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Tips for Startups

Where to Spend & Where to Save Money in a Start-up

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When you practice sensible budget management at the beginning of your start-up venture,your business can definitely be set up for success. But where and on what should you be spending your hard-fought money, and when should you put your wallet away? We’ve listed the financial trade-offs you’d be smart to make below.

DO spend on:

  1. Aesthetics:

After deciding that you need a physical space, but if creating a storefront or office is vital to the viability of your company (i.e. because you’ll actually be selling your product or service in those premises), then it pays to invest in aesthetics. For customers or clients, first impressions matter – so get savvy with your interior design skills and put some time and money into cultivating a professional and inviting space. However, do be practical about what you choose to invest in: hardy, top-quality furniture will serve you and your business goals for the long-term in a way that an office slide probably won’t.

  1. Logistical solutions

If you’re an interstate operator and need to be able to transport your product long-haul, then don’t spend all your money on truck and driver rentals. Instead, set aside a portion of your start-up capital for a dedicated business truck (or two).

And if you trade mainly between cities, you might even consider hopping on the e-truck bandwagon: electrically-powered trucks are the latest in transportation, and not only will they allow you to reduce your sum business emissions (an essential consideration for any start-up owner), but an e-truck will both show your care for the environment and save you fuel money in the long run.

  1. Professional help – when you need it

One of the hardest things to learn as an ambitious, just-out-the-door start-up owner is that you can’t do everything yourself. This is especially true of legal and financial matters. Getting legal aid and advice from accredited accountants and tax professionals,will ensure you build your business on a solid foundation with no nasty surprises on the way.

DON’T spend on:

  1. Non-vital vehicles

Transport trucks, you need: a bevvy of the latest signwrittenwork cars, you generally don’t. Many business owners report that their biggest unnecessary expense in the start-up stage was the overhead amassed by buying or leasing work vehicles.

 

  1. Glitzy gadgets

Don’t feel tempted to splash your start-up budget on the latest technology if it’s not essential to the creation of your product or service. If you’re formulating a new app, then you’ll need a fast and capable computer and the software to match. On the other hand, if you’re opening a bakery,then the money you’d waste on a fleet of the latest Mac laptops is much better spent on top-quality ingredients and kitchen equipment. When it comes to less-vital gadgets, shop second-hand wherever you can.

  1. Premature staff expansion

Although your staff will be your most important asset, you must be carefulnot tohiretoo many employees at the beginning of your venture. If you have too many people working for you before you have started making real profits, you won’t have the capital to sustain their salarieslong-term.

 

Along with starting small with your workforce, you might also consider outsourcing. For businesses that mainly operate online, hiring remote workers can get you the best deal as a boss, regarding both finances and quality human resources.

  1. Full-price goods

Many entrepreneurs enter the business world without realising that paying full-price for bulk materials and supplies is not the norm in most industries. Conserve your capital by getting your head around bartering and negotiating with your suppliers from the get-go – and take note that you boast a good or service that another company might accept instead of cash.

Article Written by Cloe Matheson

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Cyber Security

Top 6 Cybersecurity Lessons Startups Can Learn From Healthcare Organizations

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COVID-19 won’t be here forever, but cybercriminals will!

Leveraging the COVID-19 situation, cybercriminals are targeting SMEs and even large enterprises to steal valuable information. Many reports claim that cybercrimes have doubled in the last couple of months.

The healthcare industry is one of the latest victims of cybercriminals. According to Accenture, the healthcare industry has witnessed around 41% increase in cyberattacks. The report also says that the healthcare industry on average experiences 130 data breaches in a year.

However, as a healthcare IT consultant, I have recently noticed that healthcare organizations are ramping up their efforts to safeguard patient data. And for that, they are deploying many technologies, solutions and unique cost-effective ideas.

The technologies, solutions and ideas healthcare startups are deploying are so effective that other startups can learn cybersecurity lessons from healthcare startups. Today, in this blog, I will share the same. I will list down 6 cybersecurity lessons learned from healthcare organizations in 2020 during COVID-19.

How are healthcare startups avoiding cybercriminals? (Learning from other startups!)  

Avoiding cybercriminals or ensuring data security is not a task, it is the process. And a process is always more complicated than a task. But here is how healthcare organizations are streamlining the process, the cybersecurity process.

  1. Determine the cybersecurity risks level 

Not all healthcare startups are on the radar of cybercriminals. Thus, it is a rational idea to determine the possibility of a cyberattack or to determine the cybersecurity risks level. This process enables organizations to know the threat level – whether they are on the radar of cybercriminals or not. 

To find the cybersecurity risks level, healthcare organizations simply link the type of data they store to the motive of cybercriminals. For instance, if a healthcare organization stores medical images of patients and not the patient’s personal and financial data, they should not invest more in cybersecurity.

But if a healthcare organization stores many valuable data of the patients, accommodates less-trained staff and works with legacy networks, they should worry about cybersecurity as their cybersecurity risk is high.

