The Cost of Repairing Compromised Integrity

integrityCustomers value a company’s trustworthiness. The brands that people follow and continually patronize are those offered by companies that put an optimum on high quality value delivery. So much so that whatever products or services carry brand names that align with their consumer goals as worthy of their continued patronage would always depend much on how companies maintain brand dynamics.

A high degree of brand value stems from a company’s competent management of all the information and data at its disposal. A company’s trade secrets, often the main bone of contention as to why it remains competitive against business rivals, also make up a large part of the sensitive info that it owns. That’s why when company IT infrastructures fail to protect proprietary information, sensitive data, trade secrets and customer information, it is the same company that is sure to incur financial losses.

The loss of trust

IT infra security breach is the single most destructive cause of data loss. This could occur in company IT systems via human error (accidental access), malicious online action (hacking attacks), and system failure. Once any of these three occur, data loss could lead to the company losing its competitive edge as trade secrets become open knowledge; customer mistrust owing to their personal information provided in full confidence being exposed; and the business’ integrity being held in question regarding its negligence with info.

At the surface, companies could quickly take steps to hem in whatever impact these occurrences could deal their operations. Contingency measures could, after all, be made at the ready prior to such unfortunate events.  What follows however, in the wake of a cyber security breach proves to be the costlier ones to tackle.

What you really lose

Proprietary information such as work processes, retail method mechanics, inventory control systems and the like that have been developed through years of profitable operations once illegally or accidentally turned over to the wrong hands online or offline impact companies via their operational technology value.

If you would calculate the number of experiential years and all the painstaking mindwork that have come into the acquisition of such knowledge to run any particular business, that would naturally be translatable to immeasurable economic value. Trade secrets, stumbled upon, developed, tested, and perfected by companies to profitable gain however, could be quantified financially via the resultant assets and physical infra that the company has like employees, establishments, stores, equipment and business phone systems. This could be calculable in terms of company net worth and brand equity. Whatever those values are, these are what companies stand to lose owing to data loss.

The most immediate cost that companies have to face up to once they fail to adequately protect their IT infra to prevent serious data loss are those that deal with repairing the lost trust and compromised integrity of the company. Regaining the trust of customers would naturally involve aggressive marketing efforts and a more serious customer relations management premised on that itself — making amends for negligence with info given in full confidence.

Reclaiming market ground lost to competitors who have finally gotten hold of your trade secrets would definitely put the pressure on your product/service concept development programs to speed up innovation to offset tech that has been lost to negligent IT management. This could be even more expensive but necessary to do since design thinkers and developers in your company would be hard pressed to come up with something new and just as brilliant but not with the same amount of time that the creating of the original innovation had.

Prevention would always be better than any cure. With IT systems, the adage applies just as seriously.

Compensatory Mobility for Small Businesses

Small businesses are usually owned and managed by entrepreneurs who just have to wear more of the proverbial hats than any other businessperson with a much bigger company. Owing to its diminutive business presence and limited financial resources, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) need to find clever ways to compete with their business rivals so that the odds get to favor them. In most cases, many business battles would have to be fought and won online since it offers the most advantageous way of somehow leveling the playing field between the big and the small — without the latter having to break the bank.

The virtual ecosystem

Investing in online technology for retail via company websites, blogs, and social media engagement enables small businesses to reach into markets that could also be reached into via traditional marketing/advertising media like radio, TV and print. What furthers the company’s retail cause even more is the online tech ability to explore focused consumers who prefer to interact with brands and companies via more immediate means conveniently accessibly to them.

Open MindCustomers, for example, could easily respond to brands on social media via discussion threads and through conversations in website blogs. This is more direct and tends to strengthen customer confidence especially when conversations and call to action responses become delightful, entertaining and useful as info sources. This kind of direct correspondence isn’t what’s at the core of traditional advertising/marketing.

Websites, blogs and social media do not cost as much to invest on as advertising campaigns or tactical marketing activities. In terms of brand mobilization and recognition among consumers, online content being made available by small businesses spread the word around and lure audiences to brands and to places on the net where these brands could be found.

Mobile devices and retail telecom

Small businesses now enjoy more leverage owing to the predominance of mobile device technology that has become the primary mode of business correspondence, productivity and retail telecom. Online PBX systems do not entail that much costs to put up. The abundance of service providers offering hosted systems to small businesses enable their owners to create customer service networks that could be at par or perform even better than those in bigger companies once adequately configured.

