October 2015 Newsletter
Who Else Wants To Win A $75 Gift Card?
Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner Jim Tracy from Neal & Associates. He was the lucky winner to be picked in our quarterly drawing.
In the spirit of Halloween, here is this month’s trivia question. The winner will be entered in a drawing for a $75 Gift Card that will be held at the end of each quarter.
What was the name of Dracula's sidekick?
Call us right now with your answer!
*Trivia winners are eligible to win again after 90 days of previous win.
Your Computer Network Is Being Haunted!
(And It’s Worse Than Ghosts And Goblins)
Your small business is under attack. Right now, extremely danger-ous and well-funded cybercrime rings are using sophisticated tech-niques to hack into thousands of small businesses to steal credit cards, blackmail you to recover data and swindle money directly out of your bank account.
82,000 NEW malware threats are being released every single day and HALF of the cyber-attacks occurring are aimed at small busi-nesses just like yours. You just don’t hear about it because it’s kept quiet for fear of bad PR, lawsuits and sheer embarrassment.
The National Cyber Security Alliance reports that 1 in 5 small busi-nesses have been victims of cybercrime in the last year and this number is growing rapidly as businesses continue to move to cloud computing, mobile devices and store more information online.
Here are 7 critical security measures your business must have in place to have any chance of fending off these criminals:
- Train Employees On Security Best Practices. The #1 vulnera-bility for business networks are the employees using them. If they don’t know how to spot infected e-mails or online scams, they could infect your entire network.
- Create An Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) And Enforce It! An AUP outlines how employees are permitted to use company-owned PCs, devices, software, Internet access and e-mail. Hav-ing this type of policy is critical if your employees are using their own devices to access company email and data.
- Require STRONG passwords throughout your company. Pass-words should be at least 8 characters and contain lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and at least one number.
- Keep Your Network Up To Date. New vulnerabilities are found almost daily on common software programs you use all the time; therefore it’s critical you patch and update systems frequently.
- Have An Excellent Backup. A quality backup can foil even the most aggressive ransomware attacks, where a hacker locks up your files and holds them ransom until you pay up. If your files are backed up, you don’t have to pay to get your data back.
- Don’t Allow Employees To Download Unauthorized Software. One of the fastest ways to access your network is by embed-ding malicious code in seemingly harmless apps.
- Don’t Scrimp On A Good Firewall. Your firewall is the front-line defense against hackers, so you need a really good one with monitoring and maintenance done regularly....
Are You Using Social Media To Market Your Business?
Here’s Why You’re Likely To Be Wasting Time And Money On False Marketing Metrics
John Wanamaker is famous for saying, “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half!” With an ever-growing number of sophisticated online tracking tools, you’d think that wasting advertising dollars would be a thing of the past. But, in fact, companies are wasting just as much (if not more!) on online media and advertising due to a number of factors, but mostly because they’re confusing activity with results.
In business, the only thing we can take to the bank is money – checks, credit card payments, cash and any other forms of monetary deposits. Leading indicators to revenue, as we all know, are paying clients (orders, contracts, sales) and actual leads from qualified, genuinely interested prospects. However, much of the social media marketing I see is a heck of a lot of activity metrics (clicks, followers, open rates of e-mail, visitors to a site, etc.) that cannot be directly tied to generating a qualified lead, much less cash in the bank; so, unless someone can directly show me how an increase in Twitter followers turns into more profit for a company, I’m not impressed. In fact, I believe management of all the social media sites ends up taking an enormous amount of time away from more productive lead generation and marketing activities and opens the door for customer service and PR failures.
For example, if you have a Facebook fan page, you now need to monitor it daily – even hourly – for negative client comments, which are now public for the world to see, unfiltered and out of context, instead of a client simply e-mailing you their complaint, where it can be addressed privately. Further, clients will assume they can message and/or post their requests to your Facebook page instead of going through the proper channels; if you fail to address their request in a timely manner because it didn’t go through your normal process of handling such requests, you’ve just created a customer service failure that is open for the public to see.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you should shut down all social media sites and marketing; there are situations where it’s a very smart and strategic part of a business strategy. But, as my mother would say, “Don’t jump off a cliff just because everyone else is.” Be sure that whatever you’re doing online in social media can be measured and quantified to tie in to key sales, service and growth goals you have for your organization, and do not accept “getting our name out there” as a sufficient result for your marketing efforts.
Claim your FREE Cybersecurity Audit and get answers to these critical questions:
- Is your network really and truly secured against the most devious of cybercriminals?
- Is your data TRULY backing up ALL of the important files and data you would never want to lose?
- Are your employees freely using the Internet to access risky websites that make your company more vulnerable to attack?
- Is your firewall, anti-spam and antivirus strong enough to keep the bad guys out?
- Are your employees storing confidential and important information on unprotected cloud apps that are OUTSIDE of your backups and your control.
To Claim Your FREE Cybersecurity Audit Today, Give Us A Call at 214-329-1349 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Offer is limited to the first 5 claims and expires October 20,2015
Passion Is Powerful
A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with Germania Insurance at their an-nual sales conference. The night before, at dinner, I was fortunate to sit at the table with Matt Sodolak. I use the word “fortunate” because I was about to witness what I would best describe as TRUE PASSION for your profession.
