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Bharat Bhise HNA – The Benefits of Locking Down Your Business’ Online Security

I work with many upcoming businesses to help them improve their internet security and each time I start a job I always asked about what benefits a company will get for their investment. My last customer was a guy called Bharat Bhise HNA and he asked the very same questions. My response is often the same and so today I want to speak particularly about Bharat and his business, and the peace of mind which he now has. Cyber security is of utmost importance and here are some of the benefits which we were able to provide for Bharat and his small business.

Prevention

The reason why we work so hard to implement smart security measures for companies like that of Bharat is so that they are prepared for any kind of cyber attack. When this happens the entire system of a company will have been breached and hackers can get their hands on all kinds of sensitive data. A hack could result in client details being passed around and sold on, business plans being revealed and even damage to the software itself, rendering a business unable to work properly.

Reality

The reality is that cyber attacks are not going away and with each new advancement in how we store and use data such as through mobile devices and the cloud, it opens us up more than ever to attacks. Businesses don’t have a choice with this anymore and much like they would lock a door, install a camera and place security alarms, our computer systems must be locked down too.

Reputation

Bharat was very proud of the reputation which he had created around his business and so I realized that this would be a great place to start in describing to him why he needed to invest time and money into a high grade security system. If a business is breached by a cyber attack then all of their customer’s sensitive information will be available to them. Now let’s assume that a customer finds out that their details have been taken following a cyber attack, what do you think that this will do to the reputation of a particular business? It will damage it very badly of course and it can be difficult to regain that reputation once it has been lost.

Money

When I spoke to Bharat about the need for investment I made sure to tell him just how much money this will save the company in the long term. Investing in cyber security is like investing in insurance, you may never need it, but you’ll be thankful when you do. A cyber attack can result in loss of time, loss of profits, loss of reputation and it can leave your business in a state which will take some time to recover from.

If your business doesn’t have strong cyber security in place then you should follow in Bharat’s footsteps and invest in high quality security software for your systems.

Lyconet – Marketing Strategies Which Can Make an Impact For Your Small Business

If you are running a small business then you’ll know just how difficult it can be to commit to a marketing budget. On the one hand you know that marketing will help bring in more customers and more sales to your business yet on the other hand it involves investing capital which may very well be limited. In order to overcome this you need to ensure that you are investing money in something which will be profitable and which will bring in a strong return on investment. To help you nail down which marketing strategies work best here are those which can guarantee a strong ROI.

Network Marketing

Network marketing can do wonders for your business and that is why so many excellent companies like Lyconet are doing a roaring trade in this industry. Network marketing involves direct word-of-mouth advertising which can help you to sell to the people who you know will be inclined to give your company a try.

Social Media Marketing

 Social media offers a highly accessible, highly targeted and successful option to market to your clients, or your potential customers. The beauty of investing money into social media marketing is that regardless of your budget you can run a successful campaign which is aimed directly at the demographics of your target customer base. Furthermore social media marketing can offer you excellent insights and metrics which can help you track the level of engagement which your content receives and it can help you to tailor your marketing campaign to ensure that you see even more profitability from it.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the most reliable tools when it comes to formatting a marketing campaign and it can be heavily targeted so that you are talking directly to your target market. Emails can be personalized and aimed at the people who you expect to get maximum engagement from. This marketing strategy can also be used to connect and reconnect with exiting and previous customers, to ensure that you get repeat business from those who have already enjoyed your products and services.

Promotional Marketing

The only thing new about promotional marketing is the method by which it is carried out but in truth this is a strategy which has worked for companies for a very long time. Promotional marketing involves giving the customer a killer offer in order to get them through the door, at this point it will be up to you to show your new customers why they should return to you after the deal is done. In today’s world you can do this by offering a great promotion on something like a coupon site like Groupon. Let’s say that you sell products on this site at cost, this offers the customer a great discount to come and give your company a try, and it costs you nothing. The key will be whether or not  you can impress the customer enough that they come back again, bringing a friend in the future.

