May 19, 2019

Make Appointment Scheduling Easy, 36% of Clients Avoid Businesses that Don’t

Service Business Customer Expectations - Advice From the Clients

Data shows a clear rise in customer expectation. And digital technology seems to be driving this increase. A study carried out by Keap points out this very fact. More than a third or 36% of clients refuse to deal with service providers who don’t simplify their appointment scheduling.

Remember this applies just to appointment scheduling. So your small business needs an easy to use platform for scheduling appointments. Or you might lose more than a third of your customers before you even talk to them.

Fortunately many solutions exist for small businesses So you can take care of these and other issues. But keep in mind all the customer service matters which are now relevant for today’s consumers.

Besma Bihnam serves as senior content creator for Keap. Bihnam writes, “While customer service is important, it’s no longer just about customer service. Consumers have come to expect excellent service before they become a client and while they’re a client.”

The report adds, consumers now want to do business with companies that feel they can trust and develop a relationship with. And developing these relationships is key to long-term customer retention.

Keap carried out the Client Service Expectations Study by surveying 3,000 people across the United States. The goal was to determine if the service-based small business they hired delivered good or bad service. The respondents were asked if their expectations were being met or not met by small businesses.

Delivering Better Customer Service

It is important to note small business owners know customers now demand more. In a survey conducted by Keap in 2018, small businesses (70%) think clients are more demanding. And 80% also said their clients expect small businesses to be more available. This includes around the clock, online, and by phone.

Biham concluded it is imperative for small businesses to take a proactive approach to the customer experience. Because the reactive customer service approach no longer works.

An important data point in the study highlights the importance of delivering quality service for each customer. Because they will in great part determine your new customer acquisition rates.

When asked how they find service providers, 62% said by getting recommendation from someone they know. This is almost two in three customers.

An overwhelming majority or 89% also said they are more likely to hire a service provider who was referred to them.

What can service providers do?

Making your appointment scheduling is a good first step. The survey adds being responsive is key, as 44% of clients won’t hire someone if they don’t provide fast follow up.

As for practical implementations, Keap recommends service providers to:

  • Have a clear vision and understand your clients
  • Get feedback from your clients and act on them
  • Consider the client experience as an asset and not an expense
  • Measure the ROI of the client experience

Using a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is one way to keep track of the customer journey. This can help you automate the engagement with your clients and prospects while managing your relationship with them more effectively.

Service Business Customer Expectations – Advice From the Clients

From the customer side of the equation, clients in the Keap survey offered the following advice to service providers.

  • “Treat your last appointment like your first … they shouldn’t feel rushed and end up with a lousy product.”
  • “Take your time. Treat each client like they are your best, even if they are your worst in terms of the amount of business they are doing.”
  • “Don’t put pressure on the customer to decide quickly.”
  • ”A more upbeat personality goes a long way.”
  • “Always listen to what your customer is really saying.”
  • “When you hire subcontractors, you should be accountable to the work that they do. It is your job to ensure that what the customer paid for is completed.”
  • “Keep business and home separate.”
  • “Focus on your client more, your staff less.”
  • “No shortcuts, do it exactly as you would your own home.”
  • “Explain things so I can really understand.”

The report by Bihnam is a very worthwhile read if you are a small business owner looking to get some real-world applicable insight into today’s customer journey.

Service Business Customer Expectations - Advice From the Clients

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Make Appointment Scheduling Easy, 36% of Clients Avoid Businesses that Don’t" was first published on Small Business Trends

May 19, 2019

Are Photo ID Cards the Most Effective Security Measure to Your Business?

We’re living in a time where security in the workplace is more important than ever before. Company bosses and HR professionals have a responsibility to care for their employees and ensure office environments are the safest place possible for workers which means security measures have to be taken.

Photo ID cards have become a popular choice amongst businesses as an effective security measure for identifying staff and visitors and allowing access to specific areas but are they the best option for your business?

What Are Photo ID Cards?

Photo ID cards are a small PVC card, usually the size of a credit card with a photograph of the individual on, often as well as their name and job title. Usually placed in a badge holder and attached to a lanyard so they can be worn by staff at all time, ID cards like this can also be customised for individual businesses.

