Education

Verizon Free Small Biz Webinar

Verizon is offering a small business webinar  on Febrruary 10 entitled “How To Develop A Business Plan for free. The webinar is scheduled to last for one hour and includes a 45 minute presentation and 15 minutes of Q&A.

Source: VERIZON SMALL BUSINESS CENTER

Pay Up or Your Computer Dies

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Hijacking computers pays! In a technique dubbed “ransomware”,

computer criminals generally send spam emails to try to trick unsuspecting users into buying “products” or warning them of the need to “update” their account information.

But now, the FBI  has a warning against new software programs they call “rogueware.” These clever thieves claim that their program will find viruses on your computer and then they offer you the option to “clean” your computer for only $50. So far, internet users have paid approximately $150 million for such scams.

PC criminals are finding new ways to get unsuspected users to pay up and they’re not trying to hide it much anymore either. They often make claims using messages in their programs that say something like, “Google recommends that you install this…” or “Microsoft warns that you should allow this feature be turned on”, then suddenly they make it look like your computer is infected with 500 viruses. Next thing you know, you can’t access your information because the criminal(s) encrypted it and now they demand that you pay them a ransom for your information and promise to “release” your information so you have access to it again.

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself if you determine that your computer may be infected. Read the tips at MSNBC

Written by Bob Sullivan; Edited by Bill Sorensen

Apple iPad for Schools in Georgia?

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Georgia Senate voted 65-5 to qualify e-readers as textbooks among other computer hardware. According to the bill, school districts would have the option to offer modern alternatives for disseminating digital information.

This only makes sense since textbooks are currently undergoing digital transformation and can be downloaded to electronic devices.

Supporters of the measure believe this would help students learn faster and better since information would be more readily available.

Others charge that Georgia state funds are already under strain and that the state will spend $45 million on new textbooks alone. Still, the majority of statewide education organizations support the bill.

Written by Ernie Suggs; Edited by Bill Sorensen

Source: AJC


Franchise Tips & Advice

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The franchise world is taking new directions and one of the most important parts of buying a franchise is doing your homework. After all, it’s not an easy task to determine which franchise is best for you or which one you’d truly enjoy, if any.

Is it all glitz and glamour? Or are there underlying issues that you need to uncover when searching for a franchise? Like any endeavor, it’s wise to do your in depth research and know what to ask to ensure you are getting all the facts.

Did you know about the Franchise Disclosure Document? Do you understand it? A list of experts provide some valuable insight on what you need to know so you can get out there and grill the franchise companies and get inside information you need to invest wisely.

Experts Advice and Full Story

Entrepreneur-How To Research a Franchise

Zilladog: Website For Kids Launches

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You know the saying…”You can have your cake and eat it too.” Well,  if parents can have a webpage then why not kids? Zilladog.com is a new website in which parents claim they designed and created for kids.

Features include “Zillamail”, a free and safe email just for kids. Parents can also setup approved buddy lists for their children. Zilladog.com is specifically designed for ages 6 to 13. Each member gets a free homepage in which they can customize as they desire. There is a host off other fun and interesting features to provide your children so check it out at www.zilladog.com

Written by Clint Davis

Tips For Selling Your Business

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Thinking about selling out? Or do you positively know you’re selling out but not sure how to prepare for it? Selling can be stressful in itself as it can raise many concerns including whether the time is right and how can I maximize the sale? Just make sure you prepare wisely and long before your chosen sale date arrives.
For most small businesses, there is a common process that should be followed and the more you prepare the more you can anticipate a satisfied outcome.  Barbara Taylor, a co-owner of a business brokerage in Arkansas says you need to start by asking yourself 3 questions.
1. Are you ready to sell?
2. What is your business worth?
3. Are you prepared to sale your buiness now?
There is a difference between being ready (emotionally) to sell and prepared (itemized list) to sell. Barbara states that you better get your books in order first. Accurate financial information is mandatory to prevent scrutiny from a prospective buyer.
Nowadays, most buyers interested in a business utilize the internet to locate the particular type of business and property they seek. Two primary marketing documents you should have available is a one page document describing highlights of your business and also a comprehensive prospectus available for serious buyers who have signed a confidentiality agreement.
Also, its wise to ask potential buyers for some basic background information of their own including previous ownerships, education, source of funds and reasons they want to buy your business.
Finally, after both parties have shared their information and when you know you are ready to negotiate the deal and finalize it, ask for an offer. But be realistic!
Avoid surprises and cover yourself with a tax accountant and a lawyer that can help you understand what the consequences will be for the terms you may decide to accept.
Written by Barbara Taylor; Edited by Clint Davis
For full story and more info -NYT

