Please join us for our Green IT Earth Day event on April 20th. We will be grilling hot dogs and brats. Bring your electronics to recycle and receive a "Green" insulated grocery bag. We just love them! Invitation below.
Are you feeling an economic recovery? We have heard so much good economic news from clients, business partners and local organizations. Georgia's economic growth appears to be even better than initally reported and jobs are up.
If you have an item of interest, send to me and we will include in the next newsletter.
The best offense is a good defense: Disaster preparedness essentials
Guest article by Cindy Bates, Vice President of Microsoft's US SMB Organization
Planning for "the worst" isn't quite as fun as refining a business plan or coming up with new ways to market your products or services, but doing so just might make the difference between the success or failure of your company. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates that more than 40 percent of businesses never reopen following a disaster; and, of the remaining companies, at least 25 percent will close in two years.
Yet, small businesses that take time to develop a disaster preparedness plan that includes preventive measures as well as actions to be taken in the event of disaster greatly increase their odds of withstanding catastrophe. To get started with creating a disaster preparedness plan, I recommend small- business decision makers consider the following:
- Insurance plans and policies - Understanding the intricacies of an insurance plan or policy requires a good bit of time, but it's a step well worth taking now since it's unlikely there will be much time to do so when disaster strikes. Also, you might notice gaps in your plan that can be addressed before it's too late.
- Money management - It's always wise to keep your finances in order, but all the more so when it comes to disaster preparedness. Have all financial obligations, including bill payments, payroll details and account information, in a safe place, since these responsibilities will still require attention even in the midst of dealing with a disaster.
- Cloud-based software for storage and more - Cloud-based software services designed for small businesses store data in secure, offsite locations and provide access to data from anywhere employees have an Internet connection. If your physical office is hit by a natural disaster, you'd still be able to access your information for business continuity. Furthermore, many small businesses have found cloud-based software to provide a host of other benefits, including access to enterprise-class capabilities at an affordable price.
- Microsoft Security Essentials provides real-time protection for your home or small- business PC that guards against viruses, spyware, and other malicious software. Microsoft Security Essentials is a free download from Microsoft that is simple to install and easy to use and that is automatically updated to protect your PC with the latest technology. The greater the security of your PCs, the less the chance that a virtual disaster like cybercrime could impact your business.
- Technology updates - By maintaining updated technology, small businesses can prevent many virtual disasters from happening in the first place. Install updates whenever prompted to do so, or set company PCs to install updates automatically.
- Virtualization - Virtualization consolidates physical server hardware onto virtual machines that live in the cloud. This not only helps small businesses recover more swiftly from disaster but also can lead to cost savings and more efficient operations.
Small businesses that need to implement new technology systems to better prepare for disaster should engage the help of a qualified IT services provider and can find a list of Atlanta-based providers here.
Also, for more advice on preventing and preparing for disaster, check out this free eGuide on disaster preparedness. Finally, I encourage you to keep tabs on my blog, where I regularly address a range of business and technology issues relevant to small businesses.
Cynthia ("Cindy") Bates is the Vice President of Microsoft's US SMB Organization where she is responsible for the company's end-to-end SMB sales and marketing efforts, including SMB strategy, business development, regional field sales and national distribution sales, channel marketing, and customer marketing.
Cindy and her team align Microsoft's resources across customer and partner engagement to drive success in serving the millions of Small and Medium Sized Businesses in the US, helping them start, grow and thrive by leveraging today's powerful and affordable technologies. At the pillar of these technologies lies cloud computing, in which Microsoft has more than 15 years of experience and understands how to meet the demands of SMBs for simplicity and impact, with enterprise-grade capabilities, flexibility and affordability in a familiar environment.
How Google+ Affects Your SEO
Guest author Gwen Morrison of Endurance Marketing
By now you've heard that Google has launched Google+ Pages for businesses - and you're probably wondering whether this new social network is worth your time. The answer is "YES."
Google+ is making its presence known in the Google search results. One of the main benefits of using Google+ for your business is that your Google+ posts are indexed in Google. The more you post, the more likely your content will show up in search results.
Things you can do today that will improve your visibility using Google+:
- Create a Google+ page for your business. Get started on your Google Plus business page here.
- Optimize your "About" page. Add keywords to your Google+ profile and links to your website using keywords as anchor text.
- Add links to your website, social networks, and blog in the "recommended links" section on Google+ page.
- Add a link (or icon) to your Google+ page on your website, blog, social networks, and your email signature.
- Add a +1 button to your website. The number of +1s a page gets will show up in the search results, even if a searcher is not logged into Google+.
- Announce your new Google+ page everywhere you communicate online, encouraging people to add your page to their circles. Your content will rank higher for specific keywords in search for those who have a connection to you on Google+.
By combining traditional SEO and social media marketing, you'll create a more powerful online presence.
Gwen Morrison is a social media strategist, SEO consultant, and owner of
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