Space Tourism

Imagine you have already traveled everywhere on our planet. There is nothing new to discover. You’ve witnessed the Aurora Borealis from the Artic and climbed to the top of Mount Everest. You’ve swum with sharks, had safaris around the Savannah and ran with the bulls. The only place left to visit is outer space. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford it, space tourism looks like it’s just around the corner.

The idea of space tourism wasn’t considered real a few decades ago. During the 1960s, space exploration was entirely under the control of government-run agencies, namely the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The two super-powers competed in the 1960s and 70s in what is known as the “Space Race.” It was a test of each nation’s intelligence and strength.

Over time, a different kind of super-power discovered space might be within their rich. In 2001, Dennis Tito, an American businessman, with no space travel experience, was the first to pay (around $20 million) to go into space, making him the first space tourist. Experts all agree that this was the moment when the commercial space race started. Tito inspired a generation of CEOs and billionaires to strive to reach the last frontier. In 2004, the U.S. made this easier to accomplish when it officially legalized private space travel. Before 2004, some laws had made it easier for companies to build space crafts and launching pads mostly as they related to satellites and telecommunications. This bill made it possible to privatize human space travel. Only six months before George W. Bush officially signed the 2004 bill into law, the first privately funded spacecraft left earth’s orbit, partly financed by Microsoft’s co-founder Paul G. Allen. The very first major opening for private companies to step into space travel happened in 2011 when, after 30 years of operation, NASA officially ended its space shuttle program. The Obama administration decided to relaunch the program, choosing to direct more funding to private companies looking to build new space ships. The move was intended to begin an era of public-private partnerships between private space companies and NASA.

In the U.S., the space travel industry is thriving. In 2012, a private American aerospace manufacturer sent the first commercially-built vehicle to carry cargo to the International Space Station, a task which only government-run agencies had ever done before.

Questions and concerns galore and need to be addressed before the private space industry can be fully launched. Virgin Galactic’s 2014 crash highlighted just how difficult and risky it can be to launch successful and safe space vehicles. The risky nature of such projects, not to mention the lack of international treaties and laws to govern space, makes the prospect of running a viable space travel business much more difficult.

Whether or not it is a good idea to leave space exploration up to a generation of big-dreaming entrepreneurs, it’s happening. If you are a thrill-seeking adventurer, you need to start asking yourself if the price tag for space travel is worth it.

Geography: What is it for?

Geography helps us understand and explore our world in a particular way. Geography is deeper than just knowing where places and places are situated on a map. Take the Olympics for example: We might investigate the location of participating countries and research their notable characteristics, but unless we consider the stories of these people and places, we won’t gain a deep understanding of what life is like in these countries and their place in the world. We need to question, how come some countries have only a few competitors? Why do some excel at specific sports while others do not? Geography allows us to see the interconnections and relationships between places and people, and use that understanding to inform our decisions in the future.

So what is geography for and what drives geographers to be inquisitive about our world? Is it the desire to locate the amazing places of the world? As well as paying attention to the world, thinking geographically nurtures an understanding that places and people don’t exist without interconnection. In geography, these interconnections are considered and explored in spatial terms. Geography makes use of a range of modern technological tools to explore and identify the different areas of the world. Geographers do not only focus on where places are and their interconnections but exploring the meaning of a place to people and its importance to their identity.

Students studying Geography view and analyze the world through the lens of the 7 geographical concepts; place, space, environment, scale, change, interconnection, and sustainability. To develop geographical thinking, both subject’s concepts and the content need to be highlighted. So with this in mind, let’s turn to the geography student. How might his teacher encourage him to think geographically? The student is meant to know where places are on map, to explore the nature of places, to understand why places are what they are, to analyze the impact places have on people and people have on places.

Geography forms us and the world. Globalization, made possible by the rise of technology, gives us many advantages but also exposes us to new threats that influence our lives and, in fact, the wellbeing of every life form on Earth. As we have “peopled” the Earth, we’ve used up and sometimes renewed its resources. We’ve massively increased the “built” environment. Technology has enabled the construction of skyscrapers, allowed people to live in virtually any environment, and enabled the construction of megalopolises. Now more than ever before, geographic learning must be considered a fundamental and essential focus of every person’s education.

Boiler Maintenance: The Comprehensive Guide

To get the most of any equipment you own, it is essential to ensure that they are serviced regularly. The regular checkups, not only bolster the longevity of the building’s heating system but also minimizes operating and energy costs in the long term.

Boiler Servicing: What to Expect?

