March 22, 2019

Looking To Start An Online Store? Here Are Some Websites Where You Can Search Domain Names

Your domain name plays a very important role in defining your online presence. You need to find domain names that align with your brand name. It’s your domain name that your audience will use to find your website. Picking a domain name for your business is not an easy task, and can turn out to be quite overwhelming.

Use domain name generators to search domain names that align with your business

But, today there are various domain generator websites through which you can search domain names for your website. Here’s a list of seven such domain name generating websites you can try.

Domain Name Generators To Search Domain Names

  •  Shopify Business Name Generator is a free-of-cost domain name generator as well. You can search domain names by using possible keywords associated with your brand. Once you put the keywords that you want in your domain name, Shopify ‘s business name generator will provide you with a set of suggestions. The suggestions offered by this tool use the ‘.com’extension.
  • ‘Bust A Name’ is another domain name generator that you can rely on when you want to search domain names for your website. This domain name generator comes with different filters that you can apply when finding an ideal domain name for your website. You can search by specific keywords as well as by applying filters like ‘starts with’ and ‘ends with’. With Bust A Name, you can add different extensions to your domain name. This includes .com, .org, .net. You can also look for random domain names for your website when you don’t have any keywords in mind.
  • Lean Domain Search allows you to search domain names by alphabetical filters, length filters as well as by the level of popularity. Here, you can also save your favorite domain names. Further, you have the option of tracking all your search history through this domain name generator. A great thing about this domain name generator is that it allows you to know if a domain name is already taken.
  • NameStall is another domain name that you can go for. It comes with a range of tools with which you can conduct a domain name search. You can also use filters such as popular keywords, the category of industry, parts of speech, domain extensions and more. You can get the keywords to be added to the beginning or the end of your domain name. This domain name generator tells you which of the domain names are both taken as well as those that are not yet registered. There’s a brand-wise domain name list on this domain name generator tool as well.
  • Panabee is another domain name generator that you can consider. It’s a domain name generator as well as a business name generator. You can use two keywords and then search for all the possible domain name suggestions for your website. Panabee will also alert you if your domain name is already being used by someone else on the internet.
  • Name Station is one more domain name generator that you can use to search domain names. You can sign up on this tool using your email account or your Facebook This tool gives you access to not only the domain generator but the instant availability checker as well. With this, you can check if your domain name is available or not. With Name Station, you can search for your ideal domain name by using filters like name length, domain extensions, and other relevant filters. This tool offers keyword suggestions as well.
  • Instant Domain Search is another tool where you can search domain names. It’s great for you especially if you have already thought of a domain name for your website. The tool allows you to check if a given domain name is available or not. Instant Domain Search will also suggest alternative domain names related to the ones that you want. This way, if they’re already taken you can still look for a related domain name. Moreover, they also let you know which of the domain names are open for auction.

With several options available on the internet, today, buying a domain name can be easy and hassle-free. But it’s difficult to come up with a unique domain name with so many brands online. Name generators like Shopify help you generate domain names automatically and also check if they’re available to use. If you’re planning to start an online store you should definitely think about using a domain name generator to come up with a unique domain name for your website.

The post Looking To Start An Online Store? Here Are Some Websites Where You Can Search Domain Names appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

March 22, 2019

Managed IT Support – Top 5 Things To Keep In Mind When Looking For The Best One

Managed IT Support has become a vital part of many businesses. Although cost reduction is the top reason why businesses outsource their IT needs, Managed IT Services help them efficiently execute numerous time-consuming and complicated IT requirements. They can also help scale up a business’ operations driving success and growth.

When looking for the best Managed IT Support provider for your business, there are five traits you should look for.

Collaborator

Once signed up, a managed services provider (MSP) becomes part of your day-to-day business operations. As such, you want an MSP that focuses on collaboration.

To be an effective partner, the provider needs to understand and embrace your business goals. The IT team will work alongside your company to improve your business strategically and achieve your objectives.

The MSP should be willing to conduct an in-depth assessment and evaluation of your business processes, culture, and your industry as a whole. This is crucial in developing and implementing solutions that are tailored to your business, services, and infrastructure.

