How To Plan A Successful Corporate Event

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A corporate event can be a valuable business tool, helping you to promote your business, win clients and keep your customers happy with a little glitz and glamour. But planning a successful corporate event so that it goes off without a hitch can take a little bit of work, so here’s how to do it. 

Know your five W’s

The five w’s are the foundations of your corporate event, your who, what, when, where and why. With answers to your five W’s, you can then build your event from the ground up.

Who?                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Who will be invited to this event? Knowing your who is important to understanding your audience and what they will want to see from your event.

What?
What is your budget? Your what is one of your limiting factors and will ultimately determine a lot of the details to follow

When?
When will you host the event? Set the date and know when you plan to host your event to ensure that you choose a suitable venue. 

Where?
Where will the event take place? Which event space will you choose? 

Why?
Why are you hosting this event? Your why is perhaps the biggest single factor that you need to consider. What are you hoping to achieve from this event? what does success look like to you?

Set the date early

There’s nothing worse than organizing an event and then realizing that there are no venues available to accommodate it or that no one can come as it is too short notice. Set the date as early as possible to give you plenty of time to work towards it and to give your guests plenty of time to put it in their diaries. As a general rule 4 weeks is the minimum amount of time you should give guests and remember to collect their RSVP’s to get an estimation of final numbers. 

Assess everyone’s needs 

To make your guests feel special go above and beyond to make them feel special and meet their needs. We live in a world of inclusivity so ensure to assess the needs of your guests. Does anyone have any dietary requirements which may require you to make special catering arrangements? Does anyone have a disability and require additional assistance? Is anyone bringing a plus one and have you added them to your tally of total numbers? 

Go for quality not quantity 

The size of a corporate event doesn’t determine its success. If you have a limited budget then don’t try to stretch it too thin by sacrificing the quality fo your food, decoration or venue and instead downsize the event to be something more intimate. Similarly, if you are new to events planning then don’t make your first event something extravagant and instead remember to focus on quality and not quantity to help you build a strong business reputation. 

Be present

And finally, the most important part of a corporate event is to have a company presence, so remember to be present yourself and not hiding in the sidelines. A great touch is to greet all of your guests personally so that each and every one of them can say they spoke to you at least once on the night.

7 Ways To Keep Your Company Safe From Anything And Everything

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As the owner of a business, you should know that anything can go wrong at any time. You won’t exactly be harboring a pessimistic and negative disposition throughout your tenure as a business person, but those thoughts should always be with you. It wouldn’t be naïve, neglectful, and downright stupid to think that you’ll be completely invincible. 

You’ll want your business to stand out, of course, but you don’t want it to stand out for all the wrong reasons now, do you? If you leave things to chance, then that will probably happen. You’ll need to be covered and as safe as possible if you want to have longevity in this game. Fortunately, there are lots of little things you can do to make sure you’re secure. There are also a bunch of services around that are dedicated to keeping you and your business away from anything bad. How lucky for you! Here are just a few methods of prevention you can undertake:

Guards

Having some trained and experienced people outside of your premises would make the place a lot stronger. When you pass a building, and it has large, authoritative men and women keeping watching outside, you tend to feel a lot less at ease. Our minds bow to authority, and that’s what would happen in this instance. Criminals would think twice about approaching your workplace. If they are still stupid enough to do so, then they’ll be dealt with accordingly. 

CCTV Cameras

In this day and age, we have ridiculously high-tech cameras available to us for reasonable prices. You may as well invest in a few while you have some money to spend! The investment may seem a little steep if you want the best, but it’s a sure-fire way of stopping anyone from getting away with their crimes. Again, like the guards, it’ll deter people before they even commit – they’ll know the camera can hold data forever. If, again, they decide to pursue their stupidity, then they’ll be caught red-handed. 

Alarm Systems 

If someone does somehow manage to bypass the initial security measures, then an alarm system should do the trick. Nothing says guilty like a ridiculously loud beeping noise alerting everyone to the scene of the crime. This is something that most commercial buildings already have installed – if you don’t have one, then it should probably be near the top of your list of priorities. 