All boiler maintenance is conducted by experienced engineers and most of these maintenances lasts around half an hour. They typically start with a visual check before checking the inside of the boiler. The visual check is done before so as to ensure that the associated pipework is installed and positioned correctly and that the boiler is working properly. The engineer will be able to identify some superficial problems just through this first check itself. To inspect the inside of the boiler, the engineer will remove the boiler casing and examine each of its components. This second inspection will confirm whether the boiler is working safely and efficiently.

Engineers who maintain boilers will typically have a list of that they will have to check. This checklist will include some of the following:

  1. Check the gas pressure and gas flow. Correct if necessary.
  2. Use a flue gas analyzer to confirm that the boiler is burning the appropriate amount and mixture of gas and air. Ensure that the flue is not blocked. 
  3. All safety devices must be checked.
  4. Check water and gas pipework to ensure that there is no blockage.
  5. Ensure that all electrical connections are in good condition.
  6. Check the fans. It is essential that the fan and other key components of the fans are working efficiently.
  7. Ensure that no seals have been damaged or ripped off. The seals must be intact.
  8. All electrodes must be in good working condition.
  9. Ensure that the condensate trap and pipe are not blocked. Clean if necessary.
  10. Clean all components inside the boiler.

Once the maintenance is over, the engineer will inform you if any building and safety legislation and regulations have been breached. Do not be afraid to ask questions, especially when they are recommending changes and repairs. Make sure that all parts that have to be changed are replaced by parts from a reputable manufacturer, ideally from the boiler manufacturer itself. The engineer will also give you a full-service report that you have to sign once the checks are over. Only sign this report if you are happy with every element of the service your boiler has received.

But How Often Must a Boiler Be Serviced?

Generally, boilers have to be serviced every 12 months. But if you just got a new boiler, talk to the manufacturer and confirm when you must get the first service done. This is mostly because you’ll have to ensure that you meet the terms of your warranty.

There are several problems that can arise if the boiler is not properly maintained and regularly serviced. One such problem is gas leaks that can actually lead to the deadly gas carbon monoxide seeping into the building. This is especially important if your house is not equipped with a carbon monoxide alarm. Engineers who service boilers would detect if there is a risk of a gas leak when they conduct their maintenance. But since carbon monoxide is virtually impossible to detect, consider getting such an alarm even if you regularly get your boiler services – as an added measure of precaution.

Things You Can Do Yourself

Even though people recommend getting your boiler maintained at least once a year, it does not mean that you have to wait for that once a year’s appointment to make sure the boiler is in good condition. There are a few things you can do on your own, on a daily basis and on a monthly basis.

Boiler Maintenance: Things You Can Do on a Daily Basis

  1. Ensure that there is no water leaking from the boiler.
  2. Conduct a visual inspection of air piping and flue gas vent piping to ensure that there is no sign of blockage.
  3. Inspect around and under your boiler equipment to make sure that the area around the boiler is unobstructed. The vent termination must also be free of any object that may block the vent.
  4. Your manufacturer must have recommended a designed range for temperature and pressure for the equipment. Check that these read within the recommended range.
  5. If there is a display panel, ensure that there are no error codes being displayed. If you see one, jot them down and immediately contact the service contractor.
  6. Ensure the combustion air opening is not blocked.
  7. There must be no unusual vibration coming from the equipment. If you hear strange noises, don’t wait for the next scheduled service. Get in touch with your service contractor.

Why Should Your Business Get a Green Roof?

What Is a Green Roof?

Also known as vegetative or eco-roofs, green roofs are essentially a term used to refer to the roof on which a layer of vegetation has been planted on. The roof is typically either flat or slightly-sloped and covered with a waterproofing system. The layer of vegetation is actually planted on that waterproofing system.

Green roofs can be classified into three major categories, namely semi-intensive, intensive and extensive.

  • Semi-intensive vegetative roof

Semi–intensive eco-roofs are a combination of intensive and extensive green roofs. The requirements, such as the depth the medium, the plant chose, and stormwater performance, for this type of roof depends on the roof structure and annual rainfall.

Intensive vegetative roof has a deep growing medium and a lot of soil. The growing medium is sometimes several feet deep and can support a diverse plant selection as well as small trees. Considering this, intensive eco-roofs not only require substantial structural loads but also need maintenance and watering on a regular basis. This type of roof is usually accessible.

  • Extensive eco-roof

A green roof is called ‘extensive’ when it has a shallow growing medium of about six inches or less. It also typically has a modest roof load with marginal watering requirements and restricted plant diversity. An extensive vegetative roof tends to be inaccessible.