Company branding can be added as well as barcodes/passcodes that turn the ID card into an electronic key to unlock specific areas of buildings when paired with security systems.

Photo ID cards are quite a common security measure in large office buildings or within businesses as a means of not only identifying staff by name, face and job title but also allowing specific access to be granted to different individuals.

Why Do Businesses Choose Photo ID Cards?

There are many reasons so many businesses already use photo ID cards as their chosen form of security for the workplace but the main reason is quite simply that it is an effective method.

As security methods go, photo ID cards are the easiest to implement across a business of any size, relatively economical once initially implemented and in general, one of the most efficient security methods. Cards are light, thin and easy for all staff to wear in a lanyard at all times, access control systems are subtle to fit around a building and technically, if you don’t have the correct access built into your card, you can’t access areas you shouldn’t.

When compared to other security/access control methods, photo ID cards do generally reign supreme. There’s not really any other method currently available that combines identification and access control in one, which are the two most important elements of security in any business.

Key fobs don’t have the option of adding photo ID, meaning they only offer an access control solution and most of the time, they security fobs are attached to people’s office keys which if you leave them on your desk when you head around the building, your access to certain areas is then limited.

Some companies provide employees with digital ID cards that are kept on work phones as a form of identification when heading into specific areas of the workplace but this concept doesn’t always provide access control and also has a lot of room for error, such as phones breaking or IDs not loading. This also forms the same issue as key fobs in the sense that as this ID is kept on a phone you have to pick up and remember to carry, you could easily leave it at home or on your desk.

The Cost of Photo ID Cards

If you’ve decided you wish to use photo ID cards as the chosen security measure for your business and are now interested in cost then this is where research becomes essential.

There’s plenty of company’s that can provide photo ID cards that are printed to match your company’s criteria and that work with your chosen access control system, Digital ID being one of them.

The exact cost of a batch of photo ID cards varies depending on the specification you have chosen, such as the designs and the technology they require but as a rough idea, 100 standard sized ID cards from Digital ID, with one design and made with NXP 4K Mifare technology will cost between £370 and £450. The access control system that goes with these cards retails for between £40 and over £100, depending on the system you choose.

Although this form of security system can have quite an expensive setup cost, it is long lasting and reliable, so once the initial set up cost is funded, you only need to cover the cost of additional and replacement ID cards being printed which is something you can outsource or do in house.

In comparison to other security measures, the cost of key fobs compared to photo ID cards varies, depending on what you require. Key fobs offer no form of ID and therefore the cost of producing them is often less as there is no need for customisation, however, the lower cost is reflective of a less reliable security measure.

How to Set Up Your Photo ID Card Security System

The process of setting up your photo ID card security system is actually relatively straightforward.

The first step is to choose whether you want standard ID cards or access control cards and buy the relevant technology if required. You will need access control card readers for the number of locations around your office space you wish to restrict access to and these will need installing.

You then need to design your ID cards and use an ID card printing service for the process or buy the required device and materials to print them in house. The cost of these two options varies and the option that is right for your business will depend on how many cards you need and how often you will need cards printing. If you only need one lot of cards printing, getting them done professionally will ensure an affordable and quality product but if you know you will regularly need to print new cards, printing in house may end up being the most economical option.

A Recap on the Benefits of a Photo ID Card System

So, we’ve looked at how the systems work and the costs, so let’s recap the benefits of this form of security within a workplace:

  • Option to buy cards with and without access control for different members of staff
  • Clear and simple form of identification
  • Long lasting and reliable form of security
  • Easy to roll out and implement throughout a business
  • Lightweight and subtle to wear at all times
  • Easier to have on you at all times in comparison to other forms of ID/access control

Implementing and Promoting Your New Security System

Once you have decided to use photo ID cards, either with or without access control, within your business, you then have the task of implementing and promoting this new security measure amongst your workforce.

If this is an entirely new system you’re introducing to your employees then knowledge is going to be key in getting everyone on board. Hosting a full staff meeting on the day you provide everyone with their new ID cards that explains the full system, why you have chosen to do this and what is expected of the staff as part of this new security measure ensures everyone understands.

