‘Small Fish’ Need To Worry About Data Security, Too, says Tim Gillen

Tim’s a regular guest on the Christal Frost show, and their discussions are always lively and interesting. You can listen to the entire segment here, but what we really wanted to showcase was the exchange in the audio file below.

It’s common for small businesses and regular old consumers (that’s you and me!) to think, “I’m too small for a cyber thief to target me. What do I have to hide!?” The answer is a lot! It always makes sense to safeguard your data and secure your information, as Tim spells out here:

Here’s a transcript, in case you are unable to play the audio:

Tim: It’s something to keep in mind; the way things have gone on with this is, the conversations we were having years ago with large corporations. The bigger fish are tying stuff down pretty well [in regards to data security]. Where the money is, is in the small fish. The small businesses, and people’s personal stuff. Because they think, “Ah, it’s not a big deal for me, I’ll let Ford Motor Company worry about that, or the local hospital, or Hagerty, or locally something like that.”
Christal: Right, but they have already worried about that.
Tim: Oh of course they have. That’s not easy pickings. Easy pickings is some small business, mom and pop shop, that thinks “this has got nothing to do with us.” But they could have 10’s of thousands of dollars in the bank, especially before payroll, and that’s easy to get to.
Christal: Right! So, here’s the deal. If you are in a scenario where you need some help, you own a small business, and even if you’re just looking for someone to help you with your own private home stuff, you could definitely refer someone. But Terrapin Networks, that’s the best place to go for small businesses.
Tim: well, that happens to be what we actually specialize in. We don’t take care of large factories and stuff like that anymore. We do all small businesses. Because we have found it’s a real niche market for us. All the risks are so similar. And it’s easy to overlook at that level. So that’s what we’re able to do.

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Which Cloud-Based File Sharing Service is Best For Your Small Business? (with chart!)

With so many options, which is the best file-sharing service for you?

It can be difficult to decide which cloud-based file sharing service is best for your small business. Deciding on the service your company will use is one of the simplest (yet important!) business decisions an owner can make; the file-sharing service a company uses impacts all employees. Cloud-based data sharing keeps relevant company data accessible to both you and your employees, as well as maintaining that all employees have access to only the most up-to-date files at all times.

But which service is best? There are dozens of cloud-based file-sharing services out there, and many cater to small business needs. We took a look at three popular options: Google Drive, Dropbox, and ShareSync (which Terrapin offers as part of its T-Cloud Services) Each of the most popular uses of the various programs is listed, including whether the service offers strong data encryption and MS Office integration, two of the most popular needs of a small business. Take a look at our chart below, and decide for yourself which service fits the needs of your small business best.

Which Cloud-Based File Sharing Service is Best for Your Small Business?


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5 Digital Marketing Strategies to Elevate Your Small Business

Ask any marketing expert and they’ll all agree, having the right digital marketing strategies is key for moving your business to the next level. But ask any small business owner and they’ll tell you- reaching that audience is not as easy as throwing up a couple of posts on Facebook. To truly excel at digital marketing, you need a game plan. These 5 simple strategies will help solidify your company’s digital footprint and keep consumers interested in your business.

  1. Define your audience as precisely as possible

    . It’s not enough to say your target is, hikers who live in the area. That’s way too broad, and anything you market will come off as a stab in the dark. Take that audience one step further, and then further from that; for example hikers in the area in need of waterproof footwear. Then further: hikers in the area who need waterproof, all-terrain footwear. Bingo! Work on marketing to a niche audience, and you have a better chance of the right customer taking notice of your marketing.

  2. Utilize the art of the medium

    . Once upon a time, a catchy magazine or radio ad was just the thing to get people knocking on your door. Now, with the ubiquity of social media in so many facets of our lives, it helps to have digital strategies that creatively get your message across. Think memes, YouTube “viral” videos, Facebook groups, infographics. Great, organic digital marketing content that can be shared by users with just one click of the mouse, or tap of the finger. Does your content stack up?

  3. Driving traffic

    This is the golden goose of digital marketing: getting eyeballs on your content.  Along with your social media strategy, it’s smart to utilize your mailing list, website, and even print or radio ads that further drive consumers to your digital ads and content.

  4. Evaluate your channels

    There are dozens (or more!) types of social media these days, ranging from Facebook all the way down to local-based apps. To attempt to master all of them is a recipe for disaster. Instead, look at the message your marketing is trying to convey, and then see which social media channels that particular message pairs best with. Focus your energies on one or two channels only, and become experts in that channel’s algorithms and own distinctive language.

  5. Provide value at every turn

    If your social media strategy is simply to announce your most recent coupon or trumpet your own business, you’re risking consumers turning a blind eye whenever they see your logo. Instead, find ways to give value. Don’t just write about your own business triumphs in your newsletter; share the successes and great ideas of your competition, or a helpful article you found online. Engage with your customers around the holidays on social media. Write a Q&A for an online business magazine. It keeps your business at the forefront and ups your digital “authenticity”. Give, give, sell, and then give more.

If you’ve found any of these strategies helpful, we want to hear about it! Follow Terrapin Networks on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


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Got a Great Small Business Idea? Here’s What To Do First.

Are you a budding entrepreneur in Michigan with a great small business idea? Here’s what you need to do first.

Do you have a great small business idea? Every year in Michigan, thousands of new small businesses open their doors. In fact, there are 28,443,856 small businesses in the U.S. today, as of a survey conducted in 2016*. Around half of those businesses will close their doors within 5 years.

Are you thinking of trying your hand at beating the odds with your small business idea? What if you could peer into a crystal ball to see if your business idea is really worth its salt?

You might not be able to see the actual future, but the Michigan Small Business Development Center, operated out of Grand Rapids, has a great tool for anyone who’s thinking of taking the leap into entrepreneurship. They host a page on their website titled “Test Your Small Business Readiness”, and it should be your first port of call before drawing up a business plan and seeking out possible investors.

Of course, not all beginning businesses need the same type of treatment. That’s why SBCD’s page is divided into four components, titled, “I Want To Start a Business”, “I Have Started A Business”, “I Want To Grow My Business”, and “I Have an Advanced Tech Business”. Visitors to the page can select one of the four quadrants, which will take them to a dedicated site that is more tailored to their needs.

What types of needs, you may ask? Here’s the simple breakdown of each page, with SBDC’s descriptions of each. On each new site, you can register for training, acquire the appropriate forms, or request a face-to-face meeting with a registered SBDC consultant that can help guide you through the process of turning your business dreams into reality.

I Want To Start a Business: Partner with certified small business consultants to learn everything you need to know about starting a business in Michigan.

I Have Started a Business: From business education workshops to marketing, HR and operations counseling, access the tools you need to succeed.

I Want to Grow My Business: Looking to expand or transition your business? Our expert consultants can help you strategize for future growth.

I Have an Advanced Tech Business: Is your company developing advanced technology? We’ll help you develop and execute a successful commercialization strategy.

For more information or to get started on your entrepreneurial journey, head to The Small Business Alliance: Michigan.


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