Marc Leder – Business Lessons 101

I was very fortunate when I started out in business that I had a great mentor in Marc Leder, Marc has been a successful businessman since he was a teenager and he knows just about everything that there is to know about this industry. For me Marc was the inspiration for me getting into y own business after beginning as his assistant when I was just 18. Iw ill be forever indebted to what Marc showed me and there were certain things which he taught me that have stayed with me forever. I wanted to share Marc’s business 101 lessons in the hope that it may help you as well.

Always Market

It can be tough to find the money or the justification for spending cash on marketing when you are starting out but something which Marc always talked about was how vital it was to market your product and your business. Marc would often use the Coca-Cola example, a drink which is world-famous but has never been considered the ‘finest’ soft drink on the market. Coke are experts in marketing however and Marc would always tell me that this was why they have made it so big and so successful.

Contacts, Contacts, Contacts

Marc would always stress the importance of alliances in the world of business and this is something which he always had one eye on. Marc would talk to me about how he made certain contacts, in some cases they were actually his competition too. Marc would also recount stories of how his contacts saved him from certain situations, offering to lend a hand when he was down and that he would do the same for them. I have tried to follow this lead in my business career and it has already borne fruit on more than one occasion.

Forward Thinking

Marc was never that great at looking back, in fat he actively discouraged it and he believed that a proper business leader should always be looking ahead. Of course Marc would take lessons from the past into the future, but mainly he would be looking at what problems lie ahead and what opportunities were coming around the corner. This is what made Marc so successful and it is something which I endeavor to do every day.

Get Up

Throughout his career Marc had a huge number of setbacks and failures and he would often say that without them he wouldn’t be the success that he was. Marc’s mantra was always to get back up, learn from the failure and go again. Marc would often talk about people who didn’t have this ability and how they would never find success because of this approach. I have taken the words of Marc very seriously and there have been some setbacks which I have suffered, that I have managed to overcome thanks to Marc’s advice.

If you want to be a success in business then I’d recommend that you, like I did, learn from the brilliant Marc Leder.

Reputation Management Consultant Reviews – Why Businesses Have to Focus On Their Online Reps

Working with many businesses I am always surprised at how few of them pay much attention to their online reputations. Whether a business operates online or otherwise is completely irrelevant, every business has a reputation of some kind online and the importance of whether that is a positive or negative reputation is absolutely huge. To understand just how much difference these types of companies can make to a business you only need to browse some of the reputation management consultant reviews, where you’ll see glowing feedback about the work that these companies have completed for their clients. If you own a business and you aren’t conscious of your online reputation, here is why that needs to change.

Reviews

Consumers rely so heavily on the reviews of others when it comes to selecting the products that they buy and the companies which they plan to use. Now if your company has sparkling reviews online then you are in good shape but it is important to remember that people are far more inclined to take to the internet when they want to vent, rather than when they want to speak highly about a company. If you have negative reviews online then you need to be taking action and trying to appease these customers, if you aren’t aware of your online reputation however then you’ll lose the chance to do this, losing sales as a result.

Guilt by Association

Something else which can greatly damage a company’s online reputation is guilt by association which can take place when partner of a particular company is found to have been involved in illicit behavior. Let’s say that your company is working with a particular accountants who have been found to be fraudulent, the internet will be awash with your link to that company and that can result in people assuming that your company is dirty too. Of course this won’t be the case which is why you may need an online reputation management company. The broader point here is that you need to be aware of when this type of thing can happen by being vigilant of what your online reputation looks like, the sooner you nip issues like this in the bud the less damage it will do.

Social Media

Social media can have a great impact on the fortunes of your company and when used it in the right way it can be a wonderful way of promoting your business and connecting with your customers. Unfortunately there are two sides to social media and the other can be greatly damaging to your company. Let’s assume that you have a restaurant and it has a bad day, the chef calls in sick, you can’t get cover and the food perhaps isn’t up to its normal quality, someone snaps a shot and uploads it to their Instagram and before you know it everyone is speaking negatively about your company. You can only imagine the damage that this will do to your company so you need to ensure that you’re always vigilant in order to minimize any damage.

If you aren’t vigilant online then you will pay the price, especially in today’s world where the internet is so powerful.

Scott Tominaga – When is the Right Time to Hire a Financial Advisor For Your Business?

