Archive for March, 2012

Keeping It Simple: Business Loans

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Most businesses will need additional funding from time to time, whether it’s money needed to cover start up costs, cash to see the business through tough times or funds needed to expand.

It is normal however to be apprehensive about borrowing to fund your business, and it’s certainly not a decision to be taken lightly.

If you’ve decided that a business loan is necessary then it’s well worth taking some time to ensure that you understand the commitment fully, and are aware of all your options.

Head to the High Street

For many, the local high street banks are a good first port of call – particularly a financial institution that you already hold an account with, be it personal or business. But don’t be afraid to shop around in order to get your required credit as cheaply as possible. Small differences in APR can add up to a considerable amount over a five or ten year term, so don’t discount other banks out of a sense of loyalty.

Business Supplies from Office Allsorts

As well as big name banks, many supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s are now well-respected finance providers that regularly top the best buy charts such as money supermarket and money.co.uk.

Interest-ed?

You’ll have to decide whether a fixed or variable rate loan will suit your circumstances best – and there are pros and cons to both. Fixed rate loans are great for those who prefer to be able to predict their repayments – perhaps businesses on a strict budget. While a cheap variable rate may seem appealing while interest rates are low, it’s important to weigh up the possibility of the Bank of England increasing their base rate during the term of your loan.

It’s certainly worthwhile comparing the rates and deals offered on personal and business loans from different providers, in order to find the best loan for you. Once your business finance is in place, make sure that you use your cash flow wisely on the best value business supplies from Office AllSorts. Keeping overheads and outgoings low will increase your profit and subsequently increase the chances of your business venture being an exciting success.

Green Office Week

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

For the last few years, Office Supplies and Stationery, company, Avery have been really active in promoting the use of environmentally friendly office products. Each year they run a ‘Green Office Week’ and 2012 is no exception with the dates being set for 14th – 18th May 2012.

They’re not suggesting that office workers or businesses need make radical steps to ‘green’ their workspaces or not use stationery or only purchase environmentally friendly office stationery. Instead they focus on the office workers, the foot-soldiers, those people who use the office equipment and stationery on a daily basis to start taking small steps and make a few changes and more importantly, to become more environmentally aware in the workplace.

They’ve put together a great website www.greenofficeweek.eu full of information and ideas on how you can make Green Office Week fun. Each day of the week focuses on a different area and each day contains Top Tips on things that can be done to improve the Green credentials of your workplace.

 

  • Monday – Focus on Energy – Did you know that 1/3rd of office workers don’t turn their computer off when not in use.
  • Tuesday -  Focus on Transport – Did you know it’s estimated that 25% of office workers could car share.
  • Wednesday – Focus on Waste – Did You Know? More than half of office workers don’t re-use cardboard boxes.
  • Thursday – Focus on Purchasing – Did You Know? Only one fifth of office workers choose environmentally friendly office products or recycled stationery.
  • Friday – Focus on Innovation – Did You Know? One quarter of office workers highlighted lack of encouragement as the reason why they’re not greener

As well as the Top Tips each day, Avery have produced a Daily Downloads to help you promote and monitor Green Office Week in your workplace. These include a ‘Green Offices for Dummies’ guide, stickers to display round the office, downloadable email signatures to add it to your email, sample environmental policies and lots more.

There are prizes to be won as offices throughout the country compete against each other in ‘The Green League’ and the overall winner at the end of the week will win a really exciting and unique prize from top furniture designer Max McMurdo – an upcycled trolley chair.

It won’t cost you anything to sign up and any effort during the week will be a benefit and if you want to make it more competitive, the Green Office Week website offers great ideas for inter office competitions.

Author:  Carl Barton

Time to File

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Proper filing and document storage is more than just buying some files and writing clearly on the tabs. There is a huge range of filing products available to make the archiving of your documents a simple and efficient process and best of all in the current financial climate it’s an area of business improvement that you can implement without having to invest heavily.

At a time when businesses are striving to be as efficient as possible filing and archiving presents a fantastic opportunity for companies of all sizes to streamline their processes at the fraction of a cost of other initiatives. Put simply, poor filing harms businesses as it makes then less efficient. There are also the legal obligations to consider that means all company information should be kept safe and secure from fraud, they are also obliged to keep finances in an accurate and accessible manner for audit.

Filing Solutions

Updating  your companies filing systems is not something that has to wait until a filing cabinet breaks or your lever arch files become so warn that they are only held together by sticky tape. Although there may be some pain involved in switching from an old to a new system the long term benefits of a properly organised filing system should far outweigh the short term extra work caused.

When we talk about filing systems and archiving documents this is not limited to the main filing cabinet in the corner of the office. Every desk and work station has the opportunity to be organised more efficiently and the introduction of some simple low cost filing solutions such as presentation booklets or desktop drawer sets will help you colleagues by ensuring  that their work space is clear and important information is stored close to hand. Most businesses in the UK have a quiet period, and this presents a great opportunity for the business as a whole and the staff to overhaul their filing and archiving processes.

Filing solutions are not just about the information that you want to keep, it also involves the information that you need to dispose of. In a recent study by Fellowes only 64% of businesses had a clear policy of how to handle sensitive documents. In  addition to this the same study found that 32% of employees admitted to always throwing away sensitive documents directly into the bin. Both these figures show us that many businesses have room for improvement in this area of their filing solution and with the possible serious legal consequences that could come about from employees poor handling of information quick action is required for many companies.