A green roof cannot be installed directly onto the roof and instead require that specific layers of roofing materials are added. The growing medium can be installed and the vegetation can be planted only after those layers have been placed. Whether it’s a semi-intensive roof, an intensive roof or an extensive roof, the basic structure remains the same. It must consist of structural roof support, a vapour control layer, thermal insulation, roofing membrane support, waterproof/root repellant layer, drainage layer and filter membrane. The growing medium is above the filter membrane and will be used to plant the vegetation. Each of these layers is important as they each serve a specific purpose. They are key elements to keeping the plants alive and protecting the structure beneath.

Benefits of Installing a Green Roof

1.      A Green Roof Can Extend the Roof Life

Since vegetative roofs can shield the roofing materials from direct ultraviolet radiation and extreme temperatures, they are believed to be able to increase the life expectancy of any roofing system. Protecting the roof from extreme weather conditions means that the roof structure will probably require less maintenance and can, thus, save the owner money in replacement expenses over the long–term life of the roofing system.

2.      Green Roofs Confer Other Economic Benefits

This may come as a surprise, considering that the installation of such a roof requires higher upfront costs than traditional roofs, but as mentioned above, green roofs can prove to be more economical in the long term. Eco-roofs can also help drive down energy bills through its increased R–value. The reduced temperatures on the roof lessen HVAC loads also contribute to saving energy.

3.      Eco-roofs Can Improve Storm Water Management

One of the best things about green roofs is that it captures significantly more rainfall during rainstorms than other conventional roofs. This is a great way to reduce both flooding and erosion, while at the same time supplying the plants on the roof with the necessary minerals and water to mature and develop strong root systems. Some cities require that building owners pay a fee for stormwater management. Building with eco-roofs might be eligible for lower fees.

4.      Vegetative Roofs Can Help Improve the Efficacy of Mechanical Equipment

Mechanical equipment has been shown to perform better in cooler temperatures. The vegetation on the roof are great at producing cooler temperatures and can, therefore, contribute to boosting the efficiency of rooftop mechanical equipment. HVAC equipment, for example, must cool outside air, get it to the required temperature before transmitting it into the building. By making the air on the roof cooler, the green roof makes the cooling process is easier causing the HVAC equipment to use less energy.

5.      Eco-Roofs Can Insulate the Building

Not only does the eco-roof cool the temperature, it can also act as an insulation and decrease the amount of heat passing into the building. The extra layers of this roof reduce cooling loads on HVAC equipment helps a lot during warmer seasons.  

6.      A Vegetative Roof Can Provide Additional Amenities

If the green roof is installed over a building that’s in an urban area, it will increase green space and improves the comfort of your employees or residents by offering an aesthetically–pleasing view and environment. The roof can be used both for meetings or recreation. The plants can also include herbs and vegetables that can be harvested by the occupants of the building. Provided it is accessible, of course.

How to Start a Food Truck Business?

If you enjoy cooking and want to launch your business, you can start with a food truck. A restaurant business can be very costly, whereas food trucks are more affordable. Here is your guide to begin your restaurant on wheels.

Startup costs

Many factors determine the startup cost for a food truck business. There are also other costs that can vary by location. For example, one-time costs can consist of purchasing a food truck, a register or a point of sale, website design, office supplies, advertising and any professional, legal or consulting fees.

There are some upfront expenses when you purchase the food truck itself as you will probably need to spend further to have it modified to fit your local fire and health regulation, which vary quite significantly depending on your county.

In addition, you will have recurring costs such as payroll, equipment rental, credit card processing, food supplies and of course, fuel. Every new food truck will also have to obtain the proper licenses, permits and insurance.

How to find food trucks for sale?

Resorting to online classifieds is a good option as used trucks are cheaper and if those are local, you can easily inspect them. Buying a used truck can open a lot more inventory, as such try to get as many details and pertinent information as possible about the truck from the seller. Since you won’t most likely see the vehicle in person before a pickup, you better find out as much you can about the truck.

While new custom trucks are the most expensive options, it is the ideal way to ensure that your truck is up to standards and codes. New trucks can be customized to your specifications.

You can possibly find a local truck to lease from a national truck leasing company. Another way is to franchise a truck from an established company, as such it is essential to bear in mind that you have no control over the product marketing or menu.

Funding options

Acquiring funding may be the biggest challenge you will face when beginning a food truck business. It would be best if you first aimed to put together a solid business plan. You should also possess personal savings as this will increase your chances of receiving a business loan.

