Keeping Hackers Out

Safeguarding Your Business from Hackers

Small businesses, beware: Your information can easily be accessed by hackers around the world. Cases of security attacks and breaches are serious and can take a serious toll on your business. While it’s suggested that hackers mainly steal usernames and passwords to send spam mail out on social-media accounts, hackers can do a lot more than manipulate your social media page.

 

To avoid attacks, businesses can consider insurance that specifically aims towards helping your business in the event of being targeted by hackers called Cyber Coverage, but that alone isn’t enough.  Business owners need to be doing all they can to secure their websites, confidential customer information, credit card numbers, and safety.

 

With 2017 approaching, there’s no better time for small businesses to raise efforts in their cyber security. Here are some ways to protect your business:

 

Understand the Risk

You can never be too prepared. Understand the internal and external liabilities that can affect your business, different methods and motives of hackers and where your systems have weaknesses.

 

Keeping Software Up to Date

Update, update, update! When it comes time to update your anti-virus and security software, avoid hitting the “Remind Me Later” notification, take some time and keep it up to date and secure to help avoid potential security threats.

 

Prepare an Incident Response Plan

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.  Having a plan of action in case of a security breach or cyber hack is vital for any business. Make sure all employees are aware, have practiced and know exactly what to do in if they’re ever put in that situation.

 

As technology and online security keeps on increasing, being protected and prepared have become extremely important for every business. In an online world where everything happens so rapidly, having a plan and being properly informed and prepared can be your businesses first line of defense towards cyber-attacks.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation.

 

 

 

Deconstructing The Fake News

Like Mom Told You: Don’t Believe Everything You Read!

Like so many life lessons, it should go without say – don’t believe everything you see on the internet.

 

The same goes for deconstructing fake news.  Despite this, with social media being such a quick easy way to stay on top of current events, there is a lot at risk.  Articles like “Apple’s new MacBook Wheel?” or “Donald Trump selects Kanye West as Secretary of State” certainly grab people’s attention, and it has become increasingly difficult to differentiate fact from fiction.

 

As a business owner, you make decisions based upon the information you have.  Therefore you need to be doing constant fact checking, rather than taking such articles at face value.

 

Something as simple as “Googling” information to gain a better insight of what you’ve read will help. Scrolling through social media, it’s hard to differentiate between the fake news and the real news. Before sharing a trending piece of news, do some research and make sure that what you’re sharing is correct and isn’t being substituted for real information.

 

It’s easy to believe anything you want to believe. If you read a headline that coincides with your own beliefs, then it becomes harder to accept that as false information.

 

Like it or not one thing is clear — technology has made it easier than ever to spread false information online and conventional media’s capacity for fact checking is being stretched in unprecedented ways.

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation — and follow us on Instagram!

 

 

 

Instagram – Hidden Business Opportunity?

Leverage one of social media’s fastest growing channels

Whether you’re trying to promote your brand, stay connected with the online world or trying to launch a new product or service, you need to be using social media.

 

When it comes to business, everyone thinks of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, but Instagram remains a bit of an afterthought.  This leads to many  small businesses signing up, getting confused as to how to use Instagram and then giving up which is quite unfortunate given how well Instagram lends itself to image based communications and distribution across social media channels.

 

Here are 4 strategies on how to get the most out of Instagram as a small business:

 

Connect Your Company’s Social Accounts

Instagram allows you to connect your company’s social accounts. If your business already has other social media accounts like Facebook or Twitter, connect them! Write a quick and creative bio on your profile that explains what your company is all about, and by adding a clickable URL to your website in your bio it’ll draw potential new customers directly to your site!

 

Capitalize on Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads present a great opportunity for small businesses because it’s extremely affordable! Compared to LinkedIn and Google Ads, advertising on Instagram is an economical means of advertising. If you already have a Facebook Advertising account then this’ll be particularly simple because it’s all built into the same platform. How much it costs to advertise depends entirely on the amount of money you’re willing to spend.  As well, creating a custom image specifically for Instagram Ads instead of reusing the same ones you’ve used on other social platforms will generate a much better engagement.

 

Videos Are Better Than Photos

Fact:  A puppy chasing a ball on video is better than a picture of puppy with a ball.  Out of all the updates on Instagram, being able to publish videos has got to be the most beneficial for small businesses. Even though photos currently generate terrific engagement, video is on the rise and can grab the attention of consumers much quicker and keep them there longer. With Instagram Stories and live videos, the app is making a clear push toward video content and this is great because they don’t require a ton of production. You just need your phone and a creative idea!

 

Slide into Your Competitors Slipstream

Make a list of your top competitors who are active on Instagram, follow anywhere between 50-100 of their followers, you’ll gain new followers.  They’ve done the hard work of building credibility and a following – why repeat the effort?  Besides it will make for great stare downs at the next industry conference.  Beyond getting followers, you have to interact and keep them engaged with your profile. They’re already interested in your industry and they like the content you post, these are two of the most important characteristics of an engaged Instagram follower.

 

The beauty of Instagram is that it’s an openly creative platform. That said, if your business is looking to have an impact with it’s community, it’s important to leverage this app by actually being creative. Growing a dedicated Instagram won’t just happen overnight, but Instagram users love to engage and are always active. Once you get the ball rolling using these techniques, you’ll begin to realize how useful Instagram can be for your small business.  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation — and follow us on Instagram!

 

 

 

Taking A Salary vs Taking A Dividend

Should You Take A Salary or a Dividend?

For income, a small business owner can salary themselves or receive a dividend. This decision is not a superficial one, but rather a taxation-related dilemma. This choice is one small business owners have to make for themselves, unless they seek help from a personal advisor. This topic is one with a lot of intricacies.

Why consider dividends?

