8 Content Marketing Tips to Help Your Business on Social Media.

Content Marketing:
Content marketing is on every business’s mind these days. As a business or brand we need to keep in mind what the community, or followers, or future buyers are looking for and their reactions to your content. Coming up with content is another post for another time. Here I want to discuss the Marketing and Strategy of your content.

Marketing your content is more than just posting, it is how your content is percieved. It is the little things that count that are not seen on the page, but have meaning.

So here are the basics:
Use your content to gently guide your followers through the buying cycle. Don’t treat it like a speed boat, full throttle from the beginning.

Use Social Media Ads to AMPLIFY the reach of your content. $5, $10, or even $20 can go along way.

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. You can not force people to see the value in your content, services or products. If you are trying to force them, it will turn them off right away.

Use simple headlines. Titles that get to the point will bring higher quality people of interest to your content.

Re-Purpose old content in a new way. Take an old blog and turn it into a video or live stream, take an old video and turn it into a blog, edit a blog into 1 minute clips to put out on various networks. Be creative, there are many things to do.

Use a checklist for your content. List all the channels you want to use it for. Use a Social Media Calendar (get yours here) so you can manage your week with the content.

Look at your analytics of your old content. This gives you an idea of the most popular topics and types of content that are working. This will help with future content so you know what is working.

Always give them a way to contact you at the end. Whether it is Phone, Email, Social Media site, or Website.

I recently did a Facebook Live on this and included it here also.

http://https://www.facebook.com/rcstern/videos/10154604759773900/

I hope this was helpful for you and if you have any thoughts or questions please don’t hesitate to write in the comments below or reach out to me.

Robert C. Stern is the CEO and Founder of The Social Leader. Helping companies and individuals harness the power of Social Media for Business. Please Like us on our Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter.

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These Are the Highest-Paying Companies in America

A cyclist rides past Google Inc. offices inside the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S. Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg
Once again, technology companies and consultancies took the top spots in the latest list of employers with the highest median compensation in the U.S. While familiar names, including Facebook Inc., Google parent Alphabet Inc., and LinkedIn Corp., can be found on Glassdoor’s annual survey, some lesser-known companies have landed on the honor roll as well.

The top five companies on the list, each with median salaries above $150,000 according to the anonymous poll, include consulting firms AT Kearney Inc. and PWC Strategy& LLC, and software companies VMware Inc., Splunk Inc., and Cadence Design Systems Inc. AT Kearney and Strategy& also took top spots last year, while Splunk is making its first appearance on the list.

Here’s a look at how the top 25 stack up 1  .

While it's true that investment banking and hedge fund firms tend to pay well, with places like Goldman Sachs Group Inc. touting median compensation of $107,500 on Glassdoor's website, it’s not enough to crack Glassdoor’s top 25. Banking and investment companies require highly educated employees with niche skillsets, but Glassdoor says tech and consulting firms require a bit more. Hence the bump.

But just because a company pays well doesn’t mean you’ll like working there. Those two key reasons for working anywhere often stand opposed. Strategy&, for instance, just has an average rating as a place where people want to work. This sort of divergence between pay and other aspects of a job goes for how much people respect their bosses, too.

“There is not necessarily a link between high pay and great leadership at a company,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist. “We see companies on the list with CEOs who have very high approval ratings—and some with lower approval ratings.” 

The most common refrain in reviews by current and former employees is that companies need to do a better job helping them balance work with their personal life.

Companies that address this conundrum seem to get more in-house respect. Chief executives of Facebook, McKinsey, and LinkedIn received some of the highest ratings. Facebook employees, noting similar concerns over work-life balance, said if you ask for a better arrangement at their company, management is typically receptive.

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Meet the $21 Million Company That Thinks a New iPhone Is a Total Waste of Money

IFixit's founders, Kyle Wiens (left) and Luke Soules, have built a thriving company around a pretty radical idea. CREDIT: Alex V. Murawski

The guys behind iFixit want to show you how to fix everything from your iPhone to your toaster–for free. By doing so, they've built a huge business. Even though Apple totally hates them.
 IFixit's founders, Kyle Wiens (left) and Luke Soules, have built a thriving company around a pretty radical idea. CREDIT: Alex V. Murawski
  
"Here–stand on that," says Kyle Wiens, positioning himself opposite his visitor and reaching for the switch. Then comes the electric hum, followed by the soft jolt and the ground receding. It's a car lift, mechanic's grade, salvaged from a dealership, reinstalled on a concrete pad in Wiens's backyard in Atascadero, California. 

Wiens–who's wearing jeans, a checkered shirt, steel-rimmed glasses, and the kind of haircut you might give yourself with a pair of dull scissors–has about two sloping acres on a rise overlooking U.S. Highway 101, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The high hills beyond are green from this winter's drenching rains. There's a stucco main house, a prefab outbuilding, a chicken coop, a patio with a monster grill, and a work shed that houses motorcycles, dirt bikes, kayaks, wetsuits, a generator, a compressor, a welding torch, hammers, wrenches, and drills, as well as several small piles of disassembled equipment: his many works in progress. The lift is just outside the shed. Wiens uses it for jobs most people would delegate to a professional, like swapping out the transmission on a truck. And for cheap thrills: "It's so cool!"

IFixit co-founders Kyle Wiens (left) and Luke Soules in a loft atop a rock-climbing wall. Note the strategically placed iFixit logos on their laptops.CREDIT: Shaughn and John
It's also there because fixing stuff is his life's work. Wiens, 33, is co-founder and CEO of iFixit, a company whose mission, he says, is to "teach everybody how to fix everything." On iFixit's website is a vast library of step-by-step instruction sets covering, well, let's see: how to adjust your brakes, patch a leaky fuel tank on a motorcycle, situate the bumper sensor on a Roomba vacuum cleaner, unjam a paper shredder, reattach a sole on a shoe, start a fire without a match, fill a scratch in an eyeglass lens, install a new bread-lift shelf in a pop-up toaster, replace a heating coil in an electric kettle, and–iFixit's specialty–perform all manner of delicate repairs on busted Apple laptops and cell phones. More than 25,000 manuals in all, covering more than 7,000 objects and devices. Last year, according to Wiens, 94 million people all over the world learned how to restore something to tiptop working condition with iFixit's help, which frankly was a little disappointing. Wiens's goal was 100 million.

