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As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.
Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.
Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?
Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.
And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.
Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.
For the business user, the main advantages to working in a company that has an exchange server are:
1. File sharing
2. Access to email from any configured computer
3. Contacts access
4. calendar syncrhonized and shared between all employees
Essentially it means the office worker can use any configured computer to access his or her files, emails and calendar. The company will often configure a laptop and provide remote access so the member of staff can also work from home or while travelling and still have complete access.
The problem with this kind of product when it comes to a small or mid sized company, is that it requires someone to manage it and there is a huge cost, in terms of both initial cost and ongoing expenses.
So if you manage a small business and you want your employees to have a high level of flexibility i.e. to be able to telework or while travelling, or even to hotdesk at the office, you will need an exchange substitute.
There are two alternatives which will offer you many of the features of Exchange without the expenditure.
The first is a hosted exchange server. The second is the Easy-Email synchronization solution plus file synchronization software.
A Hosted Exchange server is a great solution. You get almost all the advantages but you are spared the resource cost and management time. You simply pay according to the number of users. This allows for quick expansion so as the business grows you just increase a user.
Easy-Email is a fabulous alternative for small firms.
Its an email sync answer set out in the form of a series of guides that you, or an IT professional you hire, can follow. It will sync a users mail and contacts on their desktop, laptop, home computer, pda or netbook. In addition it will allow them to manage their email from any other computer via Gmail.
The Easy-Email solution is incredibly good value compared to any other alternative solutions It’s just $67 US for the Advanced Guide to Outlook and you can get all of your staff set up for this fee!
The disadvantage in comparison with exchange is that there is at present no shared calendar so you will need to use a google calendar or similar.
And in terms of shared files and folders its really simple. Set up Dropbox. Dropbox provides you with a system of shared folders that are all automatically sync’d via the internet but they are also stored on the computer so you dont have to be online to access the files. You can select which people have access to which folders and the first 2GB of storage space is free (and it’s very reasonable after that).
With over 20 years experience and exposure to small business, we have learned an enormous amount on what to do and what to avoid. You don’t need to go through all the problems we experienced trying to start-up a small business. We’re happy to share our secrets with those who’d like to listen. Yes, we’ve made mistakes. Some only small, others took us to the brink of bankruptcy! But the great thing is we learned from them and took away important lessons each time.
We took these lessons, and combined with our formal Business Management and Development Training, have developed our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success. These are the very same Quick and Easy Systems we used to grow our Successful International Franchise Network.
Yes! We went from our garage to franchise in under 12 months, and International Franchise in just over 2 years. We later sold our interests, and profited further from our systems. Our processes are easy to understand , with clear methods to follow. By following our 7 Vital Keys To Small Business Success program, you could quickly establish your own small business, helping you enjoy the lifestyle you desire and the freedom to be your own boss. We know it works. We have seen these processes repeated over and over. Small Business should be about working smart, not working yourself into the ground.
Starting a Small Business can be risky. About 80% of small businesses fail in the first 2 years. So why do people keep doing it, you ask? Why put your money, family and reputation on the line, just to follow your dreams? Because it’s such a wonderful feeling to start-up and run your very own successful small business. You don’t need to go it alone, though. There is help. Overcome the statistics and be one of the successful few. Start your small business with the right help and know how. You will achieve amazing results in the best possible time, with less headaches, and saving you hard earned dollars along the way.
Information is business assets, like other valuable business assets, that must be protected against any threats. In medium to enterprise business networks, the management of the information security is a must. In small business networks, generally the organizations lack of competent security experts that should manage the information security. Therefore the choice of the deployment of small business network security appliance is a must for small organizations.
In large enterprise networks, they have many layers of security protections including the endpoint security, the management of information security and policies which must be enforced to all business unit groups. Unlike large scale business or enterprise networks, in small organizations – generally they do not develop the management of information security in place.
This is generally due to lack of IT security expertise which does not compare to the assets that must be rotected. Any layers of security that should be deployed, depends on how critical your information assets is. Therefore, they mainly focus in securing the endpoint security.
