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May 24th, 2016

overhead business people shaking hands Imagine just taking a pill to acquire a whole new skill set.

In The Matrix, Neo opens his eyes after being programmed and tells Morpheus, “I know kung fu.” According to futurist and world-renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil, conversations like that will actually take place within the next 20 years. By implanting blood-cell-sized, cloud-connected nano-robots into the brain, humans will be able to literally download any skill set or body of knowledge from the cloud. Sound far-fetched? Scientists are already helping Parkinson’s patients, using a pea-sized implant connected wirelessly to an outside computer. And Kurzweil has a 30-year track record of accurate predictions – including a little thing we now know as the World Wide Web.
– Inc.com

Hootsuite, Buffer…or both?

Keeping in touch with new and current customers via social media can suck up your time. Social media apps Buffer and Hootsuite both aim to help you achieve more impact in less time. So which one is right for you? While Hootsuite offers a full-featured social media dashboard, Buffer focuses simply on prescheduling your content. When it comes to managing posts and tracking which ones perform best, Hootsuite is the way to go. Yet Buffer gives you more timing flexibility by allowing you to pick when your posts get published, regardless of when you add them to the queue. Choose either of these apps based on your posting and tracking needs – and consider using them both.
– MarketingLand.com

Which app best helps you take notes on the go – Google Keep or Evernote?

Google Keep runs faster with a cleaner mobile interface than Evernote. It also wins on consistent quality of search across devices. Where Evernote shines is in its ecosystem of third-party integrations that add cool features. And its Clipper extension makes it easy to save webpages from Android or iOS directly into Evernote. So which app is best for you? If you just want to make quick notes on the go and share them easily, go with Google Keep. Plus, it’s free. If you want a deep database of notes, lists and web content with lots of features, even if you have to pay for it, go with Evernote.
– CIO

Facebook wants to help you blow up your business.

The Facebook Ad platform can work wonders when you apply these principles:  1) Have a strategy. Don’t make the mistake of diving in without knowing how the money you put in will actually pay off.  2) Remember “T-O-M”: TARGET the right audience with a great OFFER wrapped in a compelling MESSAGE.  3) Write great copy. Start with an engaging headline, keep your text simple and straight to the point. Make it easy to grasp and end with a clear call to action. Facebook ads give you access to the world’s largest audience – over 1.5 billion at last count… And one good ad could make a world of difference for your business.
– Forbes

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May 24th, 2016

Many of America’s favorite companies began as a small start-up.

Ben & Jerry’s sold ice cream out of an old gas station when they first opened in 1979. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his college dorm room. Starbucks started with just one location in Seattle, Washington.

The ability to scale up is a defining trait among businesses that want to move ahead of the start-up pack. To do that, companies must learn how to lose the start-up mentality and focus on a few key areas.

Building A Great Team

Nancy McCord, chief talent officer at Netflix, said, “The best thing you can do for employees – a perk better than foosball or free sushi – is hire only ‘A’ players to work alongside them.”

Top talent likes to work with other top talent. Create a culture where team members challenge each other, learn together and propel the company forward. If your top talent is too busy managing disengaged, subpar workers, the work will get old very quickly. No one wants to go to work and babysit fellow team members.

To create a team of top-tier talent, focus your energy on engaging current members and improving the hiring process. Create a company scorecard for job candidates. Outline the type of person who excels in the position and the character traits they must possess. If an applicant doesn’t meet the criteria, politely decline to pursue them further.

Choosing The Right Strategy

Your company’s strategy is the roadmap that tells you how to get from where you are to where you want to be. It’s the defined path that your start-up will take in order to grow and become a leader in your industry. You should live, breathe and make decisions based on this strategy.

This requires more than just vague goal-setting. What matters most to your organization? What’s your mission? All of these should be taken into consideration before you pick a strategy. Once this strategy is established, your senior leadership should meet weekly to discuss its progress.