Extra Locks

This sounds like a pretty tame way of keeping things tight, but it would work, and it wouldn’t cost you a fortune. If people can’t access your valuables, then that’s only going to be a good thing, though, right? Adding a few extra padlocks to certain doors and lockers might be the shrewdest way of keeping things tight. Literally adding locks to a few bare doors would also do the trick. While we’re at it, buying a safe or two to store your important items would be smart. 

Increased Fortification

Think about building extra fences and gates around your workplace. If there’s literally an obstacle ahead of their target, the perps are going to think twice about entering – probably because they won’t be bothered to jump the gates! That increase fortification not only makes it more difficult to access, but it also gives off a strong and more menacing presence. It says to people, ‘don’t mess with us.’ 

Protect Against The Elements 

Nature is strange, and it can cause you issues at any time. During the winter, you’ll want to protect your workplace from things like floods and snow damage. It’s amazing what a little liquid can do to a place. You’ll also need a few fire extinguishers scattered around just in case something gets ignited by accident. 

If anything does flare up or cause any damage to your premises, then you’ll be in a lot of trouble financially. To stop that from happening, you’ll probably need to get some insurance. If you’re covered in that respect, then that’ll be removed from your list of worries. 

Cybersecurity 

An awful lot of the work you do will be on your computer. You’re going to have lots of information stored on there, and you don’t want any of it to be compromised. For some reason, there are lots of people out there looking to take control and take advantage of your systems – try not to let this happen. Install protection software, and get in touch with an IT support firm. An IT firm will be able to watch over the behavior of your system(s) and tell you when something seems a little fishy.

Sustainability as a Business

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You hear a lot about sustainability these days, but it’s usually just in the context of how existing companies can make their business more sustainable. It’s about fine-tuning existing practices to essentially ensure that the show goes on. And while that is, of course, important, it’s not going to necessarily change the world as much as it should. To supplement these efforts, there need to be companies that aren’t just sustainability-tinged, but which are sustainability-driven. Companies that are sustainability. Below, we take a look at a few examples of these types of ventures.

Energy Matters 

If humans are going to navigate the murky world of climate change, then we’re going to have to take a serious look at where we’re getting our energy from. It’s just not feasible that we keep things running on coal and the like forever, purely because, well, we don’t have an infinite supply of natural resources. There’s been a big rise in sustainable energy sources in recent years, most notably solar. While there have been some moves to incentivize people to adopt these energy sources for their home, they’re going to become more prominent in the coming years. 

Helping Others 

We mentioned earlier that many businesses are looking to make the switch to become a more sustainable business. But the truth is that most of them don’t have the manpower, resources, or experience needed to do this efficiently. They might scratch the surface, but that’s about it. As such, there’s a growing demand for external help to smoothen the transition. If you’ve got experience and knowledge that companies need, then you could look at becoming a consultant for corporations. As part of your job, you’ll go into businesses and then see where they need to improve.

Recycling Options

We’ve become all too aware that we can’t just do whatever we want anymore. It’s not feasible that we can consume all we want, and not think about the effects of that consumption. This understanding has lead to a rise in recycling movements, which ensures that a product’s materials can live on. One problem is that there aren’t enough adequate recycling centers. As such, setting up a recycling plant can be a good business idea. You’ll need specific equipment, such as thermoplastic compressors if you’re recycling bottles, shredders if you’re recycling paper, and so on. It’s best to make connections with manufacturers, too, so you have someone to sell your recycled materials to.

Driving Innovation

The world moves forward by industries innovating and progressing. Take Tesla, for example. No-one was really touching the electric car until they came along, and now they all are. If you’ve got many years of experience in one particular industry, and you’re a natural problem solver, then it’s worth looking to see if you can set up your own company and then do things differently. Since the future of the business world is sustainable, you’ll likely find that you have many new clients and customers — and that you inspire others, too.

What Makes One Brand Better Than Another?

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Branding is such an important part of building a business. Your brand is the thing that makes your company distinguishable from its competitors. Otherwise, consumers would have to choose between a bunch of faceless brands which were offering near-identical products or services. Are there no search engines similar to Google? Are there no phones similar to the iPhone? Could you accurately pinpoint different wine brands during a taste test? Branding affects our decisions as consumers. Yes, your goods need to be professional and your employees need to be skilled, but you need a brand identity which encapsulates those impressive qualities. But what makes one brand better than another?

A relatable identity.