Sending out an email within your company that follows up on this information also ensures everyone is aware and has the guidelines for the system in their inbox to refer to at all times.

If this new security measure is something you wish to promote outside of your organisation too, social media posts on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn and customer/supplier email campaigns are quick and cost-effective ways of spreading the message.

The post Are Photo ID Cards the Most Effective Security Measure to Your Business? appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

May 19, 2019

How 3D Modelling Is Different from 3D Rendering

Images plan an important role is almost every segment. Marketing for instance is a lot more inclined towards the images, photography, banner ads etc. While 2d photographs is popular and serves almost every purposes, 3D adds in life to the picture.

The understanding that 3D is just enhanced visual graphics and videos is narrow and misconstrued. 3D is in-depth, and like all professional fields, it has misinterpreted terms. The objective of 3D art is to provide a three-dimensional view of objects in a two-dimensional platform or surfaces.I.e making the image in your screen appear the way you see it in the real world.

3D artists spend hours explaining to clients the difference in 3D models and 3D Renders.

Before seeking 3D artist services or purchasing any of the rendering or modeling software, you must understand their difference.

3D Modelling

3D modeling is the geometrical development of images through 3D software. Primary sources of the images are sketches or photographic images. Original photos are in 2D format, the goal of modeling is to turn them into 3D.

3D Rendering

The render is the final 3D image. 3D rendering is the use of the created 3D model to develop the earlier preconceived design. The goal of rendering is to provide realism to 3D models through creativity and imagination.

Rendering involves a lot of work in balancing colors, shades, and light to achieve eye striking images.

3D Rendering Is impossible without 3D Modelling

The differences in modeling and rendering are now apparent. Modeling is the first step in 3D design. Rendering comes after modeling. 3D artists always have a database of models in their computers, which they use any time a customer requires an urgent render.

Stored 3D models also save cost and time likely to be incurred in subsequent projects.

The Difference in Software and Techniques

If you need 3D services, you have to be aware, that the two processes require different skills, in most cases, you will find specialists in each area of 3D art. There are specialist 3D modelers, rendering artists and 3D animators.

The difference in the software needed for either of the processes is an indication of the distinction in the two 3 D processes.

The software varies in prices, and some are free. Some of the software used in modeling include;

  • 3D splash
  • LibreCad
  • Photoshop CC
  • Sculpt GL
  • Self CAD and
  • TinkerCAD

Softwares used in the rendering are

  • 3Delight
  • Arion
  • Arnold
  • Artlantis and
  • Clarisse

3D software is multiple, be careful to choose software that is comfortable to use, and that serves your intended purpose.

Industry Applications

CGI from modeling and rendering are both useful in industries. Potential differences in the application depending on the purpose. For example, an architect can efficiently use a 3D model to present his designs, while a marketer-in real estate, finds 3D renders to be more useful in capturing potential buyers attention.

Fields that require a prototype for testing purposes prefer using 3D models. Fields that require prototypes are in areas of medicine, electronics, engineering, and software programming.

3D modeling is useful in the fields of product development, where 3D Product visualization presents product specifications and design. Product visualization provides an outlook or step by step elaboration of the product under the plan.

3D models benefit stretch far; i.e., from helping construction companies to the elimination of errors in early stages of construction, concept /product testing to planning.

One industry that has extensively benefited from rendering is the film industries. Favorite movies like Avatar, Transformers, Gravity used 3D tech in production.

In the furniture industry, IKEA, a global furnishings giant, uses renders in its prospectuses and online shops. More companies are likely to embrace renders because of the tremendous benefits of the tech.

Both 3D modeling and rendering, offer an opportunity to cut cost and enhance industrial processes. Perhaps in the future, the differences in software requirements could be minimized through multifunctional software.