Some of the knowledge stored on iFixit's website is produced internally. Most comes, wiki-style, from the world at large. Either way, the information is always free. You don't have to register. There's no advertising. IFixit makes about 90 percent of its revenue from selling parts and tools to people who wouldn't know what to do with them if iFixit weren't also giving away so much valuable information. The rest comes from licensing the software iFixit developed to write its online manuals, and from training independent repair technicians, some 15,000 so far, who rely on iFixit to run their own businesses.

"We impact the economy in a far bigger way than we capture ourselves," Wiens allows. He's OK with that. That's how you get to everybody and everything. But it's a real business. A 14-year-old, 125-employee, five-time Inc. 5000 honoree growing 30 percent year over year, iFixit topped $21 million in sales in 2016 and delivers steady profits. "We give away a whole lot for free," says co-founder Luke Soules, who's 32. "We like that, and it still works, even if only a fraction of those people give us money."

Consider how we as consumers relate to our electronic gadgets and gizmos. We can't live without them, but we have no more idea about what goes on beneath their shiny exteriors than the apes did about the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When they break, we feel helpless; we want a new one right away. But there are consequences to consuming like that–environmental consequences, as our discarded toxic technology makes its way into landfills and dumps; resource consequences, as finite supplies of crucial elements like iridium are rapidly consumed and discarded; eco­nomic consequences, as we recklessly empty our pockets to keep pace with the latest and greatest; and human conse­quences, as we grow increasingly frustrated by the magical objects on which we depend.

IFixit and its noble mission may not seem like much of a threat to anyone, least of all the most profitable company on the planet, but Apple has been watching iFixit carefully. Apple doesn't like iFixit, because iFixit writes its own in-house versions of Apple's top-secret repair manuals and shares them with all comers. It sells reverse-engineered Apple-equivalent parts and bundles them with custom-designed picks, tweezers, spudgers (tiny plastic chisels), and screwdrivers in affordable, everything-you-need kits. Working with iFixit, you can replace a cracked screen or a fried battery for a lot less than if you were to take your problem to an Apple store, which might not be an option for you anyway, depending on where you live. Plus, iFixit won't try to sell you a new phone. (Apple ignored repeated requests to comment for this story.)

IPhones equipped with new iFixit replacement screens, awaiting testing.CREDIT: Shaughn and John
Then again, iFixit doesn't like Apple either. At iFixit headquarters in San Luis Obispo, California, the recycling goes in cans labeled with iFixit's logo–it resembles a Phillips screw head–while the cans with the Apple logo are for trash. In eight state legislatures across the country, the two companies are fighting over so-called right-to-repair laws (see "You Gotta Fight for Your Right to Repair," below) that, if passed, will loosen Apple's strict, cradle-to-grave control over everything it sells and eat into its stupendous repair revenue. Apple doesn't report just how huge that repair revenue is, but trade journal Warranty Week estimates that one proxy for that–sales of Apple's extended-warranty repair program, AppleCare–delivered the company a staggering $5.9 billion worldwide in 2016. "It's the world's largest extended-warranty program," says Warranty Week editor Eric Arnum. "Bigger than GM's. Bigger than Volkswagen's. Bigger than Best Buy's or Walmart's."

IFixit wouldn't be here if it weren't for Apple and everything about it–its innovation, its ubiquity, and its arrogance. IFixit is basically a parasite if you think about it that way. Or maybe a pilotfish, swimming with the shark and subsisting on its leftovers. Yet that doesn't begin to capture the fullness of this company's radical mission, or the ambition of its founders, both of which Wiens has spent much time reflecting on.

"I'm really concerned about the transition in society to a world where we don't understand what's in our things," he says. "Where we are afraid of engineering, afraid of fact, afraid of tinkering. When you take something like a phone or voice recorder and you take it apart and you understand it enough to be able to fix it, a switch flips in your brain. You go from being just a consumer to being someone who is actually a participant." This may not be as cool as having your own backyard car lift. But still, it's pretty cool.

Wiens and Soules both grew up in Oregon, but they didn't meet until they got to California Polytechnic State University, where the motto is "Learn by doing." That was 2003, and they've been together ever since–as friends, roommates, 50-50 business partners, and river kayaking buddies. (When Wiens announced he was getting married, his other friends told him he would have to divorce Soules first.) Wiens talks more than Soules and sleeps less; he's the public face of iFixit, its chief explainer and grand strategist. Soules oversees operations and manages iFixit's China supply chain; he's also a pilot and a clarinetist. At Cal Poly, they bonded over their shared geekiness. "I remember him going home for Christmas break," says Soules. "He had a big, old-fashioned desktop computer. He brought it with him on the train."

Wiens's other computer was an Apple iBook G3, the curvy, candy-colored laptop known as the "toilet seat Mac." He dropped it one day, and it broke. Wiens was unfazed. As kids, he and his brother were always taking apart and reassembling old radios and kitchen appliances that their grandfather bought for them at Goodwill. He "spent his life making and maintaining things," Wiens wrote of his grandfather in a eulogistic essay published on The Atlantic's website in 2013; he schooled Wiens in the war against "entropy: the second law of thermodynamics that guarantees everything will eventually wear out"; and he sent him off to college with a toolkit and a soldering iron.

IFixit staffer Alec Thille, at his desk at company headquarters.CREDIT: Shaughn and John
Wiens needed a G3 repair manual. He searched in vain online. Apple doesn't share such knowledge with its customers. That ticked him off. It was his computer, after all. Bought and paid for. Why shouldn't he have access to its inner workings? "This shall not stand," Wiens remembers thinking, and so was born the idea for a business.

Wiens and Soules worked it out over the next several years. Initially, they thought they'd write their own repair manuals and sell them, but–first lesson–information is a tough sell. (No one would pay for eHow's articles or videos, either.) Parts and tools, on the other hand, aren't, so Wiens and Soules became online resellers, clearing out the screwdriver shelves at Sears, ordering hard-to-get parts from catalogs, and filling orders, Michael Dell-like, from their dorm. They called their fledgling company PowerBook Fixit, until Wiens got scared that Apple might hunt them down for trademark infringement. Next, they tried PBFixit, which didn't stick either. "People thought it stood for peanut butter," says Soules. Still, people came. "We didn't make money our first month," says Wiens. "We made money our second month. And we've made money ever since."

They roomed together, sleeping in bunk beds so they'd have more space for inventory. Sophomore year, they moved off campus to a two-bedroom apartment, and eventually to a three-bedroom house with a three-car garage that served as a parts warehouse. Taking care of business while keeping up with classes presented certain challenges. "I'd be on the phone with a customer, trying to walk them through installing their hard drive, and I'm looking at the clock thinking, 'I have a midterm across town in 20 minutes,' " says Wiens. "You can't tell the customer that." Eventually, they hired help. One day, an employee arrived for work at the house having forgotten his key, so he picked the lock. The boss was impressed. "To this day, we still teach lock-picking to new employees," Wiens says. (At times, iFixit has sold branded lock-pick sets despite certain complications; it's illegal to ship them via U.S. mail.)

