The Top 8 B2B Customer Marketing Trends in 2017 (Infographic)

In a survey of 202 respondents, primarily composing of B2B and hybrid B2B companies, Influtive and Konye Marketing discovered that customer marketing has become an integral marketing strategy and that it is on the rise. Businesses are no longer solely focused on bringing new customers – they are trying to retain existing consumers of their business.

Their research report “The State of Customer Marketing 2017” states that 93% of these organizations expect that their customer marketing efforts will take on greater importance, and 62% will increase their staff or budgets in the area for 2017. With only 61% of them satisfied with the results of their current customer marketing efforts, there is a great chance of growth in the customer marketing arena.

Here are 8 customer marketing trends that are likely to transpire in 2017, and in the coming years.

Download this infographic.

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Category: Marketing

5 Things Every Online Business Should Know For 2017

Running an online business might seem like a walk in the park, but once you get into it, you realize there are many more aspects to it than you imagined. If you’ve got an ingenious idea for an online business and you want to make it happen, then you need to know that developing your business will take up a lot of time and expertise to get it right. It’s important to note that trends and unwritten rules of the World Wide Web change constantly and you need to be on top of your game constantly so that your business can thrive.

As 2017 has already taken full sway, we’ll talk about 5 things that every online business should keep in mind this year. Hopefully, these pointers will give you a nudge in a good direction so that you can further develop and improve your online business.

1.    Find Your Target Audience

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One of the first things you have to determine before you start working seriously is to make sure you’ve got an audience for it. The Internet is vast and you will find a community for practically anything you can think of or even better, you can start one on your own and place your brand in the center of it. This is the beauty of internet – if you’ve got enough imagination, knowledge and a pinch of luck, you can create anything. Seeing that there are hundreds of online businesses going live every day, it would be wise for you to start small and then work your way toward a bigger audience. No matter how vast your niche is, you don’t have to for the big fish right away, do your best to attract smaller target audience that loves your product, and once you’ve nailed that you can move on toward higher goals.

2.    Your Website Needs to Be in Top Shape

This should really go without saying, seeing that the website is what makes or breaks your online business. When your potential customers come to your website, they’re stepping into your office, so if you want to impress them, you better be ready to constantly work and improve your site. You want your clients to move effortlessly around your website and find everything they need quickly. Ease of navigation, loading time, as well as the visual design of the “web office” is incredibly important, as it sets the tone for what your visitors can expect from you. You also want to have a mobile-friendly version of your website because more than half of all Google searches are done through mobile devices, plus it affects your SEO. We recommend constantly tweaking and finding ways to enhance your website – nobody responds better to innovation than the internet and its virtual citizens.

3.    Internet Security and Privacy

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We can’t even begin to accentuate just how much of an imperative it is to have your security in check at all times when you’re running an online business. Chances are that you will be managing a great deal of confidential information through your website, including credit card details and other sensitive data of your clients, not to mention everything concerning your business. It is paramount to have superb security software that will take care of any potential cyber trouble that comes your way. You should also be concerned about the internet privacy of your online business because surveillance can’t be avoided on the internet, but it can be sidetracked, if you’ve got the right tools. VPNs (virtual private networks) and proxies are able to encrypt all the data coming from your website and allow you to bypass cybercriminals trying to track your financial activities in an attempt of identity theft. VPN is probably the best tool for internet privacy that you’ll find and it’s not that expensive to use, especially if you opt out for a yearly plan that most good VPN companies offer. The security and privacy of your business are closely intertwined, so make sure you’ve got both aspects covered so that you can safely run your business in peace.

4.    Choosing the Right Tools

Like we’ve already mentioned a couple of times, having the right set of tools to help you reach your goals is vital and internet is more than happy to provide. Depending on what kind of business you’re running and how it expands, you’ll need the help of plugins, apps, and extensions to shed some light on what needs to be done. Having trustworthy accounting and payroll software will be of great help to all business owners employing more and more people, while social media automation tools will enable you to keep your social media campaign on point (to a certain extent, after which you’ll need a human being to run things). One other sound investment is customer relationship management (CRM) software that was invented to make customer management and your life a whole lot easier. Thanks to CRM systems, you can easily take care of marketing, accounting and many other aspects of your business that you should never neglect.

