4 Strategies for CEOs to Win Their Cyber Security Tug of War



The cyber security tug of war is never ending even though chief executive officers and board members now get the importance of protecting their companies’ information assets. They’ve learned to fear cyber-security threats because they could lose their jobs.

If this is all true, why then are there incessant, worldwide cyber attacks? Business Web sites are facing an increasingly intense full-court press from cybercriminals – cybercrime now costs businesses $1 trillion.

thinking-272677_1280Ostensibly, executives still don’t understand all the nuances and methods used against their companies’ assets. And yet there are plenty of ways to understand the risks.

Companies face cyber-security issues in countless ways — from customer service and finance to human resources.

Often, companies and their employees self destruct. For instance, an epidemic of social-networking attacks represents unprecedented dangers to companies. In just one case, a Facebook user cost her company a $1 million loss.

The uninsured million-dollar loss wouldn’t have occurred if the company incorporated the right safety measures.

While it’s important to secure business assets but CEOs still can’t calculate their returns on security investments.

You’ve heard of the old saying: “Garbage in, garbage out,” right? Human conduct – intentional or otherwise — is the reason for most security risks. But for many people, old habits are hard to break.

CEO leadership is vital

President Harry Truman was famous for saying, “The buck stops here.” That’s true for CEOs in cyber security. The CEO has to see to it that their companies manage the risks and that they stay in close communication with their information technology managers.

While it’s important to secure business assets but CEOs still can’t calculate their returns on security investments.

But it’s a difficult task because CEOs don’t have reasons to respect their chief information officers. Indeed, CEOs have long complained to me about information technology.

They complain about high-priced consultants, and that IT projects are too expensive and fail to yield a return on investment.

And two studies underscore the need for IT professionals to become more businesslike.

So, CEOs must act.

To guard against cyber risks, here are four must-do strategies:

  1. CEOs must communicate proactively in cyber-risk management. Communication with IT professionals must improve – dramatically. Analysis should include priorities, the potential dangers to information assets and the tradeoffs.
  1. CEOs must direct security initiatives at every level and opportunity. This includes being transparent with customers and potential customers in the marketplace before and after any cyber attack.
  1. CEOs must be role models in security. They must walk the talk in cyber security matters. Only then will they be effective in motivating staff to use security measures.
  1. CEOs must make sure all employees and vendors employ security controls and diligent follow policies. It should be an ongoing process to monitor security issues to insure progress.

Short of implementing these four strategies, companies will not be able to innovate and prosper.

From the Coach’s Corner, here‘s more:

Do BYOD Headaches Outweigh Benefits? Yes — More than half — 53 percent — of surveyed global businesses admit they’re not ready to defend against attacks on their employees’ bring their own device (BYOD) devices. Nearly all say their devices might have been attacked, according to a 2014 study.

4 Recommendations to Avoid Spending Too Much on IT — To take advantage of big cost savings in information technology, a study says businesses need to change their buying habits. Here’s how.

4 Keys So Marketing and IT Can Create Business Revenue — Businesses will generate more revenue if their information technology and marketing professionals strategize more effectively. For instance, success in e-commerce is increasingly challenging for companies that want to dominate in brand preference, customer loyalty and word-of-mouth advertising.

 How to Enhance Security in Your Company’s Wireless Network — Do you take it for granted that your wireless network is secure? Don’t make that assumption. Wireless routers present dangers. Your router is vulnerable to hackers and, hence, security issues. If you’re really serious about security, WIFI might not be for you.

“Unless and until our society recognizes cyber bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue.”

-Anna Maria Chavez

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Secure Your Android from Viruses and Malware with 5 Tips



Hopefully, you haven’t had the nightmarish inconvenience on your Android from viruses and malware, which have plagued many users.

Countless headlines detail the cyber dangers associated with Android-based devices. However, don’t for a second assume you’d be safer with an iPhone. Cyber criminals chew up Apple products, too.

It’s vital to avoid the applications that hurt your Android’s software with exposure to viruses and malware.

woman smartphoneHere are five tips:

1. Do your research before installing apps

Just because you see several promotional messages for an app doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Advertising scams are skyrocketing.

Four example, advertising scams that prey on Internet consumers have prompted four Internet companies to band together to fight the abuse.

