How to Avoid Copyright Headaches when Blogging

Most companies blog as part of comprehensive marketing campaigns. Blogging is a great way to create brand awareness and promote products. While blogging has many benefits, our GR-US.com consultants have run into business bloggers with numerous copyright concerns. You may have questions regarding intellectual property on blogs such as whether another website can copy content, is it ok to post a particular image, or whether you are violating a copyright law yourself.

If you have legal concerns regarding copyright, it’s best to talk to an intellectual property lawyer. You can avoid a lot of legal trouble if you follow certain best practices with regards to copyright when blogging on behalf of a business. Here are some of those best practices:

Post a Copyright Notice – Worried about another blogger or a website posting content you have created as their own? Then post a copyright notice on your blog. You can also add a duplicate content tracking plugin to your blog to make sure other parties are not ignoring your copyright warning.

Publish Your Own Images – Publishing images seen on the web on your blog can get your company into trouble. While some may overlook this practice when it comes to individual bloggers, many may not ignore a company stealing images. You could jeopardize your company’s entire reputation with this practice. Therefore, when you have to publish a photo, go and try to take it yourself. If not, purchase the photo or use free, public domain pictures that anyone can use.

Repost Content Only with Permission – Reposting content from other bloggers is standard practice in blogging. However, credit must be given where due. Before you repost content, ask permission from the original creator. Proceed to publish only if you have explicit permission. Also, when you post the content, make sure the original author name is attributed.

Avoid Plagiarizing – It’s tempting to use other people’s well-written thoughts on your blog. However, some bloggers do so without attribution. This is a huge no-no in blogging. The original author could sue your company, and your blog’s reputation will be tainted. So, write originally and make sure credit is given where it’s due.

Want to know how your blogging and marketing plan is coming together overall? Check out our Global Resources LLC Reviews to know for sure.

Books on Management Every Small Business Owner Must Read

Small business owners must embody two very important qualities: management skills and leadership capability. At Global Resources LLC, we have met a number of interesting small business owners over the years who have spectacularly possessed these qualities. These are not skills people are necessarily born with; they must be harnessed and honed. Our management consultants strongly recommend incorporating some reading into your daily schedule to become a better small business executive. Here are some of the books we recommend:

“No Jerks on the Job: Who They are, the Harm They Do and Ridding Them from Your Workplace,” by Ron Newton

Every small business owner knows how the difficult or “eccentric” people can ruin the workplace ethic for everyone. This book is the definitive guide on how to manage difficult employees and build an office culture that drives productivity. It’s detailed and easy to read even after a particularly hectic day.

 “Carrots and Sticks Don’t Work: Build a Culture of Employee Engagement with the Principles of RESPECT,” by Paul Marciano

Productivity and efficiency at workplaces are a result of stable internal culture. No business owner wants the employees slacking off or offering subpar work. To drive excellence, the workplace culture must prepare employees for it. This book explores how employers can motivate workers to be more productive. It explains various theories behind what drives workplace culture, and ultimately provides great solutions on how to keep employees both happy and working hard.

 “Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters,” by Michael Bungay Stanier

Employees are not the only ones that need to be productive. The small business owner or the manager must be the most productive one of all. This is the best regarded book in the field that teaches productivity principles to managers. The book is very practical in the solutions it offers. Read this book if you feel overwhelmed and get right back on track.

“Awesomely Simple Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas Into Action,” by John Spence

Thinking about growing and scaling your business? We highly recommend reading this book first, which gives small business managers a roadmap on how to plan for growth.

The management consultants at GR-US.com are always available to give your small business valuable advice for a better functioning company. Contact us to arrange a business review or receive professional advice.

Reaching Out to Generation Z

Generation Z, also called the post-millennials or the iGeneration, is the generation that comes after the millennials. The Gen Z is growing up and is entering the consumer market as young people in their late teens or early twenties. In the coming years, Generation Z will be where millennials are today. So, it’s paramount that small businesses learn how to target this group. In our numerous annual Global Resources LLC Reviews, we have found many companies struggling with reaching out to Gen Z. If your company is struggling in a similar manner, here are several tips to consider:

Aim to Offer Instant Gratification

If you thought millennials were impatient, wait till you meet a Gen Z’er. Young people of this generation were born to a world filled with iPhones and high-speed internet. They are not used to waiting around to get what they want. As the most prominent occupants of the Internet Age, Gen Z’ers are attracted to businesses that offer them instant gratification. That means fast loading websites, super speedy checkout, and delivery.

