2017 is done – what do we do differently in 2018?

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With 2017 behind us and a new year just begun, we consider which business practices we want to continue and perhaps which need to be done differently.   As ghoulish as it may seem, part of my planning includes learning more about how many disasters happened during the past year, problem trends, and how well businesses are prepared for recovery.

In a report from FEMA, I found the number of major disasters declared over the past five years:

Year # % change from previous year
2017 135 +32%
2016 102 +29%
2015 79 -5%
2014 84 -12%
2013 95

These numbers account for such things as weather disasters, floods, terrorist attacks, and those caused by human actions.  Digging a little deeper, I wondered how many cyber/data breaches happened during 2017, or at least those deemed big enough to be reported.  Here’s the list I found:

E-Sports Entertainment Association, Xbox 360 ISO and PSP ISO, InterContinental Hotels Group, Arby’s, River City Media, Verifone, Dun & Bradstreet, Saks Fifth Avenue, UNC Health Care, America’s JobLink, FAFSA: IRS Data Retrieval Tool, Chipotle, Sabre Hospitality Solutions, Gmail, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Brooks Brother, DocuSign, OneLogin, Kmart, University of Oklahoma, Washington State University,  Deep Root Analytics, Blue Cross Blue Shield/Anthem, California Association of Realtors, Verizon, Online Spambot, TalentPen and TigerSwan, Equifax, US Securities and Exchange Commission, SVR Tracking, Deloitte, Sonic, Whole Foods Market, Disqus, Hyatt Hotels, Forever 21, Maine Foster Care, Uber, Imgur, TIO Networks, eBay, Alteryx

That’s more than 40 companies – not a good trend.   It also leads to the questions, “Is my business vulnerable?” and  “What can I do about this?”

Here are some quick tips that I gleaned from a recent article from EverBridge:

Question your approach
Justification for the effort to define a recovery strategy on what is arguably a rare occurrence is a difficult task.  Rather, look at the need from a value-based perspective for being able to recover, such as:

1.      Regulatory compliance
2.      Competitive advantage
3.      Brand and reputation recognition
4.      Knowledge capture
5.      Increased robustness

Benchmark
Find out what others in your industry are doing and from there address the question, “What is right for us?”  Not all companies need sub-second recovery… Some companies really can convert their entire work force to remote workers…   Your solution needs to be tailored to your needs.

Work Out
Simply, plans are worthless if you don’t exercise them on a regular basis.  Leading standards on continuity planning refer to having regular exercises that increase in scope and complexity over time.  Of course, “How often?”  is a key question.  Two exercises a year is thought to be a good benchmark for exercises, with one being a tabletop exercise and the other a more in-depth simulation.

Some food for thought:  As you continue through your planning process, include your business recoverability and resilience as part of the discussion.  Being prepared for “what if” scenarios is critical for long-term success.

Huber Advisors is here to help with that planning.  We can advise on how to start the process yourself, as well as engaging with your organization to facilitate the creation of strategy and recovery plans.  Call us at 651-429-9991 or e-mail at information@huberadvisors.com  and we can help you Be Ready for Anything!

Do You Have A Superbowl Contender Team?

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What does it take to create a team that can take your business to the finish line and win the game?

The first step in creating a winning team is to determine the game and know what the team is playing for. Is your team playing football, baseball, or soccer? Let’s say they are playing football, what kind of football are they playing; touch, flag, or tackle football? What is the objective they are working towards? The NFC or AFC division championship, or the ultimate win, the Super Bowl?

Before you build your champion team you as the owner, coach, and cheerleader must answer the following questions:

  • What game will the team be playing?
  • Why is the team playing the game?
  • When is the best time to recruit the team?
  • Who do you want playing the game?
  • Where will you draft your best players from?
  • How will your team execute the key plays and how will you keep them happy, motivated, and persistent?

Make sure your organization is ready to get into the game and stay in the game.

Ultimately, it is the team that creates the win for which your organization plays. So where do you start?

  • Create a game plan you know works: have strong, consistent processes
  • Make sure you understand the gaps on the team
    • Who are your current players and are they a good fit for the team?
    • Who do you need on your team?
  • Have a plan for recruiting your team and use good hiring practices while you scout your talent
  • Assess your possible recruits to ensure they can fulfill the position
  • Determine if you need short-term or long-term players

Execute your game plan with top talent and you’ll see the results and reap the rewards!

You can’t expect the kind of results you want if you are not clear about your wins and losses. You must always be aware of what is working, what is not working, and what your options are.

  • Understand your organization’s strengths and gaps: financial, customer, processes, and people
  • Determine how well you really understand your current players and coaches
  • Consider the need for independent players to fill in some gaps: consultants, partners, expert advisors, investors etc.
  • Gain yardage by increasing your resources – time, capacity, and money
  • Pass your risk (Worker’s Compensation) and focus on what you do best – WIN!

Most importantly, make sure you understand the rules of the game. Rules and referees are an essential part of ensuring a game’s fairness. It’s critical to a team’s success to have a clear understanding of the rules and how a referee would apply and interpret those rules. As the coach of your business and team, here are two areas where you must have a very clear understanding of the rules:

  • Exempt vs. Nonexempt Classifications
  • Employee vs. Independent Contractor Classifications

Following the rules can prevent costly penalties and litigation as your team pushes towards attaining that Super Bowl ring!