5.    Advertise, Advertise, then Advertise Some More

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You need to put your brand out there for the world to see and there is no better way to do that than to advertise it. There are so many options to promote what you’re passionate about in 2017, and all you have to do really is take your pick. Of course, your advertising decisions should be directly affected by the fact where you’ll find your target audience – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or somewhere in between? Aside from social media, you want to be as present as possible on other popular websites of your niche, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with the people behind the prosperous online businesses and see how you can connect your brand with theirs. Conducting a successful marketing campaign is far from easy, but if done right, it can be a game changer for the business.

Whatever you’re setting out to do in your online business endeavor, don’t forget that it will take time to create a good reputation and public image for yourself, so patience is crucial. Don’t get too lost in daydreaming but get to work and slowly start to transform your ideas into reality. – Adam Ferraresi

 

Adam FerraresiAdam loves everything related to technology since he was five years old and it was that love that brought him into web development. Soon after he graduated from college, he got a job in Dallas working as a web developer and not long after that, he was recognized for his qualities as a writer. Presently, he’s a freelance writer for wefollowtech.com and is very happy because of it. In his free time, when he’s got any, he enjoys playing basketball and hiking.

 

Category: Business, Technology

Any Home Business Will Boom In These Industries

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Are you considering setting up a new company? If so, you might be looking into the possibility of running your business from home. It’s a great idea because you can keep costs low while still being an effective force on the market. The days are gone when running a business from home meant that your opportunities would be restricted. Now it’s entirely possible that a home run company could end up on the fortune five hundred list. That’s not an exaggeration, and the reason why that’s now a possibility is due to tech. With new business tech, you can literally do anything you want from the comfort of your home including run an incredibly successful company. The question is, what type of business should you think about running.

 

A Man With A Blog

Is a man with great potential, or woman for that matter. In the past, blogs were online diaries with no real purpose except to be a place people could share their life issues. Now, things are quite different. For one thing, it’s possible that a blog can be one of the most powerful marketing tools in a business’s arsenal. Essentially, when you set up a blog, you are opening up your own exclusive marketing platform. You can use this however you want and ensure that you get your message across. It’s also possible to set up a blog as a business in itself. It doesn’t have to have any other purpose other than to share your writing, your creations, and your information. The secret to success here is sponsored content. There will always be promoters and advertisers interested in tapping into your target audience. When they do this, they will be paying you for space on the blog. At that point, your little website is a moneymaking machine.

 

Software Development

It used to be the case that to create and manage software you needed a massive team working together in an office. Not anymore, now you can run your business like this from home with no trouble at all. In fact, it’s possible that you can use software offered from companies like QASymphony to manage software development and testing without massive numbers of employees. Multiple pieces of software can be run and tested at the same time using their tech. As such, it really is possible to be a solopreneur, developing and selling software online. That brings us to one of the final best possibilities for an online home run business.

 

Ecommerce

You can run an ecommerce business online selling whatever product or service you like to customers. It doesn’t matter what your product is as long as you can find customers who are willing to buy it. The good news is that there are always individuals looking to buy no matter what product you’re selling. You can start by setting up a website. After that invest in marketing and soon you will see your customer base will grow and expand online. Within a few months your online shop could be completely profitable and a fantastic little income for you.

 

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Category: Business

Why the FUTURE OF NEW BUSINESS is SOCIAL SELLING

If you thought social media was just about being social, think again. Today it’s about “social selling.” Potential investors, employees, colleagues, clients and customers are literally at your fingertips. But it is up to you to build relationships and establish trust. And that is what social selling is all about.

Social selling is no longer optional for your business. It’s a powerful strategy that can help sell your ideas, establish credibility, secure funding, attract talent and win customers.

Social networking takes up nearly a quarter of all time spent online and reaches more than 75 percent of all Internet users. If you’re engaging with your target audience on any level via social media, whether for business development or promoting your brand, that is social selling.

As Dale Carnegie wrote in his timeless bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People, building relationships and changing people’s thinking are the linchpins of success. Today, social selling is the optimal tool for achieving both.

Here are three steps to help you leverage the power of social selling:

1. DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

The basis of every good relationship is understanding. Take time to understand your prospective customer, talent, investor, co-founder, business partner or client. Building a relationship with this person starts with knowing who they are.

