Preparing for Cyberspace

While cyber security is an important issue for boards, it has not always been top of mind. Because a major corporation like Equifax had a breach in its IT system, many companies are rethinking how to secure cyber security.

Boards around the world are examining the Equifax case to determine how to best secure their organizations valuable information stored in their IT systems. So who is responsible? Since the CEO has stepped down, it is apparent he was being held accountable. However, where was the board of directors?

In today’s world of cyberspace, corporate boards have to think about more than governance, CEO compensation and strategy.

As it stands, it is in the board’s best interest to ensure the company is not exposed to debilitating risks. Companies have workplace safety standards and sexual harassment policies to mitigate lawsuits. They even have disaster recovery plans in the event of natural disasters or occurrences like the World Trade Center plane crash. These plans and policies are in place to keep business running smoothly and perpetually. It protects customers and employees.

However, with sophisticated computer hackers around the world, it is no news that computer systems and valuable information can be breached and stolen. There are hackers who breach computer systems as a business. They ask for ransom in the amount of tens of millions of dollars. If it is not paid, they threaten to release the companies secure information, which sometimes could contain private email communication from top executives.

While many enterprises as large as Equifax may have disaster recovery plans for their physical operation, they may not have the same plan for cyber breach. The disaster recovery policies would include immediate action steps based on size of the breach, who made the breach, what information was taken, were company smart phones breached, what to communicate to employees, the public and shareholders as well as other important factors.

In some cases, it may make sense to inform the FBI. In other cases, it may be better to pay the ransom. The challenge with calling the FBI is that the hackers could be in countries like Russia. In Russia, the FBI may not pursue them. Why? Because the Russian government is always looking for good hackers. If the FBI exposes the hackers in Russia, the government may hire them, which can present long-term problems for the US. When it comes to paying ransom, it’s tricky. If you pay, they may hack you again as though you are an ATM machine. If you don’t pay, they may expose confidential information. These are also the kinds of challenges that directly involve the board.

What’s most important is that the board is talking about cyber security before there is a problem. There should be constant audits of the cyber security system to mitigate any risks. In addition, as a board, they should hold the CEO accountable for that security. Furthermore, there should be clear policies to guide the board and the executive team on how to handle the various moving parts in a delicate situation. Boards with disaster recovery plans and high accountability with the CEO are more likely to be forward thinking about cyber vulnerabilities and proactive about updating the security system.

Isn’t It Time to Wake-Up?

People (at all ages), often say things like, “you made me feel this way”, etc. It just simply isn’t true. Only you decide how you’re going to feel. No one has that power over you.

You get to decide whether or not to react or respond to someone/something. Not the other way around. Now, if you notice you constantly feel bad around someone, you will want to look at why that is. Are you needing to work on setting boundaries with others, is there another reason why this is persisting, or does this person have a negative energy about them and it’s time to take control of who you’re surround yourself with? In any event, it is still your decision on how you react. I remember being told this by someone years ago when I was first entering the self-development arena. I got it intellectually, but didn’t really “get it” on a deeper level. This involves a lot of inner work, and it starts with taking responsibility for every single thing happening in your life.

It amazes me when people complain about not getting the results in their life. You are your only problem. If you aren’t getting what you want externally, something is off internally. What is happening on the outside of you is a direct result of your thinking. Always. Regardless if it’s negative or positive. You need to look inside. Who are you being or not being? What type of thinking is causing you to stay stuck? Do you believe you have to struggle or think the potential clients you are talking to just aren’t ready to take action? You are fooling yourself. This is your subconscious trying to keep you stuck. It has a positive intention, which is to keep you where you feel safe. Growing a business involves risk and putting yourself out there. This can be scary and to the subconscious it’s not a safe zone.

In order to figure out where your thinking is off, you will need to look. If you are speaking to your ideal client and they decide not to move forward with your service, the problem is you. Something is going wrong in the sales conversation. It is likely that you’re stopping yourself from asking those tougher questions because you care too much what they think of you. However, if you don’t ask those tougher questions, they will not see that they need your help and that you’re the one to provide the help.

Look at the results you’re getting/not getting and determine if you’re where you want to be. If they’re in line with your vision, then awesome! If not, take a hard look at your thinking. No one is to blame but you.