"In the beginning, we were very carefully iterating on the customer experience around parts," says Wiens. "Then customers would say, 'Well, that's fine, but how do we install it?' So we wrote them a manual. And they would say, 'Well, that's fine, but we don't have tools,' and so we sold them the tools. And they would say, 'Well, the tools are too expensive,' so then we started building kits and just bundled the tools into the price of the parts. It turns out that we were doing something that nobody else in the parts business was."

The year they graduated, 2007, was the same year the iPhone made its debut, presaging a dramatic shift in their revenue stream from fixing computers to fixing handheld devices. What had begun as a part-time gig was by now a profitable, fast-growing business. It didn't provide them with just spending money while they were in college–it paid for college. It also covered the down payment on the $690,000 house in Atascadero that would serve them over the years, sometimes overlappingly, as their shared home, an employee bunkhouse, and iFixit's headquarters. "This could very well be a career for us," Soules remembers thinking senior year; the thought had never occurred to him before. So much for worrying about finding a job.

IFixit staffers pitching in to process the company's latest delivery of its tools inventory from its suppliers. This time around, iFixit received more than 2,000 boxes.CREDIT: Shaughn and John
The front door at iFixit headquarters on the edge of downtown San Luis Obispo is locked. A sign says "by appointment only." There is a bell, however, to which a smiling, bearded 20-something responds. He leads the way through an empty waiting room into a steel-girded, skylighted barn, filled with other bearded 20-somethings and a few of their female counterparts. This building used to be the car dealership where Wiens got his lift. He left the other lift out back for his employees' benefit, though it's not clear how many drive, much less own cars. On their first day, all iFixit workers receive–in addition to a desk, in parts, which they're expected to assemble themselves–$400 toward the purchase of a bike. The parking lot is mostly empty.

Renovating the place took more than a year. The biggest challenge, Wiens says, was figuring out how to insert an upper level into the existing framework and make everything watertight without bringing down the roof. ("It's much harder to repurpose and reuse an existing building than to build a new one from scratch," he concedes, irony apparently unintended.) There's a grand staircase bisecting the central atrium, made with recycled acacia and walnut. Twin monitors on the landing track global activity on the website. The paneling at the top of the stairs is made with two-by-four oak-flavor planks, discarded by the region's wineries. It smells good in here. Not like wood or wine, but familiar and clean. Like a freshly opened box of electronics.

Soules is visiting the company's suppliers in China this week, but Wiens is at his second-floor "desk." It's a treadmill set to walking pace, facing a high-top table holding a stack of outdated software manuals, repurposed as a platform for his laptop.

Wiens doesn't advertise it, but he's a devout Christian. Jen Wiens, iFixit's company chef, wasn't sure what to make of her future husband the first time they met, in Bible class–an insistent chatterbox, a voracious reader (later she would learn that he listens to audio books at double speed), a man given to big ideas and noble pronouncements. "I worked at a law firm downtown," she says. "I was always pretty tired from a 14-hour day. He would sit next to me and just keep talking. He was always really excited. Eventually, I decided maybe I should pay attention."

One of the first times they hung out together, Kyle told Jen that he wanted to change the world. He was still in college, still working out the details of his big vision for "fighting the growth of disposable culture," as he would write years later in iFixit's employee handbook (a 50-page manifesto illustrated with drawings lifted from a 1903 edition of the Boy Scout handbook), "promoting sustainable design, defending ownership rights, and shedding light on the devastating effects of electronic waste." Kyle wasn't quite there yet, though it was clear to Jen even then that when Kyle talked about changing the world, he meant something more than disrupting some tiny corner of the tech industry and making a lot of money for himself. "I knew where he was going," she says.

Where he was going, of course, was this business that would eventually infuriate Apple. But it would also thrill a few enlightened corporate allies–notably Patagonia, which partners with iFixit to help fulfill the lifetime guarantee it offers on all branded gear. "We're really impressed with their ethos," says Nellie Cohen, Patagonia's "worn wear" program manager.

In some ways, iFixit is a conventional success story. It's made money, certainly, though not as much as it could have if that had been the main goal all along. One reason its founders stopped applying for inclusion on the Inc. 5000 several years ago, according to Wiens, is they weren't interested in hearing from any more potential investors. "I think we're both scared of the responsibility to grow and make money at all costs that that would bring," says Soules. And already iFixit has had far more impact, in its own industry and beyond, than companies many times its size–remember, it reached 94 million do-it-yourselfers last year, and has trained thousands of technicians scattered across the U.S.

"I can't think of anything else as exciting as this or as needed," Wiens says. In a world marked by a huge economic divide, he is convinced–as well as convincing–that iFixit can help make owning technology more affordable while creating opportunities for independent repair shops. Add to that the environmental benefit of throwing less stuff away, and maybe the human benefit of making us all just a little bit happier.

One of Wiens's favorite books is Matthew Crawford's Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. Crawford, a research fellow at the University of Virginia, has an undergraduate degree in physics and a PhD in political philosophy. His book ties all that together with lessons learned in his other career, as a motorcycle mechanic. "We evolved to be tool users," Crawford says. "What people are looking for is that basic experience of individual agency, to see the effect of your own actions and take care of your own shit."

That Wiens and Soules have created a booming business that can help with that? Very cool.

You gotta fight for your right to repair
Eight states are mulling legislation that would thrill iFixit–and anger Apple.

The first car I owned was a 1970-something Ford Maverick. When you opened up the hood, it was easy to do whatever you had to do–new plugs, new belts, oil change. Cars today are packed to the gills with circuitry and software. But that doesn't mean they're unfixable by anyone other than the manufacturer, despite what car companies would have us believe.

A set of screwdriver heads, waiting to be mounted on an iFixit-branded handle. On their first day at iFixit, new employees are given a desk. There's one catch: They have to assemble it themselves.CREDIT: Shaughn and John
Such was the impetus behind Massachusetts's Right to Repair ballot initiative of 2012, which voters approved by 86 percent to 14 percent. It gave car owners and independent repair shops access to the same diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and firmware that licensed dealers have.

