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The Perks of Contemporary Office Retrofits



Designing Your Commercial Building's Interior

Considering how much time employees spend daily at their workplace, making that environment comfortable, pleasant and energy-efficient is a major precondition for their well-being and productivity. Employees’ satisfaction and engagement are directly linked to a stimulating environment, so office design should lean towards being inspiring and motivating and not gloomy and dispiriting.

The tendency for modern office designs is to rely on sustainable products and equipment, which means furniture, lighting and heating/cooling have adhere to environmentally-friendly standards. Even older buildings can be transformed into ideal working spaces by retrofitting for the benefit of all employees.

Insulation and soundproofing

If you’re planning to set up your business in an old but well-built building in a great location, chances are you’ll be able to realise your design dream but it will be necessary to make some improvements. Primarily, you’ll need to put a proper insulation on interior walls and under the roof construction, usually by adding layers of thermal mass.

In case the internal layout is not in its best condition, it might be necessary to top it all with the overcladding procedure. This procedure involves putting layers of thermally effective “skin” over the existing façade which improves the building’s energy efficiency, air tightness and thermal performance. It also increases the life expectancy of the building and aesthetically, it improves its appearance and adds to overall comfort.

As for the interior walls, there are a couple of choices to consider, depending on your budget. Excellent soundproofing can be achieved with wall-to-wall carpets and different kinds of wall coverings that can take up a part or the entire surface of walls (over-sized paintings, posters, and tapestries). If your budget is tight, consider putting up heavy drapes or window blinds.

You can additionally fit your windows with argon-filled frames or completely replace them with energy-efficient models to reduce energy loss to the minimum.

Double glazing

Instead of a complete window and door replacement, there’s another option to consider. You can choose to install double glazing and keep the existing setup. It’s a simple, non-invasive and cost-effective way of improving office comfort.

The advantage of this installation is that it regulates the temperature and also reduces noise (sound-proof doors and windows are based on the secondary aluminium window system that is specifically designed to reduce noise through existing sliding structures). Since it’s adaptable to your existing size and position of panels, it will take very little space and it can be retrofitted in record period of time.

In addition, you can even choose from a large variety of colours to fit in any kind of office design scheme that you already have. For a job well done, consider calling genuine pros who offer an extensive range of services and are highly recommended.

Using existing design and resources

Lighting, cooling and ventilation rank high on the list of factors that contribute to office comfort. It’s very easy to go green here, too. Installing solar panels, for example, will provide a sustainable method of both lighting and heating. A lot of energy can be saved by installing light sensors and while you must use air-conditioning in the server room and large meeting rooms, the offices can easily be cooled by regular airing through open windows.

To set the bar even higher and be a leading example in resource efficiency, think about using reclaimed wood and stone, bricks and slates for necessary repairs. If you use salvaged tiles, floor coverings and radiators, you can truly minimize your environmental impact.

The benefits of retrofitting are numerous: efficient use of energy, lower utility bills, improved working conditions, higher employee satisfaction and productivity. Retrofitting has the overall effect of creating a pleasant, environmentally-friendly environment that is beneficial to both workers and owners.

Lillian Connors believes that the question of business goes far beyond the maximization of profit through different money-grabbing ploys. Instead, she likes to think that ethical principles should be at the core of every commercial venture, paving the way for much more balanced distribution of wealth on a global scale. You can check her out on LinkedIn.

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Considering the Legal Ramifications of Your Startup’s Policies



Considering the Legal Ramifications of Your Startup

Starting a business brings with it legal and financial challenges. These are ramifications worth considering as you plan out your startup’s policies and practices. But, fortunately, you can better protect your business and employees with a comprehensive approach to legal safety.

From trademarks to accessibility, there’s a lot to consider as you navigate servicing the public with a new product or service. Align your business model with legal best practices to avoid costly liabilities. These are the legal ramifications to keep in mind as you plan your startup’s policies around long-term success.

Legal Ramifications to Consider

When it comes to legal considerations, the more preparation you have the better. This means liability insurance, effective trademark filings, cybersecurity protections, and more. That’s because, in the course of keeping your business safe, there are risks to address at every angle.

Ignoring legal issues can end up ruining your business. Instead, you need to build protections that cover each category of risk. Even the best intentions can sometimes lead to liability, so educating yourself and preparing for the worst is essential for adequate protection.

Start by learning the legal issues many startups face. For instance, these challenges can arise even when picking a name. Since names are an integral part of branding, registering a business title has to go through the United States Patent and Trademark office. Even then, other businesses may legally dispute your claim to the name, as Chicago-based tech company Meta had to do when Facebook decided to take the moniker.

As you consider the legal ramifications of your own decisions and policies, keep these common challenges in mind:

1. Trademarking and intellectual property

Trademarking and patenting are vital parts of business policy. Without a strong understanding of what a trademark is and how to register one, you’ll likely find yourself in hot water when competitors decide to take your ideas. To protect your intellectual property, follow proper trademark filing procedures and be sure to maintain the status of your trademarks. Many business owners forget that these have to be renewed.