If traditional financing doesn’t suit you, there are other more creative ways to get funding for your new food truck business. Here are ways to start your business with minimal funding.

1. Talk to someone who already owns a food truck and negotiate a rental or lease agreement.

2. Start with a low cost used car door trailer.

3. Begin selling at a farmer’s market fair booth.

4. Get to meet successful restaurant owners and ask them about running a food truck for the owner’s business.

If your truck idea includes offering a public service or benefit to the community, seek to obtain sponsors. The chances are that you might qualify for a loan advance if you already have a payment processor.

Food truck advantages

Numerous tax advantages come with business ownership. Choosing menu items, the vendor you want to purchase from and the events at which you wish to sell, are just some of the freedoms you will enjoy as a food truck business owner. You will also have full control of your social media, advertising, marketing and schedule mobility. For instance, you can bring your business to different locations based on demands during a different period of the day.

Permits and regulations

It is important to research the areas you are considering for your food truck business location and consider the necessary regulations and permits. Here are the main things to look out for food safety and regulations.

1. You will need to comply with food safety requirements. Get into contact with the local health department to find out more information, such as if you need to prepare food in a professional kitchen or if you are allowed to use your own facilities.

2. There can be restrictions on where you can park your truck, so make sure to research that before setting up a shop there.

3. There could be commercial and noncommercial zoning restrictions, parking time limit or distance restrictions from other business establishments. Your town and local motor vehicle department can clarify you about such the matter.

You will need specific licenses to operate your food truck including a tax ID number also called an employer identification number obtainable from the IRS and a state sales tax permit. Check your home state’s requirements and for an easy option try an online legal service to guide you in deciding which legal structure is best for your business.

Mobile POS options

Most food truck customers have got used to paying cash but credit cards and mobile pay are more popular than ever. A food truck means long hours of work with shopping, marketing, event booking, cleaning, truck maintenance, accounting in tax obligations. Running a food business is more than a full-time job.

Competition and market

Get to know the market to maximize your chances of success since you will most certainly have competition with other food trucks.

Ordinances and zoning

Every area differ in terms of where you can park your food truck and how long you can park there. Ensure you know the rules in each location where you plan on operating to prevent tickets and fines.

Food trucks are trendy these days and show no signs of slowing down. A food truck is a good option for anyone who wish to foray into the food business as it offers low startup and overhead costs. You can now decide if you are ready to leap into the food business.

8 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Wedding Venue

There is a reason why choosing a wedding venue is so difficult and why it’s at the top of every couple’s to-do list. The thing with wedding venues is that they dictate every aspect of the wedding – from the number of guests to the theme and the color, the venue is the key to a picture-perfect wedding.

Which is why you can’t rush it. No matter how crucial it is to cross off that item from your list as fast as possible, you don’t want to cross it off just for the sake of moving to the next task. It’s great having one less thing to do, but with the whole wedding resting on that one specific detail, you want to take as much time as required to find the venue that’s perfect for you. You want the most important day of your life to go without hitch, and from a design standpoint finding the place where you will say your vows is one the first step to that. So, we’ve put together a list of common wedding venue mistakes that you want to avoid making.

Mistake # 1: Failing to Make an Appointment

Are you thinking it’s too obvious of a mistake? Well, you’ll be surprised to know how many couples show up a venue without making an appointment beforehand! If you want to take a tour of the venue, ask questions or ask for advice, you will probably have to talk to the wedding salesperson. And most of the time, you’ll need to make an appointment to be able to see them.

Mistake # 2: Not Taking into Consideration the Limitations of the Area

There’s one thing most future brides have in common: perusing Pinterest for ideas. The problem with that? Unattainable expectations. No matter how great weddings at the beach may seem, you need to take into consideration the region where you live and your budget. Planning for your wedding must go the other way around: see the types of venues that are available to you, THEN start planning your dream wedding[VP1] .

Mistake # 3: Not Considering the Design of the Venue

Choosing a wedding venue means taking into consideration the distinct design aesthetic it has. The design will help you choose your color palette and the overall theme you want to go for. You will have to make sure the style you choose complements the design aesthetic of the venue and does not clash with it. If the venue you have your heart set on won’t look good with the theme you have in mind, then you’ll have to make a decision: find another venue or change your theme.

Mistake # 4: Creating the Guest List Only After Having Booked the Venue

Think you can wait until then to create your wedding list? Then, unfortunately, you think wrong. While you can wait until you’ve booked to finalize that list, you must at the very least start it before even starting to look for venues. We are pretty sure you don’t want people crammed at your wedding! So having at least a rough estimate will help you find a venue that can comfortably accommodate your guests.