You don’t want to work with a provider that will force you into doing things their way. Technicians from Morgan Systems recommend an MSP that offers adaptability. This means they have to meet the IT support you need based on your preferences. As much as possible, you should look for an MSP that has previous experience working with a similar organization in your industry. This should increase the level of efficiency and create better collaboration.

Experience

You want to work with a provider with sufficient experience in your industry. Take note that different niches use different technologies and tools. Hiring a partner who has previously worked on projects within your industry can help you down the line. These providers understand the unique needs of your business and have experience customizing industry tools to improve your IT system for maximum efficiency and productivity further.

Verifiable resources and services

When choosing the best provider, it’s vital that you verify the claims of the company. Sales pitches and marketing strategies can be misleading, so don’t base your decision solely on them. A physical tour of their office can help you see firsthand how they operate. Check the actual resources on hand, the quality of their tech solutions, as well as their business processes and best practices. Ask for references and make sure to validate with these referees.

Proactive

A reliable MSP should implement proactive measures that will guarantee uninterrupted uptime and minimize problems. A proactive provider should continuously monitor your IT infrastructure and recommend solutions to prevent problems. If they are offering only static monthly reports, consider looking for another MSP that guarantees comprehensive IT monitoring and updates.

Cyber threats are among the leading IT challenges of many businesses. MSPs play a vital role in thwarting these threats. Anticipating issues and proactively taking steps to prevent them can greatly help minimize the possibility of cyber-attacks. A reliable MSP should have contingency plans ready to be deployed in case of incidences.

Strong documentation strategies

One of the best practices you need to look for in an MSP is its commitment to documentation. IT systems are extremely vulnerable to unique technical glitches. These unique situations don’t normally have a textbook troubleshooting guide. Having documentation of all scenarios can help you easily resolve similar instances.

Comprehensive documentation can help strengthen your IT management. It can be used to create strategies to avoid the same problem from happening in the future or, in the worst case, be able to respond swiftly to challenges. Documentation also keeps your business up-to-date about the present status of your IT network. This should also help develop a plan for better and more streamlined execution with a lower error rate.

Conclusion

When it comes to choosing a managed service provider to execute your IT plans, it is vital that you spend time finding a good fit. Although every business will have its unique needs, providers that possess these five qualities are generally the best picks.

The post Managed IT Support – Top 5 Things To Keep In Mind When Looking For The Best One appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

March 22, 2019

The Next Generation of Entrepreneurs Are Amazing. Let's Support Them!

We need to stop the division between 'older generation' and 'younger generation.' That holds both sides back.

March 22, 2019

Using multiple communication channels for customer service success

 In a digital age, customers are expecting more and more from businesses when it comes to ways they can get in touch. Simply publishing an email address on your website, and informing customers they can expect a response in 3-5 business days, is no longer acceptable.

Communication needs to be fast and convenient. Failing to deliver on either of these puts businesses at risk of damaging their reputation, particularly when it’s in the public eye –  things can escalate quickly if social media channels are left unchecked!

A recent study revealed that on average, businesses take 12 hours and 10 minutes to respond to a customer service request. Customers expect to receive a reply within an hour. That 11 hour gap leaves a lot of time for a customer to feel like you don’t value their business!

So, how is it that so many companies are failing to meet expectations? Beyond those who are slow to respond due to a lack of resources, a major issue is that there are many ways in which a customer can choose to get in touch. This can make it difficult to keep up with answering questions and managing complaints.

Fortunately, there are best practices and tools that businesses can utilize for customer service success.

A great FAQ section, explainer content, and videos

One of the first points of contact l for a customer will be your website. A huge number of queries can be answered if you provide enough information. Write in plain English, and make it easy to navigate. Looking through common questions your business is asked can help to get you started with writing a FAQ section for your site.

Additionally, having how-to and troubleshooter guides and videos showing users how to use your products and services can eliminate a whole host of questions and concerns that otherwise would have to be answered on a regular basis.

While they take time to develop, the pay-off is being able to communicate with a customer without them ever having to get in touch. The added bonus is that no matter which other method of communication a customer utilizes to contact you, there is already a helpful resource you can to point them to, preventing a lot of back-and-forth.

