By John Sileo –
On August 12, 2003, as I was just sitting down to a tea party with my daughters and their stuffed animals, the doorbell rang. Standing there when I opened the door was a big, burly special agent from the economic crimes unit at the district attorney’s office—ready to issue a subpoena for my arrest. In a calm but ominous voice, he told me I was going to be charged for electronically embezzling (hacking) $298,000 from customers of my small software company, and that the DA’s office had enough digital DNA to put me in jail for a decade.
I was the victim of cyber crime, and I should have known better. You see, earlier that year my identity was stolen and sold to a woman in Florida. This woman purchased a home, committed a number of crimes, drained my bank accounts and filed for bankruptcy—all in my name. I learned all of this one day at the bank, right before I was escorted out by security guards.
The experience of losing my money, time and dignity motivated me to protect my personal information assets with a vengeance. Unfortunately, I didn’t apply my newfound cyber vigilance to my professional life, which is how I ended up standing on my front step holding a tiny teacup and shaking like a leaf. (more…)
With a whopping 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S, it’s no surprise they make up 99.9% of all United States businesses. Owning and running a business comes with a lot of added responsibility, one being the safety of employees — cyber safety included. With so many cyber threats running in the background of devices and the Internet, how can you keep your small business safe? Here are some steps to start the process.
Protect all devices
As companies hire, grow and expand, the use of devices is essential. Company devices should be properly protected before being actively used by employees. Plan to update all devices accordingly, to keep all systems working properly and efficiently use. Never forget to download antivirus software to help block any threats that can infiltrate your business. Viruses aren’t the only criminal making its way to your devices. Some other threats include: malware, ransomware, adware, pharming, phishing, and many more.
According to Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Security Technology & Response team (STAR), Symantec Corporation, the warning signs of viruses are next to none: “Unless it is a ransomware threat that encrypts all your files, there are often no apparent clues that a computer is infected with malware. Some indications might be a 100% workload of the CPU or strange pop-up messages, but in most cases the user will only notice the consequences when people complain about strange emails, unusual logins or fraudulent transactions on payment cards.” (more…)
By Jackie, for Koble –
Koble is thrilled to announce the launch of its web app for Koble 2.0. The web app brings the ability to search for over 11 million companies in 30 categories, to an SMB or corporate buyer’s desktop.
The web app features Koble Pages – smaller than a website and larger than a listing – which are SEO optmized, and allow for businesses to gain unrivaled visibility online. Businesses can now own a company page which is optimized for search engines with Koble Pages, which are free. With nearly half of US small businesses without a website, owning a Koble page makes a website accessible to every SMB, without having any technical know-how.
Koble has already optimized for eight key categories, namely Accounting, Advertising Agencies, Engineering Services, Information Technology, Legal Services, Management Consulting, Market Research and Public Relations. This will progressively lead to increased traffic being driven towards companies that operate within those categories. Any company on the Koble platform is up to five times more likely to be found in a search. (more…)
By Koble –
As we continue to spotlight the best resources and tools for entrepreneurs and businesses, we want to highlight the opportunity to gain unrivaled visibility for your company on Koble, a trusted community made up of 11 million B2B companies — including Fortune 500 corporations like General Electric, Oracle and Harley Davidson — looking to do business with a SMB like yours!
Koble, which was an official ambassador for the America’s SBDC 3rd Annual SBDC Day on March 20th, helps SMB companies with a focus on selling and buying from other businesses solve their number one business challenge — discovering the right new companies to do business with!
In fact, Koble’s 2018 SMB Sales and Growth Confidence Survey discovered that nearly three times as many SMB owners say finding new customers is a more significant challenge for their company than hiring new employees or accessing capital. (more…)
By Michael Jabbara
Director, Global Product & Market Enablement, Visa
Last week, I had the opportunity to present at the Annual America’s SBDC Conference in Nashville about the digital trends that are changing the commerce landscape and their potential impact on small businesses. Although digital commerce is not a new trend, the ways it is continually evolving consumer behavior can present both challenges and opportunities for small business owners. From virtual reality to voice activated assistants, I presented about how digital technology isn’t just altering the way people shop but what commerce can mean. Mobile and desktop channels made the shopping journey less linear. Now, emerging platforms are poised to transform entirely the way consumers interact and transact with their merchants.
According to an IBM study on digital platforms and commerce, 80 percent of companies are implementing Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives, 70 percent are developing voice command services and 50 percent are exploring augmented or virtual reality.i These initiatives are especially appealing to millennials and affluent consumers in the U.S., two segments that quickly adopt innovative solutions that make their lives more convenient and seamless. (more…)
Product Marketing Associate | Zoho CRM
Small businesses offer a personal touch to their services that chain stores are unable to replicate. They have more latitude to help their customers and provide an experience unlike any other. It goes without saying that behind every successful small business is a lot of hard work and many long hours. Nothing will make being a business owner “easy,” but what if there were a product that could help a small business scale quickly through a system of customer centricity, process streamlining, and acute sales focus?