Learning for other startups: You should invest only after confirming that you are the potential target! If you do not store any crucial data, you don’t have to allocate your resources to cybersecurity.

  • Find the loopholes through technical assessment

A network has many open doors or errors which work as the opportunities for hackers to get access to databases. They usually scan the network and attack the ‘fragile part’. Thus, it is important to find the loopholes in the network and fix it to close the entry doors for the cybercriminals.

Carrying out the technical assessment is the best way to find loopholes in the network. It is designed to yield the vulnerability in the network. A technical assessment does not only aim to find the vulnerabilities, but it also aims to quantify and prioritize the vulnerabilities.

So, now when cybersecurity experts know the loopholes which cybercriminals can leverage to attack, the cybersecurity experts can easily avoid the attack by fixing the loopholes.

Learning for other startups:

This is the best method to avoid cyber attacks. You should find the open doors in your network and close it to prevent the undetected entry of hackers into your network.

  • Software configuration assessment

A healthcare organization uses a number of software to streamline operations. They also use a lot of complex software. Sometimes, the poor configuration of these complex software creates easy paths for cybercriminals to attack the enterprise network as cybercriminals are many times using software to get access to the network or a server.

Learning for other startups:

While installing software on a computer device connected in the enterprise network, make sure the authenticity of the software and do not change the installation setting or software setting without the proper knowledge.

  • Quick incident response

Regardless of the efforts healthcare organizations put to safeguard the network, cybercriminals many times find ways to penetrate the security measures. In such a scenario, only a quick incident response is hope.

Healthcare organizations always pay extra heed to incident response. They form a team which quickly takes control over the network and close the paths for attackers before they cause havoc.

The incident response team utilizes many security tools to monitor the network in real-time. If they identify any unusual activity or the system alerts them, they quickly put best practices to work to prevent cybercriminals from getting system access.

Learning for other startups:

Always work best but prepare for the worst. Cybercriminals can anytime, anyhow bypass the security of your system. So, be proactive and prepared.

  • Train the staff

Generally, staff working in the healthcare organization lacks the knowledge of the cybersecurity which leads them to click on any malicious links or commit any costly mistake. Thus, healthcare organizations are putting emphasis on staff training. They give basic knowledge about cybersecurity and their deployed network to the staff and keep testing the staff’s cybersecurity knowledge after a fixed interval.

Learning for other startups:

If your staff does not follow cyber hygiene, things can easily go messy as staff members have network access and they spend the majority of their time around it.

  • Always deploy feature-packed security solution including firewall

To ensure cybersecurity, deploying software security solutions as well as hardware security solutions is the basic requirement. But a premium security solution works more precisely and efficiently than an affordable security solution. Thus, healthcare organizations generally deploy premium feature-packed security solutions, especially a firewall.

A feature-packed firewall costs a bit more than the basic firewall. But a feature-packed firewall is worth the money. It does not only safeguard the enterprise network but offers many flexibilities and real-time network data to the admin.

For instance,

  • Admin can know the connected network and find the data usage of each network.
Silhouette of a radar station on the Polish coast at sunset.
  • Admin can know the top sources of threats to a network.
Silhouette of a radar station on the Polish coast at sunset.
  • Admin can know the most affected network.
  • Admin can impose content filtering to prevent users from opening irrelevant sites.
Silhouette of a radar station on the Polish coast at sunset.
  • Admin can know every single activity of the users on that network.

Learning for other startups:

An ‘affordable security solution’ is the myth, actually!

In a nutshell: 

Cybersecurity is the challenge for any startup serving in any industry. An ever-increasing number of cybersecurity attacks clearly depicts that it is a much bigger problem for startups than COVID-19.

However, there is one industry that is pulling out all dots to curb the coronavirus as well as cyberattacks. In this blog, we have discussed 6 ways of how healthcare organizations are safeguarding crucial patient data.

These ways are,

  • Confirm the level of cyberattack risk
  • Find the loopholes in the network and fix it
  • Do  not configure the software without proper knowledge
  • Form an incident response team
  • Train the staff
  • Opt for feature-packed security solutions 
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Tips for Startups

CoronaVirus Changes Everything; Your Startup’s Survival Guide During The Pandemic

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Startups Survival Guide

Nothing will ever remain the same, not even your weight after this pandemic. Maybe your name will, but that’s beside the point. Everything will change; the entire world will change. The market won’t be the same, but change can be a good thing, right? If you’re a startup, then this can be a very challenging moment for your business.

Many industries took a great hit as a result of the outbreak, and a lot of businesses were affected, some of them took a huge loss while others profited a lot from it, companies like Zoom watched their profit skyrocket in such a short period of time. Managing your business is very crucial during these times, and there are a few steps you can take for your startup to survive in this pandemic.

1) Calculate your risk

First of all, you have to evaluate all the risks the pandemic poses to your business and the losses you’ve already incurred. Calculating and controlling your burn rate at this stage is essential for your business to survive.

