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Social Media and Security: Keeping Your Business Safe  

Social Media and Security: Keeping Your Business Safe  
Social media security should be taken seriously if you want your company to thrive, your customers to remain safe online, and your brand representation to remain on top form. Unfortunately, there are people out there that may impersonate your brand or hack your social media accounts. If you want to keep your business safe, read on to find how to do so and what can happen if you don’t. Potential Threats The main threats that can harm your reputation and business are: Fake links which look like your website, but are actually a downloadable malware Impersonation accounts which could sell fake products to potential customers, leaving them unhappy with your brand Impersonating profiles of staff members to gain private and personal data Communication of wrong information which could affect the stock price Hacking of your social media profiles to gain confidential data or post false information The above threats can happen to any business, even small businesses, so you should never believe your business is immune to threats. Instead, you should follow safety advice to ensure your social media is safe from hackers and trolls online. The Cost to Your Business Unfortunately, social media scams such as the ones above can damage a company’s reputation and may lead to financial loss. Any customers who have fallen for this scam will have less trust in the company and will be likely to inform others, meaning many more people are less likely to trust your real profiles and website. You may even deal with negative press over the issue. If you haven’t taken the necessary steps to keep your social media accounts safe, you could be liable for paying back disgruntled customers. Best Social Media Safety Practices There are several simple steps you can take today to implement a safer and more secure way of working with social media, here are a few ideas to get you started: Change passwords regularly, and make them randomised Form a company social media policy that must be signed by each employee Regularly search for your brand name on social media to ensure there are no fake accounts Never list vacation times of management on any social media accounts, whether this be your own personal account of your business account Update your privacy settings regularly, especially if employees have left the company Permanently delete unused accounts Inform your customers if you are aware of any dangers or fake accounts associated with your company If you want to keep your business safe from fake profiles, consider using online brand protection services for businesses. FraudWatch International can protect your company by detecting and removing impersonating profiles from social media, as well as in many other ways. Check out their website for more information on how they can help you to keep your business safe. Being safe online is important for all businesses. Social media is a fantastic, free tool that can drive sales and improve customer retention. Follow the above steps to maintain safety and your company’s...
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How to File a Patent for Your Invention

How to File a Patent for Your Invention
How to File a Patent for Your Invention Inventors are highly prized in any market, since their work is often the focal point that other infrastructure, marketing, and production coalesce around. But as an inventor, whether in a startup or independently, it is important to make the most of any invention you create. This means protecting your original work legally. In this article, we look at one of the primary tools at the disposal of any inventor: the patent, and how to file one.     Why File a Patent? Patents provide a level of economic security and market edge for their holders. They are specifically designed to incentivize invention and innovation, offering an avenue to significant potential profits for an invention that is patented quickly and correctly. Patents fall under the category of intellectual property (IP) law, and are one of four kinds of IP protection, the others being copyrights, trade secrets, and trademarks. Copyrights cover original creative work, trade secrets involve confidential information that benefits a company competitively, and trademarks protect branding and brand identity. However, patents may be the most powerful intellectual property tool. Holding a patent grants a twenty-year monopoly (in the United States) for the development, production, and sale of the invention in question. This means that no other companies can compete via imitation for this time period, allowing the best possible version of the invention to be produced and sold, gaining more profits by being a unique entity in the market. Filing a patent can make the difference between being swallowed by competitors who have the infrastructure to take your idea and produce it more cheaply or more quickly, and having the time and resources to perfect your invention and get rewarded for its genesis. Sure, the patent filing process is time consuming and costs money, but the potential benefits are immense. Is Your Invention Eligible? The United States Patent & Trademark Office, or USPTO, outlines what is and is not eligible for patenting according to the patent statute codified in federal law. Eligible areas include a process, machine, “article of manufacture” (manufactured product), composition of matter, or “improvement of any of the above,” as well as specific designations for unique plant patents and design patents that govern the nonfunctional design and aesthetic components of a product. So, if your invention happens to be a machine or a composition of matter, is it automatically eligible for a patent? In short, no. There are additional requirements that must be met for patent eligibility. These boil down to usefulness, novelty, and non-obviousness. To have any chance of being granted a patent, the invention in question must be useful. Usefulness here can be very broad and does not only encompass crucial or definitive needs and benefits. Things like entertainment and enjoyment can also qualify as uses. Novelty refers to being sufficiently unique and new in order to deserve a patent. This can often be an issue of contention, with gray areas existing between what constitutes a slight tweak or variation upon an existing idea versus a truly novel improvement. Lastly, being non-obvious may seem quite easy, but this determination usually helps to weed out inventions that are not really inventions but obvious combinations of previously existing factors. Before delving into the patent search and filing process, it may be a good idea to seek out a qualified patent attorney or law firm to determine what the best course of action is, as a professional will better know how your invention might fare.   Picture Courtesy: Taylorip The Patent Search Now that you’ve determined your invention may be patent eligible, it’s time to hone in on the...
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Best HR Apps For Your Business