Include your entire team in the execution of the strategy and educate them on the “why” behind it. Each employee should have a solid knowledge of the company values, foundation and proposed direction of the company. This transparency will also aid in retaining the top talent you worked hard to recruit.

Improving Your Cash Flow

Your cash conversion cycle (CCC), or the amount of time it takes for a dollar spent to make its way back into your bank account, is one of the most important metrics to watch while scaling your business up. Growth requires money, and the faster you scale up, the more money you need. Learn how cash flows through your organization.

Scaling up is possible, but it takes focus and dedication to these three areas. Every industry-leading company started somewhere, and there’s no reason why your organization can’t be next.

Guest article provided by:

Andy BaileyAndy Bailey can cut through organizational fallacies faster than a hot knife through butter, showing organizations the logjams thwarting their success and coaching them past the excuses. After all, as he tells his clients, 100% annual growth is only 2% growth every week. It’s not easy. But possible. Andy learned how to build great organizations by building a great business, which he started in college then, grew into an Inc. 500 multi-million dollar national company that he successfully sold and exited. He founded Petra to pass on to other entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders the principles and practices he used to build his successful enterprise, which are rooted in the Rockefeller Habits methodology.

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May 24th, 2016

Get proper Bay Area backup provider.You Will Learn:

1) The only way to know for SURE your data can be recovered if lost, corrupted, or deleted—yet fewer than 10% of businesses have this in place.

2) 7 critical characteristics you should absolutely demand from any offsite backup service.

3) Where many backups fail and give you a false sense of security.

4) The #1 cause of data loss that businesses don’t even think about until their data is erased.

Claim Your FREE Copy Today at www.myersnetsol.com/eBooksAndReports

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May 24th, 2016

smartphone with wingsVideo streaming from the air is about to get a whole lot more affordable.

It just so happens that the brains, gyroscope, GPS, and camera aboard all those new drone cameras you may have seen can also be found in your smartphone.

Slip your smartphone into a PhoneDrone Ethos, and you have your own flying camera at a fraction of the cost of a fully equipped camera drone.

Worried about your smartphone taking a hit in the event of a crash landing? For about $50 you can buy a cheap smartphone with all you need to fly the Ethos.

Built-in mirrors enable you to shoot down, forward, or to the side. You can preprogram it, or fly it manually from the ground. You can even control it with an Apple Watch.

It’s scheduled to start shipping in September 2016, and “early-bird” discounts may be available at xcraft.io/phone-drone.

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May 24th, 2016

laptop woman typing croppedIt’s one of those little secrets that nobody wants to talk about…

The term “Shadow IT” refers to apps and devices used at work that operate outside your company’s sanctioned policies and protocols.

Shadow IT takes many forms, like conversations on Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Gmail, or Skype. It can include soft-ware from Excel macros to cloud-based data storage apps such as Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. Or collaboration spaces like Slack, Asana, and Wrike. And then there are devices: USB sticks, smartphones, tablets, and laptops within your network that you have no control over.

Robert J. Moore, CEO of RJMetrics, relates how companies like Slack and Dropbox craft their pricing models to encourage rapid proliferation. One day, a few of his engineers were using Slack, then all the engineers, then the whole rest of the company was using it. He said, “We reached a point of no re-turn and paying for it was pretty much our only option.”

The hidden dangers of Shadow IT

When users on your network adopt apps and devices outside your control, protocols aren’t followed, systems aren’t patched, devices get infected without people knowing it, and data breaches happen… As a result, confidential in-formation can be exposed, accounts taken over, websites defaced, goods and services stolen, and precious time and money lost.

Not only that, you end up with siloed information in unknown places, data compliance issues, and missed opportunities for bulk pricing.

The obvious solution would be to crack down and forbid use of all but company-approved devices and apps. Unfortunately, that tends to slow things down, stifling productivity and innovation.

Bringing your shadow IT out into the light. Obviously, burying your head in the sand won’t make the problem go away. Here’s what you can do to not only take control of the situation, but actually use it to drive innovation and agility at your company.

