The Most Essential Online Business Skills

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If you are considering setting up your own online business, something which is becoming a more and more popular way to earn a living, then it makes sense to ensure that you have all of the relevant skills you need to make your new venture a success before you go ahead and take the plunge.

 

Being a small online business owner is a real challenge, so the more you are able to do for yourself, the easier it will be for you to succeed no matter what your budget or how many other companies you’re competing with.

 

Here are some of the most essential online business skills that will help you to build a successful online company:

 

Strategic Planning Skills

 

Starting a new business requires a lot of planning. You can’t just buy a website domain and start trading – you have to draw up a business plan, set goals for the future, plan the actions that will help your business grow and measure your company’s performance so that you can keep improving. With so much on your plate, it’s vital that you’re able to strategically plan for every aspect of your business, lest you end up in a real mess, not knowing what you should be doing from one way to the next.

 

Writing Skills

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When your business is online, you really do need to know how to use the written word to your advantage. During the working week, you will have to compose emails, write blog posts, create product descriptions and write web content and this will have to be as legible, error free and interesting as possible if it’s to have any effect at all. So, if you’re writing skills aren’t exactly as good as they could be unless you can afford to hire a writer, it could be worth taking a few writing classes before you launch your business.

 

Marketing and Communication Skills

 

There’s been a real boost in the number of people taking courses in imc online, and this isn’t all that surprising because Integrated Marketing Communication skills are becoming even more vital as we switch increasingly to online advertising.

 

As an online entrepreneur, you’ll need to market your website, good, and services, if you are to have a hope of still being in business a year from your company’s launch, and it really isn’t as easy as you might think. When you’re using the written word to advertise, you really do need to think about each and every word you use and the connotations it brings up. If you can communicate using engaging words that draw the reader in and then create a call to action that really works, you’ll be well ahead of at least half the competition, and if you can talk to your customers in a friendly, informal and persuasive way, you’ll really be able to convince  them that yours is the best company for them.

 

Financial Skills

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When you’re starting out, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to afford your own accountant, which is why you might want to start brushing up on your accounting skills, taking a basic accounting course if necessary. Without a sound understanding of the financial side of things, you won’t be able to gauge how well your business is doing, plan for the future or file accurate taxes and you all three of these things are so important that you simply can’t neglect your financial skills.

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Clever Ways Businesses Secure Their Assets

Security has become a more prominent concern as of late for business owners, mainly due to the advancement in tech that has left holes that companies can easily fall into when trying to ensure that things are set up well for their customers. For instance, there is definitely the threat of a hack. Don’t forget, if your business is hacked, it is likely that they won’t be going after you or even your company. Rather, they will be looking for ways to take advantage of your customers, steal the information and use that to commit fraud.

 

 

This is why there are now a number of tactics that businesses use to keep their company safe and secure. Particularly, in this age of technology. Here are a few examples.

Support And Assistance

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It’s fair to say that if you have expert hackers trying to take advantage of your company, you need an expert team to protect it. You must make sure that you have people who know the holes that hackers use to access your company so that they can be filled in. That’s why these days, many businesses are using a full IT support team. With this team in place, security protocol begins from the very beginning. The IT support company actually sets up the business computer network from scratch, ensuring that there are no existing issues with security from day one.

After this, the networks are then monitored. If there is any issue or sign of a breach, it can be corrected immediately. Due to this, there is virtually no chance that a hack is successful because the networks are constantly being watched and corrected.

Protocol

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Of course, sometimes it’s just a matter of making sure you’re following the rules. Most industries now have business standards of security. If you match these standards, you can make sure that your business is not exposed to security threats. Medical teams should be using HIPAA compliant video conferencing technology because this will mean that the transmissions on encrypted as thus can not be accessed from an outside source. That’s just one example of how the protocol can keep security levels high.

Tech Tricks

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Technology is also being used to ensure that businesses are secure, such as cloud servers. Most security experts agree that if you want to keep information safe and private, you must use a cloud server. With a cloud server, you can guarantee that any information stored related to your business is kept off site and that’s crucial. This way, even if people break into your company, they won’t be able to access your accounts and your data. Instead, they will need to gain access to the cloud server, and this is far more complicated.

Other tech can be used to keep things secure as well such as manual security. For instance, you can set up CCTV on your business property to guarantee that you catch anyone who even tries to break in.

We hope you see now that there are various ways to use technology and other methods to ensure your business is secure.

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Yes, I Bought a Chromebook!

Well, I finally bought a Chromebook, believe it or not!

It’s an Acer R-11.

What made me do it? Well, I’d been interested in a Chromebook for a while now, but I hadn’t needed one and also, I was following my own rule of not jumping on a new technology immediately, to avoid the initial bugs, high prices, and lack of additional features inherent in new technologies when they first come out.

But, my netbook, which I use as my backup and travel computer, was getting much slower and I needed a replacement.