Contact forms

Make contact forms that are easy for a user to complete, and test them across a range of devices to make sure they work. A customer who wants to ask a simple question is not going to want to provide a lot of personal information or be forced to create an account. And if a customer is already mad, don’t give them a reason to get even angrier by making them jump through unnecessary hoops when filling a contact form!

If possible, don’t disable the autocomplete for inputs. Typing out email addresses and phone numbers may result in mistakes, which further frustrates the customer when you fail to get back to them.

Most importantly, acknowledge that their enquiry has been received, and let them know when they can expect a response. This can be a simple message displayed on the website, or an auto response email that lets them know the query is being dealt with. Not doing so can result in forms being filled multiple times, which will make more work for you or your customer service team!

Social media

 Social media is misused as a communication channel by a huge number of brands; it’s often set up and ignored, or used exclusively to push products and services. Scheduling content through a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer might reduce the time spent on social media management, but if all it’s used for is churning out posts, there is a good chance that genuine questions and queries are being ignored until the next time someone logs in.

Like other channels, speed is key. When it comes to Twitter, 64% of people expect a reply within an hour. However, 58% of customers who send a tweet about a negative experience never receive a response.

Negative comments and reviews can spread like wildfire on social media. Many larger brands have a channel for sharing content, and another for responding to customer service queries. This can be a good way of ensuring that nothing is missed as marketing and customer service can remain siloed.

Live chat

Again, due to its speed, live chat has become an increasingly popular choice, and a great way of responding to less complex queries and complaints. Common questions can have pre-written, standard answers to reply with to save time.

The golden rule for live chat is being able to respond almost instantly. There is no point in offering it as a communication channel if nobody can actively manage it.

Ticketing systems/help desk software

For existing customers, help desk software that allows them to raise a support ticket is a great option. It’s also a convenient solution for the business, too, as it gives complete visibility on the issues customers are having, while being able to provide them with an indication of how long it will take to resolve an issue.

Taking it old skool

Don’t forget the ‘traditional’ comms channels. Many customers will still prefer to get in touch by email, phone, or fax.

Email inboxes can fill up quickly, so it’s a good idea to provide different email addresses for different parts of your business. This means queries can be dealt with immediately by the correct person or team, rather than having to be forwarded to multiple departments from a centralized inbox. Virtual phone numbers allow businesses to set up different numbers for each department which can even be rerouted to mobile devices if someone is away from their desk, or to a call answering service if nobody is available to answer.

Many B2B companies still rely on fax to communicate. Fortunately, faxes can be managed without the need for a cumbersome manual fax machine, and as with email and phone, can be used as a method of communication on the go via a mobile device thanks to cloud fax solutions.

 Keep it simple

 Ultimately, providing customers with the means to get in touch and then failing to deliver on their expectations is almost as bad as not being contactable at all. Find out how your customers prefer to get in touch, then pick the communication channels that you have the time and resources to manage, and focus your efforts on optimizing them.

The post Using multiple communication channels for customer service success appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

March 22, 2019

How to Integrate Automation into Your CRM Sales Processes

Automation has transformed the way online businesses operate by reducing manual tasks and saving time spent on key business processes. For example, automation can help to streamline your customer acquisition and management tasks, improve communication with prospects and your team members, and enhance your overall digital marketing work.

The same benefits can also be extended to your sales department where reps and other members spend a lot of their time prospecting, qualifying leads, engaging customers, and closing sales. In most cases, each of these stages involves repetitive tasks like making calls, sending out emails, initiating contracts, negotiating multiple deals, and much more.

As you can imagine, most sales reps find it challenging to stay on top of these tasks and thus end up wasting lots of valuable time that would have otherwise be spent doing actual work that brings money on the table.

To achieve this, investing in sales automation technology would be a great place to start if you’re looking to save both time and money.

If this sounds like your current situation, we’ve compiled five core sales activities that you can successfully automate to level up your CRM sales processes

Automate marketing and email campaigns.

If you’re already marketing your business online, it’s highly likely that email marketing is a key contributor to the success of your campaigns. Unfortunately, you cannot achieve much if you do all the email marketing work manually, and this justifies the need to incorporate automation into the process.