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites give us access to key information about each other. In an era when people are quick to open up online, you’re able to discern whom it makes sense to connect with and uncover valuable information about them, from their job to their alma mater to their reading habits.

As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.” Because people are increasingly willing to share through social media, it is easier for you to identify and learn about your targeted customer or group.

2. BE AUTHENTIC.

Once you identify people you want to have in your network, begin to engage with them. Find common ground and use it as an entry point to initiate dialogue and establish a connection.

Making friends is easy when you’re authentic. Like walking into a dinner party where you know only the host, your inclination when striking up conversation with other guests is to find a common thread. Find it, and you’ve got an authentic conversation starter.

It’s no different on social media. Interact authentically by responding to someone’s blog that you truly liked or give a shout out to a recently promoted prospect. Ultimately, you’ll be in a better position to create a tailored and authentic “pitch” with relationships already in play.

3. NURTURE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS.

The next step is to deepen your relationships, the crux of selling anything — including your credibility. People want to invest in, work for and partner with professionals they know and trust. Forge relationships; don’t seek transactions. Social selling is about engaging with people in a disarming way. It’s about giving and receiving. Nurturing relationships takes time and calls for authenticity at all times.

This strategy generates 40 percent more qualified leads than cold calling and allows you to build genuine connections. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales-ready leads at 33 percent lower cost. Although these statistics might refer to a more traditional sales process, entrepreneurs would be remiss not to take notice.

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Are You An SEO Schmo?

Search engine optimization is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of even the toughest entrepreneurs. It’s difficult to get right, and even if you do get it right, it can take a heck of a long time to see any results.

Many people new to the art tend to get frustrated. It just takes so long for anything to happen, it feels as if search engines are just punishing you. That leads people to make mistakes that can hamper their success in the long run. Here are some SEO mistakes that you must avoid.

Mistake #1: Stuffing Keywords

Some businesses who are desperate to rank better will start keyword stuffing in an attempt to convince search engine algorithms that they are the most relevant page for a particular search term. While this might sound like a good idea, in theory, it’s actually a bad idea in practice. The reason for this is that search engines are very sophisticated these days. Not only do they take into account myriad other consideration when ranking a page, besides the keywords, they can also penalize websites that they suspect of keyword stuffing.

 

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In any article you post to your site, the first mention of the keyword matters the most, and then any subsequent keywords count for less and less towards your ranking. The drop off in the importance of following keywords is steep, so there really is no reason to keyword stuff for the purposes of SEO anymore.

Mistake #2: Having A Bunch Of Broken Links

Let’s suppose that you’ve written a beautiful, well-researched article with a bunch of links to your sources for the benefit of your readers. They’re merrily reading through your article when they stumble across a link reading “click here to look ten years younger.” Of course, half of the people reading the post will click to find out more.

The problem, however, is when that link is broken and the page on the other end fails to load. It’s annoying for your readers, and Google doesn’t like it either. In fact, Google will punish websites with lots of broken links to it’s a good idea to make sure that they are all in working order.

Mistake #3: Cut And Paste Jobs

At school and university, plagiarism is a “crime.” Copying the work of another (or even yourself) was bad.

On the internet, Google takes a similar view. It doesn’t like copied content and will punish websites that it thinks are just reproducing content from authority sources. Needless to say, cut and paste jobs don’t work.

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A much better strategy is to create your own compelling content. This will make you stand out, give you a monopoly on a particular subject area or angle, and help keep people coming back to your site – which, after all, is what you want.

It’s also a good idea to prevent duplicate content from cropping up on your own site too. Often duplicate content affects ecommerce sites that have multiple pages for the same product. Remove these duplicates to avoid being down ranked.

 

Category: Business, Marketing, SEO

Make Your Website Great Again – Greater Than Ever Before

No website is ever fully complete. They are constantly evolving, incorporating new design languages and new styles.

But there is a problem. Improving a website is difficult and often requires an expert designer in the background, making shrewd decisions about how to make web pages look better.

Here are some ways top designers and website builders improve the look of websites for businesses.

