The Sky is Falling!

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I’ve been talking with some clients during the past several days that seem to think Wanna Cry is worse than anything Chicken Little could imagine.  It isn’t. There really isn’t anything earth shattering or drastically special about Wanna Cry. Let’s take a quick look at Wanna Cry and think a bit about how you may be exposed.

First, what is Wanna Cry? Wanna Cry is ransomware — a bit of malware that encrypts your computer files and then asks for $300 US or so,  to get them decrypted. Nothing new there. Ransomware has been around for years.

Second Wanna Cry is unable to spread to any PC with an updated Windows operating system that is version 7 or above.  In the case of Wanna Cry, Microsoft pushed out an update in March of 2017 that stops Wanna Cry from spreading. If you have an XP machine, you can download the update from Microsoft.

Third, Symantec anti-virus was blocking the actions of Wanna Cry before Wanna Cry appeared on the scene. I would suspect that most of the other anti-virus manufacturers are also blocking Wanna Cry type actions.

 

So why are news reports describing Wanna Cry with such words as “terrifying”, “devastating”, “fear”, etc?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad for the news coverage. Such coverage reminds us of the necessity for eternal vigilance. But I think that Wanna Cry became a news item because there was no other news to report at the time.

There’s certainly nothing terribly unique about Wanna Cry — it is ransomware and like many many other viruses it uses an exploit to infect computers. (“Exploits” are flaws in the operating system of a PC that a hacker uses to his advantage — such as encrypting your files.)

Exactly how Wanna Cry gets onto that first PC on your network has not yet been verified but by the time you read this it will almost certainly be found that the first PCs were infected via email. Once Wanna Cry is on your network spreads quickly to any vulnerable PCs on your network. Again, a fast spreading virus is not terribly unique.

Any network shares to which the infected PC has access are vulnerable and Wanna Cry will encrypt them. Again, this is not unique. Most all ransomware will encrypt your network shares.

I’m not saying you can ignore Wanna Cry and go about your business as though it did not exist. The point I’m making is that Wanna Cry can be resisted and treated like any serious malware.

So…to reduce your exposure to Wanna Cry (or any virus), stay up to date with a supported operating system for your servers and PCs. Insure that your computers’ operating systems are receiving and installing the manufacturer’s updates. Use paid anti-virus software (free anti-virus software rarely comes with automatic updates and without timely updates anti-virus software is worthless.) Filter out attacks at your firewall. Use a spam filter for your email. Don’t open email from strangers. Keep good (good = tested and disconnected from your network), backups of your important files.

If you are doing the above, you have basic and solid protection in place. Now do a check up on those systems to make sure they are working. If they are, then go back to managing your company. If you still can’t get any sleep at night, give us a call and we will take a look at your systems for you from an expert’s point of view.

What Can A Business Health Check Do for You?

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By now you probably heard about our new one of a kind “Business Health Check” but you might be wondering, “What could it possibly do for me?”  The easiest way for us to answer that question is list some of the best things that we were able to identify and help fix for our clients following a simple health check!  Here are some amazing things we have helped with so far in 2017:

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May Sponsor-CorTrust Bank

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The SBAB in proud to welcome Tim Swanson of CorTrust bank as our May luncheon sponsor!

With an 85-year history and the most modern banking technology, CorTrust provides the financial solutions you need to get the most out of every day and every dollar. From the convenience of our 25 multi state locations, including Woodbury, Blaine, and Brooklyn Park;  plus online banking to mortgages, wealth management and insurance, you can rest assured you’ll always receive a higher level of personal service and expert advice.

As an experienced commercial banking officer, I am committed to helping our business clients grow and prosper. My goal is to provide customized lending solutions which may include loans for working capital, equipment purchases, and owner-occupied commercial real estate. My specialties include SBA and conventional loans for businesses with needs ranging from $250,000 to $7,500,000. I have experience working with manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and professional service firms.

For more information please contact Tim directly at 651-289-5000  TSwanson@cortrustbank.com .

High Value Marketing Workshop!

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Please join us Thursday May 18th for a one of a kind marketing workshop!

Marketing Analysis starts with  the understanding of your current marketing and advertising efforts, customer insights and your brand positioning against your competitor. This workshop will cover the core areas of building a current marketing plan and budget as well as some best practices for auditing your current Social Media and digital marketing programs.

Marketing Specialist – Larry Davis and Digital Marketing Specialist – Kyle Payne will lead this workshop that is guaranteed to provide you some tips and action plans that you can implement in your own company’s marketing journey.

Topics to Include:

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Marketing Introduction

One Page Marketing Audit – a “snapshot” of where you are at today.

Building a Customer Profile and Segmentations

Customer Value

Understanding & Mapping the Customer Journey

Marketing Budget Plan

 

Digital Marketing Introduction

Digital Multichannel Marketing

Social Media Channels – Audit.

