January 12, 2019

Making Your Networking More Efficient

 Throughout the ages networking has been one of the most effective ways to gain and maintain business.  Doing so opens the doors to partnerships that can be incredibly profitable and indispensable for you in the long run.  Although a fancy business card is a necessity for any networking event, you need to stand out amongst all the others.  Efficiency is the key when it comes to networking, so here are some tips to make your networking memorable.

Stick It Out

At networking it’s super easy to leave with your free tote-bag filled with the dozens of business cards you probably picked up throughout the day.  Business cards are an industry staple because they are super effective, but because everyone has one it can be difficult to make yours stand out.  Instead of a business card, try handing out custom stickers!  With online design you can create stickers of your business’s mascot or logo with your own contact info them.  Stickers are a unique networking tool because you can adorn handouts with them as an example of a product or good you offer.  Since you can create stickers in unique shapes, they’ll also physically stand out from a handful of business cards.

Know Your Stuff

It’s important to know your business and your skills inside and out at any networking event.  This is because you’ll probably be asked a ton of questions – some of which you’ve never considered before.  It’s up to you to be the expert liaison for those your networking with, so it’s important to prepare and know your stuff beforehand going in.  however, every now and then a question will arise that you will absolutely have no idea what the answer is or how to answer it.  When a situation like this arises it’s important not to improvise or makeup your answer.  Doing so can make you appear unprofessional, and also increases risk of answering something incorrectly.  If you don’t know the answer to something, let the person you’re talking to know that their question is interesting and is genuinely something you hadn’t thought of, and proceed to explain why it wouldn’t have, and suggest they contact (and relay the contact info of) a coworker who would.

Stay Social

Remaining active on social media has also become an industry standard.  It’s an effective networking tool because it lets those you’re networking with how your businesses brands itself and the type of clientele you associate with.  To make networking with social media more effective though get posting on a local scale.  If your networking event is out of town for example, ask followers where they’re favourite restaurants or cafes are and put them on blast.  This is a great method to increase brand awareness and also network with local businesses.  Additionally, at the even itself you can talk to others about the great local finds you’ve discovered and begin establishing personal connections.  These interactions could be lucrative for you in the long run.

 Badges

Name badges are also nothing new, but they have the potential to positively affect your networking.  When meeting a ton of people throughout the course of a networking event, it’s easy to forget or confuse people’s names.  Wearing a name badge while speaking to someone is an effective strategy, as it makes the person you’re talking to constantly aware of your name.  However, even that too can’t prevent your name slipping out of a potentially important client’s head.  Try creating custom polystyrene name badges in the exact shape of your logo and mascot.  The unique shape and vivid colours will help your name badge (and name) stand out more.  If you’re name badge is the same shape as your logo and is branded similarly to your business card, it’ll help you be more memorable when the networking event is over.

 Say Thanks

A little goes a long way, and that’s still the case when it comes to manners.  Saying a simple thank you at the end of a conversation is a smart way to ensure you’ve established a genuine connection with the person you’re networking with.  However it’s important you’re not just offering a quick “thanks” and rushing off.  Thank the person you’re talking to for teaching you something new, giving you a fun freebie, or even for taking the time to talk to you.  Thanking the person you’re networking with let’s them know you were actively listening to what they told you, and your chances of standing out in their mind increases because of your pleasant interaction.  Networking is about creating professional relationships, and it’s important to remember those relationships have to start with a genuine connection.

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January 12, 2019

A Professional Bridesmaid Shares Her Secrets to Managing Stress and Forging Strong Relationships

Bridesmaid for Hire founder Jen Glantz says if you have an idea for something great, the best thing you can do is just start.

January 12, 2019

Tips For Small Business Owners

At some point in our life, we have all wanted to be our own bosses, be self-employed, have the freedom to decide and alter the specs of our day-to-day job. At least, I sincerely hope I am not the only one.

There are some crucial steps one should never skip when strategic planning to start a small privately own business or even a family business. Often, the excitement of knowing that we have a good idea blind us to do the basic and focus on the importance of preparation.

Some important steps towards success with small businesses are:

Business Model who?

A well-thought business model will allow you as a business owner to determine the way your business will earn money, identify the services your clients appreciate, will allow you to foresee the how much will take the business to have a return of investment according to the nature of the business, but most importantly is not set in stone, it can be modified while the business is growing and developing.

