Security Tips for Small Businesses

(Note: This is a guest post from KEYper Systems.)

Small businesses may believe that their size prevents them from becoming a target for hackers and other criminals. Yet the opposite too often is true. More than half of small businesses experience a security breach of some kind, whether it’s a break-in or a more sophisticated form of cybercrime. No matter what form those security breaches may take, the impact can be significant.

Without a sizable or experienced IT department keeping watch over their networks, these enterprises don’t find out how vulnerable they are until it’s too late. With this in mind, it’s extremely important for a business of any size to pay close attention to its network and shield it against intruders or vandals.

Small business owners can’t afford to ignore any type of threat in favor of another. Businesses may lock their doors at night, but if their WiFi router is left unsecured, they may as well be leaving out the welcome mat for criminals.

Because securing property in the real world and online is so important for small businesses, it’s a good idea to take a look at the security tips provided in the accompanying infographic. Just because smaller companies don’t have the resources larger companies do doesn’t mean they’re not targets for crime — but it doesn’t mean they don’t have the ability to protect themselves, either.


Infographic created by KEYper Systems

Author Bio:

Travis Ray is Director of Customer Care & Strategic Marketing for KEYper® Systems, a key management and storage systems provider. Ray is responsible for overseeing the customer care team that provides software and hardware support for new and current clients.

How To Excel At Hiring For Your Business

So, you’ve got everything your business needs. You’ve got a premises or a solid e-commerce marketplace running. Now it’s time to truly move forward.

Every business needs a good leader and a solid team. Think about it: what is better? A team of scattered individuals, or a motivated workforce pulling together in the same direction? Easy answer, right?

Let’s take a look at how to get your business hiring—the right way.


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The first thing to analyze is your hiring process. Is it working at all? If you’ve got a consistent turnover of employees, it might not be working. A 2015 survey looked at 20,000 new employee hires and found that 46 percent of those hires failed within a year and a half of the contract signing. That’s worrying news.

You can make yourself and your business a better prospect for employees by questioning them at the recruitment stage. Ask them what attracts them to the company so you can use this data to improve the package you’re able to offer to new hires. You can get help by involving a staffing agency in your process.

A way to truly improve your hiring is to decrease the time of hiring. On average, it’s lasting almost a month right now. That’s pretty unacceptable as it’s not only leaving your business in the lurch, but it’s increasing the potential that your prospective candidates are going to receive more and more job offers. You’re going to lose out if you wait too long. Don’t feel like you need to chuck every test in the book at potential employees. Also, make your decision quickly; don’t add any unnecessary time to the process.

There’s another side to waiting too long. If your new hire isn’t working out, make sure you talk to them quickly. Most people realize that a new hire isn’t a good fit quite quickly. Don’t wait a year if the fit isn’t good and the employment isn’t working out.

Also, don’t hold yourself to unrealistic expectations during the process. You’re not going to get a jack-of-all-trades for peanuts and if you do, that’s quite unfair on them and they will leave you when they realize their worth. Get a good package made up and decide what qualities you are looking for and what they are worth. Don’t expect everything.

During the interviewing process, you need to be consistent. If you don’t want to waste time, you can’t muck around and ask each candidate new questions. Ask each candidate the same questions and compare the answers. This is the key to a good hire because you need to set the same bar for each candidate. Don’t mess about and vary the levels because you’re going to open your hiring field too wide.

These are just a few ways you can reinvigorate your hiring policy to ensure your business builds a strong team that can take your company to the next level—but, of course, that all starts with you and your decisions.

Where Should You Begin With Your New Business?

As an entrepreneur—whether you’re an operating on a local scale, or a global scale…with small dreams, or with big dreams—your focus and drive for success is the thing which pushes you ever onwards. You had an idea or a brilliant, new concept non-existent elsewhere in your market of choice; or perhaps you’ve had an idea for a brand new market. Whatever the case, you wanted your idea to be more than an idea, so you’ve taken the initiative and striven to make that happen.


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But where do you actually begin with a brand new business idea?