The entry point of the private network generally where all the internet threats are coming from, the intruders or the hackers as well as the malware will start to attack the vulnerabilities they found. Therefore, small business network security should concentrate in protecting the entry point by any types of secured firewall appliances. There are many security appliances available in the marketplace you can consider to use for your organization.
The following are some of the small business network security appliances you can consider to use for your small organizations. DSD-150 is designed for home or SOHO networks that use broadband internet connection.
DSD-150 Security appliance
D-Link DSD-150 internet security adapter is an all-in-one small business network security which is designed for home and small business networks. With this single device connected in the entry point of your broadband internet connection, you have a complete protection including network protection, firewall protection, virus protection, spyware protection, identity protection, pop-up blocker, SPAM blocker, and parental control – all in a palm-sized box.
DSD-150 is suitable for home and SOHO as small business network security which has 4 computers or more. installation and configuration is easy, DSD-150 has 2 Ethernet ports, WAN port must be connected to the modem (RJ-45 LAN port), and the LAN port must be connected to the wireless router.
CheckPoint Safe Office 500
CheckPoint Safe Office 500 is a small business network security a total internet security appliance for small to medium sized business networks. If your organization is lack of security personnel, dont worry trust the network security to this CheckPoint Safe Office 500 that can protect a network of up to 100 users from any types of network threats.
Perhaps one of the most challenging career and employment situations imaginable takes place every single day when individuals serving in the military prepare to move from military service to a new career. This involves thousands of motivated government employees who at first glance should have absolutely no trouble in obtaining an appropriate job. It is hard to imagine any prospective employees who would have more motivation to work hard and succeed in whatever they do.
Despite initial appearances, military personnel are currently experiencing a high unemployment and underemployment rate. Perhaps because of this or outdated assumptions about the value of all forms of college education, the first step in military transition to business careers is often a decision to obtain a college degree. This can prove to be the right move in some cases, but it can also become an expensive mistake.
The difference between education and training is frequently misunderstood by many people, and such misunderstandings probably contribute to a disproportionate percentage of career choices focusing on educational institutions instead of more specialized (and much cheaper) career training programs. While advanced education has a special place for specific purposes and goals, it is simply not the best career choice in a surprising number of cases. One of the best possible illustrations of this dilemma occurs when someone is departing from the military. In this situation, education can appear to be the “easy” decision. But with more scrutiny, training frequently emerges as the “smart” decision.
Just as specialized business training is usually one of the most cost-effective strategies available to small businesses, the selection of a practical career training program will often prove to be a more cost-effective military transition alternative in comparison to other options that include lengthy and expensive university studies. It is true that the most viable and appropriate training choices will require some investigative time and effort to evaluate thoroughly. In large part this is due to the fact that colleges and universities have extensive marketing resources to advertise and persuade while the less well-known training opportunities are more of a “word of mouth” situation.
For example, one of the most effective career training situations devotes no resources whatsoever to advertising and lobbying. In this case the program leads to a small business finance consulting career. Because overhead is much less than the highly-capitalized universities, the cost of such services are understandably much less. Unfortunately it is not always true that you get what you pay for, so a prudent military transition will require due diligence from start to finish.
Stephen Bush has provided candid business advice to small business owners for over 30 years. He specializes in business negotiating and business proposal writing. Steve offers career training programs for small business finance consulting throughout the United States and Canada. He is a U.S. Navy veteran who works directly with individuals leaving military service and helps with the transition to a small business career.
The bank a small business owner chooses to bank with is critical to the success of a business. Choose a bank that takes too many fees out, or one that doesnt offer the services a small business needs, and the success of the business is on the line. Conducting research before choosing which bank you use for your small business banking is critical. If you are in the beginning stages of your bank research, the following questions can help you determine if a bank is right for your small business.
