Planning the Most Productive 2017

At the end of the holiday season comes the New Year—a time to consider both where you began at the beginning of the year, where you are currently, and what you want to achieve in the future. Here are some New Year’s resolutions for your small business to help you maximize your productivity 2017.

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1.   Get organized

Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between being organized and efficiency. When you’re more efficient, it’s easier to keep your work on a schedule.

2.   Plan out each day

There’s a saying: “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Every night, write out five accomplishments you’d like to achieve the following day.

3.   Keep meetings to 15 minutes or less

Doing so forces you to come to the meeting prepared. There will be no time to catch anyone up if that meeting is going to be productive at all. This requires your team to use forethought and organizational skills that go beyond day-to-day functionality.

4.   Use early morning time as catch-up time

If you have a hectic travel schedule, keeping up with elements happening at the office in your absence can be hectic. Use each morning, before business hours, to catch up on emails and other communications you need before starting your day.

5.   Stop multitasking

Multitasking is not a sign of productivity. It is a sign of scatter-brained business habits. This reduces the quality of your work output, which can have negative effects on your brand.

6.   Take intervallic breaks while you work

Not only is this good for people who work in creative fields, but it helps create a dynamic work culture as well. Giving employees the ability to break allots them time to collaborate on ideas away from their desks, thereby increasing productivity.

7.   Unplug and unwind

Make sure your work doesn’t follow you home. Focusing your mind on things other than work will give you refreshed perspectives once it’s time to return to the office.

The holiday season is a great time to remember that your future is never far away. These resolutions are sure to help your business grow into the future.

Top 10 Reasons to Launch Your Startup in Boulder

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Colorado has been known for attracting small businesses and for producing startups, including Arrow! Why is that? Our home in Boulder County is particularly popular for entrepreneurs for the following reasons:

1. Friendliness

Our fine Boulder County citizens will argue that there are no friendlier people located in any other part of the country than in Boulder Colorado. It’s not just that people are generally friendly here, they’re happy! When you’re starting a business, being surrounded by friendly and happy people is a huge plus.

2. Ease of Starting A Business

Thanks to Boulder Country programs and other local businesses, it is easier to start a business in Boulder than anywhere else in the country. When polled, 18,000 U.S. small business owners ranked Boulder as one of the Top 10 places in America to launch a company.

3. Licensing

When it comes to the rigmarole of obtaining licensing for any kind of small business, Boulder County keeps it as open and as simple as humanly possible, making it easy for small business owners and entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.

4. Training Opportunities

There is no shortage of training opportunities in Boulder and surrounding areas like Broomfield and Longmont. Take a free class! Attend a seminar. Call up the Boulder Small Business Bureau and see what trainings they offer in your field–we guarantee you’ll have a few to choose from.

5. Tax Code

Need we explain more? An easy-to-navigate tax code in Boulder keeps startup founders and entrepreneurs from splitting their heads open when starting their business. Who doesn’t value that?

6. Health & Safety

Here in Boulder, we have an amazing array of activities to do outside the office. This keeps us happy, healthy and rounds out our work/life balance very nicely. Boulder is an extremely safe city with relatively low traffic and low crime, so it’s a safe place to be too.

7. Employment

There is no shortage of people who want to work in Boulder. Whether your staffing needs are small or large, you’ll find happy, healthy people all over Boulder who will jump at the chance to work with you.

8. Startup Scene

Boulder County has been lucky enough to see an influx of startups over the past few years. This makes it an ideal place for new entrepreneurs to start their businesses in Boulder–there are already people here who know the lay of the land and are making it work! If they can do it, so can you. Not to mention the camaraderie that comes with building your small business in a town full of other small businesses.

9. University of Colorado Boulder

A college town is a perfect place to bring your ideas to life. There is no shortage of hunger youngsters willing to work for free as interns, and there are great ideas coming straight out of college to inspire you. Have a new product you’d like to test? Who better to use as testers than college kids?

10. Support

Last but certainly not least, Boulder has an over abundant support system for entrepreneurs and small business owners. The Boulder Small Business Bureau goes above and beyond to provide support for all small businesses in the area, as well as work with other groups and programs to make sure Boulder businesses have all the tools they need to succeed.

Inspiring Office Designs

As office fanatics, we are captivated by fun and creative spaces. The right office environment is key in promoting happiness and productivity among employees. Take a look at offices we love and how to imitate the design in your own space!

A Green Space

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Businesses have become much more green in recent years, both in construction, daily operation, and design. This space represents green inside and out by its use of natural wood and plants atop every desk. If you’re going for greenery, don’t just go for one.