In whichever early stage you find yourself, if your business is still new, you have a long way to go before you’ve fleshed it out from a startup into a fully-fledged enterprise. Perhaps you already have a company name; perhaps your idea and brand are fully realized and you’re ready to get on the road.

You might have a few friends with the experience needed to make this business a reality. Make sure your aims are clear and you’re all up-to-date on the avenues necessary to promote and build your business. Once you’ve done this, you’ve already taken the first few important steps.

However, manpower and expertise are only two parts of this huge equation. The financial elements of starting a new business will be the aspects which make or break this concept of yours, no matter how brilliant it is or how brilliant you are as a driven, intelligent individual (or how smart your group of multi-skilled individuals may be).

When you apply for a loan, depending on the company offering it, there may be a series of hoops through which you’ll have to leap before you’ll be seriously considered. It’s the same for all startups, because you’re a potential risk if your new company flops.

Ensure that your business plan is tight, your financial projections are promising and you’ve budgeted everything correctly. A safety net of well-planned finances is crucial to your success in these early stages, so you have to think about money to eat and drink as well as money that you and your small team will be investing into the new business.

You need to think about your base of operations.

There is no “perfect” office—only the perfect kind of office for your specific company. You need to consider your size projections for the roughly foreseeable future. Maybe you’re only a small startup right now, but if you have plans for rapid growth, then your team might have to rapidly grow to meet the needs of your business and its ever-expanding services or products on offer.

You also need to build an image within the office as part of your overall brand. The aesthetic is important as the core services within your new business, so ensure that you project professionalism to achieve professionalism. You should invest in an office which allows room for growth and is located within a professional setting, with a mail forwarding service and other facilities on offer, so that clients know you are an organized and serious corporation.

Remember, innovation and determination make up 90% of creating a successful business, but the other 10% comes down to how you project the brand itself.

Is the Fear of Failure Holding Your Business Back? Here’s How to Mitigate the Risks

Fear can be a real constraint when you are trying to run a business. It’s only natural to fear failure to some extent, but don’t allow that fear to straightjacket the company and hold it back. That would be a complete disaster for everyone, and you can’t let it happen. Here’s how you can mitigate some of the most common risks out there:

Perform Regular Risk Analyses

If you want to mitigate the risks, you first need to know what those risks are. Every business faces different risks because they all do different things. That’s why it’s so important to perform regular risk analyses. These allow you to see where the business is and what the major risks are. When you do this, you can be sure that your business is prepared for the worst and is able to battle threats.


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Set Controls and Keep Records

You should set clear controls in the office when it comes to things like accuracy and quality. When these kinds of things are in place, it’s much easier to achieve consistency and avoid disappointing the customers. This is something that you should definitely think carefully about if you want to keep the ship steady and mitigate risks. Keeping records helps too because it allows you to pick up on changes and monitor how processes are being carried out.

Use the Best IT Setup

The IT setup that your business has in place will play a big part in setting the direction for your business. If it’s in good shape and able to do what your employees need it to do, your business should tick over nicely. But if the IT system is shoddy and below par, your employees will be less productive, and work will be done in a less efficient way. There are many companies out there that can provide you with managed IT services, so take advantage of this.


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Get the Right Insurance Cover

You can transfer some of the risks your business will carry by getting the right insurance cover. Then you won’t have to worry about things like damage to your property. If something like that does happen, the repair costs will be covered by your insurance company.

There are so many different types of insurance you can get for your business, so make sure you explore all the options. It’s a great and simple way to mitigate some of the risks you’ll face.


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Keep Debt to a Minimum

It’s always a good idea to keep debt to a minimum when you are running a business. Nothing can be achieved by running your business in a way that is financially unsustainable. Sooner or later, those problems are going to catch up, and you’ll have to find a way to deal with them.

So, when setting up the business, it could be better to find an investor rather than borrow from a bank. That way, your debt can be kept down, and you can focus on other things rather than worry about repayments.