The first question you should ask is what banking options the bank provides your small business. Every small business is different, and the banking options one business needs will vary from another. Determining what features are offered, and how they help your small business can help you determine if a certain bank is right for your small business banking needs. Some questions to consider asking include if a bank provides online access to bank accounts, the ability to choose remote checking, and the option to directly deposit checks and money remotely. Once you have determined what features and banking options are being offered to your small business, you can determine what bank offers you the most.
The second question you should ask is what, if any, potential is there for accessing small business loans. Some banks include in their small business banking features the ability to easily gain access to small business loans. If there is reason to believe that your small business may need to apply for a loan sometime in the future, then a bank that offers easy access to a small business loan might be beneficial. If a small business loan is not on the horizon, then the small business loan feature doesnt affect your decision on which bank to use.
The third question you should ask is what bank fees will your small business occur over time. Small businesses will sometimes incur thousands in bank fees over a period of time. Asking what bank fees are can help you assess whether a particular bank is right for your small business banking needs. Banks fees to consider include account holding fees, fees to access online accounts, transaction fees, debit card fees, and remote banking fees. Once you have determined what fees are being assessed by which bank, you can determine which bank is the best choice for your small business.
If you are like most businesses, the answer lies somewhere between ambivalence and total disdain.
All small business owners know the importance of low cost overhead. Working smart with your money has never been more important than it is in today’s economy. A very efficient way for small businesses to save huge dollars is by subscribing to a small voip phone system, also referred to as voice over internet protocol services. It is a method for making telephone calls by using the Internet. The technology became available around 1990 but with the recent advancements it has become a strong replacement for the traditional land line service.
One of the reasons that Internet VoIP is so popular is because it is very inexpensive as well as dependable. All of the equipment such as bluetooth voip headset, voip phone adapter, and headaches are hosted by the provider so all the business needs to worry about is the Internet connection and a telephone. In some cases you’ll be able to use the same telephones that you used for your land-line while others a special Voip broadband phone will be the best solution. The call quality is so good that rarely would anyone know that you were not using a land line. The provider keeps all the updates and relative maintenance up to date so having equipment or a service that becomes obsolete is not a concern.
The cost of Internet VoIP is so inexpensive because the calls are able to transmit over the Internet in place of a local telephone company’s system. By bypassing the local telephone company there is no fees that have to be paid to them. The process of dialing out and receiving calls is the same. You will need a high speed Internet connection and small voip phone system that is on at all times with a bandwidth large enough for the transmissions to always be clear.
To get started with Internet VoIP you’ll need to choose a voice over internet protocol providers and subscribe to the voip phone plans that best fits your business needs. With all the Internet VoIP options and providers now in the market place, it can be confusing for businesses to know what they need and the best provider for them.
AVAD Technologies, specialists is small business Hosted VoIP, has launched aggressive new pricing on its Hosted VoIP Phone Service. If you are thinking about switching your business to VoIP or just have some questions, please feel free to call (800) 733-4136
Click for Business voip telephone and Hosted pbx providers
When considering whether you are ready for small business coaching, check first to see if you are suffering from any of the following 3 business frustrations. An experienced coach can guide and support you in remedying these road blocks to small business success.
Not Enough Customers
One of the major frustrations for entrepreneurs is how to consistently fill their sales pipeline with qualified prospects Are you suffering from too few prospects to convert into customers? Have you considered your approach to how you go about marketing your business?.Many businesses utilize a very limited tool box of strategies and tactics in bringing potential customers to their business. A small business coaching program can open your eyes to many different methods for pulling more clients and their dollars.
Lack of Focus and Lack of Direction
It is very easy to become distracted and diminish your effectiveness by splitting your attention over too many tasks. Are you doing too many things and think this means you are productive? This can lead to poor results and an unhappy business owner. Machines can multi task; humans weren’t designed for this function.
Reaching your goals and dreams is more probable when a clear focus and defined objectives are directing your energies. To satisfy your main business goals you need to forego the adhoc decision making approach and structure the way you make decisions based on important priorities. A decision to commence a small business coaching program could be the answer.