The post How 3D Modelling Is Different from 3D Rendering appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

May 19, 2019

How Small Business Owners Should Approach SEO

SEO is a term that can seem opaque, and its full name — “search engine optimization” — doesn’t do much more to explain things. You probably have at least some idea of what we’re talking about when we say SEO; but, as a busy small-business owner, you really don’t have time to master search engine technology. Sure, you know that SEO is about making your online presence more friendly to the top-secret algorithms that generate results for queries put to major search engines like Google and Bing, but what does that involve, and why is it important?

These are key questions, and we’ll answer them below. But we’ll also address something that’s a bit more practical: How can you, as a small-business owner, put SEO to work for your company without having to drop everything and focus on SEO?

Why SEO matters

When search engines like Google first got started, they were interesting ways to find content on the web. But for most small businesses, they weren’t the biggest deal: The Yellow Pages and other phone books were still going strong in those days, and few people were looking for local goods and services on Google.

But major corporations were already trying to figure out how Google’s search algorithm worked. Companies learned that search engine programs called “spiders” would “crawl” the web to find sites, following links to do so — and that lots of links could mean a higher result on the search engines results page, or SERP. Keywords, too, seemed to be important; the more a keyword appeared on a page, the more it seemed to help that page’s ranking for queries with that keyword.

Things got more complex very quickly. Google’s top-secret algorithm is now an ever-changing and confusing things. Links and keyword density still matter, but now there are all sorts of other things to worry about: the quality of the links, for instance, and being too dense with keywords, among other things.

And now, most importantly, local and small businesses need to care more about SEO. The rise of smartphones and ever-increasing amounts of mobile browsing and mobile search have ushered in an era in which smartphones serve as a powerful path from customers to businesses, including small local shops, restaurants, and other businesses. No longer can small businesses afford to skip out on SEO services.

But small businesses can’t afford to hire entire departments to handle SEO, either. So what’s the solution?

Outsourcing: the best way to tackle SEO

If you’re a small-business owner, then you already know that running a business involves being pretty good at a number of different things. From payroll issues to building maintenance, the number of different things that business owners need to worry about is staggering.

At the same time, the savviest small-business owners understand that they don’t really need to handle these tasks personally. Nor do they need to hire entire departments for things that don’t merit that kind of scaling up. The most successful small-business owners know that doing things like payroll in-house can be less efficient than making key decisions to outsource certain tasks.

And SEO is absolutely among the tasks that you will want to consider outsourcing. A smart digital marketing strategy, which will include (but not be limited to) SEO, is a complex thing. It’s not the sort of thing that you’ll want to rig up while eating lunch or working late. Mastering marketing is a full-time job, so turn to SEO experts for digital marketing and managed SEO services.

With trained experts on the job (but not on your full-time payroll), you’ll gain a lean and efficient digital marketing strategy that brings your business greater exposure and greater potential for growths. So get going.

The post How Small Business Owners Should Approach SEO appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

May 19, 2019

Tips to Starting a Successful Liquidation Business

Finding profitable inventory to sell is one of the more challenging aspects of running a retail or resell business. One solution many business owners turn to is liquidation goods. Large retail establishments often liquidate large quantities of product that they either couldn’t sell fast enough or overstocked. If you use the right strategy, this could equal huge profit margins for you.

Find a reputable supplier

The first thing to do is find a reputable liquidation wholesaler. These types of businesses usually sell large quantities of wholesale liquidation pallets filled with new and profitable merchandise. But don’t just buy anything they sell. It’s important to choose the right product for your business model and make sure you factor in all the costs.

Don’t be afraid to ask the seller plenty of questions. Find out where they get their merchandise and whether it’s open-box items, returned merchandise, or overstock. Talk to the wholesaler before you make your deal and ask about shipping, packaging, or other hidden fees. It’s also a good idea to buy just one pallet to begin with so you can test their shipping and business practices before you do further business with them.

Choose a selling platform

Once you know what to sell, you’ll need a platform to sell it on. Online marketplaces like Ebay and Amazon are good choices as they have advertising already built-in. Marketing can still boost your business on these platforms, but it’s not absolutely necessary to stay afloat. Many people also opt for having their own websites either in addition to or instead of selling in ready-made marketplace. The reason they might choose to do this is because they have more control over their own costs.

