You may find you can get into a slightly nicer area, or a better looking building, by taking on a little more space.

4) Downsized? Claw that money back

The recession has hit us all, some worse than others. If you’ve found you had to lay off staff and are now rattling round in a half empty office, why not let that space out to other small businesses that are looking for a break and will appreciate cheap serviced offices or shared offices? The new influx of people can give your office a new lease of life, while you’re already heating and lighting that room – you may as well let someone make use of it and pay you for the privilege.

There are of course some possible downsides. If you are looking to rent office space you may not be happy that you’re relinquishing so many decisions – from decoration to choosing a broadband supplier or security firm. But remember, it will be on a short term lease – you can move on easily if things don’t work out.

Security can be an issue, of course. For some businesses it simply won’t be appropriate to have people not connected directly to your company having open access to your building. Some may even find the extra staff a distraction, rather than a positive addition to the work environment. But for many, renting office space provides the perfect answer to their problems.

About the author: Chris Marling writes on behalf of Office Genie, the UK’s first proper online marketplace for desk space and shared office space.

Free Anti-Virus Software

Microsoft is to release a free ant-virus software, with the the rumoured name being Morrow.   Apparently Morrow is going to be compete against Symantec anti-virus and has been tested as a beta version in the United States.

Microsoft has said that Morrow, remember this is only the rumoured name, will offer protection against viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans.  The release of Morrow is seen as a strategic move by Microsoft against anti-virus providers  such as Symantec and McAfee who both generate billions of dollars each year with their anti-virus products.  McAfee and Symantec are said to make most of their revenue from full security suite software that features encryption, password protection, a firewall, parental controls and data backup features in addition to basic anti-virus protection functionality.

[adrotate group=”17″]

Apparently Symantec and McAfee have indicated that they don’t see Microsoft’s entry into the ant-virus market as a threat, but this seems a bit strange to me, Microsoft not a threat?  However, it is also rumoured that Morrow is said to be a basic product and and will not offer the same type of protection as Symantec and McAfee products.  We will wait to see what happens but it’s a very interesting development.

[adrotate group=”16″]

How to buy a PC

The size and shape of a PC is more important than it used to be.  A mini PC costs more and is less upgradeable, but takes up less desk space.

If you are interested in games, upgrade to a decent graphics card.  To be able to play next year’s games, it’s worth upgrading to a more powerful card such as a Radeon HD 4830. 

[adrotate group=”18″]

All modern PCs come with dual core processors, and so are capable of taking on tough tasks.  Anyone who regularly undertakes tough tasks, like video editing and encoding, should seriously consider a quad-core processor, a more powerful processor.

There are plenty of reasons to upgrade the memory of hard disk.  If you’ll be using your PC for gaming, video editing or other demanding tasks then you’ll want both 4GB of RAM and a bigger hard disk.

A quality sound system will enhance all manner of PC activities.  To hear the surround soundtrack of a  DVD at its best, you’ll need a 5.1 speaker system.  Games can also use 5.1 systems.  If you want to listen to music or want better quality sound, you’ll need a dedicated sound card.

All PC’s now come with widescreen monitors.  As well as being ideal for watching movies, they feel more natural for working on spreadsheets and databases.  A 19in widescreen LCD is now considered basic.  Large 20in and 22in LCDs are available from around £130 and have a higher reolution.  Decide if you want a glossy display or not.  Glossy displays improve contrast and make images look brighter, but they reflect overhead lights and sunlight easily, which can be annoying.

The standard connectors can be improved with extra USB ports, to which most PC gadgets attach, and a Fire Wire port for gadgets such as digital video cameras.  Look for a memory card reader if you have a digital and make sure your camera’s memory card is supported.

[adrotate group=”21″]

Windows Vista Home premiul is preinstalled on most new PCs.  Any extra software bundled should be assessed critically.  It may be that you’ll never use it.  You may find a PC that includes software you’d otherwise have paid for, so you’ll save lots of money by having it preloaded.

If you only undertake basic tasks then consider a nettop.  Nettops are low-cost, low-price PCs ideal for day-to-day computing tasks like web surfing and office applications.  They use similar components to netbooks and so are very popular and efficient. Somenetbooks have optical drives for burning and playing DVDs and CDs.  The more compact models do not have space for such drives.

Free Business Cards

VistaPrint is making high-quality graphic design and custom printing convenient and affordable for everyone.

How does VistaPrint design and print such high quality products at such a low price?

In one word—technology. Historically, graphic design and custom printing have been hands-on, laborious processes for both the supplier and the customer. Inflated supplier costs resulted in exorbitant prices for the customer, even for print jobs in very small quantities. VistaPrint’s patented, state-of-the-art technologies fully automate not only the manufacturing of printing, but also the manner in which orders are created and submitted. In a nutshell, we incur lower costs, which mean our customers enjoy lower prices for higher quality printing.

With more than 17 million customers worldwide, VistaPrint is the source for high-quality graphic design, Internet printing and premium service. We offer small businesses and consumers a convenient, high-quality solution for graphic design services and full-colour printing in small quantities, without the premium price.

[adrotate group=”29″ banner=”26″]

Avoid Overdraft Fees

Once your bank account has suffered a negative balance due to anything other than a system complication, financial institutions penalize account holders with a charge otherwise known as an overdraft fee. Though this fee varies, it is frustrating.  So, it is important to keep track of your money,  here are several ways to prevent overdraft fees from happening.

Steps to avoid overdraft fees

1.  Don’t rely on your “Available Balance.” Many financial institutions engage in a practice where they will reflect your “Available Balance” but can not recognize transactions that come in after the end of the business day, or checks. Available balance generally reflects the money you have in your account available to you, but a common trigger of overdraft fees occurs when the transaction is actually posting (moving from a “pending” status to “posted”). Banks generally place a hold on your money for 3 business days if it’s a credit purchase, and if the bank doesn’t receive receipt of payment by then, they will release the money back into the account. However, when a credit purchase is made, the merchant has much longer than that to collect payment. Therefore, it is not uncommon to see transactions being withdrawn days after they were made, therefore throwing off the expected available balance.

2. Arrange text alerts from your bank.

Some banks,  will send you a text message when you’re nearing your account limit so you can avoid unplanned overdrafts.  With Lloyds TSB, if your account goes overdrawn, you are given until 3:30 p.m. UK time to pay in the money or arrange a planned overdraft so you can avoid overdraft fees. You can also arrange texts alerts for when your account nears a low balance limit that you set.

 3. Arrange for overdraft protection from your bank.

This is an agreed borrowing limit you arrange with your bank, and it can help you manage cash flow better. It gets you out of a jam when, for example, you have an urgent bill but your pay cheque doesn’t go in the bank for a few more days. You have to arrange for this with your bank, and some banks allow you to do this online or over the phone.