So, I did some research as to what was out there, and decided the Chromebook fit the bill. And, finding that there are different ones available, the Acer R-11 looked best to me.

The Pros:

I’ve had the Chromebook for a few months now and it does perform most of the functions that my Windows 10 Laptop does, with some notable exceptions. First, the pros:

  1. It uses a solid state drive. Solid state drives (SSD’s) have no moving parts and don’t require the cooling fans that regular  hard drives do. So, the computer tends not to have any heat issues, and the operating system (OS) works faster. It will also outlast conventional drives.
  2. Chrome OS works faster than windows and updates itself automatically, without slowing things down as Windows does with it’s “bit by bit” constant updates.
  3. The Chrome OS has built-in anti-virus capability, so I don’t need to install any antivirus programs.
  4. Boots very fast and performs smoothly and quickly. I simply open the lid and it comes on. I then enter my password and it’s ready to go. No loading of this and that as on a Windows PC or laptop. If I’m working on my Windows laptop, and shut down, only to find I’ve forgotten something, I simply go to my Chromebook and can quickly get back to what I wanted to and complete it, sometimes in less time than my Windows laptop can simply boot up. (And it boots up fast as it, too, is fairly new!)
  5. The Chromebook is lighter than my netbook and just as easy to carry.
  6. Chrome OS has been integrated with the Android OS, so I can install apps that I also can install on my Smart Phone!
  7. Any website that can be accessed with a Windows computer can be accessed with a Chromebook. As a matter of fact, you can perform most of the same functions on the internet, such as cutting and pasting, as you can with a Windows computer.
  8. Long battery life. I’ve used skype with the Chromebook for two hour sessions and used less than half the battery. On my Windows laptop, most of the battery would be used in that time frame.

The Cons: 

When I first researched Chromebooks just after they came out, I heard and saw cons such as small storage and complicated printing, and limited abilities, I actually thought of them as being “expensive and bulky flash drives”.

But, in taking a second look earlier this year, I’ve seen that they’ve come a long way, and can be far more useful than I thought at one time.

While the OS is different from Windows, and the keyboard and built-in touchpad have a few qualities one must get used to, the Chromebook is not a totally alien machine. For instance, apps can be placed on a task bar, referred to as the “shelf” in Chromebook lingo, and you can attach a mouse or other peripherals via usb as you would on a Windows computer.

Even what I consider the two major cons, printing set-up and lack of storage, I find that they are no longer the show stoppers I thought they once were.

Main cons:

  1. Complicated print set-up.
  2. Inadequate internal storage space.
  3. Inability to work with many Windows programs and software.
  4. Chromebooks are more internet intensive and will run fewer offline programs.
  5. You do need a Google account, but this is free and easy to open. Once open, you can sync the account across devices so you will have the same Chrome homepage, complete with your bookmarks, settings, etc, no matter which device you use to access Chrome or your account.

There are workarounds to the cons, which make the Chromebook quite usable, however.

You still cannot simply plug in a usb cable from your printer and print from a Chromebook. However, if your printer has WiFi or wireless printing or Google print ability, then you can set up your Chromebook for printing. It is a little complicated, and probably requires that you adjust some settings on your printer as well as on your Chromebook, basically making your printer a “network” printer, even though it may be the only one. You may also need your router’s password. And, when printing, you may need to select your printer with the word, “network” in parentheses after it.

Internal storage space on my Chromebook is 32 gigabytes, which is currently at the high end. However, this can be remedied by using an sd card or flash drive for extra storage.  Also, using such google apps as Google Docs, which store your documents in the cloud, you can also save space.

 

 

 

 

As for Windows software and apps, Windows software won’t install on a Chromebook, but, the Chromebook does have a word processing program which will open Windows word documents, even if they are on a flash drive or sd card. Also, apps such as Google Docs, can help in this regard, especially since documents created and run on this app can be converted to windows compatible docs and docs can also be made available offline, which also addresses the problem of the Chromebook needing the internet for productivity when internet access is just not available in any form.

The Chromebook also has an app that will open your pictures and videos from a windows computer stored on a flash drive or sd card.

As for music, I have found that music files from Windows Media Player won’t be opened by the Chromebook, but it’s possible that using an app, such as Google Play Music, personal music playlists might be accessible. I haven’t tried this yet so I don’t really know. Of course, music acquired through Google Play will play on the Chromebook.

In fact, with the integration of Android apps, you can add android games and other functions to the Chromebook. Some apps you will find are specifically made for phones and may not perform as they would on a smart phone. But many apps will do just fine on the Chromebook.

 

So, how do I like my Chromebook so far?

 

I think it’s great! Sure, there are a few things I still can’t do that I can on my Windows computer, but I can still browse and use apps like YouTube, access accounts like my Craigslist account, and perform other productivity tasks. And by adding apps, I can even play games!