A number of effective tools have been created to help with this, chief among them being email autoresponder tools and CRMs. You can even combine the two to achieve even better results on aspects like collection of emails, creating appealing landing pages and contact forms, setting up autoresponder email sequences, and tracking customer behavior. For example, this Pipeline MailChimp integration helps you sync contacts and other crucial customer data between Pipeline CRM and MailChimp software. In the end, you have a more complete system that allows you to do all your email marketing work from a single point.

Managing your sales pipeline

Automating your sales pipeline management can help you get rid of the manual data entry and spreadsheet processing tasks that sales agents often have to grapple with every day. For example, using a CRM tool, reps can organize, track and manage most of the sales information within a single dashboard. This translates to optimized workflow that is crucial to proper management of your sales and in scaling business operations.

Prospect monitoring and lead tracking

As a business owner, you should monitor every move your prospect makes to ensure you send personalized sales pitches at the right time. However, it can be quite difficult to track the behavior of prospective customers without the help of automation. What’s more, the longer it takes you to track a lead and make an appropriate move, the lesser the chance of closing a sale.

By integrating automation, you can easily monitor engagement levels and activities of prospect in real-time to avoid missing out on potential sales. Take advantage of any information collected at this stage to initiate meaningful conversations that influence the customer’s purchase decision.

Order management

Order management involves a lot of collaboration as the sales team has to work with the finance and procurement units alongside other stakeholders. Some of the key activities to do here include approving, tracking, and managing sales orders.

By using a proven CRM tool to automate these processes, you not only minimize time wasted as different departments communicate constantly, but also reduce losses emanating from poor order records management.

Day-to-day business tasks

Other than the modular tasks of sending emails and monitoring leads, sales representatives can also automate other regular administrative tasks such as:

  1. Data entry

There’s no shortage of tools to help with auto-populating relevant customer and order information into a CRM database. This saves time spent on performing manual entries.

  1. Invoice generation

When a contract or deal is won, your sales team doesn’t have to manually generate an invoice for the customer. Automating your CRM ensures invoices are created automatically when you update the deal status to “Won”.

iii. Scheduling appointments

Scheduling meetings with prospects often involves frequent email communication and reminders. Luckily, with the right automation tools, you can trigger reminder emails for meetings as scheduled on your calendar.

  1. Report generation

Automating reports creation can help to eliminate the complex manual tasks of collecting, grouping, analyzing, tabulating, and representing data. It further minimizes inaccuracies due to human errors.

Conclusion

While automation comes with numerous benefits as seen in this post, implementing it can be quite challenging especially for small businesses. To make the transition easier for you, consider researching and identifying the processes you need to automate first. Follow this up by identifying the different types of software to help you in automating these processes. Lastly, don’t forget to maintain a human touch with your prospects throughout the sales process by making calls, meeting customers, physically, and closing deals on paper when necessary.

Remember, it’s never too late or too early to incorporate automation in a business. Make the switch today and enjoy the unlimited benefits it brings to your business.

The post How to Integrate Automation into Your CRM Sales Processes appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

March 22, 2019

How Can Inflation Affect Your Stock Investments?

Inflation is simply the rate at which prices of various services and goods rise. Inflation explains why products and services cost more today for the same amount than before.

Taking the American economy as an example, the government in June 2018 revealed a 2.8% jump in the consumer price index. This indicated the fastest increase since 2012 for a 12-month period.

Some of the factors that influenced the rise include housing, medical care and the cost of gas. Once inflation rises, it lowers the dollar’s buying power. This means the consumer will buy fewer products with the same amount of money.

The reason for this is mainly the hiked input prices while the profits and revenues reduce. This will, in turn, slow down the economy until such a time when there’ll be stability.

In contrast, stocks can be a good protector against inflation. Although it’s still advisable to research on the most viable stocks before investing your money.

You can do this by viewing various forums such as Investors Hangout. In paper, as inflation fluctuates, so should a company’s revenue.

The Global Markets Input

Global markets can cause serious losses to certain companies during a rise in inflation. You see, as inflation rises, companies may raise their prices to cover the rise.

However, if the company is competing at a global stage, then it may find it difficult to remain competitive since other companies in the same space may not feel the need to raise their prices.

Also, inflation affects investors’ earnings since prices rise but the company’s value remains stagnant. This means the financials are inflated by inflation since the earnings and revenues rise as inflation rises.