Consumers have also become that sold to mobile device use when dealing with the retail cycle for their wants and needs concerning product/service information, making buying decisions and making purchases online. Brick and mortar retail operations in stores and shops now can’t afford to ignore online retail methods to support traditional ways of selling. For small businesses, online retail is often the primary option. It is thus common for SMEs to develop retail apps, consider augmented reality methods, or conduct business via virtual office set-ups that are all driven by business VoIP that’s compatible with mobile devices and retail telecom systems.

An open mind

Business productivity, employee efficiency, and ultimate profitability all derive from having the ability to fuse business sense with suitable technology. If you are a small business owner with an open mind to willingly explore new tech that could further your business cause, you could also free yourself from the limitations set forth by physical distance and location.

Finding the right people to collaborate with, the qualified talent to innovate with, and the cloud tech option to enable telecommuter work set-ups with such people offer you the opportunity to hire from a global professional pool. The challenge of running a small business requires entrepreneurs to think big and then find tech solutions to match big ideas. Only an open mind could accommodate such grandiose visions.

How to Milk Your Business Site

Image credit: freecsspremiumtemplates.com A lot of business owners are apprehensive about setting up a website because of the costs of setup and maintenance. Having a business website, however, is not a waste of money as long as you know how to effectively use your site to spread word about your business and save on your operational costs. Your investments for setting up and maintaining a website can also pay off if you are able to maximize the uses of your website. Below are some ideas on how you can make the most of your business website:

  • Use Your Website to Sell Your Goods Online

Online shopping is the modern way of buying goods and services. More and more people now use the internet to find and purchase the goods that they need. If you want to take advantage of this shopping trend to boost your sales and increase your profits, then use your website to sell your goods online.  You can apply for a credit card merchant account so your customers can order and pay for your products straight through your website. The easier it is for them, the better it will be for your bottom line.

  • Use Your Site to Post Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

If you never run out of customers calling you through RingCentral’s virtual PBX asking you of the same questions over and over again, then you should improve the way you handle your customer support services. You can reduce the amount of customer inquiries and support requests that you have to accommodate by setting up a FAQ page on your website. Use this page to post answers to your customers’ frequently asked questions instead of accommodating your customers one by one. Your FAQ page should cover information about your shipping rates and the coverage of your warranties. You should also include details on how to troubleshoot common problems with your products and all the relevant information that your customers might need to know about your company.

  • Use Your Website to Connect with Your Customers

It will be a good idea to provide your customers with a number of options to connect with you. Your customers who would have to pay for long distance charges to contact you by phone, for example, would probably prefer to contact you without spending money. You can make this possible by posting a contact form on your website. Your customers can use this form to send you email messages. You can also provide a live chat support on your website so people who need urgent assistance with your products can easily contact you for help.

  • Use Your Website to Create Awareness about Your Company

The first step to getting people to patronize your products and services is to get them to know your company. You would traditionally do this by paying for advertisements that will introduce your brand to your potential market but if you do not have the necessary amount of money to finance this brand awareness campaign, you can use your website as a marketing tool for promoting your business. You can use your business website to spread word about your products and services. By employing effective search engine optimization strategies, for example, people who use the internet to find products and services that they need can see your website and what you have to offer them. You can also use your website to post information as to why people should choose to do business with you.  By sharing some of your satisfied customers’ testimonials on your site, for example, visitors of your website will get an idea of the quality of products and services they will receive if they choose to do business with you.

 

 

Attracting Consumers To Patronize Your Small Business

It is always important for small business owners to reach out to their customers. It is important to get their attention and give them information about the small business owner’s products and services. Of course, when more people hear about these products and services, there are more chances that they will buy it. There are different ways on how to reach out to customers. The effectiveness of each method depends upon the target market, the nature of the business, and the products or services itself.

Add some ads

adsPaid advertisement is still one of the most effective advertising methods. It involved TV, radio, newspaper and magazine, and even web advertising.

  • TV. TV advertising is definitely expensive so it depends upon the target reach of the small business owner as well as their available resources for advertising.
  • Radio. In case of radio advertisements, it depends upon a small business owner’s connections and the status of the radio station wherein their ad will be played. There are some radio stations that would charge a lot while some radio stations are willing to make deals. Some would accept gift certificates from the small business owner that the radio station can use for some of their contests in exchange of a few minutes airtime for the small business owner’s advertisement.
  • Newspaper or Magazine. This advertising medium is also expensive. Still, there are free newspaper classified ads that can publish a few lines of advertisements or a bigger one at a small cost. Even if small business owners are not interested to spend too much on advertising, they can still take advantage of the free ones since they do not have anything to lose anyway.
  • Web Advertising. Paid web advertising do not cost that much but it depends upon the traffic and the PR ranking of the website. The bigger traffic and the higher ranking also means higher advertising fee.