Working Too Many Hours
Perform this exercise and enlighten yourself. Write down how many hours you are putting in each week towards running your business. Multiply this by say 50. Now jot down how much you draw in remuneration from the business per annum. Divide the dollar amount by the yearly hours and this will reveal your hourly rate. Sometimes owners will discover what they already feared; that they are earning less than some of their employees.
One of your reasons for starting a small business coaching regime may have been to be financial independent or at least to make enough to enjoy a great lifestyle. The main goal here is to improve your business to the point where:
– You are making more income than if you were working for someone else
– The business is making a profit (not just covering your drawings)
– You will eventually be working less hours
Small Business Cash Advance is almost similar to a small amount of business loan your business house applies and receives the funding and can utilize the funds for various uses in the business and your business house needs to repay the advance. However, there are substantial differences.
The Small Business Cash Advance is by nature, unsecured. The approval for business cash advance is not subject to the investigation or scrutiny that is undertaken in the case of a small business loan. You do not need to prove your credentials or demonstrate your plan.
Additionally, Small Business Cash Advance does not require any kind of share in equity ownership in the business house and the business house is free to utilize the funds in any manner whatsoever, as is required. The lenders of Small Business Cash Advance determine the amount of Small Business Cash Advance based on the amount of cash flow from the monthly credit card charges.
The approval rates of Small Business Cash Advance almost ten times higher than that of a regular bank loan. This is mainly because of the multiple barriers and the long winding application cycles and processes banks thrust upon the loan applicant.
If you want to procure a Small Business Cash Advance from any of the institutional lenders, your business house will have to accept the credit cards as a standard mode of payment.
The applicant of the Small Business Cash Advance will have to process a minimum amount as credit card sales every month, and additionally, the business must have been operational for a period of at least a year. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.
The biggest advantage is that the funding is made steady and is always consistently available to the applicant business house so that at no point in time, lack of cash becomes a hindrance in the development of the business and puts the business house in difficulties.
Small Business cash advances can be repaid by credit card sales and the repayments are usually processed through the merchant account of the business house. All other kinds of payments received in the form of check, cash or any other means are not accepted for repayment. There are usually no fixed payments decided; you do not need to bear any upfront costs and no need to bear any closing cost.
The biggest advantage with the small business cash advances is that they are hassle free and the business houses can procure such loans or advances very easily and with minimal documentation. The only downside is that these advances are unsecured and unsecured business cash advance can tend to become a liability.
For more going on fifteen years, I have been helping business owners and organizations hold events. The events ranged from races, to fairs, to concerts and dinners. Though the attendance varied greatly between them, the goals of management were often met and exceeded.
Events are the best way to:
get prospects to visit your store for the first time
build upon existing relationships with customers and vendors
grow existing lines of revenue
rally and motivate workforce and volunteers
grow online presence and position
have a great time!
Events are very community oriented, and driven by the same. Bringing people together creates buzz.
There are three major areas of an event: event marketing (getting the brand out), event management (making sure the day is planned well and executed successfully), and event planning (getting all the details together to meet the event vision). Working together, these three items, thought out and coordinated, make great events.
I am often asked questions related to any of these three items. The questions I hear range from band and entertainment to how to use Facebook. Small businesses can do a lot with a little encouragement and direction. They can go really far with a little help from someone in the event industry. Small businesses and Organizations have a lot of gusto. They are ready to go all the time. And when they can see that something will get them further, they often grab the opportunity.
Small businesses are flexible. They can have a simple, low cost event marketing schedule coordinated with other ongoing marketing. Pairing an event with current expenditures creates broad public awareness. With current promotions are paired with a chance to experience a business or product, customers have incentive to participate.
I have often seen this occur. In one case, a restaurant advertised their foods as well as an evening with live music. Some monies from the night would be donated to the city fireworks fund. This night brought some business and money for community fireworks. The result was the night of the fireworks show, the restaurant was full to the brim. They had one of their best nights ever.
The power of small business event marketing is understated. Giving customers a reason to experience a small business in the form of a party invitation has leverage. As a small business owner, having an event can be fun, rewarding, and valuable to sales overall.