Tag: Finances

If Office Space Is Too Expensive, Consider Co-Working Instead

https://stocksnap.io/photo/69TMH4ITIECommonly referred to co-working spaces, or shared offices are becoming widely popular for small startup business and or independent contractors all over the US. There are a huge number of benefits to moving to a co-working space.

Low Overhead

Co-Working spaces are substantially cheaper than a typical office space without the ball and chain of signing a lease. You could pay hourly for a conference room, or you could decide to get a monthly subscription to a facility. Usually the monthly subscriptions are tiered and all the facilities are different but an example would be:

Sample Pricing for Co-Working

Example_Pricing_TableCollaborative Work Environment

Co-working spaces are just that, they’re co-inhabited by maybe your own colleagues along with strangers with no relation to your current job/project etc. Depending on your work style this could count as a huge Pro or a huge Con. If you are looking to be inspired, or to bounce some of your ideas off a fresh mind, being in a shared environment. If you require complete silence and privacy you will be looking to rent out a more independent office situation.


You had me at snacks…most of these places are going to provide you with not only coffee but snacks! As if that is not enough, depending on the facility you can find one or more of the following amenities:


Most of added benefits are usually bundled into cost for the rental or membership.

If you are trying to decide if moving to a shared office will work for you and or your company, there are a few things to consider.

  • Population size of your business
  • Do you work fixed or flexible hours?
  • Current faculty situation (are you currently in a long/short term lease?)
  • Potential atmosphere of the shared office
  • Location, cost, etc.
  • Long term goals
  • Will your employees be open to the move
  • What comes bundled with the rent? Internet? Printers? Breakroom?

Is Co-Working Right for You and Your Company? 

You can use this flowchart to help guide you through the decision making process:


If you decide that a Co-Working environment is right for you, it’s time to start searching. If you are not familiar with it, the terminology can be a bit confusing at first. Here are some common phrases you may run into while researching:

  • Hot Desk(ing) – a work space sharing model in which the employees outnumber
  • Dedicated Desk-a workstation that is only yours, you can leave your belongings there and usually have the ability store things in a secured environment.
  • Shared (Desk or Workstation) – workspace environment meant more for a single person or a very small group of 2-3 people. This means you will be in close quarters with random people.
  • Hub– workspaces designed for small businesses that are just getting started.

8 Ways to Fund Your Start-Up


You have a great concept. You’ve developed your business plan. Everything is set, except for one thing. . . . how to fund your start-up.  There are several ways to capitalize a start-up that involve varying degrees of risk and effort. When choosing a path, it is important to know your options and evaluate which one is most suited to your needs and tolerance for risk.

To help you get started, here are eight possible sources of capital to fund your start-up business.


Most start-ups, at least in the beginning, are self-financed. This may involve using your savings, borrowing against a retirement account, or taking out a home-equity loan. This is a good thing if your venture succeeds, as you retain all of the ownership. But if things don’t go so well, you must consider and weigh the risks you’re taking.


People closest to you may be a good source of initial start-up funding. After all, they already know you, your background, and your integrity. They may be less concerned about your business plan and more willing to invest or lend based on the strength of your character.
But there are risks that are different than from other funding sources. Personal relationships can be at stake if problems or misunderstandings arise.


In crowd-funding campaigns, anyone can make online pledges to help fund your start-up. This usually involves pre-ordering a product, or receiving rewards. This is an innovative way to fund a smaller start-up.  One of the top crowd-funding sites to look into is Kickstarter.



What is an incubator group? An incubator group is a start-up accelerator often associated with universities or large organizations. Their purpose is to spur innovation. Most provide access to resources such as office space, but some also provide seed funding.  To learn more, visit Y Combinator.



There are lots of untapped government grants out there. Seek them out and you could potentially walk away with a safe and reliable source of money to fund your start-up.  A good place to start looking for small business grants is the US Small Business Administration.



If your tolerance for risk is low, talk to your bank or credit union about applying for a low-fee line of credit or personal loan. Your banker may also be able to help you with an SBA loan.  Keep in mind, though, you will have to make monthly payments right off the bat.


Most cities have groups of high-net-worth individuals who are looking to invest in interesting business opportunities in their communities. If you’ve seen the television program, “Shark Tank,” these are examples of angel investors. They often want to see at least some track record of success, but some will entertain start-ups. The downside is that you may be giving up a considerable stake—often 10 to 50 percent—of your company for the angel funding. On the other hand, you may gain valuable expertise and contacts from someone who is motivated to help your venture succeed.  A good place to start is the Overland Park, Kansas-based Angel Capital Association, which offers a list of more than 12,000 accredited angel investors.



Venture capital investors are professional investors who look for big ideas. For the majority of new start-ups, this isn’t a viable alternative, as VCs fund only about one or two percent of all business plans they review. But for those with the right combination of concept and team resumes – usually worth a few million dollars and supported by a team of proven individuals – they can be a great resource. VCs can scale capital needs quickly for fast-growing companies.  If you’re a smaller company that may not be ready for full-scale VC funding, check out Sequioia Capital, a crowd-funded VC platform.