The objective of a business model is finding the right formula that will show the business ideas as feasible, sustainable and with growth quality as much as possible.

Among the benefits that having a business model has:

  • Identifies your market share
  • Define your value chain
  • Develop a competitive strategy
  • Define your Value proposition

Having a Business Plan

Everything starts with an idea but for the idea to be executed a plan is needed. Long-term goals and short-term goals are often mixed in a pool of duties when as an entrepreneur one is starting. The clarity of business planning is going to be your best friends in the way to personal and professional success.

The importance of a business plan exists within the structure that is given to the starting point of the business, it provides details and works with the previously developed business model building on top of it with more information towards the understanding of the brand that is being created.

The plan is tailored to be understood by every part of the team involved in the business, giving them details of the processes and details on how to attract, keep customers, and deal with competition. This plan will allow you to make assumptions on financial matters as stability and predictions for the near future always supporting the business model while explaining the steps needed to fulfill the goals of the business.

Find your Buyer Persona 

Some call them the audience, ideal customer or target persona, at the end it’s the person that you were thinking will buy your product when you had the idea of selling it, that’s it.

The buyer persona is that ideal match for your brand, and even if you haven’t think about it you already know the name of that person. Make a profile for it, make sure it’s as real as your best friend and get to know that person well. Make a list with her/his name, last name, profession, age, tastes, hobbies, personality traits, music taste, living environment, you name it! This list will help you to serve more adequately your product or service to that person.

To have a successful branding strategy is crucial to have the buyer persona defined, in this way you will be able to approach them in a better way and have a higher rate of success when capturing new customers.

Develop a Marketing Plan

When speaking about marketing everyone’s mind goes to social media and the madness that it involves, a lot of time, a lot of effort and of course a lot of money. It does not have to be like that a marketing plan should be first of all focused on:

  • The goals of the business
  • Analyses of the business SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats)
  • Set time frame and budget (if it’s there some)
  • Develop a game plan
  • Measurement and accountability

The goal is organic business growth because is low-cost and it lingers with the business longer, and of all the steps listed before the most important and often neglected is measurement and accountability. This step will let you know which one was the better way to go, and how to improve if the business growth or increase of audience wasn’t as expected.

Be Safe

For business owner’s money is not necessarily growing on trees, being safe with finances is key for that reason besides all the hard work on the looks and feels of the business an important aspect to pay attention is insurance. Understanding insurance might not be a piece of cake for everyone but the actuality of not having one are as real as the difference between been in business one day and not in business the next.

Professional liability insurance will help your small business to be protected when sued for professional liability, no matter how simple those might be can have cost up to $100,000, and each case might be different and even more complex. Your business will be covered even when the lawsuit is frivolous, and your business wasn’t at fault, professional liability will cover the legal expenses. So, I will think that having professional liability insurance as a business owner nowadays is a must.

Be SMART

Having SMART goals is a key to small business success:

  • S: SPECIFIC, goals should be simple yet significant, focused on the business and with specific steps to follow.

M: MEASURABLE, goals should be meaningful, have a reason to be and we must have a standard to follow to give the business structure.

  • A: ACHIEVABLE, goals should be attainable, and in a time frame no overly complicated, must be something within the capabilities of the business.
  • R: RELEVANT, (realistic, reasonable) goals must be related to the business and the stage it is, understanding the environment and the threats it represents but focusing on the opportunities the business idea has.
  • T: TIME BOUND goals should be time and cost effective, should have a beginning and end.

The post Tips For Small Business Owners appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

January 12, 2019

YouTube Star Remi Cruz Built a Lifestyle Brand With Millions of Followers by Staying True to Herself

Her latest venture is a skincare company called HoneyPop.

January 12, 2019

How Are Returns on Mutual Funds Calculated?

Mutual funds are a rewarding investment option although they depend on market conditions as well. Calculation of mutual fund returns and comparison using performance tools will help investor to choose the best investment option.

A mutual fund is an investment scheme that is professionally managed. It is run by an Asset Management Company which acts as a mediator for the investors. The AMC collects money from a large number of investors and invests it in shares, bonds, securities and money market instruments.

So when you say you have a mutual fund, it means you own a part of a big investment fund. Each investor is assigned a specific number of units proportionate to the amount he invested in the fund. The investor is called the unit holder and he shares all gains, losses and incomes from the fund proportionate to his investment in it.