A Flex Space

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Give your employees the freedom to move around and work how they’re most comfortable by providing different seating and settings. We love this office because of the easy flow between group meetings and independent work. Not to mention the cool design that keeps things inviting and upbeat.

A Fuel Space

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Great design doesn’t have to involve serious time and money. This office coffee bar is simple with one long table and just the necessities to create an environment employees can recharge and have impromptu brainstorming sessions.

A Multi-Use Space

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More and more offices are opting for communal space with semi-private options. Not only does this allow for businesses to exist in a smaller footprint, but it encourages group work and team spirit. The interchangeability of such seating and tabletops means an area can serve as either a meeting place or quiet spot as needed.

New and unique ways to design office space arise every day. Here at Arrow, we’re particularly interested in office design that has both beauty and functionality. Whether you’re looking to completely renovate or simply update your office, we’re here to help.

10 Ways To Brighten Up Your Office For Under $50

With summer just around the corner it’s the perfect opportunity to bring some of that sunshine into the office! Remodeling can take a lot of time and money, so here are some tips for brightening up your office on a budget.

Search for New Wall Hangings

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New artwork to freshen up your space doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Prints instead of originals can offer the same livening of your office walls at a fraction of the price. Don’t have the time to go out and purchase prints? Find a favorite quote, make a design, and print and frame it as a different way to decorate.

Repurpose Wooden Shutters

You may be able to find some at a garage sale or even in your own garage. Refinish old wooden shutters and hang them up as a way to store and display your notes and reminders. Just slide your mail, memos, and more into the slots of the shutters for an interesting take on office organization.

Paint a Chalkboard

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No doubt you’ve heard of chalkboard paint, but have you considered using it in the office? Not only does it create a fun new way to brainstorm and take notes, but you can doodle and add color to your newest accent wall.

Hang a Mirror

Here’s probably the fastest suggestion on this list – hang a mirror. Old, new, expensive, inexpensive, a mirror will always brighten a space and change up any environment.

Get Labeling

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The secret to a bright office is an organized office, and what better way to do that than a little labeling? Take stock of where paper piles up and make a slotted system, or color code files and binders to make them easier to grab.

Turn a Canvas Painting into a Magnet Board

Chances are you have an old canvas painting lying around in your house and if not, they’re easy to come by at garage sales. Now create something unique with that old painting by removing it from its original frame and using a hot glue gun to attach it to a metal board. You have a brand new magnet board!

Plant a Terrarium

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Not only does a little green go a long way in brightening up an office space, but terrariums are incredibly easy and low-maintenance. If you’d rather go bigger or want to also improve the air quality in your space, go for a peace lily or bamboo palm.

Ditch the Reception Area

Do you find that your reception area is just eating up space? Get rid of it! Then find a way to allow client to easily find their way, such as colorful markers on the floor. Clients will feel more welcome walking in and you will have more space to spread out and lighten up.

Get a Globe

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Adding a globe to your office space can change your decor in an instant and bring some visual interest to your environment. And when you want to change it up again, just paint over it (with your chalkboard paint, perhaps?).

Why Not Take it Literally

What’s the best way to brighten up a space, do you ask? A lamp! Adding or switching up lighting in your office can create an entirely new atmosphere – one that’s both inviting and productive.

Love Where You Live: 5 Ways To Show Dad Love This Father’s Day

Fathers work extra hard to support their beloved families. This Father’s Day, we want to show our dads just how much we appreciate them with the help of some local Boulder businesses! Show dad love while supporting local business.

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The Boulder Cork

Take Dad out for his favorite meal at the Boulder Cork. Among the tasty dishes on the menu are the free range burger, prime rib, and Rocky Mountain rainbow trout. Every dad loves a good meal with great company – no use wondering what to get someone with everything!

Fair Winds

Make memories Dad won’t soon forget with a surprise hot air balloon ride. With stunning views over the Rocky Mountains and a continental breakfast with champagne beforehand, Dad will get the luxury treatment.

Avery Brewing

Who doesn’t like a nice, cold beer? There’s no better way to celebrate Dad than taking him out for a beer brewed in Boulder, and maybe even a brew tour.

Celestial Seasonings

Maybe Dad’s more of a tea guy, or you’re just looking for something different. Take a tea tour at Celestial Seasonings in the Gunbarrel neighborhood of Boulder. See the behind-the-scenes of how tea is made and visit the famous Mint Room, Tea Shop, and Celestial Café.

