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Sunday, 20 November 2011
Back Pain and Office Furniture



 Sitting, unlike lying down or standing up, is not a natural position for the human body. It seems strange to think it given how much time so many of us spend sat at desks every day, but it’s a position which is inherently uncomfortable for the humanoid form. Back pain and spinal problems are on the increase; a rise that has as much to do with improper seating as it does with the increased amount of time people are spending sitting down. Ergonomically designed office furniture and office seating reduces much of the stresses and strains placed on the body by extended periods spent seated. They provide support where it is necessary and hold your body in the correct position to avoid cramps and aches.

Apart from the obvious health risks associated with our increasingly sedentary lifestyle (e.g. obesity due to lack of exercise), sitting for extended periods can place strain on your spine. Sitting with your back rounded (as most of us do when sat at a desk) forces the vertebrae of your back out. Over time, this can lead to a spinal disc herniation (better known to you and I as a “slipped disc”). In the shorter term, the discs can place pressure on surrounding nerves, causing the shooting pains commonly associated with back pain. Many seats have a concave back rest. Although this can appear to be more comfortable at first - the wider edges and indented centre give the impression of holding you in place - in reality they are very bad for you, leaving as they do little option but for you to round your back in order to fit into them.

Ergonomic office seating comes with convex back rests which force your spine into a more comfortable S-shape. We've all been told that this is how we should stand and ergonomic office furniture encourages the same good posture whilst sitting. To get the most out of such chairs, remember to lean back into them. Not only does this feel more comfortable than hunching forwards over your desk, it makes the most of the ergonomic design offered by the office furniture and preserves the small inward curve in your back that is the sign of good posture.

Poor posture also limits blood flow and oxygen intake. If your pelvis is turned at the wrong angle, then blood will not flow properly to your legs. Combined with a lack of movement, this can in some extreme cases lead to deep vein thrombosis; a potentially fatal disorder. Slumping forwards also restricts the lungs, making your breathing more laboured. By using ergonomic office seating, you increase the blood flow and oxygen intake, improving concentration and work rate.

Another problem with much office seating is that it is, by its very nature, generic in its design. None of us have the same body; we are different heights, sizes and builds. For that reason, it doesn’t make sense that we would all need support in the same places. Ergonomic office furniture is now available with adjustable systems which allow you to set the rests and supports at the correct heights for your build, giving you a bespoke fitting that is suited for your back.

Replacing your existing office furniture with more ergonomic designs improves health and work rate. Whether it’s a consideration you are making for yourself or your whole company, just think of the savings that could be made - from both your back and your money.

Posted by lewisdaniels23 at 1:07 AM EST
Friday, 18 November 2011
How to Construct a Business Plan



All the franchise advice in the world won't count for anything if you can't get your own franchise off the ground - and your business plan is your launch pad. A clear and confident business plan should successfully communicate your business ideas, and inspire confidence in you and your franchise.

Like a student writing a dissertation, your business plan isn’t going to be any good if you leave it until the night before to throw it together. They’ll be kicked out of the university and you’ll be kicked out of the bank manager’s office. We’re here to give you franchise advice, so remember; putting together a business plan should be the work of weeks of careful planning, research and thought. In some cases, it might even take months. You can’t over invest.

Your weeks of preparation needn’t be entirely filled with frantic activity - although that’s definitely important. Some of your best breakthroughs might come as you quietly mull things over. Think out all the different issues that might affect your company and then formulate suitable solutions and/or contingencies. You can’t stop lorry drivers blockading the fuel refineries again, but you can certainly work out how your meal delivery business will continue working if they do. If you’re planning to set up a franchise and you’re seeking franchise advice, then you obviously care about your new business and so you’ll be thinking about it a lot anyway. Just make sure to harness that idle contemplation and get your ideas down on paper.

In amongst all of this careful thought about business opportunities and contingency plans, remember that the first thing bankers and investors will be looking at is you. No one is more likely to make your enterprise a soaring success or a snivelling disaster. You can have the most carefully laid out business plan in the world, but if you don’t inspire confidence then it won’t count a jot. Treat it like any other job interview. Run through all the potential questions that might arise and formulate answers. Even if those exact questions don’t come up, it’s great franchise advice because it will do wonders for your confidence. Prepare your CV, highlighting your distinctive competencies. This can be a deal simpler if you are a franchisee as the franchisor may provide training and support. This will help to reassure investors - the previous success of the franchisor is a good indicator of your future success - but it’s not something you should rely on. You still have to inspire them with the confidence that you are someone who can take on that training, understand it and fully exploit the knowledge you gain.

If you or your management team lack a particular skill set, don’t try to cover it up. Detail how you intend to remedy the problem, e.g. getting a financial advisor in to handle the company’s accounts if you lack sufficient experience.

Carry out competitive analysis. Who are you competing against? Don't say there's no one, because there always is. If there's no obvious competition, think laterally. If you're opening a swimming pool and there are no other swimming pools in the area, it doesn't mean you have no competition. What are the other demands on people's leisure time, particuarly children's? Are there any cinemas in the area? Shops? After school clubs? It's not just how you will react to your competitors, either: ask yourself how they will react to you.

All the franchise advice I can give you depends on your being able to follow it and see it through. Put yourself in the place of your investors, and ask and answer all the questions they will ask. You’re the first investor you need to convince.

Posted by lewisdaniels23 at 3:52 AM EST

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