10 Phishing Examples in 2017 that Targeted Small Business

(Shared by Amanda Walter, Business Intern with OSU South Centers)

Written by:  

Did you know 60 percent of small businesses that have been hacked go out of business within six months of the cyber-attack? With phishing scams on the rise, businesses need to be aware of the various attacks in circulation and how to be prepared if they fall victim to a malicious cyber-attack.

Phishing Examples

Take a look at the following ten phishing examples in 2017 that targeted small businesses.

The ‘Shipping Information’ Phishing Scam

In July this year, internet security company Comodo disclosed a new type of phishing scam specifically targeting small businesses. Phishing emails were sent out to more than 3,000 businesses, including the subject line ‘Shipping Information’.

The email noted a forthcoming delivery by United Parcel Service (UPS) and included a seemingly innocent package tracking link. When the recipient clicked on the link it contained malware, potentially releasing a virus.

WannaCry

On May 12, 2017, WannaCry exploited a weakness in Microsoft’s operating systems to deliberately infect computers. When the worm was infiltrated, it encrypted the infected operating systems, rendering them unusable. The hackers subsequently demanded a ransom for unlocking the encryption. Small businesses void of up-to-take IT infrastructure were particularly exposed to the WannaCry attack.

 

To read the full article, please follow this link.

Ohio EPA Resource Guide for Businesses and Communities

(Shared by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Ohio EPA’s Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance (DEFA) provides several compliance, technical and financial assistance programs available to help Ohio communities and businesses with their environmental needs.  These services and relevant contact information are summarized in their “Resource Guide” which is available to view and download at:

http://epa.ohio.gov/Portals/29/documents/ocs/ResourceGuide.pdf

For questions about the guide, please contact Pejmaan Fallah at Pejmaan.Fallah@epa.ohio.gov or (614) 644-3666.

2018 Social Media Trends

(Written by Melissa Carter, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Last year I wrote a post about the trends and tips we would probably see for 2017.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a year already!  Now’s time to update that list for 2018!

  1. Filters/Augmented Reality – You’ve already seen videos and pictures with filters on them changing your looks and voice.  But how should you incorporate it into your business?  Have your customers promote your business with a specific filter by taking a selfie in your store or with your product. Some individuals may be more willing to post a video about your product if they are behind a filter that changes their voice or face. SnapChat and Instagram are beginning to allow brands to create their own filters (they are costly now).
  2. Live – No it’s not going away! Livestreaming through Facebook or Instagram is no longer just for those cutting edge individuals and businesses. It’s an expectation now. People are more likely to watch a quick live video than to read an article (I know, you’ve just asked yourself, why didn’t she create a video for this article?)
  3. Instagram Stories – While I shared this last year as a new trend, this is another aspect of social media that is growing quickly. But why? It’s a quick video or picture that your brand can share which goes away in 24 hours. Stories are at the top of your Instagram app so users do not have to scroll through lots of pictures until they see your brand. Your business can utilize it to share a special deal, showcase a product, or show off a day in the life of your operation.  Use your Story to create a sense of urgency.
  4. Focus on Generation Z – This population is just starting the workforce and are gaining in purchasing power. According to RetailDive, Generation Z individuals are very influenced by social media and not as much about price. In marketing and communication, Gen Z wants videos, short content, and the ability to interact with businesses through Facebook Messenger or WeChat.
  5. Engagement – Customers want to share their experiences with a product or service. Engaged with your customers by thanking them for a review, create opportunities to interact with them through questions or live video, and offer ways for customer input.

Make time each week for social media marketing. It’s crucial for the growth and success of your business.

E-mail etiquette: Ensure the “E” stands for “excellence”

(Submitted by Kelly O’Bryant, Business Specialist, SBDC Export Assistance Network, OSU South Centers)

To ensure the “E” stands for “excellence”
use excellent e-mail etiquette to enhance your communications with colleagues and clients. For each communication, choose carefully whether e-mail is the best method. Remember, for example, that e-mails are often read on mobile devices, so if your communication requires more than a few lines, consider alternative communication methods. When you do choose to use e-mail:

•Address recipient(s) with professional formality. An introductory “Dear Mr. Smith,” for example, can have a big influence on how professional and courteous you seem.

•Use clear and accurate subject lines. Include the required action, if possible. Effective subject lines also help you organize messages for future reference. Change subject lines and/or start a new e-mail thread if the conversation changes to a new topic.

•Use standard grammar and spelling, and proofread. This is still a business document, so treat it accordingly. Avoid excessive exclamation points, abbreviations, emoticons, etc. Use complete words and sentences.

•Control your tone. Read a message out loud, and assess whether there is any chance for misinterpretation—reword if necessary.

•Include context in each e-mail, even if the e-mail is a continuation of another conversation. Giving a little context shows that you are being courteous by not assuming the receiver will automatically understand and remember the conversation.

•Choose words carefully, because e-mail is forever. Remember that deleted e-mails can always be retrieved. Understand that an e-mail can be grounds for dismissal if it shows evidence of significantly inappropriate behavior. E-mail can also be used as evidence in legal matters.

•Choose the appropriate “reply” setting. Think twice when using “Reply all,” for example, to determine whether all original recipients really need to be copied on the response.

•Respond to e-mails in an appropriate amount of time. What is acceptable may vary by organization, person, and project. For example, some people or projects require immediate responses. Others may be fine with a response within 24 hours.

•Use professional names for e-mail attachments. Use names that clearly identify what the attachment is.

•Treat e-mails as the unsecure documents they are. E-mails are not private, so never use them for confidential or sensitive information, such as customer account numbers.

•Don’t send an e-mail in anger. If typing your frustrations helps you to diffuse them, open a word processing document and do so, but then delete the document. Don’t open an e-mail message in which to vent because it could be too easy (or tempting) to send it inadvertently.