Those are some common themes that I see preventing business owners from moving forward. Running a business involves a commitment to doing whatever it takes to succeed. Are you willing to take responsibility for your life / actions / results? Once you do this, you will be amazed at what starts to happen.

The Strategies to Empower Your Call Center Business

Running an operationally efficient call center that delivers a high-quality customer experience can be a difficult objective to achieve. Consumers are becoming increasingly know-how and their expectations for quality customer service and support is steadily growing. Most corporations may see a contact center as an added expense but as you weigh things down, you find that a call center is a necessity for your business to thrive. It is quite a task to systematically deliver excellent customer service while cutting down additional costs. This may seem intimidating, but it is definitely possible to transform your contact center into a profit-producing asset. But it is difficult to handle a call center with the upper level of customers’ satisfaction.

Here, I am going to represent some ideas of specific strategies to empower your call center business to get the high level of customer satisfaction which will affect your sales graph positively.

Support social media:

While the phone remains at the heart of customer contact centers. There is an increasing need to effectively manage data from multiple channels thanks to the exponential rise in social networks like Twitter and Facebook. This requires solutions that have both the intelligence and flexibility to adapt changing market and consumer needs.

Social media has empowered consumers to become broadcasters or journalists, so speedy and flexible customer service is critical. A complaint sent via Twitter that is left unanswered could spread internationally overnight.

Empower your employee:

Employees are the main factor of a call center who have to communicate with customers directly. We can say that the employees are the heart of a company. So, enable your employees to make their own recommendations on improvements, after all, they are much closer to the working procedure than senior management.

A focused call center can help a brand realize its goal whether that be higher levels of customer satisfaction, more revenue per customer or driving increases in sales. Establishing the right policies and working practices can empower call center employees to support the brand and the business.

Refining Your Customer Service Strategy:

Your customer care center will work in tandem with your call center software to create synergies in your customer service department. One of the biggest advantages of this software is its ability to collaborate with your customer history. For instance, say you get calls from a long time customer on a monthly basis. Call center software can be set to display “screen pops,” which allow the agent instant information as soon as the call is answered, reducing call times and customer satisfaction. Screen pops can be customized but most commonly will include customer purchase and return data on every inbound call.

It doesn’t matter if you are making inbound or outbound phone calls providing customers and prospective clients with the right answers, faster can really streamline your sales efforts.

Know your customer:

Understanding the demographics of your customers is a key first step toward determining which tools and approaches will best help you achieve your business objectives. For example, tech-savvy customers will likely expect to connect with you through more technical channels, such as online forms, chat sessions, or social media drove community-based solutions. Less tech-savvy customers, on the other hand, may require more traditional, higher-touch solutions, such as phone, fax, or email.

Human Resource Practices

What we have in the prevailing marketplace in today’s economy is the effort that has been made by some well-recognized companies, among them, the Fortune 500 companies based in the United States, who have come to take note of the contribution of their human resource department towards the success of their organizations, SHRM. This has led to the creation of human resource practices by HR department, that motivate its members to continuously being proactive in looking at the business organization, as it engages its employees to determine how they can be supported in strengthening the company’s strategic policies.

A business organization’s human resource practices coupled with its policies are very important in the creation and maintenance of a work culture that is meant to reward, support and then create the expectation for the employees to be consistent in the performance of their work and provision of services. The ultimate goal is the achievement of an optimum customer satisfaction, which at the end leads to a satisfactory financial outcome that create a tremendous success for the company involved, SHRM.

Human resource professionals have been traditionally aligned with administration and finance, tasked with paperwork and far removed from where decisions are made in C-suite level leaders. It has been acknowledged in today’s organizations the value of employees as a key resource, therefore are embracing HR as a key strategic partner with organizational leaders. The new role being given to HR is behind the drive to have companies invest more in advanced technologies that will enable them to manage the workforce, in order to allow HR to spend more time in making valuable contributions.

It has been found based on an audit of Fortune 500 companies that having an HR executive officer among the company’s executive leaderships lead to high performance. In the audit, it was made clear the impact of having Chief HR Officer in the C-suite, which is that the companies with CHRO are averaging 105 percent more profit than their industry peers that do not have one.

