How European Startups Can Reach More American Customers

For the businesses of Europe, cracking the American market is not always straightforward. Aside from the cultural differences which some brands struggle to encompass, there are also the administrative challenges to overcome. European startups are especially susceptible to falling short when crossing over to America, so let’s talk through some tactics and techniques to try out which solve many common snafus.

Get a US phone number

With a US phone number, your geographical location is rendered irrelevant, and you can serve American consumers even if you’re based elsewhere in the world.

There are two reasons to take this route, the first of which is to reduce or even eliminate the costs that customers would otherwise incur for calling you. It’s cheaper and more convenient for them to be able to dial a US number, even if this does leave you with additional costs to pay.

The second benefit comes from a branding perspective. If you want to make your startup appear to have a local presence, a US number will do this. The same applies to having a US postal address, so consider adding that to your arsenal as well.

Build a US-specific sales team

european-startups

If you’re already established as a startup in Europe and you’re eyeing up America as your next move, then you need to recognize that your approach to sales will need to shift.

You could take a whole team over with you to get the ball rolling, but in reality it’s better to hire those who already have experience and expertise in encompassing the different sales ecosystem stateside.

One affordable alternative to opening a full-blown office of your very own is to instead partner with an existing sales solution provider, and piggyback on their resources instead. If things go well, there’s always the option of going solo further down the line.

Adapt your marketing with your European startups

We’ve touched on how American customers will have different expectations about how businesses and brands reach out to them, and it’s sensible to break this down further into specific examples.

First, there’s the tone you use in your promotional materials. As well as adjusting copy to avoid using words and phrases that aren’t used in the US, you’ll need to think about how your broader brand personality is laid out, and whether it matches American sensibilities.

Then there’s the marketing methods themselves; social media marketing is hugely impactful in America, and influencers are especially powerful. As such, if you aren’t too reliant on this as part of your European operations, making a switch to your focus as you tackle the US is wise.

 

Leverage established platforms

Similar to the aforementioned use of a US phone number, you can also bring American consumers onboard if you sell to them through channels that they already know and trust.

While you can and should set up a standalone e-commerce site, it is handy to also embrace third party marketplaces like eBay and Amazon so that you can reach out to prospective customers with ease. This will even streamline the distribution of products, because you can harness the extensive infrastructures that platforms like this offer to sellers.

Final thoughts on European startups

Expecting instant success when moving into the American market is unhelpful for all startups, especially those based in an entirely different continent.

Making tweaks to turn US consumers onto your brand, rather than hoping that you’ll be able to get by on the exotic nature of European businesses in an American context, is advised. And patience will avoid disappointment and burnout during the early phases of your transatlantic transition.

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6 Ways To Protect Company Data For Small Businesses

strong password

Leveraging the power of information technology (IT) is a must if you want to run a successful business. It enables you to simplify business processes to enhance efficiency. As a result, you’ll likely reduce costs, improve productivity and save time in your business. 

While that’s true, IT can also expose your business to risks. For instance, it increases the chances of your data getting accessed by unauthorized people and online attackers. And when that happens, you can lose vital information and money for your small business. Therefore, it’s necessary to protect your company data. 

There are various ways to protect data for small businesses. These include: 

    1. Working With Online Security Professionals

Cybersecurity is one of the most sensitive functions of any business. Therefore, it should be handled with much due care and diligence. 

You can develop and manage your business cybersecurity strategy if you’ve got the knowledge and believe that you can. However, sometimes you may lack adequate time to monitor business networks continuously. This exposes your company’s data to cybersecurity threats.  For that, you can consider hiring online security professionals to resolve IT issues like online attacks in your firm.  

The security company hired will take care of your business systems 24/7. And because they’re professionals in cybersecurity, they can help implement the most suitable strategies to secure your data. Ensure you hire one of the best partners in the market.  

     2. Developing Strong Passwords

Passwords are essential in running a successful business. They ensure only the right people can access specific business systems and data. This is true since no one should access your company’s networks without passwords. Therefore, you’re exposing your business data if you haven’t developed passwords to gain access to systems. 

Shaving passwords is the most basic step to protecting business data. However, these passwords must be solid. This ensures no unauthorized person can correctly guess them, thus securing your business data.  

You might think that developing strong passwords is an overwhelming task. But that isn’t true. You only need to build passwords of a reasonable length. The most recommended being between 8 and 12 characters.  

Besides the length, you must include alphabets and numeral digits in your passwords. And to make them even more robust, include a few non-standard characters such as #? ! @ % &, among others. As a result, no one will likely correctly guess your passwords to access business information.

After building strong passwords, it’d be a good idea to change them regularly. 

In addition to that, you can consider purchasing specific software to help manage your passwords. This enables you to know who is using them and for what purpose.  

Also, such software can consistently remind you about the right time to change passwords. All these helps enhance your business’s cybersecurity strategy.

    3. Adapting A Two-Factor Authentication Strategy

Today, technology is moving at a higher speed than in the past. Some cybersecurity strategies and tactics that may have worked in the past might not be good enough to protect your data.  

For instance, you can build very strong passwords. However, more often than not, still, such passwords can be compromised by online attackers. That’s to say, passwords alone aren’t effective enough to secure your business data. For that reason, it’s advisable to take advantage of two-factor authentication.  

Also known as two-step verification, two-factor authentication is a practice where system users provide two different authentication factors to prove or verify themselves. In simple terms, it involves adding an extra layer of security to online accounts. Therefore, no user will access your business data with passwords only. They must take the extra step of verifying themselves through two-factor authentication.  

You can consider adopting various ways to help create an effective two-factor authentication strategy. These include adding security questions and biometric login details like using face or fingerprints to unlock systems. This helps protect your data from unauthorized access. 

    4. Encrypting Files

Running an online business involves sharing documents or files with workers, customers, and other stakeholders. However, in some cases, unintended people may receive these files. And it becomes worse if they fall into the hands of individuals with bad intentions. That’s why you need to encrypt files before sending them to users.  

The encryption strategy enables you to encode data. As a result, no one will get their true meaning. Therefore, even if hackers or other unauthorized people receive your documents by mistake, they can’t use them to their advantage. This also boosts your business’s cybersecurity to protect your data. 