There’s still more to explore on my Chromebook, but so far it has really exceeded my expectations. So, if you’re thinking a Chromebook is just an expensive flash drive, or is too complicated, I once thought so, too, and learned that it’s not. It’s much, much more and nothing to fear, especially if you have used the Chrome browser on your Windows computer. Happy computing!

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Uh Oh, You’re In Tech Trouble

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Most people would agree that tech has benefited our lives in some ways. Whether it’s how easy we can communicate with people far away to how efficiently we can work tech is certainly making a difference. In the past, if someone moved halfway around the world, you would rarely ever speak to them. Now with video calling, social networks and instant messaging, it can feel like they never left. With faster processing speeds and highly advanced computer systems, large files can also be sent online in minutes.

 

However, for every issue that tech solves it seems to create another one. This is particularly true in the business world. Here are a few of the problems you can encounter with tech in your company and advice on how to handle them effectively.

 

It’s Crashed, Jim!

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This is the last thing that business owners want to have to deal with, but it’s actually more common than people think. Tech can be temperamental, and computer systems can collectively crash for a number of reasons. If you’re using a lot of heavy hardware, it might be that the systems simply overheated. Don’t forget that the more servers are used, the hotter they get. Large servers need fully operational cooling systems to keep them running effectively.

 

You might also find that the issue is related to a glitch in the software. If that’s the case, it’s probably been there since the computer network was set up. This is one of the reasons companies should use a professional computer support service to monitor and install their IT. That way any kinks can quickly be ironed out in the first few days of the business.

 

Horrible Hackers

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Hackers decide to break through computer security systems for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s about the challenge of seeing whether they can achieve it and these hackers are mostly harmless. Others will be looking to steal sensitive data files, and there are plenty more who just like causing havoc for business owners. A hack is never good news, and if one does occur, it might be due to an incredibly simple reason. You didn’t have any IT security.

 

Even something as simple and small as an antivirus software could do its part to keep your company safe from a hack. That’s often how hackers get in. They send a virus that weakens your system security and then access the files themselves to find valuable information.

 

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There a couple of reasons why your tech might be operating at slow speeds. It could be a sign of a virus, and if that’s the case, you should get your systems checked out immediately. It might be because you haven’t cleaned and sorted your systems in a while leaving it messy and inefficient. Or, it could be simply that your tech is out of date. Business owners resist upgrading their tech due to the cost involved. But you should consider putting the effort in here.

 

Even just updating your tech once every two years might ensure that you don’t have too many problems with slow hardware.

 

Take this advice on board, and you can stay out of tech trouble that tends to do serious damage to businesses, big and small.

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Educating Yourself Without Spending A Penny

Educating yourself is one of the best things you can do if you want to improve your life. By educating yourself, you could make sure you get that promotion at work, start your own business, and do a number of other things. At the very least, it’ll make you a wiser, happier person! But usually, educating yourself means spending a fortune on higher education. Not anymore! Now, there are so many resources you can use to learn without spending a penny. Read on to find out how!

 

Use Online Courses

Online courses are your friend when you want to educate yourself. Some of them can cost a bit of money, but this will be nothing compared to what you’d spend on a course at a college or university. Some of the courses online you can find for free. There are many different sites you can find these courses on, but two of the most popular are Udemy and Skillshare. With Udemy you can find free courses and buy courses one at a time, depending on what you want to do. On Skillshare you sign up and pay monthly, where you can then access every course on the site. It’s up to you how you want to do it! With many courses you get support and people who are also doing the course, so you can share ideas and things.

 

Make YouTube Your Best Friend

YouTube is another fantastic resource. Whether you want to figure out how to make something from scratch or build a business from the ground up, YouTube has some inspirational content that could help. Why not listen to a video while you get ready in the morning, or watch something while you’re on a treadmill at the gym?

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Read As Much As Possible

Make sure you read as much as possible to educate yourself, from self-help books to interesting current events articles that will keep you up to date with the world. If you struggle to read or you don’t always have time, downloading podcasts and audiobooks to listen to can be just as beneficial. You can listen to these before bed, in the car on the way to work, or while you’re running/walking. If you utilize this time to listen to a podcast or audiobook, you’ll improve faster than you realize!

 

Do Things To Support Your Learning

Make sure you do things to support your learning, and you’ll retain this information and improve at a much faster rate. There are lots of studies out there that can clue you in, but a few of the things you should be doing are as follows:

  • Sleep – getting at least 7 hours a night will make you more creative and productive the next day! Get into a good routine.
  • Mediation – learn how to observe your thoughts rather than entertain every one of them and you’ll be less stressed, as well as able to learn new things much faster. You might just find yourself brimming with new ideas too!
  • Eating – eating nourishing foods will strengthen your body and brain. When you eat junk, you’ll feel like junk. This will make you reluctant to sit and do what you have to do to learn!
  • Exercise – exercise will give you confidence and make you feel happier in everyday life. You can double up your exercise with podcasts and audiobooks, or you can just sit down to study after a sweaty session. You’ll likely feel more focused!