Whenever we are asked business questions the most common is whether or not a business should hire a financial advisor. We know that it can be difficult for small businesses to work out where they should be spending their capital, especially given that there usually isn’t a lot of it to go around in the early days. We caught up with financial advisor extraordinaire Scott Tominaga to find out when businesses should hire financial advisors, and what they can expect from a service like this.

When Should You iHire a Financial Advisor?

The answer to the question as to when you should be looking to hire a financial advisor is as soon as you possibly can. This is an expense but in the long run it should be viewed as an investment rather than a cost. A financial advisor will provide the business with a huge amount of benefits which over the duration of the company’s existence will help them to save money, paying for their services time and time again.

What Can a Financial Advisor Bring?

If this is your business then you will make financial decisions for it based on a mixture of reason and emotion. Unfortunately however any decision which you make, especially financial decisions, which are based in emotion are not going to result in the best decision being taken. When you have a financial advisor on-board they will have no skin in the game, this means that they will be able to make decisions based on numbers alone, and not emotions. There may be times when you have to lose in the short term to gain in the future, or even having to sell certain aspects of the business in order to push for growth. If you are emotionally invested in your business then you won’t make these calls, which could eventually harm the company.

Expertise

Businesses large and small should have a financial advisor on-board not only because of the expertise that they can bring, but also to fill in the gaps when it comes to your own expertise. A great many business owners understand there speciality and the business’ speciality, but many go into it without knowing about the world of finance. There are worrying statistics about the amount of companies who fail after the first 3-5 years and this is almost always down to poor financial management. If you hire a financial advisor then you can be safe in the knowledge that any financial decisions which are made for the company will be done to the best of your ability.

And so if you do have a business and you haven’t yet consulted a financial advisor, now is the time to go out and find one, arrange a consultation and talk through the company’s finances to ensure that everything is in good shape and that you have a clear financial plan for the future.

Kelly Curia-Schmidt – The Changing Face of Women in the Workplace

For many years the choice for women was a career or kids, and there was very little by way of choice in this regard. That was a long time ago however and thanks to trailblazers like my good friend Kelly Curia-Schmidt, things have changed a great deal. You only need to look across industries such as business and finance to see that there are a huge number of strong, empowered women who are managing successful careers and being great mums at the same time. So what is it that changed things for women in terms of the options which they have? Let’s have a look at how the world of women in the workplace has changed.

Trailblazers

As we have already mentioned there have been many women who have suffered in order to create the situation which we now live in. These women worked in male dominated environments and had to work twice as hard to prove equality. During this time women would be overlooked for promotions, they would be denied time away from work to care for their family if they had one and they would have to go above and beyond just to prove their worth. These women eventually managed to convince many employers that they were worth it, and often better than men, and thanks to them we now live in a society which is far more accepting of many women in the workplace.

Legal Changes

Throughout the last 20 years we have seen a number of pieces of legislation passed which means that women can now have far more time to spend with their family, without facing issues in the workplace. We have seen maternity time extended and we have seen equal rights laws passed which enables women the opportunity to take some time off when they need to be a mother.

Role Models

We don’t just have the trailblazers to thank for the changing face of women in the workplace but also the strong women in business who have shown the world that it is possible to be a great mother and to run a successful company at the same time. These women are super organized, incredibly motivated and most importantly dedicated to being a mum and a businesswoman. When young girls see these strong women they are encouraged and inspired to do the same which is why we then see the next generation taking the lead and following in the footsteps of this incredible role models.

Women in Charge

As more women began to occupy CEO and management positions they understood the plight which so many go through and they too have played a key role in ensuring that more women have rights when it comes to being a mum and being a successful career woman. Thanks to their guidance and support, more women have been able to take this path.

Mladen Djankovic on the Importance of Technology in the Overall Strategy of a Business

Over the years, Mladen Djankovic has helped a number of entrepreneurs develop and grow their startups through sound business advice. While he emphasizes marketing and branding, Mladen acknowledges other factors equally important in the bigger picture. One of these factors is technology.


Image source: pinterest.com

Mladen notes that too many young entrepreneurs today prioritize cutting costs over everything else, which is unfortunate. Being too focused on saving money shields one’s

eyes from and clouds one’s judgment on making good investments. Mladen has

explained to many startup owners in the past how investing in technology is important

and worth the expense, no matter the business.