But, how will the intended users read and understand your files? They can achieve that by using binary digits provided to decode the data. As a result, they’ll read them in their original language. Make sure you select encryption software from a reputable vendor.  

protect data

    5. Setting Up Automatic Software Updates

Various types of software are essential in your business. They enable you to streamline specific operations. As a result, you’ll likely grow your firm faster.  

Despite the crucial role software plays, sometimes it can expose your business to online attacks. This is true, especially if you are using outdated systems.  

Hackers like to scan older versions of software to determine their vulnerability. Therefore, outdated tools increase the chances of your business getting accessed by online attackers. That’s why you need to set up automatic software updates.  

You can decide to update your business software manually. But sometimes, you might be too busy or forget to update them. This exposes your business to online threats. 

On the other hand, installing automatic software updates helps simplify the process. It ensures your systems always remain updated to the latest version.  

    6. Educating Employees On Cybersecurity Best Practices 

Lastly, consider educating your workers on cybersecurity best practices to help protect your business data. This is important since some online business attacks occur due to workers’ negligence or ignorance.   

For instance, some workers might not know the danger of sharing the company’s information with third parties. Besides, others may not know that sharing passwords at the workplace is a crime. Therefore, educating employees on such matters helps protect or secure your data from unauthorized people.  

Takeaway

Protecting business data isn’t always easy as you think. This is true, especially for new business owners. But with the tips in this article, you can be guaranteed to enhance your business cybersecurity strategy to protect your data from unauthorized access.

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4 Important Ways to Integrate Real-World Data into Your Business Plan

business-plan

Looking at the most successful organizations, you will realize that they use data when making a major business plan. This explains the reason you will find their managers reviewing graphs and charts and transforming them into useful information.

However, do all of these organizations know the best and most effective ways of leveraging their data to develop the most effective and informative applications possible? Well, real-world data integration is the most important thing for this success.

What is Data Integration?

Data integration can be defined as the process of collecting and combining data from multiple sources and then transforming the data into applicable and useful information. The final product of the data can improve business strategies and help with your business plan.

When considering integrating real-world data into your business, you need to think about the following…

  • Data strategy

You need to have a good data strategy for your business before you even start the integration process. This is more than the technicalities and processes that you might require to combine your data sources.

  • Information and data

It is important to note that there is a difference between information and data. Whether you call it data, big data, or raw data, it is just random elements that cannot help you with anything. Not unless these elements are processed and presented in the right way, we cannot get useful information out of them.

Important Ways to Integrate Real-World Data into Your Business Plan

business-plan

No matter the size of your organization or business, you stand to benefit from integrating real-world data into your business plan. For you to enjoy these benefits, you need to look at some important ways and steps of integrating data into your business plan. They include…

Setting Data Integration Goals

You should set data integration goals as part of your business objective. An example of a business and data integration goal would be ensuring that you have a complete view of all your business clients.

To achieve this goal, you should come up with a data integration plan that sets rules and guidelines to integrate all your customer data into your marketing, sales, and service tools. This way, your technical team will find it easy to understand the type of data they need to integrate into your business plan.

Your Team Should Have Access to the Data

Setting an in-house software for your real-world data integration is not easy and requires a very strong technical team. Apart from this team, who else in your business needs to come on board? Make sure that you have given access to the data to the right team members.

Data Should Be Managed Lawfully and Securely

You cannot separate data and security if you are serious about integrating real-world data into your business plan. If integrating data involves transferring personal data and information from one app to another, then ensure that you observe set regulations such as ensuring that your business is compliant with GDPR.

Choose a Method of Data Integration

Different businesses face different challenges when choosing the method of data integration to use. You can build in-house integrations, consolidate data, or even implement third-party software.

Types of Data Integration Software to Choose From

Using an API to Draw Data into Your Business Plan

You can use API data integration to connect different applications and draw data into your business plan. However, this requires businesses to make sure that they are not only using the right APIs but also the right API managing tools.

Cloud-Based Integration

This includes the use of integration solutions or iPaaS that work by bringing different data sources together. The data sources can be brought into a public or private cloud, as well as on-premises or cloud-based systems.

Proprietary Integration Software

These can be classified as tools that work best for large businesses that have different or unique sets for the data they use or collect. They are also referred to as enterprise solutions.

On-Premises Integration

Businesses that use on-premises integrations work towards bringing on-premises and local real-world data into a centralized location. These types of integrations are installed either on a private cloud or local networks.

SBM Integration

SBM integration offers tools that work best for small to mid-sized organizations. This means that the features they come with, their installation, setup, and pricing are tailored to meet the demands of these businesses.

Successful businesses understand the importance of integrating real-world data into their business plans. This is a recipe for their success, and they do everything they can to ensure that they are collecting all the data that they need.

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3 Keys to Improving Your Small Business

Are you an owner of a small business but having trouble getting started? Or maybe you have owned your business for a while but have found that sales and customer satisfaction have decreased. If you are one of these people, read on to learn the top tips that will help you and your business!

1. Providing Quality Customer Service Within Your Small Business

One of the most important things your company can provide is customer service quality assurance. Customers want to feel valued and taken care of. It is your duty as a business owner to give this to your customers. 

A great way to ensure quality customer service is to use a quality assurance (QA) system. This allows you to understand better how your customer feels about their experience by answering a series of questions sent to them shortly after getting off the phone with your employee.  

After receiving the feedback from the QA system, you will be able to make various adjustments and provide a better customer service experience. Making these adjustments is critical. Statistics have shown that sales can be improved if a company has better customer service.  

2. Create a Strong Team

small-business

A boss can’t do it all alone. Good employees are a vital component of owning an efficient and successful business. 

A strong team will ensure that your business functions successfully. With reliable, engaged employees, you will be able to: 

Get work done more efficiently rather than be overworked 

Create a better workplace environment 

And improve sales 

While having good employees join your team is a huge asset, creating a strong team is also on you. As a leader, you need to create a positive work environment and take steps to increase employee engagement. This won’t magically occur overnight, and even those who would be good employees won’t thrive if you’ve created a toxic environment.  

As a leader, it’s up to you to take a hard look in the mirror and consider what you can be doing to create a stronger team from those who have already been brought on board rather than turn to the job posting boards every time you suspect a weak link.  

From your strong team, your business will produce higher quality work, increasing loyal customers and sales.  

3. Have Efficient Technology

Another thing you will want is efficient technology. Having outdated and slow technology will result in your business falling behind competitors. 