Get Rid Of Sliders

 

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Sliders first came about because of the fact that, back in the old days, computer monitors were small.  In order to present a lot of information on a single page, web builders had to include sliders to allow users to scroll through pages and use navigation windows. But now that most people have monitors that are 24 inches or larger, the need for sliders is much reduced.

It’s a good idea to ask whether sliders help improve conversions or not. If sliders do not help increase conversions, then why are they used so frequently? The evidence suggests that sliders have no impact whatsoever on conversions, and because of how hard they are to use, they may actually discourage people from staying on your website.

One of the ways that they could deter people from staying on your site is the fact that they have to spend time finding the slider and then using the slider to scroll down or across your web pages. But according to an article in Time Magazine, 55% of people spend less than 15 seconds on any given web page. If users have to spend lots of time using sliding to get to the content they want, then they may just leave your site and go to another one that is easier to use.

 

It’s About Them, Not You

The content on most business websites tends to be about the business or the owner themselves. To many owners, this seems like a good idea, but in reality, it is actually harming their businesses. Why? Because people aren’t interested in the life story of the business owner; they are interested in what the business has to offer them. It is a good idea, therefore, to construct all of your marketing material in such a way that you are directly communicating with the customer.

Commit yourself to creating copy that speaks directly to your customers and is written in their self-interest, not yours. You will find that users will respond enthusiastically to content that is designed to directly help them if they feel that they are gaining something from consuming it.

Robert Greene explains in his book The 48 Laws of Power that if you want to get someone to buy something from you, the best thing you can do is appeal to their own self-interest. There is no point talking about all of the amazing features of your new software product if users have no idea how your product will actually help them in their own lives.

Another expert, James Altucher,  gave a TEDx talk where he discussed with business people how they can best serve their customers. He said that the best way to get business from people is to serve them without expecting anything in return and exceed all of their expectations in the process. Of course, business people always expect something in return, but this psychological tactic has proven very effective. Simply being funny and informative can be enough to attract people to your business and if they think that you can help them, they will hand over fist fulls of money.

 

Get Real About Your Website

Have you ever heard of the term, “Build It And They Will Come?” Well, it turns out that, at least on the Internet, that is a myth. If you build it, they won’t come, unless you make them come.

 

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There’s no easy way to get people to come to your website, but one of the things that you can do is reach out to experts in the field. For instance, some services, like services from Poet Media, provide companies with more information on SEO tactics. SEO is imperative, but also tough to get right. It takes time, and patience, and means that companies need to develop a long-term strategy if they are going to achieve the results they want.

 

When you are first setting up a website, it needs to be beautiful, but it also needs to be accessible to customers. You don’t need to spend a fortune, but spending some money on making it your site more visible online will pay dividends in the long-term. The best way to generate traffic is to make sure that your website is regularly updated with helpful content and is making links with other authority sites related to your particular business.

 

Use Calls To Action

From a young age we are programmed by our teachers and parents to do as we are told. When somebody tells you to do something, and they speak from a position of authority it is almost impossible to resist their command. It’s just natural.

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This is one of the reasons why calls to action on so powerful on websites. Calls to action are like a command or instruction, unconsciously persuading us to do something that we wouldn’t ordinarily do. For a website to be great and to get lots of conversions, businesses need to be aware of how calls to action work, where to deploy them, and how they can be used to most effectively.

Businesses shouldn’t expect visitors to do what they need them to do because they won’t. They will only do what you want them to do if you tell them what to do. The more you tell them what you want them to do, the more page views you will have, and the more leads that you will generate.

It should be noted, that many companies, including businesses like Evernote, use carefully crafted calls to action to direct customers to the products and services that are most appropriate for them. Great calls to action are those that tell users exactly what to do and stand out from the rest of the page in a clear way.

 

Category: Business

Techrific Marketing Tools You Need To Use!

Wondering how to take marketing of your business to the next level? Believe it or not the answer might just be technology and software. There’s now a wealth of tech on the market that really could make the demand for your business boom. We hate people spreading the unproven idea that your business could become a success overnight. But by investing in the right services and the technology they offer, you might just see that kind of result. What services and tech are we talking about? We’re so glad you asked!