Develop Meaningful Interactions

Gen Z’ers grew up with social media like Facebook. Therefore, the best way to reach out to this generation is through building meaningful relationships that mirror organic relationships on social networks. Print ads and TV ads are not sufficient to attract the loyalties of the Gen Z shopper. So, master social media channels like Snapchat that young people are obsessed with.

Be Real

Gen Z shoppers are not convinced by marketing claims or infomercials like their parents were. They seek “real” relationships with the brands. Authenticity is the new ad jingle. All interactions with the company or brand should be planned to appear as real as possible. Companies like Levi’s are already appealing to Gen Z shoppers with a thriving network of relatable brand ambassadors. Small businesses, too, should appear less “business-y” and get real.

Find a Niche

Do not bombard Gen Z shoppers with numerous options, because they don’t care. They can lose interest quickly in a brand or product that tries to appeal broadly. So, find a focus, or a niche, for your small business. Then target Gen Z’ers who are most likely to be attracted to that particular niche.

Want to know more about perfecting your strategy to reach out to younger customers? Then visit us at  GR-US.com.

Changing Trends May Soon Affect How Small Businesses are Run

Of course, small businesses have to annually adjust to new changes in technology, finance and laws to stay competitive in the market. During our numerous Global Resources Reviews, we find that many small businesses are still struggling to stay ahead. Some businesses are wholly unprepared to anticipate certain changes to the conduct of business and marketing. Preparation is key for staying ahead of the competition. Here are several key new trends that small businesses should anticipate to bring about new changes in the coming months:

Success is most likely for niche companies – According to business strategists, small businesses catering to specific niche audiences are the most likely to find success in 2017 and beyond. This is largely attributed to the fact that it’s easy for niche companies to come up with a customized marketing message that directly appeals to customers. Marketing focused on fostering relations and building a loyal community pays off well for niche companies.

Crowdfunding will replace angel investors – The importance of crowdfunding for financing small businesses is ever increasing. Many entrepreneurs find funds on Kickstarter-type platforms. Even businesses that are past the launch stage keep going back to crowdfunding sites to fund projects that spur growth.

Freelance hiring will increase – Small businesses are already quite reliant on freelance work. This number is only going to rise in the coming months. It’s likely that services and products meant to support freelancers would also rise. Small businesses might have to compete with big companies for freelance talent.

Ease of access tech will be a necessity – Small businesses will definitely have to invest in tech to improve access to customers. Ease of access tech includes new payment programs such as Square and Bitcoin currency. Investing in web-based and AI-supported tools will be necessary more than ever for maintaining a successful business model.

To know for sure whether your small business is ready to tackle changing trends and upcoming market challenges, contact us at Global Resources LLC. We can provide your company with valuable strategic advice to overcome future challenges.

Crucial Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

The professional business reviewers at Global Resources LLC annually conduct over a thousand reviews for small to medium-size businesses. Our review process can involve, when appropriate, a review of the cyber practices. We are not cybersecurity experts, but we can work with the owners of small and medium-size companies to determine what steps have been taken to ensure online security.

Considering that cybercrimes against businesses are on the rise, this aspect of security has become important for all businesses, including small and medium-size businesses. Independent reviews of business practices have found a shocking number of businesses that fail to even cover even the basics of ensuring cybersecurity, such as periodically changing passwords. Lack of online security can lead to devastating consequences. Here are some best practices for protecting online data of small businesses:

  • Maintain a strong password policy at your company. No matter how small, your business will need to provide guidelines for all staff on how to change passwords. Passwords should be changed at least every three months. Also, passwords should be long, not contain common words or number configurations, hard to guess, use both numbers, letters and symbols, and for the best security randomly generated. Make sure employees know how to set passwords properly.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for devices that allow it. Passwords can be hacked, but accounts will be protected if two-factor authentication is enabled even in this scenario. Two-factor authentication can be a hassle when logging in. But it’s a necessity to protect the most sensitive business documentation.
  • Do secure office Wi-Fi. Office networks should encrypt the data transmissions and should be protected by a strong password as outlined above.
  • Teach employees about using email safety. They should be advised against clicking on links sent over email, or worse, downloading unsolicited attachments sent in emails. There should be a trusted internal file sharing system for sending files between employee computers.
  • Secure official handheld devices. If possible, buy VPN software for all office smartphones, tablets and laptops that might be used off site. Connecting to the internet on a public Wi-Fi network is very dangerous on a business device and policies need to be created concerning such networks.
  • Disallow external storage devices in the office. Don’t let employees bring in their personal USB sticks or CDs to insert in office computers. These devices can carry malware unbeknownst to owners that could infect office computers.