The scams use harmless-looking ads to trick consumers into using phony tech support that actually enable cybercriminals to invade the unsuspecting owners’ devices.

So avoid advertising scams that trick you into asking for tech support.

Meantime, if you’re uncertain of the source for any of the apps, remember the phrase: “When in doubt, don’t.”

2. Install only from Google Play

Avoid the myriad of online download locations. Avoid the temptation to install free apps. For the safest downloads, use Google Play.

3. Prevent installation with the lock system

Uncheck “install from unknown sources.” Your Android should have access to Google Play. It should also have a locking mechanism that prevent apps from downloading on your phone.

In your settings, enable “verify apps from unknown sources.”

4. Read the fine print

You must check out the permissions. Even if you download from Google Play, the app will proclaim permissions. That means permissions to your phones other options.

Such accessibility is important for certain apps, but be sure to read the reasons for the access.

5. Install an anti-virus software

Downloading apps from Google Play isn’t a 100 percent guarantee of safety, despite Google’s precautions. So to be sure, install a reputable anti-virus software.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more mobile security tips:

Security Steps for Your Mobile Device in Online Banking, Purchases — Almost 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone and more than 50 percent have smartphones, according to published reports. They also indicate 28 percent of smartphone owners use their devices for online banking.

Tips to Prevent Hacking of Your Bluetooth — Bluetooth technology, of course, allows you freedom when talking on your cell phone. But you’ll lose other freedoms if you don’t prevent scammers from exploiting your system via a trend called “bluebugging.” Beware, cybercriminals using software, are able to intercept your Bluetooth signal to hack into your phone.

8 Tips to Avoid Being Victimized by Phishing Scams — Despite all the publicity about phishing scams, even employees at a major health provider and university system are guilty of risking personal data, including medical information and Social Security numbers, for thousands of people.

BYOD, Mobile-Banking Warnings about Security Prove Prophetic — Not to be gauche, but in 2009 you saw the Internet security warning here first – mobile banking is so risky an IT security guru said don’t do it. The warning was prophetic.

Do BYOD Headaches Outweigh Benefits? Yes — More than half — 53 percent — of surveyed global businesses admit they’re not ready to defend against attacks on their employees’ bring their own device (BYOD) devices. Nearly all say their devices might have been attacked, according to a 2014 study.

We’ve gotten to that perfect crossing point where all of the things which have prevented criminals from leaping into the wireless space have been eroded.

-Gareth Maclachlan 

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

PR Is Nearly 90% More Valuable Than Content Marketing — Study



A Bill Gates’ quote is famous: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Certainly, there’s validity for his philosophy. Even if you go to the competing Google News, you’ll typically find 50 million results for the key word, Microsoft.

Now we learn public relations is 88 percent more efficient than content marketing, according to a 2014 Nielsen study underwritten by inPowered.

Ostensibly, the study demonstrates the power of earned media as a center of influence. A positive news report is quite valuable for credibility to build trust.

“With so many companies spending so much money on content marketing, we wanted to clarify what kind of content is actually impacting consumers and helping them make their decisions,” said Peyman Nilforoush, co-founder and CEO of inPowered.

“This isn’t about disproving any particular type of content, it’s about identifying the most effective blend of content types to help effectively educate and inform consumers,” he added.

The study indicates the news media still has more credibility than branded content and maintains a strong influence on consumers.

Moreover, it means a greater return on the marketing investment in the consumers’ perceptions in the decision-making to buying cycle.

“It became clear throughout the study that, while exposure to each type of content did provide a lift across different categories, credible content from experts was the only content type that performed consistently across all stages of the purchase process,” said Tommy Cheng, vice president of Nielsen Content Innovation Solutions.

The study featured the responses of 900 consumers.

They were exposed to three types of content:

— Earned media (PR)

— Branded content (advertising)

— User-generated content (online consumer reviews)

“When it comes to determining which content to utilize to best educate consumers, it is not an either/or proposition,” said Mr. Nilforoush. “But by beginning with a solid foundation of trust built on trusted content from credible, third-party experts, all other content will have a greater impact.

Certainly, inPowered is credible as a PR-minded company, as I discovered after downloading the report.

Here’s an excerpt of an e-mail from the company:

“I’m Pirouz Nilforoush, Co-Founder and President of inPowered. I wanted to reach out and thank you for being one of the first to try inPowered and see if you needed any help getting started.”