Affected Earnings

When inflation rates go down, so does the revenues and earnings. With these fluctuations, it can be difficult to get the real value of a company.

Then you have the Fed’s chief inflation-fighting tool. This tool works by making it expensive to borrow money and in turn, removes eliminates excess capital.

You see, when there’s too much money chasing limited goods, you increase the inflation rates. However, by reducing the amount of money in the market, you slow down inflation.

Does Inflation Affect investments?

Yes, it does and by a huge margin for that matter, especially if you have significant portfolio invested in fixed income securities.

As inflation rates rise, the dollar’s buying power reduces and for retirees, this can be detrimental since it only means the money will lose its purchasing power as the years go by. As such, financial advisors recommend investing in stocks as a way to beat inflation.

Cash is never useful under the mattress. It only decreases in value. For example, if you have $100 in the house, it’ll only buy goods worth $95 at the end of the year after a 5% inflation beating.

Therefore, the best way to shield yourself from the effects of inflation is by investing some of your assets in Treasury Inflated Protected Securities and other products such as bonds.

Also, as an investor, it’s vital to keep tabs with the interest rates on the volatile stocks. This is because increased Fed pressure will influence the inflation rates upward.

The post How Can Inflation Affect Your Stock Investments? appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

March 22, 2019

What is a Voice Over IP Phone Number and How Can It Benefit Your Business?

 

Here is what you need to know about a Voice Over IP Number

The hottest technology on the market today for business and personal use is coming straight out of the VoIP and virtual phone sectors. VoIP technology lets you call from anywhere using a cell phone, computer, tablet, a VoIP phone or other data-driven device from the same number.

Let’s look at what a VoIP number is and how you can get one. We’ll also discuss how to get VoIP services started and five VoIP fraud alerts that will protect your business. A VoIP number can also save you a ton of money that conventional landlines can’t.

What Is a Voice Over IP Phone Number?

A VoIP number (also known as Voice over IP or virtual phone number) is a real telephone number that gets assigned to a user, but not to a specific phone line. Throughout the technology industry, virtual phone numbers get referred to as access numbers or direct inward dialing.

How Does VoIP Work?

VoIP works by using the Internet to place calls. Unlike traditional phone service, where the call gets routed through a phone line, your service travels over the Internet. With this method, VoIP routes a call along the most efficient paths possible.

VoIP also extends to other forms of communication, like chat and text messaging. A business owner can build a company communication system or an individual can use it for personal calls. With VoIP phones, a traditional phone line becomes obsolete for both business and residential use.

The Difference Between VoIP and Regular Phone Numbers

The mode of transmission between the two technologies is not the same. A VoIP phone number does not get assigned to a location, while a regular phone number does.

Also, the underlying technologies are dramatically different. A standard landline number travels through copper phone lines. A VoIP number utilizes data networks, such as the internet and internal enterprise LANs (Local Area Networks) to make calls.

How Do I Get a VoIP Number?

To get a VoIP number, turn to a provider. A VoIP phone service provider helps you get a VoIP number when you sign up for a VoIP service plan. Some plans are less expensive than cell phone or regular telephone service. Therefore, you reduce your communication costs while having access to more functionality and features.

How to Get VoIP Phone Service

If it’s time to switch over and get VoIP phone service, there are six steps you’ll need to take to set up VoIP phone service. First, you must check and make sure you have a good internet connection.

You’ll then need to choose the type of VoIP subscription that suits your situation and needs, then select a VoIP service. After that, you’ll purchase your VoIP equipment. Then you’ll contact a provider to get a VoIP phone number and finally, set up your VoIP system.

Why Should I Get a VoIP Number?

A VoIP phone system brings several advantages that conventional phone services cannot provide. With these benefits, you’ll find savings, enjoy accessibility, discover flexibility, and most of all, calls will be crystal clear.

Cost

Without the use of a phone line, VoIP numbers utilize your internet connection. Even with the initial VoIP phone system setup and with monthly installments, the expense is less than maintaining a traditional phone system. That reduces it down to one account for both internet and phone.

Accessibility

A VoIP phone system does not rely on distance or location to make calls. Its convenience comes from a stable internet connection. This makes communication possible across the country or halfway around the world. Just sign into your broadband account from any device and you are ready to communicate.

