Seven ways to get email addresses of your potential customers

If you’re like most small-business owners, you need a generous supply of potential customer names and email addresses to effectively market your offerings online.

The good news is you don’t have to deceive or spam people to get them. The bad news is that too many others have already taken that route, giving online marketing a shady reputation.

Unlike the offline world, where consumers get junk mail daily and simply toss it into the recycling bin, unwanted email messages offend people and trigger nasty replies. People are more protective than ever of their email addresses.

"Spammers have made it bad for the rest of us," says Derek Scruggs, an expert on permission-based email marketing. So you shouldn’t be one yourself; there are enough already out there.

So how do you build your database of names and email addresses? Here are seven tips to consider

Is migration to the cloud on your priority list?

Are you a small business considering taking your business to the cloud? Is your IT plan on course? Are you using a trusted advisor? More questions than answers? Many SMBs don’t realize that they’re sitting on a treasure trove of data that includes everything from intellectual property, employee background information and customer credit data. All or a portion can be placed in the cloud however to accomplish this you need a technology partner with the capabilities to properly guide you thru hardware, software, policy, security issues etc.

4 ways your small business can embrace innovation

Innovation is quite possibly one of the most overused words in the business world today, but the definition — a new method, idea, or product — is at the center of what allows small businesses to expand and contribute to overall economic growth.

Once considered antiquated, brands like Old Spice and The Yellow Pages have managed to successfully innovate in the modern age — reinventing themselves to reach a new generation of consumers. Whether you have a long-standing business in need of a refresh or you’re just getting started, continuous innovation helps your business stay relevant and top of mind for consumers.

Spring clean your business for a fresh start

Spring is a great time for a fresh start. For sweeping away the cobwebs, cleaning out the closet, and starting new, good habits. Many people take advantage of the season to give their homes a good scrub. Why not spring clean your business?

Here are some helpful spring-cleaning tips to give you a jumpstart on the season:

1. Make everything sparkle – Office 2016
2. Clean out your closet: Innovative Devices
3. Neat, Tidy and Protected: Microsoft Edge
4. Read on for more details…

FREE eBook 80 Ways to Supercharge your Business Growth…!

CNBCs Carol Roth and Business Consultant Catherine Morgan created a Book with tips and tricks from influential SMB business owners and organizations to offer advice and insights on how to run and maintain a successful business. Check to see if your tip made the eBook!

In this eBook, you’ll find 80 tips and strategies regarding:

– Managing your business

– Accelerating growth

– Connecting with people

– Leveraging technology

– Marketing and selling your products or services

Share this link with your colleagues to help them find out how to take their businesses to the next level from experts who know a thing or two about success.

What the SQL Server 2005 end-of-service means for your business…!

No critical security updates

Many critical security updates were released for SQL Server 2005. After April 12, no more updates will be developed or released, and this could make your business vulnerable to cyber-security attacks.

No compliance updates

Companies that process credit card or industry regulated data may face non-compliance consequences. If your business handles credit payments, your revenue streams could be at risk.

Higher maintenance costs

Maintaining outdated technology and taking additional measures to bring it up to today’s standards can quickly become expensive. Retaining old software will likely cost more in the end.

The potential to lose customers

Forty-seven states now have security breach notification laws2, meaning that businesses must immediately disclose a data breach to customers. If you are breached, how will this impact the integrity of your company?

Business Data Retention – Best Practices

What is the first (best) practice in the email retention space?

If you have a question about what business data to retain consult your attorney to ensure that you are in compliance with all federal, state, and local regulations. You will also want to ensure that you have documented retention requirements for your clients, and that your staff and vendors know how to address them in the services you provide.

Retention requirements vary widely, as you can see in the list below:

• Internal Revenue Service (US IRS): seven (7) years

• Payment Card (PCI DSS): one (1) year

• California Franchise Tax Board (CA FTB): four (4) years

• DISA Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG): one (1) year

• Many State Revenue Departments: three (3) years

• HIPAA Section 164: six (6) years

It gets even more confusing. For example, medical records retention is set by each state.

In the state of California, that looks something like this:

• Adult patient records: seven (7) years

• Minor patient records: one (1) year after the patient reached the age of 18, but at least 7 years

If you are confused, consult legal counsel.

Employee devices bring added security concerns

The explosion in recent years of mobility solutions and ‘bring your own device’ policies has had a big impact on small businesses.
In fact, 52 percent of information workers across 17 countries report using three or more devices for work, according to research from Forrester and 61 percent of workers mix personal and work on their devices.
On one hand, there are huge benefits for organizations and employees — employees can be far more productive and work on the go with untethered access to the information they need.
Business owners can also realize cost savings while reducing the time spent managing IT.  Yet, there are risks: namely, how do businesses protect confidential information from leaking outside of the organization when employees can access and store data in a multitude of ways across devices.  Read more.

Share your story for a chance to win $20,000

Amidst the flurry of activity needed for a small business to thrive, it’s easy to see how SMB owners can forget about what motivated them to launch their businesses or what keeps them going day-in and day-out. Still, those stories exist and Microsoft wants to bring them to the surface.

We’ve recently launched the annual Microsoft Small Business Contest for entrepreneurs and small business owners to share their stories. There’s still time before the April 3 deadline, for SMB owners to submit a two-minute video describing their beginnings, successes, and lessons learned, for a chance to win $20,000. Read more.

The business of cybercrime

Cybercrime is a rapidly growing criminal business, impacting millions of people and organizations around the world. Cybercrime costs the global economy up to USD$500 billion annually. Consumers will spend USD$25 billion and 1.2 billion hours dealing with security issues from counterfeit software in 2014. And one in five small- and medium-sized businesses have been targeted by cybercrime.

Microsoft launched the  Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) to proactively work with law enforcement to combat cybercrime. Picture an international dream team of technology, legal, and forensics experts, working with top organizations around the world — including Europol, the FBI, Interpol, academia, global governmental agencies, and nongovernmental organizations — to combat some of the most widespread, intricate, and organized cybercriminals.