 

Content Management And Monitoring

 

If you check out a site such as www.chatmeter.com you’ll find there are businesses that monitor every aspect of your online profile. By doing this they can find out what’s working, what isn’t and what you should be spending more time on. Eventually, you’ll discover that your business isn’t operating anywhere close to it’s full potential. But with a little work and a lot of analysis it could be. You can set up a content management system for your business site. A CMS as they call them in the marketing biz, will allow you to easily choose when and how new content is released across all areas of your campaign. You can set it to happen automatically at the time of day when most of your customers are searching online.

 

Get An App, Everyone Needs An App

A report from 2014 revealed that the average person looked at their phone one hundred times each day. Think back to 2014, we know it was a long time ago. Phones didn’t have as many apps as they do today and weren’t as important in everyday life. Now, you use your phone for everything from replying to messages, to sending funny photos, to checking Facebook. So, we’re pretty sure that stat will have increased and that means if you don’t have an app, you’re missing out. You can contact an app development business and ensure that they you have a piece of software created that ticks all the right boxes.

 

Oh, CRO

CRO stands for conversion rate optimization, and it’s the big brother of SEO. You can find more about it on www.thenextweb.com. Once you get customers to your site, you need to think about how to keep them there. CRO provides the answer with complex data analysis. By doing this, you will be able to discover what makes customers stick around and the problem that is causing them to leave your site. The issue, we kid you not, could be as small as the wrong picture in a certain area of your home page.

 

Backlink Building

 

If you’re interested in building backlinks for your business, you need to get content that other website owners find attractive. To do this, it’s worth scrolling through the indexes of dead sites and finding content that has been successful and abandoned. You can then recycle it, using the successful info to boost your own campaign. There are plenty of different pieces of software online that you can use to do just this.

 

We hope you see now how tech could be your greatest weapon promoting your company.

 

Category: Business

Surviving And Thriving In Retail

Running a retail store takes a serious amount of hard work, and we’re not just talking about the long hours or the fact you may not get a day off every week. We’re talking about up skilling your knowledge in all sorts of areas and making sure you understand exactly how you are going to succeed in this sometimes ruthless industry. The reason why you’ll need to learn so much is that it’s not easy making sales, or keeping costs down, or making the right decision, or maintaining stock, or ensuring you have a constant cash flow. This stuff is hard. This stuff takes knowing how to do.

 

The Power Of A Story

The best way to start off is by understanding exactly what you want your brand to be and say. Imagine your brand is a person; who do you want that person to be? How do you want them to talk, or dress, or walk? What aura do you want them to give off? This may sound like an abstract way of going about things, but it will give you a great visual representation of your brand and, more importantly, how to sell you brand. The crucial thing to remember is, this is going to be what makes people come to your store, so you need to emphasise that in every aspect possible.

 

Get Online, Now.

Chances are, this is going to be your first impression to any potential customer. People check out websites, or social media pages, so you really need to get yourself on to these and understand how powerful and cost-effective they can be as a marketing tool. For most retailers – whether a clothing brand, vintage outlet, cafe, or whatever – the more visual the better. That means getting yourself well-versed with social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest and linking these to your Facebook page. Of course, knowing the ins and outs can be tricky. Knowing how to boost your followers or maximise your SEO takes some getting used to, so it could be worth hiring a freelancer that can help out every so often.

 

The Experience

With huge enterprises like Amazon roaming the web and chains standing outside every town, it is important you offer your customers the best experience possible. That could be through customer service you operate, in which hiring shop assistants that really embody your brand is a great route to go down. It could be through ease of sale, in which the little things can make a difference, things like slick credit card processing that helps people tap and go (something that will also reduce how big a queue looks, which can often put people off walking into your store). This could also be the way your store looks and smells and feels. That all accounts for the vibe people get when they come in. Keep your place in wicked order, brew coffee for people to buy as an extra ace way of branding (as well as scenting), or get a cool popcorn machine; who doesn’t love the smell of popcorn.

 

Category: Business

Turning Your Business Into a Local Success Story

It’s a global world, for sure, but don’t forget where you come from. Your local support is the bread and butter of your success. If you succeed in your local area, then you’ll have a solid foundation for the future, more widespread success of your company. Furthermore, the benefits of being successful in your community goes far beyond just its monetary value; it allows feel part of the continued prosperity of the area that you call home. Here are a few tips on how you make your local business work for both you and for the people who live there.