Now lawmakers in eight states are pursuing legislation that would extend the concept to cover computers, smartphones, and tractors. "Repair is impossible without access and information," says Gay Gordon-Byrne, executive director of the lobbying firm Repair Association. One such bill was introduced in January by Lydia Brasch, a state senator for a rural district in northeastern Nebraska. She's tired of driving 80 miles to Omaha–to the only Apple store in Nebraska–to get her computer fixed. Her husband, Lee, is a fifth-generation corn and soybean farmer who's had similar issues with his $300,000 John Deere combine. (John Deere, says Gordon-Byrne, is "the Apple of farming.")

Apple, which did not respond to multiple requests to comment for this story, is not happy with what's happening in Nebraska–and Kansas, Minnesota, New York, Tennessee, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Wyoming. Recently, the company sent a delegation to the state capitol in Lincoln to have a word with Brasch. Apple's lobbyists were "respectful," she reports. They offered to back off if she exempted smartphones. Then they tried to scare her, warning if the bill passed, Nebraska would be "a mecca for hackers and bad actors."

But Brasch isn't buying it. "How many billions do you need?" she wonders. "There should be a little piece of the apple for the rest of us to share."

If I can do it, you can do it
I put one of iFixit's kits to the test, on my busted up old iPhone.

My work-issued iPhone 5C worked fine until one day it didn't. The screen fizzed out. No cracks in the glass, just a dense net of wavy vertical lines, rendering the display unreadable. Apple says that its phones should last three years. Mine made it two and a half.

By then, the warranty had expired, which might have bothered me if I were paying, but I wasn't. Work sent me a replacement and the 5C went into a drawer, where according to a study sponsored by SellCell.com, a reseller, some $13 billion worth of old cell phones reside.

Then I heard about iFixit and I wondered: Could a doof like me really fix my old phone? I was encouraged to learn that the 5C earns a reparability score of six from iFixit, on a scale of one to 10, which isn't bad. (My new Galaxy S6 Edge only gets a three.) And that my specific job, a front panel replacement, involved 32 steps, would require 30 minutes to an hour to complete, and had a difficulty rating of "moderate"–not "easy," but not "very difficult" either. I ordered the full kit, parts, and tools, for $54.95, plus shipping.

The first thing I did when my package arrived was watch the six-minute tear-down video on iFixit's website. Then I dove into the illustrated instructions. Step 12, removing the four infinitesimally small Phillips screws that secure the front panel assembly cable bracket to the logic board, caused me the most anxiety. The screws look identical, but they're not. "Accidentally using the 3.25 mm screw or the 1.7 mm screw in the bottom right hole will result in significant damage to the logic board causing the phone to no longer boot properly," I read.

I wasn't certain at the time that I hadn't made that mistake. (I recommend clearing off your workspace before you begin; a magnetic mat would have been helpful too.) Still, I persevered. After reinserting the last two "Pentalobe" security screws (Apple nomenclature) that seal the case, I pushed the power button, held my breath, and beheld with pride a glowing screen. My old 5C, good as new. I showed my wife. 

 

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Top Online Threats To Your Cybersecurity And How To Deal With Them

R.L. Adams ,   CONTRIBUTOR
I write about technology and online marketing.  

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. 
News flashes and sound bites are constantly calling our attention to the latest hacks or threats to our cybersecurity that seem to be filling our social media news feeds and television reporting circuits. While there are plenty of bad actors out there hell bent on doing us harm, symbiotically living in the digital ethers and layers that make up the vast web, there are companies and organizations working in the background to protect and remediate any potential disasters.

Some of these online threats pose significant harm to our lives, our businesses and our finances. Some of them are easy to detect, while others have become increasingly challenging and more sophisticated over the years. They sometimes involve massive bot-nets of millions of devices all acting in concert with one another, and sometimes they're far more individualistic in nature, with specific high-value targets that involve social engineering and location tracking to ensure that their cryptic intentions are fulfilled.

If you've ever been the victim of a phishing scam online or you've ever had someone hijack your profile or social engineer you or your employees to gain access to critical corporate information and infrastructure, or to steal any amount of money from you through methods such as Instagram money-flipping, then you know just how painful this process is. Oftentimes, we search for ways to exact our revenge, usually falling flat on its face due to the anonymity of the World Wide Web.

So, how do you go about protecting yourself from these online threats and cyber criminals who are determined to extra money and valuable information from you?

Clearly, there is no full-proof method to protect yourself. As technology evolves, so do our methods for combating these online threats. However, that doesn't mean that the threats stop. They also evolve. They get smarter, more efficient and more scalable as the near-limitless reach of the web gives them unfettered access to potential billions of dollars in crimes against unassuming individuals and businesses from across the planet.

What Are The Top Online Threats In Cyberspace? 

While there are numerous threats that exist at every turn on the internet, there are 10 very significant threats that pose malicious harm to us. Understanding what these threats are that exist on the web and learning how to combat them is integral to conducting any semblance of business or personal activity these days. Falling for these is painful to say the least, but even more so when you didn't even see it coming from miles away.

One of the biggest and most challenging uphill battles here when it comes to online threats to our security is actually determining whether or not a visitor is human. Bots that crawl the web, or that are designed to somehow infiltrate systems and drop malware generally don't behave like humans. However, this isn't always something that's straightforward. How companies go about detecting automated software and threats in cyberspace has a lot to do with their potential to fall victim to these scams.

Not only is it important to institute a good set of habits when it comes to dealing with online threats like this, but it's also important to stay in-the-know. The more informed you are, the better off you and your employees will be. It's important to note that whatever you do, threats are always evolving. Locate reputable companies that you can work with to help alleviate some of the stress that failure might cause in this arena.

#1 — Ransomware

One of the biggest ongoing concerns and threats to our digital existences has been the proliferation and exponential rise of ransomware. You know, the type of thing that locks you out of your computer with an impending countdown that signals the digital death of your entire virtual existence. As it counts down, threatening to encrypt every last shred of data, you realize the peril that digital criminals can inflict on their unassuming victims.

Your choices? According to Tod Beardsley, Director of Research at Rapid7, a firm dedicated to thwarting these types of attacks through some of their wildly-popular software platforms such as Nexpose and Metasploit, you should never pay the criminals because you don't know the outcome of whether your information will in fact be restored, or simply vanish into thin air.

Redundant backups should be a priority for you. Backup to an external drive somewhere on your network and to the cloud through DropBox or another provider. Rapid7, which oftentimes stress tests other corporations by hacking in an effort to expose security loopholes, working to ensure that networks are safe from potential attacks, knows a thing or two about this. Companies rely on their teams to ensure that they're protected, and they're often the first phone call many make when an attack like this and others do actually happen.