Take for instance two farms of roughly equal size. The first farm owner decides to take

out a loan and a bigger tractor. The second farm owner decides to save the money

instead and stick to his old reliable tractor. The first farm owner gets a bigger yield

come harvest season. Over time, the investment creates an inevitable gap between the

profits of the two farms.


Image source: deere.com

And that’s just one example that Mladen Djankovic gives. He also cites that old

technology wears out faster and needs more maintenance, so it theoretically is more

expensive in the long run. For this and many other reasons, Mladen urges young

business owners to always consider investing in technology.

Mladen Djankovic is a seasoned corporate strategist and marketer, with a vision and

expertise in business performance, having driven notable enterprise growth in retail,

luxury, and general consumer sectors.

The Main And Most Important Steps When Remodeling Your Home

If the current state of your home or any room in it does not impress you, then you might consider partial or full remodelling works. This is one of the best decisions you will ever make. However, realizing your taste and extent of the remodelling works will be determined by your budget.

The remodel works success or failure will also be determined mainly by the choice of your remodelling firm. Choosing the best remodelling firm for your kitchen, bathroom, and even the entire house need not be hard. Referrals, researching the internet, advertisements, and customer reviews are some the ways you can use to get the best remodelling firm.

The following are some of the most important steps you need to be acquainted with before and during the remodelling works.

Choosing the right firm

This is the first and one of the most important steps in the remodelling process. You will need a firm that is trustworthy, pocket-friendly, organized and time conscious. Trustworthiness is essential in that as much as you want that facelift, you need to trust these individuals being in your house for that period.

You will also need a firm that can fit your in the budget and at the same time being result oriented. Again when it comes to time consciousness, you will definitely need a firm that does everything according to plan and delivers the desired results on time.

Professional planning

This involves gathering all the information of all you need to be done, your taste and preferences which will include details such as colours, lighting, appliances, and or accessories. After gathering all the design team can get down to business and set the ground for the technical team.

Proper designing and planning will always ensure that confusion and delays are avoided. Poor planning will force adjustments halfway through the process, which might lead to disastrous results.

The actual remodelling

After choosing the right team and coming up with a proper plan, the actual remodelling can well get underway. This is the main part of the remodelling process. Proper planning plays a very crucial role in making sure that there are no mishaps during the construction process.

Despite the remodelling firm having its supervisor(s), it is essential for you to do rounds once in a while to make sure that everything goes according to plan. Supervising your project will also make sure that you are spared unpleasant surprises at the end of the project.

Fixtures, installations, and plumbing

This is one of the last processes of the remodelling works. It involves fixing of;

  • Lights
  • Switches
  • Soap dispensers
  • Soap holders
  • Plumbing
  • Doors
  • Sinks among other equipment or accessories.

The handing over

This marks the termination of the contract. After the firm is through with remodelling, they will take you through the handing over process. During handing over, the process will involve you inspecting the remodelling work and acknowledging it through signing necessary documents. It is also important to note that the remodelling firm will also offer you basic instruction on how to use or maintain accessories that you were not previously used to.

7 must-have technologies for your business

Technology continues to change the face of business, and those companies who take advantage of the right innovations for their industry often enjoy a significant competitive edge. From better managing your teams and cashflow, to ultimately better serving your customers – we examine some of the must-have technologies that can help your business thrive.

Take control of your cashflow

Ask any business owner about their biggest challenges, and cashflow is virtually bound to feature on the list. Thankfully, there are several technologies available to assist. ‘Cloud accounting’ software applications like Sage One and Xero have inbuilt credit control features which will send automated emails to your customers when their invoice is about to become due, as well as follow-ups should it become overdue. Asking your clients to pay via direct debit through a system like GoCardless can also be more convenient for both you and your customers.  

Boost employee engagement through collaborative and remote working

Did you know that 80% of workers who telecommute report higher morale, and that 69% miss fewer days of work? Those are impressive numbers indeed – and can make a huge difference to any business’ bottom line. Free cloud file sharing platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox, and team and project management platforms like Trello, Asana, Jira, and Basecamp make it easier than ever before to take advantage of the remote work revolution. And while there is always an adjustment period and learning curve where changes to the way we work are involved, companies willing to adapt are soon rewarded with increased productivity, and all the other benefits that come with more engaged, happier employees. 