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Be Active Online in Local Area

Just like business, the internet covers all corners of the globe, interconnecting people from Alaska to Australia. But there’s the other internet, the local one, the space where people go to find information about what’s going on in their area. You’ll most likely have a social media agenda that defines your online presence, but just make it all about specific internet users or your target demographic; have a separate goal for becoming a name in your local area. This means sharing photos and videos of local events and life and being a resource for locals to find out about events and festivals. This helps in two obvious ways: it allows to engage with the people around, which fosters good, real relationships, and also improves your local search engine optimization, which is crucial for getting the word out about your company.

 

Get Involved with Local Events

Wherever you live, there’s sure a number of local events that take place for no other benefit than for the community. This is where you come in Get involved with them from the ground up. It might be as simple as setting up a stall at the events, sponsoring or loaning the equipment needed, or just being a presence on the ground and contributing to its success. If you have an angle that lends itself well to events, then you can even set up your one and get the community out in force in a positive way. They’re easier than you think to organise and they brings bags of advantages.

 

Local Media

You want to permeate local life, and that means being a figure in all aspects of it. One simple way to become a presence in the community is to get involved in some way with the local media. This could a case of contributing a weekly blog, linking your business with the needs and interests of the readers, or being a local authority figure, so that when something happens in the area that is in some way connected to your industry, you’re on hand to give an expert’s view.

 

Conclusion

People want their local area to thrive, and by being a local business you’re helping that to happen. It’s an old fashioned view, but if you contribute positively to your society then the society will give back to you. Your business plan might take you far and wide in the future, but it’ll always be your local area that you call home, so don’t turn your back on it.

Category: Business

You’ve Been Doing it Wrong: Discover The Right Way to Implement Technology Into Your Business

Business owners aren’t the most tech-savvy people around—but that’s completely fine. If everyone that created a startup knew how to handle all the tech-related challenges they’d face, then there would be no need for IT professionals and everyone that studies IT would have a really tough time finding a job related to their field.

 

Fortunately for all the tech graduates, that’s not the case. In fact, most teenagers who grew up with computers probably know more about technology than the average businessman, and it’s mainly because of the generation gap that’s slowly being blurred. Many successful business owners try to learn about technology to understand the risks and benefits of using something specific, but also to cut costs on how much they pay for tech support.

 

If you’d prefer to be someone that understands technology and how to implement it into your business properly, then read on to upgrade your knowledge and promote yourself from being tech-clumsy to tech-savvy.

 

 

Cloud solutions are all the rave—for now

 

There’s a reason why businesses still hire lawyers, accountants and buy expensive storage hardware. Small business owners employ the use of cloud accounting and bookkeeping software to pay their employees or send invoices to their clients. This is great for when there aren’t many things going in and out of your books, but when your business expands it doesn’t matter what type of software you use if you aren’t organised.

 

Large businesses that get a lot of monetary traffic hire accountants because they’re dedicated professionals with organised workflows that know how to handle lots of numbers. They’re irreplaceable once you get into the big business leagues, so don’t assume that you won’t ever upgrade from cloud solutions. It’s fine to automate processes and start cheap, but sooner or later you’ll need to fork out the money for a full-time accountant unless you want to stay in the little leagues forever.

 

Prevention is the best form of security

 

Much like illnesses in the real world, the best way to combat something is to prevent it in the first place. Antivirus software is rather useless once you’ve got an infection. The damage is probably already done, it may have spread across your network and more computers might be infected than you could imagine. It has probably stolen files, logged your passwords or even stolen customer information.

 

You can hire IT support for businesses to help you install prevention methods instead of wasting money on consumer-grade security software. A simple freeware firewall isn’t going to cut it for a business. You need a hardware firewall or an industry-grade protection solution if you want to priotect your data.

 

 

Excessive use of smartphones

 

It has become increasingly common for employees and business owners to rely on store apps for their daily tasks. For example, it’s possible to use your phone to log into computers or services that your staff use. While this adds an extra layer of security, it also adds an extra layer of human error.

 

If a business shifts so much of their business to smartphones and other mobile devices, then it’s adding to extra startup and maintenance costs and if your employee was to lose the phone due to human error or being robbed, then it’s going to take a long time to replace it and get them into a working condition again.

Category: Business