As mentioned in the introduction, a business’ brand identity is incredibly valuable. This is the thing that helps your customers to differentiate between your brand and other brands in your marketplace. So, if you want to stand out in a positive way, then you need a relatable identity. You need to make a good impression on potential customers in your industry. You could achieve this by donating some of your profits to local charities, for example. This would show consumers that your company values important issues in the local area. It would give your business a personality.

You might also want to create a sustainable brand. Given modern-day threats to our environment, the future of our planet is an important topic of discussion for many people. To show that your business cares about the future, too, you should run your company in an environmentally-conscious manner. This would impress consumers. Many businesses have managed to stand out from the crowd by adopting a sustainable approach to their operations. Ecosia, for instance, is a search engine that plants a tree for every search made. Few search engines have gained popularity, given that the market is dominated by Google, but Ecosia has really gained traction over the past couple of years.

Security.

A secure brand will always appeal to consumers. That’s how your business could differentiate itself from its competitors. By showing the market that you can keep your information secure (and your physical office), you’ll be showing them that your company is reliable. If consumers are going to hand over their financial information to your business, they’ll want to know that they can trust you to safeguard this information. Security is an absolutely vital component of branding. It’ll help you to gain a good reputation in your marketplace. You might want to visit Quicktech for cloud computing solutions. Backing up your data on servers out of the office will help to protect your sensitive information (and your clients’ sensitive information) in the event of hacking or accidental data loss.

Loyal relationships with its customers.

You also need to focus on your relationships with customers if you want your brand to be successful. As mentioned in the previous point, your reputation matters. But a good reputation depends on more than just a secure business. Your brand needs to be known for its loyal relationships with its customers. This is about more than being dependable; it’s about being caring. Surprise your clients with discounts and free gifts, as a way of thanking them for their continued custom. Start a loyalty points scheme so people can be rewarded for buying your products and services continually. Show consumers that you treat your customer base well. That will make your brand better than any others in your industry.

What Is Managed IT And How Can You Benefit From It?

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There are a lot of reasons why Managed IT is great, but that is all useless unless you understand what it is and what it can do for you. Managed IT is a solution that is implemented and delivered by an IT provider. It will typically combine flat-rate IT support at a fixed monthly fee. There will be proactive monitoring and support when requested and needed. The proactive monitoring will be of IT workstations and infrastructure. You can learn more about different services with some research.

Managed IT service is designed to be a buffet-style, all-you-can-eat model. Both the organizations are working in alignment. Previous models were closer to client and service with an hourly bill at the end. Managed IT is a more vested interest. 

Managed services put the ball in the court of the firm – to some extent. The more plentiful problems an organization has, the more time and resources are going to be soaked up. Of course, over time, this could be much less profit for an IT company. So a model of proactivity and preemptive measures smooths the process, and both companies prosper. 

Why Are They Important?

Peace of Mind

You and your company might not be IT experts, and it is nice to know that when something goes wrong, you have the right people on the case. You can focus on your business, and they can take care of your IT.

Planning

While you might not be 100% sure what systems and methods you’ll need to have in a year or three years, they will. Managed IT service providers will be thinking ahead and will give you advice on what you’ll need. This and the point below are intertwined. You will be upgraded and have things implemented with minimal downtime, and less risk of viruses and software crashes. 

Support

It isn’t just about arriving, fixing a situation and then leaving again. It is proactive support. They will make every effort to identify issues before they impact you, and keep all of your systems running in the best capacity. 

Outsourced

One of the most attractive aspects of Managed IT is that you have access to the entire It department, that otherwise, you might not be able to afford. And that support covers a range of jobs. You’ll have things like a CIO, or an IT manager, or a strategic planning person. There is a range of people you will not typically have access to. 

When you are selecting your Managed IT provider, you’ll need to consider a couple of things. They will need to meet your requirements, and your budget will matter. Although money should not be the deciding factor here, but rather choosing a company that meet the needs of your business. They will need to have your best interest in mind, and you’ll need to see evidence of that. Ask these questions:

And finally, how quickly will the on-boarding process be. Because in most cases, Managed IT services will be ideal for you, and it will just be a case of timing.