2. Safety hazards

Additionally, there are a host of safety and personnel hazards you’ll need to mitigate through policy. The legal hurdles that come from safety hazards are one of the biggest reasons that startups fail. To prevent these hazards, you’ll need to develop strict safety compliance standards and consider adopting smarter safety technology. These days, sensors and monitors on the Internet of Things (IoT) make it easier for safety managers to identify and reduce workplace risk.

3. Discrimination

Then, ensure that anti-discrimination is a core principle of all your workplace policies. This means building empathy into your company values and supporting workers by maintaining an inclusive working environment. Make sure your policies do not discriminate against workers by training your workforce on anti-harassment and cultural sensitivity. A thorough approach ensures a workplace is free from discrimination by sex, age, race, ethnicity, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or creed.

4. Cybersecurity threats

Once you can be sure your policies support workers’ rights, you need to protect their — and your customers’ — data. This means cybersecurity. In today’s pandemic economy, we have more workers logging in from home than ever before. Naturally, the increased diversity in access points represents a vulnerability. Create a bring your own device policy that considers the cybersecurity risks at every step. This can include policies like:

  • Using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)
  • Managing endpoint app usage
  • Deploying a centralized anti-malware system

5. Accessibility

While your systems have to be safe, they still have to be accessible. By building products and services for all kinds of users, you mitigate the risk of a lawsuit while expanding your audience. Every business should desire these dual benefits. Accessible policies are simply good business, and they are quickly becoming an enforced standard.

For instance, Domino’s Pizza had to pay a customer $4,000 after a lost accessibility lawsuit involving their online ordering tool, not to mention the legal costs. To avoid legal ramifications like these that can hamper your startup, embrace accessible policies like following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

Protecting Your Startup With Good Policy

Fortunately for startups, the many legal ramifications that can impact your business operations can be mostly avoided through good policy. Start by doing your research on trademarks and patents, implementing a plan for maintaining your intellectual property. From here, practice policies that foster an inclusive, safe workplace.

Protecting your startup starts with considering legal hurdles. Make note of these now as you plan a better business model.

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Tips to Jumpstart a Property-Flipping Business



property flipping

The real estate market is booming and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. And you can flip properties to capitalize on rising demand for properties nationwide.

Flipping properties can be lucrative. But you need to plan ahead before you purchase, upgrade, and flip your first property. That way, you can achieve immediate success out of the gate.

Now, let’s look at four tips to jumpstart a property-flipping business — and keep it going strong long into the future.

1. Establish Goals

Create SMART goals for your property-flipping business. These goals are:

  • Specific: Outline what you want to accomplish and how you plan to do so.
  • Measurable: Ensure that you can track your progress as you work toward achieving your goals.
  • Achievable: Verify that your goals are realistic.
  • Relevant: Confirm that your goals align with what you want to accomplish in your career.
  • Time-Bound: Give yourself sufficient time to complete your goals.

Maintain flexibility with your property-flipping business goals as well. If you need to adjust your goals along the way, do so as needed.   

2. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

Keep an eye on the real estate market. Then, you can make a plan to flip properties per the sector’s current and future performance.

For instance, research indicates U.S. home prices rose 18% year over year in September 2021. However, some real estate market experts predict “buyer fatigue” may impact home prices in the foreseeable future. This could lead to a rapid shift in the real estate market that impacts your ability to purchase properties and flip them for significant profits.

It also pays to watch real estate startup technology trends. Using real estate mobile apps with geolocation and other state-of-the-art technologies can help you determine what properties to target. From here, you can use these technologies to explore ways to get the most value out of your property investments.

3. Obtain Financing

Seek out financing, so you can get the money you need to flip properties. Hard money and conventional loans are available. Evaluate both options carefully to determine if either is right for you.

Generally, it helps to meet with multiple lenders. You can then get insights into various loan options and how they work. Finally, you can make an informed decision on how to finance your property-flipping business.

Don’t forget to set up a budget, too. Know how much money is accessible and stick to your budget as you launch your budget. In doing so, you can reduce your risk of going bankrupt. 

4. Prioritize Property Upgrades

Check out properties and consider how you can upgrade them. Next, you can prioritize upgrades that help you boost a property’s value. At the same time, you can identify property upgrades that won’t break your budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to learn about the legal ramifications associated with myriad property upgrades. For instance, you may need to complete repairs to ensure a residential property’s plumbing is up to code. Or, you may need to remove asbestos from a property; failure to alleviate this issue can expose occupants to harmful airborne contaminants that can contribute to lung cancer and to legal penalties.

If possible, hire professional help to assist with property upgrades. Seek out property improvement professionals who possess comprehensive expertise. These professionals can complete any property repairs correctly, on time, and on budget.  