Boulder Comedy Show

Spend a Sunday night out at Bohemian Biergarten where they host a (free!) comedy show. The event features comedians from both Boulder and Denver and happy hour prices all night.

Colorado Shakespeare Festival

Whether Dad is a Shakespeare buff or simply likes great entertainment under a summer night sky, take him to see The Comedy of Errors, one of Shakespeare’s funny ones. The play runs from June 3 to August 7 and is performed at the Mary Rippon Outdoor Theatre.

Whatever Dad likes the most, he’ll like it better as a gesture from his loved ones. Being able to support a local business while doing so is just icing on the cake.

Our Valentine: Boulder Small Businesses

Untitled designWe are in love with our city and can’t say enough good things about it! Small business owners are not only our customers, but our comrades. The support the City of Boulder provides for small business is unlike any other city in America. The City of Boulder is one of the most supportive business communities in the U.S. and so, we’ve decided to make Boulder Small Businesses our Valentine this year.

Downtown Boulder, Inc.

The Downtown Boulder Business Improvement District is a 49 block neighborhood in the heart of Boulder where the fine citizens and property owners tax themselves to make their city great. These property owners take pride in their city and help to make their community cleaner, safer and more vibrant–a fun place to be! Not only is Downtown Boulder an incredible place to take the family for a day of fun, it’s full of restaurants delivering the best food in the country, not to mention the shopping. Hello, one-of-a-kind purchases!

Boulder Innovation Center

The Boulder Innovation Center (BIC) is a business incubator designed to help budding entrepreneurs launch their brand new business ventures in Boulder. The BIC is a partnership between the City of Boulder, Boulder Economic Council, University of Colorado, and the private sector. This incubator connects talent with opportunity. The folks that run the BIC are experts at getting the right people in the room to hear business pitches, invest in new ideas, and ultimately get new companies launched and profitable. The BIC should be every small business owner’s valentine this year.

Boulder Small Business Development Center

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is a joint venture between the Boulder Chamber of Commerce, The Small Business Administration and the State of Colorado. The driving force of the SBDC is to provide training, research, and free counseling to small business owners and startup communities in the Boulder area. The SBDC takes care of the wonderful people brave enough to start businesses and fully supports them on their journey, which puts hearts in our eyes all year round.

Thank you, Boulder Small Business for being our Valentine this year!

Master Your Filing System

Filing systems. They can be the most painful thing about going to work every day. There are stacks of papers to place in folders, and stacks of folders to be organized into filing cabinets. If your company has moved everything to a server or cloud, maybe you’re tasked with keeping the server organized, a huge task in and of itself with a number of people adding new documents to the server each day–can you really trust them to put it in the right place?

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It’s 2016. It’s time you mastered your filing system. Start by making the executive decision about your filing method. Will you be organizing by dates, file names, clients or vendors? Choose a system that makes sense to everyone. Put yourself in the shoes of the lowest-level employee and try to think about how they would categorize something if they had the chance–what makes sense to the most people? The more complexity you add to organizing your files, the least likely you are to keep everything organized.

 

Next, think about naming structures. Is it date first, file name, person who created it, or department who created it? Create a couple of example file names, along with instructions on how to name files and send a memo out to company, asking them to print the email out and keep it on their desk if they are constantly creating new files. If you are still using the paper filing system, buy as many desktop file organizers as you need and clearly mark them, so employees are more likely to deliver them to the right place more often.

 

Avoid overfilling file folders. You’re only creating more work for yourself when the filing system is overthrown by hidden folders, blocked by other folders that don’t quite fit. Logical folders and subfolders come into play in a big way in this regard. Organizing both paper folders and digital folders can be organized more effectively by creating a smart list of subfolders.

 

Last but not least, when you’re done with something, get it off your desk! Move it to a closet or area where there are a lot of “completed” folders. Once your done organizing, get it out of site! Although it’s easy to procrastinate on filing, one of the most tedious tasks, tackling a few things at a time, immediately after they are handed to you will save time in the long run. If it will take more than 3 minutes to file put it in the “to-do” pile on your desk, if it won’t take longer than three minutes–file it right away. You’ll thank yourself later.
The art of mastering your filing system won’t come to you overnight, but the more you work at it, the easier it will be to maintain your existing system. There is no one solution for everyone, so find what works for you and get filing!

How to Grow Your Business in 2016

New Year, new goals, right? The top of your list of 2016 business goals should be growing your company. Accomplishing long term goals starts with making everyday changes. In order to grow your business successfully in 2016, start with small measures to make a difference each day, then watch your long term goals come true.