8 Tips For Marketing Your Plumbing Company

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Regardless of your industry, you’ll know that marketing is everything these days. It’s also rather evident that marketing has changed somewhat in the last few years. Traditional forms of marketing have fast become outdated and replaced by online marketing strategies. Whether you’re a brick and mortar company or not, it pays to keep up to date with the latest online strategies. For those of you who aren’t so sure where to start, consider a few of these to get you going. 

1. Improve your website with UX design 

You’ll likely already have a website, and if you don’t- you best build one fast! It’s not essential to rely upon the experts because there are lots of free tools out there (Wix or WordPress, for instance). Such tools allow you to build your own website pretty simply. These sites are pretty easy to use, and there are also plenty of related website building tutorials if you get stuck.

UX refers to ‘User Experience’, and this means the design behind the product (or website), which ensures that it offers the best experience to users. The experience of the website should be relevant, meaningful and easy to use. If your website is too difficult to navigate and users can’t, for example, find your contact details with ease-they’ll quickly give up! It’s also worth noting that more searches are performed via a mobile phone than any other device so you can improve your marketing easily by ensuring that your website is mobile optimized. 

2. Create original blog content 

Blogs are a great marketing tool that can allow you to connect with your audience and showcase your branding. Ensuring that your blogs are SEO rich will drive traffic to your website over time as long as you keep plugging those keywords and posting regularly. If you’re looking to save some money, you can teach yourself how to perform keyword research along with other SEO tactics. You can also write your own content. If you’re not so sure, there are plenty of experts out there who’d be more than happy to help you out! 

When it comes to blog content, the web is full of similar articles. If you want to stand out, work on your niche and offer knowledge in a different way from the rest. Perhaps you know all there is to know about the best One Piece Stainless Steel Ball Valve? Or maybe you’ve got the low down on the greenest heating systems to save money? Regardless of what you choose to blog about, prioritize original content.

3. Social media 

Make the most of social media platforms to market yourself and widen your reach. If you’re a smaller business, you might want to choose one platform to conquer first, this really depends on your preferences. On social media, you can promote yourself; share your blog content; and target your audience via demographics such as age and interests. Customers increasingly like to interact with even small companies on socials. If you follow suit, you’ll be keeping on trend with the modern consumer.

4. Video marketing

Making a few marketing videos is an excellent way to let the customers get to know you and stand out. Video content is favored over any other type, and it also gets more shares online. You could use your marketing videos to provide a demonstration, introduce your team or your services. Video allows us the chance to be creative, showcase a personality and engage with our audience.

5. Email Marketing

When you’re designing your website, ensure that you offer your visitors ample chances to part with their contact information. You could do this via the use of a pop-up form, for example. You could offer a downloadable PDF article in exchange for their contact details, for instance. Once you’ve got the info of the visitors to your site, you can reach out to them via an email promotion offering a discount.

6. PPC Marketing

PPC is a form of marketing whereby advertisers pay each time a user clicks on an ad which belongs to them. There are paid search ads, for example, which appear when users perform a search online. If you want your ads to appear next to the search engine results, you have to bid via an Ad Auction. Pay-per-click advertising can be an excellent way to get fast visits to your website. Using SEO tactics is still largely effective, but it can take a little longer.

7.Get customer feedback  

When you’re looking to grow as a business, gaining customer feedback can be an excellent idea. For instance, ask your existing customers what they think of your website, your blog, your service etc. Once you’ve got some feedback, you can use their ideas to improve ongoing. Often, there key reasons which mean that a consumer chooses one company over another. To enhance every aspect of your business, it’s a great idea to find out exactly what these opinions are! Don’t forget to ask your customers what they think about your customer service too.

8. Improve your target market research

When was the last time you looked at your target market research? If it’s been a while, it could be a great idea to attempt to make some improvements. The more specific you can be with your customer profiles, the easier it is to target them. All forms of PPC advertising, for example, allow you to target using certain characteristics. With this in mind, it’s vital to have as much info as possible on your target audience.

When it comes to marketing, approaches and trends are changing all the time. The best thing that you can do is to keep learning to enhance your efforts and results. There may be some gaps in your knowledge, but that’s okay. Investing in an online marketing specialist could well be the boost that your small business needs. Before you do so, have a go yourself and see what kind of marketing magic you can work!