Source: hr.blr.com

Worker bees create buzz at BreadHive

(Shared by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

GUSTO | By Mark Sommer | Published August 23, 2017 | Updated August 23, 2017

The question is heard often at BreadHive Bakery & Cafe.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, ‘How do I talk to a manager?’ ” said Emily Stewart, who founded BreadHive with Allison Ewing. “But there’s not one, there’s six, and people change when they realize they’re talking to an owner.

“It’s usually followed by, ‘How old are you?’ ”

BreadHive is a worker cooperative-owned business. It began as a wholesale distributor in a storefront in April 2015 on the West Side at 123 Baynes St. A cafe followed in June 2016 at 402 Connecticut St.

Read more…

How to Write a Mission Statement in 5 Easy Steps

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

Bplans.com
by Tim Berry

I’ve had a 30-year love-hate relationship with mission statements. I’ve read thousands. I love it when a mission statement defines a business so well that it feels like strategy—which does happen—and I hate it when a mission statement is generic, stale, and completely useless. Which also happens, but not nearly as often.

What is a mission statement?

A good mission statement is useful tool for well-run business. It’s the “why” of business strategy.

A mission statement define a company’s goals in three important ways:
It defines what the company does for its customers
It defines what the company does for its employees
It defines what the company does for its owners
Some of the best mission statements also extend themselves to include fourth and fifth dimensions: what the company does for its community, and for the world.

Developing your company’s first mission statement, or writing a new or revised one, is your opportunity to define the company’s goals, ethics, culture, and norms for decision-making. The daily routine of business gets in the way sometimes, and a quick refresh with the mission statement helps a person take a step back and remember what’s most important: the organization has a purpose.

Read more…

4 Ways to work smarter, not harder

(Submitted by Ryan Mapes, Manager, Endeavor Center and Program Leader, Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Updated July 22, 2017
Published on February 19, 2014
By Gillian Davis
Entrepreneur Handbook

You’re contemplating taking the dive and setting up your own business, or perhaps you have already. It’s no more 9 to 5, you’re setting your own timelines, you are your own performance review. Your days now vary from being highly productive to highly disruptive. If you’re like me, the thought of doing anything non-work related between 9 to 5 makes you anxious, yet you then end up working all day and throughout the weekend. I’ve come to realize that not only is this ridiculous, it’s also unsustainable!

So what’s the key to settling into the lifestyle of an entrepreneur? Here are some tips I’ve used to help me.

1. Create a project plan

To get somewhere, you have to know where you are going. Your mind is probably running a mile a minute, and you have to lay out a plan to make sure how, and when, you can make those dreams possible.

As a business owner, you should be pretty clear as to what you are going to offer and to whom. You must be very clear on your vision, especially in year one, as to what the product offering is, and an in-depth insight into who your ideal customers are. What do you need to accomplish to get there? Laying out a 12 month, top-level plan will help you see what your year looks like (is it realistic?), the lead time needed for projects, and will allow you to figure out what your priorities are i.e.,. when you need to start planning trips, conferences, vacations, etc. Being clear on your vision and why you’re taking this leap will be the light at the end of the tunnel when days are a bit dark.

Read More …

Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The Simple Dollar www.simpledollar.com
Strange Reasons Your Credit Score Could Change
by John Ulzheimer
Updated on 07-17-17

Credit scores aren’t static. They don’t rise and fall like temperature. No, credit scores are simply a snapshot evaluation of your credit report information at a given point in time. But when the information on your credit reports changes, your scores will generally be different the next time they’re calculated.

Certain credit events may lead to a predictable difference in your credit scores. For example, if your credit report shows a new missed or late payment, a new collection account, or a new tax lien filed against you, you can presume that your credit scores will be impacted. But it’s not always this clear cut. Sometimes your credit score changes for less than obvious reasons.

Read more…

Handling Customer Complaints

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

The Best Way to Handle Customer Complaints
by: Trisha Miller
bplans.com
http://articles.bplans.com/

If you’re thinking about starting up a small business or you’ve just recently launched, fantastic customer service is undoubtedly on your radar.

You want your customers to come away from an experience with your company having seen you in the best possible light. In an optimal situation, the majority of them would not only become repeat customers but would also enthusiastically recommend your product or service to others.

This, however, is easier said than done. Handling customer complaints can be difficult, especially right when you start a new business. However hard it may be to take criticism, it’s extremely important to the growth of your small business. Even if a customer doesn’t necessarily give you easy-to-swallow feedback, learning to see past harsh words and hear valid complaints and suggestions for improvement is vital.

Don’t fret! Here’s what you need to know to handle customer complaints with ease.

How to look past negativity

Starting a new business can be scary. Investing your time, effort, and finances into a venture that might not be a sure thing can be intimidating.

However, customer complaints shouldn’t add any stress. Fear of failure is high on the list of reasons why people sometimes choose not to pursue great ideas. For some, criticism or complaints can be viewed as a failure—but they aren’t. They’re actually just the opposite; they are an opportunity to improve.

Maybe you’ve heard horror stories from other business owners about “their worst customer ever,” but you should know that these types of scenarios are rare, though memorable.

No matter what happens, remember, even when delivered unskillfully, your complaining customers are providing a treasure trove of information on how you improve your business and your customer service approach. If you view complaints this way, you’ll be able to better prepare yourself and your team for any challenging conversations.

Read More ==>>

Turn Your Hobby Into a Business

(Shared by Jennifer Dunn, Program Assistant, Endeavor Center, OSU South Centers)

If passion is key to success and you are doing the “work” you love as a hobby, consider turning it into a business to generate some income. Check out the How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business article for some things to consider as you make plans.

Bplans Article
How to Turn Your Hobby Into a Business
by Candice Landau