Business Advice Blog

Could Business Owners Be Doing More to Protect Themselves from Cyber Crime, New Survey Says “Yes”

In September 2017, The Alternative Board conducted a survey of hundreds of entrepreneurs to find out how cyber security is affecting small businesses in the 21st century. The survey asked questions about the business owner’s past experiences with cyber security, their fears, and the precautionary measures they’re taking against cybercriminals.

According to the results, business owners do express considerable concern regarding the security of their business against cyber attacks. In fact, 62% of the business owners surveyed agree “cybersecurity breaches can cripple any business.”

Despite this concern, it seems business owners aren’t taking enough precautionary measures. According to the results, nearly half of all CEOs have faced some form of cyber crime, yet less than half feel 100% prepared against them.

Today’s blog post seeks to reveal where business owners are falling short in terms of cybersecurity and how they can remedy those gaps.

  1. Business owners are spending on average $8,933 a year on cyber protection.

    According to a 2016 study from Small Business Trends, 60% of small businesses that faced a security breach went out of business within six months. Even more frightening, the aftermath of such attacks amounted to approximately $879,582 worth of damages.

    Needless to say, $8,933 seems like a very small investment when compared to nearly $900,000. Considering 31% of the entrepreneurs surveyed are committing a minimum of $10,000 to cybersecurity – it’s important to ask yourself, “Is your small business spending enough?”

    To answer your question, Techvera offers up the following strategy: “Overall, businesses seem to spend between 4-6% of their revenue on IT, and this range is recommended by CIO Magazine.”

    Take a look at your IT spending and see if it’s hitting or missing the mark. Considering 24% of business owners don’t feel any less vulnerable to cyber attacks than other business owners, this can at least provide the assurance that you’re on the same page.

  2. Business owners are using time as an excuse to avoid securing their businesses.

    When asked how safe they consider their business from cyber-threats and cyber-attacks, only 5% of the entrepreneurs surveyed said 100%. Yet, 40% still do not have a cybersecurity response plan in place. Why?

    The majority of business owners agree the number one obstacle in the way of fully committing to cybersecurity best practices is time (43%), followed by resources (32%), expertise (30%), and capital (29%).

    Time should never be an excuse for getting done what needs to get done for your business. As a business owner, if you are not able to prioritize the items you consider important for your profitability and long term success, there’s a good chance you’re getting yourself too involved in day-to-day operations and not properly outsourcing.

    In fact, 39% of the business owners surveyed believe that they are responsible for cyber security for their business, when that could easily be outsourced to an IT firm or consultant. “Although information security is a stressful matter, consulting with a professional IT services firm instead of trying to handle things in house is a smart move,” says security expert Danielle Valliere.

  3. Only 23% of Entrepreneurs consider themselves likely to purchase cybersecurity insurance in the next year.

    75% of business owners agree a cyber attack would affect the profitability of their business for some period of time, but less than a quarter are investing in insurance against it.

    According to QuickBooks Resource Center, “In truth, anyone that hosts a website that interacts with the public at large is a candidate for cyber liability insurance. This includes commercial businesses and website publishers. If you conduct even a portion of your business online or ask customers to trust you or a third-party vendor with their information, you should seriously consider purchasing cyber insurance.”

If you count yourself among the 95% of business owners who don’t feel 100% satisfied with your current cybersecurity protection plan, than you may want to consider increasing your budget, outsourcing relevant tasks, and investing in insurance. Developing a cyber security protection and response plan is one of the many topics you can discuss with a board of fellow business owners through The Alternative Board.

Get in touch with a local TAB franchise if you are interested in discussing cyber security or any other business topics with an advisory board, comprised of business owners just like you.

 

7 Tips for Managing Your Millennial Sales Team

Millennial sales team

We often hear that millennial employees are a breed apart, and require a shift in management style and perspective. The same can be said about a millennial sales team and what’s needed to effectively manage and leverage their particular outlook and talents. Generally speaking, think of these younger salespeople as self-confident, positive thinkers who are thoroughly comfortable with digital technologies in all forms, and ready to take on sales challenges unique to your company and industry.

The key is providing the right type of guidance and training to maximize their efforts on behalf of your organization. Here are seven key tips:

1. Zero in on their motivation. Like any other employees, millennials want to be paid a fair wage for the work they do. But perhaps more than other generations, they’re often motivated by the need to “make a difference”—in their community or in the world at large. It’s worth the effort to meet with your sales team members to better understand what drives them on a personal and professional level.

2. Be prepared to offer flexible work schedules. You may have already instituted flexible work schedules in your organization, but if not, think carefully about trying to restrict millennial salespeople to a rigid 9-to-5 routine.

Again speaking in general terms, these strongly self-motivated individuals can be relied upon to attend to daily or weekly sales-activity objectives. But, they also believe they can do in a flexible way—and may bridle at being restricted to a strict 9-to-5 workplace schedule. Look into what type of flexible work schedules enable them to achieve maximum productivity.

3. Offer feedback (and plenty of it). Millennials thrive on feedback, especially when it’s frequent and constructive (as opposed to quarterly or semi-annual performance reviews). They want to hear from their managers that they’re doing a good job, which will make them work even harder. But they’re also open to critiques that let them build on their existing knowledge and experience.

4. Provide training bite-sized portions. Sales training is critically important for millennials, as it is for other generations of salespeople. Adopting a formalized training program, however, may not be the best approach.

Millennials favor shorter, condensed training sessions, not day-long workshops or other, more traditional classroom-style approach. Look into interactive sales training software that plays to their ability to absorb information in quick, interactive programs. You’ll likely see better results this way.

5. Give them guidance on selling to older generations. A key area of training for this generational cohort is guidance on selling to clients who aren’t millennials. It’s important to train millennials on the best ways to reach out to customers with different generational needs and desires. After all, if they can’t understand what drives these individuals and business owners, “they will struggle to maintain relationships with some clients and close sales with many prospects.”

6. Encourage collaboration. Back in the day, companies often found benefits in pitting one salesperson against another. That’s not the ideal approach to sales management for millennials, who tend to favor collaboration over competition.

Emphasize a team approach to sales management, with plenty of opportunities to brainstorm together, pair more experienced individuals with sales rookies, etc. It’s also a good idea to reward the entire sales team for successful deals, rather than only single out individuals for praise.

7. Take advantage of their digital know-how. Remember, millennials understand digital technologies inside and out, including how to sell via social media. Rather than shoehorn them into one approach or another, encourage your team to “continuously adopt new technologies and integrate the latest, most sophisticated digital sales tools into their repertoire.” They’ll benefit from the infusion of exciting new ways to approach sales and your company will benefit from their willingness to explore these new strategies.

You have a unique opportunity to draw upon your millennial sales team’s generational strengths and enthusiasm. Don’t let that opportunity slip by.

Want to learn more about sales management and training? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!