Flexibility

A VoIP network has a vast amount of flexibility. When using a private, internal phone network, adding multiple phones to an existing system is limited. With a VoIP network, you are only limited by your bandwidth, which can be increased, allowing thousands of possible connections.

Another way VoIP phones are flexible is their ability to operate with any device. They’ll work with computers, tablets and VoIP phones. Your PC headset, PC handset and traditional telephone set can also be used with the installation of an ATA device (analog telephone adapter).

This device allows for an existing telephone system to transition over to a VoIP phone system without purchasing new equipment right away.

Voice Quality

With a strong and stable internet connection and high bandwidth, voice quality would be equal or close to a traditional phone connection. However, in a rural area without a stable Internet connection, your conditions may suffer.

Multiple Devices

The use of multiple devices on a single virtual number is probably one of the best benefits for businesses. With the VoIP number assigned to a person, not a location, they can take that number anywhere and access their account from any device.

Once they’ve logged in, they can use a personal or company laptop, computer or cell phone that is VoIP compatible to make calls. These virtual numbers can also be set to forward calls to different telephone numbers if the user chooses. The ability to use multiple devices with one telephone number gives the user the ultimate flexibility.

Area Code Choice

Unlike conventional phones, you can choose an area code for your VoIP phone number that is not in the same city or town you work or live. This feature allows an individual or business owner to make calls to an area code of their choosing and not get charged for a long-distance call.

This also means that a business owner can assign themselves a local number in order to establish credibility. This can be helpful for businesses who have more than one location. It can also be helpful for those who would like several local numbers to route to one location.

However, if the area code that is assigned to the phone is for one specific city, like Los Angeles, but the VoIP phone is in New York, then every call made across New York or any other city other than L.A. is subject to long-distance charges.

Number Portability

Phones are no longer immobile. In the past, if you moved, the telephone company got called to update the new number at the new location. Most of the time, a service technician had to come out to set up the new phones.

However, VoIP number portability is another option, saving any business owner unnecessary downtime. Regardless of the location, the VoIP phone can still use the same phone number. All that is needed is reliable IP connectivity.

Number portability means there is no need to change the phone number if a business chooses to use VoIP service. There is no need to make changes to the website, business cards or marketing materials. Simply carry over the old number and continue operating as usual!

Toll-Free Numbers

Toll-free calling is no longer just for large enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses can now receive toll-free calls with the use of VoIP numbers. While it varies from provider to provider, most will provide either free or very inexpensive toll-free calling.

Toll-free calling can help a business by eliminating the appearance that they are limited to one geographic area. Best of all, since you are able to have multiple VoIP numbers ring on multiple devices, these toll-free calls can be routed to your personal phone or computer.

How to Protect Against VoIP Fraud

Even though VoIP technology is easy to use and inexpensive to maintain, this modern-day business phone solution is not immune to defrauding a user. The problem with these kinds of VoIP number frauds is the difficulty in tracing the call. If you do not know what to look for or expect from a VoIP scammer, you too may become a victim of VoIP fraud.

VoIP Phones Vulnerabilities

As VoIP becomes more popular around the world, fraud and security issues continue to rise. VoIP phone systems, though easy to use, have their share of vulnerabilities.

  • Hacking attempts
  • Data-driven attacks
  • Fraudulent schemes
  • System vulnerabilities

If you’re aware of the security landscape in which VoIP operates, you won’t make the mistake of thinking that VoIP phones don’t need security.

Vishing (VoIP Phishing)

If you’ve never heard of Vishing (voice or VoIP phishing), it is a VoIP phone scam. The fraud begins with the appearance of a real caller ID displayed with a valid telephone number from a recognized and trusted source. Then the scammer attempts to convince the unsuspecting individual to disclose critical personal data and financial information.

Often, the callers will prey on two key factors to gain the information they need: a person’s fear and financial stability. Due to people trusting the caller ID and believing the phone service to be genuine, spoofed phone numbers can be used to trick the fraud victim.