Best HR Apps For Your Business
Best HR Apps For Your Business Development We all know how stressful a HR manager’s job could be. It is his department’s responsibility under his guidance to handle employee relations, payroll management, hiring and layoffs, rewards and remunerations, change and culture management. He can be compared to a mom who is always there to settle scores between son and father. Though the job is definitely tiring in nature, time has come for HR managers to heave a sigh of relief thanks to innovative HR apps that significantly reduces their workload.   Apps for Rescue There are now apps that can completely take care of payroll management, network communication, project management, monitoring workforce leave, recruiting and performance management. Think about it, how much of time will be saved if there is some technology that helps you in tracking the sales force performance metrics (especially in IT companies where there are hundreds of thousands of employees), attendance, payroll, etc., Today’s technological scenario is something to be awed at and not to be taken granted for. Small organizations should push themselves one step higher to leverage the functionality of innovative technology for their business development. Download “55 ALL TIME POPULAR HR QUOTES” … Big Data – The Big Boss Data sits at the centre commanding all other entities to obey the rules laid by it. Even giants like Google can no more rely on their intuitions for decision making but rather go for numbers and information. HR is no exception when it comes to adapting new technology. Why can’t companies dare to use new software services – afterall nothing is lost! When you are in a situation to scale up your operations on one end and manage the tight competition on the other, yet you would not opt for a change!  That does not make sense in any plausible manner. Think Fast Act Faster Let me introduce you to some of the interesting and enterprising HR apps (free as well as paid versions) that will give some room for HR managers to go for a long pending vacation with their family! It is better to automate your HR functions and please, please think over and above MS Office. Orange HRM: OrangeHRM offers you flexibility and freedom to select from free and paid versions of OrangeHRM backed with specialized expertise. Their  HR modules cover core areas like payroll management, employee data management and many more. There’s the free option and paid enterprise version. And it’s all open source so if you have developers you can customize it to your heart’s content. App from Hay Group: Allows your managers to create job descriptions from a library of roles or generic templates defined by their experts, or you can completely start from scratch. Suggests the skills and behaviours needed for a role and gives feedback on job design so your managers know they’re on track. Expense on Demand: Expense On Demand will reduce the time needed to process expense claims by at least 50%. Claims are approved electronically and arrive in Finance department  fully coded, validated and approved ready to be paid. Bamboo HR: BambooHR combines  all of your employee information from all of your locations into a single view. You can then access, control, sort, analyze, and take action on the data instantly—from your office, the road or home. Kim Rohrer Head of People Operations / Disqus says “BambooHR frees up more time for me to follow my passion in helping people do their jobs better” Greenhouse: Make recruiting your competitive advantage through this app that optimizes your entire recruiting process. Find better candidates, conduct more focused interviews, and make data-driven hiring decisions. I’m listing a set...
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Digital Marketing is the Future

