Category Archives: Tip of the Week

Lisa Hephner

The Security Turkey Helps You Catch a Phish [infographic]

Posted by Lisa Hephner on November 24, 2015 in Tip of the Week

One of the biggest security threats small businesses like yours, and companies of all sizes, face on a day-to-day basis is phishing. To help you and your team stay security-focused and phishing-aware this holiday season and all year long, print and hang this Phish Catching Security Turkey to remind you of best practices for spotting phishing email and for keeping yourself, and your small business, safe and secure.

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Lisa Hephner

Free Process Mapping Tools for Small Business

Posted by Lisa Hephner on November 17, 2015 in Tip of the Week

There are many small business owners who run an entire company out of their head—even if they have a dedicated, capable, and responsible team. It’s a hard habit to break; but it is one worth augmenting if not ditching all together. If you’re the only one who understands how key business processes are accomplished, then you’re the only one who can improve them. That’s not ideal— you can’t help but fall victim to your own cognitive biases, so when it comes to process optimization, two or three or four heads are definitely better than one.

That’s where business process mapping, and associated business process modeling, comes into play. First, it helps you get all your key processes documented so that everyone in your company can understand them, and can understand the role they play. Second, it clearly highlights where responsibilities fall in your company, and can expose overworked team members (likely yourself as the small business owner), and underutilized talent. And third, it helps to identify inefficiencies that can be remediated to help your small business operate optimally.

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Lisa Hephner

Veterans and Small Business: Perfect Together

Posted by Lisa Hephner on November 10, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Last week was National Veterans Small Business Week, and tomorrow November 11, is Veterans Day. When thinking about the contributions that Veterans make to this country, we typically focus on their active military service at home and abroad. But, Veterans make just as big a contribution and impact to our society once their active military service has ended. And, many of them turn into small business owners.

Of course starting and running a small business isn’t easy, and everyone (Veteran or no) can use all the extra help they can get at every step along the way. So, if you are a Veteran looking to start a small business, or if you are a veteran Veteran small business owner (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one!), the following are organizations and programs dedicated to helping you succeed. If you’re looking to add to your small business team, you’ll be well served by tapping the pool of Veteran candidates. The following resources will help you connect with them.

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Lisa Hephner

Smart Preparation for Small Business Saturday 2015

Posted by Lisa Hephner on November 3, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Small_Business_Saturday_2015bToday is November 3, the first Tuesday of the month. So, believe it or not Thanksgiving is just 23 days away (just over 3 weeks), and Small Business Saturday a mere two days after that on November, 28th. American Express, the sponsor and founder of the day and the associated “shop small” initiative, has already kicked off event planning, promotion, and merchant registration. Is your small business ready to seize the day?

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Lisa Hephner

Small Business Tricks and Treats for Halloween

Posted by Lisa Hephner on October 27, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Halloween is this weekend (Can you believe it is here already? How time flies!), so to celebrate grab yourself a candy bar, a bag of minis, or a nice healthy apple, and then dig in to this mixed bag of small business tricks and treats. The tricks are common scams, phishing emails, bogus offers, and other lurking threats designed to take advantage of your trusting nature and/or catch you with your guard down. The treats are truly useful free resources that come with no strings attached, and that will help you run a successful small business.

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Lisa Hephner

20 More Quizzes to Test Your Business & Management Skills

Posted by Lisa Hephner on October 20, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Right around this time last year I gave you 15 Quizzes to Test Your Business & Management Skills. Judging from web traffic reports, many people had fun with them (and hopefully learned a thing or two as well). The popularity of online quizzes has remained high, which prompted this post of 20 more quizzes, all published within the past 12 months, and all designed to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses in areas vital to running a successful small business.

Find out how you rate in the following areas, and don’t forget to use the resources that accompany many of these quizzes to learn more about each of the quiz topics.

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Lisa Hephner

Celebrate National Train Your Brain Day

Posted by Lisa Hephner on October 13, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Today, October 13, is National Train Your Brain Day. While its origin is unknown, this unofficial holiday is traditionally celebrated by taking some time to think about the brain (and your own brain), to better understand its potential and its limitations, and to improve your own cognitive functioning via training and exercise.

As a small business owner, your brain is a critical asset, and it wears many hats. You are most certainly problem-solver-in-chief for everything from marketing strategy, to process optimization, cash flow normalization, and personnel mollification. You are likely also the driving force behind innovation, as well as critical analysis for identifying opportunity and determining how to overcome barriers.

In honor of National Train Your Brain Day, check out these resources for a brain performance review and a brain workout plan.

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Lisa Hephner

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Events & Resources for Small Business

Posted by Lisa Hephner on October 6, 2015 in Tip of the Week

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (#CyberAware). Lead by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the month is designed to be a collaboration between government and industry with the aim of providing both businesses and individuals with the information and tools they need to ensure their security in the increasingly online world.

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Lisa Hephner

My 9 Biggest Sales Email Pet Peeves & Why You Should Avoid Them

Posted by Lisa Hephner on September 29, 2015 in Tip of the Week

According to The Radicati Group Email Statistics Report, 2015-2019, over 205 billion emails are currently sent and received each day. This number is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 3% over the next four years, meaning that by the end of 2019 over 246 billion emails will be sent and received each day. One might think that the barrage of email is a result of our own overuse of the medium, but the report dispels that notion. It found that in 2015 business people will send on average 34 emails per day yet receive 88 per day. Of those 88, 76 will be legitimate and 12 will be spam or graymail that will likely be summarily deleted.

If you’re anything like me you get every bit of the average 88 emails per day, and you likely get at least twice that. Some of these will be effective and grab your attention, and others will at best fall flat and at worst be annoying. As a small business marketer, your goal is to make sure that not only is your email one of those that get opened, but also one that engages your customers and prospects.

To that end, this list includes my top 9 sales email mistakes, and an explanation of why they are problematic. You’ll probably relate to some of them, either by grimacing at a shared pet peeve, or by recognizing a mistake you have made (or are currently making).

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Lisa Hephner

Customer Journey Mapping Tools for Small Business

Posted by Lisa Hephner on September 22, 2015 in Tip of the Week

Even if your customers love your company, love your products and/or services, and think that they provide great value, you may still lose them to the competition if doing business with your company is simply too frustrating for the customer to stand. You may think you’re providing great customer service and have all the major bases covered, but it could be little things (or a combination of multiple little things) that end up making a huge difference. And, if you don’t identify and solve your customers’ pain points, however minor, there is a good chance that it will eventually cost you their business.

Of course, before you can find solutions you must first identify the problematic issues. This can be difficult, as it may not be obvious to you, and the customer may not volunteer it. One approach to this problem is to create Customer Journey Maps.

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