True, it was a computer-generated response but it was a nice touch — a well conceived approach that a lot of companies should emulate.

It’s worth noting PR is valuable but that’s not to say content marketing is worthless. PR should be part of an integrated set of strategies to build trust with consumers.

That includes B2B and not just B2C. After all, 82 percent of B2B marketers prefer content-marketing strategies according to a study.

Either way, building trust is paramount.

From the Coach’s Corner, related PR tips:

For a Bounce in Revenue, Try Strategic Press Releases — Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet? It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or have mastered the art of writing press releases. You can level the playing field with effective press releases.

Need PR, But No Budget? Here’s How to Leverage News Media — Social media is OK for promotion. But if you need blockbuster publicity, use best practices in marketing. Play a trump card — leverage the news media for public relations.

Inspiration from Raymond Loewy for the Best Business PR — A lady, sitting next to Raymond Loewy at dinner, struck up a conversation. “Why,” she asked “did you put two Xs in Exxon?” “Why ask?” he asked. “Because,” she said, “I couldn’t help noticing?” “Well’, he responded, “that’s the answer.”

How Some Companies Get Creative in Customer Service for Great PR — As you no doubt know, it’s increasingly competitive and costly to attract customers. It’s also a challenge to hang onto to customers while adding more for your business growth. Typically, consumers react favorably to marketing after receiving five positive messages.

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation.

News crew photo courtesy of jdurham, www.hotodaisy.blogspot.com

Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement



While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth. It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues. Why?

There’s still a wide gap between what managers and workers think about trust, according to a 2013 study, “The Forum Corporation’s global Leadership Pulse Survey.” Based in Boston, The Forum Corporation is a leadership and sales training firm.

For example, the study shows only 8 percent of workers trust their bosses “to a great extent.” More than a third, 37 percent of employees, trust managers less than they have in previous years. 

More than 90 percent of managers believe employee trust is vital, “more than 65 percent of employees rate their level of trust in their leaders as moderate at best,” reveals the study.

Eighty-nine percent of managers also state they’re great at apologizing for mistakes, less than 20 percent of employees agree. 

While such conclusions from a training firm might appear to be self-serving and of dubious value, the study’s results are accurate in my experience as a business-performance consultant.

Employees aren’t always right but neither are managers. 

The study provides more findings with solutions. 

Seven mistakes leaders make:

1. Being inconsistent

2. Lying/lacking transparency

3. Lacking leadership skills

4. Taking undue credit/passing blame

5. Talking behind employees’ backs

6. Not “walking the talk”

7. Poor communication/interpersonal skills

Advice from employees:

1. Act with integrity

2. Listen/demonstrate care

3. “Walk the talk”

4. Demonstrate trust and empowerment

5. Encourage/recognize hard work

6. Provide clear and consistent messages/vision

7. Give constructive feedback/coaching

From the Coach’s Corner, more HR management solutions:

15 HR Strategies to Improve Your Business Performance — Studies show many employees are dissatisfied in their workplaces. Employee dissatisfaction, of course, will adversely affect a company’s performance. A lack of employee engagement means: Higher costly turnover; less focus on customer service; less productivity; and weak profits. The dissatisfaction is global and the trend is likely to continue unless businesses improve their approach.

Profit Drivers – How and Why to Partner with Your Employees — If you want maximum profit, consider partnering with your employees. “Key employees – in fact, all employees – will be more valuable to a company if they understand what drives profit and improves cash flow for the business,” says leading financial consultant Roni Fischer.

Secrets in Motivating Employees to Offer Profitable Ideas — Savvy employers know how to profit from their human capital. Such knowledge is a powerful weapon for high performance in a competitive marketplace. Furthermore, there’s a correlation among excellent sales, happy customers, and high employee morale. Proverbially speaking, employees are where the tire meets the road. They daily experience firsthand a wide variety of problems – including dysfunction from vendors, shortcomings of software, aggravations of customers, poor intra-company communication and dangers facing your company.

Tips for Marketing Your HR-Policy Changes to Employees — So you’ve identified workplace policies that need to be updated. But you want your policies to be accepted and followed by your employees. Employees are often uncomfortable with change even if it’s necessary for a business turnaround. Remember high morale among employees propels profits. You might recall the hysteria over Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s telecommuting ban.