The Bottom Line on How to Jumpstart Your Property-Flipping Business

A property-flipping business can open the door to a wide range of career opportunities. Some people successfully flip properties for years and earn substantial income doing so. Meanwhile, others start flipping properties and move on to opportunities to rent their properties.

Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can lay the groundwork for a successful property-flipping business. Use these tips to help get your property-flipping business off the ground. And as your company grows, remain persistent to ensure your business can achieve the optimal results now and in the future.

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Malaysian food startup MATES. introducing the concept of Complete Food – OATLER



MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Ever heard of brands like Dollar Shave Club, Glossier & Gymshark? These are all Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) brands from the West that have achieved the unicorn status (valued at >US$ 1 billion) by selling everyday products directly to consumers, some are even listed in the US stock exchange such as Warby Parker & FIGS.

Taking a closer look at the SEA scene, you may have come across brands that are mainly digitally native and have minimal offline presence. To name a few, these folks are Oxwhite, Secretlab, Zenyum, Love Bonito, Thousand Miles etc., who have employed various e-commerce strategies to reach the digital-first consumers in SEA.

What is DTC model? Comparison between Traditional vs DTC

MATES Introducing the Best Complete Food Oatler

Here comes the billion dollar question: Why does DTC matter?

Well, the DTC model is gaining traction as brands are moving towards embracing cost-effective business strategies and safer modes of distribution to the consumers.

DTC retail is essentially a fast-track method of reaching consumers, allowing them to make purchase through exclusive channels (i.e. official website), by way of eliminating middlemen involved in the distribution process. This helps the retailers reduce hefty markups from wholesalers and save logistical costs in the secondary mile delivery.

These DTC brands often focus on niche audience via heavy investing in online marketing, thus enabling them to provide them a better quality and greater end-to-end customer buying experience, with very competitive pricing.

Here is a recent example of a Malaysia-based e-commerce brand, MATES. that is adopting the DTC model.

Who is MATES.?

MATES. is a DTC lifestyle brand offering and specialising in convenient and new health products. They aim to provide the urban community with convenient food alternatives without compromising on nutrition and taste.

As seen on their official website, their flagship product is Oatler, a.k.a. 5-Sec Breakfast, an oat-based food that is complete with an adult’s daily nutrition needs packed in a highly portable pouch. Learn more about their product here (2-min read).

MATES. Business Strategies (from Marketing > Community Building > Operating Model)

Social Media Marketing

As discussed above, DTC brands invest massive effort in online marketing. This Malaysia-based brand focuses on social media marketing through creative ways of getting its first batch of users to try out their debut product.

Weeks prior to their official product launch, they did seeding in micro-influencers and key opinion leaders (“KOL”) marketing to get them to share their testimonials and reviews over their social media. This is an effective word-ofmouth marketing as seen in many other micro DTC brands too.

Community Building

Another strategy adopted by this brand is targeted community building. With the proliferation of micro e-commerce brands, today’s consumers have less brand loyalty than ever before. It takes more than just a great product to build a loyal following of customers. MATES. first started out with a 2-pronged approach: (1) social media content creation and (2) creating a club-based community, where they managed to bring a feel-good exclusivity to their social media followers. The followers who resonate with the pain points and overall brand philosophy are likely to be more engaged, thereby convert into a customer and drive word-of-mouth traffic.

Business Operating Model & Product Launch

According to the founding team of MATES., they are currently operating on a 100% e-commerce, pre-order only model, without any offline presence. This allows them to remove the middlemen and minimise working capital.

Customers can place an order upon their official launch on 24 October 2021 and will have their product delivered in early January 2022, i.e. approximately 2.5 months of lead time.

Prior to their product launch on 24th Oct 2021, there is no doubt that enormous amount of marketing work needs to be put in place. They rolled out a referral campaign where everyone can refer their friends mainly through social media channels and, in return, receive rewards upon achieving certain amount of referrals.

For this campaign, they have incorporated a “milestone” concept, where a referrer is entitled to purchase a certain number of MATES. products at RM1 depending on the referral “milestone” achieved.

There are 3 milestones in total:

1. Referred 8 friends = 2-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

2. Referred 25 friends = 6-week supply of breakfast @ RM1

3. Referred 100 friends = 1-year supply of breakfast @ RM1

While this seems creative and does create a fun game-like experience to the participants, it still boils down to how successful this DTC brand is in capturing these leads and converting them into massive sales volumes.

Vicole Lim and Yeann Tan are co-founders of Mates Food Store (widely known as MATES). Vicole oversees MATES’ marketing, spearheading the overall marketing direction, business strategy, and supply chain operations. Yeann, on the other hand, oversees business strategy too, finance, public relations (PR) and partnerships.

Facebook: @heymates.official
Instagram: @heymates.official
Twitter: @TweetyMates

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