Mistake # 5: Not Respecting Your Budget

This one of the most common mistakes couples makes when planning their wedding. It’s really easy to go above board with the venue. Not only because you think you won’t find a better venue (if you plan well ahead, you most likely will find something that suits both your budget and theme), but also because you don’t realize all the logistics necessary for the wedding. This includes service fees, taxes, gratuity and the food, and beverage minimum if the venue offers catering.

Mistake # 6: Neglecting to Pay Attention to the Fine Prints

Think you’ve taken int consideration everything? Thought about the services fees and taxes? That’s great! But, unfortunately, there might be more. Other add-ons that can really mess up  your whole budget. These budget-busters include things like appetizers, dance floor, chair covers, corkage fees, parking space, etc. Remember to ask the wedding salesperson if these are included in the fees you are paying or not.

Mistake # 7: Not Checking the Accessibility of nearby

This is one thing you can’t neglect to do. Guests who travel from out of state or out of town will need a place to stay at and you need to ensure that you consider that if you really want them to attend.

Mistake # 8: Not Having Weather Backup Plan

Most often than not, if you have a weather backup plan, then it won’t pour. But if you don’t have a plan in place in the event that it rains, then it most probably will. Murphy’s law, right? So, even if it might cost you a bit more, better be safe than ruin that important day: put deposit down for tents, heaters or fans, and/or umbrellas.

Understanding the Rules of Meditation

Freeing yourself from the daily hiccups of life is so much more needed in this world of today. With negativity surrounding most of us on a daily basis, we tend to turn towards meditation. No, there is nothing wrong in meditation if you are from another religion or belief! Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity. It helps in training your mind towards paying more attention and creating more awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally clam and stable state. Meditation is a simple way of giving rest to the mind in the most natural way. As one of the most sought-after, meditation is a remedy that is being adopted by one and all. However, it is also misunderstood and misinterpreted method offered by numerous self-styled gurus.

Every human being is gifted with a unique mind, great inner strength and energy which unlocks further when he begins meditating. It will guide him naturally on the journey forward. So, start meditating as soon as possible without much delay. Practically, there is no need for someone’s help. It is very simple and easy to practice, so if you’re a novice to meditation, then here are some rules or tips to meditating.

1: Make it a formal practice. Set aside a time in the day that is your meditation practice time.

2: Only meditate for as long as you are enjoying it. It is especially important in the beginning that meditation is not a chore.

3: Do yoga or stretch first. Firstly physical activity will draw your own awareness into the body and away from your mind. A practice like yoga loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit more comfortably. Additionally, yoga opens the body not only at the physical level but also at subtle level, which facilitates movement of energy in the body.

4: Pick a specific location in your home to meditate. Ideally the place you choose will be somewhere that does not have much activity at other times. Two reasons for doing this are, the subconscious is conditioned by repetition, so by going to the same place at the same time each day to meditate you can get in yourself to expect to meditate when you are there. The second reason is that when you meditate you begin to create a particular vibration in that spot. With time and meditation and place will become increasingly attuned to this energy of meditation, again making it easier for you to meditate when you are there.

5: Make sure your will meditation time is respected. if you live with others make sure that they understand that you are not to be disturbed while you are meditating. Equally for yourself make the same commitment, for example if your phone should ring, be aware of it and continue your meditation.

6: Create some representation of sacred space in your meditations spot. This should obviously be what is meaningful for you, maybe an actual altar with pictures and objects, or maybe just a special rug and your meditation cushion.

7: Use ritual if it helps you. This doesn’t have to be elaborate it could be as simple as lighting a candle, or a lighting incense. The repetition of a ritual before you meditate, is again conditioning preparation for your body and mind.

8: Commit for the long haul. When you begin with the clear idea in your mind that the greatest benefits from meditation will accumulate with time, and see it as an ongoing process, you are less likely to give up in frustration.

9: Meditate with understanding. Get clear in your mind exactly what you think meditation is and what it will be like before you start. Invariably everybody does have ideas and expectations like this, it is very helpful to make them conscious before you start.

10: Be clear of your motivation to begin meditation. When you understand your reasons and objectives in beginning meditation you are more likely to find a practice or technique that will work for you at that time.

11: Begin with a particular practice that you have actively chosen and commit to doing it for a given time period. Many beginners are constantly jumping from one to type or technique of meditation to another. Your meditation practice is a relationship with yourself, it will not deepen if it consists of one night stands. This is not to say that the practice or technique you begin with is the one you stay with for the rest of your life, but a relationship is best left when you know exactly why it is that you are leaving, and not done simply on an impulse.

