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Steps Entrepreneurs Must Take to Enhance Security of Online Businesses

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In this digital world where people prefer to shop online, sensitive information theft is one of the biggest threats than physical theft and data breach is the most reported cybersecurity threats in recent few years. Malicious peoples and digital thieves love to prey on all types of online business apart from their sizes. So, either your business is big and has lots of valuable information and data or a tiny one that is comparatively defenseless; you should take some basic online security measures not only to keep your business data protected but to make sure guard sensitive customer data of your e-business.

With the recent e-commerce market boom in all over the world, online businesses and ecommerce websites can employee following online security tricks to secure their online business transactions and customer data as well.

Scan for Vulnerabilities

Scanning your business network and website for vulnerabilities can be the first and foremost step to prevent hackers gain access to sensitive customer data and information. A poorly built website is always on the target of hackers because they can use malwares to hack such site that can install themselves into your network or website to steal confidential data and business information. For this purpose, entrepreneurs and organizations should opt for automated application scanning solutions integrated with manual penetration testing to look for the faults in coding or business networks.

Secure Your Site

Protecting the business website should be your top priority to beef up your online security infrastructure. You need to make your site secure and trustable not only to keep your business data in safe hands but for the sake of valuable customers as well who usually submit their sensitive financial information because they trust your business and you should not be breaking their trust by making your website secure to enter confidential information. Poor coding and scripting flaws can be an easy route to your system for gaining access to personal and confidential information stored.

Layer your Security with a Secure Network

Unsecured business network is one of the ways hackers can get access to your business details and information. And use of a reliable virtual private network can be a best option to keep your business safe from cybercriminals by layering your online security. However, you should be using a well rated NordVPN to make sure all the traffic transferred via your business network is secure. Investing in trustworthy firewall is another great idea to stop cyber criminals before they hack into your system or website to steal data.

Limit Access to Sensitive Information

It is most important to limit access to the business information and details that are sensitive and confidential as well. Here is doesn’t mean that your employees are not trusted but they may pass such information to a malicious person unintentionally. That’s why, always allow access of business’s confidential to employees who are concerned and are aware of how to use such data for positive growth of the business. Giving access to the employees who are useless to them, upsurges the risk of data breach and digital information theft etc.

Stay Updated

Windows operating systems, antiviruses installed on systems, website software and other apps should be updated in order to prevent hackers’ attacks and other cyber security threats.  Be quick to install software updates when available and also change the default login details if you really want to keep malicious persons away from your business.

Implement Data Encryption

Data encryption is one of the great ways to boost business security because it not only enhances the business defense apparatus but also protects the sensitive information communicated between company employees. Risks of passwords cracks are always reduced when employees of a business or company use encrypted login pages to access their accounts.

Back up Regularly

Backing your business data and information on regularly is one of the best ways to enhance security of your online business. Most of the web hosting providers also offer data backup features on both virtual and local servers to keep your business data safe and secure in case any unwanted incident or happening. In this way, you can quickly and easily get your business back on the go if business website hacked or data lost due to some other reasons.

Educate Employees

Employee awareness is supreme when it comes to strengthen overall security of your online business. Whether your employees work remotely for the organization or are working at the workplace, they must be trained on how to avoid exposing themselves to cyber criminals and what should be done if they are attacked by hackers. Ask them not to click any link received via email from an anonymous sender and don’t respond to unknown calls and SMSs. You can also organize monthly or semiannually employee training sessions to let them know why business security is vital and how they can contribute to the foolproof security of an online business.

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How Do Small Businesses Compete in Competitive Niches?

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Having your business isn’t just tough, it’s also extremely competitive — no matter what niche market you might find yourself falling into. This is especially true for small businesses breaking into major industries that find themselves up against some tough competition, in both offline and online markets. Without a large following or backing, it can be difficult to penetrate the market.

However, there are ways you can put your business’s best foot forward set yourself apart from your competitors. Just because you don’t have a multimillion dollar budget (yet) doesn’t mean it’s time to throw in the white flag. If you’re passionate about creating great products and services and putting in the work to see your brand grow, you’re already on the right path.

Here’s how small businesses like yours can compete in competitive niches:

Work With Micro Influencers

On average, a business will see a $6.50 ROI for every dollar they invest in influencer marketing. Micro influencers typically have anywhere between 1,000 to 50K followers, compared to the 500,000K+ that macro influencers tend to have. But there are key differences between these groups.

