• Office Renovation Steps

    Like any renovation, a successful office renovation requires considerable planning. However, while a home renovation is challenging, office renovations include the extra obstacle of completing the remodel without disturbing work flow too much. The following steps will help you undergo an effective office renovation without unnecessary stress or cost.

    Step 1: Establish your Goals

    Planning is the most important element of an office renovation, so you and your partners need to take some time to establish your goals for the renovation. During this stage, you want to address a number of important questions. You should not only establish a budget and timeline for your renovations, but you want to ask yourself about the purpose of the renovation and how the work will unfold. For example, will you continue using your office during renovations or will you move to a temporary office? Do you need to install new technology? Are you purchasing new furniture that may change the overall interior design of your offices? Taking the extra time and making the extra effort in the early stages of office renovations will save you time, money, and hassle in the future.

    Step 2: Build a Reno Team

    Even the smallest office renovations will likely require team effort. Whether you’re coordinating office staff during the renovation or the renovation itself, your team will include management members as well as the renovators. Depending on the goals you have established, you may need to hire a contractor to oversee construction work and an interior design expert to oversee the design of your new offices. These experts will help you develop a renovation plan that fits your budget and timeline while keeping you abreast of important decisions that need to be made from the beginning and along the way.

    Step 3: Start Designing

    Once you have established your goals and put together a renovation team, you can start designing. There are many questions to be asked about everything from fittings to furniture. Ultimately, you’ll want to determine an effective office layout together with your general contractor and your interior design professional. At this stage, you’ll get a better idea of timelines for different aspects of your renovation.

    You’ll also want to take some time to develop your style preferences. What kind of lighting would you like in your new office? How will workspaces be arranged? What kind of storage options would you like? Do you have special media or audio-visual requirements for meeting spaces? Once you’re in the design phase of your project, you’ll start to see the future vision of your office.

    Step 4: The Ground-breaking

    You’re finally ready to get your office renovation project underway. You’ve developed a specific plan that includes construction requirements and interior design preferences, and your offices will be bright and new in no time!



    Source by Alex Pupkin

  • Loan Sharks – What You Need to Know

    Loan sharking is the practice of lending money to desperate people at extremely high and illegal rates of interest. Loan sharks, or shylocks, make a big profit from people who can’t get loans from legitimate sources, such as banks or other lending institutions. For as long as people have needed money they don’t have, there have been loan sharks there to provide their services for a fee. They introduce themselves as a solution to a problem; they are businessmen who want to help a borrower get out of a bind. Prey to these sharks can be compulsive gamblers, single parents, the elderly, illegal immigrants, white-collar executives, or anybody else who desperately needs more money than they have access to.

    Most people associate loan sharks with gangsters and organized crime. Loan sharking is a very lucrative business for criminals, and it’s a major source of income for the crime families. They receive a very good rate of return on their investment, and in a short amount of time, often a matter of weeks. They may charge interest at rates of up to 20% per week, and possibly even higher. In one New York investigation, it was found that a loan shark syndicate was netting 3000% annual interest! Dallas mobsters were more competitively priced, they charged only 585% annual interest. These were rates in the ghetto. Shylocks would be more competitively priced for corporate white-collar businessmen; rates might be more in the 5% weekly range.

    In the mafia world, shylocking is also known as six-for-five; you borrow five and pay back six at the end of the week. You can see how this can turn very expensive. If someone borrowed five hundred and did not have the full payment, the loan shark would accept the interest payment of one hundred and extend the loan for another week, with interest. If they can’t pay when they’re supposed to, they would be forced to take out another loan, interest is added on top of interest and the debt can quickly become impossible to get out of.

    The funds for shylocking would usually come from the top, the family boss. The boss would loan money to his capos (lieutenants), knowing he could trust them to pay him back with interest. The capos then loan money with interest to the lower ranking members of the mob. These are the loan sharks that made loans to the common citizen, and enforced payment.

    Loan sharks ensured payment with threats of violence. They require no collateral other than the borrower and his family’s well being. “Leg-breakers” were often employed by loan sharks to be sure they receive payment. It’s not true that people were always killed if they didn’t pay. Dead people can’t pay back their debts, so it would not be good business practice to eliminate resources. They would occasionally “make an example” of some who owed very little to be sure other borrowers took them seriously. The borrower, worrying about life and limb of himself and his family, would have no option but to pay the shylock even if it meant he had to lie, cheat, or steal.