Make sure you stay connected if the internet goes down

As more and more businesses, large and small alike, come to rely on technologies like cloud computing, file sharing, social media and instant messaging, losing your internet connection – even for just a few hours – can start to become a major problem. If it affects and frustrates your customers, it can also be bad for your brand reputation. Investing in a backup plan in the form of a redundant internet connection or failover with a different carrier than your primary one is a must-have if your business depends on being online.  

Data backup and disaster recovery

With so many big data breaches making the headlines these days, business owners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to secure their data – and that’s great. Unfortunately, this sometimes means overlooking more mundane yet more likely threats – like accidents or simple human error. Hardware failure is another common issue – so having a partner that can assist with hard drive recovery services, as well as protecting yourself against ransomware attacks and hackers is the best way to cover all your bases.

Offer a variety of payment methods

Considering that 50% of online shoppers will abandon their purchase if their preferred payment method is not available, it makes sense to offer multiple options – and this applies to offline businesses too. Technologies such as a virtual point of sale system that allows you to connect a card reader to a PC, and products like Intuit – which integrates with QuickBooks and allows your customers to pay their invoices via credit card -and access their own personalized account webpage where they can view their billing history- are just a few options.

Business intelligence and analytics

Small businesses frequently need to think on their feet, making decisions quickly in order to take advantage of a new opportunity – but they no longer need to make these decisions without data to back them up. Business Intelligence (BI) software designed specifically for SMEs, with features like simple dashboards and easy-to-monitor KPIs can give businesses an edge without all the complicated features which come with an enterprise solution. Visual analytics and real-time data can be incredibly useful for small businesses, and there are now several good options to choose from which will allow you to spot trends and predict customer behavior ahead of time.   

Social media management

While most businesses now embrace the need to have a presence on social media, for many it’s still a chore which takes time away from their core business functions – especially when they have several accounts across different platforms. Bringing all those accounts together in one place with a free social media management tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or SocialOomph can make it a lot easier. You’ll be able to post updates across platforms all at once, schedule updates to go out later, and check all your mentions from one page.

The Difference in Private, Public, and International Schools in China

Education in China is continually growing and parents are eager to send their kids to school there. The national government has instituted a “Nine Year Compulsory Education Program” for all citizens of the country. In this educational campaign, education is free; therefore, the number of students attending middle schools in China or other learning institutions at different levels are increasing each year. Even though it is free, there are additional fees that need to be paid for, such as uniforms, and books etc.

As expatriate parents, you are not exempted from increasing school fees. With that, you are considering several options on where to enrol your children.

Public Schools

Because of innovations, Chinese learning institutions are now accepting children of expats or foreigners holding legal resident status. This is a welcome move for parents as private school education becomes more expensive each year. Expat parents are not exempted from the benefit of free tuition. However, the fees that they pay to a public school of choice are much lower when compared with what parents will pay if they want to enrol their children in private schools.

Language is a big problem; therefore, it is suggested that your children should be equipped and prepared with skills in the language. Another aspect that parents should consider is that non-Chinese speakers are usually held back one year level if enrolled through the public school system.

Private Schools

This type of school has better advantages when compared to public schools. The student population per classroom is much lower. There is little barrier when it comes to language as subjects are taught in English, or the school has language tutorial support. In a public school, all subjects are taught in Chinese and offer little or no support at all when it comes to language.

The learning environment and processes in private schools are just replicates of the public school system. But there are private schools which embed learning process and accreditation of foreign schools in order for students to be accepted in any schools around the world. It can be deduced that private schools are better equipped than public schools.

International Schools

International schools are still preferred among expats, but it is more expensive than private schools.  The number of international schools in China is quite impressive and most of these are located in urban cities. Normally, the baccalaureate program of this type of school follows that of their origin country. Some of these schools are also incorporating local subjects such as Chinese language and culture. The cost of education in this kind of learning institution is as high as that in the U.S.

Just because you are an expat in this country, your obvious choice for academic institutions for your children is not always private or international middle schools in China.  This is not the case; you may also want to try public schools if only for cheap school fees or for a more colourful experience for your children.