Who Manages the Mutual Fund?

There is a person called Fund Manager who manages each Mutual Fund scheme. He decides the investment objectives and strategies. He tracks the investment daily and decides when to buy, sell shares and so on. The mutual fund units you own indicate your part of holdings on the scheme. The Net Asset Value (NAV) depicts the worth of this fund and it fluctuates constantly depending upon the changes in the fund holding’s prices. If you as an investor decide to redeem your units, you may do so in the current prevailing price.

SEBI is the regulator of all mutual funds in India.

How to Invest in Mutual Funds?

There are many ways you can buy best mutual funds:

Direct Plans– You can directly purchase the plan of your choice from the AMC. This saves distributer commission.

Mutual Fund via Distributor– Here, a registered distributor helps you complete formalities to finish purchase of mutual funds , of course by charging commission .

Purchase Online– There are many third party portals from where you can buy mutual funds online by paying a nominal fee for the service.

Nature of Mutual Funds

There are 2 types of mutual fund investments you can make- lump sum or systematic investment plan(SIP).

Under lump sum investment, you invest a big chunk of your money in a mutual fund of your choice. This is usually done when you get a big amount from a sale of an asset or property. There is more risk involved in lump sum investment.

Under systematic investment plan, (SIP), on your request, bank will deduct a fixed sum from your account each month and invest it in the mutual fund of your choice. Here you continuously buy units and get the compounded benefit. You keep investing regularly for a long time until the time-period is over and you get back the maturity amount. SIP investments and the amounts are pre-decided. Depending on the value of the fund on any day, you get the units. You start accumulating units when the investment starts. The day you exit, you may redeem your units and get back the maturity amount.

What are Returns?

Returns are used to measure how much the value of an investment has increased or decreased over a specific period.

Mutual Fund Return Calculation

With mutual funds, people get a huge profit in a short time. So calculating of accurate returns is important. In short, return on mutual fund is the increase in capital plus generated income divided by the total investment amount.

The calculated amount is the total return and a percentage value. By understanding the returns, you can know as to which are the better investment processes.

The average annual returns calculation which some may resort to does not always show the realistic picture. It is calculated as the arithmetic mean of total returns earned over a period.

Calculation of individual growth for a specific period is crucial to arrive at the overall results of the returns on mutual funds.

Ways to Calculate Returns on Mutual Funds

CAGR

Calculating mutual funds returns annually is more accurate than considering the entire period. This is called the compounded annual growth. This is ideal way of calculation of your return if your investment is for more than a year. It is calculated as:

CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) = [(F/S) ^ (1/n)]-1, where F is the final value, S is the initial value and n is the holding period.  This value shows if there is a growth or drop in the mutual fund prices.

This number basically shows how much the investment would have grown if it had yielded a steady return.

XXIR Return

When calculating SIP returns, where calculation of cash flow is needed, XIRR value is more accurate. Cash inflow and outflow may not always match in SIP.

They could also be at irregular intervals. XIRR is a function in excel which when applied calculates the annual yield of a series of cash flows at irregular intervals.

You will need the following values to calculate XIRR:

Amount of SIP
Dates of all SIP investments
Redemption date
Maturity amount

To calculate, in an excel sheet, enter transaction dates in 1 column and SIP values on another. Enter the redemption date in the end and the redemption value against it. Then apply XIRR (on both columns) * 100 to get the rate of return on SIP.

Absolute Returns

For calculating Absolute return on your policy, all you need is the initial and the final or current net asset value(NAV). The holding period does not come into effect in this. The formula is:

Absolute Return= (current value-original value) / original value

Relative Returns

Relative returns as the name suggests is used to calculate the current return’s performance with a set benchmark. For instance, you can compare a domestic mutual fund with an index fund.

Relative return = Absolute return of your fund – Absolute return of the benchmark

The above methods only provide an insight into different methods used to calculate mutual fund returns. At the end of the day, the investor has to make a wise choice of which method to use based on the kind of investment.

The post How Are Returns on Mutual Funds Calculated? appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

January 12, 2019

Girl Scouts of the USA, Which Teaches Girls to Be Entrepreneurs, Is Taking on the Boys in a Federal Lawsuit

The lawsuit argues that the Boy Scouts' decision to drop 'boy' from its name and recruit girls erodes the Girl Scouts brand.

