Displaying articles for: June 2010
It’s coming to the end of Internet Safety month and while we are careful not to casually share personal information over the Internet; I want take this opportunity to remind small businesses about the importance of protecting your computer from viruses, spam, malware and other issues which could potentially disrupt your daily business operations.
While I suspect many small businesses still think their business is too small to be targeted – think again. Federal authorities have said cyber criminals are increasingly targeting small- and medium-sized businesses. Why? Because many of these small- and medium-sized businesses typically don’t have the resources or neglect to update their computers’ security.
Many of these cyber criminals steal whatever they can get their hands on -- most in demand are credit card numbers, personal information, and social security numbers. While it’s a no-brainer for a small business owner to secure a store or business office with locks, alarms and perhaps even video surveillance – some still neglect to secure their computer.
There are many Internet security solutions in the marketplace and Verizon offers a simple- to-install and affordable solution to help protect your computer. Here at Verizon we offer the Verizon Internet Security Suite (VISS) for small businesses. There’s no hardware, the software is downloaded straight from your computer and it updates frequently. VISS helps guard against known computer viruses, detects and eliminates a broad range of spyware, and provides a host of other features. Verizon’s VISS for small businesses is very affordable starting at $5.99 per month and covers three computers (PC or Macintosh). Of course, I’d advise that a small business get the Data Protection Premium solution which includes VISS, Verizon Online Backup and Sharing (every business should have their data backed up in case their computer crashes), Verizon Encrypted Mail and Encrypted Docs (starts at $9.99 per month).
Businesses regardless of their size handle sensitive information all the time and with strict HIPPA and Sarbanes-Oxley guidelines encrypting the emails you sent or the documents you craft would help ensure that only the intended recipient have access to these information.
No matter how you choose to protect your computer, Verizon’s in-house security expert said, “An organization needs to address their IT security throughout their company at every layer. While cost cutting is what every company – particularly, the smaller ones – strives for these days, it’s important to not cut security. It’s a surefire way to kill a business. We can work with small businesses to help them make the most of their existing and limited resources to secure their information assets and to help protect their business.”
We do try to make things simple for our small business customers. Feel free to share any security breach or related stories below.
Computer America is the nation’s longest running syndicated computer tech talk show and is featured on the Business Talk Radio Network. Last week, Trudy Heatherly – Group Marketing Manager for Small Business here at Verizon – talked to listeners about the many facets of technology a small business needs.
Much of her focus was on the resources and services available through the Small Business Solutions Recommender at the Verizon Small Business Center which includes everything from the basics of a single phone line for a home-based business to local search marketing (pay-to-click advertising), free directory listings, web hosting and collaboration tools as a beginning. There are also multiple business services discounts from Chase Paymentech, FedEx and Office Depot among others, as well as rewards options for Verizon small business customers.
What’s more important is the ability to grow into additional services that you may need, including VoIP and related IP services, and encryption capabilities for email and documents to preserve the online integrity and reputation of your business, among others. Check out the interview with Trudy here and select June 17, hour 1.
The archived MP3 of the show is available through July 1.
Another guest blog post from Tom Harnish and Kate Lister of WiseBread.
Pubic relations is a wise way to save some bread, build credibility, attract customers, and establish your brand—to communicate what makes you special. PR is especially effective if you’re creative and willing to try something outrageous to attract attention.
A 50-year-old restaurant chain, Dreamland, for example, was losing customers so to liven things up they ran their dead founder for Governor of Alabama. They held rallies and distributed all the typical political collateral you can think of. The result? TV coverage locally, and print coverage nationally; two hundred tables and 500 slabs of ribs served on rally day alone.
PR is cheap and effective, and can be used by:
- entrepreneurs starting a business,
- an owner who runs a small company,
- a freelancer,
- someone looking for a job, or
- an employee ready to upgrade a career
- tell neighbors you've just opened a new store,
- attract customers to a special sale,
- tell website owners you're available to give their place a new look,
- attract the attention of a company you want to work for, or
- communicate to your boss that you're ready for a promotion.
Most people, I suspect, think PR is what you do when you send out news releases and mail press kits, and those are two of the tools you can use. But if you’re willing to be a little offbeat, there's a way to use PR directly for fun and profit.