Easy Ways to Boost Your Employees’ Morale — Employee morale affects performance. Study after study shows a significant percentage of worker morale is mediocre, at best. That’s often the case even for companies that are able to pay competitive wages and benefits. As you might guess, it’s a bigger quandary for business owners that don’t have enough cash flow for raises. There are strategies you can implement.

Strategies: If a Valued Employee Wants a Raise, and Money’s Tight — In this economy, whether you operate a large or small company, trepidation of higher payroll expenses can turn your hands cold with perspiration. That’s especially true when talented employees suddenly ask for a raise. Talented workers are an asset – your human capital. Many companies don’t have a compensation policy. And your company might be like the majority of small businesses or nonprofits in this uncertain economy – having difficulty funding even merit raises.

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it’s usually lousy.”

-Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

‘Why Facebook Is Failing Marketers’ — Forrester Study



As a digital advertising option, hundreds of savvy marketers rank Facebook last in “business value” according to a critical Forrester Research study.

The study ranks Facebook last among 13 digital options by 395 marketers in the U.S. and Canada, reports Kristin Burnham, the senior editor of InformationWeek.com, in her Oct. 30, 2013 article (Facebook Ads Fail Marketers: Report).

Ms. Burnham explains Forrester’s study:

“Respondents were asked to rank how satisfied they were with the business value their company achieved. Social sites including LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus and Twitter all ranked above Facebook.”

As a result, she reports Forrester’s recommendation:

“A scathing report from research company Forrester advises marketers to ditch Facebook advertising in favor of other marketing opportunities. Although the social network has potential to redefine marketing, it said, Facebook has failed to do so. As a result, it creates less business value than any other digital marketing resource, it concluded.” 

She indicates Forrester also took an unusual step:

“Nate Elliott, report author and principal analyst at Forrester, wrote an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explaining why the social network fails to impress marketers and advising him on what Facebook needs to do to win back advertisers.”

Marketers say Facebook creates less business value than any other digital marketing opportunity

My sense is that Forrester and the 395 marketers are right. Here are nine tips to evaluate online advertising options.

From the Coach’s Corner, not convinced about Forrester’s warning about Facebook?

Here are more Biz Coach warnings:

Facebook Draws Fire for 6 ‘Stubbornly Childish’ Behaviors — Facebook continues to incur the wrath of critics. This includes a six-point indictment by a leading professional publication, AdAge.com. It’s a daily must-read for advertising professionals. AdAge columnist, Simon Dumenco, posed this question: “Facebook Under Siege: Will It Ever Grow Up?” 

Marketing – Why Visual Content Works on Facebook, but Hashtags Don’t — Ninety-eight percent of top brands have a Facebook fan page, but Facebook’s hashtags don’t enhance engagement with consumers. That’s one of two salient conclusions from an analysis of top-brand experiences from marketing on Facebook. What does work is visual content.  

Facebook – Fewer Users, Drop in Consumer Satisfaction and Share Price — Get out the black balloons for Facebook. True, as a new public company, its stock made a bit of a comeback in 2012 after announcing plans for more mobility to keep users happy. 

Is Facebook Approaching the End of Its Product Life Cycle? Yes — If you’re a prospective Facebook stakeholder looking to profit from the social-networking site – as an investor or major advertiser – beware of all the Facebook hype. Facebook appears to be approaching the end of its product life cycle. 

“For a truly effective social campaign, a brand needs to embrace the first principles of marketing, which involves brand definition and consistent storytelling.”

-Simon Mainwaring


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





A Lesson in Great E-mail Marketing Using Social Media, Videos



Dog lovers would love a promotion by Orvis. Actually, you don’t have to own a dog to appreciate the digital marketing by the firm.

Orvis is a nationwide high-end purveyor of men’s and women’s clothing, products for the home and travel, and of course you can buy gifts for your dog. That includes supportive memory foam beds.

Nearly 160 years in business and with dozens of retail locations, the company’s marketing has changed with the times since its founding in 1856. It has a noteworthy 100 percent guarantee on purchases.

So, at the start of summer, what a pleasure it was to receive an image marketing piece from Orvis entitled, “Dogs in Our Lives.” Pictured closeup were two black labs relaxing on a beach.