There are several reasons micro influencer strategies are particularly beneficial for small businesses. For starters, studies have shown that micro influencers have a much higher engagement, because they are able to better manage their follower base through genuine connections. And according to Collective Bias, non-celebrity influencers are 10x more likely to drive in-store purchases than their celeb counterparts.

The report also went on to state the following:

  • Nearly 60% of survey respondents have taken a blog review or social media post viewed on a smartphone or tablet into consideration while shopping in-store.
  • One in five men (18.3%) have had blog reviews influence in-store purchases, compared to only one in 10 women (9.2%) who have done the same.
  • U.S. male consumers (34.4%) have purchased consumer electronics in-store about twice as often as women (15.4%) as a result of reading a blog review or social media post.
  • Only 2% of respondents checked Twitter first when researching products, and less than 2% said Twitter had the most influence on their decision to complete an in-store purchase.
  • About 19% of consumers Find Facebook to influence their purchasing decision most, with YouTube coming in second at nearly 18%. YouTube is especially popular with men (22.8%) compared to women (13.9%).

And it’s not just genuine connections and high engagement rates you’re after: micro influencers are pretty cost-effective, too. Many micro influencers will publish curated content for the cost of a free product or service, while others charge in the low-hundreds range.

Leverage SEO and Reach New Audiences

Many business owners understand the benefits of search engine optimization, but don’t know how to accurately implement it. The truth is, there’s much more to SEO than incorporating keywords into meta tags, titles, and content. To stay competitive, your business needs a strategy that starts before you even begin putting copy onto the page. Thorough industry and competitor keyword research is needed, and it should be exclusive to your niche.

For example, if you owned plastic surgery practice, you’d want to hire an agency that specializes in plastic surgeon SEO. A niche agency would be able to create copy that’s most relevant and proven in your field. As a plastic surgeon, you wouldn’t want to hire an SEO contractor whose roster of past clients includes a long list of fashion retailers.

As referenced eWebResults, these are optimal goals when focusing on SEO and organic reach:

  • Reach the first page of search results for “Plastic Surgery Houston”
  • Generate 10 new client leads each month
  • Identify the best channels suited for your business audience

In order to get as close as possible to your target market, you’ll need to get as close as possible to curating a strategy centered around them. Always talk to your potential agency about how they’ll work within your niche before signing any contracts.  

Stellar Customer Service

One of the biggest benefits of being a small business is that you can take advantage of the ability to offer a much more personalized level of customer service. Unlike larger corporations, you don’t have to deal with the complex processes and bottlenecks between you and your end consumer. Instead, you can exceed customer service by by delivering stellar experiences. Send handwritten “thank you” notes, design ultra-targeted emails, and go above and beyond to resolve issues and make customers happy. These are just a few of the things small business owners can excel at. This should be your top priority.

Speaking of customer service, one of the most well known brands in the world today for going online and building a real business through stellar customer service, is Zappos. Today they are a massively huge company and have banked a ton of customers simply due to their outstanding social media and customer support efforts.

To learn more about Zappos and how they’ve built their brand, click here.

Define Your Brand With Laser Precision

Branding is a crucial component of any business. After all, you build brand loyalty through shared values with your consumers, and the best branding efforts can improve customer loyalty, retention, and help you create a relatable identity. Marketing plays a major role here, and you’ll have to hone in on your ideal customer with laser point precision.

Create a mood board with an actual image of what your target customer looks like. What do their Instagram pages and Pinterest boards feature? What are their hobbies and lifestyle choices? If you want to thrive in a niche market, you have to craft your messaging around a niche “person.” This person becomes the foundation of all your marketing collateral.

It helps to take a look at how other small businesses—both in and outside of your industry—are using branding to get closer to their own markets.

For instance, Tentsile is a small company with a big vision for their product lineup of lightweight suspension hammocks. First and foremost, its logo is a clear demonstration of what you can expect from the product. And like most successful branding campaigns, it uses high-quality imagery to convey a highly specific lifestyle aesthetic to their target segments: outdoor and camping enthusiasts, adventurous travelers, the growing “glamping” crowd.

And speaking of customer service, all you need to do is scroll down on the main site to see how highly rated the product and service is, and how the company uses that as one of their branding tools and selling points.