#2 — Phishing schemes

A large majority of people get caught up in phishing schemes. Phishing schemes are engineered to get you to click on things and oftentimes they seem harmless. Simply click on a link and it will go to some URL. That's it. However, as harmless as they seem, phishing schemes can lead to to a number of major online security breaches if you're not careful. By paying close attention to what you're clicking on, you'll better be able to mitigate these types of attacks.

Once you're ensnared in this type of scheme, it's hard to untangle yourself. There are phishing schemes for bank accounts, email accounts, big e-tailers and other service providers that have massive footprints. The goal? Gain access to the consumer's account to do the most damage. If you think you were the victim of a phishing scheme, and you entered in your username and password somewhere online and things didn't seem right, immediately change all your passwords.

Another important thing to note is that most people use the same (weak) password across a variety of services such as Gmail, Facebook and online banking as one example. Never do that. Always use different passwords and ensure that they're not simple passwords to begin with. If a cybercriminal gains access to one service, you don't want them gaining access to the others. You should also be changing up your passwords every few months or so.

#3 — Man-in-the-middle (MIIM) attacks

One of the most sophisticated threats that exist online are man-in-the-middle attacks. I've seen these threats firsthand and know just how malicious they can be. Everything seems okay all the way to the final point of entry (even when using 2-factor authentication). This malware sits on your computer and waits until you've entered in all your credentials, then it actually swaps out the server that receives the communication and even communicates back to you.

Throughout all of this, everything seems fine. Nothing seems amiss. That's why it's such a sophisticated online threat. You almost don't know that anything is happening when it actually is happening. You have to be very wary of what you download to your computer and what reputable sources they're coming from. Virus software is not going to help you in most cases here because these threats are always evolving.

Oftentimes, MIIM attacks are a result of phishing schemes that installed latent software on your computer that sits dormant for some time until you begin accessing the proper network or until its recorded the right keystrokes. It then substitutes its own intercepted server right when you submit your credentials to login.

#4 — Ad fraud

Online ad fraud is far more widespread than anyone could possibly imagine. This is likely one of the biggest cyber-threats that seems to go under the proverbial radar. Few people know that they've been scammed by sophisticated ad fraud systems after it's occurred. Publishers simply see views increasing and most ad platforms don't provide high specifics as far as direct views on every single ad impression or click, leaving most people in the dark.

In a recent conversation with Tamer Hassan, CTO of WhiteOps, a firm deeply entrenched in the fight against automated ad fraud, they've taken this fight to a new level by developing a platform that actively measures 500 to 2000 technical metrics to determine whether the person viewing the ad is in fact a human or a robot. This software analyzes several layers at a time and its the leading platform amidst the largest publishers in the world.

This impressive system developed by Hassan and team runs silently in the background, with no impact on the speed or latency of ad serving or delivery. In fact, most publishers are now building White Ops' software into their contracts, stating that violations in ad clicks and views from bots will result in non-payment of revenues. This human verification on the web is potentially one of the most lucrative types of fraud that so many cybercriminals are working to exploit and companies are working to protect against.

#5 — Social media schemes 

Instagram (IG) money-flipping schemes and many others social media scams have surfaced in recent years. Considering that IG is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, it's no wonder that unscrupulous cybercriminals are targeting individuals who are in desperate situations, looking to make a few hundred or a few thousand dollars quickly. These IG money-flipping schemes have become so widespread that the company can only take down 1 money-flipping scam for ever 3 that are being created.

In a recent conversation with Evan Blair, co-founder of ZeroFox, a firm specializing in social media security, he tells me that 70% of companies are using social media for business but that a large majority of those companies are uninformed about potential impersonations of customer service representatives or duplication of accounts and impersonation of profiles, until it's too late. In fact, there's little that many of the most popular platforms like IG can do to safeguard against the windfall of social engineering and phishing that is constantly occurring against companies at any given moment.

However, this isn't just a risk to digital security; cybercriminals are now using IG and other social media sites to physically track and harm well-to-do executives, celebrities and other high-profilers such as athletes and even politicians. Without a good system to thwart such attacks, most businesses and individuals are completely left lost in the dark. That's likely why so many of the world's leading companies and affluent individuals rely on ZeroFox's groundbreaking platform to thwart and mitigate such attacks.

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Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms to Become More Diverse

A Facebook event in Berlin. The company is requiring that women and ethnic minorities account for at least 33 percent of law firm teams working on its matters. Credit Tobias Schwarz/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Like other Silicon Valley giants, Facebook has faced criticism over whether its work force and board are too white and too male. Last year, the social media behemoth started a new push on diversity in hiring and retention.

Now, it is extending its efforts into another corner: the outside lawyers who represent the company in legal matters.

Facebook is requiring that women and ethnic minorities account for at least 33 percent of law firm teams working on its matters.

Numbers alone, however, are not enough, under a policy that went in effect on Saturday. Law firms must also show that they “actively identify and create clear and measurable leadership opportunities for women and minorities” when they represent the company in litigation and other legal matters.

Those opportunities “include serving as relationship managers and representing Facebook in the courtroom,” Facebook’s general counsel, Colin Stretch, said in an interview. The legal department, he said, has for the last few years been working on increasing diversity at all levels.

“Firms typically do what their clients want,” he said. “And we want to see them win our cases and create opportunities for women and people of color. We think the firms are ready — our articulation gives not just permission but a mandate.”

For Facebook, the move on outside lawyers is happening even as the company’s efforts at improving diversity in its own work force have so far shown little progress.

According to statistics released last year, blacks and Hispanics last July accounted for only 3 percent each of senior leadership, and women made up an additional 27 percent. Hiring for the 12 months beginning with July 2015 showed something of an improvement: Of those newly recruited to senior leadership posts, 9 percent were black, 5 percent were Hispanic and 29 percent were women.

To improve those numbers, Facebook announced last year that it would focus on recruiting and retention. The company is also establishing programs to help underrepresented college students, as well as younger students in public schools nationwide, develop interests in coding and engineering. In addition, Facebook is reaching out to families who want to learn more about programming.

And when it comes to improving diversity among its outside lawyers, Facebook is part of a growing trend.

A number of general counsels across corporate America are pressing their outside firms to make their teams more diverse — in terms of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and even disability — at all levels of seniority, not just among junior associates.

MetLife says it is announcing a new policy this month; HP in February adopted a more stringent program. The moves are an acknowledgment that the numbers of women and minorities at law firms have barely budged over the past 20 years.