Having a chief human resource officer at the C-suite conference table means that the person with the title is able to bring to the table issues affecting the HR department that could not have been possible were the person not there. So the CHRO presence is able to make the argument of the impact of having human resource on the company’s bottom line, the value it brings to the company’s strategic decision making process, and also the need for the company to create HR that is high performance and is involve in the learning and development of its employees, and also the need for an effective technological solutions.

According to some of the Fortune 500 companies audited, the CHRO in those companies embraced the use of customer analysis, proactive talent management as human resource practices. Some of the human resource practices policies enacted that directly lead to high performance in those companies include the exposure of HR risks, like the need to retain key talent in the company’s annual reports and instituting the continuous review of goals and performance throughout the year, particularly:

When the company involve identify risks in their annual reports, the company performs better when compare with peers that do not identify risk in their key financial and market metrics like return on assets (55%), operating profit (by 95%) and earning per share (by 54%).

The organizations that review its employees performance throughout the year are likely to continuously meet its quarterly financial expectation, and show a better average compound annual growth rate (CAGR) when they are compared to their peers that only review performance on an annual basis.

Organizations that have a higher part of its goals aligned and completed does better than its industry peers in key financial metrics, such as quarterly financial estimates, operating profit, earning per share, and price-earnings ratio.

Having a CHRO has proven to have a link to a company’s bottom line, demonstrating the vital correlation between effective talent management and business performance. There are many companies that are very successful in today’s marketplace because they have been able to institutionalized human resource practices platform that put forward an advanced, connected HCM solutions that manage an entire employee life cycle; starting from recruitment to retirement- taking the role from being transnational to strategic, also predictive.

Ensuring the Safety of Your Business Through Document Storage

The documentation that your company produces is extremely valuable for a number of reasons. Crucial company financial documents, employment letters and client files all fall under the confidential company documentation umbrella. Unfortunately, paper-based documentation can be under threat due to a variety of reasons such as fire, theft or natural disasters. Even if you store your documentation digitally, on an internal or external hard drive, it is important that you protect your company’s information. To ensure the safety of your company’s documentation, it is best to take on the services of a document storage company. Before you choose a storage company, there are a few factors to take into consideration:

Storage Systems

A well-designed storage warehouse will have processes and systems in place to make your document storage as effortless as possible. It is crucial that there are not only efficient and comprehensive systems in place, but that you understand them and how they work. It does not really help to have your documentation stored safely if you cannot access them easily whenever need be. Depending on the size of your business, you may generate paperwork at a speedy rate and if your documentation is not stored in a logical system that you understand, it will hinder your ability to retrieve what you need when you need it. A well-designed storage system is quite a complex operation; hence you need to choose a company that specialists in document management. A good document management company will be able to explain their different storage options to you. In addition to this they should be able to suggest a solution that is best for your business’s document storage requirements, be it tweaking the existing system or customizing a system to suit you.

If required, your document storage company should have an electronic document management system in place to conveniently scan and safe keep your business documents in order for you to access it offsite electronically.

Safe and Secure Storage

Safe and secure storage is crucial for all your documentation. Because your paper documents can be damaged by climatic conditions, fire or theft, you need adequate security against all these hazards. A document management company will have the safest facilities for document storage possible. This includes vault-type storage; climate controlled environments as well as excellent fire prevention and management facilities. Should you have scanned paperwork and are utilizing digital storage systems, then the storage company will make sure that all your information is backed up and stored on secure servers.

Retrieval

Being able to access your documentation whenever necessary is vital. A well planned storage labeling system should be in place that gives you easy access to all your files irrespective of how many you have stored away. For example, even if your particular vault is lined with shelves containing rows upon rows of boxes, you should be able to find documents alphabetically, by year and by type. In addition to this, you should be able to access your documentation 24 hours a day, should there be any emergency requiring you to produce the relevant paperwork.

As you can see, there are many benefits to secure document storage for your company. Not only will you have an organized system in place that you can utilize to find whatever you need, when you need it, but you will also have peace of mind that important business documents are well protected. The good thing about offsite document storage is that even if your business premises get completely destroyed, at least all your paperwork will be safe.