Outsourcing your shredding is common practice, however this can be a costly exercise and many businesses can be put off implementing a shredding solution due to the perceived cost involved.  On-site shredding offers a lower cost option which also has the added benefit of reducing the possibility of fraud. Shredders are available in a range of sizes and for us as little as £200 you can purchase a high security departmental shredder that comes with a 5 year manufacture guarantee. Another option is to provide personal shredders to key individuals in your business so they can manage their own shredding, this allows for sensitive information to be disposed of almost immediately thereby further reducing fraud risks.

Filing may not seem like an area of your business that requires investment of money or time but if you’ve ever had the experience of not being able to find an important document and consider the amount of time that was spent hunting for it or the costs and time spent having to reproduce it

Author:  Carl Barton

Busy Desk = Busy Mind

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

It was a long held belief that a tidy desk meant a tidy mind and that desks buried under mounds of paper and files impacted on office efficiency. Recent research from from the University of Groningen however indicates the opposite, stating that being messy is a natural human behaviour and trying to enforce tidiness is a waste of time and money. Being tidy and organised is not everyone’s liking and forcing someone to be something they’re not can impact on their productivity and potentially cause stress.

Messy Desk

After all, besides the time spent in tidying, there’s also the cost of the office supplies such as desk tidies, pen holders, filing trays, magazine holders and files.

Research indicates that people think more clearly when surrounded by clutter as it forces them to focus and think more clearly and improve creativity and problem solving because it induces a need for simplicity. Einstein and Roald Dahl were notorious for having very cluttered desks and they did alright in the areas of problem solving and creativity.

Perhaps desks should be categorised as disorganised and organised as opposed to messy and tidy. After all, there’s a world of difference between an organised messy desk and a disorganised mess. With a disorganised desk, important work can get lost or hidden by the new stuff that sits on top of it. Also, if you spend just 5 minutes an hour of each working day ‘finding’ stuff, that amounts to a lost half a day per week. Just think what you might achieve with half a day extra each week. Contrast this with someone who on the face of things you wonder how they function as their desk is buried beneath seemingly unrelated and disorganised piles of paper yet ask them for a particular report they can find it in seconds.

Despite the conflicting arguments, I guess the answer is to do what’s best for you. No-one is going to argue that everyone should attempt to keep their desk clear of unnecessary clutter if only to promote improve the image of the office for visitors but to enforce ‘clear desk’ policies is equally as unrealistic. After all most people aren’t fortunate enough to deal with just one project at a time and need stuff to hand. Equally, those in technical jobs need reference material easily to hand and those creative types need sources of inspiration.

So, if you do need those office essentials such as letter trays, pen pots, magazine racks and lever arch files to create some semblance of order then at least look to co-ordinate your desk by choosing desktop accessories you like or which at least match the office decor. There are some really nice examples of chic accessories from the German Manufacturer Sigel. Manufacturers such as Durable, Leitz and Avery now manufacture matching desktop accessories in colours to suit any taste from metallic colours clear Perspex or even shocking pink.

Author:  Carl Barton

Lever Arch Files – A Buyers Guide

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Lever Arch files are a found in offices throughout the UK as they are able to safely store large amounts of paper thanks to their large metal prongs. A typical A4 lever arch files can hold approximately 300 sheets of paper, compare this to a standard A4 ring binder that holds around 100 sheets and you start to see why lever arch files are so popular.

Elba Lever Arch Files

Lever arch files also hold paper more securely that a ring binder thanks to the unique locking mechanism that fixes the contents of the folder in place. The lever in the file that gives this style of folder its name is used to open and close the prongs and this makes the file easier to handle and also means you don’t need to pull the binder apart and risk damaging the documents enclosed.

Generally leaver arch files are available in four main sizes, A3, A4, A5 and Foolscap. Foolscap files are slightly larger than A4 and as such this size of file offers greater protection to the edges of the paper it contains.  There are also a wide range of colours available which can allow you to develop a coloured coded filing system or select a colour that matches your company branding.

All lever arch files are designed to be durable as they can withstand the strain of regular handling when full of paper. However, depending on your requirements you can choose a file made from a particular material that best suits your needs. The main materials to choose from are….

Cardboard Lever arch files – Manufactured from a standard board that you would commonly used for most office files. Many of the files produced using cardboard are made using recycled material which means if you are looking for an environmental option this type of file may be for you.

Plastic Covered Board Lever Arch Files –A premium quality plastic is used which covers a high quality board material (again commonly made from recycled material). As plastic can be manufactured in virtually any colour possible there are a wide range of colour options available. Plastic covered files also have the advantage of increased durability helping to further protect your important documents.

Paper Covered Board Lever Arch Files – Again produced using a high quality board with a paper cover that means this type of file can be produced in more colour options than standard board files. This type of lever arch files is very common in retail stores as it allows for more interesting and consumer friendly designs to be produced.

If you are looking for lever arch files then why not take a look at our range at Office Allsorts. If you need any assistance were always happy to help so please feel free to give us a call on 0115 9455833.

 

 

Author:  Carl Barton