The Orvis advertisement had all the elements, including:

  • Picturesque scenery
  • Emotionally stimulating content
  • Link to a related dog video
  • Contact information
  • Invitation to live chat
  • An op-out link
  • Privacy statement
  • Option to view in mobile
  • Social media links for sharing

The next day, Orvis sent an e-mail highlighting a sale of “50 percent or more.” Brilliant.

But for many other companies, the social media links are frequently omitted from marketing e-mails. For a few years, I’ve informed readers and clients that e-mail marketing goes better with social media.

Here’s the first Orvis piece:

View online. | View mobile. Add orvis@email.orvis.com to your address book.

Dogs in Our Lives
They wake us, greet us, protect us, and ultimately carve a place in our hearts and our history. On reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.
go to: orvisnews.com/conservation to learn more
Connect with Orvis Orvis

Please do not reply to this e-mail. If you need help or have a question, try our Live Chat (6am – 12am midnight ET), or send us an e-mail at customerservice@orvis.com

Unsubscribe from Orvis emails here

Orvis respects your right to privacy. Please view our Online Privacy Policy

The Orvis Company, Manchester, Vermont
Customer Service: 1711 Blue Hills Drive, Roanoke VA 24012
24-hours a day, 7 days a week 888-235-9763

From the Coach’s Corner, see these related articles:

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters? — There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers. Further, as a form of content marketing, they’re a favorite of B2B marketers. Why? You can control your message and be a leader in your marketplace by cutting the through the marketing clutter with your very own advertising medium.

Latest Trends in E-mail Marketing — Three published reports show the developments in e-mail marketing. Website Magazinereported the most popular e-mail venues, e-mailing’s value, and tips for Q4 e-mail marketing. A study by Litmus indicates the development of three trends in e-mail marketing.

Want to Start an E-mail Marketing Campaign? 6 Tips for Small Business — There’s a reason why many companies launch e-mail campaigns. They realize sufficient returns on their investments. So, it’s a popular topic here at The Biz Coach. I’ve written about the latest trends in e-mail marketing, and why e-mail marketing goes better with social media. If you’re just getting started, it’s best to keep it simple. In other words, take baby steps until you’re no longer a novice.

E-mail Marketing Goes Better with Social Media, Study — A common sense conclusion from a marketing study, but it’s surprising when you consider the source. Small businesses are more successful in an e-mail marketing campaign if they combine it with social media.

Rock in Your Marketing Messages with 5 Writing Tips — In this digital age of consumer overload, words are powerful – if they’re used strategically. The challenge is to help your prospective customers quickly understand your message. Of course, they hear and see thousands of messages everyday: Road signs; store signage; radio and TV commercials; conversations at work, home and with friends in-person or the telephone; social media; e-mails; as well as ads and articles in newspapers and on the Internet.

“If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn’t have to advertise them.”

-Will Rogers

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Marketing – Have You Considered the Potential of e-Newsletters?



There are several benefits if you include e-Newsletters in your marketing mix. The most salient is that they’re a great way to achieve top-of-mind awareness with your customers.

Further, as a form of content marketing, they’re a favorite of B2B marketers.

Why? You can control your message and be a leader in your marketplace by cutting the through the marketing clutter with your very own advertising medium.

Businessman using laptop Free PhotoYou need to connect with prospects and customers, and continually stay in touch with them. Typically, customers don’t buy until they receive five favorable messages about a company.

Once someone buys from you, e-Newsletters are unique as a tool to build customer loyalty in that customers have to opt-in to receive them.

In effect, they’re a form of permission-based marketing, which means customers want to hear from you.

e-Newsletters give you a competitive advantage for growth because of the multiplier effect.

You can easily insert a social bookmarking service, such as the AddThis toolbar (www.addthis.com).  With the social media and e-mail forwarding buttons, you can easily go viral.

It’s a cost-effective strategy. It’s affordable compared to other advertising options.

But remember to comply with the CAN Spam Act.

Capitalize on your competition

If you’re a novice at this, research your competitors online. Pick an impressive Web site of a company in your industry that targets your ideal prospective customers, particularly a site that offers a newsletter signup.

Analyze why the newsletter is successful, and take notes for your later use – not to plagiarize or copy — but to use for ideas when you start your e-Newsletter.

Some of the big, credible companies have newsletters that include advertising. Consider buying an ad.

Note: Other than quality value propositions or benefit statements – why customers should buy from you – repetition is the key to success in marketing. Remember the “five favorable messages” principle?

