Recommendations and New Opportunities for Small Business

5 Ways to Reduce Operating Costs for Your Small Business

Today’s concerns about inflation are forcing small business owners to find new ways to save money on business operating costs. One way to solve this problem is to search for ways to save money on things your business uses every day. Here are five ways to do this that are easy to incorporate into your firm’s day-to-day operations:

  1. Buy in Bulk Wisely

Buying things in bulk can help your firm save money by using economies of scale to reduce an item’s unit price to a manageable level. It can also save your firm money on employee downtime by reducing trips to the store to purchase needed items.

It is easy to get carried away purchasing items in bulk quantities because retailers offer enticing discounts on many items purchased in bulk quantities. A smart way to avoid this problem is to purchase items in bulk that your firm uses in large enough quantities to justify a larger order.

  1. Hire a Professional Cleaning Service

If you think about it, hiring a professional cleaning service is a great way to save money on your business’s long-term maintenance costs. This makes sense because regular cleaning of your firm’s workspaces can prevent structural and sanitation problems that are more costly to fix than hiring a commercial carpet cleaning or janitorial service.

  1. Telecommute When Possible

Today’s advances in internet video technology make telecommuting a great choice for firms looking to save money on office costs because you can visit clients anywhere without being stuck inside an office. This is especially helpful if your firm has a limited budget for basic expenses because most telecommuting applications are easy to customize to meet a firm’s communication needs.

  1. Reduce Your Energy Use

Reducing your energy use is a great way to save money on one of your firm’s largest monthly expenses. An easy way to start reducing your energy use is to use office items that are designed to use less energy. Your employees can take this idea one step further by adopting other habits such as turning off the lights when they are not being used.

  1. Use Mailing Services to Lower Shipping Costs

For a small monthly fee, mailing services offer discounts on shipping services provided by the most popular shipping companies. Using these services can save money on shipping costs because they offer rates that are often much lower than what you would find elsewhere. To get the most value from these services, be sure that the amount of money your business saves on shipping is greater than the cost of using the service each month.

How Negative Reviews Can Benefit Your Small Business

Negative Feedback

The rise of online retailing has changed the way we shop and how we interact with businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed retailers to move quickly to address the shift towards online retailing in the 2020s. The problem facing small business owners is how to address the problems posed by negative reviews left online.

Negative Reviews are not Always bad

Businessowners have the chance to engage with their customers in several different ways in the 21st-century. Online reviews are just one way a customer interacts with a business. Recent studies have shown the star rating of a brand is less important to potential customers than the content of reviews. A review a business owner sees as bad may not seem as problematic to a potential customer.

Engage in a Conversation

When a business owner sees a negative review, they will feel several feelings. The initial outrage and distress a business owner feels when faced with a negative review will quickly fade away when they engage in a conversation with the reviewer. A company that does carpet cleaning in Thornton responds to reviews by asking what they can do better or how to make it right. It is easy to become embroiled in an argument with a reviewer, but asking what went wrong with their experience can open up the conversation. Potential customers will be impressed by your professional manner and willingness to interact with unhappy customers and be more willing to take a risk on your brand.

Learn From Negative Reviews

The best business leaders use negative interactions as a learning experience. Whether you are offering a service or launching a new product, your customers are at the sharp end of the customer experience. Even the biggest brands in the world have faced problems, look at Coca-Cola’s launch of New Coke. A negative review is a chance to learn what your customers feel is wrong with your business or product offerings. Take the criticism and identify where your business can improve in the future.

Identify Patterns of Information

One way potential customers decide which brands they trust is to look for patterns of behavior. A brand that consistently has shipping issues should address this area because it can quickly become an area of concern. Brand leaders need to look over the comments for their products and services to identify if they are affected by patterns of negativity. Negative patterns are one of the most important areas for potential customers, who will look at the overall review scores of a brand and jump directly to the negative reviews.

A negative review should never be responded to in the heat of the moment. Instead, formulate a response before engaging in a conversation with a customer. negative reviews should be seen as an opportunity to learn and educate a brand about the quality of their customer service.

How to Find the Right Niche for Your Cleaning Business

The first step in running a successful cleaning business is to find the right niche right away. It is not enough to clean well; there must be a demand for your services for the business to grow. Finding your niche may take some time, but you’ll quickly discover what will work best for your company if you follow these guidelines.

Notepad with sign Find Your Niche on a wooden background.