Current technology has come a long way in helping businesses be more productive, and you’ll want all these benefits. Updated technology allows you to: 

Contact team members and other partners quicker than ever before 

Optimize social media usage to promote your business 

Automate tasks to save time and reduce workloads. 

You may not always realize just how much your technology is holding you back. However, running at suboptimal speeds or being unable to download the latest software means your business will remain stuck in a distant past — even if that past is just an operating system from a few years ago.  

With updated technology, you’ll eliminate the gaps that create frustrations for your clients. You’ll have access to the latest software that has made managing your online presence simple. And when you’re no longer handling every tiny step in your business’s daily tasks and allowing some automation to step in, you’ll function more efficiently than ever.  

Improving Your Small Business Is Easier Than Ever Before

Many people think that there is no hope left for their small business. However, if you provide good customer service, create a stronger team, and use technology to your advantage, you can quickly and efficiently improve your business. 

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Automated Dropshipping – Is It Possible to Put Your Business on Autopilot?

automated-dropshipping

Dropshipping can be defined as a way through which merchants fulfill orders in the eCommerce business whereby, they outsource the processing orders and inventory to another party. Automated dropshipping can prove to be a valuable tool to your business.

This is a tedious process that consumes a lot of time and requires the merchants to remain alert all the time for the successful running of their businesses. Fortunately, it has been made easier by technology and automation.

Through automated dropshipping, you can use technologies and tools to run all the processes in the business on autopilot. This streamlines the processes and saves a lot of time. It also gives you enough time to focus on other aspects of your business. But how can you run your dropshipping business on autopilot?

Order Processing with Suppliers for Automated Dropshipping

Order processing is one of the most important things in the dropshipping business. You, therefore, need to take advantage of dropshipping automation software to handle this process for you.

These software applications make sure that orders are automatically routed to your suppliers immediately after a customer makes an order. The supplier gets information with regards to the customer and order details for them to release the order without any issues.

Some of these applications are even smarter than you might think. If you have multiple suppliers, they will evaluate them based on availability before routing the order to one of them. This puts your business on autopilot since you do not have to do anything.

Inventory Control

Imagine a customer placing an order for an item only for you to realize later that that particular item is not available. This would translate to poor eCommerce customer service, something that can end up hurting your business.

When putting your business on autopilot, you should make sure that you are using tools that keep an accurate inventory of the products in your store. This will help you avoid issues with overstocking and out-of-stock products.

The right dropshipping software application should come with inventory feeds from your suppliers. This shows the levels of stock for each of the suppliers. This way, you will control your inventory automatically, making it easy to put your business on autopilot.

Use Automated Tools

automated-dropshipping

The first step into setting your business on autopilot is of course building, customizing, and launching your business and then choosing an automated dropshipping software application. You then need to select the processes that you need to automate.

There are many options available for you using these software applications. The first important one is the ability to upload your products and their information from your suppliers automatically.

Imagine having to upload hundreds of products manually. This would consume a lot of time and the chances of errors would be very high. With these software applications, you can put your business on autopilot and make sure that you have products for display all the time.

Price Optimization

When adding products to your store, you do not have to set prices for all of the products on your own. Even when uploading products automatically as discussed above, do you have to go back and optimize the product prizes manually?

Well, when putting your dropshipping business on autopilot, you can use automation tools to automate price optimization and syncing. They allow you to set rules for your pricing strategy. These rules will be used to automatically set prices for your products.

When doing this, you should make sure that the rules you set are going to make you profits. It would be a challenge for you to sell products at a price that would drive you out of business. You also need to set the right price that cannot drive customers away.

Order Tracking helps achieve Automated Dropshipping

Order tracking is very important when it comes to improving the experience of your customers. You need to make sure that your customers have a way of finding where their products are without having to call you or the shipping company.

Fortunately, you can use dropshipping automation software to automate the process of tracking orders. This allows your customers to easily see where the product is, something that is important in gaining customer trust in eCommerce.

The software should also update you automatically when there is a problem with the delivery of a certain order. This way, you can contact your customers before they even notice the problem and explain to them that there will be a delay in the delivery of their product.

Setting your dropshipping business on autopilot is one of the best things you can do today. You will let technology handle most of the processes for you while you concentrate on other aspects of the business such as marketing.

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How Office Ambience Affects Employee Productivity

office-ambience

The office is a space where team members should be able to focus on doing their tasks without unnecessary interruptions or disturbances. A worker’s surroundings could impact the way they do their jobs and how productive they are. Office ambience can go a long way in regard to an employee’s performance.

Companies experiencing productivity issues should consider the factors that may affect their teams. There are many things to cross off the list, but the ambiance makes one of the most significant differences when addressed.

Ambiance can be defined as how a person feels when they enter or spend time in a room. More than just aesthetics, the emotional connection we form with a space such as an office affects our mood and motivation. 

So how can companies ensure the office ambiance is conducive to a productive workday? Read more below to find out:

  • Décor Options Can Boost Employee Moods

Employees who enjoy coming to the office will undoubtedly be more motivated to give their best during the working day. If they see the office as a pleasant environment they can go to daily, team members are happier, and it lifts their spirits.

Having décor that makes team members feel this way is good news for companies thinking of adding items to the office to boost the mood and thus productivity. 

With fake grass Toronto, turn the office into a greener, more eco-friendly office that employees will enjoy.

  • Clean Breathable Air Is More Comfortable

Offices with a sound HVAC system provide teams with clean, breathable air, making them more comfortable during their workday. An air filtration system that keeps pollutants and pollen out of the office could help employees struggling with allergies and prevent illnesses.

  • Attitudes Of Co-Workers Affect Others

office-ambience

When there is a constant Debbie Downer in the office, team members will struggle to keep up with their tasks if they need to avoid someone with a negative attitude. It affects the office ambiance, and employees are less likely to be productive when they have some negativity hanging about.

  • Cramped Spaces Make Team Members Claustrophobic

Sitting too close to one another may have the same effect on teams as a hovering boss. Employees feel they are under constant scrutiny from their team members and can’t think clearly with little to no space around them. Moving the desks so that it doesn’t make employees feel claustrophobic will be more conducive to a productive working day.

  • Employees Feel Boxed in With a Low Ceiling Height

It could seem like a good idea at the time to use the space above the office to create a storage area or a second-floor office. Unfortunately, this has a similar effect on teams’ productivity as the cramped seating arrangements would. 