You do not want to incur losses at this point because the future of your startup after the pandemic is not very certain, and you have to do everything in your power to keep the business going.

2) Efficient Team Management

Your team is very important to your business. You should encourage team spirit in a time like this, reach out to your team members, make sure they’re doing okay, let them know how important they are to the company and to you.

Most people tend to suffer emotionally during a pandemic, which could be a result of the fear of losing a loved one during this period, at this point, you don’t know what the future holds for you. This makes it important you let them connect with one another even on a personal level, encourage them to check up one another, treat them like your one big family, and build a support system. This helps build their focus and creativity and enables them to work efficiently.

3) Digital Communication

You have to set communication standards and tools in other to be able to communicate ideas with your employees and work efficiently. Despite the pandemic you have to stay productive, not being able to meet in person with your employees shouldn’t limit that.

Companies like Zoom has made communication easy, and you’ll find out that your employees don’t even need to show up at work every day to keep your business running.

4) Manage your Resources

You have to analyze the resources you have and manage them because you don’t know how long the pandemic will persist, so try to curtail your expenses in every possible way and evaluate how to make your current resources last for at least a year.

Make a business continuity plan, and it will enable you to use your resources efficiently. Also, consider cutting down on the number of workers you have so you don’t have to spend a lot on salaries.

Work more with freelancers, that way you don’t have to recruit workers when the outbreak is over. Also, consider some good passive income ideas that can help you make money in these tough times. Starting a website and affiliate marketing for digital products are one of the popular ideas.

5) Promote Innovation

This is a step you have to take seriously. The success of your business lies in innovation, introducing new ideas, and implementing change when necessary, and this helps you stay relevant to society at large.

In order to achieve this, you have to create room for your workers to come up with ideas, hold brainstorming sessions, and support all the ideas they come up with. This makes them feel like they’re active members, which of course, they are. Even when they make mistakes, tolerate them, it creates an enabling environment for their minds to create.

6) Protect your customers

Keeping your customers safe should be your priority. The Corona Virus outbreak has made the demand for Hand Sanitizers high. Even the nose masks people didn’t care about so much in the past.

These are basic things your customers need that you can make available to them. No one can protect your customers for you. They’re the ones that’ll keep your business running. It’s time to give back to them in any way you can. You can make Sanitizers and provide nose masks for them. If they’re safe, then your business is safe.

Summing Up

Just as you’re keeping your customers safe, keep your employees safe too. Cancel all social gathering, let them work remotely, so they don’t have to worry about contracting the virus. Educate them on the essential things they need to know about the virus and how to avoid it.

You can communicate from wherever you are, online schedule meetings, and discussion sessions. Above all, keep yourself safe too. Use hand sanitizer always and your nose mask if there is an urgent need for you to go out. If we can survive this pandemic together, we can survive anything.

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Tips for Startups

4 Strategies That Will Help Grow Your Startup Business

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Around 51.3% of new businesses have managed to stay in their market within a five-year period, according to the US Census Bureau. Approximately 82% of those who were successful in their industry admitted that having the right background and qualifications helped them. For startups, it pays to listen to what your customers are looking to help grow your business. What’s more, you will also need to have the right strategy in place and the tools appropriate for your business to be successful in your chosen market.  

Build Customer Loyalty

Startups or small businesses can become successful by building up their customer base. This can be done by making your clients feel more connected to the products as well as services you are offering. For example, most employees nowadays don’t have time to prepare their own meals at home. If your startup is related to food, one way to build up your customer base is to deliver meals to them. This is a good time to invest in a vehicle that you can use to bring your freshly made meals to your customers. 

Learn To Use Technology 

Using technology in your business is important if you wish to reach your target customers. This is helpful considering that most people rely on the Internet for their needs. You don’t have to start with building an AI-based business, but technology can be used for simplifying basic tasks. This includes monitoring productivity levels, creating an inventory of your products, and even keeping tabs on your finances. With technology, you will be able to maximize your time by focusing more on building your customer base. 

Customer Reviews Boost Sales 

Aside from building your customer loyalty, getting customer reviews can also help make your business known. Most consumers tend to read reviews first before buying products or hiring certain services. After all, they need the assurance that their money will not go to waste. Asking your customers to leave feedback will not only increase your ratings in the market, but they can help you fix any issues that they may have. This way, you will be able to improve the way your startup caters to the needs of your clients. 

Provide Efficient Customer Service

Regardless of the business that you are running, customer service will play a major role in its success. Most startups focus on getting new customers, but this will cost you 5 times more compared to keeping your existing customers. Based on research by Bain & Company, keeping your existing customers satisfied can lead to a 25 percent increase in your company’s profit. By providing your customers with a unique customer service, they will patronize your business more often. 

Starting a business today is both exciting and frightening at the same time. Making sure that it stays a float is the challenging part. Fortunately, there are strategies that you can incorporate into your business plan to ensure that you can build a customer base, and help your startup grow and develop over the years. 

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