“Law is the least diverse white-collar profession,” said Jean Lee, the chief executive of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, an organization that focuses on the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse lawyers. “A lot of companies made a concerted effort to increase diversity internally, and now they are demanding diversity at the firms they use.”

“One of the challenges in the legal profession is that, despite all of the focus, the lack of diversity is a stubborn and persistent problem,” said Kim Rivera, HP’s general counsel. “We think we can help if we can be clear and unambiguous and hold firms financially accountable.”

HP now requires its outside law firms to have at least one diverse so-called relationship partner or at least one “woman and one racially/ethnically diverse attorney each performing at least 10 percent of the billable hours worked on HP matters.” (A woman who is also a minority will cover the requirements as long as she bills the requisite 10 percent.)
SEE SAMPLE PRIVACY POLICY
Failure to comply, under the policy, would result in a 10 percent “diversity holdback” of fees, but with a one-year grace period.

Ms. Rivera said the reaction to the new policy had been positive. “I’ve gotten dozens of calls and meeting requests largely asking how to partner with us to have the program succeed,” she said.

Zakiyyah Salim-Williams, the chief diversity officer for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which counts both HP and Facebook among its clients, said she was not fazed by the new requirements.

“We have a large number of diverse lawyers and we always try to staff our teams to reflect that,” she said.

Mr. Stretch of Facebook says its legal department will work with outside law firms in their efforts, tracking results, not surprisingly, through a variety of metrics.

It’s not just tech companies that are pushing their outside counsel. MetLife’s general counsel, Ricardo Anzaldua, will meet this month with representatives of some of the 50 firms the company retains to review an initiative to spur retention and sponsorship of women and diverse lawyers.

Under the program, the firms “must make sure that the junior diverse talent has sponsorship among the senior lawyers and that they get the best coaching and nurturing they can provide.” MetLife will evaluate the results in 2018; underperforming firms will have six months to improve or be dropped.

Mr. Anzaldua’s mandate echoes his own in-house initiatives. “A few years ago we began to identify and coach those with high potential to become the future leadership pipeline,” he said. “While the initiative doesn’t exclude white men, the proportion of women and people of color in that pipeline is more than 60 percent, reflecting the fact that we have an influx of talented women and people of color in the lower ranks.”
Some companies take a more fluid approach. While Verizon Communications has no numerical target, its general counsel, Craig Silliman, said, “diversity of the team is one of the specific criteria we use when we bid out a matter,” in addition to strategic approach, cost and other factors.

Morgan Stanley’s chief legal officer, Eric Grossman, in addition to encouraging diverse teams, also annually names one of its outside law firms as the recipient of a leadership award in diversity and inclusion. Firms vie for the award, which depend on a variety of factors.

“We put a lot of weight not just on the diverse and female attorneys who work on Morgan Stanley matters, but also on how many diverse lawyers they have in the firm and the depth of their sponsorship programs they have to promote overall diversity. We recognize that it just doesn’t happen on its own,” he said.

The possibility of a fee reduction or being dropped from the roster of approved firms could be an effective tool to make it happen.

“Companies are now using a carrot and stick approach because the carrot approach alone didn’t work,” said Ms. Lee of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.

A version of this article appears in print on April 3, 2017, on Page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Facebook Pushes Outside Law Firms on Diversity. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

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French social network Viadeo to be liquidated after failing global expansion

(Ecofin Agency) – French social network, Viadeo, which planned to go global eying emerging markets, Africa included, went bankrupt after failing expansion. The firm on November 29, 2016 was placed under receivership by the Paris Commercial Court. It will be liquidated in three months.

Viadeo is a professional social network which positioned itself as the direct rival of U.S. network LinkedIn. However, the company lacked funds to develop, explained its CEO, Renier Lemmens who was appointed this year after the previous CEO and co-founder (with Thierry Lunati) Dan Serfaty resigned.

Since it was launched in 2014, the French startup was able to raise only €37.7 million. An insufficient sum for the company which had already started global expansion. In 2010, Viadeo was already present in Canada, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, India, Mexico, and U.S. The year before that, it had acquired its Chinese counterpart, Tianji. The social network had also acquired Indian Apna Circle and Canadian Unyk. Next, it entered into a joint-venture with Russian Sanoma Indepedant Media, bought Dutch firm Soocial and Chinese Zaizher.

In 2009, Viadeo had 25 million users. In 2014, it declared having 60 million users but derived 95% of its revenues from its users in France. “They spent a lot trying to go global, but targeted markets too difficult for them,” said Jérôme Colin, telecom, media and internet expert at consulting firm Roland Berger, cited by Les Echos.

It was difficult for Viadeo to sell paid subscriptions to its users, in emerging markets mostly, which were its main target. “They went too quickly. Their free platform was limited and many of their users got tired of it,” Colin added.

Since listing on the Paris stock exchange in 2014, the firm’s value kept plummeting as its turnover slumped and its losses cumulated, reaching €13.4 million for the financial year 2014. When it was placed under receivership, Viadeo was valued 

at €10 million only. In a press release, the firm said “shareholders should consider that Viadeo shares have no more value”.

Assongmo Necdem

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Siemens is buying a software company for about $4 billion

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

It's official: Siemens just announced it was buying the semiconductor-design software company Mentor Graphics for $37.25 a share in cash, or about $4 billion.

That's a 21% premium to Mentor's closing price Friday, and it values the Oregon-based company at about $4.5 billion, including debt.

"Siemens is acquiring Mentor as part of its Vision 2020 concept to be the Benchmark for the New Industrial Age," Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser said in a statement. "It's a perfect portfolio fit to further expand our digital leadership and set the pace in the industry."

Kaesar has made it a priority to sell off core units to boost profitability since taking control in 2013.

Mentor Graphics has been fending off interest from activist investors for years. Carl Icahn fought and won a proxy fight to get three board seats in 2011, but he later exited the trade. Elliott Management in September reported a stake in the company, saying the shares were deeply undervalued, according to Reuters.

Reuters in October reported that Mentor Graphics had hired Bank of America to explore strategic alternatives.

Here's the press release:

Siemens is further building its Vision 2020 to shape Digital Industrial Enterprise by expanding its unique portfolio for industrial software. Siemens and Mentor Graphics (NASDAQ: MENT) ("Mentor") today announced that they have entered into a merger agreement under which Siemens will acquire Mentor for $37.25 per share in cash, which represents an enterprise value of $4.5 billion. The offer price represents a 21% premium to Mentor's closing price on November 11, 2016, the last trading day prior to the announcement. Mentor's Board of Directors approved and declared advisable the merger agreement, and Mentor's Board of Directors recommends the approval and adoption of the merger agreement by the holders of shares of Mentor common stock. Mentor shareholder Elliott Management has committed to support the transaction.