January 12, 2019

Chris Halaschek of Pindrop: As Smart Speakers Rise in Popularity, Synthetic Speech and Voice Synthesis is Something We Need to be Ready For

The huge annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is wrapping up today, and it seems for the second year in a row smart devices with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant were the talk of the show… pun intended.  With Amazon recently announcing they’ve sold over 100 million Echo devices, and analyst estimates saying Google has sold about half that amount of Google Home devices, it’s easy to see that we’re getting quite used to interacting with smart devices.  But in order of for people to feel comfortable enough to use these devices to handle certain kinds of more sensitive interactions and services — both personally and professionally — they’ll need even better security to protect their data from bad actors out there.  

Chris Halaschek, vice president of IoT at Pindrop, a pioneering company in voice fraud prevention and authentication, invited me over to the company’s Atlanta-based headquarters to talk about where we are today with security for these kinds of devices, and what can be done to make it safer to use the popular devices to do more things.  

Below is an edited transcript of our conversation.  To see the whole interview — and to see a demo of how voice identification can block people who aren’t you from asking Alexa for your bank information, check out the video below or click on the embedded SoundCloud player.

As Smart Speaker Use Rises, Voice Assistant Security Concerns Do As Well

Small Business Trends:  Okay, hey, this is Small Business Trends, and I’m sitting at the headquarters of Pindrop, and this is a really cool company here in Atlanta. Frequently I wish I could do more in Atlanta. This company is doing some really interesting things around voice and biometrics. I’m sitting here with Chris Halaschek. Chris, thank you for joining me today.

Chris Halaschek:  Yeah, I appreciate it Brent. Thanks for coming in.

Small Business Trends:  So tell me a little bit about you and also a little bit about Pindrop, what you guys do here.

Chris Halaschek:  I am an Atlanta native. I grew up in Atlanta and then moved up North to University of Maryland where I did my PhD in Computer Science. I spent some time in the DC area. I then headed out to the West Coast and dug into technology. I was CTO for a handful of early stage tech companies. I spent all my time building products, bringing those products to market, and then growing and scaling those businesses.

I have been at Pindrop now for the past roughly three and a half or so years. Our focus has always been to bring real time identity, security, and trust to all voice interactions. We’ve typically focused in the enterprise call center, which is predominantly where voice has been, but I think you’ll appreciate that voice is now moving well beyond the telephone channel to interesting devices like smart speakers, automotive, and so on.

Small Business Trends:  When it comes to these new devices, these smart speakers that have voice assistants in them, what is the current state of security, and where does it need to go for it to be adopted at an even higher level than we’re seeing today?

Chris Halaschek:  Yeah. It’s a good question. It’s one we need to be asking, Brent. That’s one of the reasons why I was so interested in us having this conversation because security is usually an afterthought. We’re at a point where the types of interactions that are going to be kind of achievable with these types of devices, they’re going to be a lot more rich, and they’re going to start to expose much more sensitive data. It’s not just going to be listening to music or turning on your lights.

So state of the art right now is probably a best case, if we’re just talking smart speakers, is using a spoken four digit pin. I think any of us will probably appreciate that saying your password out loud is not really advisable. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity to bring stronger forms of identity and authentication to these various sort of voice environments, be that again a smart speaker inside a vehicle if you’re speaking inside of your car, or even into the office setting such as this. There’s the opportunity to get access to business information assuming you can bring along with it proper security, identity, and trust.

Small Business Trends:  One of the things that I think about and a lot of us are thinking about, from your own perspective is how do you get folks like salespeople to use CRM more? Voice seems like an obvious thing for it. But from a standpoint of privacy and security, what needs to happen in order for salespeople and just folks who use business enterprise applications to make sure that the right person is using it and entering the data and accessing the data. What has to happen from a voice biometrics perspective to make it something that companies are going to feel comfortable doing?

Chris Halaschek:  I look at it as let’s say even for me if I’m going to walk into one of our conference rooms where we have a voice enabled device, and let’s say that I want to get access to perhaps some of our CRM related data related to some of our accounts, I need to make sure that because it’s a shared device that I have the right authorization to actually access that information. The opportunity as we see it, and, again, we have historically focused in the call center with both fraud detection and authentication solutions. The way we’ve approached it there I think is a similar way you can approach it in these other voice channels.