How to Compete in Very Tough Niche Markets

With more websites and blogs on the internet today than ever before, nearly all niche markets are getting more saturated over time.

The businesses and brands that will continue to see the best results, at the ones that follow these actionable tips and actually become more than just another content site or ecommerce store. This is often done by paying more attention to each new customer and making them feel appreciated.

Yes, this will take more time — but it also works.

If you are looking to improve your business growth and reach, while also taking up more ownership within your niche, be sure to start implementing these tips and best practices today.

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Project Management Software 101: A Guide for New Project Managers

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Project management software is the ultimate solution for businesses looking to stay organized. The program allows you to collaborate on tasks with your team members. You can share progress reports and documents too.

The project management tools help you delegate assignments to your employees.

It’s evident that project management goes beyond collaborating on tasks. This guide focuses on answering one question: What is project management software?

What is Project Management Software?

Project management software definition can be extracted from the following questions: Is your company looking for a tool for organizing assets? Do you want a solution that facilitates smooth communication between your vendors, clients or team members? Are you looking for a solution for budget tracking or scheduling?

New project managers may find it overwhelming to manage several project components at once. Project management software programs allow them to scale up their processes for productivity.

Project management software examples include Microsoft Project and the Zoho Office Suite.

Types of Project Management Software

Software used in project management varies on factors such as company size and intended use. You can find one as either desktop or cloud-based software. Some are developed for specific work obligations or industries.

They’re as follows:

Desktop Project Management Software

Desktop project management software programs allow you to organize your tasks from a PC. All changes made on your project are saved on the PC’s hard drive.

Such programs are available on the market as either free or paid versions with different features included. They require an Internet connection to allow you to collaborate on or share a project.

Cloud-based Project Management Software

The cloud-based ones require a reliable Internet connection since they’re hosted on a web server.

They allow for more security and control since your project will be saved on the cloud. You can even access your project or share files with colleagues regardless of your location.

Cloud-based project management tools are ideal for teams with an active online presence.

What Are the Features in Project Management Software Programs?

Software programs should foster your ability to be efficient and productive at work.

Program management software programs evolved over the years to include several incredible features. Your goal is to care about their impact on the productivity of your team.

Here are some of the features your teams need for project management.

Progress Tracker

Tracking your milestones helps you identify both strong and weak points for improvement. Get a solution that enables you to map your work and monitor significant strides.

A progress tracker allows you to correct identified issues before delving deeper into the project.

Scalable Task Manager

A scalable task manager allows you to define workflows based on the roles of your team members. This feature gives you control over your task delegation process.

Relying on it helps you become flexible when prioritizing tasks and setting deadlines. Find expert assistance on scaling your tasks from this website.

Typical task manager solutions and services offered through third-party solutions usually include:

  • Agile Transformation
  • Agile Workshops
  • Business Agility
  • Project Management
  • The Scrum Kickstart Package

Team Communication Tools

Your project can only run well if your teams communicate with each other. Using different apps for communication can be tiring and time-consuming.

Your team members need an all-in-one tool with impressive communication options. The solution should allow you to engage in productive conversations without disrupting your workflow.

Tools for Setting Role Permissions

Your project management software should cater to the needs of every team member. You need a solution that sets role permissions on tasks that require individuals with particular knowledge.

Such a feature helps you prevent data loss caused by team members that aren’t knowledgeable in a given field.

Each platform and software is going to be different, but each should also come with their own tutorials and guidance videos. This is something Hubspot has done really well with, as they have thousands of customers and teams using their software.

Easy-to-Use Navigation Features

The program should make it easy to access files and documents. Its user interface should include intuitive features for easier navigation. Choose one that’s compatible with your teammates’ devices.

Time Tracking and Reporting Tools

Reporting allows your teams to stay accountable for their actions. Reporting tools give you data on the timeline for executing tasks, the current project stage and the achieved milestones.

The software should feature time tracking tools to provide a real-time update on your work progress.

Why Project Management Software Programs are Essential to Your Work

Your goal when handling tasks and meeting deadlines is to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency entails allowing processes to flow as you focus on essential assignments.

Project management software programs enable you to create a self-sustaining model for your teams.

Here are other advantages they can add to your line of work.

Ability to Prioritize Tasks

Projects come with different deadlines, specifications, and tasks. The role of a project manager is to track and organize tasks based on priority.