Low ceilings make employees feel boxed in, creating anxiety without knowing where it comes from or what is causing it. Offices should have enough room above the desks for adequate airflow and lighting to make employees feel more comfortable. 

  • Teams Could Be Depressed Without Adequate Lighting

Humans need exposure to sunlight for our bodies to soak up much-needed vitamin D. Without enough of this vitamin, the mood could be low and the immune system weak. Workers stuck in an office without some natural lighting coming in through the windows tend to show lower productivity rates and ask for more time off due to illness.

  • Use Of Color Improves Employee Disposition

Bright colors are more alert, while pastel or muted colors lend a calming effect to a space. Depending on the office and what they want to achieve, the company can opt to paint the walls accordingly. Visually pleasing colors could improve the office ambiance and inspire and motivate workers to perform better.

  • Comfortable Furniture Prevents Overwhelm

Furniture will have a twofold effect on the atmosphere of the office. They can be aesthetically pleasing and provide the office workers with the support they need to fulfill their tasks. When the body becomes tired, it will be less productive, so find the right furniture to promote the look and comfort of everyone.

  • A Good Cup of Coffee Improves Frame of Mind

Offices with the smell of coffee wafting through the air draw more attention. Coffee is a stimulant that could help team members focus on their work, but the scent can improve the ambiance of the whole office.

  • Excess Noise Cause Frequent Distractions

Noise in or around the office can be highly distracting for someone wanting to focus on achieving their daily goals. The annoyance removes the office’s ambiance and could demotivate teams who don’t deliver their best work.

  • Temperature Control Keeps Workers Alert

When an office is too cold or too hot, the fluctuation in temperature could affect the employees negatively. Having a consistent temperature that is comfortable for all improves the ambiance and keeps teams focused and alert.

  • Clutter Could Bring Down Morale

office-ambience

No one wants to wake up and travel through the busiest times of the day just to go to an office where there is so much lying around that they can’t even find a clear space to think.

Clutter brings down the overall morale in an office, so keeping it clean and transparent would be the best move for productivity.

  • Clean Water Improves Cognitive Function

Water is life-giving and a basic human need. Having clean and fresh water to drink during the day improves the workers’ cognitive function as it helps the body transport messages to the brain. Workers that feel up to the task mentally will be more diligent around the office.

  • Safe Eating Spaces Can Recharge Team Members

Along with water or something else to drink, team members need some sustenance to help them with the energy they need. If they have a safe, clean space where they can eat their lunch and recharge, they will be more productive than other teams who don’t have the same comfort levels. The office ambiance of the lunchroom improves their digestion and calms their nerves.

To Conclude on Office Ambience

It is easy to see how the aesthetics and office ambience can affect the workers during their day. Companies that provide an environment conducive to productivity will see the results in their bottom line, proving that happy team members work harder.

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How to Email Your List More Consistently: Use Email Automation

Email is one of the simplest, no-fuss channels of communication you can have with your customers. Plus, when done right, email automation allows you to stay in touch with customers, leads, and even website visitors.

Also, customers appreciate the usefulness of a well-designed newsletter that is not intrusive and keeps them up to date with your latest products and offers. So, besides being a great sales generation tool, email marketing is often amazing for customer retention and loyalty.

All this is possible due to the huge level of versatility of email marketing. Unlike social media channels or even websites, email can be used to do exactly what you want (attract more sales, increase brand awareness, or educate the audience).

Even more, when using email automation, you can segment your email list to cater to multiple personas such as existing loyal customers, curious viewers poking around, or promising leads trying your services out.

Why Should I Care About Email & Newsletters?

email-automation

In a world filled with amazing social media platforms and lots of online marketing tools, it can be easy to forget about the good old email. But this would be a mistake, especially for a small business.

A solid emailing strategy is one of the crucial steps to success any small business must follow. That’s because, once you have a customer’s email address, you have direct access to their inbox (even if it’s just the address they use for marketing purposes).

This means you can use the data saved in your database to keep in touch with the subscribers to your email list. For instance, if you have their date of birth, it’s easy to make them feel seen by your brand if you send out birthday messages and cards (with or without a discount or voucher).

Email Automation works for Small Businesses

If you want to get the most out of your emailing campaign, it’s best to have a look at email automation tools. Now, small business owners may feel like it’s not a step for them since it implies a bit of an initial investment, but this is a wrong assumption.

As your emailing list grows, it will become difficult to maintain manually. Also, if you want to segment it into various sub lists (customers, leads, new subscribers, and so on) and create a set of actions for each, you will have a tough time keeping up without a specialized tool.

When using email automation, you can create workflows that automatically send emails to your contacts when they perform a certain action or meet conditions that you’ve set.

In fact, according to Semrush’s survey on challenges that small businesses face, a small marketing budget is always at the top of entrepreneurs’ worries. That’s why email marketing is such a great option for small businesses (especially if you use automation) – once the system is up to date and set to fit your business needs, marketing costs will drop significantly.

Key Takeaways

First and foremost, if you take only one thing from this article, it should be that email marketing is still a powerful tool. So don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you differently. The connection to a customer or a lead’s inbox is priceless.

Second, email marketing works best when it’s paired with email automation. This tool can help you keep the budget down by lowering costs with human resources.

Also, it increases productivity, brings in more sales, and attracts more leads. Not to mention that your customers will feel nurtured and taken care of, which is the best customer experience plan.

Overall, email automation is the step most small businesses need to take in order to move forward with their email marketing goals.

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Small Business Cybersecurity: 5 Pro Tips from Top Consultants

cybersecurity

Running a small business can be nerve-wracking. It’s because you are responsible for essential things, such as paying your taxes, your staff’s wages, and ensuring you’re making a profit. But on top of these tasks, you also need to ensure that your business won’t encounter any cybersecurity threats. 

Some businesspeople think their business is too small to be the target of cybercriminals. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. Cybercriminals also like to target small businesses because they usually lack the IT infrastructure of larger companies.    

Facing cyberattacks can have a detrimental impact on your company. In particular, it can create reputational damage to your business, leading to a loss of customers, sales loss, and a reduction in profits. Hence, it’s vital to implement cybersecurity measures for your company. Although cybersecurity is costly, they are worth the investment as it can prevent reputational damage to your business. 