    Modern Day Predatory Lending

    There is no legal definition for predatory lending, but it generally includes the use of unethical practices by lenders who use tactics that skirt around the law. They might give unfair loan terms, use confusing language, charge hidden fees, and use high-pressure sales methods. They make money as long as they can keep borrowers in debt to them. They commonly target the elderly, low-income, minorities, or people with poor credit, but anyone can be a victim of these unscrupulous lenders. Predatory lenders thrive on consumers who need or want more than they can afford to have, and trick borrowers into believing the loans are necessary and affordable.

    Many commonly accepted loan services are available to consumers that work on the same principles as a mob shylock. There are laws regulating the amount of interest that can be charged for a loan, but lenders can charge “service fees.” Check cashing places offer “payday loans”, you can write them a post-dated check for the amount of the loan, plus a hefty fee for use of that money for a week or two. The fees can amount to 400% APR, these places are happy to loan as much as possible based on the borrower’s expected paycheck. Then what happens when he gets his paycheck and realizes that it’s already spent? He’ll go back to take out another payday loan so he can pay his bills and buy groceries. This cycle of borrowing more to pay back a loan can trap a person into being perpetually in debt and never getting ahead. These places are usually found on the same block as a liquor store in low-income neighborhoods. These …

  • 10 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Project Teams

    Introduction

    Projects are increasingly at the heart of what an organization does today. Whether it is new product development, marketing campaigns, technology implementations, process improvement or a myriad of other possibilities, projects are what get things done.

    Almost all of us can point to examples of project success and project failure. Many well-known examples of project success include such famed stories as the Apollo space program, and the Chrysler Automotive turn-around. A more recent success story is the rescue of the miners in Chile. But for every success story, there are multiple failures. Time and / or cost overruns occur in many of our projects today while only a small percentage of the desired objectives is delivered.

    At the heart of almost every project is a team that is tasked with completing the project and delivering value to the organization. Effective teams deliver high-quality, value-added projects. Ineffective teams deliver mediocre projects at best and no project at worst.

    How can you improve the performance of the project teams in your organization? How can you get your project teams to do more, faster, and maintain or increase the quality of their deliverables so that your project is listed as a success and not as one of the statistics? The purpose of this article is to discuss 10 ways that will yield both short and long-term results and that should trigger you to think of other methods that will be effective in your own organization.

    #1: Get Everyone Involved in the Project Planning Process

    When you plan your projects, get the entire team involved to various degrees. Ask them what tasks will need to be completed to meet the project’s objectives. Ask them how long they estimate the tasks to take. Ask them what issues may arise and how you can plan for them. Why? Because when your team has input into the project plan, they will begin to feel ownership and responsibility for the tasks and deliverables for which they are responsible.

    David is a team member on a new marketing project responsible for generating ad copy. He is not consulted on the project plan, but is told which tasks he needs to accomplish and how long it is going to take. David feels no ownership for the plan, nor does he feel a responsibility to complete the tasks in the time allotted. In fact, he feels somewhat resentful of the imposition. When push comes to shove and the project is running late and getting down to the wire, David leaves work on time and does not put forth any extra effort.

    In contrast, Susan is a team member on a software implementation project. She has been involved from the beginning and has provided input into the various tasks that will need to be accomplished and their associated estimates. Susan is excited about the project, feels a part of the team, and is looking forward to contributing. When the project is getting down to the wire, Susan stays late, works harder and is committed to completing her tasks on time and in a quality fashion. Why? Because they are her tasks. She sat in the meeting and made a commitment to her teammates and she feels obligated to deliver.

    A related suggestion is to utilize brainstorming sessions. Many times during project planning or execution phases, questions, problems or challenges arise that must be solved. For example, a product solution must be developed to meet a particular need. Sometimes, a brainstorming session may be an appropriate and effective method of putting forth a solution.

    A brainstorming session will get several if not all members of the project team together to brainstorm ideas for a possible solution. Granted, a lot of “crazy” ideas will be thrown out and that is ok. The goal is to identify the best ideas and to evaluate them as a group to determine the best appropriate solution given the team’s current constraints.

    #2: Make Status Updating Easy

    The primary job of your team members is to complete project deliverables in a quality fashion. However, part of their job is also to communicate the status of their work. This is critical as decisions need to be made based on the project’s current status. Can we add resources to a task that is falling behind? Can we source supplies from another vendor since the original vendor is late? What should we communicate to the organization’s customers? Critical questions such as these cannot be asked, much less acted upon, unless you have good project status. And the project’s current status is only as good as the status that each individual provides.

    The quality of a team member’s status update is often related to the ease with which they can provide it and what will be done with it after it is …

  • Remodeling Your Floors With Hardwood Flooring

    When remodeling a house one of the most important decisions to make is what type of hardwood floors to use. Though other alternatives may seem like a bargain at first, wooden flooring is less susceptible to cracking and other forms of duress but has also been shown to greatly improve your home value. Not only does hardwood timber flooring make your house’s market price greatly increase, it also has a nice polished professional look to it that will impress both guests and yourself. While it may seem overwhelming at whether you home should have engineered flooring or solid wood floors, the choice is easily decided on by what you want the final product to accomplish.