Start your company’s cybersecurity policy by practicing the above. Your small business can also benefit from one of our Global Resources Reviews that provides an overview of your cybersecurity practices.

Small Business Productivity Mistakes to Avoid

Productivity is paramount to success at small businesses. More often than not, our Global Resources Reviews experts find glaring productivity mistakes in many companies they visit. Mistakes are sometimes inevitable, but they should be avoided whenever possible. Here are several productivity killers that plague many small businesses that yours should definitely avoid:

Lack of Group Hierarchy – All group projects must have a leader. Otherwise, the group will not perform in a timely and productive manner. Lack of a leader that dictates hierarchy often results in time wasting moments like those “5 minute” meetings that last an hour. A team leader must be designated to get the members to do things on time and to keep everyone in the loop.

Frequent Coffee Breaks – Don’t allow your employees to have multiple coffee, tea or smoke breaks. This often leads to time wasting. Let your employees have a regular lunch break instead. Minimize the time employees spend away from their desks as much as possible so they meet deadlines.

Not Prioritizing Email Responses – This is a very common mistake that sometimes sets projects back. Teach your employees to promptly respond to emails where more than one other person is waiting on a reply. If two or three people are waiting for a response to get going with a project, it should be provided at once. Tell employees to prioritize such emails over all the other things that fill up an inbox.

Noisy Coworkers – According to a recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder, noisy coworkers are one of the top ten productivity killers at work. Noise can especially be a problem at open space offices. A single noisy employee can distract or disturb several others. Therefore, maintain a quiet or low noise policy at the office during all working hours. If there are employees who need to talk on the phone a lot, have them seated away from the others to reduce overall noise level.

Overwork – Small businesses are more prone to have overworked employees. It’s quite common to see one person handling the work of two or three at small companies that have recently started. Overworked employees can never truly be productive. Therefore, make sure you fill vacancies immediately at your workplace. Hire freelancers to handle menial tasks. Occasionally monitor the tasks employees undertake to ensure that no one is working too much or too little.

If your small business needs to improve productivity or any other aspect that increases sales, contact us at GR-US.com for a thorough evaluation.

Small Businesses and Trade Libel

Trade libel is a legal term that refers to slander, libel or disparagement of one business (including its products or services) by another business in written or oral publication. All small businesses must be acutely aware of this term and how to avoid it. Considering that businesses are engaged more than ever on the web and on social media, companies are vulnerable to trade libel lawsuits more than ever before as well.

Doing business can be competitive. When multiple businesses compete for a similar customer base, comparisons are natural. There’s a fine line between legitimate product comparison, and outright libel. For example, if your business produces an advertisement claiming that a competitor’s product is of bad quality, then your business will be at risk for a trade libel lawsuit. It’s never okay for a business to make untrue or dubious claims about another’s business or its products.

Some of this is largely common sense. But a surprising number of businesses are getting sued over trade libel and defamation. So here are several best practices that will help your company avoid an expensive lawsuit:

Develop an in-house policy: You must have an in-house policy that protects your company against trade libel. It should explicitly state what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable when making marketing claims of any kind. Everyone who works at your company, including interns and contractors, should understand this policy and follow it. You should develop this policy with legal experts. Global Resources LLC can help your small business develop a sound trade libel policy at an affordable rate.

Review social media posts: Those little tweets and the Facebook posts are what get most companies into trouble. Do not allow employees or marketing personnel to say whatever they want on social media. These posts should be reviewed by one or two people. It’s paramount that social media posts that mention people or businesses by name are thoroughly monitored before publication.

Train employees: Employees must be at least minimally trained to avoid trade libel in all written or oral publications put out by the company. You can hire a lawyer or a business consultant to provide lectures so your employees know what’s acceptable and what’s not.

In addition, Global Resources Reviews for small businesses are designed to point out weaknesses in policy or practice that lead to situations like trade libel lawsuits. Conducting an annual review therefore will put your company at less risk.

Can Small Retail Businesses Grow Even When Retail Giants are Collapsing?

