Protecting Your Business from Intrusion: Online and In-Store

Oct 29, 2018

November is the time to strategize and take action (if you haven’t already) before the busy holiday season is upon us. The season brings new shoppers, meaning more traffic both in-store and online. It’s a good thing, but be aware that with more traffic means you’re at an increased risk for theft, both in-store and online. We’ve come up with some helpful ways that you can protect your business during the holiday season.

Cyber Attacks

Cyber attacks can be hackers, viruses, or a data breach; so dangerous that they can destroy your company. Just because your business is small doesn’t mean it could never happen, so it’s smart to protect yourself. If you don’t take the right precautions your business might be at risk. These cyber attacks are not just brought about by people outside your company, but often times they are brought about by internal employees. The simplest thing like opening a bad link can cause a cyber attack. Even using your personal email on the business wifi can cause a breech if you’re not properly guarded. Here’s how to best be prepared:

Develop a policy

To protect the company, you need to set restrictions and put policies in place. You also have to make sure that employees follow it. Form a written document that will state the internet policy and guidelines. Also make sure that in the policy you have a statement when developing passwords to make sure that they are long and complex.

Secure your network

You should make sure that your internet is up-to-date on the most current WPA2 standard. The more secure it is, the harder it is to break into.

Install Anti-Malware Protection

Malware is defined by anything that can infect your computers like viruses, spyware, and adware. Having an anti-malware is more security to make sure no one in your company accidentally opens a virus.

Encrypt your data

All information is important, so it should all be encrypt before saving it or uploading it to a server.

Invest in cyber security

You should always have someone with full expertise help guide your decision on security. If you have an expert, you’ll be up to date on the latest security.

In-store

In-store theft can cost businesses a lot of money, but is also easily preventable. Here are some steps you can take:

Train & educate your employees

Training and educating your employees is the most effective one of them all. An employee can better handle a situation and possibly prevent it from happening in the future with the right preparations. This includes protocol calls like counting the number of objects before a person goes into the fitting rooms, identifying what fake money looks like, and making sure to check the SKU number of all the items that are being returned. It’s also important to remember to have a written policy that employees have to agree to about their discounts and use of information that may be obtained during their employment.

Use sensors

Sensors are useful in preventing items from being stolen and for inventory processes. Depending on the product you sell, it may be hard to use a sensor, so it’s only worth it if you have items that are marketed at a high price or have a recurring issue of items being stolen.

Install cameras

Cameras will allow you to keep a closer eye on your business 24/7. That way you can have peace of mind knowing exactly what goes on when and where. Many security cameras even have apps that they connect to which gives you the convenience to watch anywhere from your mobile device.

Presenting Your Business to Interested Investors

Oct 29, 2018

You’ve come up with a business idea, you raised money with the help of family, friends, and crowdfunding to get it off the ground and running, and now you’re business is at the stage where it needs the support of investors. Finding the right investors and developing a working relationship with them can be crucial to the survival and future of your business. In order to grasp the attention of an investor you need to have a concise presentation, a passion for your business, and data to prove worth and potential revenue growth

Research

When speaking to investors, you need to have every piece of information possible available to them if they inquire about it. Your business’ financials, your revenue, losses, predicted growth are all key, as well as your competitors information, if possible- and information regarding how your business is entering the field in a favorable position. No matter how good your product is, not having a strong grip on the market will turn investors away.

You also have to research who these inventors are. Be aware of who you are selling to and how best to sell to them. See if you can find any information to make the pitch more relatable and easy to digest. See if you can identify whether they tend to invest in certain types of businesses and who they have invested with in the past.

Perfect Pitch

Your pitch should be easy to understand, concise, well organized and void of any error. Make sure that when you present, you are confident, you’re not reading off slides monotonously and you know the information included on the slides inside an out. Talking at people, or reading During your pitch will lost your investors and make them wonder if you really know your own business. Potential investors are most interested in knowing:

What product you are selling

What is unique about the product and how does it differ from anything currently in the market? Who is your audience and how to you intend to inquire them? How much is your revenue each month, and what your plan is to continue driving revenue up and increase sales? A solid understanding of your numbers, financials and the ability to elaborate them.

There will be questions, so be poised and prepared to answer them as truthfully and to the best of your ability. If you are unsure of something or need to spend time researching an answer, simply

tell them you’d be happy to get an accurate answer for them immediately following the meeting via email etc.

Follow-Up

Whether an investor seemed interested in your business or not, it’s customary to send any follow-up correspondence, thanking them for their time and consideration. They may not reach out to you now, but there’s a possibility that you at least made a good impression, and they may keep you in mind later.

Don’t Get Caught Up

So maybe you’ve pitched the deal to a few investors, who didn’t like it. Don’t get discouraged, step back and look at it from a positive perspective. See what changes can be made or what feedback investors have given you along the way and apply them, maybe even ask them for further suggestions that will improve your pitch.