Understanding Hosted and Whitelist VoIP Phone Scams

Scammers use a variety of techniques that make calls at your expense or acquire your sensitive information without your knowledge. Two common Vishing scams are:

Hosted – Hackers will attempt to break into a network of a hosted service provider, taking advantage of low security or the use of default passwords. The key to preventing this attack is changing passwords every 30 days and reviewing security processes and protocols.

Whitelist – A feature with your VoIP phone is whitelisting phone numbers. Those numbers are allowed to call in or make outbound calls. Hackers will gain access to your VoIP account and place their IP on your whitelist, thereby allowing them to make calls at your expense. You can learn how to prevent this here.

How to Protect Yourself From VoIP Fraud Attacks

VoIP phone fraud attacks are sophisticated, which makes it challenging to recognize legitimate calls and attempts at theft. Below are a few tips you can develop to protect yourself from these intrusions:

  • Never assume every call comes with good intentions and stay up to date on the latest scams
  • Don’t give your confidential information over the phone unless you initiate the call
  • Cybersecurity experts suggest changing your login details for all devices once a month
  • Never call phone numbers from unsolicited emails sent to you
  • If there is any doubt who is calling, let the caller leave a message at your voicemail

Although VoIP phone fraud can happen at any moment, there are steps you can take to protect your personal data and financial information. If used properly, VoIP phones will make your business or private communications easy, inexpensive and convenient.

VoIP phones and, in turn, VoIP phone numbers have many benefits. From their flexibility to their accessibility, VoIP numbers are a perfect addition to any business communication setup.

Remember, in order to align yourself with the best and most secure VoIP service you must do your research. Reading customer reviews can be an excellent indicator of service quality. Don’t take our word for it, see what Nextiva customers have to say!

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "What is a Voice Over IP Phone Number and How Can It Benefit Your Business?" was first published on Small Business Trends

March 22, 2019

31% of Your Employees May Spend Almost Half the Day on March Madness

31% of Employees Spend Almost Half the Day Focused on March Madness at Work

A new survey finds 31% of employees spend one to three hours of their workday focused on March Madness. This could include talking to friends, watching games or even developing brackets for the tournament.

Monster surveyed over 300 candidates and employers about how March Madness affects small businesses. Small Business Trends contacted Vicki Salemi, Career Expert for Monster, to find out more. We asked ow this huge sporting event impacts workplace productivity.

Results of March Madness at Work

Decrease in Productivity

Small Business Trends started out by asking Salemi about any drag the tournament has on the average smaller company.

“One consequence is the decrease in productivity,” she wrote in an email. “This includes lethargic employees who stayed up late watching a big game the night prior, calling in sick the following day, or general distractions.”

This is the NCAA college basketball tournament where 68 team compete through seven rounds. It’s been held every year since 1939. The tournament started March 19-20 with the National Championship Game on April 8.

Time Wasted While On The Clock

The Monster survey also found that 13.7% of respondents spent 4-5 hours focusing on March Madness while on the clock and a full 7.3% spent 6 or more hours neglecting their work for the tourney. The majority (48%) said they stayed focused completely on their work.

Salemi said there were some things that companies can do to keep things in check and prevent employees from  getting distracted.

A Drain on Management’s Time

“Small businesses can combat this by sending a notice to employees prior to the tournament. It’s important to state that while it can be an exciting time of year for basketball fans, the focus should be to remain on work,” she writes.

“Management should lead by example, too. It’s one thing to make small talk and connect with employees, but it’s another to participate and lead distractions by focusing more on the games than the tasks at hand.”

A Boost in Camaraderie

There’s another side to employees focusing on March Madness during the workday. Salemi says that one of the upsides is a boost in camaraderie. If you can get your team involved in conversations during the tournament, the door is open to better social connections and team building.

A Danger of Exclusion

There’s a balance you need to strive for as a small business owner or manager. Any team building effort needs to include all the different employees you have. This is especially true if you’ve got an inclusive and diverse staff. Salemi suggests being able to read them accurately is a good starting point.

“Small businesses should be cognizant that not all employees may be interested in the tournament, so you don’t want to inadvertently exclude employees from the conversation.”

A Chance of Becoming a Statistic

Gauging interest in March Madness isn’t the only aspect that needs to be handled with care in the workplace. Management might need to look at how they get caught up in all the excitement too.