?

Chris Halaschek:  If you look at what we do in the call center today, and, again, I think this will parallel into these other channels, Brent, is that we’re trying to replace the traditional forms of authenticating someone who’s speaking in this voice channel. The way that that is typically done is using something called knowledge based authentication questions. It’s usually in authentication or security parlance something that you know. So it’s my mother’s maiden name, my last four digits of my SSN, maybe a pin or a password.

Again, we mentioned earlier in the conversation about we’re using four digit pins in smart speakers. Similar types of approaches have been used in the call center. The unfortunate reality is that that’s horribly insecure. This type of data is available on secondary markets or black markets. That’s what has led to large numbers of breaches. In the voice channel in the enterprise call centers what it leads to what is effectively today a 14 billion dollar problem in terms of voice fraud loss on that channel.

We see an opportunity. And what Pindrop does is replaces those pins and passwords with your voice, using our voice biometrics technology, which we can talk about in more depth. We have technology to very uniquely and accurately identify the device that’s actually active in that type of voice interaction. So we have technologies that allow us to in a friction free way verify the right voice, right device, right behavior.

If you look at things like smart speakers and me walking into maybe one of our conference rooms and interacting with one of the voice enabled devices there, we see a huge opportunity in taking that same voice biometrics technology to ensure that I’m the right speaker in that particular transaction. Say we use Salesforce and say “Hey, Salesforce, or Hey Einstein, let me know the latest status on the X, Y, Z opportunity”, it’s only going to give it to me because I’ve been the identified speaker, and I have access to that information.

Small Business Trends:  Now you also do things to alert the user that the voice is either authentic or not authentic, or organic or not organic. Talk a little bit about that.

Chris Halaschek:  If you’re looking at voice identity and voice biometrics technology, you know you have to be resilient to the various threat vectors that exist and are using that type of authentication credential. The reality is that bad actors are very smart, and they go to great lengths to kind of get past these types of defenses. So if you’re looking at voice biometrics, you have a variety of different voice spoofing attack vectors that bad actors will try. It’s things like replay attacks where they actually get a recording of you doing some type of interaction, and they go back and try to leverage that recording to get access to this type of system or data.

Other more merging attack vectors are something called synthetic speech generation or voice synthesis. I don’t know if you saw maybe the Google Duplex demo at the recent Google I/O conference.

Small Business Trends:  Yes. I saw it and was amongst the folks who were like, “Whoa, okay. This is interesting.”

Chris Halaschek:  Really cool and at the same time a little scary, right?

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Chris Halaschek:  I think from an end user standpoint it can drive a lot of efficiencies, but it kind of does showcase where you can go with synthetic speech generation because the bot on the other end, that was all done in real time with synthetic speech. We have some demos, and I’m happy to show you some of them today, that show just how much you can do with just a couple of minutes of audio that we pull from, say, something like YouTube. Our research team internally has built our own voice synthesis engine mainly to showcase the realities of this type of threat and why you need to protect against it.

We see things like voice distortion. We see things, voice morphing. You will have a bad actor trying to compromise someone’s bank account, and they know that it’s perhaps a female or male account, so they’ll adjust the pitch of their voice so they sound like a male or female.

Small Business Trends:  Yeah.

Chris Halaschek:  So synthetic speech and voice synthesis is something that’s coming that we’ve got to be ready for.

Small Business Trends:  When you think about enterprise applications, software applications, things that even the call center agents are using – this becomes really critical to getting over that security hump that people are legitimately worried about.

Chris Halaschek:  That’s exactly right. If you look at hearing a voice as it comes out of the telephone channel – more towards these smart speakers giving you access to things like unlocking doors in your house, which is now kind of out there – you’ve got to be thinking about these types of threats and protecting against them.

Small Business Trends:  Where are we currently in kind of the maturity of this whole situation with these smart devices and needing security?

Chris Halaschek:  I think we’re still early, which is good, and early in the sense that I think we’re just scratching the surface about the types of interactions we have with these devices. Another reason why I think it’s good is because people are starting to think ahead. We’ve talked to some of our enterprise customers, and they’re looking at bringing out voice skills to the various platforms in 2019. They want to bring richer experiences to those particular channels and environments, but they got to do it in a secure way.