Project management tools help you accomplish essential tasks first without compromising your ability to tackle the rest.

Optimize Business Processes

You can make your workflow smoother by optimizing your business processes. The optimization process involves examining achievements, failures and redundant tasks.

Count on this activity to identify problems and recommend appropriate solutions. Project management software programs make such a process simple to execute.

Easy Integration

Project management solutions are designed to work with other applications and systems. You can use them with social media sites to share snippets of your work.

They work well with customer relationship management tools too.

Higher Level of Organization and Standardization

Your teams can use project management solutions when working on multiple projects for similar customers. Such solutions help them standardize the process and reduce the time needed to track progress.

They feature several templates you can use to customize each client’s assignment.

Improved Information Sharing and Collaboration

Your team members should aim for transparency when working on the same project. With the right project management tools, they can share ideas for productivity.

You can even assign specific tasks to each one of them and track the status of the work.

How Technology Is Reinventing Project Management Software

Technology is changing how people meet their job responsibilities and manage work.

Digital innovations including smart devices are allowing more people to work far apart. New enterprise software programs are offering limitless opportunities for executing tasks.

Project managers can succeed by relying on a solution that fosters transparency. Project management solutions offer seamless user experiences to both small and large businesses.

Here are some of the market trends on project management software you can learn.

Team Members Are Operating Far from Each Other

The project management industry continues to record an increase in remote users.

Team members are collaborating on projects with large distances between them.

Software developers continue to release new cloud-based solutions as a reaction to this trend. Such updates focus on social networking and collaboration tools.

Project Managers Relying on Big Data Analytics

Previous versions of project management software only allowed for simple data tracking. The modern ones enable project managers to find insights from large data sets.

They come embedded with business intelligence tools for efficiency. You can use them to incorporate data from a recent project into an existing one.

Compatibility with Mobile Devices

Software developers are making project management solutions more adaptable on mobile devices.

Mobile users nearly account for more than half of the traffic generated on websites hosting the software. You can run the software as a mobile app or from your phone’s Internet browser.

What to Consider When Buying Project Management Software

Besides focusing on price, you should look for a solution that can meet your project’s needs.

Register for the trial versions to establish whether a program is worth your cash. Being savvy and keen can also help you get a better deal.

Use the following factors to guide your purchasing decisions, or refer to this complete review on Write — which has applications and securities in place that make it easy for anyone to control users, projects, and data across a wide range of platforms.

Your Implementation Plan

The software program can get your tasks organized. An implementation plan helps you decide on how you’ll use the software to meet your goals. Enlist your team members’ help to map ways for integrating it into your workflow.

Ask Your Teams for Suggestions

Project management solutions are only helpful if you consider your teams’ needs. Encourage them to share suggestions about features they’d love to use.

Base your purchasing decision on their feedback. Consider the program’s application and adoption in your project.

Sample the Trial Versions

Software demos allow you to use a particular program before purchasing it. Trial versions help you determine whether a solution is adequate for your needs.

Pose questions to the software vendors about the product. Pay attention to the means they use to respond to your queries.

Compare and Justify Costs

Determine whether the program’s benefits match the time and cash required to use it.

Find a software program that scales up your business. Compare costs across different vendors too.

Get one that’s suited for both your budget and project needs.

Get the Best Value Out of Your Project Management Software

I hope this guide has answered your “what is project management software” question.

Your upcoming project should be executed with the best tools you’ll ever find. You have to look for a solution that can improve your teams’ input in the project. Focus on getting project management software with the powerful tools you need.

As with all content and services offered through this site, feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you might have. I’m looking forward to hearing from you so we can partner up.

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5 Proven Lead Generation Strategies that Won’t Ruin Your Budget

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Every business has to secure new customers, but finding ways to do this on a tight budget can be tricky. Thanks to the internet, this is now easier and more effective than ever before.

In the past, if you were to buy billboard advertising or even place ads in flyers or magazines, it’s always a guess on the type of ROI you were going to see. In fact, it was more like playing the casino and the odds usually weren’t in your favor. For the most part, this type of advertising would usually fall under ‘branding‘.

On the internet, it’s a whole different ball game, and everything is trackable, down to the finest penny, click, or impression!

Whether it’s online or offline, acquiring a new customer isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s reported that acquiring a new buyer is five to 25 times pricier than retaining an existing one, but you can generate leads successfully with limited resources if you approach it the right way.