Practicing Self-Care While Running a Home Business

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Self-care is essential, especially in the modern world where most of us feel stressed out at least some of the time. Self-care means different things to different people. But, it is basically putting yourself first sometimes. It’s committing time to take care of your mental and physical health and finding ways to give yourself what you need to be happy and healthy. 

When you run a home business, it’s hard to take any time for yourself. You might find that you’ve got no work-life balance at all. That your business has totality taken over and that you struggle to take any time off at all, let alone make time to practice self-care. You might commit any time you have to your business, thinking about it or worrying about problems even when you aren’t working. This can be damaging, both for you and ultimately, your business. So, let’s take a look at some ways that you can practice self-care when you work from home. 

Get Some Help

Running a home business doesn’t mean that you have to do everything for yourself. You could outsource work to other companies and freelancers. You can learn more about managed IT services and support, so that you have less to worry about. You could even hire an assistant, even if it’s just someone to help out when you are very busy. Explore your options, and don’t ever feel as though you have to do it all yourself because it’s your business. 

Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits. But, it’s often one of the things that go out of the window when we start working from home. Suddenly we don’t need to walk to the office, and we can sit and work on the sofa in our pajamas if we want to. But, failing to exercise doesn’t just affect your weight and fitness levels. It could impact your immune system, your mental health, your confidence and your mood. 

Do something for yourself by exercising. Practice yoga, Pilates and other mat work at home. Go out for a run or walk and head to the gym when you have time. 

Build an Online Support Network

Working from home can be lonely. Your friends and family might still be going out to work, and you might miss sharing your office with colleagues. Building an online support network can be a huge help. Join groups online, get to know people on Twitter, and try to make friends with other people in similar situations.

Take Time Off

Perhaps the best thing that you can do for yourself as someone that works from home is to take a day off — a whole day without checking work emails, replying to messages to checking in with your business. It’s even better if you don’t feel guilty about it. 

Schedule Daily “Me Time”

If you are struggling with your work-life balance, you never take time off, and you don’t make enough time for your friends and family, start scheduling it. Make plans and write them in your diary, you’ll be more likely to stick to them. Then, even on workdays, when you have nothing else planned, write some me time on your to-do list, even if it’s just ten minutes to read a book or enjoy a coffee.

4 Ways To Make Your Business Stand Out

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If there is one thing that is important for your business, it’s branding. Business branding is something that goes beyond the logo of the business and a few flimsy business cards. It’s not the same thing as a logo, it’s so much more than that! Yes, the logo is important, but the branding you have will make your business stand out and bring the customers in – which makes it a vital piece of your business puzzle. 

You need the logo, but you also need to be able to show the world that you know your business value. This is going to help you to create a personality for your business and a brand identity that everyone will recognize. You want a stunning advertising campaign, too, and you can find help at kw2madison.com for that. We all know the Golden Arches, and the logo for the big companies out there. That’s come from a clever branding strategy behind it, pushing the name in front of everyone so that it stands out in the best possible way. Without further ado, let’s look at some of the ways that you can make your business stand out from the rest of the market.

You Need Purpose

Knowing the purpose of your brand is so important, otherwise you can’t even begin to look at the style and design behind the branding. You need a structured purpose and this will map out where your business is going. You should have an idea of why your business exists, as well as the impact that you want it to have on your audience. Once you know that, you can ensure that the customer experience is perfection.

Excellent Customer Service

People talk. It’s a fact – they talk to each other online, in person, in emails – they talk to each other and they’re talking about their experiences with brands. They recommend their favorite businesses and they discuss the things they don’t like about them. So, if you want to really stand out among your customers, you need to excel when it comes to customer service.

Be Unique

You can think – and be – bigger than any other companies in your industry, and all because you’ve decided to be unique and not copy what others are doing. Do things differently to your competition, and you’ll stand out because of it. Look for ways to remain ahead of the curve, even if that means regular reinvention of your business. If you keep your customers refreshed, you’re going to stand out from the competition.

Have Personality

Blog, vlog and post content to give your business a personality that’s separate to the professional exterior that you show off to clients. You need to be relatable, and you can do that with the right business personality. You could do this with your packaging and style, sure, but you need to give your business a face behind the magic.

These four options aren’t exclusive to make your business stand out, but they are going to help you along your way.

4 Reasons To Digitalize Your Business

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Digitization is the process of changing business processes with the advent of new technologies to appeal to new markets and create more value to their customers. 