Dividends have the distinction of not being deducted through the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). This has the advantage of placing more of your income into your pocket to do as you wish with it.  This also has the disadvantage of you now having to manage your own finances in a manner that ensures you will have retirement savings. Dividends avoid employment insurance contributions as well, which has additional implications. Dividends are taxed at a lower rate as people receive a credit back to equalize some of the taxing that occurs on them.

Why consider salaries?

Dividends in some circumstances may be less beneficial than taking out a salary. Companies get taxed on how much they make. Dividends can get taxed as well. This leads to the organization’s earnings being taxed multiple times before reaching your hands; which is not ideal. Salaries are tax deductible (unlike dividends), leading the opposite phenomenon to occur. Salary tax moves the burden from the company to be dealt with in personal tax expense.

How much to take out with a salary?

If you are going with a salary, understanding where you want to set the salary is another important consideration. In order to reap the maximum benefits that having a taxed salary can provide you, there are certain benchmarks to consider. In order to maximize CPP benefits, it is required that you have a salary of at least $54,900. Maximizing the benefits of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) requires a salary of at least $144,500.  A salary of $12,000+ qualifies for child tax credit. Taking advantage of maximizing benefits is ideal as you are pay into them and will receive a suboptimal return by not meeting their conditions.

Recommendation

It is often advisable to take both dividends and a salary. It is ideal to hit the $54,900 salary mark for CPP and possibly the $144,500 RRSP amount if the business can afford it. Small businesses need to ensure they are under the $500,000 level of income to retain their small business status; therefore keeping their small businesses tax credits. How much more of a dividend/salary should be taken depends on a lot of specific situational factors that are constantly changing; from both regulation and the business itself. Optimizing the dividend/salary amount is a constant process which has a lot of flexibility as the amounts you withdraw may be modified easily.

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation

 

 

 

Terms and Conditions Page

Making Your “Terms and Conditions” user friendly while still protecting your business

 

Terms of Use. Terms of Service. Terms and Conditions. You’ve probably never paid much attention to them, despite them being on every website you visit online. The problem with Terms of Use (TOU) is that they are difficult to read and understand, and if you really want to use the site, you have to agree to them anyway.

 

Simplify the language

Simplicity is great, but you have to be careful.  The Atlantic recently published an article on this very topic and used website 500px as a prime example. The website offers its legalese in a column on the left and a simplification in a column on the right, with the disclaimer that the latter column “is not legally binding.” This arrangement, while superficially elegant, does nothing to address the problem that exists regardless of form.  If your  user lacks comprehension, be it of the meaning of the rigid legalese or the legal implications that are lost when the terms are oversimplified simple language is not a solution by itself.

 

Clickwrap or Browsewrap?

Composing a good TOU is just half the battle, because a user still has to opt-in, be it through an active action or a passive one. A distinction can be made between “clickwrap” TOU that engage users through a positive action (requiring they “Accept” the terms or not) before accessing a destination or obtaining a product on your site.  The other – passive – type of TOU is a “browsewrap” TOU, which only exists as a hyperlink on the page allowing users to view terms and conditions, but not mandating that they do so.

 

Whether or not either of these avenues is legally binding can depend on what country you are in. In the U.S. Ninth Circuit case Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble, Inc. (2014), the user sued the bookstore for deceptive online business practices. The bookstore argued that the user could not sue because of an arbitration clause in the site’s terms. The court decided that  “the user was successful in arguing that they weren’t subject to the terms of use of a website that had a browsewrap agreement.”

 

However, in the Canadian case of Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership v. Rogers Communications Inc. (2011) (BCSC), browsewrap TOU were found to be enforceable against users. While it appears that non-prompting TaC may be legally binding in Canada, the very recent decision in Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble, Inc. and the otherwise complete lack of case law on this specific matter, especially in Canada, should suggest that it’s better to be safe than sorry—so be sure to clickwrap your shiny, new, and user-friendly TOU.

 

In the end, using simpler words, clear grammar, good organization and a clickwrap TOU can go a long way to engaging the user and increasing the chances that they will be bound by the terms and conditions presented.

 

As always Bullfrog Insurance is committed to helping entrepreneurs success.  That’s why we’ve partnered with Clausehound to bring you a library of expert-compiled legal frameworks.  To see a standard set of terms and conditions, visit their Small Business Law Library.

 

As well, be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation

 

 

 

‘Tis The Season to Network

champagne

Networking for Entrepreneurs – Some Do’s and Don’ts

With the holiday season approaching, you’re going to be at a lot of events that present a great opportunity for networking.  Unfortunately, even the most experienced entrepreneurs can often be inexperienced in the art of networking.

 

The most major mistake small business owners may make is not networking. Opting to avoid networking means that you are not capitalizing on opportunities nearly as much as you could be. Some business owners cite several reasons as to why they do not network such as not having the energy or personality.  Most experienced entrepreneurs find ways to circumvent such obstacles, as they view networking as a critical process. Networking can be seen as a very high value activity for a business, considering the results it may provide relative to the resources that must be placed towards engaging in it.

 

Another common mistake is actively attending networking events but not reaping the rewards of networking. If you leave with a bunch of business cards and then store them in a drawer rather than follow up with prospective clients and partners, attending events will not be a productive activity for you.  As well when networking authenticity is very important. Connecting to others as a company instead of as a person can be a major mistake.  How often have you spoken with someone and come away feeling that they were a little too “salesy”?.  Connecting with people takes time and effort, but if you build the right connections with people, they may provide you with a stream of clients through word of mouth.

 

Finally, be sure to manage your efforts carefully and be selective.  Attempting to go to every event you get an email or brochure about can lead to burnout.  With a little consideration and planning you can reap the rewards of networking without incurring any of the drawbacks.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, sales and risk mitigation

 

 

 

Page 5 of 18« First...34567...10...Last »