And because you’re buying an ad in a newsletter from a company with a good reputation, you’re likely to gain automatic trustworthiness.

Launching your e-Newsletter

By launching your own e-Newsletter for which people sign up, you’ll start generating a list of prospects. You’ll be getting their e-mail addresses.

More on e-Newsletter benefits:

  • They’re a marketing-clutter communication tool to increase your prospects to convert into customers.
  • Your brand image is enhanced.
  • Like your big competitors, you might be able to launch an additional revenue stream by selling ads.

Keys for success

Remember the suggestion to take notes from your competitor’s newsletters? One should be quality content. Excellent content is important to build trust. For more, see: 9 Content Traits of the Best Blogs.

This means you should include insightful, well-written articles authored by you or a trusted employee. Employees are a great source of information because they deal daily with customers and are more likely to be familiar with their chief concerns.

To save time and build your image, you can also accept pieces by guest writers. Even better, articles written by loyal customers and business associates would be a great feature.

You must also make certain to have a system to manage your list. You can get a great free system via MailChimp, www.mailchimp.com.

Moreover, you can customize your approach with MailChimp’s designs, and get a simple analysis of your customers. You can leverage your social media, too. “With MailChimp’s Forever Free plan, you can send 12,000 emails a month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers.

As you grow and develop a budget, MailChimp offers more features for a price. There are other vendors you can consider, such as Constant Contact, www.constantcontact.com, which was the largest the last time I checked.

If you try these ideas, good luck, and give us some feedback on your experiences.

From the Coach’s Corner, more strategies:

Want to Start an E-mail Marketing Campaign? 6 Tips for Small Business — There’s a reason why many companies launch e-mail campaigns. They realize sufficient returns on their investments. So, it’s a popular topic here at The Biz Coach. I’ve written about the latest trends in e-mail marketing, and why e-mail marketing goes better with social media.

5 Free Tools to Operate, Market Your Business — Are you on a really tight budget, but need to run and market your business?  Ordinarily, I’m big on appearances – creating professional first impressions. But some free tools can suffice well.

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation. The key to Internet dominance is to think integration – naturally, the first steps include a quality Web site and synching it with your social media, business listings, inbound links and other elements.

The Key to Internet Dominance: Think Integration — Whether you’re a new or established business, it wasn’t that long ago that a strong Internet presence meant having a great Web site with a top ranking. Partially, that’s still true but the competitive marketplace continues to rapidly change daily, which means the No. 1 objective should be a vibrant, integrated presence.

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

-Peter Drucker

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Finance: The Intrigue of Sovereign Wealth Funds



Some eyebrows were raised during the last week of the 2012 presidential campaign when the second-oldest son of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney journeyed to Moscow.

Matt Romney was there to sound out potential Russian investors for his firm, Excel Trust, a U.S. shopping center developer. 

Mr. Romney is a senior vice president for the real estate investment trust with $820 million in assets. It distributes 90 percent or more in dividends. That allows investors to avoid double taxation.  

ID-100290583 jiggojaHis Russian trip was surprising for two reasons:

Firstly, it was just before the epic event in his father’s career, and perhaps our debt-ridden nation.

Secondly, his father had criticized the Obama Administration for a soft-yogurt stance with President Vladimir V. Putin’s government.

You might recall the missile-defense controversy when Mr. Obama was caught on videotape telling Russia’s Dmitri A. Medvedev “…after my election, I have more flexibility.”

During a presidential debate, Mr. Romney asserted: “I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin. And I’m certainly not going to say to him, ‘I’ll give you more flexibility after the election.’ ”

Despite the politics, there was a potential prize for the younger Romney’s company – a massive amount of money – part of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF). 

Origin of SWF concept 

Not to over simplify, an SWF is a government-owned investment fund that a country invests globally in a variety of ways. SWFs funds are often managed in nations’ banking systems or are invested by government agencies for a financial return. 

Governments generally generate SWFs out of budgetary surpluses. Budget surpluses? Hmm. That’s why a member of the Romney clan would go abroad for funds, and why the company that runs Heathrow Airport sold a 10 percent stake to the China Investment Corporation.

Now, even tiny Angola has entrepreneurs salivating — it created a $5 billion sovereign wealth fund in October 2012. 