Importance Of PR (Public Relations) For Small And Medium Level Companies

It’s not only large companies that can make use of public relations (PR) firms; small and medium businesses can also benefit from these professional firms.

If you have a small or a medium sized company and you are wondering how a PR firm can be of importance to you, here are some of the benefits that come with Public relations:

Create a positive Image

A PR firm not only promotes your business, but also puts your business in the limelight. This plays a major role in creating a positive image about your company.

One of the ways in which a PR creates a positive image is by getting you, your products, or your business featured in newspaper or magazine stories. By doing this, many people read your story and form a positive image about your business.

Increase profits

Other than helping you to create a positive image about your business, a good PR firm will also help you to increase your profits. A good PR firm will do this by identifying your target market and help you to advertise your business in an area where you will make more sales.

For example, the firm will help you get an opportunity to talk about a product on television or radio and this will increase your exposure. When many people know about your business the more they will buy from you and as a result the more you increase your profits.

Reduce costs

Although, it can be expensive to hire a PR firm, it tends to be cheap over the long run.

For example, you may be required to part with thousands of dollars to hire a good PR firm, but the firm will help you or your representatives to be booked for interviews on television shows and newscasts which will give you a lot of exposure which would have cost you millions of dollars.

Offer intelligent advertising

Newspapers, magazines and online platforms may not be interested in promoting your business, but they may be interested in giving information to their readers.

If the information is related to your company, the PR will help you in drafting an intelligent press release that won’t sound like an advertisement. The release will not only give information to the readers, but it will also give your business the much needed exposure.

These are some of the benefits of hiring a public relations firm if you have a small or medium sized business. To ensure that you hire the right firm, you need to do a lot of research.

How To Develop A Business Strategy For Your Home Business

It has been found that tested theories and frameworks still form the foundation when developing a strategy for your business. To develop the right strategy for your business you need to do the following things:

Identify a product or service to sell

This is the first step in developing your business strategy. You need to remember that there are thousands of products and services that you can sell; however, for you to compete effectively with other businesses, you should ensure that your product is unique and better than other products in the market.

You need to think for you to come up with a good choice. To be successful in your efforts, you should go for products that you like and you enjoy selling. It’s recommended that you choose a product that you are able to visualize yourself selling it.

Experts recommend that you should be able to see yourself selling the product or service for the next five or 10 years.

For you to settle on the product or service, you should ensure that there is real demand for the product or service at the price that you are interested in charging.

You should also ensure that the demand is high enough for you to make a profit. The demand should be concentrated such that you are able to advertise, sell, and deliver the product at a reasonable expense.

Identify your customers

There is no way your business will be successful if it does not have customers; therefore, you should ensure that you identify the customers who will buy your product or service.

The right customers should have the ability of buying the product at the price that you will be selling at. This means that you should be able to tell whether you will be targeting the poor, middle class, or the rich.

You also need to ensure that the product is valuable to the customer. Here you need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and see whether the product will be of value to you.

Identify how the product will be sold

Once you have identified the right product and the right customers, you should determine how you will sell the product.

You can decide to sell the product by yourself or you can hire other people to do it for you. You also need to determine how you will promote your product or service. Here you can promote using word of mouth, or other ways such as TV, radio, or social media.

Build A Business From Scratch

My passions have always been gardening and painting. The two seem to go together and this was born out when starting a business in landscaping. It was natural to paint a picture of the finished design in my head. This led me to undertake counseling for those who could not imagine what a garden should look like. My long-standing interest in the outdoors held me in good stead as my little fingers were always in dirt from the time I could toddle.

Once advertising started and my first consulting job came to me it led to other things. The lady was so impressed with what she was offered that she paid me $400 to draw a plan of it. This was something right up my ally.

Putting my imagination to work the plan was a great success and before long there were some 2-3 per week along with consulting jobs. The main requiring for doing something like this is confidence. If one shows that they know what they are talking about and can satisfy their client with quality work, then it has to be a success.

Of course my enterprising didn’t stop there. The main point of this article is that people need to step out of their comfort zone and use their hobbies and interests to build a business. They have to start from scratch to do it but if they have enough confidence and knowledge they will success.

