Entrepreneurial

Small business defense against cybercrime

Small businesses can innocently expose themselves to cybercrime when an employee opens an email that appears to be from the CEO, not updating the anti-virus program or having a laptop lost or stolen.

Eduard Goodman, Chief Privacy Officer for Identity Theft 911 has seen an increase in small businesses being targeted for cybercrime within the last five to seven years. Highly desirable data include customer information lists and personally identifiable information such as social security numbers, dates of birth and account numbers.

A recent survey by Symantec and the National Cyber Security Alliance shows 85 percent of small business owners believe their company is safe from hackers, viruses, malware or a cyber-security breach. Sixty-nine percent rely on Internet security for their business’s success.

Yet, the same survey shows 77 percent don’t have a formal Internet security policy for employees and 49 percent don’t even have an informal policy.

So how can small businesses protect themselves?

Ensuring your business has the latest anti-virus, spyware and firewall programs is one method of protection, according to Goodman. Training on how to recognize phishing emails is essential as fraudsters will send emails from someone like the CEO of a company so employees think they have to open the email.

Building a bridge to the life you want

The average worker spends about 100,000 hours of his/her life working. In Rich Horwath’s experience most people work at jobs they don’t like. Making a plan though can help one have the “greatest days of their lives” according to Horwath, a business strategist.

In his book Strategy for You: Building a bridge to the life you want (to be published in January 2012) Horwath outlines a five-step plan for building a bridge to the life you want. Entrepreneurial spoke with Horwath about how one can create a successful life for themselves.

What does the bridge symbolize in your book?

The bridge symbolizes how you get from where you are today to the goals and objectives that one sets for themselves. In the real world a bridge spans obstacles or barriers. Strategy helps you span or overcome the obstacles you might face.

A new lifeline for inner city businesses


Reuters spoke to Mary Kay Leonard, CEO of the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, a Boston-based national non-profit that educates investment-ready inner-city businesses about growth capital. The group last week held its seventh annual Inner City Capital Connections Program to match companies with capital providers in conjunction with Bank of America and Fortune magazine.

Q: What is ICIC?

A: ICIC is a national non-profit based in Boston. We’re basically a research and strategy firm focused on growing jobs in the most economically distressed areas in our cities. One of the issues we know that businesses in the inner cities face, especially smaller businesses, is the ability to access capital.

Q: Describe the Inner City Capital Connections Program.

A: We’ve tweaked it over the years, but essentially it finds strong and growing inner-city businesses that could grow more, but for capital. We bring them together for a full day of executive education that helps them understand what their capital needs are, and what’s the best source of capital. We do some coaching for them around how do you pitch for capital, because debt is very different from equity.

How small businesses can hire the right people

Doug and Polly White have seen small businesses use all kinds of questionable hiring practices. There was the entrepreneur who hired anyone looking for work. Then there was the woman who hired and fired her sister twice. The list goes on.

In their book, Let Go to GROW: why some businesses thrive and others fail to reach their potential , the Whites found from their business consulting that entrepreneurs often don’t know how to hire employees.

“No one is born knowing how to hire and manage people,” said Polly. “You come into this with no clue how to hire and manage people. So entrepreneurs often end up hiring friends and family. While your friends and family may be right for a job in your organization it’s not always the right way to go.”

from MediaFile:

So you want to be a space entrepreneur…

What's cooler than being an Internet entrepreneur? Making a living as a space entrepreneur.

A handful of space-age capitalists convened at the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Arizona this week to discuss the opportunities and challenges of the burgeoning field of intergalactic commerce.

Among the promising business opportunities waiting in the heavens: new and plentiful sources of energy, resource extraction, zero-gravity manufacturing, real estate and tourism.

Startup BitGym aims to inspire geeks to work out with iPads, iPhones

– Alastair Goldfisher is a contributor for PE Hub and acting Editor-in-Charge at Venture Capital Journal, both Thomson Reuters publications. This article originally appeared here. Any views expressed are his own. –

With more and more VC-backed personal health and fitness companies targeting the hardcore exercise fanatic, it was only a matter of time before a startup emerged to go after the less enthusiastic cardio burner.

Witness BitGym, a startup being launched out of the Rock Health accelerator in San Francisco that says it has raised “some” seed funding.

from MediaFile:

Confused about media and ad technologies? There’s a Lab for that.

Between the bazillion ad technology companies all claiming to revolutionize online advertising and an explosion of devices and services that promise to deliver  movies straight from the Internet to the TV, it's  a full time job keeping tabs on what can do what.

That's why Interpublic Group's Mediabrands launched Media Lab last Thursday, a 5,000 square foot space dedicated to learning and figuring out which end is up with various technologies available to marketers.

IPG vets technology before it can even make it to the front door of the Lab -- meaning just because it's out there doesn't mean it makes the cut for testing. More than 500 companies are in its database and the Lab keeps in radio contact with venture capital firms and emerging media and tech related companies both large and small to stay on top of trends.

from MediaFile:

The Life of Jack: Twitter/Square co-founder details his grueling workweek

Managing a fast-growing tech start-up is not a job that everyone is cut out for.

Managing two of today’s hottest start-ups simultaneously? That’s a feat that could overwhelm even some of the corporate world's biggest egos.

Somehow, Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of microblogging service Twitter and mobile payment company Square, is managing to pull it off, putting in 8 hour days at each of the two companies every day, without collapsing into a pile of jello.

How does he do it?

Dorsey, who serves as Chairman of Twitter and CEO at Square, shed some light on his double-duty worklife during a talk at the Techonomy conference in Tucson, Arizona on Sunday.

Few small businesses plan to hire

Many small business owners in the United States are reluctant to hire more employees in the near term as economic uncertainty and sagging sales continue to put pressure on company balance sheets, the latest index on small business optimism from the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) shows.

Of the 2,077 small businesses in NFIB’s membership surveyed, the number of companies planning to increase staff is down two percentage points to just nine percent, while 12 percent plan to reduce their workforce over the next three months. The report also shows employment has been reduced for the fifth month in a row with an average reduction of 0.1 workers per company.

“Small businesses seem to have the right number of employees,” said Holly Wade, senior policy analyst at the NFIB. “They’re breaking even. But until they see a pick-up in consumer spending there’s no reason to hire.”

7.5 million reasons not to call your rival the Taliban

– Cynthia Hsu is a contributor to FindLaw’s Free Enterprise blog. FindLaw is a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

With the down economy, businesses these days are trying everything to get an edge. But whatever you do, be wary of defamation laws. For example: calling your rival car dealership something akin to the “Taliban Toyota” might just end up costing you millions.

That’s exactly what happened in the case of Bob Tyler Toyota of Pensacola, Florida. Employees at the Toyota dealership spread rumors and slurs about Shawn Esfahani, the owner of the Eastern Shore Toyota in Daphne, Alabama. They told customers that he was funneling money to insurgents. And that he was an Iraqi terrorist.

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