    If you want a nice rustic look to your house, than timber floor boards are a great pick for you. Despite being more difficult to install, the charming naturalistic look of timber floor boards will make your house truly feel new. The comfort and nostalgia of going with a timber floor board is one of the most satisfying home choices that a remodel can bring. Though solid timber floors require a good deal of maintenance, it will be worthwhile when you take in the lovely aesthetics they add. If you decide to go with timber floors, you will probably need to get assistance in the installation because they can be cumbersome to install without proper equipment.

    When choosing your solid timber flooring houses often use a type of oak floors as they fit with the neighborhoods’ style and the area’s culture. Though the types of oak flooring vary depending on the area, European oak floor is by far the most common. The reason behind this is European oak flooring has a subtle yet sophisticated look making it very appealing to those interested in adding a refined taste to their house during their remodel. Even if you’re only interested in increasing the resell value of your house, oak flooring houses sell for much more than the cost of the investment. If you aren’t interested in installing oak floor buyers may also enjoy the textured look of Distressed Wood flooring. So don’t be afraid to experiment and deviate from the traditional method as the distressed look may go well with the rest of your interior.

    If you want to enjoy the look of wooden floors without the maintenance and upkeep, then you may want to consider engineered wood flooring. While it doesn’t have the same thickness and form factor of hardwood floors, it is much easier to both manage and install. If you prefer to do all of your remodeling yourself, than engineered oak flooring is probably the right choice for you as it is much more straightforward to place down. Regardless of whether you choose to go with natural timber floors or engineered flooring, the look will be just the thing to make your remodeled house feel new and beautiful.



    Source by Matt Davis

  • Evolution of Commercial Interior Design

    What is Commercial Interior Design

    Commercial design, sometimes known as contract or non-residential interior design, can be described as a challenging and complex process of creating and managing the construction or renovation of the commercial spaces.

    Even though some people use the “commercial” interior design term interchangeably with the “office” interior design. However, the work encompasses a much larger variety then the office spaces. The commercial design projects also involves the design and specification of public spaces, such as hotels, restaurants, and similar buildings beyond the “office” space. In other words, designing commercial design involves designing the interior of any facility that serves business purposes.

    It usually demands a significant amount of attention to detail and it involves much more than just the decoration of the interior of the spaces. The design projects address much wider issues including:

    • design and maximisation of space,
    • eco friendly build and renovation,
    • ceiling and lighting options,
    • power and plumbing systems,
    • and even commissioning data and voice communications systems to meet demand.

    This work requires the experts to have a good grasp of architecture, as well as an artistic sense for creating attractive settings within the space.

    In today’s extremely commercialised world, we take a lot of things for granted. Compare today’s TV advertising to that of 50 years ago. Think of the current visual merchandising with the visual merchandising in the early 20th Century.

    How about the commercial interior design? As you think cast your mind over the evolution of the commercial public spaces, you will realise the enormous amount of change it has gone through. In the following section, I will take you through a brief history of commercial interior design.

    Evolution of Commercial Interiors

    Many historians agree that the profession of commercial interior design is said to have its roots in 19th Century. It used to be known as the interior decoration initially. One of the key influences was the development of new techniques and technologies that were born out of the Industrial Revolution. They made the mass produced furnishings and materials much cheaper and accessible for all.

    Initially most of the early commercial interior work was carried out by the architects. The start of the 20th Century saw the emergence of decorators and designers that were focusing on the commercial interiors.

    In Conclusion

    The commercial design work has lots of fascinating aspects; not least due to its variety of the projects. And, it will continue to evolve as the businesses aim to maximise the commercial space while reducing the cost.



    Source by Adil Akkus

  • Epoxy Garage Floor – Epoxy Vs Polyurea, Adhesion

    There are two competing products in the garage floor coating industry: the traditional applied epoxy/polyurethane coatings, and the relatively newer polyurea coatings. First, the coatings are chemically related; they share a common chemistry.

    Both coatings have remarkable adhesion properties, and are very durable, at least compared to typical paint products. Another introductory point is that although advertised as “polyureas”, garage floor polyurea products are really hybrids. A pure polyurea cures in 15 seconds or so–obviously not very easy to apply unless it is sprayed. Pure polyureas are sprayed, and used in industrial applications.