Mistakes will happen and that is the learning curve one has to go through. Costs of consulting work doesn’t have to be over the top as there is no outlay to doing it. Start small and build up. For consulting my charge was $75 and that is more than affordable when most landscape designers might charge 10 times that much for the same advice.

Norma Holt has knowledge that enables her to understand many issues. Political, social and behavioral problems are usually on her list for discussion as well as anything to do with the Spirit of the Universe and reincarnation, which she experienced. She is happy to hear from any of her readers.

Underfloor Air Distribution

In our houses, we have vents in the floors and ceilings that shoot out cool or warm air depending on what season it is and whether we have the furnace or the air conditioner on. Because the vents are in a set position on the floor, it makes furniture rearrangement that much more tricky and doesn’t allow for you to re purpose rooms as easily as you may imagine, but it gets hot and cold outside and we want our homes to be cooled or heated at will and this is how it is done.

More and more buildings on a bigger scale however have underfloor air distribution built right in as they are constructed making floor plans more flexible and without the need for static vents in strange places.

This technique is used in areas like data centers that produce a lot of heat from computers and equipment that is constantly used. In this application, isolated air conditioner zones are associated with raised flooring. Perforated tiles are placed under the computer systems to direct air to them, cooling them down in the process. The computing equipment is designed to draw the cool air from below and get rid of the warm air into the room. The air conditioner unit will them draw air from the room, cools it and forces it again through the raised flooring for the cycle to be complete.

Of course, raised flooring and underfloor air distribution go hand in hand and it is all part of the HVAC system in a building. This system makes for improved comfort for individuals in the building, better ventilation for equipment, machinery and of course, staff and improved energy efficiency for the building itself. It also results in reduced life cycle costs and is used in places like museums, schools, churches, offices and airports, all places where lots of people gather and lots of equipment is continually used.

One of the best parts about underfloor air distribution is the fact that reconfiguration of the space is a lot easier, it is also great for computer rooms as they are constantly cooled, reducing the effect of over heating on their operating systems. The only place this newer technology isn’t effective is for wet areas like kitchens, bathrooms, pool areas, gymnasiums and dining areas but it is widely used in common buildings around the country like the New York Times Building and the Bank of America Tower to name just two.

Business Package Become A Casualty

Every holiday season, from late October through January, finding a reliable courier or shipping company can become a nightmare. Time sensitive packages are not always given top priority by the big courier services because of their high demand for deliveries during the holidays.

Businesses who rely on courier services throughout the year know the holiday season will become a problem for them due to the overwhelming of daily consumer shipments. Whether it’s a gift being delivered across the country or a medical lab needing sensitive packages transported a few miles away, all packages are treated the same. That means without proper care!. How many times have you seen “FRAGILE” on a package only to receive it smashed. It almost seems some courier services enjoy damaging packages. They think tossing it into the back of the truck is careful. Or rolling it like a bowling ball is fun. Well, not to the medical labs, dental offices, hospitals or other businesses that hope their package is treated with care.

Unlike a consumer who can pre-schedule their package to be delivered, many businesses do not have that luxury. Flexible delivery dates are not part of the business world. Too often a special delivery package needs to be sent within a few miles. It could be within a 100 mile radius or just a 10 mile distance. No matter how far, the package needs to get there NOW.

Don’t wait for your packages to have these issues with your existing courier service during the holiday season. One reason why this happens is they hire temporary drivers and those drivers might not be familiar with the area. And more than likely, they are paid by the hour, so what’s another hour or two on the road to them it’s more money! Managing time-sensitive packages like medical supplies, medial lab tests, or legal documents can get lost easily during this busy season. Local same day courier services are small enough yet large enough to give you the personal care for all same day deliveries.

Isn’t it be time you find a local courier service that is reliable and doesn’t hire temporary drivers? If your business has packages that need to be delivered within 100 miles, ask your business friends on who they use for their deliveries and if they are satisfied. Be sure they have a solid reputation with medical labs, hospitals, pharmacies, dental labs and other businesses that require sensitive packages to be delivered on-time. Many businesses require same day delivery!