In 1953, oil revenue prompted Kuwait to form its investment vehicle even before the country left the United Kingdom. The Kuwait Investment Authority is now believed to be worth at least $300 billion. 

So, the concept has been around for decades, but the term was coined in 2005 by Andrew Rozanov when he wrote “Who holds the wealth of nations?” in the Central Banking Journal. 

Before you ask, yes, several SWFs were invested on Wall Street in Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley amid the financial crash. 

Espionage potential 

But SWFs can be a mixed bag. For example, such foreign investments can cause national security concerns.  

Incredibly, a Chinese company, Sany Group Ltd. is suing President Obama in U.S. District Court because he issued an order preventing the firm from consummating a deal for four Oregon wind farms. Sany’s subsidiary, Ralls Corp., bought the wind farms this year.  

The younger Romney hasn’t been the only one on a hunting trip for funds. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron toured the Middle East seeking sovereign wealth to fund job creation. Seeking funds for Britain’s wind farms and other sectors, he met with the managers of the region’s largest sovereign wealth funds.”Our job is to support neighboring countries to develop industries that are complementary to China’s growth,” published reports quoted Mr. Lou Jiwei, chairman of the China Investment Corp. “We hope a stronger Chinese economy can benefit our neighbors.”

With all the sovereign wealth worldwide, it’s ironic that the most-prosperous nation in the world is so debt-ridden, and 23 million Americans can’t find family wage jobs. Wouldn’t be nice if the U.S. would rack up budget surpluses instead of $16+ trillion in debt and greatly reduced the unemployment rate?

Now that’s an intriguing thought.

P.S. Here’s a hint: Perhaps you’ve caught on — if you have investment skills, these developments would appear to be career-enhancing opportunities.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are articles on financial matters:

“The Obama administration’s large and sustained increases in debt raise the specter of another financial crisis and large future tax increases, further chilling business investment and job creation.”

-Glenn Hubbard

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

Image courtesy of jiggoja at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Yahoo Shows Good Management in Firing Biased News Manager



Yet another media controversy illustrates why millions of Americans are justified in their complaints about liberal news-media bias.

True, Yahoo News showed common sense and assertive management by terminating its Washington bureau chief after he made a controversial comment in the 2012 presidential campaign.

David Chalian was caught implying that Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, were delighted by the misfortune of black citizens in the havoc created by Hurricane Isaac along the Gulf Coast.

                                                           David Chalian

“They’re not concerned at all. They’re happy to have a party with black people drowning,” Chalian said during the ABC News/Yahoo News webcast.

Mr. Chalian’s statement was caught by NewsBusters, a media watchdog organization, which posted the audio recording on its Web site. NewsBusters inaccurately indicated Mr. Chalian was an ABC News employee, but ABC quickly pointed out that he had switched employers to Yahoo News.

Yahoo’s response

“David Chalian’s statement was inappropriate and does not represent the views of Yahoo!. He has been terminated effective immediately. We have already reached out to the Romney campaign, and we apologize to Mitt Romney, his staff, their supporters and anyone who was offended.”

Mr. Chalian made his comment just before Yahoo started its live coverage on the second of the Republican national convention in conjunction with ABC News. Ostensibly, he did know his microphone was turned on.

Liberal media bias has long been an issue. Prior to becoming a business-performance consultant, I enjoyed my 20 years as a broadcast journalist. I do recall a few rumblings about the bias, and it didn’t appear to be a widespread problem.

But today, it’s a disturbing trend – see two other 2012 examples:

Meantime, here’s a Biz Coach tip of the cap for Yahoo’s success in its business and management.

From the Coach’s Corner, you can get news media/PR tips here:

5 Vital Elements in Ammunition to Hit Your PR Targets — Even in this advanced age of the digital economy, a sound public relations program remains one of your best marketing investments. PR can give you power with an implied endorsement from the media. Even if journalists aren’t motivated to give you publicity, a strong PR campaign will help you to circumvent them.

Need PR, But No Budget? How to Leverage News Media — Yes, it’s true that increasing numbers of adults – especially the Millennials – are using social media for their news and information, and for making buying decisions. However, don’t be misled. In marketing terms, the media is still the most powerful center of influence on the planet.