I asked a question of Matt that I have asked countless times, “How do you like being in the insurance business?” His response surprised me. Without any hesitation he said, “I love it. It’s my job for life.”
In all my years of interviewing people, I have never had anyone say, “This is my job for life.” The passion, sincerity and conviction in his voice just knocked me over. He sat forward in his chair and followed his statement with, “I love helping people, and I get to do it every day.”
There was NO DOUBT in my mind the passion Matt felt for his job, career and the company he worked for. I felt that anyone who had Matt as their agent was so fortu-nate. He never mentioned commissions … he talked the whole time about protecting his clients and how people counted on him to make sure they had the proper coverage in case something disastrous happened.
Unfortunately, something disastrous did happen; Texas has been slammed this year with enormous floods destroying millions of dollars in property and causing havoc to people’s lives. I heard from Matt last week and he shared a quick story about one of the people who works in their claims department. She said,
"Being in the insurance business, all of our customers’ problems become our problems and we have to be here to help them through it… that’s why they do business with us and that’s what keeps our lights on; you gotta love it or you are at the wrong place!"
It doesn’t surprise me that anyone who works with Matt would also have a passion for their job; he would attract other people who would want to do, help and care for oth-ers. Let me share a few anonymous quotes with you about the Power of Passion:
Maybe the one thing that is keeping your career from taking off … is that you aren’t looking at it as a career; it is simply a job to you; and your customers, associates, man-agers and boss can sense that.
There is always going to be frustration, toil, hassles, problems, glitches, hitches and difficulties in any job (that is why they call it work). But, if you look at it from a differ-ent perspective … that what you are doing is helping people in some way … then it all becomes worthwhile.
Galileo, the great Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher and mathemati-cian, once said: “Passion is the genesis of genius.” So, let your passion become the start of something great for your career.
Robert Stevenson is a highly sought after, internationally known speaker. He is the author of the best-selling books How to Soar Like An Eagle in a World Full of Turkeys and 52 Essential Habits For Success. Robert is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and is a former All-American Athlete. He started his first business at 24 and has owned several companies. Robert has international sales experience dealing in over 20 countries, and his client list reads like a Who’s Who in Business. He has shared the podium with such renowned names as Generals Colin Powell and Norman Schwarzkopf, Former President George H.W. Bush, Anthony Robbins and Steven Covey. www.robertstevenson.org.
Shiny New Gadget Of The Month:
THE AMAZON ECHO: LIKE SIRI FOR YOUR HOME
It’s not Rosie the Robot, but your first voice request to Amazon’s new Echo moves you one step closer to living like the Jetsons… Think of it as a plugged-in version of Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.
This “smart” speaker in a 9¼ x 3¼-inch cylinder can order products, turn off lights, set a timer, look up and give you sports scores, read you a book from Audible and more.
You might even get it to tell you terrible jokes…
It won’t replace a high-end stereo, but its sound quality compares with any Bluetooth speaker, and it can fill a good-sized room in your home.
Bottom line: Echo offers hands-free, at-home audio access to just about anything on the web, with better sound than a smartphone or tablet.
All in all, it can make your life easier. And maybe just a little more fun.
Google Plus: For Geeks Only? What You Need To Know Now
Is Google Plus a bust? Or is it still a channel to be reckoned with if you don’t want to lose touch with your customers?
Google Plus – aka “Google+” – is a social network built by Google. It’s been connected to other Google products. It was the birthplace of Hangouts, for instance, now a standalone product.
But things are changing. Google is dismantling Google+ for parts. What will remain may be just a stream, yet it will likely endure due to its die-hard fan base.
So how relevant is Google+ to your business?
The answer is, it depends on your customer base. Are your ideal customers using it? If not, perhaps you can safely ignore it.
However, if you already have a following on Google+, or if you are targeting new customers who use it, here are three ways you can leverage it for your business:
Get Found Fast
It’s no surprise that Google Search favors Google+ posts. With a little reader engagement, your post can show up on page one in just a few days.
Give to Gain
Content that helps you target prospects with a simple “thank you” to folks who engage can work wonders.
Build Micro-Lists with Circles
Here’s a little-known secret: For circles up to 100, Google+ allows you to “Also send e-mail.” This can be a great way to build tightly segmented lists.
Depending on your audience, Google+ may still be the best way to connect with your customers.
On A Side Note…
Could Your Laptop Battery Revolutionize The Way We Drive?
If you like hot cars and green tech, you may have started hankering for a Tesla as far back as 2008…
Yet, aside from cool looks and speed, did you know the simple design edge that’s putting Tesla in the spotlight?
Other car builders, like Nissan, GM and even Mercedes, have electric cars on the road. But they all use costly, high-tech lithium ion batteries.
Tesla, on the other hand, simply uses the type of batteries you have in your laptop – thousands of them…
With over a billion of these cells made every year, their design and pricing is driven by the same fierce competition that drives the consumer market.
And if Tesla Motors can put a car on the road with enough battery life, they may just revolutionize the way we drive – like Henry Ford’s Model T did over a century ago.