Flying Solo: Advice On Being A Solopreneur


The term solopreneur may not be one that you have heard of. But it does showcase a new way of working in business. The word solopreneur is usually lumped in with the freelancer term. But they are two different things. A solopreneur is unsurprisingly more linked with the term entrepreneur. The difference between an entrepreneur and a solopreneur is that a solopreneur exclusively works by them—much like a one man band.

There are many pros and cons with being a solopreneur. It is definitely a double edged sword. Are you thinking about making the leap into starting your own business? In such a case, you need to be actively looking for business opportunities. Here are things that may be positives and negatives for you:

Working By Yourself: The Lonely Pursuit?

When you compare working by yourself to working for a boss or a company, the advantages are many. From a personal angle, you are setting your work hours, and you are dictating your working rhythms.

There is a honeymoon period that comes with working for yourself. There is that wonderful feeling of waking up in the morning, turning on the computer and making yourself a coffee before settling down to do some work in the comfort of your home.

There is a knack that you need to acquire when it comes to working by yourself, and that is discipline. Disciplining yourself is a long and somewhat difficult road to go down. When you work in an office, you are working as part of a team or a unit with a solid structure. On that basis, you need to rely on other people, and they need to rely on you. That factor is completely eradicated when you work by yourself.

Motivation is a big thing, especially if you are just starting out in business. So, finding your specific rhythm to keep your business or solopreneurship active is something you need to figure out.

Of course, working by yourself can be a dream for most people. And if you have that drive instilled in you in the first place, then becoming a self-starter won’t be a difficult task. However, if you feel that you need some inspiration, there are always nuggets of insight or business podcasts that you can listen to.

The Networking

Essentially, you are running a business completely by yourself. Save for the odd freelancer to complete minor tasks for you, you are in it on your own. Running an organization entirely by yourself requires knowing how to keep plates spinning. Multitasking will be your key skill. Learning to grow a business requires having the marketing know-how, a great product and the ability to network effectively.

Networking is a vital tool that you need in your arsenal. It will help you get clients, ally yourself with influencers and get your business name out there. You, as a solopreneur, are the business or commodity. So, shutting yourself away and communicating by email only will not set you up as a key member in the market.

Choosing to run a business by yourself can be a help, but it can also be a hindrance. There are ways to navigate around these issues. People always talk about not having enough time for things, make time in your calendar to network and to show up at the right events. You could even set up your networking events, which is a great way to take the bull by the horns. To get more information and help on setting up events like exhibitions, you can go online and read at Steelhead Productions.

Creativity: Can You Bounce Ideas Off Yourself?

If you’re running a business by yourself, you can do what you want with it. You have your ideas, and you can run with them. You don’t have anyone to tell you how to run your organization, which is great for you because you can do exactly as you please. But when it comes to idea generation, you only have yourself to bounce ideas off.

When you compare this to your old work scenario you had a team that you could work with, and ideas would be of an infinite amount. But the quality of the ideas may not be the best.  Working by yourself, you need to be sure that your ideas are foolproof. And it is in this way that you need to ally yourself with key influencers in your field.

Another way of initiating contact to get inspiration would be to occasionally post a blog for clients and other businesses to see. This is especially handy if you’re running a business that is viewed as quite a niche subject. In doing this, you can help reveal the tricks of your trade to help others that are in the same position as you but just a bit further behind. You never know: you may have people approaching you for approval, and these could be potential clients. Or even business partners!

The Solo Workplace

The great thing about working solo is that you can work anywhere, within reason. Human interaction is somewhat reduced. This is great for workplace tension, as there isn’t any! Working by itself gives you that freedom to move your workplace to wherever you want. If you fancied a working holiday in Hawaii, then why don’t you do it? Or, if your business is still trying to get off the ground, then you could just go to the garden!

The final word on being a solopreneur is that the responsibility is yours completely. You need to make sure that you have sufficient backup plans in place to avoid major blunders. Always be learning. Learn your markets, double check, and triple check your business plan, and keep focused.

Working for yourself is a fine balance to get right, depending on what you were going into it for. Ultimately, you need to make sure that your belief in the product, the belief in the business, and above all, belief in yourself is a million percent.