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1. Work only on new business until 11AM

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in paperwork, meetings, organization and other daily tasks, then when it’s time to end the day there is no new revenue. While your brain is fresh first thing in the morning, spend this time creating new appointments, making sales calls, or generally working to increase your bottom line.

2. Make office hours non-negotiable

While an open-door policy is a good idea to keep employees happy, it can also fragment your day into oblivion. Make a point to work three 90 blocks of time per day and close doors to employees during that time in order to get a proper amount of work done.

3. Accept that you can’t do everything

Starting a business as an entrepreneur or running a small business can be exhilarating. When starting out, wearing many hats is a necessity but can stunt your business’ growth over time. Ultimately, it is important to hire who you need to help you make the business grow.

4. Run the business you want, not the business you have

The old adage “fake it til you make it” applies to every small business and entrepreneur. While you shouldn’t mislead a client or new sale, you want to instill confidence in your new clients all the same. Act as if you are a top level business person and you’ll find and keep top level clients who will help your business succeed.

5. Get systems in place
Without organization, there is nowhere for your business to go but straight into the ground. Stay as organized as possible, create systems and defend those systems. If everything is running smoothly on the backend, you will find it is easier to hire and train new employees, increase sales and ultimately grow your business. Creating and keeping systems isn’t as hard as you think it is, all it takes are a few of the right products, like filing systems.

Make Your Office Fun and Unique

Arrow Office ProductsAn office shouldn’t look like a cookie cutter. When a visitor comes to visit, are they greeted with offices that are exact replicas of each other or do they see each workspace as an individual space? People naturally have different personalities and different styles, so why not show yourself through your workspace?

You spend a lot of time each week at your office, and we believe that everyone should work in a happy, comfortable environment. Here are a few ways to make your workspace your own.

Add a little color. 
Though most offices prefer to look professional, there is nothing wrong with a bit of color. We carry pens, sticky notes, folders and more that come in a variety of colors. If you have pictures on your desk, get creative with fun and colorful frames.

Get creative with your walls. 
If you have blank walls, consider mounting a wall planner or a cork board. We carry a variety of professional and fun wall planners for you to choose from, or bring something in from home. A cork board can help you stay organized with important reminders, and you can also pin fun pictures of your friends and family.

It’s important to check with your employer before you make any holes in your walls, but if you can, try and hang small pieces of art around your desk to keep you motivated and inspired.

Be a little different. 
Just because everyone else uses a standard filing cabinet doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Mix up your storage with fun shelves and filing options.

Add a little life.
We know that you’re busy and don’t need any more responsibility, but adding a small fish or a plant to your workspace will really change the feel of your space. A colorful beta fish takes minimum feeding and will brighten your day. Plants can add a breath of fresh air and if you’re worried you’ll forget to water it, get a sturdy plant. There are small plants out there that don’t need immediate sunlight and can go months without watering.

Spring Organizing in the Office

Have you started your spring cleaning checklist? The weather is warming up and we know that everyone is itching for spring! Spring is a great time to get out and enjoy the fresh air, and it’s also the time where we start to clean out our spaces. At work, spring cleaning is usually left for another crew, but what about organizing? This month, follow these easy steps to organize your workspace.

Get rid of junk
Do you have a lot of unused items and knick-knacks sitting on your desk? We don’t want you to get rid of the quirks that make your space your own, but if there are items that you haven’t used in over 6 months and you’re not quite sure when you’re going to use them again, it might be a good idea to clear it all away.

Arrow Office Products & Interiors

Decorative storage gives any room a fresh look

Vertical storage
Clearing stuff off the floor and away from your feet will make you feel less cluttered. Vertical shelves, wall baskets, wall-mounted or magnetic file holders and hooks are perfect for organizing.

Labels
Labeling is the key to creating an organized system. It increases your effectiveness at work, as well as the independence of others who function within your workspace. Label the placement of items and take the time to label boxes and bins on shelves.

Dry erase boards
Do you have a lot of notes all over your desk? How about a daily to-do list? Placing a dry erase board at your desk will help you keep notes and lists all in one spot. Plus, it saves paper!

End the day organized
Spend some time at the end of your day getting your desk in order. It will help you get everything together for the next day and give you a chance to make sure you’ve completed all the tasks that needed to be finished by the end of the day.

Being organized at work will help boost your focus and productivity. Do you have any organization tips? Tell us on our Facebook page.