12: Educate yourself. Confusion and misunderstanding is primarily caused by ignorance. Find a good teacher, or online community where you can get answers. Read some books on meditation and spiritual practice.

13: Notice if frustration starts to creep into your practice. If you notice this happening take some time to explore what is going on for you, what expectation is not being fulfilled. Then examine the expectation itself, what is it based on.

14: Be honest with yourself. As I said meditation is a relationship with yourself, you are the most important person you need to be straightforward with, and meditation is a key place to practice this.

15: Be prepared for some discomfort. It is normal in the beginning to experience some physical discomfort when sitting to meditate. Most people are not accustomed to sitting still, other than maybe slouched on a couch. Your body needs time to develop strength and openness in the right places to allow you to sit comfortably and alert. Sooner or later discomfort will also be experienced at the emotional and mental levels. If you are not consciously prepared for this it is likely to deter you from continuing.

16: Until you are well versed in your meditation practice it can be very beneficial to use a recording to guide you. This will help your mind to let go of concern about what you are doing, and the recording can act as a guide until you no longer need it.

17: Start to look for moments of awareness during the day. Finding space to be consciously present during everyday activities is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation practice. Take advantage, of the time spent waiting in traffic, waiting in line, waiting for anything, to become present to yourself and what you are experiencing within yourself. Look for such opportunities in your day, however brief, simple as they are taken radically change or experience of life.

18: Do it together. Meditating with a partner or group can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice. When meditating with others many people say that it improves the quality of their meditation. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin.

19: Don’t stress about it. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement. Many people in beginning meditation become anxious about whether they are doing it right or not, or whether something they experience should be happening or not. The article, meditation is practice, goes into more detail regarding this.

20: Invest in a good, comfortable meditation cushion. If you need other things to allow your body to sit comfortably in without strain, get them. If you set yourself up with the things that you need, you are removing a future potential pitfall to your practice.

Meditation is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself, like any lasting and meaningful relationship it takes energy and commitment, it takes understanding and tolerance. If you put these things in to your practice meditation will become your best friend, and powerful resource.

How to Start a Catering Business?

Often the idea of setting up a catering business stems from the love we have for preparing food for others. One of the major benefits of starting your own business is the freedom that comes with being self-employed.

Make a business plan

A business plan is essential to determine strategic steps to take towards a successful catering debut. Your plan should give you an idea of how you are meant to cover your overheads and how profitable the business is likely to be.

Know about your specialty & create a menu

Before beginning a catering business, you should be aware of the requirements and you need to know what your specialty is. There are various types of food that can be served by the caterers. For instance, you can decide to broadly specialize in lunches and brunches. Or you could narrow it down to a particular cuisine, like Indian or Mediterranean. If you’re the type of person that thrives on being creative, you could try your hand at catering for wedding receptions or business seminars. The possibilities are endless…

Once you decide on your specialty, you will also need to finalize the menu. Try to add a variety of dishes to maximize your chances of making a sale. Every meal can be presented with add-ons, which will help to grab the attention of the customer.

Your catering prices

An important strategy for a successful food business lies in setting the right prices. This usually means finding a good balance between making profits and offering competitive prices. Most of your customers will shop around for the best possible deal, so you will want to stand out. The prices that you set should be in line with your current experience, skill level, training and to the quality of your service. The prices for the dishes should be affordable. Make sure that whatever price you charge will be enough to cover your overheads, so that you are not operating at a loss. It’s ok to set the price for minimal profit at the beginning of your career, and slowly increase your profit margin as you gain more customers and start making a name for yourself. Just make sure that you don’t drastically increase your prices for no reason!

Fixed pricing allows you to set a price per menu, per person or by the dish. The more courses you offer, the more complex the menu is and as such you will have to adjust the price to reflect the base ingredients and extra labor costs involved.

Make sure it tastes good

Before serving the food to the customers, it is essential to taste the food yourself. You can also arrange a small party at your place and have your family and friends taste the food. Welcome their opinions to make changes if any. Keep on practicing until you start serving delicious food and are rewarded with nice comments.

Find a space & buy equipment

If you have the space, there is no reason why you can’t start your catering business from home. Most entrepreneurs take this approach, and it works. Of course, once you feel the need to expand and you have the clientele to back up your expansion plans, find the right space to rent or purchase.

Since you will be cooking larger quantities, you need to make sure your kitchen is fully equipped. The equipment required will include a large refrigerator, a deep freezer, possibly more than one mixer, high-grade cooking utensils and serving materials.