Cut loose the “control” mentality. It’s no longer feasible to simply ban certain apps. If you don’t give employees the software they prefer, they just start using their own. They can easily access a vast and growing variety of apps, all without your help – or control.

Recognize the delicate balance between risk and performance. Evaluate risk on a case-by-case basis. Then take control of high-risk situations and keep an eye on the rest.

Foster open communication. Get employees involved in creating intuitive policies. You can turn them from your greatest risk to your greatest asset by levering their input and ownership of protective protocols. This helps everyone maintain security while keeping practical needs for performance in mind.

Develop a fully tested plan. Even if it’s only 70% complete, a tested plan will be far more useful when the need inevitably arises than a 100% complete plan that’s not fully tested. Most managers underestimate the confusion that occurs in the first few days following a breach.

Unfortunately, that confusion can create a defensive rather than constructive atmosphere centered on discovering how, when, and where the breach occurred. A comprehensive incident response plan can go a long way toward achieving a speedy resolution, and keep an otherwise manageable event from turning into a full-blown business crisis.

Finding the right balance

Focusing only on security and asset protection can drag down business performance quickly. However, balancing risk with performance enables you to maximize your return from investments in detection and response. It also helps you become more adept at adjusting as the security landscape changes. By developing your organization’s ability to recognize threats and respond effectively to incidents, you can actually take risks more confidently and drive business performance to a higher level.

Myers Network Solutions can help you with this. Our proprietary Security Assessment helps you take the friction out of data protection. Take advantage of this offer (normally $997), FREE through the end of June, and put an end to Shadow IT in your organization finally and forever.

Contact us today:
(408) 483-1881
[email protected]

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May 2nd, 2016

If you haven’t tried Fiverr.com yet, you’re in for a treat. Fiverr is a global online marketplace where freelancers offer to perform an amazing variety of tasks and services, starting at just $5.00.

Need a whiteboard-style video for your website? A new logo? Help creating a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation? Then you need to check out Fiverr.

To get started, just go to Fiverr.com. And for best results, follow these five rules:

1. Steer clear of bad gigs – Buying hundreds of backlinks for your website might sound cool… Then again, you might be in for a nasty surprise. If a gig seems fake, it just might be… Find another gig.

2. Shop around – Compare different sellers and use the “Favorites” feature to build a shopping list before you buy.

3. Examine closely – Check reviews, response time, number of gigs completed and gig details. Questions? Ask the seller before buying.

4. Communicate clearly – Save time by spelling out in exact detail what you want in your order.

5. Accept nothing less than perfection – Top sellers are often happy to make revisions until you’re happy.

Okay? Ready, set…go save a boatload on your first Fiverr gig!

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May 1st, 2016

“Everyone looks so much better when they smile.” – Jimmy Fallon, host of the legendary The Tonight Show

What a meteoric ride Jimmy Fallon has had to the top!

How did this son of an IBM machine repairman get to the chair once occupied by maybe the most legendary figure in comedy TV for 30 years straight, Johnny Carson?

He did it through exceptional networking.
In the span of about five years, Jimmy went from a Saturday Night Live alum, unsuccessfully navigating Hollywood, to a late-night star and host of NBC’s The Tonight Show, one of the most respected franchises in entertainment. This did not happen by accident…

Fallon’s meteoric rise is partly due to his intense focus on developing relationships with people who could advance his career.

Another key? Fallon worked his butt off.
While still a computer-science major at Albany’s College of Saint Rose, he performed comedy at small clubs and obsessed about the comedy industry.

Through a connection with his former employer at a New York alternative newsweekly, his audition tape reached Hollywood agent Randi Siegel, who had ins with the crowd at Saturday Night Live.

Siegel found 21-year-old Fallon’s performance to be charmingly amateur, but she could see that he was naturally talented. She gave him a call and was surprised to hear, after introducing herself, “Randi Siegel! I know who you are!”

Randi was so impressed by his knowledge of the comedy industry and enthusiasm that she agreed to take him on as a client. With Siegel’s connections, Fallon was able to eventually get hired as a cast member with SNL in 1998.