1. How You Want to Brand your Self
Branding your business is essential because it will tell the potential customers what your business is about. When you are searching for a niche, you should know where your business would fit in. People might be looking for specific details about the services your company is offering. In the cleaning business, there are several niches to specialize in; for example, you can decide to be a commercial, residential, hard floor, exterior cleaning, and many more niches.

2. Competition
If you’re considering starting a business, it would be best for you to find the right niche and get ways to handle the competition. Furthermore, when searching for a place, you should consider competition to keep up with other businesses in the industry.

Before choosing a niche, do market research on how your direct competitor handles their business to remain competitive. Market research will make it easy to identify market gaps or weaknesses from competitors and develop new ways to succeed in the niche.

3. Identify a Problem your Business Can Solve
You must find a niche with problems that you can solve. Consider who your target audience is and what they want. You can also locate someone who is experiencing an issue and offer your assistance as a solution. For example, suppose you’re starting a cleaning business. In that case, you might do some research on your family and friends and discover that they’re using a variety of companies because they never feel like the one they’re using is doing the best job possible. Slow response times, poor communication, unexplained fees or hidden costs, and inconsistent quality of work are some complaints you are likely to discover. Thus, you can start a company where you fulfill the needs of the clients.

4. Profitability
The best way to start a cleaning business is by taking the time to find the right niche. The wrong niche can be costly, but so can choose no niche at all. The key is just knowing your profits and what kind of margins you’re looking for.
If you don’t know how much money you want to make on each job, then it’s difficult to determine whether that particular job will be worth your while or not. You also won’t know which jobs will require more supplies and time commitment than others because they’ll all look like profitable ventures if you don’t take into account the hassle factor of each one. Once you have a firm idea about what profit margin looks good, it’s easier to evaluate potential.

How to Maintain a Healthy Office Environment

It is important for you to do everything that you can to maintain healthy office space. If the office space is healthy, then the employees will be healthier and have to take fewer sick days. You can take the following steps to maintain a healthy office environment.

Put Standing Desks in the Office

Most people are well aware of the fact that it is bad for their health to sit down all day. Many people spend eight to 12 hours sitting down per day. You can help your employees offset the effects of sitting by using a standing desk. You should encourage people to alternate between standing and sitting.

Encourage Healthy Food Choices

A nutritious diet helps people stay healthy. Offices are known for not having the best food choices. That is why it is important for you to encourage healthy food choices in the office. Instead of stocking the break rooms with chocolate bars, potato chips, and brownies, you should put fruits and Nutri-Grain bars in there.

Apples are one of the foods that you can put in the office break room. It is a great source of vitamin C. You can also put grapes in the break room. Grapes are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and numerous other essential minerals.

Keep Surfaces Clean

Harmful germs and bacteria can be kept to a minimum by keeping desks, floors, and equipment clean. Encourage the staff to wipe down surfaces daily with anti-bacterial wipes. Hire a cleaning service to come in after business hours on a regular basis.

Put Some Plants in the Room

There are several ways that plants can make the office environment healthier. They can clean the air and improve indoor air quality. Studies have also shown that plants can boost people’s moods. Additionally, plants can help people relax.

It is important to remember that all plants are not created equal. The best types of plants to use in the office are the ones that are green and leafy.

Encourage People to Move

Health experts say that people should get 30 minutes of exercise per day. Many people do not have a lot of time when they get home. That is why you should encourage them to get movement in while they are working. For example, you should tell them to take a walk during their lunch break. You can also tell them to climb the stairs when they need to go to another floor.

Put An Air Purifier in the Office

Plants are not the only things that can be used to clean the air. You should put an air purifier in the office. An air filter can help prevent sinus issues and allergies. They can also reduce headaches that are triggered by poor air quality.

The Impact of a Business Exterior on a Company’s Success


illustration of various storefronts


How a Building’s Exterior Affects a Company’s Success

Your company’s success is determined by a collaboration of different aspects, including the marketing strategy you employ, the productivity of your employees, and the daily operations. One of the best marketing strategies that can benefit your company is the building’s exterior appearance. The external part is the first thing that your potential clients see; therefore, you need to get their attention and interest. The following are ways in which your building’s exterior impacts your success.


  • Standard Setting

The exterior of your company is often an interpretation of the quality of services you offer. By taking care of your building’s appearance, it proves to the clients that you are professional. It is a way to earn their trust as they are sure you can take care of their needs to satisfaction.