Retail giants are in trouble. Earlier this year, The Limited gave a grim announcement that it is closing all its retail stores in the U.S. The ubiquitous Macy’s is poised to close 68 stores this year. Kohl’s reported that the company stock is decreasing. All in all, this is a bleak time for retail giants in America. Many small retail businesses fear that their fate might actually be worse. If an internationally recognized brand like Macy’s is having trouble keeping stores open, what hope does a small, local retail business have? Especially given the fact that small businesses overall are facing hard times? Actually, the situation may not be bad as some small business owners initially thought.

One of the biggest reasons the big name brand retail outlets are closing is because these companies have little local identity. Consumers tend to skip them over in favor of either online shopping or for niche businesses with strong local roots. Big retailers are also facing crushing inventory expenses because of the sheer size of inventory. Most small businesses don’t have inventories big enough to face the same expenses.

What was once seen as advantageous when it came to giant retail—such as uniformity, national brand, massive size—is now working against these companies. For small businesses, this is good news. If big retail is leaving town, that means there will be more customers seeking alternative buying options. More importantly, the strength of small retail businesses lies in a strong local identity. A small business of any kind can thrive by developing strong bonds with the local community. After all, no other company will get to know the needs of the local consumer base better than a local small business.

Our experts who provide Global Resources Reviews routinely advise clients to market locally to develop a loyal customer base. Marketing locally is also cheap. Once a sense of loyalty or keenness with a brand has been developed, that customer will become a lifelong buyer.

It isn’t difficult for small retailers to invest in local audiences. Cheap advertising on local social media channels can be enormously lucrative. Twitter and Facebook are excellent channels to reach out to local buyers. Posters at the town post office or a gathering point can help too. There are plenty of other innovative yet affordable ways to attract local customers to keep a small business open.

Global Resources LLC can provide small retail businesses with specific advice on how to succeed in a seemingly failing market.

Making Sales in the New Year

Global Resources helps put small and medium – size businesses on the path to success.  As we begin the New Year, we look at the significance of sales in the small business marketplace.  Below are four sales trends that will greatly affect the revenue of small businesses around the country:

  1. Sales and marketing have a closer relationship – The familiar disconnect between sales and marketing is sure to lessen as people start seeing the benefits gained from working cohesively. Whether it’s called sales enablement or just doing good business, these two departments will interact and engage more, which will lead to an increase in revenue.
  2. Cold calling will be affected by the impact of social media marketing – With a variety of new solutions and selling strategies available, cold calling is likely to diminish in its significance as an exclusive sales strategy for companies in the future. Consumers will be more likely persuaded when cold calls are done within a marketing strategy that includes social media touch points that helps turn a cold call into a warm call.
  3. Social selling is king – The new type of social selling is extremely important for salespeople to learn more about the people they are selling to. With this model, you can target companies and even know more about the pain points these individuals and their companies are experiencing.
  4. Discounts and loyalty programs will continue securing more sales – It was reported that an annual survey of 500 small to medium-size businesses found that 26 percent of their sales come from discounts. The average consumer is far likelier to purchase goods or services if they are offered an incentive or discount, especially from a business they are familiar with and have patronized in the past.

To learn more about us and / or to schedule your complimentary appointment with the business consultants at Global Resources LLC, call us at 855-338-0266.

Understanding Advertising & Marketing Laws in Business

Global Resources is a full-service business development group and general management consulting firm focused on small and medium-size privately-held companies in North America. We understand that marketing and advertising your products or services effectively is key to the success of your business. However, all businesses have a legal responsibility to ensure that any advertising claims are truthful, not deceptive and that your marketing activities don’t break the law.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) oversees and regulates advertising and marketing law in the United States. These laws can potentially impact many areas of your business, including how you label your products, how you conduct email and telemarketing campaigns, any health and environmental claims you may make, as well as how you advertise to children.

Below you will find links to useful FTC resources and guides that can help you understand these laws and how they apply to your business.

  • Truth in Advertising and Marketing Claims – Learn how you can ensure your promotion activities are truthful and not deceptive.  Areas covered include using endorsements in your marketing, advertising to children, “Made in the USA” labels and health and environmental claims.
  • Industry Guides – The FTC has some rules and compliance guides for specific industries including franchises, real estate, clothing manufacturers, and others. Learn information on laws that could affect your industry or business type.
  • Telemarketing – Learn how the National Do Not Call Registry and other laws impact your telemarketing efforts and how to comply.
  • Email SPAM – Planning an email campaign? The law is very specific on what email you can send and to whom.  Be sure to understand email SPAM before you send out an email campaign.

To learn more about us and / or to schedule your complimentary appointment with the business consultants at Global Resources LLC, call us at 855-338-0266.