At SNL he developed the relationship that would define his career.
The show’s creator, Lorne Michaels, is so powerful and respected in the industry that cast members are often intimidated by him. As a rookie, Fallon was no different, but he wanted to befriend Michaels. So after every show, he went over to Michaels and thanked him for the show.

Michaels developed a rare friendship with Fallon. Following the drama of Conan O’Brien’s short stint as host of The Tonight Show, Michaels decided that his trusted Fallon would take the renowned position.

Fallon made a point of connecting with former Tonight Show host Jay Leno and would ask for advice. Leno said, “Most people in show business think they know everything. They don’t really listen to the other person. ‘Respectful’ is the best word I can use for Jimmy.”

His approach worked.
Since starting in February 2014, Fallon has attracted around 4 million viewers each night, with a much higher share of the 18-49 demographic than his predecessor.

What Fallon did is a) he worked hard (let’s not forget that), and b) he networked brilliantly by asking questions of others, listening, acting on their advice, showing gratitude and being a genuinely good human being.

So, who are three connections you dream of networking with in order to boost your success?

Guest article provided by:

Darren Hardy is the visionary force behind SUCCESS magazine as the Founding Publisher and Editor, and is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of what has been called “the modern day Think and Grow Rich”: The Compound Effect—Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success (www.TheCompoundEffect.com) and the world-wide movement to onboard 10 million new entrepreneurs through his latest book The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster–Why Now is the Time to #JoinTheRide (www.RollerCoasterBook.com). Access Darren: www.DarrenHardy.com and get free daily mentoring: www.DarrenDaily.com

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April 30th, 2016

Read This eBook To Discover:

  • What VoIP is, how it works, and why the phone company may force you to switch to a VoIP phone within the next 3-4 years.
  • 4 different ways to implement VoIP and why you should never use 3 of them for a business phone system.
  • Hidden costs with certain VoIP systems that can negate any cost-savings you might gain on your phone bill.
  • 7 revealing questions to ask any VoIP salesperson to cut through the hype, half-truths, and “little white lies” they’ll tell you to make the sale.

Claim Your FREE Copy Today at www.myersnetsol.com/VoIP

 

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April 29th, 2016

In less than 60 seconds, you are about to learn 10 things that could save you days – or even weeks – of downtime, not to mention the undue stress on your company, and potentially thousands of dollars lost, due to a data disaster…

Use this article as your checklist in a conversation with your IT consultant to assure that your business has the right plan in place to get back up and running quickly if and when disaster strikes.

1. Keep a written plan. Simply thinking through in ADVANCE what needs to happen when things go south on you, and documenting it, can go a long way toward getting your network back up and running quickly if it gets hacked, flooded, or compromised by human error or equipment failure.

Outline the types of disasters that could happen, and a step-by-step recovery process. Be sure to include a budget, what to do, who should do it, and how. Store printed copies along with key contact information and login details for essential websites 1) in a fireproof safe, 2) offsite at your home, 3) at each key employee’s home and 4) with your IT consultant.

2. Hire a trusted professional to help you. Trying to recover data after a disaster without professional help is business suicide. One misstep can result in weeks of downtime, or permanent data loss. To improve your odds of a quick recovery, work with a pro who has experience in both setting up your plan and helping you recover when a loss occurs.

3. Have a communications plan. What if your employees can’t access your office, e-mail or phone system – how should they communicate with you? Make sure your plan details the alternatives, including MULTIPLE ways to stay in touch.

4. Automate your backups. THE #1 cause of data loss is human error. If your backup system depends on a human being doing something, it’s a recipe for disaster. ALWAYS automate your backups so they run like clockwork.

5. Keep an offsite backup copy of your data. Onsite backups are a good first step, but if they get flooded, burned, or hacked along with your server, you’re out of luck. ALWAYS maintain a recent copy of your data offsite.