Digital Marketing is the Future
Digital Marketing: A Small Business Guide Disclaimer: This content is curated and since information related to digital marketing is available aplenty on the Internet, I thought of compiling data in a sequential and comprehensive manner for the benefit of the readers. You will find a wealth of information on content marketing, email marketing, PPC, social media marketing and SEO. Lot of interesting images from Pinterest have been supplemented for the benefit of my audience. One of the easiest, fastest and cheapest ways for businesses to reach consumers today is via the Internet. Download Visual Trends to Drive Your Content Marketing Digital marketing, also known as Internet or online marketing, is quickly replacing print, television and radio advertisement as the marketing approach of choice for businesses of all sizes. Recent research revealed that 1 in 4 of every business-advertising dollar is dedicated to Internet marketing.  Digital marketing uses internet connected devices such as smart phones, laptops and tablets to engage customers online via technologies such as web and email in conjunction with digital customer data such as characteristics and behaviour. Channels include display advertising, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). It also includes email, RSS, blogging, podcasting, video streams, social networks and instant response messaging.  If you are looking for an edge over your competitors, a digital marketing strategy can provide many benefits to today’s savvy business owner.   Top Benefits of Digital Marketing for Small Business Instant access: Wide reach to internet users in a single click. Cost effective: A well planned and targeted digital marketing campaign can help your business reach your target audience at a lower cost compared to traditional marketing tactics. Open 24/7: Your website is available to your target audience 24/7. Increase customer retention and loyalty: Engage with your customers in a more personalised way when you advertise your products and services. Community building and reputation: Social media provides the perfect platform to build customer loyalty and build strong online reputation. Research: Provides the possibility for an immediate response and feedback from today’s connected consumer. It’s measureable: Track your online campaign’s success in real time. Digital Marketing Channels or Campaigns Online marketing doesn’t only revolve around your website. Although this is an important part of it, you should be aware of other channels that will aid your digital marketing strategy. Whether you’re looking at low budget or blow–the- budget campaigns, these forms of digital marketing are ideal for small businesses as you can adapt your activity to suit your financial situation:      1. Content marketing Your website is a powerful tool within your marketing strategy. Most of the time this is where you will be directing your customers to when you engage with them so it’s important to ensure you have interesting content to keep your customers on the site for longer. Start by keeping an interesting blog so that you can share relevant content with your customers and draw them to your site.  With new technologies, more people are reading content on their mobile phones and tablets than ever before. It’s important to ensure your website is easy to browse and interact with on these different devices so that customers can have a good user experience on the move.   2. Search engine marketing Stay ahead of your competitors by driving traffic to your website using Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It works by optimising your site to increase its organic ranking in search engine results (for example how high up you would appear in a search list on Google), so that customers will be more likely to visit your site.   Search engine marketing focuses on improving your ranking using...
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Forecasting Part 1

Forecasting Part 1
Objectives of Forecasting The objective of this post is to impart some light on the uses and importance of forecasting and to get you acquainted with various forecasting techniques. And also to know how these techniques are used in decision making process. Nature of Forecast: A forecast is an estimate of an event which will happen in future – be it, demand of a product, rainfall at a particular place, population of a country, or growth of a technology. It is estimated based on the past data related to a particular event and hence it is not a deterministic quantity. In any industrial enterprise, forecasting is the first level decision activity before consolidating other decision problems like, materials planning, scheduling, type of production system. Forecasting provides a basis for co-ordination of plans for activities in various units of a company. All the functional managers in any organization will base their decision on the forecast value. So, it provides vital information for that organization. Classification of forecasts: Technology forecasts Economic forecasts Demand forecasts Technology Forecast Technology is a combination of hardware and software. Hardware is any physical product while software is the know-how, technique or procedure. Technology forecast deals with certain characteristics like level of technical performance, rate of technological advances. It is a prediction of the future characteristics of useful machines, products, process, procedures or techniques. TIFAC – Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology. In 1993, TIFAC embarked upon the major task of formulating a Technology Vision for the country in various emerging technology areas. Economic Forecast Government agencies and other organizations involve in collecting data and prediction of estimate on the general business environment. This involves the application of statistical models utilizing variables sometimes called indicators. Some of the most well-known economic indicators include inflation and interest rates, GDP growth/decline, retail sales and unemployment rates. This is used to predict future tax revenues, level of business growth, level of employment, level of inflation etc. Also, these will be useful to business circles to plan their future activities based on the level of business growth. Demand Forecast This gives the expected level of demand for goods or services. This is the basic input for business planning and control. Hence, the decisions for all the functions of any corporate house are influenced by demand forecast. Factors affecting demand forecast Business cycle Random variation Customer’s plan Product’s life cycle Competitor’s efforts and prices Customer’s confidence and attitude Quality Credit policy Design of goods or services Reputation for service Sales effort Advertising Hurry up! We are running short of...
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