This acquisition decisively extends Siemens' leading Digital Enterprise Software portfolio with Mentor's well established electronics IC and systems design, simulation and manufacturing solutions. These capabilities are essential for today's smart connected products such as autonomous vehicles. The combination provides mechanical, thermal, electronic and embedded software tools which will allow Siemens' customers to further accelerate their innovation, drive production efficiencies and optimize the operation of their products in the field. Now, for the first time, quality, efficiency, flexibility, safety and speed can be optimized across technical domains, throughout the entire lifecycle and for the entire extended enterprise.

"Siemens is acquiring Mentor as part of its Vision 2020 concept to be the Benchmark for the New Industrial Age. It's a perfect portfolio fit to further expand our digital leadership and set the pace in the industry," said Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.

"With Mentor, we're acquiring an established technology leader with a talented employee base that will allow us to supplement our world-class industrial software portfolio. It will complement our strong offering in mechanics and software with design, test and simulation of electrical and electronic systems," said Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens.

Mentor is headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, U.S., and has employees in 32 countries worldwide. In its fiscal year ended January 31, 2016, Mentor had over 5,700 employees and generated revenue of approximately $1.2 billion with an adjusted operating margin of 20.2%. Siemens expects these attractive margins to continue in the future and contribute significantly to the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software business of Siemens Digital Factory (DF) Division, which Mentor will join. Mentor serves a large, diverse customer base of marquee systems companies and IC/semiconductors companies with over 14,000 global accounts across communications, computer, consumer electronics, semiconductor, networking, aerospace, multimedia, and transportation industries. Mentor is viewed as a global leader in strategic industry segments including IC design, test and manufacturing; electronic systems design and analysis; and emerging markets including automotive electronics.

"Combining Mentor's technology leadership and deep customer relationships with Siemens' global scale and resources will better enable us to serve the growing needs of our customers, and unlock additional significant opportunities for our employees," said Walden C. Rhines, chairman and CEO of Mentor. "Siemens is an ideal partner with financial depth and stability, and their resources and additional investment will allow us to innovate even faster and accelerate our vision of creating top-to-bottom automated design solutions for electronic systems. We are excited to join the Siemens family, as it is clear they share the same values and focus on customer success, and are pleased that this transaction provides immediate and certain value to our stockholders."

Siemens expects to achieve synergies through a combination of revenue growth and anticipated margin expansion, with a total EBIT impact of over €100 million within 4 years from closing the transaction. Additionally, the transaction is expected to be EPS accretive within three years from closing. Closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected in Q2 of calendar 2017. Mentor will be part of the PLM software business of Siemens' DF Division. DF is the industry leader in automation technology and a leading provider of PLM software.

"By adding Mentor's electronic design automation solutions and talented experts to our team, we're greatly enhancing our core competencies for product design that creates a very precise digital twin of any smart product and production line," noted Helmrich."

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How To Compete With Big Companies And Win

By Jabed Hasan | October 7, 2016

You’ve probably read about the story of Goliath of Gath.

He was a giant Philistine warrior who was defeated by the young boy David, the future king of Israel.

History has shown us time and time again that it’s possible to compete and win the big guys.

MySpace was once the biggest social media site in the world and the most visited in the United States. But it lost the social media battle to Facebook.

Today, MySpace is almost dead.

Yahoo was once the #1 search engine on the web. Google is now the undisputed search engine in the world.

Recently, Yahoo was sold to Verizon for $5 billion. Forbes called it the saddest deal in the tech history.

In fact, the story goes like this:

1998: YAHOO refused to acquire Google for $1 million.

2002: YAHOO realized its mistake and offered $3 billion. Google requested $5 billion. YAHOO refused.

2008: Microsoft offered 50B to acquire YAHOO. YAHOO rejected the offer.

2016: YAHOO has been acquired for $5 billion.

The current value of Google is around $545 billion.

No big company is safe.

You can compete and win.

Apple was once a garage shop that competed with the big guys like IBM and software giant Microsoft. It won!

Apple is the world’s most valuable brand today.

Some marketing and business strategies that will help your startup (David) compete and win your established and big competitors (Goliaths).

Free PDF Download: Get access to the free checklist that will show you how to compete with big companies and win.
Go Niche. Expand Later.
Your established competitors are BIG.

Your startup is small. That’s the truth.

Here comes the biggest mistake most startup founders make:

They want to act big.

You shouldn’t act big because your capital and resources aren’t as much as that of your competitors.

But there’s a smart way to crush your big competitors:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

These are the keys.

When Facebook started out, they didn’t compete directly with MySpace.

They didn’t act big like MySpace. They can’t.

Facebook acted small. Very small.

Back when it launched, it focused on Harvard students.

It captured Harvard.

Then it moved to other campuses until it has captured every one of them.

It all started from somewhere.

Remember:

Focus. Specialize. Niche.

Amazon is the world’s biggest online retailer with 74.1% market share.

But that wasn’t how it started.

Amazon started as a bookstore.

Back in 1997, Barnes & Noble sued Amazon for claiming to be “the world’s biggest bookstore.”

Today, Amazon is the biggest online retailer.

That’s the power of starting from a niche. That’s the power of focus. That’s the power of specialization.

Selling a large number of different products will be a nightmare. You’ll be trying too hard to appear big when, in fact, you’re so small.

Save yourself the stress. You won’t win when you compete this way.

Compete smart.

Drop any product that doesn’t contribute to growth.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was struggling and almost at the edge of collapsing.

Apple had 20+ product lines at the time.

Jobs cut that number to 4.

So Apple focused on 4 great products:

A consumer desktop
A consumer notebook
A pro desktop
And A pro notebook
He was proved right.

Apple turned profitable and went to become the most valuable brand in the world under Jobs’ leadership. That’s the power of going niche and focus.

Scott Gerber, the founder of Sizzle It! wrote on the Entrepreneur Magazine:

“In 2004, my partners and I launched a typical “do everything” video production company.

After years of under-performing, I transformed the company into a single product specialist.

While the vast majority of video production companies still tout their large service rosters, Sizzle it! has carved out a niche as the only company that specializes in sizzle reels–stylized 3-to-5 minute product videos commonly used by PR and marketing professionals.