My experience tells me the more fun you have doing it, the more effective it will be. We'll explain in more detail during the webinar; but here's an example:
After leaving a job as a new product development director for a computer company I needed some way to attract attention to my resume. As a former Navy flyer I knew that the French Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and the National Aeronautic Association here in the U.S. kept track of international and national aviation records.
With a little digging I discovered that speed records "over a recognized course" (between cities) was something they tracked. Better yet, I discovered no one had established a record between my hometown and a city I often visited to see in-laws. I didn't even have to break a record; I could just set one and be a world record holder.
There's isn't an HR person or hiring manager anywhere that won't be intrigued by the phrase "world record holder" on a resume.
I applied for what is curiously called a Sporting License from the FAI, arranged for official observers to record the time off and time on, and claimed a new world record. The 32-year-old aircraft we owned didn’t go all that fast, so on the side of the aircraft we later painted, "FAI World Speed Record Holder. 448,573.44 furlongs per fortnight."
The stunt worked, too. I skipped a couple of rungs of the corporate ladder, accepted a position as President of a start-up medical software company, and had fun getting there.
Tune in this Wednesday, boys and girls, when that lovable, exciting, aviation hero, ‘Tailspin’ Tommy and flying friend ‘Cash Register’ Kate will tell you more about:
- What Kind of PR Can Work For You
- Why You Want To Be News
- Who To Tell
- How To Measure Results
- Where You'll Find Resources To Help
Guest blog post from Tom Harnish and Kate Lister of WiseBread.
With a little knowhow, and a little creativity, PR is a great way to get people to write about you, tweet about you, talk about you, and best of all, to buy from you.
During tough economic times PR is the most cost-effective way to bring in business. A half-page ad in a major newspaper can easily cost $10,000 a day. A half-page story about you not only is free, but also carries the credibility and implied endorsement of the publication.
So how do you get noticed? That's the topic of our free webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center on Wednesday, June 9th from 2:00 to 3:00 pm EDT. Below you’ll find a preview of some tips we'll be covering.
You can get free publicity with crazy stunts. But not everyone is willing to be outrageous or is in a position or business that would allow them to attempt a goofy stunt. Fine, then go the other route—become a star performer instead of a clown, become a respected, oft-quoted expert. (We'll cover how to use crazy stunts in the free webinar as well, but for this post we're focusing on how to become a respected expert.)
Anyone can become an oft-quoted expert by following these 6 steps:
1. Find out who the experts are. Read what they’ve written, go the conferences where they speak, listen carefully to what people who disagree with them have to say. Devour anything you can find on the topic. Join related associations.
2. Synthesize what you’ve learned. Simply regurgitating what other people have said doesn’t make you an expert. But if you’ve paid attention you’ll begin to see the seams in the coal where the diamonds lie. Approach the topic with a unique perspective; better yet, discover a new facet of the subject that’s been overlooked. That makes you outrageous, but in a thoughtful way.
3. Ask for feedback. If you’re honest, you always have to keep in mind that you could be wrong. The best way to keep from being embarrassed is to ask the experts to review your conclusions. You don’t want to go public with something that’s wrong or so bad that it’s not even wrong. Keep in mind, by the way, that only kooks refuse to listen to other opinions.
4. Find out who’s interested. Where do journalists find story ideas? Ninety-two percent say they use news releases, eighty-five percent use industry sources. Get the idea? Become an industry source and send out press releases! But don’t just shoot an arrow in the air and hope it hits something. Save time and your reputation by communicating with publications, editors and writers that are interested. Keep a list of contacts, and keep it up to date.
5. Make yourself available. Build a website, make sure your contact information is easy to find, include an online press kit, make your site searchable. Write blog posts, comment on other people’s blogs, write articles and whitepapers. Learn how to respond to reporter’s questions with sounds bites. Speak about what you know, but use your time carefully. If you’re too busy, start charging. Still too busy? Raise your prices.
6. Make a reporter’s job easy. They’re busy people with more work than time, so don’t make them figure out what you have to say, how to find you’re material, or worse, how to reach you. Treat them with respect. Many, we’ve found, aren’t very good socially or verbally. But, boy, can they write.
We’ll talk about these and other ways to use PR to make money at the free webinar presented by the Verizon Small Business Center on Wednesday, June 9th, 2:00-3:00 pm Eastern (pre-registration required so sign up now!).