6. Be able to access and manage your network remotely. You and your staff will be able to keep working if they can’t get into your office. Your IT manager or consultant can quickly handle an emergency or routine maintenance. And you’ll love the convenience!

7. Image your server. Storing your data offsite is great – but bear in mind, if your system goes down, the software and architecture that handles all that data must be RESTORED for it to be of any use. Imaging your server creates a replica of the original, saving you an enormous amount of time and energy in getting your network back in gear. Best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your preferences, configurations, or favorites.

8. Document your network. Network documentation is simply a blueprint of the software, data, systems, and hardware that comprise your company’s network. Let your IT manager or consultant create this for you. It’ll save you time and money in the event your network needs to be restored.

It also speeds up everyday repairs and maintenance on your network when technicians don’t have to waste time figuring out where things are and how they’re configured. Plus, it may help with insurance claims in the event of losses due to a disaster.

9. Maintain your system. While fires, flooding, and other natural disasters are certainly a risk, it’s ever more likely that you’ll experience downtime due to a virus, worm, or hacker attack. That’s why it’s critical to keep your network patched, secure, and up-to-date. And don’t forget: deteriorating hardware and corrupted software can wipe you out. Replace and update them as needed to steer clear of this threat.

10. Test, test, test! If you’re going to go to the trouble of setting up a plan, at least make sure it works! Hire an IT pro to test monthly to make sure your systems work properly and your data is secure. After all, the worst time to test your parachute is AFTER you jump out of the plane.

Need help getting this Disaster Recovery Plan implemented?

Contact us for a FREE Backup & Disaster Recovery Audit.

Topic Newsletter
April 29th, 2016

Hate waiting for pages to load on your smartphone? There’s an “AMP” for that.

And no, that’s not a misspelling of “app”…it’s an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages. As you may have noticed, there’s a little problem with the mobile web… You click a link on your smartphone, eager to consume the content… What shows up is a spastic jumble of jerky images, videos and ads as the page loads…eventually…if you care to wait. (40% of people bail after three seconds.) Google’s new AMP Project aims to fix that. “AMPed” pages load almost instantly with simple, easy-to-consume format. To see it for yourself, pull our your smartphone and visit g.co/ampdemo.

– Copyblogger

Virtual Reality – Useless gimmick, or valuable marketing tool for your business?

According to investment firm Piper Jaffray, there will be $5.4 billion worth of virtual reality devices on the market by 2025. The uses for small business are limited only by imagination. A roofing company, for instance, could, with this technology, give their prospective customers a live virtual tour of their roof, demonstrating its condition and places where they need to replace shingles – without having to climb up on it. A roofer could also show a prospective customer what various colored shingles would actually look like on the roof by placing a hologram on it. Think VR is some far-fetched future techno-dream? Pull out your smartphone and check out “Monocle” on the Yelp app.

– MarketingLand.com

Encryption in The Cloud – How safe is your data?

Cloud technology can add a whole new layer of protection to your data backup system. However, it’s important to recognize that there’s one key difference between cloud service providers that will determine how safe your data is. When stored data – aka “data at rest” (vs. data in transit) – is encrypted, some cloud services keep the decryption key in their software. If hackers get that key, they can get your data. That’s why it’s important when selecting a cloud service provider to be informed about their security measures. before choosing, compare encryption methods. It pays to know that your company’s digital property is safe – and will be there when you need it.

– TechAdvisory.org

Laptop, Tablet…Or 2-in-1?

Are you toting around two devices – a laptop to get serious work done and a tablet for a little Baldur’s Gate or Facebook action? If you’re in the market for a new laptop or tablet, it’s time to consider getting a 2-in-1. Like an SUV or Swiss Army knife, 2-in-1’s offer supreme versatility. Windows 10 was built for these machines, and with prices, power and battery life now falling in line with laptops, you can save time, money and weight with a 2-in1. Unless you’re a high-end gamer or graphics pro, you owe it to yourself to check out the latest versions of these new mobile gadgets.

– Laptop Mag

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