Result; Sizzle It! has emerged as a go-to company for sizzle reels and benefits from top keyword visibility on all major search engines.”
There are thousands of T-Shirt stores both online and offline. But Threadless is different.

Threadless is a user-generated T-Shirt and apparel website that determines its product line based on the results of online design competitions.

Though the management doesn’t disclose revenues, it was estimated that the company makes $30 million sales per year and a 30% profit margin.

In 2008, Threadless was featured on the cover of Inc. as “The Most Innovative Small Company in America.”

Being everything to everyone is impossible. You have to be one thing. Do one thing extremely well.

One thing the world could associate your startup with.

You can’t be all over the map claiming you do all things well. That will only hurt you more and give more power to the established companies.

Smaller is bigger in business. It’s highly focused. It gives you the chance to win against the bigger guys.

A niche is a targetable part of the market.

When you go niche, you’re a specialist providing a product or service that focuses on a specific need a group of individuals or companies have. Your big competitors shouldn’t be meeting that need.

If your big competitors are meeting that need, then it’s not a niche.

For example, Google is the world’s biggest search engine. It’s for everyone.

How about a search engine for kids?

That looks like a niche. This is just an example.

Creating a search engine for kids is a real challenge.

The point here is to differentiate yourself so small that your biggest competitors won’t feel like you’re taking the majority of their market share away.

Before they know it, you’ve already taken a big chunk that you’re almost ready to expand.

By then, they won’t see you as another small startup, but a real competitor.

Niche marketing is really easier.

Your positioning and branding will make attracting people easier.

People with similar interests behave the same way and are attracted to similar things. Your customers will be the one doing the majority of the marketing for you instead of the other way round.

Getting repeat business would also be easier because you can deliver a better product and service that’s based on the customer needs.

Build And Leverage Your Personal Brand
Your personal brand is how you sell when your product is completely unknown.

When you’ve worked hard to build a personal brand, it’ll lend trust and authority to any product and company you create.

For example, Ramit Sethi has worked hard for years to build his personal brand.

Today any product he creates sells fast.

It’s because people know him.

It’s because they trust him.

His online courses such as Earn1k, Zero To Launch, and the Fitelligent were all successful.

Building a personal brand is now more important than ever. It’s your key to driving growth for your small company.

In the early stages of your company, people are more interested in you than what your company has to offer them.

When you’ve built a personal brand, selling your product becomes easier.

It’ll also be easier to get other people on board to market your product.

It’s because you’ve built a relationship with them through your personal brand.

You may begin wondering what a personal brand is and why it’s really important?

Your personal brand is how others see you.

It’s important that people have a positive view of you.

In addition to that, the relationship you have with people is very important.

You should engage people on a personal level. That’s how you develop a great relationship with them.

Meet a lot of people.

Help a lot of people.

Share your knowledge and ideas with them.

The relationships you build through this will be valuable for your startup. It could mean going from point A to Point B.

It could mean getting that big client that will move your company up on the ladder.

You Have to Give to Receive
Are you ready to get massive customers for your company?

You have to give and help a lot of people.

Think about what you can offer others more than what you can get from them.

In his words, here’s how Sujan Patel is giving to promote his company:

“One of the first things I did was begin to host some dinners for marketers and entrepreneurs.

I simply wanted to get people together to share knowledge and ideas. I certainly had no intention of selling or pushing my products on them.

I made a point of holding these dinners in various locations around the world. The idea was that I would appear more successful than I was at the time, that I was jet-setting around the world for business meetings.

This was all part of the bigger building-a-brand-to-sell plan.”
So, start giving.

Start writing a lot of high-quality blog posts.

Start appearing on podcasts that will have you.

Start hosting dinners with professionals in your industries and those related.

Start offering one-on-one consultations with potential customers.

Start doing webinars. This can be highly rewarding for your startup.

Just continue helping people, and the selling part will naturally take care of itself.

When you create a lot of helpful contents online, people will start finding your website on search engines. This means another avenue to promote your company.

Content is the fuel of social media too.

Giving in the form of high-quality contents is a great way to gain an advantage over your established competitors.

When you apply this advice, you’ll find that your startup will succeed pretty much faster.

Have An Awesome Customer Service
Customer service is a brilliant way to compete with the big guys.

For example, Zappos built a billion-dollar empire on their ability to deliver an excellent customer service alone.

In fact, delivering an excellent customer service is Zappos main company values.

There are thousands of negative customer service stories on the web, but only a very few people (if they ever existed) can say a bad thing about Zappos.

Here’s one of the amazing statements coming directly from the CEO.

“We believe that the speed at which a customer receives an online purchase plays a very important role in how that customer thinks about shopping online again in the future, so at Zappos.com, we have put a lot of focus on making sure the items get delivered to our customers as quickly as possible.

In order to do that, we warehouse everything that we sell, and unlike most other online retailers, we don’t make an item available for sale unless it is physically present in our warehouse.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc.
Speed is one of the keys to delivering an excellent customer service.

STELLAservice conducted a response time report in 2011 and found that the average email response time for the to 100 Internet companies was 17 hours.

Frost reported that 41% of consumers surveyed listed being put on hold as their biggest frustration.

So make sure you don’t leave customers waiting.

No company is perfect. You’ll have some unsatisfied customers.

How you deal with tough customers can have a big negative or positive impact on your reputation.

Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes if the blame is on you.

And sometimes, the blame might be on the customer, but that doesn’t mean the customer is bad.

One unhappy customer can lead to 5 lost customers.

Even Amazon care about its customers.

“In 2007, an Amazon customer ordered a new PlayStation for his son for Christmas.

When the shipping company delivered the parcel, the customer was away and had a neighbor sign for the package.

The neighbor left the package outside the customer’s house (in which it soon disappeared).

When the customer realized what had happened, he was left in complete shock.

Even though Amazon was not to blame for this mistake, they were quick to resolve this by not only sending a new PlayStation in time for Christmas, but did not charge for the extra shipping.”
A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network.

And as each Facebook profile has an average of 229 friends, the reach of this experience can quickly reach thousands.

There is great value in ensuring you deliver a positive customer service.

RightNow Technologies 2011 Customer Experience Report found that 86% of U.S. adults are willing to pay more for a better customer experience and 73% of U.S. adults said a friendly customer service made them fall in love with a brand.

Not only will brands get happy, loyal customers but will see increased business.

Improving your customer service is the key to competing with the big companies.

Can’t wait to win your big competitors?

Start applying these tips today.  http://www.mountnow.com/compete-big-companies-win/#

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