Now, from a technology standpoint I think the technology is there. We just got to get it out there and be thoughtful about how you apply it. I mean, as I look to next year I think you’re going to see more and more enterprises bring these types of experiences into these channels. I think we’re still going to be doing pretty basic things. As some of the security and identity related solutions come to market in these channels, we’re going to start to expose a lot more interesting use cases in data if that makes sense.

Small Business Trends:  How does consumer adoption of smart devices impact what happens in the enterprise? We all know that we all are consumers. We bring things into our house. We start to use them. They become real convenient. Then we start to think, “Oh, gosh, why can’t the way we use enterprise … Why can’t that be as convenient as what we do at home?”

Chris Halaschek:  I think we see a blurring of consumer and enterprise. I think the reality is we all expect compelling customer experiences both from an enterprise standpoint and a consumer standpoint because at the end of the day, you’re right, we’re all consumers. I think if you are an enterprise software company you have to still bring delightful user experiences even to your business consumers. That’s just my philosophy. I think that tide has sort of shifted a while ago. It’s really a question of looking at those business applications, and the data that is exposed for those types of applications in many cases can be viewed as a lot more sensitive.

A lot of the home usage of these voice assistants is still kind of basic, but starting to trend to things like payments and managing, things related to payments or purchases. So you’re going to start to get to more sensitive use cases. We’ve also envisioned where things like financial trading … For me as a retail consumer that may want to do things like stock trading using a voice assistant, we think those will start to come to market.

It’s really about the sensitivity of the data. I think typically on the business side you have security teams that are assessing how you’re going to expose and lock down that information whereas on the consumer side I think at least we’ve started in the smart speaker or some of these voice assistant space. It’s in the confines of your own home, a little bit more of a trusted scenario. But as you bring richer transactions there, obviously you’re going to have to have strong forms of authentication and identity.

This article, "Chris Halaschek of Pindrop: As Smart Speakers Rise in Popularity, Synthetic Speech and Voice Synthesis is Something We Need to be Ready For" was first published on Small Business Trends

January 12, 2019

How to Assure Safe Browsing on the Internet

The internet, while giving our society so much value, can also be a place of many dangers that can befall you if you’re not careful. Land on the wrong website and you can get your PC infected with malware or your data stolen by a fake login form. But the good news is, a lot of it depends on you, your browsing habits, and knowing how to stay safe online. By implementing the following bits and pieces of wisdom, you, too, can learn how to stay safe when browsing the internet:

 1. Vary your passwords

Too many people make the mistake of using the same password across every website they come across. Why is this a problem? Well, for starters, if hackers breach one of these websites, all they have to do is try logging in with the same user credentials on the others, and they’ll be able to get in without even having to compromise them or hack anything. Varying your passwords will effectively solve the problem, even though it’s going to require more effort to remember them all. But if you use a password manager, this does not apply since there’s only going to be one master password to remember.

  2.Don’t install anything if you don’t trust the source

Browse the internet often enough, and you’ll spot a ton of software up for grabs. Unless you’re installing it from a trustworthy provider, however, you could be compromising your computer’s security. For example, by downloading and installing a system patch from Microsoft’s official website, there’s nothing to fear. On the other hand, doing the same thing from a suspicious-looking third-party website may be another thing altogether.

3. Block the cookies

While cookies are essential for enabling certain website functionality, some of them serve no other purpose than helping the webmasters track your online activity and serve you targeted ads. From the perspective of protecting your privacy, this is a bit intrusive. While there’s nothing wrong with the website letting you stay logged in by planting a cookie on your machine and customize your user experience, letting them know what you do on the website may not be in your best interest. In the end, blocking the cookies is a personal decision. Which one is more important to you; convenience or privacy?

4. Use a VPN

Speaking of convenience, do you often use public Wi-Fi networks? Although these are great for checking up on the local weather report or reading a couple of news posts, they should never be used for online banking or accessing accounts that contain personal data. At least without a VPN, that is. By using one, you’ll encrypt the communication between you and the target server, so no one will be able to intercept it. Moreover, a fast VPN helps protect your privacy online, since it masks your real IP with a fake one, thus preventing others from tracking your online activities.

5. Shop on reputable websites only

If you stick to reputable eCommerce websites like Amazon and eBay only, there is little reason to worry. The developers have undertaken all the steps needed to protect your sensitive banking information and store it safely. The same, however, cannot be said for certain lesser-known merchants. Not saying that all of them are out there to swindle you by any means, but if something goes wrong, can you really know they’ll be refunding your money or that your data is safely encrypted? If you decide to purchase from the not-so-popular vendors, check their ratings and make sure everything else is in order.

