Home office space - Get productive

Smart ways to set up a more productive home office space

How every professional can create a productive home office space — whether you work primarily from home, at an office downtown or always on-the-go.

Home office space - Get productive

Workspaces come in all variations these days. Bustling buildings, cubicles, corner offices, city views, swanky loft spaces (complete with foosball tables), manufacturing plants, and even co-working spaces with a different setting every day. Sure, even home-based businesses are on the rise — but with work that follows us everywhere, many professionals have a dedicated home office space. 

So what is the secret to setting up a home office that encourages you to be more productive and successful? Here’s how to design that space to help you get the job done.

1. Get in the zone

First and foremost, if this is a new business and you’ll be using your home as your primary workspace, research the zoning laws to determine if your business can operate in that spot. If not, you might be able to obtain a zoning variance for your business. This could require an application process, which may or may not be approved — so plan early and have a backup.

2. Make room to grow in your home office space

Home office space - Room to grow

Next, enough actual space to conduct your work is a must. Do some planning as to how much elbow room you need to conduct your affairs. For instance, a remote travel agent might simply require a desk in a quiet corner of the house. On the other hand, if you plan to open a food delivery business, you’ll need space for production, packaging, and perhaps even an area for extra vehicles. Then if you need to expand, does your current property offer sufficient land? 

3. Increase your footprint

Home office space - Group work

Your current abode might have enough space to work from home once in a while. But what if you’re scaling up a side business or you need to host teams, store inventory or have co-workers set up desks beside you? You might need to increase your home office footprint, but building costs can quickly add up. 

There are ways to minimize those costs, like DIY upgrades and acting as your own general contractor. Even with those efforts, you won’t necessarily save a lot of money — and you will likely invest a great deal of time and energy you would rather put toward your business. Talking through your options with a well-chosen real estate agent can help you decide if there’s a better space more suited to you in the current housing market.

4. Moving on up

Home office space - Moving

In the interest of pinching pennies, don’t rule out a bank-owned property. Redfin explains purchasing a foreclosure requires different strategizing from routine house hunting, and the process can take time start to finish, but if you do your homework it’s a smart way to snag a great deal. And while you might be thinking you don’t have the cash for such a purchase, there are other ways to pay for a foreclosure, such as with a renovation loan or even a conventional mortgage loan.

5. Your home, your way

If you’re one of those lucky folks who already has space without moving, the next step is to redesign and equip it to meet your needs. This might be as simple as swapping a rarely used room, such as a formal dining room or extra bedroom, for your office. Or perhaps you need to revamp a garage or basement to house your new workplace. Make some sketches or hop online to create a layout that will be logical and comfortable for you. By creating visuals and taking measurements, it’ll be easier to decide on equipment purchases for the space. 

6. Be Well-Equipped

Whether you already own your space or are moving to accommodate your new venture, investing in the right equipment to make your business function is a must. Whether it’s a new laptop for your office or a more specialized purchase like engine lifts or commercial ovens, think about your workflow and how much space you need for each item to ensure a productive and efficient design. 

7. Get insured

Home office space - Liability insurance calculation

Regardless of the type of business you are in, or whether your home-based office is your primary place of work – you’ll want to take a look at insurance options to ensure that you are covered in case of equipment theft or damage, as well as for liability and cybersecurity. Some insurers offer home office coverage as an add-on to standard home insurance.

Focus on growth

Ultimately setting up the right work environment for your business is about being able to focus on productivity and growth. 

As you grow and evolve your business, managing cash flow properly will become one of the most important things you can do.

Many small businesses lack working capital for major equipment purchases, especially if a home expansion or move is part of the plan. If funds are tight, keep in mind that leasing or financing your equipment allows it to pay for itself. You might not own it outright right away, but it gives you the opportunity to put it to work for you immediately, better securing your bottom line both immediately and down the road.

Moving forward, as you need increased working capital to fund new opportunities, invoice factoring is a great alternative to a bank loan.

Successful home-based businesses are on the rise, and if you’re ready to jump on that bandwagon, the time is ripe. Ensure you have enough room for now and in the future, design your space to scale, equip it for optimal efficiency and plan for growth.

 

Need to improve your business cash flow and gain flexibility to update your home office space? Learn about smart cash flow strategies fast. Get the Ultimate Cash Cycle Guide now.

Ultimate Cash Cycle Guide

Business liquidity and invoice processing

How to increase your business liquidity through prompt payment of current invoices

If you’re waiting on customers to pay their invoices (and if payment is often past due), you may have a business liquidity issue. Here’s how to avoid the problem…

Business liquidity and invoice processing

Cash flow and business liquidity is a challenge for all companies at one point or another. Part of the problem might not be your business at all, but rather, it could be that your clients haven’t paid invoices on time.