Of course, online selling is not the only option for unloading liquidation items. You can also sell them in physical establishments. For example, you can open your own brick-and-mortar store, or you can set up booths at your local flea markets. You can even opt to have regular garage sale-type events and sell the merchandise from your home.

Market your business

Even if you sell on an online marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay, it’s still helpful to find ways to drive traffic. It’s even more important if you’re selling items in-person. There are a lot of techniques you can use like newspapers, promos, and trade shows. But those types of things depend a lot on the types of items you sell. Social media marketing, however, is the most popular, effective, and easiest advertising tool at your disposal. And Facebook is still the most popular platform, with over two million users worldwide.

Keep good records

It’s easy to lose track of how much you’re making if you don’t keep good records. You’ll need to specifically track how much you pay for an item, including taxes, shipping, and other fees. You’ll also need to record exactly how much it sold for and what it cost you to get it to your customer. For example, if you sell items in a flea market, be sure to calculate booth rents and other supplies into your expenditures. When you have exact calculations, it’s easier to make decisions on what to restock and what to get rid of. And if accounting isn’t exactly your strong suit, there are plenty of people who offer the service online at affordable prices.

Take care of the paperwork

Lastly, don’t neglect the legal obligations that go along with owning a business. You can start online with websites like SBA (Small Business Administration) and your city and county offices. Find out what your limits are when running a business from your home before you ever get started. You could have city code restrictions you never even knew about. These types of things can end up costing you big portions of profit if you’re not diligent from the beginning.

Liquidation businesses are on the rise, and for good reason. Keep these tips in mind to set your liquidation business up for success.

The post Tips to Starting a Successful Liquidation Business appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

May 19, 2019

5 Best Tips of Writing a Recommendation Letter

Before reviewing the tips for writing a recommendation letter, you need to know the exact recommendation letter format:

Structure of a recommendation letter

A recommendation letter basically is a type of a formal letter, and you cannot be creative to this letter, and there is a proper structure which you have to follow for this letter:

  • Introduction:

This is the first part of the recommendation letter where your referee will present them, and they will state their relationship with you. They could be your employer as well as a professor. The need to mention the general impression they have for you by the time they have known you.

  • Content

This is the main body of the recommendation letter in which your referee will his thoughts regarding you to be one of the best candidates for the Master’s program. Moreover, there will be details of your educational background, personality traits, and other necessary activities.

  • Closing

This is the last segment of your recommendation letter in which your referee will add a closing statement to your message which needs to be a standard closing including the referee’s name, contact details, and signature.

The Structure you learned above for recommendation letter, you should study with some Samples of Recommendation Letter.

Tips to have an impressive recommendation letter

Following mentioned are some essential tips, yet you can know more about Calendar DIY:

1-    Mention diverse achievements

If you have to give 2 recommendation letters at a time, you can write totally two different aspects regarding your personality, academic achievements, and potential.

2-    Help with relevant information

In most of the cases, there are chances that your referees will know you, but still, you have to provide them with all the necessary relevant information especially the records of your educational details so that they recommend you in a better way.

Following mentioned are the details of the information which you have to provide to the referee:

•    The CV

•    A list is containing your grades and academic achievements throughout.

•    The list of extra-curricular activities you’ve been a part of

•    The date of submission of the letter

  • Include the things you have done

Your referee is the person who is recommending you, and he shouldn’t just mention your skills and qualities; instead, he should list the examples related to how you have used those skills in different situations. Such cases will provide extra support for your recommendation letter.

  • The letter should show your improvement over time.

The admission officers are quite versed and experienced, so the letter only praising you won’t work instead of having a recommendation letter which states about your improvement with the passing time is a better option to make a good impression over the admission officers.

  • Take care of the letter’s tone.

A recommendation letter couldn’t be creative, yet it shouldn’t be dry as well. It is a formal document, but you don’t need to confuse the formality with dryness. You need to get a recommendation letter written in a way that it shouldn’t bore the admission officers and yet it shouldn’t be so detailed that the subject starts getting dry for the reader.

