SAY OF THE DAY
“You can’t ask customers what they want… By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs
IN THE NEWS
4 Ways To Keep Your Website From Getting Hacked
Small businesses are especially vulnerable to hacking because they usually lack the technology expertise and site security that larger companies have. They also suffer more if their lack of expertise slows repairs and their ability to get back to work. Business owners can lose significant online traffic and sales if their site lands on blacklists operated by Google and other search engines.
Hackers are constantly breaking into innocent websites and using them to infect visitors with malware, lure them to dodgy sites and infiltrate databases to grab sensitive customer information. But you can avoid trouble — or eliminate it quickly — by taking some relatively simple steps.
Here’s how to get started:
1) Keep your software up to date.
Hackers aggressively target security flaws in popular Web software such as content management systems and blogging programs so they can attack websites en masse. Stay out of the line of fire by using the latest versions of software and applying security patches promptly.
2) Use strong passwords and keep them safe.
Using strong passwords is crucial because hackers frequently attempt to crack or steal passwords for web software and FTP servers, which are computers that use the File Transfer Protocol to move web pages and other files to another computer, such as a Web-hosting server. Default, common or predictable passwords can be easily broken.
3) Register with Google’s Webmaster Tools.
Getting on Google’s blacklist, which is used by the search site and the Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers, can reduce traffic to your site. By registering with Webmaster Tools, you can receive notifications of malware infections immediately, sometimes before blacklisting occurs, so you can get rid of them faster. The service also provides details about the precise problem Google is seeing. That can speed your clean up and your return to Google’s good graces.
SAY OF THE DAY
4) Get expert help.
Companies that are heavily dependent on their websites may want to hire a firm that provides alerts if they get on a blacklist, monitoring for malicious activity, scanning for security vulnerabilities or help with repairs after a hack. Prices start at about $90 a year. Businesses that have databases with sensitive customer information connected to their sites should get help building security into their sites and scouring software code for bugs.
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6 Fundraising Tips Most Startup Entrepreneurs Don’t KnowIn reading the start-up and tech blogs these days, one would think investors are chomping at the bit to fund startups like yours. But as is true with most situations in life, you shouldn’t believe everything you read.
There are certainly examples of big and fast rounds and companies where money landed in a founder’s lap. But this isn’t the norm, nor should it be expected. Fundraising is hard, no matter what anyone tells you.
Here are some tips to make raising money for your business a little easier:
1) Time is not your friend.
Fundraising is in many respects a full time job, and the inertia of your company won’t take a vacation. Your customers, users, employees and everyone else involved will continue to require your attention even though you’re in the midst of a draining and consuming fundraising process. So the shorter this process takes the better. Moving fast and efficiently can also help stave off second thoughts among investors. Similar to a house that sits on the market, the longer a deal sits, the more questions and concerns are raised. Why didn’t XYZ fund do it? What have others seen that I’m not seeing?
2) Know who you want to work with.
Long before you’re ready to raise your round, think about the funds and people who you’d eventually like to work with. Begin to build relationships with these people and funds well before you need to ask them to participate. When it comes time to formally begin fundraising, the conversations will be much smoother and simpler since a previous relationship exists.
3) Stay in the driver’s seat.
Don’t start fundraising until you are ready. No matter who comes knocking or expresses interest, the process should be on your terms and when you’re ready.
4) Coordination is critical.
It’s vital to have answers to simple questions like how much you’re raising, why you’re raising it, how you plan to use capital, other players in the market, etc. Once the process moves forward into deeper diligence, you must make sure your business’ other stakeholders are aware of your fundraising effort. From customer calls and potential customer calls to tapping internal resources, you’ll need their cooperation to get things done.
5) The flow of information is absolute.
For better or for worse, you need to assume that once your deal is on the market, everyone knows about it. What you tell one partner or fund can quickly circulate across funds — and even coasts for that matter. If one firm passes on your deal, others will quickly find out. This isn’t to say that investors are conspiring against entrepreneurs — that’s certainly not the case, however, people talk and you need to know that.
6) Deadlines are a must, but flexibility is key.
If given the opportunity, many investors will take more time. Time means results, data points and additional proof points by which to make an investment decision. So you need to build in that urgency to keep the process moving forward. Find a meaningful event that will drive the firms involved towards a decision and, ideally, a term sheet. Still, if you have an investor or firm that you really love and they need a bit more time to get their partnership or work in order, don’t hesitate to honor that request. Nothing replaces a great long-term partner.