VIDEO: Answers To Help Startups

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Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Marketing In Times Of Uncertainty

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Don’t market your company blindly! Take advantage of strategic marketing now!

Is your company growth slowing down or sliding backwards? Perhaps all you need is a new marketing plan. Company growth is largely based on marketing techniques. And during these times of uncertainty, no doubt you seek any edge for growth you can find.

Philip Kotler,, a well known marketing expert at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University provides insight about marketing. In an interview with Marshall Goldsmith he provides some helpful tips.

Cutting Marketing Budgets – Is it Wise?

According to Mr. Kotler, about 1 out of every 20 ad campaigns really provide a financial contribution and a memorable, motivating message. Companies would be smarter to use that money to make a better product.

Should Marketing Maxims be Preserved in Bad Times?

There are three Mr. Kotler recommends:

1. Know your target customers and provide them with better solutions than your competitors.

2. Your branding must reflect through everyone in your business including employees, suppliers, distributors, etc…

3. Work to innovate your products and services continuously.

About Making Changes in Marketing

Most marketing departments work on the ideas for developing and launching a product so they are more tactical, not strategic. They don’t really drive a company’s growth strategy. Think about appointing a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) whose goal is to help a company grow by bringing the customer’s point of view to the company’s management, develops better measures toward creating different marketing techniques, enhance the company’s brands and aids the marketing department in developing new marketing skills.

Written  by Marchall Goldsmith; Edited by Bill Sorensen

Source – Businessweek

Learn Business From Donald Trump

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He has his share of bankruptcies, but he couldn’t be a savvier self-marketer.

How does Donald Trump avoid the pitfalls that plague other business moguls such as John Thain and Ken Lewis? And on top of it all, his popularity remains enormous.

Especially popular for his one liner trademark, “You’re fired!”, his popular TV Show – The Celebrity Apprentice – yet again is scheduled to air for another season. Amidst some business mishaps Mr. Trump has encountered recently, his success and popularity remain high and there is still quite a lot one can learn from his leadership success.

The art of defining his brand and leveraging that brand to appeal to a broader base of customers is something to admire. With that, his high standards of quality and consumer value associated with his brand help define his core values and expectations both within his company and into the marketplace. Mr. Trump surely knows how to define his brand and capitalize on it too.

He works hard to create his image, maintain it, and use it to expand into new businesses and new areas of profit. He’s also well known for being someone you can trust since he could be considered a “comeback kid’ who has personally experienced success, failure, and then snapping back with greater success. A testimonial to his art of management and oversight. For instance, people believe that Best Buy knows electronics the way Donald Trump knows real estate and clothing.

It’s all about management! You need to know what your core competency is before you attempt other avenues of growth. Learn to evaluate and reduce risks while at the same time maintaining an image that keeps building credibility.

In the world of business, size does not matter. It’s all about the branding and image you portray to your customers. You may never become the large multi-billion dollar company you had dreamt about. But it’s all about creating a brand that produces long term success and stability in the marketplace.

Like Mr. Trump, use every opportunity to pitch yourself and your business(es) 24/7. Don’t hide behind the CEO office door. Exposure plays an important role in generating interest, traffic, and long term success.

Written by Shaun Rein; Edited by Bill Sorensen

Source – Forbes

Want to Start A Business? What You Need to Know…

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Despite what some in the media would have you believe, you don’t have to be a swashbuckling risk taker to run your own show. “These glamorous stories serve to make entrepreneurship appear to be an exclusive art that’s relegated to a few people who exhibit a variety of specific traits,” says Len Schlesinger, president of Babson College in Babson Park, Mass.

Read Full Story

Forbes – Myths of Owning A Small Business


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