Does Your Business Have Real Staying Power?

If there is anything that all entrepreneurs hope for from their business, it is some kind of longevity. The dream in most cases is for the company to last a long time, to be built into some kind of an empire which will stand the test of time. That’s what everyone wants, but how do you go about getting it? The truth is that a business needs certain qualities if it is to have the necessary stamina for that to happen. In this article, we are going to take a look at what those qualities are, and discuss some of the ways that you might forge, encourage and build upon them.

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People Who Care

There is a world of difference between a workforce which just shows up for work every day, and one which actively looks forward to being there. The former is likely to only do the bare minimum, not quite put in all the effort you might hope for. While those who actively want to be there will be more likely to go the extra mile, come up with original and exciting ideas to drive the business forward, and generally see that everything that needs to get done, is done.

The question is: which kind of workforce are you currently working alongside? If they are more like the former, then you will need to look at a few key things. Start off by ensuring you’re doing everything you can to keep your employees interested in their roles. That means building a positive and engaging workplace and a happy working culture, and treating everybody as the individual they are.

It might also require some kind of a change in how you advertise the positions – and if you feel you need to change things around, then don’t hesitate to bring in some fresh blood. You need to know that your employees really want to be working for you. This will ensure that your business is more likely to continue on for longer and in a stronger way.

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Your Plan B

Usually, starting up a business means you have a really specific idea of what you want it to do. It might be a certain product or a service which you think the world needs desperately. Whatever it is, you probably have already tied up your business with the idea of this central product or service.

But the truth is that many businesses would benefit from loosening this slightly, and developing some kind of a back-up plan in case things go wrong. You never really know what is going to happen, and it gives you a much greater sense of security if you have a plan B to fall back on.

As long as you do, it doesn’t altogether matter what happens — you can always keep going and keep your business strong throughout.

Consistent Capital

Money, money, money. No business is going to get very far without some kind of a focus on money. The capital that drives your business must be consistent if your business is to be able to carry on as it should, and as you want it to. But it can often be surprising — and something of a let-down — to note how easily a business can lose sight of its financial power.

In order to avoid this happening in your business, you will need to make sure that you’re finding decent ways to keep your business’ capital as strong as possible. There are a range of possible solutions, whether it is personal installment loans or just finding a reliable investor.

But the main thing is that you know exactly where the money is coming from, and that you can expect the cash flow to remain in motion. As long as there is motion, all should be well.

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The Competitive Edge

If only you could work in a vacuum. If your was the only business in your sector or industry, you could be certain of success. But this is really something of a pipe-dream in the current marketplace; the truth is that even those companies that have the monopoly are going to have to worry about competition as a major and normal part of their operations.

This is especially true if you want your business to have the stamina to remain. In order to do that, you must have some kind of a competitive edge.

For that, research your rivals thoroughly. Find out where they excel, yes, but also where they don’t, for in those gaps is where you can expect to find something unique about your own business. Being able to remain competitive is hugely important if you’re at all concerned about having staying power – so be sure to focus on this as strongly and as frequently as you can.

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Your marketing says a lot about your business. But the thing it speaks to mostly is how much you can expect your business to be memorable. You need to find a way for your business and its brand to really stick with people. If you don’t, it is likely that it will not stand the test of time, and will instead be forgotten and taken over by a company which does it better.

Take a look at your marketing efforts. Are they truly geared towards attracting as many people as possible? Or is it likely that you have allowed certain accidental tics to enter into your marketing, which actually have the opposite effect?

You need to strip it down to its basics and try to discover whether your business is really making all the right efforts in terms of drawing people in. Without that steady influx of customers, it is likely your business won’t last as well as you would like it to.

As long as you approach the basics in the right kind of way, you should find that you’re able to keep your business going for a long time. Pay careful attention to each of these factors, make the necessary changes, and your business should build much more stamina in no time.

Is Your Small Business Secure in the Online World? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

You may have a firewall, and a password protected online portal, but when it comes down to it, how secure is your small business?

If this security is breached the effects on business can be costly and long-term. As with many things, prevention sure is better than the cure.

The majority of small businesses (1–5 employees) across Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S., still consider themselves too small for website.

For those who do have one, like the 50+% of U.S. small businesses, they have opened themselves up to a myriad of new threats from hackers and malware. 