Why should you digitalize your business?

The speed at which the world has adopted digital practices is a testimony to their effectiveness and business who fail to adapt are at risk of being left behind. One of the main reasons that businesses choose to digitalize their processes is to increase their profits, with companies who have adopted digital-ready networks growing revenue and profits up to three times more quickly than those who remain on legacy networks. But increased profitability is just one of the reasons why digitalisation is sweeping through the business world and the benefits can be seen across the board. 

  1. It helps companies to stay relevant
    Digitalization can be seen across all aspects of our daily lives, from the way we socialize online through social media, to the way we shop, the way we communicate via WhatsApp and email and the way we relax using games and virtual reality. To stay relevant, and appeal to their target customers, it’s important that companies digitalize too by maintaining a presence across their customers most used social media platforms and communicating through the channels their customers use most. Companies who fail to stay relevant can alienate their target markets, seeming outdated and not in keeping with the times. 
  2. It allows for personalization
    Social media, data and analytics have enabled companies to make use of personalization like never before. They can now create personalized offers and rewards based on their customer’s purchase history and they can predict what they may buy next helping them to maintain consistent sales during down periods and retain customers in a highly competitive market. In addition to offers and rewards, companies can speak to their customers on a personal level by making them feel as though they are heard and understood.
  3. It has enabled targeted marketing
    In the same way that social media, data and analytics has enabled companies to offer a new level of personalization to their customers it has also enabled them to be more accurate with their targeted marketing. Companies can now focus their budgets on highly specific targeted advertisements and place them in locations specific to their target market such as at the start of videos they may watch or on the side of website they may use. Whereas once an advertisement may have been placed in a magazine, now it can be placed on a social media site and shown specifically to a person of a certain age, and gender who has shown previous interest in competitors products or has made a similar purchase in the past.
  4. It helps companies to predict the future
    The tracking and analysis of customer data can help companies to predict future trends and market opportunities and branch out        into new areas in order to cater to their customer’s future needs. Amazon and Apple’s move into the healthcare sector is one example  of this.

 

How To Prepare Your Business For A Power Outage

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With so much of our world now reliant on electricity, a power outage can wreak havoc on our daily lives. In business, a power outage can mean a loss of earnings and leave you open to a surge of angry customers, so what can you do to limit the damage? 

Have a plan 

Preparing for a power outage begins long before the warning that one may occur and the key to managing one successfully is having a plan.

Audit your needs
Before you can create an effective plan you will want to audit your needs. What equipment do you own that relies on power? Can this equipment run off a backup generator? Do you offer any services which will be impacted by a power outage? Answer these questions to determine the impact that a power outage could have on your operations. 

Prepare back-ups
Having audited your business needs you can now begin to identify the areas in which you need to ensure that you have back up. This could include the need for a backup genset generator, a set of backup flashlights in areas without natural lighting, or even backup battery systems for things such as fire alarms and security systems. 

Educate your staff

Power outages can cause a feeling of panic and chaos, to help your staff remain calm you will want to show them that you have a plan in place and demonstrate the safety measures that you have taken. Teach your staff what they should do in the event of an outage, be that calling an emergency number or evacuating the building and practice how they should respond in the same way that you would a fire drill.

During the outage

The cause and duration of a power outage will influence how you should act if one occurs. Firstly, try to determine whether the outage is isolated to your building and then notify your electricity provider so that they can log the issue. Your electricity provider may be able to offer you some idea as to the cause of the outage and how long it will take to fix which may help you decide whether to send staff home or to wait for it to be turned back on. 

Turn off equipment
Turn off computers etc at the wall when the power goes out, this will stop them all re-booting at the same time when the power comes back on. You can then control the restart of your equipment to stop any overloading. 

Communicate to clients via other means
Although a power outage may have taken out your office computers you may still have access to your mobile phones. Try to keep your clients and suppliers in the loop by updating them on your status through social media and via email this will help limit expectations. 

After the outage 

Reboot slowly 

After a power outage, you may have certain equipment or programs which take a while to reboot. Conduct the reboot process carefully to avoid overloading any equipment. 

Replenish supplies

To ensure that you have everything you need for future outages remember to replenish supplies such as batteries and diesel for your generators etc immediately.