  • Attract New Clients

When selecting a design for your exterior, you have to ensure that it is appealing. Note that attractive signage will capture the attention of the passers-by and will be propelled to know more. To choose the best signage, ensure to research your client’s needs. To understand what your customers want, you can initiate a survey. You can also get ideas from what your competitors are using; however, ensure that your idea is unique. Originality is a crucial differentiation aspect.

When there are many businesses along your block, a referred client might not know how to identify the right one. You have to include the company’s contacts and the kind of services offered in your signage to make your business noticeable.


  • Budget-Saving

By regularly maintaining the building’s exterior, you are sure to minimize the costs. A good maintenance strategy ensures that you note any problem with the building before it extends. It is a way to reduce your daily expenses, which contributes to your company’s success.


  • Safety

Clients would like to feel safe in a building they are procuring the services from. Maintaining a good business exterior guarantees your customer’s safety. Notably, theft cases that are recorded happen in parking lots or walkways. To prevent this from happening, it is relevant that you install sufficient lighting. It gives potential clients peace, knowing they are not at any risk.


When your building’s exterior is presentable, there will be no complaints from your customers. By achieving this, it indicates that your clients are satisfied and can hire your services. One assurance that you cater to all your clients is installing wheelchair ramps to facilitate access to your building. The points above indicate that it is essential to maintain a good building’s exterior.


It would be best to work with a reputable professional to understand what design best suits your company. Through this, you will get more customers, which contributes to your company’s success. Visit to learn more. 

How to Be Successful With a Service Area Business

Service van driving through city

Starting a service area business in the modern age of the internet can be difficult. You’ll have to deal with making a presence online and among consumers in your local area. Fortunately, you do have some ways to ensure that you can be successful with your very own service area business.


More than anything, consumers like to save money on their services. It’s a good idea to start with a new customer special so customers are willing to pay you instead of going to a competitor that they have used before. As you build up a customer base, you should think about doing a reward program.

With a reward program, you could make it so that customers can receive discounts or free services depending on how much they use your business. This will make more of your customers keep coming back since they know that they will get a reward if they do so. Strongly consider how promotions can make your service area business successful.

Custom Website

As mentioned before, you’ll have to make yourself known online in what you provide to customers. This can be done by building a custom website so that it shows all of the information a consumer would need such as services offered, prices, and testimonials from customers. In addition to having information and booking services offered, you should think about adding a payment system.

A payment system makes it so that workers don’t have to spend too much time trying to get a customer to pay their bill. This can also make it flexible so you can accept payments through online services like PayPal and Venmo. Think about making a custom website that offers information and a payment system.

Check out a Riverview, FL Carpet Cleaner for a great example! 


Sometimes a customer will search around for a service area business that will help them, but some customers often remember the service area business they want to work with through advertisements. To release advertisements, you’ll have to think about what medium you want to release those advertisements through. Those mediums can be traditional and digital media.

With traditional media, you’ll be able to advertise your business through media channels in your area like a local TV station, radio station, or newspaper. Digital media can be a lot more focused as you can often choose what age of people you want to target on specific social media services. Make sure that you produce enough advertisements to make your business known all across your local area.


What is the IICRC and Why Does It Matter?



The IICRC is the best-known organization for certifying inspection, cleaning, and restoration businesses. They provide certification programs that ensure the highest standards in water damage restoration, carpet and upholstery cleaning, mold remediation, and other cleaning tasks. A certification from this organization is proof that a business is serious about helping its customers and the greater community.



The IICRC, known as the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, is a nonprofit organization that issues certifications of high standards to cleaning workers and companies. This U.S.-based organization determines the industry standards of building health and safety that are acceptable in the cleaning industry. The IICRC is a standard-development organization (SDO) that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The purpose of the organization is to develop strict, universally accepted standards for inspection, cleaning, and restoration companies to follow.


Why Industry Standards Are Important


Industry standards are necessary to ensure that most professionals in the industry are following strict rules and regulations. They are less likely to cut corners to get the job done and jeopardize the health and safety of their clients.


IICRC develops and promotes industry terms that are used by most professionals in their industries. Their standards pertain to the professional cleaning, inspection, and restoration services of carpets, stone, upholstery, and textiles. They set rules that affect how safely and effectively water damages are restored in homes or buildings, how mold is remediated and how crime scenes are cleaned and restored.


