The Power of SEO

Most of us are well aware of search engine optimization (SEO). Every time you use Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other web search engine to answer one of your questions, SEO is hard at work. “Web SEO is simply the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine‘s “natural” or un-paid (“organic“) search results.” Having great SEO for your products and services is crucial for sales; I believe it has become more practical than salespeople within the last decade.

When you need a product or service, do you search for potential solutions on Google

Great SEO is now more important than salespeople in many industries.

and compare prices, or do you wait for an annoying salesperson to call you? I personally always research using search engines, and most of the people I know do the same.

With excellent SEO, thousands and even millions of people will be able to see your products and services with an online search engine. The number of people you can reach with this approach each week is so much greater than the few hundred you can reach with 3-4 salespeople making phone calls. Here’s the catch: you only need 3-4 people who are experts at SEO to reach this incredible amount of individuals.

But hey, why not have some salespeople AND excellent SEO? The key is to give SEO more attention than sales calls and sales emails. Building a strong SEO team for your company is more important than a strong sales team in many industries.

Where do you go if you want to subcontract your SEO work? There are many people out there who charge way too much to help you with SEO; you should be very selective if you choose to hire someone to help you. Reading a variety of books about the topic will be a great way to get familiar with it if you aren’t already.

Search engine optimization is still young. In the year 2000, it wasn’t nearly as important as it is today. SEO is only going to become more important; staying informed about its changes is a must.

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Start Small & Gradually Grow

In many business ventures you can start extremely small and gradually grow.

In life, we all start small. Why not do the same with your business?

Other endeavors will require significant amounts of startup capital. Unfortunately, I meet too many people in the business world that want to raise millions of dollars for their software, apps, websites, or other businesses. They want a big business, and they want it within the next year or two. It’s as if starting small isn’t even an option.

Of course, there are plenty of situations and opportunities that require you to take immediate action with a significant amount of loans and risks. However, test marketing your idea before taking these kinds of risks is becoming so much easier. You can start your business out as a 1 – 2 person operation (microbusiness) and start offering your services this month once you have everything sorted out legally.

“Microbusinesses aren’t new; they’ve been around since the beginning of commerce. What’s changed, however, is the ability to test, launch, and scale your project quickly and on the cheap.” – Chris Guillebeu

Another thing to keep in mind are the intentions of the people or businesses loaning you large sums of money. Even Mark Cuban, who is a venture capitalist himself, advises to avoid taking on debt – especially from venture capitalists. It’s pretty funny that he believes this, considering his role as a venture capitalist on the popular TV show Shark Tank.

When he was first starting his life in the business world, I guarantee he would have avoided showing up on that show and taking money from anyone. If anything, he would have just went on the show for publicity.

Twitter / @mcuban

“There are only two reasonable sources of capital for startup entrepreneurs: your own pocket and your customers’ pockets.” – Mark Cuban

Cuban also says that he founded his first business, MicroSolutions, with an advance of $500 from his first customer. Further, he said the business had under five employees and didn’t grow quickly in the first couple years. The consensus? “It’s okay to start slow. It’s okay to grow slow.”

“The reality is that for most businesses, they don’t need more cash, they need more brains.” -Cuban

If billionaire Mark Cuban believes this, I’m sure testing this approach won’t hurt. And hey, if your business doesn’t work, you won’t owe anyone much money. If it does, you can slowly grow, and take on small amounts of debt in relation to what you’re making.

Another possible solution for raising money may be using a crowdsourcing website for your idea. The only problem? Many of them want you to whore yourself out with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, which is nothing but excellent publicity for them. Maybe you’re like me and you don’t want your entire family and all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter to know exactly what your business ideas are. I haven’t looked at every crowdsourcing website yet, but the five that I have looked into insist on using your social websites. If you have suggestions for better crowdsourcing sites, please let me know.

Get out there and start extremely small; it may give you an idea as to how interested people are in your products and services. Remember to test different locations and advertise for cheap on a variety of websites.

Guillebeau, Chris. The $100 Startup: reinvent the way you make a living, do what you love, and create a new future. New York: Random House, 2012. Print.

Cuban, Mark (2011-11-19). How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It (Kindle Locations 580-586). Diversion Books. Kindle Edition.

Simple Steps to a Safer Business

Beware of cyber criminals

“The United States Federal Government has had 13 breaches and failures of its own cybersecurity just in the past six months.”1  2 This is not including the number of breaches that haven’t even been detected. Former FBI cybersecurity expert Shawn Henry said, “Most major companies – like 94 percent – don’t know they have been hacked until a long time afterward.”1 It’s safe to say that keeping a company protected from malware and cyber criminals has never been more important. Some companies might not think they have the financial resources to purchase a specialized software or service to protect their network, which means they definitely can’t afford a cybersecurity breach.

During an international conference held by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), which took place from October 25-26, 2012, Matt Hajda – Lead Information Security Analyst of the United States Automobile Association – stated, “The threat of malware is real, and criminals use malware to infiltrate organizations looking for any way to make money.” He added, “Tools are freely available on the Internet for anyone to create a malware website with little knowledge required.” He suggested taking these immediate actions if possible:

  • Block your monitor from proxy traffic
  • Block known malicious websites
  • Block dynamic DNS sites
  • Block non-categorized sites
  • Block specific country codes
  • Block traffic destined to a URL without a domain name

Ongoing education about cybersecurity problems is critical for every single person in your organization; not making this a top priority could result in a loss of jobs and potentially a bankrupt company.