Customer Relations Management (CRM) software does exactly that. It’s why 65% of businesses opt to use a CRM system within the first five years of starting up. The evidence is abundant: CRM is a must-have software for every small business. (more…)
If you are a freelancer or independent contractor in any field, QuickBooks Self-Employed can help you stay prepared for tax time throughout the year. With your input, and by eventually understanding your way of doing business, QuickBooks Self-Employed will help you separate business and personal expenses as well as identify Schedule C deductions. If you need more guidance, or have loyalties to a tax preparer, you can invite them to sign-in to your account so their job becomes easier as well!
What makes it so special? Along with the tax readiness, QuickBooks Self-Employed offers tools that help you find and maximize deductions so you can focus on doing what you love. Yep, that means more money back in your pocket and more time to do what you do best.
On average, QuickBooks Self-Employed subscribers identify $4,340 in potential tax savings per year.*
But how does it work? QuickBooks Self-Employed customers get these where-have-you-been-all-my-life features:
1) Easily track your expenses. Once you connect a bank account, expense tracking helps you separate your personal and business spending with just the swipe of a screen. (more…)
By RuthAnn Hogue
You know you need a website, but you’re not sure whether you want to take the next step to make it capable of accepting payments online. After all, potential customers can fill out your contact form. Then you can call them back or send an email with a link or any other number of options other than closing the sale by collecting immediately.
Such an arrangement would never fly in a brick-and-mortar store. Intuitively, you know this is not the best option in the virtual world. In an era of instant gratification, businesses need to be able to serve up what’s on the menu before customers leave your store.
True enough, but doesn’t one need a merchant account to take online payments?
The all-in-one option
Let’s say you sell tech-related gadgets such as cell phones, chargers and accessories. They come in various brands, models, colors and sizes. Posting an information-only catalogue detailing what’s trendy and for sale can certainly pique consumer interest, but it can’t provide immediate results. For that, you’ll need to add a payment gateway.
Fortunately, many ready-made online store options are available, including GoDaddy’s Online Store. In addition to providing an online space to promote your gadgets, it will allow you to immediately close the sale by collecting online payment with PayPal and all major credits cards. By using this type of all-in-one eCommerce solution, you get a seamless way to collect payment. The funds you collect are transferred directly into your designated bank account. (more…)
By Adam Wozney
Community Manager @ Wix
The first website launched in December of 1990. Remember 1990? Paula Abdul had a number one hit with “Opposites Attract,” the number one movie in America was “Home Alone,” and you may have owned a pair of parachute pants just like your idol MC Hammer. Over the last quarter century, styles and tastes have come and gone. Just like fashion and culture, web design trends constantly change. Keeping up with all of these trends can be difficult for a small business owner. But why even bother paying attention to web design trends? How does web design increase your bottom line? Well, you’re not still wearing parachute pants, are you?
At Wix, we would argue that web design is one of the most important factors of a business’s marketing strategy. Why? Designing an intuitive and engaging experience for your customers increases your customer lifetime value (CLTV). This is a prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer. At the end of the day, a happy customer will lead to more sales and leads. (more…)
In recent years, payment industry stakeholders in the U.S. have been collaborating to improve payments efficiency. A quest is underway to achieve the worthy goals of originating and receiving more payments electronically to reduce the average end-to-end costs of transactions and to enable innovative payment services for consumers and businesses. In the U.S., opportunities to improve payment system efficiency are especially significant in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, which include the invoice, payment and remittance detail.
With that in mind, give a hearty salute and wish a happy anniversary to the Business Payments Coalition (BPC), formerly the Remittance Coalition, which celebrates five years this month. The organization’s new name recognizes that its goal has broadened beyond simply facilitating the exchange of remittance information among B2B trading partners. It still seeks to foster adoption of electronic payments and remittances in the business-to-business environment, but its wider-ranging mission today is to improve efficiency of B2B payments across the end-to-end process.
The Coalition consists of organizations and individuals working together to promote greater use of electronic B2B payments and remittance data exchanges, as well as other ways to increase B2B transactions efficiency. Over the last five years, the Coalition has developed a plethora of tools and standards that address the various challenges that businesses face when using electronic alternatives to paper-based payment options. As the payments environment continues to expand and new electronic payment options grow, the Business Payments Coalition has continually expanded its efforts beyond remittance to lend a fresh perspective to overall payments efficiency. (more…)