With that said, below are tips from the top cybersecurity consultants that can help improve your cybersecurity and keep your data safe:

1. Employ Security Operations Center

A security operations center (SOC) is a centralized IT department that monitors, investigates, detects, and responds to several cybersecurity attacks and threats a business may face. The SOC constantly checks the business network for threats and vulnerabilities to mitigate them before they become critical problems. Moreover, they use cybersecurity quality operation tools and strategies, such as breach and instruction detection, security information and event management, probes, and firewalls. 

Whether in-house, outsourced, or in the cloud, having a dedicated SOC is an excellent way to protect your business against cyberattacks and data breaches. It provides you with multiple SOC benefits, including continuous protection, reduced cybersecurity costs, and improved business reputation.   

Note that cyberattacks don’t just occur during standard business hours. It’s common for cybercriminals to execute their attacks on weekends or after working hours when no one is monitoring them to increase their probability of success. 

But fortunately, an efficient SOC team continuously monitors your business data and IT infrastructure. And since it provides continuous protection, the SOC provides an efficient cybersecurity response. Moreover, SOC enables you to reduce cybersecurity costs by mitigating risks like data breaches and avoiding penalties due to violations of data security regulations.

2. Train Team Members for Cybersecurity

cybersecurity

Cybersecurity awareness training for team members is another preventive measure you should consider to make your business cyber-safe. It’s a training that aims to educate your staff regarding cybersecurity risks and vulnerabilities. This training allows them to recognize cybersecurity threats when working online with computer systems. 

Since human error is the primary cause of security breaches, training your staff to recognize common cybersecurity threats is worth considering. It helps reduce the chances of cybercriminals accessing your business’s sensitive information. On top of that, considering that customers are increasingly aware of cybersecurity threats, providing awareness training to your team members also helps you gain customer trust.  

In particular, cybersecurity awareness training includes internet security training, email security training, and information sharing procedures training. Fortunately, there are free online training courses available to keep your team members updated with the latest cybersecurity issues. But apart from that, you can consider enrolling your staff in specialized cybersecurity programs. These programs can provide in-depth knowledge and the necessary skills to protect your business against cybersecurity issues.

3. Do Regular Data Backup  

On top of implementing preventive measures to protect your business against cybercriminals, you also need to have an adequate strategy for mitigating data loss. Data recovery is critical to securing your company’s sensitive information. Thus, performing a regular data backup is a must. It’s an excellent strategy to protect your business against data loss.

Data backup involves copying your business’s critical information from primary sources and adding them to a secondary location to secure against data loss. This strategy is essential for companies as data loss can damage your reputation and can result in severe disruption of your business operations.     

In case of cyberattacks or an emergency, having backed-up copies of your business data and being able to restore it to its original location can help you avoid significant loss of profits. And the good news is that there are several ways to perform a data backup. For instance, you can store your data using cloud storage or online backup services. Cloud backups are ideal solutions for small businesses that want to ensure their critical data is accessible in case of cyberattacks or data disaster strikes.

4. Keep Your Software Up-To-Date 

Updating your software is another way to keep your business cyber-safe. No matter how well-coded or well-designed developers create a particular software, note that no system or software is flawless. For that reason, developers continuously look for security issues in their software to update or patch these vulnerabilities. 

The longer you delay updating your business software, the more likely cybercriminals will prey upon your business. And once they exploit the issues in your outdated software, they may access your systems using valid accounts and cause severe damage to management systems. So, you must keep your software up-to-date to avoid this problem and ensure tightened security in your business.

5. Use Multi-Factor Authentication

A multi-factor authentication system is another way to protect your business data from cyber theft. It’s an authentication procedure that requires you to provide two or more independent credentials to verify your identity and be able to access an online account or application. This authentication is an additional layer of security beyond the basic credentials like username and password. 

Should these credentials get exposed, you and your customers’ information remain secure behind separate access controls. Simply put, the role of multi-factor authentication is to make it difficult for an unauthorized party to access a network, computer device, or database.   

Accordingly, multi-factor authentication can help enhance your business’s cybersecurity by requiring clients or users to identify themselves by multiple verification factors. As a result, it enables you to protect your critical data, maintain your business reputation, and improve customer experience.

Conclusion on Cybersecurity

All in all, cybersecurity is essential for businesses as it protects data from hackers or threats. Keeping your business safe against cybersecurity attacks should be one of your primary tasks as a business owner. Without proper cybersecurity practices, your business is vulnerable to cyberattacks. Fortunately, with the tips above in mind, your small business can avoid further damage caused by potential cybersecurity threats.

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20 Marketers Share Their Best Automation That Every Business Owner Should Use

automation

Gaurav Sharma, Attrock automation

The automation that my team and I use in our day-to-day work is sending automated personalized emails at scare. While personalization improves the ROI of email marketing, automation scales things up and helps me run bulk email campaigns.

I think if you can invest only in one type of marketing automation, go with automated personalized emails. These are cost-effective and can deliver great results, not to mention they save a lot of time and effort.

I use automated email campaigns both for my own business and for my clients. I have run several successful email outreach campaigns that delivered exceptional results and you can do the same.

So, invest in email marketing automation for your business and see the results first-hand.

 

Roxana Motoc,SocialBee

Every business owner should use a social media management tool automation. As an entrepreneur, you don’t want to spend time scheduling content daily and switching between platforms just to remain active. 

The best way to have a sharp presence across multiple networks, with the least amount of work, is by using a platform like SocialBee. You can create, schedule, share, and analyze content for all your account from one place. 

More than that, by using a social media posting tool you can: 

🎨 Use the Canva integration to design your posts right inside SocialBee. 

📦 Structure your content in categories to obtain a solid & balanced mix. 

📄 Connect the RSS Feed of any blog to import content automatically. 

✍️ Customize the posts for each social media network individually. 

🔄 Recycle evergreen posts or expire time-sensitive content easily. 

📈 Track your links’ performance with over 5+ URL Shorteners integrations. 

 

automationHelga Moreno, andcards

Here is a couple of my favorite automation that are particularly useful for every businesses. First, there is email automation. There are many email tools available in the market that allow you to automate your email sequences and send personalized emails to your contacts based on their interactions with your website and other engagement data. This can be a great way to stay in touch with your customers and prospects and nurture them through the sales funnel.

