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Is Your Company Prepared for a Cyber Attack?


Cyber attacks are a common problem for companies worldwide. Research shows that there is an increase in international threats, especially from Asian countries. About two-thirds of the organizations attacked by hackers are forced out of business within six months. Nowadays, most companies operate under a constant threat of cyber crime. This problem costs small and medium-sized businesses over $188,242 a year.

Cyber Attacks at a Glance

Some of the world’s largest organizations, such as Home Depot, JPMorgan Chase, and eBay, have been hacked over the past few years. It’s not “if,” but “when” that your company will fall prey. Hackers can steal valuable data, credit card information, and intellectual property from your organization anytime. Most attacks are designed to sabotage operations, compromise a company’s position, or simply do harm.

According to Verizon, 92 percent of all incidents that took place in 2014 stemmed from nine types of attacks, such as POS intrusions, cyber-espionage, malicious traffic attacks, Web app attacks, and misuse of computer access privileges. Retailers, banks, restaurants, and hotels are particularly at risk of payment card skimmers. POS intrusions are common among hospitality companies and small retailers.

The best defense against cyber attacks is to learn about this problem and make yourself a difficult target. Many companies have been hacked just because they had poor security or did not protect their Wi-Fi systems with a strong password. Simple things, such as encrypting your data, securing your hardware, and using anti-malware and anti-virus protection, can dramatically lower the risk of cybercrime.

How to Protect Your Business from a Cyber Attack

Most cyber attacks target small and medium-sized companies who fail to protect themselves. Hackers have developed newer, more sophisticated methods to steal data and generate revenue, such as the Crypto Ransomware, custom attack programs, and “Trojanized” software updates. As a result, more and more organizations are hiring IT security experts. Some also purchase Cyber Liability insurance, which usually covers security updates, data restoration expenses, forensic services, and lawsuit defense costs.

If you’ve just launched your business, consider applying for a loan to hire an IT expert or buy insurance. A company like Business Credit and Capital can provide you with the money needed to secure your data and prevent cyber attacks. You can use the funds to assess risks and vulnerabilities, set up proper firewalls, and secure mobile devices used for business purposes. Companies can also prevent cybercrime by installing malware and virus protection software.

Even a minor cyber attack can have dramatic consequences and affect your reputation. An intrusion into the company’s data may lead to password breaches, theft of confidential information, spam, viruses, spyware, and website defacement. Repairing the damage can cost millions of dollars.

If you’re not familiar with IT security, hire an expert. There are many companies that can educate your employees on the dangers of cybercrime, install anti-virus protection, and implement email security solutions. Some also provide password software, mobile device management, data encryption services, and risk assessment. New scams are constantly popping up, so it’s essential that you know the risks and make time for training.

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How to Use Short Term Goals to Make a Long Term Business


Long term planning is always a skill pushed by those who have succeeded in business. Everyone wants to know where you want to be in five to ten years. Even though such ways of thinking can be helpful, it’s equally true that business thrives on the here and now. If you want to take a somewhat more energetic path to success, you can begin using short term goals to enhance your long-term business strategy. Whether these goals are used to keep you agile or to help you build towards a brighter future, working in the near term allows you to keep an eye on what’s going on today.

The Ladder Technique

One great way to use short-term goals in order to build up your business over the long term is to look at each goal as one of the rungs on a ladder. It’s impossible to start at the bottom and reach the top without accomplishing every goal along the way, so it’s best to concentrate on one rung at a time. Start with small, short-term steps – gaining the financial capital you need from Business Credit and Capital, for example. Accomplishing these goals helps move you one step closer towards your final goal and thus accomplishes goals both in the short and long terms.

A Constant Motivator

Nothing motivates quite like success. Unfortunately, pursuing only long term goals puts you in a position to see success infrequently. One great way to keep yourself and your staff motivated is to have a series of short-term goals that can provide quick payoffs. While these goals might not always lead to major victories, they lead to victories nonetheless. Simple things like meeting a daily sales goal can help your staff treasure the smaller victories while still helping you move towards your longer term goals. Sometimes, a little success is what you need to gain a bigger success.

The Snowball Effect

Accomplishing one goal gives you the ability to accomplish another. Take a look at the small things your business needs to accomplish and prioritize them today. These short-term successes don’t just feel great – they free up more manpower and more resources for your overarching goals. You can use short term planning as a method to accomplish your goals if you’re willing to continually roll more resources into your larger goals whenever your smaller goals are met. These short-term solutions can be the key to getting your business out of a rut.

Dividing Tasks

What’s your long-term goal for your business? Once you’ve decided that, you can take that goal and divide into a series of smaller, short-term goals. By dividing up the tasks of success into a series of smaller tasks, you give your team manageable goals that have easily tracked metrics. While you’re still working on long-term planning, you’re creating the same sense of urgency that you would feel for any short term goal. This, in turn, allows your team to put a great deal of energy into a task that will immediately pay off.

Goals as Evolution

One of the great things about short term planning is that it allows you to deal with what’s going on today. Rather than pitching a goal that won’t come to fruition for years in advance, you can position your business so that it deals with the here and now. This will further allow your business to make changes in the long term by not tying you to a plan that may not be as profitable as you had initially hoped. If you plan for short term goals, you won’t overextend yourself in an uncertain future.