The post 5 Best Tips of Writing a Recommendation Letter appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

May 18, 2019

10 Expert Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Small Business Resources

Small business owners have to find ways to make maximum impact with limited resources. This means making use of free or inexpensive online resources, marketing tools and information. Members of the online small business community have plenty of experience in this area. Check out their tools for making the most of what you have below.

Check out Webinars to Help Choose a Business Entity

When you’re just getting started with your business, choosing the proper structure and entity is a must. The webinars included in this CorpNet post by Nellie Akalp can help you access the information you need to make the best possible decision for your business.

Don’t Be a Data Hoarder

Data can be a major asset for your business. But if you collect too much of it and don’t know how to identify the most important pieces of information, it can get overwhelming. Instead, Stephen H. Yu of Target Marketing suggests throwing out some of your data to make it easier for you to actually make the most of it.

Learn How to Build Relationships in a Virtual World

The relationships you build around your business can be one of your greatest assets, whether with your team, partners or clients. But building virtual relationships is different than building relationships in person. Rachel Strella elaborates in this post. And the BizSugar community offered their input here.

Use Online Resources to Develop an Investment Portfolio

If you plan on investing your income or your business’s money, you need to be very confident in those investments. If you need some help planning out your portfolio, check out the online resources included in this Noobpreneur post by Ivan Widjaya.

Take Advantage of the Latest Updates to Google Search Console

Google Search Console can be an incredibly helpful tool for businesses looking to improve their SEO. However, there are a lot of updates and features that can impact the experience. So you need to know how to use it effectively. This Search Engine Watch post by Joseph Chukwube includes some of the updates that you should know.

Look for Tips to Cut Costs When Getting Started

For brand new businesses, resources are often scarce and finite. So you need to find creative ways to keep costs minimal wherever possible. In this Smallbiztechnology.com post, Ramon Ray offers some suggestions for making the most of limited resources for new businesses.

Make the Most of Your Google Ad Campaigns

Advertising on Google can bring you major returns. But it can also lead to wasted dollars if you’re not careful. Learn how to make the most of your campaigns in this Web Presence post by Lee Jackson. Then see what BizSugar members are saying about the concept here.

Supercharge Your Business Website Through Blogging

Your business website is one of your most important online resources. And if yours doesn’t include a blog, you could really be missing out on some essential benefits. Martin Zwilling goes over some of the ways that blogging can supercharge your website in this Startup Professionals Musings post.

Make the Most of Small Marketing Investments

When it comes to your marketing, small businesses need to be able to make a big splash without a huge investment. There are plenty of lean marketing methods you can use to make the most of your limited resources. See this Crowdspring post by Katie Lundin for more on the subject.

Use Straightforward Guides for Product Strategy

Creating a product strategy is an essential part of getting your business up and running. However, a lot of entrepreneurs aren’t sure where to start. So they end up making poor decisions. To avoid this, here’s a guide from Adam Henshall of Process Street.

If you’d like to suggest your favorite small business content to be considered for an upcoming community roundup, please send your news tips to: sbtips@gmail.com.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "10 Expert Tips for Making the Most of Your Limited Small Business Resources" was first published on Small Business Trends

May 18, 2019

Learn to Listen to the Voices of your Customers at this Chicago Event

Consumers change the companies they do business with for a host of reasons. This is why listening to what they say can help you avoid their departure.

Drew Neisser, founder and CEO of Renegade, said on Forbes, “Listen Like Your Life Depends On It (Because it Does).”

Applied Marketing Science (AMS) is holding a training workshop titled, “Listening to the Voice of the Customer” to help you do just that. The act of listening to your customers sounds easy enough, but it is what you do with this information which is critically important.

In the workshop, AMS will introduce you to Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research and teach you how you can use the data to accelerate the innovation of your business.

You will be exposed to hands-on activities and practice exercises to use the applications of these techniques in machine learning and journey mapping.

The workshop will take place on October 16-17, 2019 at the University Club of Chicago.

Enter Discount Code SMALLBIZ and you can get $100 off the course registration price.

Register by clicking the red button.