Another type of marketing automation that can be very helpful is lead capture automation. Lead capture forms allow you to automatically capture leads from your website and track their information in your CRM. This can be a great way to quickly build up your contact database and start nurturing leads down the sales funnel.

 

automationKatrina Dalao, Referral Rock

As a content marketer, one of our big initiatives is keeping our articles up-to-date and relevant for our readers. As big Airtable fans here at Referral Rock, and our team has created an auto-filled template that shows us all of our top articles that need optimizations. Anyone in our team can check this table on a regular basis and see what articles need to be checked for recency and relevance.

 

Natalya Bucuy, LiveHelpNow

Live Chatbot is one of the best tools a business can use to serve its customers. 

Simple questions, like ones regarding business operation hours, store locations, or just a simple initial greeting of the customer on a website – are the tasks chatbots can and even should handle. Answering these questions over and over again not only overwhelms customer service agents but also takes up valuable business resources. Allowing chatbots to handle these inquiries will free up time for human customer service agents to answer more complex questions. Chatbots can direct inquiries to the right department, saving agents and customers time.

Chatbots can also serve as trailblazers for new or small businesses that do not have many staff members or don’t know what type of inquiries their customers would normally have. In this case, chatbots can screen all inquiries and give the business owners ideas of what to expect when it comes to customer communications. 

 

automationHope Dorman, Kajabi

My top automation that I use in my niche of content marketing is Semrush reports. I have an automated report from Semrush that comes to my email weekly that shares the top organic search positions for our domain. I appreciate their other reports that compile the key takeaway information with the top pages by organic search, a chat with the number of ranking keywords, top subdomains and the traffic breakdown, a competitive position map, and more. These automatically generated reports provide a helpful update on how our various search engine optimization metrics are performing. 

Reporting takes a lot of time. Being able to automatically generate a report with charts and graphs without having to manually recreate them or update them in Google Sheets or Excel can save a lot of time while still providing the important information company stakeholders need.

 

automationPaul Posea, Superside

People are spending way too much time sharing on social media channels (especially not the main ones) by doing it individually. Social media posting automation can be a huge time saver if you were planning to cover multiple platforms. 

One example of how I’m using an automated process for this is by having a WordPress plugin that automatically shares my posts when I post them on the blog. Even more so, you can set up an automated email to go out when a new blog post is published.

Speaking of email, automatic customer segmentation is a must for every business that has an email list (and every business should have one). I suggest segmenting people on a few very specific categories, but not too many depending on what kind of articles and pages they visit on the site or what level of product awareness they are at.

Even more so, setting up an automated way to clean up your email list is a must if you want to get consistently high CTR in your email campaigns. For that, I recommend doing an automatic cleanup of people who haven’t opened your emails in the past 3 months (or however long you think is too long).

 

Tara Malone, Mirasee

If you’re brand new to marketing automation, taking on a complex automated marketing campaign can seem daunting. To avoid overwhelm, I recommend starting small and selecting some simple activities that could benefit from automation. This might involve setting up a welcome email sequence for new subscribers, or a thank you message that gets triggered when someone opts into your email list. Once you feel comfortable with setting up simple automated sequences, you can gradually begin to implement automation in more complex marketing campaigns. It’s also important to track the results of your marketing automation campaigns so you can see which types of campaigns work well with your audience and which ones don’t. This is powerful knowledge that you can use to create more effective campaigns that truly resonate with your audience.

 

automationArlen Robinson, OSI Affiliate Software

Email is a valuable tool for any business. It earns businesses an average of $35 for every dollar spent. Email is like a direct line to your customers, and it builds your brand. Therefore to maximize profits it is essential that a business automate the email marketing process.

The first email that you should automate is the initial welcome email that you send a prospect after they engage with your brand in any way.  When a new customer signs up, send an automatic welcome email. It’s the first chance to show them that you care. Explain how you can help them and what they should do next.

The next most important email that you should automate is the abandoned cart email. Last year, close to 70% of online shopping carts were abandoned. That’s a lot of money left on the table. To avoid this, your brand should send automatic emails to shoppers who abandon their carts. These messages can remind them that they left something behind, and encourage them to come back and complete the purchase.

The final most important email that you should automate is a Birthday or anniversary email. 

You can trigger emails based on the date of the subscriber’s birthday or when the subscriber first signed up. Send a special offer to thank them for their loyalty. These emails typically have a high click-through rate because when you reference someone’s birthday or anniversary date it will catch their eye and intrigue them to see what the email is all about.

Whichever automated email you decide to use, can easily be set up from virtually any email marketing software provider such as Mailchimp, Active Campaign, or virtually any solution that you can find these days.

 

automationKalo Yankulov, Encharge

Apart from the typical email marketing campaigns and email follow-ups, business owners that sell B2B should look into automating their lead qualification process. 

If you are not familiar, lead qualification is the process of evaluating potential customers based on their probability of converting. The goal is to minimize time with leads that are not a good fit for your business or whose buying temperature is too low and focus your efforts on hot leads.

You don’t need a fancy enterprise tool to do this. You can use a marketing automation platform like Encharge to qualify and segment your leads based on their form responses, actions on the website, and other data like country, location, etc. This process can be automated by building a flow that automatically scores good fit customers. For instance, if a lead indicates that their budget is over $10,000, you can increase their lead score by 10. Once they reach a lead score threshold, good fit customers can be automatically added as contacts or deals in your CRM. That way, you can follow up and allocate your sales efforts to the right people.

 

automationMiruna Dragomir, Planable

Digital marketers are spoilt for choice when it comes to automation tools. My team and I use at least 15 tools on a daily basis. My top pick has to be content marketing automation which involves content creation and social media. Social media creation, planning, collaboration and scheduling has to happen in the same place for us. Since that software is also our business, we use it at all times. It’s important for us to nurture collaboration and have the peace of mind that every social media post looks pixel-perfect when it goes live. And we want to do that as efficiently as possible. We’ve sworn off spreadsheets, email threads, and Google Drive images for social media management. We’d rather keep those for what they were intended: analytics and reporting.

Besides social media, we automate project management as much as possible. We use Notion for company wiki, OKRs, and project planning — Sunsama for task management, and we integrate the two. That’s one of our core principles when it comes to automation: integrate and connect the software that we use. No copy-pasting. Ever.