Planning for the short term is always a helpful way to make sure your business stays responsive. Whether you use these goals as an end unto themselves or part of a long-term strategy, you’ll be rewarded with more immediate success and a great buy-in from your team. While there’s no way to ensure that short-term success will translate into a better future for your company, this kind of success can give you the kind of momentum you need to push forward.

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How to be a Savvy Borrower

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Shocking as it may seem, most people do not start their businesses in the hopes that they will one day be able to spend their days focusing on accounting and loans. Still, this is a reality for anyone seeking to start or even maintain a business. While not everyone can be an expert on loans, there are certain things that you should know before accepting a loan agreement.

Borrowed Capital Cost

It may seem obvious, but many people fail to consider the borrowed capital cost, or total cost, on their loans. This includes not only the amount that is borrowed but the subsequent interest on the loan. When considering the total cost of a loan, there are a few factors to consider.

How long will you be paying off the loan? The longer it takes to pay off a loan, the more you end up paying interest. For some businesses, their best bet is to pay higher periodically and pay off the loan as soon as possible. However, if your business is not able to pay higher rates to pay off a loan more quickly, then you will have to accept paying more to the lender over a longer period of time.

This can seem discouraging, but it does not have to be. Paying more total money is unfortunate, but if your business can handle making the smaller payments, then you have to do what is right for the business. It may not leave the best taste in your mouth, but each business is different, so each approach to a loan is different. Consider these options when looking at loans, and always weigh the borrowed capital cost against the periodic payments that will have to be made.

Look at a Variety of Lenders

This is an important step that many skip over in a rush to get the loan handled immediately. While it may seem that many lenders are offering the same or similar deals, try to find those that stand out. A perfect example of this is Business Credit and Capital, or BCC.

BCC is a lender that specializes in smaller to medium-sized business. This means that they do not require an especially high credit score, but more than that, the way that they take out their periodic payments is unique and well-suited for newer businesses.

BCC does not view loans in the traditional sense. The money that they offer is an advance on the future revenue of your business, and they collect their payments from a percentage of the total revenue of the subsequent sales. This eliminates a lot of the worry of scheduled monthly payments, as it will always be a certain percentage rather than a concrete number.

If one month is not as profitable as others, there is no need to worry, because the same percentage will come out until the loan is repaid. For small business owners, this method is a lifesaver that many lenders will not offer. This is the importance of exploring your options and seeing what other lenders can do for you.

Know Your Business

The most important aspect of taking on a loan is knowing your own business and revenue. Be realistic about what you can expect to make and how you will be able to pay it off. If you are working with a small niche market that is not particularly wealthy, it may not be a good idea to make plans for high periodic payments. Customize your loan to what is best for your business. After all, who knows the needs of your business better than you?

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Best Ways to Delegate Tasks as a Business Owner


Building a business from the ground up is a deeply personal affair. When you first start out, it seems like everything is on your shoulders. Every success is because of your efforts, as is every failure. As your business grows, though, it can be hard to let go of those feelings. As more people have a stake in your business, it should be natural that you let some of them take on more responsibilities. If you’re hesitant about slowing down, it’s good to have a plan in place. Below are a few ways that will help you delegate tasks as a business owner.

Start With a List

What are your responsibilities? You might have a nebulous idea of what you do every day, but it’s important to write down all of your processes before you start delegating. Making a simple list can allow you the opportunity to immediately zero in on those activities that are simply not worth your time. Once you have the list compiled, you can start looking for activities that may be better handled by others in your organization. Only by taking stock of your daily activities will you be able to determine what can be delegated.

Observe, then Decide

Never rush into delegation. Before you start assigning activities to others, take a moment to determine what assets you have in your organization. Are there specific individuals who might be suited to certain tasks? Are there things that are currently being done that make some of your tasks redundant? The answers to these questions may make delegating tasks easier. It’s also important to take stock of what others are doing to find out if they have the time to take on some of your responsibilities; shifting your workload to others may require you to make further organizational changes in order for delegation to be successful.

Delegate from a Place of Strength

Above all else, make sure that you delegate your work from a position of strength. Don’t delegate because you are afraid of a task or because you don’t want to deal with the consequences of failure. Instead, delegate because you believe others can get the job done while you focus your energies somewhere else. Delegation is a tool that’s meant to lighten your workload, but it should also be a tool that allows you to focus more on the things that matter. Don’t ever undertake this process from a place of fear or weariness; delegate because it can help your business succeed.

Set a Trial Period

Delegation is tough for those who have a problem letting go. If you’re unsure of your own ability to let others take over, set up a trial period with a firm end date. Don’t make any changes to the process before that date so that the person to whom you have delegated responsibility can have a chance to prove himself or herself. Barring a disaster that could negatively impact your business’ long-term profits, you should use this period as a chance to get used to delegating authority to others.

Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind

Once you’ve delegated responsibility, you’ll have the chance to see how things work. Once you’ve made it through the trial period, you should reassess whether the attempt has worked out. You may find that delegation doesn’t work for a particular responsibility or that the person to whom you delegated responsibility cannot handle the task. Regardless of what’s happened, you should remember that it’s up to you to act in the best interest of your business. Don’t be afraid to change things around simply because you are afraid that it might make you look weak.

Delegation should be a process, not a snap decision. Take time to plan, observe, and change your strategies as necessary. In time, delegation will help your business run more efficiently and allow you to refocus on the things that matter. A benefit of a growing business should be allowing others to help shoulder your burdens. Relying on yourself and yourself alone will lead only to burnout and a higher probability of failure. Let your business thrive by letting go.