During that same ISSA international conference Rafal Los – Chief Security Evangelist at Hewlett Packard – asked, “How prepared are we to stake our careers that we are doing enough?” Questions he thinks we should consistently ask include: what could break; where are the brittle systems; and how bad would it be if attacked?

         Providing additional malware and cyber criminal protection will become mandatory in the near future as the number of cybersecurity breaches continues to increase. When you decide it’s time to take a smart step in the right direction, you will

Lower risks significantly with specialized cybersecurity software

amp up your business’s security with specialized software and services. No, I’m not talking about Norton AntiVirus. You get what you pay for – every hacker has extensive experience with Symantec.

Cybersecurity software I strongly recommend includes ePArmor and eProtex. In addition to software, they provide security monitoring as an ongoing 24/7 service. They will also help you comply with your industry regulations and mitigate risks regarding network security monitoring, network forensics, malware, and many of the immediate actions noted above.

Stay ahead of the curve, and save yourself from the headache and troubles of a security breach. Invest in high-quality cybersecurity software and services; you’ll be happy you did when you see what happens to the businesses around you that did not.

Protect Your Network From Malware and Cyber Criminals

Protect Yourself From Cyber Criminals

In many sports, you simply cannot have an outstanding team without a great defense. There are exceptions, but it’s true often enough. The same principle applies to companies. Recently, cybersecurity has become a critical threat to businesses of all kinds; a study from Forbes highlighted these devastating statistics: source

  • Cyber breaches are on the rise, affecting companies’ performances and bottom lines. Malicious attacks by cyber criminals increased by 81% in 2011 alone.
  • Financial services, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and healthcare companies are the most susceptible to attack. In the past five years, 41% have experienced a security related crisis.
  • North American companies have had the highest rate of incidents.
  • Many companies have purchased insurance plans to cover $10,000,000 and more in damages from cybersecurity breaches.

The right cybersecurity can save your organization millions of dollars, and in extreme cases can even save your company from going out of business. On October 26, 2012, the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch (CCRSB) stated, “Intrusions are occurring 24/7, 365 days a year.” source

Companies are often not taking the appropriate precautions because they have important business that needs to get done today. As a result, many hold off on cybersecurity issues until it’s too late. It makes sense that companies focus on immediate demands, which is why a new cybersecurity company, ePArmor, has caught my interest.

They handle all of your cybersecurity needs with ongoing expert monitoring. As a cross-functional IT, security, and legal team, they make sure your company meets all of your industry’s regulatory requirements. ePArmor protects against possible intrusions 24/7, 365 days a year: they work smarter and harder than those working against you.

Waiting until the last minute can be catastrophic.  Take preventative action rather than having a panicked reaction to a crisis situation. Investing in quality cybersecurity could save you significant amounts of time, money, and potentially your business.

Technology: A Double-Edged Sword

“The computer in your smart phone today is 1,000,000 times cheaper and 1,000 times more powerful than the computer at MIT in the late 1960’s. That’s a billion fold increase in price performance of computing since around 1968.”

Writing a blog post from a phone isn’t new. It’s been easy to do for the past few years, yet this is my first post using my smart phone. Writing a book from smart phones and tablets is also possible. The possibilities with computing and phones are increasing every day.

Use technology responsibly

Communication has become so easy that I expect people to get back to me within minutes. I expect it because that’s usually what happens when I send a simple text. Do you miss the days of only having a home phone and answering machine? Sometimes I wonder how people made plans without being able to send a quick text or email with a cell phone.

The amount of time responding to texts, emails, and phone calls with smart phones has increased for most of us. Having access to a smart phone definitely gives people a competitive advantage in business. Yet it still has its drawbacks. If you expect people to get back to your texts within minutes, you probably also feel pressured to get back to someone sending you a text within minutes. This can create a feeling of anxiety about not having your phone with you 24/7.

People give me dirty looks when I’m actually doing research, responding to important business texts, and responding to work emails on my phone. What they need to keep in mind is this: phones can be used for games and pointless texts, but they can also be used for important work tasks. Technology has always been a double edged sword. You can be very productive and constructive with technology, but you can also be very unproductive and destructive with it.

For example, there is an excellent company I recently began helping around

Leonard-McDowell protects your valuable information with cutting edge software.

Indianapolis, IN called Leonard-McDowell. They help protect small to medium sized businesses with the newest, cutting edge software. One of these is ePArmor, a software that specializes in protecting your valuable information from well-funded hackers. With 3.5 million social security numbers and 387,000 credit card numbers stolen from South Carolina last month, it’s something we all need to take seriously.

Being productive and constructive with technology is the way to go. Phones, computers, softwares, and any other technology should be used to make the world a better place.

Hardware Vs. Software

“There was a recent study done by the scientific advisory board to president Obama that compared hardware progress to software progress, cause some people get up and say, ‘Yeah, well Kurzweil is right: computers, and communications, and even genetic sequencing and other information technologies are progressing at an exponential manner, but software is stuck in the mud.’ And so they analyzed this issue and they looked at all of the major scientific and engineering problem areas, and they found software had made more progress than hardware.

There was progress 1,000:1 over the last 15 years in hardware in being able to solve their problem; 15,000:1 in software for a total (since you multiply them) of 15,000,000:1 – with a lot more progress from improvement in software algorithms than hardware.”

“The bottom line is we’re making exponential gains in hardware AND software.”

Ray Kurzweil