Or your company is growing much quicker than expected. In this case, you could do so much more if you had access to the cash that will eventually come in when your accounts receivable are paid.

In other cases, it could be that an unexpected event occurred like major equipment damage or an unexpected product delivery schedule change. Any major event could put your company cash flow into crisis, and the possible tailspin can put any business owner into fright.

Innovative solution to invoice processing

Whatever the issue, there’s a solution to speed up your invoice processing called “accounts receivable factoring” that can be a huge relief, and keep your business operating smoothly.

Also called “invoice factoring” or simply « factoring, » this is an innovative way for your business to access quick and secure financing through the sale of your invoices. We specialize in this financing at Liquid Capital, and can offer up to 85% of the value of your accounts receivable, which you can then use as you need.

And this can be a liberating strategy to free up working capital on an ongoing basis. Your only limit is your ability to sell to credit-worthy customers. We collect the financed debts from your customers, which frees up your admin time and takes the headache out of your A/R process. But you’re not in the dark, as we also provide clear, accessible reporting to keep you up to date on the process. 

Did you know: Factoring is actually been around for centuries. Learn the history here.

invoice-processing-1

No bank loan? No problem.

Where a bank loan might be denied, invoice factoring could potentially advance you hundreds of thousands of dollars — in a very short timeframe. 

Many SMBs can’t access traditional bank loans all of the time. They could be extended already with bank debt, have an untraditional business model that the banks aren’t yet comfortable with or a host of other points that don’t satisfy the institution at that point in time.

This isn’t to say that a bank loan isn’t possible in the future, but in the meantime, using invoice factoring can be the exact answer needed.

Get the full details on invoice factoring here.

Would a trade war present an opportunity?

Pundits say that investors are concerned about the possibility of a trade war. Deloitte has noted that the global economy is “decelerating sharply,” which could mean a recession is on the horizon. “Despite record low unemployment, a burgeoning trade war has had a stifling effect on business investment and trade flows, not only in the United States but also broadly around the world” the report concludes.

As you probably know, opportunities often appear alongside disruptive events. Typically, if a company thrives on disruption, it’s because its leaders have been willing to make changes in the way they operate. Here are some recommendations for both importers and exporters based on my more than 30 years of experience running businesses around the world for Fortune 500 companies.

Importers

Supply chain optimization

One of the great opportunities comes from reviewing your supply chain now, ahead of tariff policy changes. Questions to ask include the amount of money that is tied up in premanufacturing deposits made to third-party foreign suppliers and the cost of holding large inventories because of manufacturing minimums or the long shipping time to your market.

Logistics cost is often overlooked, as is the cost of visits to factories in Asia or Europe. This may be the time to explore the capability of Western Hemisphere suppliers, particularly those that are located in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru. They are well served by international freight forwarders. Other advantages include reduced inventory carrying costs because of reduced transit time, lower production minimums and the ability to travel in and out in a day or two.

Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments to move production to one of these countries is outlined in my earlier article, “Why company leaders need to think like outside investors.” In it, I demonstrated that return on investment is a more important measure of profitability than gross margin. A shorter supply chain supports that argument by allowing for increased inventory turns while reducing inventory carrying cost. In other words, please do not decide against optimizing your supply chain based on the cost of production per unit. Supply chain financing is available for these imports just as it is for Asian and European goods.

Exporters

If you find that tariff policy changes affect your ability to compete in a certain market, don’t despair. Here are some ideas that may be worth trying.

Outsource some production elements

Outsource some production elements to local producers. Typically, it makes sense to assign final assembly of the product, its labels and its operating manual to local suppliers to reduce the impact of tariffs and currency exchange rates. At times, this requires the cooperation of the exporter’s main manufacturing site; however, strong leaders make decisions based on the global good rather than allowing a culture of silos to prosper.

Did you ever notice how foreign manufacturers in North America are able to be competitive? Long ago foreign car manufacturers found that not only was it good PR to manufacture in North America, but it also reduced import duties and saved on logistics expenses. They shipped parts they could “nest” together, rather than incurring the cost of shipping the air inside of a bulky auto.

Optimize distribution

It is also important to lower in-country operating expenses by training locals rather than bringing in expats. Outsource any noncore operations. Refine your hiring practices by limiting the number of positions that require English speakers. Name a local distributor in place of a JV or wholly owned operation. On that note, I have seen business improvement among companies that have facilitated leveraged buyouts by key employees. If you want to learn more about international business, please take a look at my three-part series “International expansion: Is your company ready?”

I sincerely hope that this article has stimulated your interest in this timely subject. If you’d like to discuss further, please feel free to drop me a line.

Financements récents – Février 2020

Recent Fundings – February 2020