Don’t wait to create your Super Bowl contending team. Join the SBAB team experts on February 21st. They understand the game you are playing, they know some trick plays that lead to touchdowns, and they can’t wait to cheer you on towards your biggest win yet!

SBAB Contributors: Jessica Hamilton, HR Consultant; Jodi Milbradt, Employer Solutions; Deb Sauder, Leadership Strategist; Zaylore Stout, Employment Lawyer.

Rolling Out GDPR – Are you ready for May 25th?

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First question… What is GDPR?

It stands for General Data Protection Regulation, and it’s a new standard for the way in which companies manage and maintain their customers’ data within the European Union.  It goes into effect on May 25th.  Second question, as a U.S. based company, do you really care?

You probably should.   As a starting point, I’d suggest reading the following article:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2017/12/04/yes-the-gdpr-will-affect-your-u-s-based-business/#4b1592dd6ff2

A quick summary of the article is that any U.S. based company that has a web presence and sells products as the result of web contacts needs to review their data practices and how the GDPR might impact them.

In a recent webinar hosted by BrightTalk, entitled “Getting Ahead of the Compliance Curve”, the presenters stressed that full implementation requires a combination of technical and organizational measures to protect your data.   Part of that could be encryption, but operational processes are also required to ensure complete compliance.  As part of that, two key implementation points are the “right to be forgotten” feature, and the requirement that all data breaches must be reported within 72 hours.

Once in place, the GDPR is positioned to impose significant fines for non-compliance.  One report indicates that fines can be up to 4% of your annual global revenue.  Another example is that if a company is breached and credit card information is accessed, the fine could be in the neighborhood of $3/card breach.  Simple arithmetic shows how quickly the fine can go up based on the size of your breach.

Confused? Concerned?  It all starts with understanding current practices within your environment, assessing them against the requirements of GDPR, and determining what needs to happen next.    When in doubt, ask for help – call Huber Advisors at 651-429-9991 to see about getting an assessment of the impact and how to address any shortcomings within your business.

Find more customers? I’d rather be fishin’: A Minnesota Approach to Marketing in 2018

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Just like that, 2018 is here and in full-swing. If you’re like most businesses, you’re looking to grow. And if you’re like most of those businesses, growing means gaining more customers. There are many marketing analogies out there. We’re in Minnesota so we’re going to use fishing to help explain how to “catch new customers.”

Fishing for Customers in 4 Steps:

  1. What category of fish? Saltwater or freshwater. Big fish or pan fish. Identify your ideal customer personas.
  2. What type of fish and what lure? Sunny, northern, swordfish, or trout. Craft a marketing message that attracts and connects with your target personas.
  3. Where to fish? What pond? What area of the lake or ocean? Market where your personas live.
  4. Go fish. What’s your technique? How are you working the lure. You have the tackle box and the spot picked out – put it to action and adjust as needed.

Ok, those are four, easy-to-understand steps. But, as you probably know, there’s a lot of info to cover in each of those steps. Fishing is an art. It takes experience, knowledge, and the right gear.

At the January 17 Small Business Advisory Board Lunch and Learn event, we’ll help you to answer the question, “Where Can I Find More Customers?” Join us to hear our panel of marketing and sales “fishing guides” present great information on how to get started and answer any questions in our Q&A session. Register here.

Please Join Us!

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You wont want to miss this! Coming in February, The Healthy Workplace: 10 Ways to Build a Great Work Environment That Produces Meaningful Results

Meet with our experts Jessica Hamilton (HR Consultant), Deb Sauder (Leadership Strategist), and Zaylore Stout (Employment Attorney) while they dive into the topic of corporate culture. This will be an interactive workshop!

Wednesday, February 7th, 9:30-11:30 am

Officenters-International Plaza

7900 International Drive, Suite 300

Bloomington, MN 55425

Questions? Send us an email at info@smallbizab.com ! Register at: https://smallbizab.com/events/the-healthy-workplace-workshop/

Are Your Employees Happy?

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Are you a business owner with employee problems such as…

 

  • Negative attitudes?
  • Drama in the workplace?
  • High turnover?
  • High Absenteeism?
  • Poor work ethic?
  • Poor job fit?
  • Lack of good candidates?

 

If any of these issues sound familiar to you, you’re not alone.  Having an engaged and productive workforce is critical to the success of your business and as you know, getting the people part right is sometimes the most difficult thing to do.   Register now and join us on December 13th to connect with other business owners navigating the same obstacles you are.  Get free, tangible and effective tips from industry experts on best practices and innovative ideas in creating a great work environment.

 

Our panel of experts will give you key actions you can take to:

 

  • Assess your current culture
  • Stay on top of important best practices to avoid legal issues
  • Increase current employee engagement
  • Attract and retain great talent

 

Why attend?  Because happy employees mean happy customers.  Create a happy, healthy, and engaged workplace in 2018 and experience the positive results in your business!

Emotional Intelligence – A Game Changer for Small & Midsize Businesses

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Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify, use, understand, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.  “When the concept of emotional intelligence was introduced to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70 percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success–IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.” Travis Bradberry

What is Emotional Intelligence a measure of?

Continue reading

Supplier discounts .. Something to think about

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Attached is a nice article showing you how you can have your cake and eat it to0.  Taking advantage of supplier discounts and improving your cash availability.   https://liquidcapitalcorp.com/blog/learn-quick-way-take-advantage-supplier-discounts/?ref=793

This is something that is regularly discussed at the Monthly SBAB luncheons.    If this is of interest to you,  you should consider attending.