 

Jonathan Aufray, Growth Hackers

Email marketing is known as the digital marketing channel with the highest ROI. Pretty much anyone in business check their emails on a daily basis so why don’t you leverage this by sending automated regular emails to your prospects and leads? As soon as you have email subscribers, you need to prepare a sequence of emails that will be sent automatically. Don’t be too salesy though. Provide value first by giving them tips, industry trends, insightful content, etc. Once you’ve provided enough free content, it’s find to send a commercial/transactional email.

 

Rakesh Kumar Sharma, Scalefusion MDM

Onboarding Processes for New Customers:

Most businesses perform routine tasks in onboarding each new customer, so since these tasks are repetitive, it makes them easy to automate!

By automating your small business onboarding process, you will be able to:

  1. Enhance the buying experience for your customers.
  2. Second, make it possible for new customers to sign up for your product or service.
  3. Lastly, you can spend more time engaging, educating, and delighting new buyers.

Tips for Automating Your New Customer Onboarding Experience:

  1. Create a pre-built campaign template.
  2. Handle the transactional stuff automatically.
  3. Use tags to segment your customers.
  4. Use different email accounts to send emails.

Customer onboarding automation is crucial to building a successful business<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>.

 

automationChris Makara, Bulkly

For me, all business owners should be using social media automation in their business. While there are quite a few benefits of using this type of automation in their workflows, perhaps the biggest is the time that you save once it is implemented. Without social media automation, business owners waste quite a bit of time sourcing, creating and scheduling status updates across various social media platforms. This can easily add up to several hours each and every week.

However, there are many business owners who are now automating this entire process with automation tools like Bulkly. By leveraging a tool like this, it allows them win back their time so that they can focus on more important things – like running their business.

 

automationOksana Chyketa, Newoldstamp

When it comes to email marketing, I believe that the entire process has to be automated. And at the same time, it’s impossible to venture into email marketing without considering personalization. Personalization includes collecting data on prospects, creating their profiles, and then segmenting lists to send more relevant messages to different subscriber groups. Thus, even when using an email template, the emails won’t look as robotic, when some personalization principles have been incorporated.

When it comes to personalizing my messages, I use Personalization Tags extensively – name, subject line, website name, link, etc., depending on the outreach campaign I work on. We use the Snov.io tool to automate this process.

And of course, adding an email signature to all of my emails is a must-have. Email signatures give this personal touch to the emails and influence the first impression a prospect gets about our company. With Newoldstamp I can automate this part as well – my email signature always looks professional and what’s more, I can track the impressions and clicks in the built-in analytics.

 

automationSantiago Safdie, InvGate 

Hubspot is our main source of automation, and the reason behind that is that it allows us to automate not only marketing but also sales.

We use it to automate blog post publications, email nurturing campaigns, workflows, customer service surveys, and even social media and ads.

It’s a great one-stop-shop that allows the whole team to have a clear view of the work pipeline, statistics, and performance of each area. Plus, it makes analysis and reporting simpler for me.

 

Mark Ankucic, Sked Social

Clearbit data capture to slack – gives you a crystal clear look into what businesses are hitting your website.

 

 

automationMykola Haichenko, Visme

For outreach specialists like me, email automation is the cornerstone of everyday work.

If I had to send each email manually, I’d miss all the deadlines imaginable. But tools like Respona let me automate the entire sending process and do it without compromising on the quality.

They leave no trace of automated mass outreach.

With a few clicks, I can personalize each email in my bulk campaigns by adding the recipient’s name, organization, post title, pretty much anything. In the end, an email feels like it was sent to one person, not hundreds.

But while it’s possible to automate the technical part, there’s still one thing that remains unautomatable – the message you’re going to convey.

Let’s take follow-ups as an example.

You can’t insert a generic portion of text like “just bumping this to the top of your inbox,” hit “Send,” and expect lots of replies. You’ll need to be more creative than that.

Try to find your prospects’ common pain point and put emphasis on it a follow-up.

What works for me is mentioning that their competitors have already done what I ask them for. By ignoring or rejecting my pitch, they’ll basically lose to their competitors on my playing field. Such a delicate hint helps me increase my response rates by around 30%.

The bottom line is email automation works with a thought-out message only, not on its own.

 

Tenny Jesse, Pearl Lemon

Chatbots are the primary point of contact on all of our websites; when we are not available to chat (rare, as we are available 24/7), or if we are moving the conversation forward, we ask for visitor emails and add them to our email marketing funnels, which educates users about marketing tips, trends, and services we offer, creating value for the visitors and growing our email lists to market our SaaS products and warm up leads. 

We use Zapier to connect Drift, Google Sheet, Clearout, and Lemlist – whenever an email is collected or a new lead is created on Drift, the automation triggers and sends emails to a Google Sheet, where Clearout validates the emails and sends safe to send emails to an email marketing funnel.

 

automationSamir Sampat, Smith.ai

Setting up marketing automation helps your business optimize its brand presence across every channel your customers engage in, allowing your sales team to focus its efforts where there’s the most likelihood of conversion.

In general, B2B marketing automation will follow the same general structure:

Step 1: Build a list of potential customers to target.

Step 2: Execute an automated campaign.

Step 3: Measure how your potential customers react to the campaign.

Step 4: Group your customers by their reactions.

Step 5: Send qualified leads directly to sales and route warm leads to a nurturing cycle.

Step 6: Monitor performance and redirect warm leads to sales as soon as they become qualified leads.

B2B marketing automation is usually done through software, but outsourcing some or all of your sales cycle is also a great strategy to eliminate repetitive tasks so your sales team can focus on closing deals.

9 B2B marketing automation strategies to implement today

If you’re wondering where to start when it comes to B2B marketing automation, these nine strategies make great first steps.

  1. Page-based triggers

Identify key behaviors leads engage in before making a purchase. Maybe that’s visiting your pricing page, signing up for gated content, or interacting with your live chat feature. Whenever a prospect engages in that behavior, automate a follow-up so you can start nurturing that lead right away.

  1. Educational content for new clients

If every onboarding process is generally the same, automate sending educational content to clients after they sign up for your service. Craft this content based on FAQ your customer service team usually fields. Depending on the preferences of your clients, send this information immediately after sign-up, or use an email drip campaign to avoid overwhelming them.