One Critical Piece of Advice

Experts say you have about 90 seconds to impress investors or lenders with your business plan. So whatever path you take to fund your start-up business, it’s critical that you have a professional-looking presentation with a concise, compelling message.

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7 Easy Tips to Save Time & Money on Your Holiday Shopping

https://pixabay.com/en/shopping-mall-woman-shopping-store-522619/Rather than roaming the internet or the mall aimlessly buying gifts, use this shopping guide of tips and tricks, to finish your holiday shopping.  You’ll not only save time, you’ll save money.

Tip #1: Make a List 

We all know that being able to stick to a shopping list is, for many people, an exercise in self-control. Some of us even choose to adhere to a strict budget, while others have a looser understanding of how much to spend during the holidays.

If you haven’t done so already, it might be a good time to download your bank’s free app to your smart phone.  While you shop you’ll be able to check your balance in real-time.  That way you’ll avoid surprises in January when you get your bank and credit card statements.


SmartDraw Tip: Use the Project Planning Template’s Assignment view to brainstorm your holiday shopping list. The Assignment view, like the Mind Map, allows you to organize your ideas with ease.   Click the Enter key to create additional shapes in the same tier.  Then simply use the Tab key to navigate from shape to shape.  It’s that simple.   Click here to   learn more about the Assignment view.   

Tip #2: Cash in Your Rewards

Take a look at your credit card partnerships, hotel, and airline rewards programs.  This is an ideal time to use points to purchase gift cards or make online purchases through the rewards program websites.  You may even earn more points.

Tip #3: Prioritize Purchases

If you want to manage your spending, you should purchase less expensive gifts first.  According to Scott Huettel, an associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, when you purchase a costly item, your brain loses perspective on what’s a reasonable price.  For example, if you paid $400 for a new PlayStation 4®, spending $90 instead of $70 on a Lego® set would no longer faze you.  Thus resulting in a series of high priced items that could easily break the shopping budget you’ve planned for.

Use mind maps to organize your online and in-person purchases.  By adding the links to the orders you can easily follow up on online orders and scheduled deliveries.  Your shopping list is essentially your one stop shop for managing your holiday shopping.


SmartDraw Tip: You can easily save the online research you’ve done for the products you plan to buy or have already purchased  by adding a hyperlink to your shopping list.  Simply navigate to appropriate shape in the mind map, right + click and select Add Hyperlink in the menu. Use Ctrl + C to Copy and Ctrl + V to paste the url address of the product you found online into the Hyperlink Dialogue box. Click OK.  As a result, the link icon will appear in the bottom right corner of the shape.  Click here to learn more about   hyperlinking to diagrams and creating hubs of information.

Tip #4: Download an Upbeat Playlist & Your Favorite Store Apps

“Holiday music makes us nostalgic. We linger in the store and buy more to capture that warm, fuzzy feeling,” says Martin Lindstrom, the author of   Brandwashed: Tricks Companies Use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy.  Instead, wear your ear buds and listen to songs with a beat faster than your resting hear rate, which is an average of about 70 beats a minute.  You’ll outsmart the shops and move more quickly through the store.

Avoid sales pitches.  Listening to the sales associate’s pitch of products takes you away from getting your holiday shopping list done.  Simply cruise by the sales associates enjoying your playlist.  Your body language and ear buds will speak for themselves.

Take a moment to download free apps offered by your favorite retailers.   It’s not uncommon for retailers to send alerts on sales and coupons directly to your smart phone.

Tip #5: Strategize to Save Time and Money

Avoid impulse shopping leave your credit cards at home and pay with cash.  According to Lindstrom, shopping with cash cuts your overall spending by 23%.  So, stop by the bank, walk past the ATM, and go directly to a teller. Ask the bank teller to provide you with large bills, such as $50’s and $100’s.  Unconsciously, you are less likely to break them unless it’s necessary.

When you’re ready to pay for your purchases, avoid the long lines by going to the less busy departments like the home department or men’s fragrances.

Avoid shopping dates.  Although the idea of holiday shopping with a friend sounds like fun, it’s best to shop alone.  According to Lindstrom, people tend to mimic one another as they shop.  So unless you too want to stock up on new linens like your friend, kindly decline or postpone the shopping date invitation.

Tip #6: Maximize Mealtimes 

With a goal to finish your shopping list sooner opposed to later, it’s important that you stay focused and fueled.   Choose a meal loaded with fiber, protein and healthy fats.  You’re energy levels will be high and you’ll avoid the crash of sugary pastries and snacks.  You’ll be able to wrap up your shopping list sooner than you later.

Tip #7:  Wrap Things Up

Just like Santa, make your list and check it twice.  I don’t know about you, but I get satisfaction in crossing out items on my to-do list.  Now that your list is done, you can sit back and enjoy celebrating the holidays with your loved ones.


SmartDraw Tip: Mark an item as complete, simply navigate to the appropriate shape.  Right + click, navigate to Task Progress, and select 100% Complete.  As a result, a green check mark or tick appears.  Click here learn more about   Assignment Views.