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Make Your PC Hack-Proof With These Powerful (And Easy) Tactics

Let’s face it; we all worry about people hacking into our computer systems and stealing our data! The sad truth is that malicious hacks aren’t a problem that will likely go away soon. In fact, if anything, we hear more stories in the media about people or criminal gangs hacking into the PCs of well-known companies!

 

The only true way to have a hack-proof PC is to keep it switched off and disconnected from the Internet! Of course, such a solution isn’t practical at all. The good news is that there are many steps we can take to secure our computers from Internet-based intrusions and malware.

 

So, just what can we do to turn our PCs into Fort Knox? By following the below steps, you’ll soon keep your computer more secure and private than ever before!

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Keep all wireless networks secure

 

The first point of entry for any Internet hacker is to bypass your router. You may not know this, but most routers aren’t configured with top security measures by default! You can lock down your Internet router by doing the following:

 

  • Use WPA2 Wi-Fi security;
  • Use a long and complicated passphrase;
  • Change the default username and password for the router login;
  • Enable the option to hide your wireless network’s SSID;
  • Enable the hardware firewall in your router and only open required TCP/UDP ports.

 

Install Internet security software on your PC (and keep it up-to-date)

 

Aside from trying to bypass your Internet router, hackers can attempt to gain control of your computer via malware infections. To combat that problem, install a good Internet security software solution on your PC. Avoid the free ones; they seldom do anything other than slow your system down!

 

Also, be sure to enable automatic updates for your antivirus software. Doing so will lower the risk of new, unknown malware from attacking your PC.

 

Store your data in the cloud

 

The brilliant thing about solutions like Microsoft cloud file storage and Dropbox is that you can easily store your important files in a secure, off-site environment. An advantage of that approach is that your data gets kept safe and backed up even if hackers somehow manage to control your PC remotely.

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Use a VPN connection

 

VPN stands for Virtual Private Networking, in case you wondered. How can it help keep your computer secure, you might be wondering? Well, it provides a secure way of going online from any Internet connection.

 

VPN connections offer a couple of advantages. First of all, they offer extra privacy to those that wish to go online without third parties looking at their Internet connections. That’s because VPN connections are all encrypted. And, second, they can increase wireless security if your PC doesn’t use an Ethernet connection (or you happen to be using a laptop).

 

Use a secure web browser

 

Last, but not least, don’t just stick with the browser that comes as standard with your PC. Stick to a strong and secure one like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Those two browsers allow you to install “extensions” that can block tracking ads and help prevent malware from getting downloaded to your PC in the background.

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Seriously? My Own Website Can Help Me Find A New Job?

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Finding a new job is never simple. In fact, it is one of the most complex and frustrating things any adult can go through. Firstly, you have to beat the competition to an interview, and then you have to impress during said interview. Finally, you have hope that no one is better qualified. It can take weeks and months to secure a new position the old-fashioned way, so why not try a new age method? Yes, your own website can be a great help, and here are the reasons why.

 

It Makes A First Impression

 

As soon as an employer comes across the site, they will make a judgement. And, if it’s a positive one, it will stick in their minds like mussels stick to rocks. Think of a website like an artist’s canvas where you have the freedom to express yourself how you please. All you have to do is express yourself in a creative and unique way and the employer won’t be able to say no. So, start with a quality web design company because the looks matter. Plus, you don’t want a site that is similar to thousands of others on the internet. After all, how is that unique? Then, pick your best pieces of work which you think shows off your talent. A tip: always go for a variety of different genres and styles.

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Better Than A Resume

 

When you think about it, a resume is a lot of words on a page. There is no way to know whether the words mean a candidate is the best fit for the company, yet that’s how businesses think. Sure, a great CV will get you through the door and into an interview, but a great site will get you the job. Because the website hosts all of your work, you can show a potential employer what they will get if they choose you. Employers love this as it lowers the risk of hiring someone who isn’t for the role. All you have to do is give them the URL and wait for a phone call.

 

Networking Potential

 

The savvy among you will notice that the first two steps need you to be on a firm’s radar from the beginning. That is to say; you need to find a way to get them to your site as they won’t stumble across it out of luck. Or will they? Thanks to social media platforms like LinkedIn, employers are seeking out employees more often than ever before. As you can network and show off your skills, there is no need to go running to job sites and job agencies. What you should do is create an excellent profile and converse with any interested parties. Indeed, you never know when one will offer you the position of your dreams.

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Also, don’t forget that it shows employers that you are a modern job seeker. Searching for jobs isn’t the same, and you have to demonstrate that you understand the process to stand out from the crowd.

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