Public Relations Expert Provides Crisis Management Tips — Appearances count. But universities, presidential candidates and businesses have all demonstrated a lack of awareness about good public relations. Consider these examples: Penn State and Syracuse – their sexual abuse scandals Herman Cain was forced to quit his bid for the GOP nomination following his weak and untimely responses to the sexual harassment accusations.

PR Is Nearly 90% More Valuable Than Content Marketing — Study — A Bill Gates’ quote is famous: “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.” Certainly, there’s validity for his philosophy. Even if you go to the competing Google News, you’ll typically find 50 million results for the key word, Microsoft.

Inspiration from Raymond Loewy for the Best Business PR — Iconic Raymond Loewy taught us public relations — how to get noticed.

Newspapers, television networks, and magazines have sometimes been outrageously abusive, untruthful, arrogant, and hypocritical.

– Potter Stewart

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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

How Not to Worry about Keeping Your Top Employees



Increasingly, employers are worried about filling open slots and retaining their best workers, according to a 2012 survey of 526 human resources professionals.

Sixty-one percent indicate they’re concerned about retention. That’s the conclusion from the study, “Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards.”

Only 49 percent are confident about retention efforts.

ID-10046884 AmbroHopefully, you’re able to retain key workers. If you’re finding it challenging to keep your best employees, you know the frustrations and cost of turnover.

It’s important to identify and retain excellent workers. You can if you know which employees are most-likely to quit.

You will profit by not letting your stars become free agents.

Indeed, 83 percent of the study’s respondents is aware of the costs associated with turnover. Two thirds say a salient issue for management is keeping top performers.

 The study was conducted in 2012 by Dr. Dow Scott, professor of human resources at Loyola University Chicago and WorldatWork, Hay Group.

The No. 1 reason top talents leave? Pay.

Four other reasons:

  • Dissatisfaction with job and responsibilities
  • Perception that pay is unfair
  • Promotional opportunities
  • Concerns about the direction of the organization and its leaders

“Talent wars are going to become intense, not just this year but for the foreseeable future, because jobs are becoming more complex and demanding, Baby Boomers are retiring and Generation X has far fewer people who can fill this gap, and other countries are retaining their most talented people with great job opportunities of their own,” says Dr. Scott.

“Top talent can more easily compare the ‘deal’ or pay package they get from their employer with other organizations via social networking sites like Salary.com, Vault.com and Glassdoor.com,” says Tom McMullen, North America reward practice leader for Hay Group.

“If a company is to thrive in the next decade, they must learn how to recruit, develop and retain key talent in a much more competitive and transparent competitive environment,” he adds.

The study’s three main recommendations:

  • Identify key employees and discuss with them their future opportunities with the organization
  • Pay key employees above the labor market
  • Allow flexible hours or telecommuting

In addition, another proven solution is to power your brand with employee empowerment.

“Rewards professionals are under increased pressure to make counteroffers, increase new-hire offers, and offer special deals to retain key employees,” says Kerry Chou, a certified compensation professional and practice leader at WorldatWork.

“The most successful organizations moving forward will be those that develop a clear definition of what is considered key talent, identify them and make a concerted effort to ensure that those employees are engaged with their organization and satisfied with the full range of organization rewards,” he says.

The study included a cross section of respondents:

  • 47 percent – private sector-publicly traded
  • 26 percent – private sector-privately held
  • 26 percent – public sector and not-for-profit

From the Coach’s Corner, here are three related articles with solutions:

Are You Successful In Keeping Female Talent? Here’s How and Why You Should — Enlightened marketers know that women make 80 percent of household buying decisions. And in most cases, even when a husband goes to make a purchase, he often defers to his wife. Whether it’s a suit or a computer, she usually prevails on choosing the color and the price. So, if you want to be successful in attracting female customers, enhance your odds by making your company a great place for women to work.

Strategies: If a Valued Employee Wants a Raise, and Money’s Tight — In this economy, whether you operate a large or small company, trepidation of higher payroll expenses can turn your hands cold with perspiration. That’s especially true when talented employees suddenly ask for a raise. Talented workers are an asset – your human capital.

Human Resources: The Future of Performance Reviews — Here’s an interesting dilemma: Should performance reviews be fired? That’s the title of an article published by the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School in April, 2011. It’s an informative article and its premise continues to be thought-provoking.

“The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch ’em Kick Butt.”

-Hal Rosenbluth


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.