Register Now

Featured Events, Contests and Awards

Maturepreneur Today Virtual SummitMaturepreneur Today Virtual Summit
June 11, 2019, Online

Maturepreneur Today is holding its full day virtual event on June 11, 2019. The summit is for new, existing and budding entrepreneurs in their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Visit our website to view the entire list of renowned speakers. #MaturepreneurToday

Listening to the Voice of the Customer Listening to the Voice of the Customer
October 16, 2019, Chicago, Ill.

Led by veteran product development and market research experts, this course will introduce Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research and teach you to use it to accelerate innovation in business-to-business markets. The workshop uses a lively, interactive format with numerous hands-on activities and practice exercises to build skills and will also expose you to the latest applications of these techniques in areas such as machine learning and journey mapping.
Discount Code
SMALLBIZ ($100 Off)

More Events

More Contests

This weekly listing of small business events, contests and awards is provided as a community service by Small Business Trends.

You can see a full list of events, contest and award listings or post your own events by visiting the Small Business Events Calendar.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Learn to Listen to the Voices of your Customers at this Chicago Event" was first published on Small Business Trends

May 18, 2019

Attention Small Business Owners: New Warning Issued on Office Emails with Voicemail Messages

Email Message Scam: New Warning Issued on Office Emails with Voicemail Messages

The criminals who launch phishing attacks are relentless in their pursuit to disguise their message. The latest such effort uses a notice for a new voice mail message to get you to click on it.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) just sent a scam alert warning businesses to not click on these phony office emails notifications for new voice mail messages. The BBB said the voicemail messages are so convincing, its staff was almost fooled by the scam.

If the BBB almost fell for it, you can imagine busy small business owners also falling for the scam. And this is what phishing scammers rely on. The hope you will be too busy to scrutinize the email messages you receive.

The Voicemail Message Scam

It starts with unsolicited email notification for a new voicemail from your Office 365 account or another office software.

The BBB says the email looks legitimate because of the images and text in the body of the email. They said the email comes with official software logo along with text stating the message comes from a “trusted source.”

The scammers take the con a step further by adding additional content in the email. According to the BBB, some versions of the emails have a portion of the voicemail transcribed in the email.

“Please contact me ASAP about…” is one of the examples. Even if you’re not 100% sure, this information might be enough to get you to click on the attachment. And once you click the link, it will download malware into your computer or redirect you to a fake form.

Phishing attacks rely on you being busy and not scrutinizing your emails before you open them.

Scrutinize Your Emails

You’ve probably heard this before, but scammers rely on complacency. If you’re not alert and proactive in protecting your business from cyber attacks, you’ll fall prey to these scams.

Phishing scammers know when to send these emails. If you’re a business they’ll choose specific hours and days of the month to make sure they arrive when you are the busiest.

So how do you stop phishing attacks on their tracks? Don’t open an email if you do not know the sender. At the very least, don’t open them right away. If you have any doubts wait until you have more time and go on from there.

The BBB also recommends to:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails. If you’ve never opted into receiving email alerts from a company or software product, be wary of them.
  • Never click on links in emails from strangers. If you don’t know who the email came from, don’t click on the links in their message. Even links that seem harmless can download malware onto your computer.
  • Log into professional accounts directly instead of via email. If you aren’t sure if a message you receive is real, log in directly to your account to check instead of clicking on links in an email.

BBB Sources

You can go to the BBB.org/SmallBusiness page to learn more about scams which directly affect small businesses.

Learn more about phishing and other scams at the following links:  BBB.org/ScamTips  and at BBB.org/PhishingScam.

Another valuable resource is the BBB Scam Tracker, which shows you the latest reported scams across the U.S. The interactive map lets you zoom in so you can see what is taking place in each state, county, and city.

This is a static image of the map and scams.

Email Message Scam: New Warning Issued on Office Emails with Voicemail Messages

This platform works because businesses report scams as soon as they hear about them or they fall victim to them.

The BBB encourages businesses to report these scams. If no one reports them, they will ruin the lives of more other hard-working business owners. Even the largest of corporations get duped by these scams, so there is no need to feel any shame.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Attention Small Business Owners: New Warning Issued on Office Emails with Voicemail Messages" was first published on Small Business Trends

Buy now