Identifying Influencers

Building Your Channels

Engagement/Analysis

Making Customer Loyalty Actionable

 

Bonus For Attending –  Website Check-up  $500 value

We will give you a detailed test of your current website.  The test includes a technical review, a marketing review and side-by-side comparison of your SEO performance against your competitors. You don’t want to miss this workshop!

 

Sign up today at https://smallbizab.com/events/marketing-workshop/

 

How Are You Leading in Your Business?

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Become a Better Leader

by Deb Sauder, CEO, Leadership Strategist, Interact4Impact

One of my favorite definitions of leadership comes from Kevin Cashman’s book Leadership from the Inside Out. He says, “Leadership is authentic influence that creates value.” True authenticity starts with a thorough understanding of our own strengths and weaknesses. No two people are alike and the challenges we face will vary greatly, but here are four questions that will help you reflect on the areas many leaders and entrepreneurs struggle with.

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Find the Money: 5 Financial Blind Spots for Business Owners with Employees

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Investigate, illuminate, and eliminate 5 Financial Blind Spots that often derail businesses with employees!

Our team of experts will share little-known methods to help you reveal and replace those blind spots for better cash flow today and better income & profit margin tomorrow. Join us Wednesday, April  26 from 11am-1:30pm at Centennial Lakes Office Park, 7650 Edinborough Way, Suite 275 (Second Floor Conference Room), Edina, MN 55435.

Featuring:

  • Jeff Johnston, Sandler Sales Training
  • Jodi Milbradt, Employer Solutions Group
  • Barney Coelho, iluma Financial Partners
  • Brad Dale, Cherry Creek Mortgage Co.
  • The Small Business Advisory Board

Special pricing $95 in made possible by our partnership with the Small Business Advisory Board

Hosted by www.ilumafinancial.com

lunch provided

April Sponsor-MüD Modular

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The Small Business Advisory Board of Minnesota is happy to introduce our April Sponsor, Amy Lokken with MüD Modular. MüD Modular is also a Preferred Vendor of the SBAB and offers a unique product to businesses.

MüD Modular goes beyond creating dynamic and versatile displays that make you stand out. When you partner with MüD Modular we take away the stress of keeping your brand fresh and consistent. By recognizing the value of your brand we help you discover your confidence. After all, your image is a part of your reputation and your success is our business.

After working in the retail and design industries, Amy Lokken saw a need for businesses to learn how to showcase their products and services in everyday places (like the middle of a shopping mall), in a creative and unique way.

As the go-getter and hard-worker she is, Amy founded MüD Modular in 2009; but not without the help of her dad, Ralph Fedie. With the loving support of her parents, and her father’s help building her first prototype, MüD was born and Amy had taken the leap of faith into the world of entrepreneurship.

With her powerful eye for visual impact and the ability to understand human psychology, Amy has made herself the go-to person for anyone who is ready to wow their potential and current customers.

MüD, located in the Greater Minneapolis Area, is Amy’s dedication to her father – a hard-working, true idea guy and self-taught inventor. He looked at life as one big open book of exploration and loved to learn. Amy adopted not only these qualities from him but he also taught her to have a very high work ethic and to do the things she loved to do.

In 2008, as Amy was making her move from retail design and visual merchandiser and beginning her next journey: MüD Modular, her father’s health declined and he could no longer care for himself or her mother.

Amy became her parents’ primary caregiver while she continued to develop MüD, having faith that the journey we are all on has a purpose.  Today, Amy is watched closely from above. “Thank you, mom and dad, for allowing me to be part of your journey.” –Amy Lokken

Amy’s background includes over 15 years of experience in industrial design, visual merchandising, and retail design on a national basis, and also helping small business and corporations to build brand awareness.

“I believe it is how we stumble through one journey that creates our next.” –Amy Lokken

Feel free to contact Amy at

715.379.3148

Website: MüD Modular

Failure is Not an Option!

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At both the Small Business Advisory Board and Devoted Business Development, we have a passion for businesses and the success and work life balance of their owners. We have this passion because it became clear to us early on that the majority of businesses fail after they achieve that first level of success and growth. That seems so ridiculous and defeating but it is true. The good news is, that it doesn’t have to happen!  You may be asking yourself how can you prevent this if it is so common…..

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Barney Coelho forms “iluma Financial Partners” to provide uncommon sense to serious…

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As the next step in providing Wealth Advisory services, Barney Coelho forms “iluma Financial Partners” to provide uncommon sense to serious investors, business owners, and business partners.

iluma Financial Partners solve cash flow challenges and provide income strategies, retirement strategies, and investment advice. Within this practice, Barney and his Zero Tax Team utilize little known strategies to reduce tax risk now, and especially in the future.

Visit iluma on the web or mobile, or book a strategy session at iluma Financial Partners

Investment advisory services offered through Redhawk Wealth Advisors (RWA), Inc., an SEC-registered investment advisor. iluma Financial and RWA are not affiliated. Insurance products provided by CF Investments, Inc., a Minnesota insurance agency, dba iluma Financial Partners.