Small business owners can also advertise with what they already have such as their products, their store, and their website.

  • Products. Small business owners can include some product or business information in the packaging of their products. Some small business owners add surprises such as a small prize inside some randomly chosen products- usually in a form of a toy. Information may also be spread through recordings play using the office phone system’s RingCentral VoIP.
  • Store. The small business owner’s store may be used to put up posters about specific products and services that they want to tell the customers about. They can also offer free taste for food and drinks or free trial for appliance and gadgets.
  • Website. Small business owners can do a lot of things with their websites. They can post advertisements, trivia bits, and promotional events on it. They can even use it to hold contests. They can use the website to announce a sale or special offer and even offer special discounts for website visitors.
  • Social Media. Social media accounts or pages are effective advertising medium. It may be used just like the small business owner’s website. However, social media content is known to reach a lot more people than products and services’ official websites do. Mostly, this is because when they go online and log in on their social media account, the customers are doing a lot of things. They are getting in touch and getting updates from people that they know. At the same time, they will be getting interesting information from products and services that they like. The best thing about social media is that the users’ actions and posts are easily shared and the same goes for small business owners’ posts and activities. This will help them broaden their reach.

Etiquette for Writing Business Emails to Companies and Co-Workers

A business email is a formal correspondence between company officials, sent via the Internet. It has taken the place of traditional business letters that are often hand delivered or sent via special mail because most of the time, matters discussed are of immediate concern.

Email EtiquetteWith the email or online fax, message is transmitted in a matter seconds, thus issues and concerns are immediately resolved. Just like a business letter, the style and tone of an email largely depends on the relationship between the officials concerned. One of the advantages of email is the convenience of sending as many messages as possible, allowing parties to be familiar with one another. More often than not, the corresponding parties end up being friends.

However since frequency breeds familiarity, business acquaintances can also become instant enemies, just by email alone. Technology has bridged gaps, however in the business arena it’s always proper to exercise a certain level of diplomacy even in business emails.

Purpose of Business Emails
There are various reasons why parties send correspondences. It could be a request for certain information, or immediate action regarding an existing issue. Emails are also sent for ordering supplies, asking for quotations, meeting requests and the like. Formal business messages are also sent to address certain issues, reply to request or an apology.

Business emails are useful, because it stands as a permanent record for transmitted messages. Various issues have been resolved via the presentation of email trails, letters and the other written evidences. Thus it is important that even online correspondences be given ample attention in order to elicit quick response.

The Proper Business Email

Etiquette for business letters requires clear and concise messaging, straightforward and precise content when dealing with relevant subject matters. These qualities also hold true for business emails.

– These messages are meant for busy people and so the information must use the least number of words, without missing out to important details. All pertinent points must be briefly explained and should immediately follow the introduction. If it’s an urgent message, then it should be written in the subject panel.

– If a response is needed within the day, then it should also be clearly conveyed. For recipients, just in case an immediate response is not possible, send a reply emphasizing that the issue will be addressed at the soonest possible time.

– The subject panel is one of the important parts of a business email; because it immediately indicates the purpose of the correspondence. A clear subject separates the message from junk mails and spam. Most senders think having an attention grabbing subject, convinces recipient to immediately open the letter. While this may be true, and beneficial for promotional emails, the practice is not acceptable for formal business correspondences.

– Apart from the concise wording, the font type and size must be carefully chosen. Avoid using large fonts; it’s an indirect of expressing strong feelings. If it’s an email to a friend then go ahead and use colorful letters in bold or italic. However this should be avoided with business emails. For business letters, typing the words in all caps is very rude; it indicates that the recipient could not clearly grasp the message.

– Use the active voice, and pay close attention to grammar usage. Proof read thoroughly, if you do posses a keen eye for spelling and punctuations then ask someone to read it first before sending it. An error filled message can affect your organization’s reputation.

Emails to Co-Workers
The same approach follows even if you are sending a message to someone within your organization. Always start with a polite greeting, starting with “dear’ followed by the recipients full name or surname is most acceptable. Or if the recipient is unknown start with ‘to whom it may concern”. If it’s someone you haven’t met then you address the letter with “dear sir or madam”. The email should end with signature, which indicates the sender’s full name and position.

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