Effectively Leading and Motivating Your Employees

Oct 1, 2018

Motivation can be fairly simple - find what drives a person through personality traits and social behaviors, and try to appeal to those preferences. Offer incentives, words of encouragement, or set distinctive goals. An individual’s performance at work can be drawn back to the performance of upper management, so a healthy relationship between them is key. An effective leader is one who sets a good example while simultaneously challenges and supports their team, and can communicate well with each one in a way that is comfortable, professional and personal.

Here are some components of good leadership, that can lead directly to motivating your team:

Communication

Communication sounds so general, but technically the key is to be in constant conversation with your employees about tasks, projects and expectations. There’s nothing worse than not having an open line of communication and meeting regularly. Hosting weekly or bi-weekly meetings helps keep goals in site and expectations fully known. Projects won’t fall to the wayside and employees will continue to feel motivated. If they’re not, you’ll see it easily in your regular meetings- and that’s key to keeping a pulse on the health of your team.

Environment

As a leader, you are a strong influence to attitude and task tackling. The way you express thought regarding work and task lists are the same way they will approach them, so be mindful of your approach- even when you’re not in a good mood. While no one can be expected to be happy or motivational all day every day, it’s just important to keep a good emotional work environment so employees don’t feel uncomfortable. Robust expressions of anger, lashing out, having meltdowns over situations are all negative ways to influence your employees, and if you exhibit these behaviors, they’ll start to think it’s ok for them as well.

Recognition

Giving recognition to outstanding work or exceptional effort is key. It will show that you value their time and dedication, and that every effort is noticed. It may even encourage them to work harder. Think about the last time you worked really hard on a task, did you receive any sort of recognition? If you didn’t, and then you were asked to complete more work, how did you feel?

Transparency

Be transparent with your employees, it will foster a more open environment. If you were unsatisfied with someone’s performance, be honest and offer constructive criticism. If you notice one of your employees are underperforming, show interest- it may not be a professional issue necessarily, but a personal issue affecting their ability to focus. It will also be beneficial to you in the long run, because it will create an environment of understanding, so others will be comfortable coming forward and being honest when problems or conflicts arise. As a leader, it’s best to implement expectations, but remain humanistic when your employees seem strained or when there’s a problem.

Listen

Just by listening to your employees will make them feel empowered. Allow them to leave reviews and suggestions about their work responsibilities, environment, and the company itself will give them a greater sense of pride and respect for the team and the company as a whole. From this discussion, you’ll have a better understanding of what goes on in the day-to-day activities allowing you to be more involved and make better future choices.

Marketing Tactics to Tackle This Fall

Oct 1, 2018

...And just like that, Fall is upon us. It’s a great season for many reasons, including pumpkin spice lattes, cozy sweaters, and fireside evenings but those aren’t the reasons we’re referring to.

Fall is the perfect time to revisit marketing plans, re-brand, and make improvements in your business before the holiday season kicks in. While Spring may symbolize rebirth, Fall is the season to buckle down and prepare for what’s to come:

Social Media Platforms

This is a great time for you to amplify your social media presences, and clean up anything that might be unsatisfactory. Businesses anticipate gaining more visibility, seeing an increase in site visits and purchases as we head into the holiday season, so making sure social is updated, pretty, and well planned out is a crucial action to take. Make sure to also boost content during this time period to promote, and do your best to create buzzworthy and thoughtful content that will encourage people to engage.

Plan Promotions

Need we say it?

Black Friday! Small-Business Saturday! Cyber Monday!

Start planning now for appropriate ways to take advantage of these three very famous non-holidays. Start thinking about how much of your inventory you need to restock, what promotions you’ll run and how you’ll advertise it. You’ll really need to start setting wheels in motion by November 1, so get your plan in place by then!

Update Your Website

If you have not updated your website in a while, then you’re overdue! Make sure all the pages are prompt and the information loads quickly (nothing turns off potential clients or buyers like a slow or faulty site.) If your website was not strong before, it could have left customers bored or confused. Amp up the design, lead every page to related social media and make sure it’s accurate, attractive and concise. Hiring a graphic designer or website specialist might sound expensive, but the payoff is huge when a site is working properly for your business, and leading customers to the right places.

Customer Relationship Management

This time of the year is also a great time to invest in customer relationship management resources. CRM’s help to strengthen and organize the relationship between the company and the consumer. Some of the most common CRM softwares are Salesforce, Oracle, and Hubspot and their sole purpose is to connect a business to the behavior of their prospective and actual customers. The options vary in price ranges so there’s a solution for every budget. Do your research and see the untapped value in understanding how people respond to your brand, and when to capture those leads.

Platinum has a Record-Breaking Month

Sep 11, 2018

We had a record-breaking month in August, funding multiple seven-figure deals. We're so proud, we put it in a video:

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