For instance, water damage restoration is a major service that is needed in flooded homes. Restoring a home from water damage is not the same as vacuuming and cleaning the carpet. There is a multitude of steps that must be completed, and missing one step could ruin the entire restoration project.


Without IICRC standards in place, many customers will complain to consumer protection agencies about lazy, reckless companies. Homeowners will be overcharged for low-quality services that they could have done themselves. Countless home and business owners will spend thousands of dollars extra on additional repairs. Some of them will lose their properties altogether. The IICRC protects business owners from being sued and protects consumers from being taken advantage of by businesses.


Thousands of certified cleaners have been approved by The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification and accepted by the public. Every certified technician has promised to provide the highest quality cleaning for your home or business and continues to learn new techniques every few years. The IICRC exists to show care and respect for individuals and businesses that need good services.

Have we anything to fear from the ‘fourth industrial  revolution’? 

Is a life full of copious amounts of leisure time with mundane tasks, a thing of the past, or a world with mass unemployment that is ruled by machines?

human-like robot in a thinking pose

Nobody is quite sure what the period we are entering, often referred to as the ‘fourth industrial revolution” will mean for mankind but there will be significant changes to the lives of many as we progress through the 21st century.

Is it a positive, utopian prospect as we become a technology-driven leisure society’? Or is there a far more troubling dystopian view that robots and corporations will dominate in a world of large-scale unemployment as both blue and some white-collar jobs disappear?

“The future is not inevitable and it’s something humans will create. It’s only the beginning and there are lots of scopes to shape what will happen. The future will be what we make it to be and it will be shaped by debate and will require global buy-in through investment decisions and political support.

“With artificial intelligence (AI) able to make strategic decisions, it could operate interconnected factories, rather than having a need for the current network of managers. ‘Smart’ organizations will be more efficient, providing better services to their customers. According to current patterns, inequality between countries as a whole is likely to decrease but also increase among individuals in a world of ‘smart’ technologies, organizations, and cities. There is the assumption that low-skill jobs will be replaced; with our existing economic model disrupted, a new lifelong education system will be required to upskill workers for the new jobs created.

“This vision of the future is sure to raise moral and ethical issues such as drones fighting our wars, using genetics to cure cancer, or even AI controlling our sacrosanct justice system as lawyers and even judges could become obsolete. All the three previous industrial revolutions led to conflicts – will this one be any different?”

Money for nothing? The pros and cons of a ‘basic income’ 

Basic income written on wood blocks with bag with money on yellow background. Back to basics fundamental principles concept

The recent news that the Finnish Government will not be expanding its trial which provided 2,000 unemployed people with a state-supplied basic income has sparked fresh debate on the topic.

A basic income is defined as a “periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means test or work requirement”. It is supplementary to any other support someone might receive such as unemployment, child, or housing benefit.

Dr. Charles Barthold, Lecturer in People Management at OUBS, discussed the potential advantages and drawbacks in ‘Modern Empowerment Today: The Possibilities of a Citizen’s Basic Income’, one of three presentations at a masterclass organized by OUBS at the Crowne Plaza in The City on Wednesday 2 May 2018.

Charles discusses the issue:

“The important criteria of a basic income are that it is an ‘unconditional’ income to every individual in a particular country via a repetitive cash payment and is universal (so not means-tested). The idea is to democratize society with an intention to be inclusive as everyone becomes ‘part of society’ regardless of gender, class, or poverty. It could empower us all and provide more choices for people such as offering the opportunity for couples to both works part-time, for example. It would be simple to administer and much easier than the complex current means-tested system which is subject to both fraud and errors, although some people would still be receiving other benefits on top of this basic income.

“There is an expectation that innovation will destroy and create jobs and that the current level of employment will continue to increase. Basic income is an instrument to smooth the transition from one job to another but with individual responsibility to look for the next job and to be employable. It’s meant to provide a minimum income as you transition to another job – perhaps by learning new skills through going back to education – as a response to automation which will see some repetitive, low-skilled jobs replaced and a move towards other low-skilled jobs that are not repeatable such as cleaners and care workers.

“Usually these experiments are very limited in both the number of people involved and the time it happens for. Despite the Finnish experiment not being continued beyond the end of the year, people have continued to work and stress levels decreased during these trials. I don’t see the basic income as a silver bullet as it’s difficult to provide money to people without any responsibility – according to the current world view – but it could offer more freedom and choice through education and entrepreneurship.”