What does this involve? Well, for every business it’s different — but there are clearly winning strategies that continue to work across all platforms and markets.

If you are willing to put in the time, work, and effort… here are five powerful strategies you have to try.

1. Automating Your Marketing Process

An effective marketing process puts your brand in front of new customers and makes it appear so utterly tantalizing they just can’t say no.

But, as you probably know by now, achieving such amazing results takes time, money and energy — and having enough of all three to go around isn’t always easy.

Automating your marketing process is a valuable solution.

Multiple tools (some free, some not) are designed for this: you’ll send a marketing email the prospect signed up for and, if they choose to act on it, they’ll end up directed to the relevant landing page. Follow-up emails can be sent according to specific criteria as well, such as if the recipient has read a preceding message (ideal for consistency).

Automating your marketing is a real time-saver, won’t break the bank and frees your employees up for additional lead generation, so give it some thought.

2. Growing Your Email Subscriber List

Actually building a list of prospects to contact via email is crucial, though — after all, who’s going to receive your marketing messages if your subscriber list is blank?

You have to make enough of an impact on visitors to your site that signing up for emails feels like a natural next step. Make sure your website’s visually-impressive, easy to use and offers real value — why should anyone want to hear more from you if you seem to have nothing to say?

Offer the opportunity to subscribe on each page of your site and give a good incentive to submit their email address. A discount on an upcoming purchase or a freebie (such as an ebook or podcast) can help to sweeten the deal.

3. Up Your Content Marketing Game — Blog Often and Create Videos

Blogging is still a solid part of a great marketing game. First and foremost, you’ll add fresh content and more keywords to your website on a regular basis — both key for a good SEO campaign.

Secondly, you can share these across social media to increase engagement and target different demographics within your audience. Blogging is cost-effective too, especially if you build a good relationship with a quality freelancer: the more work you put their way, the better their deal is likely to be.

Videos can be useful in generating leads as well. 90 percent of users cite product videos as major aids to their purchase decisions and 64 percent are more likely to order an item online. Watching videos is more convenient than reading a blog post, more visually stimulating and actually give you a chance to show your products or services off in motion.

Again, producing videos doesn’t have to be expensive: once you have a dedicated ‘studio’ set up and the necessary equipment, you can use them as often as you need.

4. Be Accessible and Organized

When people receive your marketing emails, read your blogs or watch your videos, what will they do if they have questions?

While some will head to your site in search of an FAQ, others will come to you directly. You need to offer multiple communication channels that are convenient and accessible to customers, including live chat, telephone and social media (which we’ll touch on more below).

Live chat software has become one of the most popular interaction methods for businesses, enabling website visitors to engage with support agents in real-time via mobile or computer. They can get the assistance they need in-browser without having to dial a number or draft an email.

The best live chat software makes staying organized and responsive easy, while providing you with helpful data to understand your audience better.

Best of all: it’s free for the customer — making it a risk-free choice on their part.  

Give your prospects multiple ways to reach you, ideally 24/7, when working to generate leads.

5. Fully Embrace Social Media to Drive Sales

Sixty-six percent of marketers using social media for lead generation see real benefits, even on just six hours per week.

Social media has given brands a free, simple, direct way to engage customers at any time, any place. They can reach out to you through their browser or an app in a matter of moments, and an organized company will respond just as fast.

Being accessible is crucial for businesses of all sizes: customers want to feel valued and respected — and letting messages go unresponded to for weeks certainly doesn’t help. A good social-media strategy lets you demonstrate your expertise, build a rapport, show your human side and ultimately convey why prospects need your products in their life.

You can invest in ads on social media too if you can afford it, which make a great complement to organic lead-generation techniques.  

Networks offer various tools for targeting people similar to existing and ideal customers, based on interests etc.

Either monitor social media activity yourself if you’re particularly low on resources, or hire someone to do it for you.

You also might want to consider affiliate software for your social media outreach, as this incentivizes sharing on social networks.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Lead Generation Efforts in 2019

Lead generation is crucial for brands of all sizes, across all industries. The five strategies explored above will help you capture leads in a budget-friendly way, expanding your reach without devouring too much of your finances. Focus on efficiency and productivity to streamline the entire process, leaving your team the time they need for other essential tasks.

With time, you’ll grow your customer-base, increase your brand visibility and identify the lead-generation techniques that work best for you.

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