    Strenghth and Adhesion

    Adhesion is important because garage floors take a beating. If the adhesion between coating and cement floor fails, then the project fails. Both polyureas and epoxies adhere tenaciously to the surfaces to which they are applied-but only when the underlying surface is prepared well.

    The problem with polyureas is that the reduced drying time may not sufficiently “wet” the concrete surface to which it is applied. This wetting of a surface means absorption, which means adhesion. We know that Premier Garage uses some form of hybrid, and the recent lawsuit brought by some of its franchisees involved, as one of its claims, allegations that PremierGarage’s hybrid products lack adhesion.

    It’s only an allegation though, and I would suspect that the problem may lie in the surface preparation, rather than the coating properties. Here in Austin, the one Premier Garage installation I observed was prepared with an acid solution, and not with a physical grinder. That’s a recipe for disaster–the best preparation is always surface grinding.

    All in all, polyurea hybrids and epoxy coatings, when applied over well-prepared surfaces, have more than adequate adhesion properties to adhere to even imperfect concrete for at least a decade.



    Source by Mike Spadaccini

  • How to Woo the Various Numerology Numbers

    Sometimes you are trying to get someone’s attention romantically and other times you are trying to make a good impression on them so they will hire you for a job. No matter what your reason for trying to make an impact on someone emotionally, numerology can go a long way towards assisting you in figuring out what makes someone tick.

    If you really want to get to know someone, calculate all of the numbers that create him or her as sentient human beings with desires and wishes. This includes the Life Path Number (the sum of the birth date reduced to one digit), the Destiny Number (the full name), Soul Urge (the vowels) and the Personality Number (the consonants.) Then consult with the interpretations below to find out how to get them to notice you.

    How to Woo A …

    Number 1 Life Path – Show your willingness to be a follower, not a leader. A gift of cash to a good cause in his or her name always impresses a number 1.

    Number 1 Destiny -Indicate that you won’t mind giving up your life for this person’s. Show loyalty, volunteer to be this person’s personal assistant and make it clear you will never ask much for yourself. Never outshine this individual or they will consider you an enemy.

    Number 1 Soul Urge – Make it clear to this person that you understand politics and special needs and that consorting with your enemies or infidelities don’t bother you. Soul Urge 1’s need not to be condemned for “doing what they have to do.”

    Number 1 Personality – Give them a picture of him or herself that is flattering or any kind of award or recognition (faux or not) that recognizes them as number 1. The Personality 1 also appreciates cash, trips to a spa, makeovers and shopping sprees as gifts.

    How To Woo A …

    Number 2 Life Path – Nothing makes this person happier than the marriage proposal and the wedding ring on the finger.

    Number 2 Destiny- Second honeymoons, promises of love and romance and eternal fidelity please this type. In business, signing long leases or long contracts makes this type happy.

    Number 2 Soul Urge – Teddy bears, pictures of you – anything that constantly reminds them that you are always there for them despite their enormous insecurity always pleases a 2.

    Number 2 Personality – This type is very much gratified by a pregnancy as the child cements the reality of the relationship for them. Kids are the glue that keep them together. They also appreciate any form of seduction – dinners out, long trips with just the two of you and sentimental objects and jewelry as gifts. Pulling on the heartstrings is the key to winning over the Number 2 personality.

    How To Woo A …

    Number 3 Life Path – Give him or her a long rope and the freedom to talk to or even have an affair with whomever they want.

    Number 3 Destiny – A musical instrument, trip to a spa, clothes or anything that improves their performance as entertainers matters to them the most. They also like toys.

    Number 3 Soul Urge – This person is likely to be most impressed by an exotic vacation. Giving them a picture of themselves (a painted portrait for example) will impress them too. Showing them off in public is also appreciated.

    Number 3 Personality – This person sees him or herself as being very unique and above the rules that normally apply to any of the other numbers. As they are so special, they appreciate gifts and ideas that are one of a kind and actions that are not easily imitated.

    How To Woo A …

    Number 4 Life Path – A life long promise to take care of this person in every way means the most to them. Individuals who are not critical of them or who will not blame them for their situation also impress them. Cash or a roof over their heads are the best gift.

    Number 4 Life Destiny – An offer of unconditional love either in the form of marriage or life long friendship is often required. Financial help is always appreciated by a hard done by 4.

    Number 4 Soul Urge – Any type of vacation or holiday or offer to clear up the number 4’s debts usually impresses them.

    Number 4 Personality – Trips to spas, paying off bills and taking care of the basics that they can’t often impresses a 4. Paying a dental bill or back rent usually will win a 4’s heart.

    How To Woo A …

    Number 5 Life Path – This person greatly appreciates a long vacation or exotic trip.

    Number 5 Destiny – Gifts such as luggage, air miles points and …