“It depends on the employer and leadership,” Salemi says. “They may be inadvertently encouraging this behavior if they’re participating and leading it excessively. There’s a fine line between being in the know and being among the survey respondents who spend one to three hours participating in March Madness during work time.”

Monster polled 329 job candidates and employers in the U.S. in curated C-Space research communities from February 21, 2019-February 26, 2019.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, "31% of Your Employees May Spend Almost Half the Day on March Madness" was first published on Small Business Trends

March 22, 2019

Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post

Blogging Stats: 56% of Bloggers Spending 6 Hours on a Post Get Better Results

Blogs have become one of the most effective ways of communicating with digital technology. And the maturation of the medium has resulted in bloggers spending more time to create high-quality posts which deliver better results.

The latest blogger survey from Orbit Media has revealed 56% of bloggers who spend six-plus hours on a blog post get better results. It goes without saying the more time you spend on a post the better it will be.

While spending six hours on a single post is possible for professional bloggers, the same doesn’t apply for someone running a small business. But an owner who knows his or her craft can write an informative post in less time and have the same impact for the desired audience.

In the report, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert highlights the importance of definitive content. Baer says, “To succeed with blogging (or just about any written word online) you must provide definitive content. Not just some half-baked flotsam and jetsam that is 85% the same as the other 5,237 posts on the topic, but real meaty stuff.”

Baer agrees long-form content delivers, with this caveat. Adding, “All of this long-form opining demands the one thing that is a finite resource for bloggers: time.” This is especially true for small business owners using blogs to engage with their customers.

For this year’s edition, more than 1,000 bloggers were asked what goes into posting successful content. Everything from the length of the post to the frequency, the process, types of content they promote and more was part of the survey. This is the fifth year of the Orbit Media annual blogger survey.

More Blogging Stats

Bloggers were asked a range of questions, including the time, length and frequency of their blog posts.

In 2018 the average time for writing a blog was 3 hours and 28 minutes, which is a little more than an hour compared to 2014. But according to the survey, half of all bloggers spend less than three hours per post. And only one in eight of them spends over six hours on an article.

As to how long it takes for the typical post, 6% said less than one hour followed by 21% who said 1-2 hours per post. The largest percentage, 23%, spend 2-3 hours on a typical post, which was almost the same amount for those spending 3-4 hours at 22%.

Fourteen percent of bloggers said they spend 4-6 hours and 13% were investing more than six hours to make sure they had the perfect blog.

Does it Pay Off to Spend all that Time on a Blog Post?

According to the survey, it does. The report says bloggers who invest more time are seeing strong results for their effort.

While 24.3% of bloggers who spend less than one hour say they saw strong results, it jumped all the way to 38.9% for those investing 6+ hours. The difference between bloggers spending 1-6 hours is not that significant, ranging from 24.8% to 27.2%.

Length of a Blog Post

The length of the average post has grown by 351 words or 42% since 2014 when it was 800 words. Today the average post is 1,151 words, but long-form posts over 2,000 words deliver strong results.

In the survey, 9% of bloggers said a typical post for them is fewer than 500 words. The vast majority or 46% said they posted blogs with 500-1,000 words, followed by 26% with 1,000-1,500 words.

Bloggers writing 1,500-2,000 made up 11% of the surveyed group and only 8% were posting blogs with more than 2,000 words.

The results for this group is also on the same path as those spending more time. While less than 20% of bloggers writing fewer than 500 words reported strong results, it goes above 50% for long-form writers.

How Often are Bloggers Publishing?

In 2014 most bloggers said they posted several times per week. Today the frequency has gone down to several per month. The number of daily bloggers has also gone down by half.

An equal number or 2% said they publish daily or more than daily. Another 18% said 2-6 posts per week, followed by 21% posting weekly and 23% several times per month.

Publishing frequency will dictate results. And in this case, 68.8% of bloggers publishing more than daily and 62.5% of daily publishers said they had strong results. The number dramatically decreases for bloggers posting monthly or less than a month to 17.5% and 12.9% respectively.

The report also looks at analytics, formats, original research, promotion, guest posts and more.

You can read the full report here.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, "Survey Reveals 56% of Bloggers Get Better Results by Spending 6 Hours on a Post" was first published on Small Business Trends

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