Other equipment you might require will include:

  • Steel utensils.
  • Glassware
  • Disposable plates, forks, knives and spoons.
  • Stove, oven, toaster

Get the required license

For every food business, you need to pay close attention to the customer’s safety. We have all heard horror stories about restaurants and caterers that do not adhere to certain norms of food hygiene, leading to food poisoning among customers. Since you don’t want to add to those statistics, make sure you get all the relevant licenses and respect the regulations. There are about 15 licenses that will be required, so make sure you speak to your local authorities for guidance.

Employees

Once you’ve been in business for a little while and have built up a clientele, you may want to take on a few helping hands. It is always best to factor this into your budgeting from the very beginning, so that you know how much you can afford to pay in wages. It’s always best to hire professional cooks, who will have a higher hourly rate than an amateur.

Additional services

Many catering businesses offer additional services besides food. For example, you can rent tables and chairs and organize for special themes by arranging for the decoration.

Insurance

In order to protect your business from any lawsuits which can arise from injuries at events, general liability insurance is handy to have. If you plan on serving alcohol along with food, you will need a liquor liability insurance to protect yourself from lawsuits related to alcohol consumption at events.

Promote your products

Now you are all set to beginning operating, you need to promote your business and let people know how appealing and tasty your dishes are.

Share your details on social media, distribute pamphlets and business cards to every potential customer and network as much as possible. Your goal is to create a buzz around you so that people will want to see what the fuss is all about. Make sure to use every catering job you take on as a marketing opportunity for more work.

Don’t be discouraged if you’re not an overnight success. Keep working hard and grow your business so that eventually, you’ll be able to give some of the more established caterers a run for their money. Above all else, have fun!

Coping with Stressful Situations: 4 Things You Can Do

Whether you are a student, a single parent or a full-time employee, you must have been faced with a situation where you’ve felt an overwhelming amount of stress. While some of these situations last only a few moments or hours, others can stay with you weeks or months on end. You may not even be aware of it in the beginning, but eventually, the stress will wear you down.

From back pain to anxiety and depression, stress manifests itself differently in different people. And even if the symptoms are not the same across the board, you can be sure that it affects chronic stress affect us all in the same way: it dampens the immune system and can even speed up the aging process.

So, even if stress is inevitable, you will have to build the necessary skills to deal with it.

Developing Good Coping Skills

You must expect stress to creep in your life at an unexpected moment and learn how to control your body’s response to it. Getting through a stressful situation depends mostly on us and is precisely what will make all the difference.

Tip Nº 1: Know what’s causing the stress

Before you learn how to cope with stress, you will have to understand why you find that particular situation stressful. Unless you are able to identify that, you will be unable to deal with it appropriately. Yes, changing jobs and upcoming exams are common stressors, but more than that you have to understand your feelings and thoughts. What is it about this event that’s causing you to worry constantly?

Tip Nº 2: Journal

The easiest way to find the source of your stress is by writing in a diary regularly. You can not only use the diary or journal to pinpoint the exact event that triggered the stress, but it will also allow you to see patterns, behaviours, and attitudes that may be contributing to the problem.

Tip Nº 3: Remove the source

Once you’ve identified the stressors in your life, decide if it’s something you can eliminate or not. Are you swamped with work because you are unable to say no? You need to learn your limits and refuse others. If anything, they might end up respecting you more for it. Better say no, than drive yourself into the ground to get it done or miss deadlines. The best way to do that is to write a to-do list. Is it a page long? Then, you have too much on your plate. You have to focus on paring it down instead of always trying to please everyone. Are there people around you who make you uncomfortable or constantly anger you? Don’t be scared to cut off people. Your time is too precious to be spending it around people who consistently causes stress in your life.

Tip Nº 4: Adapt

Heard of a post-mortem, right? Well, do the exact opposite. Go over everything that CAN go wrong and deal with them before they even happen. You will typically want to adopt this method when dealing with situations that you can’t eliminate or avoid. An example of such a situation is an upcoming exam. You can’t just ignore the exam – it won’t go away. So, instead of rooting out the cause, you have to take control of your environment and alter it instead. Write down everything you think may go wrong. These thoughts are exactly what is stressing you out.