Hackers do not discriminate between big and small business, they just look for holes in your security and chinks in your armour which they can exploit. Not only is hacking terrible for your company, and potentially costly, but it also puts the security of your customers’ information at risk.

1.  Are you and your employees aware of cybercrime?

When the British National Health Service (NHS) systems were hacked recently, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage and compromising the care of many of their patients. Experts suspect it was caused by something that seemed completely innocuous.

It appears as though all it took was one email containing a seemingly harmless link, opened by an unsuspecting employee onto a system which was insufficiently supported, to bring down almost the entire NHS computer system. The moral of this story? Make sure you and your staff know exactly what to keep your eye out for, and keep your systems updated.

If your company keeps a manual of operations, ensure to include a section on cyber security, and encourage every member of staff to read and digest this information. And if you don’t feel comfortable or qualified in offering this advice, find someone who does. It could make all the difference.

2.  Can you maintain your security systems in-house?

Does your company have anyone on its payroll who can maintain internet security systems as part of their expertise? When you don’t have to outsource your security systems, you can react with immediacy to any concerns, without having to wait to call in an expert.

This person can also take responsibility for running regular scans and maintaining security packages. If you don’t have this person in-house at the moment, consider making it a requirement when you next hire, if it is relevant to the vacancy, otherwise, a training course in cyber-security for yourself and a few colleagues could be in order.

3.  Do you have all the necessary protection?

In this day and age, a firewall and an antivirus package just don’t cut it. Hackers are getting smarter, and online security is constantly battling to keep up.

One way which hackers discover chinks in company’s armour is by sending a simple ping request, which your network will automatically respond to, leading the hacker to believe it is worth exploring further. Simply setting up your router or firewall to block ping requests can have a big impact.

Similarly, is there a cyber threat support group or sharing platform within your industry? This type of support group allows other companies to share experiences of potential attacks, making it far easier to spot threats and keep them out of your system.

4.  Do you have a back-up plan?

Sometimes, you can do everything in your power to keep the cyber-criminals out, but they’ll still find a way in. They’re organised, highly strategic, and generally run by a criminal ring, not just a bored teenager in their bedroom.

That’s why, on top of all of your preventative methods, it’s essential to have a fully-formed backup plan, just in case.

Firstly, it’s essential to ensure all of your data and files are backed up on systems which are not accessible in the case of a hacking, such as external hard-drives which have no connection to the system. Then you need a means by which problems can be detected, located, and prevented before they can infiltrate your system.

Having this back-up plan ensures that malware or spyware cannot move throughout the system, compromising your company or your customer’s data.

5.  Are employees and visitors expected to carry ID?

It isn’t just the threat of online hackers which should concern you about the security of your company. If you have an office, even with only a few members of staff, which invites clients and suppliers to visit in-house, you could be compromising your security there too.

Do you expect all staff to carry ID and all visitors to sign in when they enter your office? This could help to significantly improve your office’s security, but also help to push an image of trustworthiness to any visitors to your office. All it takes it a few lanyards with company ID cards attached, and a few spares in which visitors can have a name and potentially a photograph — it even helps with the awkwardness of introductions.

Lanyards are inexpensive, and there are even overnight options available for delivery, so it’s a straightforward system to implement. This way, there are never any strangers just wandering around the office, looking important and failing to be questioned on their intentions.

It also means that you always have a record of which visitors are on site at any time, which is just good practice for fire safety and the like.

6.  Do you have a mobile device policy?

As smartphones become more popular as a platform from which to work, hackers are developing a whole new approach to brand new vulnerabilities. Smartphones are increasingly infected with malware (targeting Android devices), often times going undetected by the user.

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When this user then starts to deal with their work emails or download apps relevant to their employment, hackers have access to all their information.

A mobile device policy allows you to ensure staff and clients are not compromising the security of your company unwittingly, and is crucial for protecting you and your company.

7.  Do you think like an attacker?

Finally, do you ever approach your company like a cyber-attacker? Just like you would look at your home through the eyes of a home invader for opportunities to break through windows or stake out the house from the yard, you should look at your company’s network security in the same way.

Using an open source nmap tool allows you to scan your network for ports that are open and shouldn’t be, allowing you to see vulnerabilities, which you otherwise would be unaware of.

You can then go on to plug those holes, making your network more secure than ever.