  1. Lead nurturing

B2B marketing automation is perfect for lead nurturing. Share educational information with your leads through a newsletter or other email sequences to showcase your place as a thought leader in the industry.

  1. Lead segmentation

As you gather data about potential leads, automatically segment them into different email lists based on the type of activity, their level of engagement, location, and other factors. This time-saving step will allow you to level up your lead nurturing program so each segment is personalized.

  1. Lead qualification

Many marketing automation softwares will qualify leads based on the parameters you set. Each behavior is assigned a point value, and when points reach a certain threshold indicating they are close to making a purchase, you can automatically transfer the lead to a different email list or send their name and contact information to a sales representative for follow-up.

  1. Data collection and maintenance

Studies show marketers spend 16 hours a week on repetitive tasks like exporting, importing, and sorting data from a CRM program into an email service provider. Automate that process so your marketers and salespeople can focus on conversions instead. The easiest way to do this is to ensure all your software partners are compatible.

  1. Form submissions

If you’re new to marketing automation, this is one of the easiest places to start. For any forms you have on your website, automate what happens after the lead completes it. Send it to the right point of contact within the company, and send an email to the lead letting them know when to expect a response. You can even set up your automation to initiate outbound call backs.

  1. Live chat

Seventy-six percent of millennials suffer from phone anxiety, so chatbots have become an increasingly popular way to interact with these clients. In fact, 42% of customers opt to use a chatbot when they need customer service. The chatbot can be automated to direct certain queries to a live chat feature to ensure better customer service.

  1. Social media

Marketing automation services can post content, like content from specific feeds, and even thank followers for following. When done right, your followers won’t even notice some of your feed is automated. You can also outsource your Facebook messages so your salespeople don’t have to deal with cold leads.

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How to Use Process Standardization so Your Firm is Prepared for Anything

process-standardization

Consider what would follow if every employee in your company abruptly forgets how to perform their duties. You should anticipate a slew of nasty feedback. It would put your firm in peril due to the loss of massive clientele. Your organization will quickly fall all over the place if everyone is doing their own thing without planning and collaboration. Process standardization can prove to be vital to the sucess of your company.

All your customer has to do now is find all the flaws in your process plan, and your company is doomed. Many enterprises and businesses fail because they assume and implement methods that are incompatible with the expectations of their customers.

Your company’s primary goal is to ensure that your customers are satisfied. Throughout the process, employees or staff must adhere to processes and routines that accomplish that specific purpose.

Process standardization, however, goes beyond that, as it enables the organization to improve its outcomes by optimizing profitability and decreasing unnecessary costs. Look at how standardization can help if your company is trapped in time and lacks signs.

What is Process Standardization?

Process standardization is the effort of bringing together a company’s operations to generate templates and protocols for the company’s various activities.

This technique’s major goal is to make sure that all activities and paperwork are managed in the same way, even if they are completed by different persons or departments. In this manner, any employee may comprehend what was accomplished, how it was accomplished, where it was accomplished, and when it was accomplished.

Formalizing and integrating operations is a technique that guarantees your firm’s high standards, without adaptability or variations, irrespective of the field or individual in charge of the activity, which is especially important when the company has subsidiaries.

How To Put Process Standardization in Action

Because people and organizational protocols must be prepared, process standardization is not a technique that can be implemented quickly. Recognize how this should be accomplished.

1. Create a Workflow Blueprint

Process mapping is a tool for describing and identifying a company’s complete workflow. This ensures that everyone engaged, including other sectors and top management, is aware of the actions required for each activity.

This should be the initial stage in implementing procedures and standards, as it allows you to identify bottlenecks and create new ways of working.

2. Integrate All Departments

Leaders must be explicit and honest in their responsibilities to engage and retain people in the organization and process standardization.

They will be able to develop reasonable, collaborative goals, find ways to link their employees, and participate in and act on staff accreditation as well as skill and ability enhancement.

3. Strategic Documentation

The compilation and analysis of all stages of a project, method, or task are known as process documentation. This should be done regularly to discover, rectify, and avoid problems, blockages, and inefficiencies in the company’s operations, as well as minimize costs and improve procedure quality.

4. Employee Training

Employees frequently experience obstacles and shortcomings in their abilities. Another example is a change in the company’s processes. Certification and remedial training can help in both instances.

5. Consistent Monitoring

Standardization of processes, like any other shift in organizational style or approach, must be carefully scrutinized. For this purpose, it is critical to identify indicators that can be used to make estimates and evaluations, allowing for the identification of flaws and the implementation of solutions. 

After all, many procedures must be modified to match your company’s and department’s routines.

Advantages of Process Standardization

process-standardization

Business process standardization aids an organization’s transition to a single, unified system for completing activities wherever they arise. As a result, change can be implemented fast and easily, and it can be replicated at different levels of the organization when the need arises.

Below are the four leading advantages of standardizing corporate processes:

1. Enhanced Client Contentment

Business process standardization takes the best method of producing things or providing services and makes it the industry standard. As a result, customers can expect a certain level of product or service quality, which keeps them happy and coming back.

2. Compliance

Once a change is made to one technique of getting a certain task done wherever it appears, it is guaranteed that it will affect every portion of the organization where that activity appears.

As a result, the team can be confident that any guidelines or procedures adopted will be completely implemented throughout the firm, guaranteeing compliance with all relevant norms and standards.

3. Asset Productivity

Standardization of business processes aims for more than just a consistent method of doing activities. It’s also focused on doing these tasks with the fewest resources possible.

As a result, cost savings in one branch of an organization can be readily and swiftly copied, compounding the price reductions many times over.

4. Reliable Information Governance

Standardizing business processes allows a company to develop a single source of truth for completing tasks. As a result, notes and best practices established from one location where a procedure is used can be reused in multiple places without having to be created from scratch.

5. Optimized Versatility and Procedures

A complicated workflow is something you should avoid as you advance in business management. You’d become trapped at this stage and neglect to pay attention to several processes.

The secret to unleashing efficiency and productivity is minimalism. It does not have to be difficult to achieve good results. You’ll be well on your way to achieving greater results if you’ve established clear processes that your employees can grasp.

Conclusion on Process Standardization

Every forward-thinking corporation can use business process standardization to tame process chaos and get more done with a stable standard.

It reduces resource waste, boosts manufacturing assurance, and makes it simpler to scale up identical processes while maintaining quality.

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