Now that you know the things you are worrying about, write down everything you can do to remedy each of these items. Let’s say you have to drop off your the kids at school on the same day you have an important client meeting. What are the things that can go wrong? You may be late to the meeting, you might forget your laptop at home, the projector may not work. You forget your speech. So, now that you’ve written down everything you think might go wrong, find a solution for each of those. Set the alarm 10 minutes early. Pack your laptop the night before. Have the IT guy check the projector before leaving on the day before. Rehearse your speech one last time before bed. These small things will help you feel more confident and as a result, the level of stress you are experiencing will drastically decrease.

Tip Nº 5: Take care of yourself

If you are constantly putting out fires at work and at home without even a moment of respite, you will most assuredly burn out. Commit to a positive attitude and do small things that give you pleasure. Walk your dog. Go to a spa and get a massage . Put on some music and dance around with your partner or on your own. Exercise. These will all give you a well-deserved break that can help burn away tension and stress.

Top Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Business Insurance

More than just helping to cover costs that are associated with property damage and liability claims, business insurance will protect your business, your employees and even your customers. But with the number of coverage options offered by insurance companies and each of them telling you how theirs is the best deal you can get, you can easily get misled.

However, even if finding the right business insurance can seem tough, it’s really not that complicated. When shopping around for the right policy, you simply need to beat the following 15 points in mind (These are pitfalls you want to avoid when you are trying to buy the ideal business insurance for your business):

Mistake Nº 1: Buying the Least Expensive Policy

Watching your bottom line must not lead to you seeking out the cheapest options out there. If you buy a policy based on price rather than value, you run higher chances of landing in hot water when it comes time to file a claim.

Mistake Nº 2: Getting the Business Description Wrong

If you are requesting a quote online, you’ll probably have to fill in a form. Online forms typically have drop-down boxes with generic business descriptions. Getting this wrong will also mean getting an a quote for a policy that doesn’t cover all the activities of your business.

Mistake Nº 3: Not Getting Enough Property Insurance

You should be aware that getting an insurance without the adequate limits means that there’s a possibility that the disbursement you get won’t cover the totality of the replacement cost or the repair cost. This is simply because the insurance company will only cover the amount you insure and won’t cover the loss in full if the replacement and repair cost exceed that limit.

Mistake Nº 4: Not Including Business Interruption Coverage

If you want soundproof cyber protection for your business, you must not fail to purchase a cyber policy that includes business interruption coverage. You might have to pay a additional premium for that, but it will be worth it as business interruption for a small business can be disastrous.

Mistake Nº 5: Not Having Sufficient Disaster Insurance

As mentioned above, not getting the right insurance will only put you at greater risks. While you may want to limit your expenses, you should ensure yourself against threats that can damage your business the most.

Mistake Nº 6: Choosing Low Deductibles by Default

This one is just as bad as the first mistake mentioned above. The reason why you must avoid automatically purchasing damage insurance with low deductibles is that you may be buying more insurance than you need.

Mistake Nº 7: Not Adjusting Your Coverage

As your business changes over time, so will your needs. And it is inconceivable that business owners don’t do the same for their coverage. Remember to reevaluate your insurance needs several months before the renewal of the policies.

Mistake Nº 8: Not Reading the Policy Carefully

If you don’t read the policy well, you will not be aware of the numerous warranties and conditions precedent mentioned in it. This, of course, means that there’s greater possibility of your business not complying with those. And non-compliance usually leads to a claim being turned down.in the worst case scenario, the entire policy can be invalidated.

Mistake Nº 9: Failure to Thinking About Health Insurance Options

You don’t have to wait for the renewal period to discuss health policies for your employees. Discuss your needs with your insurer and let them advise you on what’s best for your business and employees.

Mistake Nº 10: Not Willing to Change Insurer

Even if you have a great relationship with your current insurance company, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with them year in year out. Shop around and see if there are other insurers who can offer you better policies.

Mistake Nº 11: Not Purchasing A Policy that Covers for Online Sales

If you want to break into e-commerce to expand sales globally, think of getting a product liability insurance before. It will help protect you against expensive lawsuits over defective products.

Mistake Nº 12: Not Going to Right Broker or Agent

Considering that the broker will get commissions on the premium you purchase, it is important to find one that works for you and who is willing to meet your specific needs.

Mistake Nº 13: Not Listing All Entities or Locations

Since the majority of policy cover only entities that appear in the declarations, failing to accurately list all entities or location on the policy means that these entities will not qualify as named insureds.

Mistake Nº 14: Not Investing in Cybersecurity Insurance

That’s something you don’t want to overlook as more and more small businesses fall victim to data breaches and cyber hacks every single year. In the event of a breach, a cybersecurity insurance will protect the costs of your data and will also help cover the legal and technical costs of rebuilding.