Small Business Owners And Data Security

This post brought to you by Carbonite. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

The importance of data protection in our day and age has grown exponentially. Practically everything is moving to the cloud, and at the same time, more and more instances of identity and data theft are happening at an alarming rate. It can get really easy to de-prioritize how you manage your data whether it’s local or cloud based. Most people feel like they are immune to the threats, and small business owners are no different. Options such as Dropbox and OneDrive are great for personal use but don’t offer data protection and automatic back up solutions. When you own a small business, you really need something that is designed to be flexible and grow with your business. That’s where a company like Carbonite comes in that is a leading provider of data protection solutions.

There are plenty of small business stories involving lost data and I’m a perfect example of such in that I just never felt I was ever at risk, but I learned the hard way that it happens. I’ve experienced data loss on hard drives and laptops in my past before moving my data to a cloud based system. It felt more safe to me to have my stuff “protected” by not having it in the cloud, but that approach was the opposite of what I needed to do. Being a content creator I had quite a bit of documents, video, audio and photos that were lost simply from an external hard drive crashing and being unrecoverable.

In addition, during my time as a small business owner I found myself purchasing frequently on corporate cards on online sites and despite my mild attempts at protecting my financial and personal data, I was hit hard. My personal information was stolen and used to open a corporate credit card in my name. I believe this came from storing personally identifiable information locally as opposed to keeping those things more secure in a cloud based system. That’s what you get if you just keep your data on your laptop with little to no security. After experiencing both episodes of data loss I’ve moved to a cloud based system for all of my data, and haven’t had any episodes of data loss or identity theft.

On the surface having your data backup in the cloud might seem counterproductive to staying safe, but it’s quite the opposite. Cloud solutions like Carbonite are built from the ground up around keeping data safe from all threats such as vindictive ex-employees, accidental deletes, or even acts of nature. While it’s important to use traditional protection such as firewalls and anti-virus programs, that just protects your borders. All it takes is one errant click on a bad link by an employee and you’re compromised. Same goes for insurance coverage; important, but insurance is only going to cover replacing systems, not lost data that lived on those systems.

What small business owners need to get right with (and anyone for that matter), is that moving your data to the cloud is the safest, most cost effective way to protect your data not only from theft, but from situations often out of your control.

Protect your data your data today with a free trial from Carbonite.

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5 Reasons Your Business Absolutely Needs To Consider the Bing Network

This post brought to you by Bing Network. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Jason Yormark.

I’ve had a lot of experience on both sides of the fence when it comes to paid marketing strategies and execution. Whether it’s been with an agency and working with larger brands and companies, or running a small business, it can be very daunting to figure out how to drive targeted traffic and leads, not to mention, expensive. But the good news is, there are options out there that you may have overlooked that can be affordable and effective.

Not many folks probably expected Bing to stick and around and challenge Google in the search game, but that’s exactly what they’ve done. The Bing Network has evolved quite a bit over the years. From their integration of Cortana, their voice recognition technology, to their Xbox and Office integrations, there’s some serious opportunity for businesses to take a closer look at.

To get started, here are just 5 reasons why you should take a closer look at the Bing Network:

  1. There’s a whole lot more search queries happening on Bing then you may think. Did you know that there are 170 million searchers in the US of which 60 million are exclusive to the Bing Network? That’s right, there’s more than one search player in the game. That’s 35% of searches that you may be missing out on. Not to mention 25% of clicks on the Bing Network come from queries only searched on Bing.
  2. Bing Search is powering some serious networks. Combined with Bing’s syndication partners such as Yahoo, AOL, WSJ, adMarketplace amongst others, are able to reach 1 in 3 PC searches in the U.S. That’s 170 million searchers in the U.S., 56 million which are exclusive to Bing network. And these searchers spend 22% more than the average internet searcher. A full 25% of clicks on Bing Network are queries only searched on Bing. That’s exclusivity that you can’t beat.
  3. Bing is Social. Bing powers Yelp local search options, Twitter translations and Uber mapping. All additional exposure opportunities for your business outside of traditional search engine platforms.
  4. Xbox One, Windows 10 & Office. Bing powers some of Microsoft’s leading innovations, from Cortana to voice search in Xbox One, from the search experiences in Windows 10, to searching directly in Office so you stay focused on doing, not finding. Bing is in phones, in PCs, and in new devices every day. Many of the industry’s leaders trust their most valuable assets—their users—to Bing, whether it’s search inside Amazon’s devices, web results for Siri and Spotlight Search on Apple devices or maps on thousands of leading websites. Bing’s technology is increasingly being adopted across the industry.
  5. Being the underdog means better service. Like most service based businesses, Bing is the up and coming challenger which means you get better tools, more competitive rates, and better service. Bing backs customers by a team of specialized experts that can bring key insights to every aspect of your business. Bing also connects customers and partners at events around the world to deliver unique insights. All reasons to seriously consider the Bing Network in your online ad buys.