6. Avoid becoming a victim of phishing

Fraudulent login pages were created for one purpose only – to trick you into inputting your login credentials through a fake login page. The act is known as phishing, and it’s one of the most underhanded tactics the bad guys use to get their hands on your sensitive personal data. They usually do this by masquerading as someone you trust (for example, as your coworker or your boss) to gain your trust and psychologically trick you into willingly giving out your details. This is an effective tactic that works on so many targets because of the fear of repercussions. The solution? Keep your guard up and don’t take things at face value. Whenever in doubt, don’t click on the link sent to you through an email – enter the URL directly into your browser instead.

Conclusion

By sticking to these core cybersecurity principles, you’ll make sure that your stay on the web remains both safe and a pleasant one. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of your online safety is in your hands.

The post How to Assure Safe Browsing on the Internet appeared first on MyVenturePad.com.

January 12, 2019

Government Shut Down Impacts Small Business, Zoho Offers Software to Streamline

We’re off and running as we close the first full work week of 2019. But one thing that’s not running right now is the federal government.

The government shutdown has gone on for close to 3 weeks now. And it’s starting to take its toll on small businesses.

We took a look this week at how the shutdown is impacting small business across the country. That impact may surprise you and could even include your business, at least indirectly.

Of course, you can’t shut down your business. This week, Zoho introduced some management software to help streamline your business’s operations.

To find out what else is happening this week in small business news, check out our weekly roundup below:

Employment

Why Your Employees May Be Ready to Move on to a New Job

Roughly 2.4 percent of the Americans in the workforce quit their jobs in the past year, the fastest rate since 2001, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS’s most recent version of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) found that an average of 3.5 million Americans quit their jobs every month in 2018.

10 Payroll Changes for 2019

According to the SBA, small businesses employ nearly half (47.5%) of all workers in the U.S. If you have employees, your payroll likely is different for 2019. While the federal minimum wage rate is unchanged for 2019 ($7.25 per hour), state and local rates apply if they are higher than the federal rate.

Finance

One-third of Small Businesses Start with Less Than $5,000

About a third of small businesses get started with less than $5,000, according to recent research from financial platform Kabbage. The survey, which included responses from 600 thriving small business owners, also found that 58 percent got started with less than $25,000.

Franchise

Chick-Fil-A Franchisees will be Part of No. 3 Fast Food Restaurant in US

Despite ongoing criticism from activists, fast food chain Chick-fil-A is projected to become the third largest restaurant chain in the U.S., according to an analysis from Kalinowski Equity Research. The fast food chicken chain was expected to rise from its seventh-place spot to rank as the third-largest U.S.

Reis & Irvy’s Offers Yogurt Franchise Powered by Robots

Ice cream and frozen yogurt businesses can be found in nearly any community. But Reis & Irvy’s still thinks there’s room for disruption in the industry. Reis & Irvy’s does sell frozen yogurt. But that’s about where the similarities end. Instead of a storefront or stand, the company operates a series of machine-operated kiosks.

Technology Trends

New LG Gram Laptops Offer Powerful, Portable Option for Small Businesses

For the consumer electronics world the end of each year is a time to look forward to the biggest event for the industry, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. LG was out the door early by introducing its ultra-light gram laptops weeks away from CES 2019 with the new LG gram 17-inch and a new line 14-inch LG gram 2-in-1 with pen support.

Cyber Readiness Institute Tackles Lack of Small Business Preparedness

A new free cyber security program put together with big business and Obama-era experts is focusing on small businesses. Small Business Trends got in touch with Kiersten Todt, Managing Director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, to find out how the Institute plans to tighten up what’s generally seen as a lacking of preparation for cyber attacks among small businesses.

New Samsung Notebook 9 Pen Offers Affordable Business Option

Samsung has just announced two new versions of its Notebook 9 Pen 2-in-1 PC with a built-in S Pen will be available in 2019. The revamped versions come shortly after the 2018 release, which didn’t have the traction Samsung was hoping for.

Image: Shutterstock

This article, "Government Shut Down Impacts Small Business, Zoho Offers Software to Streamline" was first published on Small Business Trends

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