The landscape of search and digital advertising is a moving target, and without great tools, platforms and support, it can be a daunting task to make any progress with your digital spend. Using platforms like the Bing Network can help navigate some of those challenges, and bring some much needed savings and results in your online marketing efforts. I’ve had great experiences myself throughout the years, and you can too.

Learn more about Bing Network and what it can do for you.

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Being The Underdog Is More Fun

The March Madness Tournament is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. Not because basketball is really my favorite, but because of all the sporting events in the world, it’s the one event where anything is possible. Upsets. Seeing lower seeds beat the odds and moving on is incredible to watch. Smaller schools not given much of a chance that fight and claw their way to victory over seemingly impossible odds. You just can’t beat it.

I am a hugely competitive person. Not in an unhealthy way by any means, but certainly more so than normal. In all my stops along my career, I’ve never really thought about the underdog analogy too much in business. But in my latest role at SportsArt, it’s come front and center, and I’m loving it very much so far. It can be easier and safer to go with the bigger companies when it comes to your career. Why not? Usually more pay, more benefits, but most importantly, the security that comes with being at the top. However for the first time in my career, I decided to buck that trend, and go with the underdog. And after a few months, it’s been a hell of a lot more fun.

Let me provide some backstory to my point of why that is. SportsArt is a fitness equipment manufacturer with it’s US headquartered in Woodinville, WA and main headquarters based in Taiwan.

SportsArt

Our little neck of the woods – SportsArt

While they’ve been around for 30+ years, their US operations has had it’s ups and downs and currently in the midst of a reawakening after some restructuring and more importantly the hiring of a well known and respected industry veteran, Scott Sechrest. In the past 18 months things have really started to heat up.

In the industry, Precor is a much more well known name and rightfully so. The rise and success of the elliptical machine is their doing and took them from obscurity into a household name. They are one of the big dogs and ironically, are also based out of Woodinville, WA. I drive by their massive building everyday to our much smaller facility right down the street.

The Evil Empire - Precor

The Evil Empire – Precor

A few months ago, both companies were looking for marketing help and I stumbled across both job descriptions. The Precor job listing was your typical business speak laden description. It felt like you’d be walking right into an existing machine of monotony and I shuddered at the thought. The SportsArt listing actually read like a real person wrote it and it wasn’t just regurgitated from a previous listing. So for the first time in my career, I focused my efforts on the smaller company. At the time I didn’t think as much about it as I do now, but I really wanted to build something, not maintain it. And I felt SportsArt was a place that could happen. A few months later and I can definitely say the right choice was made.

We’ve got a ton of work to do, but being in an environment where we’re allowed to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, etc. is an incredible environment to work in. For years I’ve worked at companies with too many layers of management, too many levels of process, that got in their own way of making progress and innovating. I love the challenge of chasing the big dogs, and I know that as we grow and I get to be a part of that, the incredible feeling of accomplishment and achievement will be unmatched.

And let’s be honest…chasing is more fun then being chased don’t you think?

5 Incredible Small Business Marketing Resources You Haven’t Heard Of

Throughout my professional career, I’ve always had a love for small business. Whether it was creating them myself, or helping others, small business is the backbone of our economy, and I always love finding tools and resources that can help small businesses navigate their marketing needs. It can be incredibly tough to find the time and budget to effectively market your small business, so anytime I find something I think can help, I feel compelled to shout it from the rooftops!  Below are 5 of my favorite tools these days, many of which I use on a daily basis.

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Why Sometimes You Have To Say No To New Business

[stag_dropcap font_size=”100px” style=”squared”]N[/stag_dropcap]ot every lead is a good one. In my first year of starting my company, while few and far between, I’ve actually had new business prospects that I’ve turned down. For a startup, that seems a bit crazy, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

I was inspired to write this blog post by something that literally just happened in our office that is driving me nuts. What initially started out as a very promising lead for our company, turned into the most ridiculous showing of disorganization and disrespect I’ve faced since launching my business.

A week or so ago, I was delighted to hear that someone drove by our office and saw our sign and actually stopped in to learn about us. I didn’t think that we’d ever get a lead from our sign, but lo and behold, we did. Take that SEO purists! She set up an appointment to discuss marketing needs for her new business. Here is a list recap of events that happened since:

  • Cancelled an hour before her meeting because she wasn’t feeling well. She rescheduled for a few days later
  • Does not show up to rescheduled meeting. We call her and she says she didn’t get a reminder call from us so she forgot. She reschedules for a few days later and asks us to call her the same day to remind her. Reluctantly, we agree to this even though I think it’s ridiculous that a grown professional adult requires a reminder service for a meeting SHE initiated.
  • We call her on the day of the rescheduled meeting and she tells us that we didn’t give her enough time with our reminder call to make it work

Now, does that sound like someone you’d ever want to go into business with? One of the choices I’ve made when starting my business was that no matter how desperate we may be for the income, I would never take on a client that I had red flags about because it usually ends up in disaster. In this particular case, it was a no brainer. Could you imagine the potential headaches we’d encounter with someone that is incapable of being organized enough to know when their meetings are or has no accountability for their actions? No thank you.