Operations and Revenue

This happened to me today and it is NOT good for any business!

I received a doctor’s bill in the mail, which was mailed 6 months AFTER the visit!
Fine.
I call the number on the bill to pay.
I wait for 20 minutes, finally get someone on the phone, only to be told that I have to actually call the doctor’s office.
OK, I call the doctor’s office and get a pre recorded message that says I have to leave my credit card information on the message!

ARE YOU SERIOUS?

First of all, WHY send an invoice with the wrong phone number to receive your payment?
NOBODY and I repeat NOBODY should EVER leave their financial data on a voice mail!

I called the doctor’s office again, and pushed zero, so I finally got someone on the phone. Told them what happened and they accepted my payment right there and then.

WOW! Is this how you run your business?
I am trying to pay YOU!
Why should I have to jump through hoops just to pay you?

Every business relies on their revenue.
Wake up and be professional. Fix your billing/finance department and you will see a big difference.

If you make your customers run in circles just to pay your business, mark my words, many of them will just say, “oh well, I am not paying”.
Bad business practice, bad customer relations, bad operations overall!

My story and frustrations

I decided to share my personal career journey in an article.
Why?
Because it might resonate with fellow professionals and also help others realize that you are not alone.

I was born and raised in Greece, can communicate in 6 languages, and have had a very long and successful career.
I became a US citizen in 2004 and live in California.
My resume can be found here: RESUME

I have a very active LinkedIn presence, I had professionals build my resume and listened to advice as to what to write on my profile.
I lost my job in April 2021, as my landlord passed away, (I was the property manager for the apartment complex I live in, for 10 years) and his son sold the apartment complex.

I am VERY far from giving up, retiring, or losing hope.
I keep getting conflicting advice from similar professionals (job search help, resume writers, etc.)
Examples:
“Why do you confuse people with Risk Management and Property Management”?

Well, Risk Management is EVERYWHERE! Especially in property management, as one has to deal with tenants, laws, payments, leases, credit checks, etc. If you are NOT proactive and take care of every possible scenario before a disaster occurs, then you are NOT doing your job!

I have applied to 83 jobs. YES, you read that correctly. 83 jobs.
From those, I got 32 interviews, they realized that I am not 25 anymore and vanished in to thin air.
Oh yes, ghosting from HR departments is a thing now too.
I have such a vast experience on so many levels, yet “younger” professionals think that if you are older, you have automatically become obsolete.

I will be happy to connect on LinkedIn with anyone who is following my blog.
Here’s my LinkedIn profile

And although disheartened by the fact that I am not employed, I AM NOT GIVING UP!
I strongly believe that not everyone is made to open and run their own business. I love teamwork, I love solving problems, I love being part of a bigger picture.
This is totally acceptable and ok.
So those of you who are in the same position as I am, don’t give up hope, don’t give up trying, and keep moving forward no matter what!!!

 

Property Management Marketing

Do you manage rental properties?

If yes, there is a big NO NO.
Most businesses rely on Social Media Marketing.
The sad part is, that those who create marketing content, do so without a second thought on what they are trying to convey.

SPELLING ERRORS are simply showing your prospective clients that you have no clue what you are doing.
GRAMMATICAL ERRORS are an equally important part of your marketing posts.

ALWAYS double check, spell check, read your post out loud to make sure what you are posting makes sense on every level.

You want to establish your brand. I get it.
But communication mistakes will bring you the opposite results.

Also know how often to post!
When you post at least three times per week, when you are consistent, you will eventually see results.

TEACH YOUR STAFF to like and share EVERY POST of your company’s page.
WHY?
Because this way you expand your reach tenfold.
Also get in the habit of commenting on other posts, liking, asking questions.
NEVER think that because you just work on your own brand and page, you will get the recognition you desire to get new clients!!

Better Safe than Sorry

Better safe than sorry. Right?
In business I always say “better proactive than putting out fires and losing hard earned revenue”.

We can never assume that business owners have the time or experience to run “what if” scenarios and their possible solutions before writing their operational guidelines and have a solid plan B in place.

  • What kind of payments do you accept online?
    Do you know the differences and risks involved between Bank accounts, credit/debit cards, and your clients?
    I have witnessed back ends being compromised, which put all customers in jeopardy, because the “X” company only accepted bank account payments. The company owner had to pay millions of dollars in compensations. IF the company had agreed to accept credit/debit cards, the customers would have been able with one click to block their cards, and their bank account information would have never been compromised.
  • Does your CFO have an offline plan B for your company’s financial data?
    Even QuickBooks online can have issues at some point. Do you feel safe as a business owner to have every detail of your company’s financial data out there for hackers?
  • Do you have a clear policy about your team’s internet usage in the office?
    Your servers and internet are not there to protect your team’s phones and Facebook accounts, but your COMPANY’S.
    Down time and breaks are fine. But take into consideration that not every employee knows how to navigate the internet safely. One employee opened a phishing email without knowing how to avoid it, and the entire company’s online infrastructure got compromised. Your Wi-Fi or internet connection should not be used for personal usage.
  • If you sell actual products and make money online, do you have your back end set up to block unauthorized resellers, fraudulent purchases, and chargebacks?
    AI is not your iron clad answer. A dedicated team member has to check purchases and payments, and inform your IT team to block certain IP addresses, emails and buyers from being able to purchase again. Also stolen credit cards that will end up as complaint emails asking for refunds. Teach your team members what this all entails, so you can keep your hard-earned revenue.
  • Do you implement an official Password Policy at your company?
    NO employee can, or is allowed, to use a password to access company email, Slack, QuickBooks, back end, or anything else with a password that is being used for their private emails, social media, banking or anything else outside the company!
    In this day and age, a lot of people still think that using one password for everything is safe. NO! It is not. Passwords are being compromised daily. Why endanger your company’s infrastructure? Ask every team member to use specific and different passwords for work related access.
  • What safety plans do you have in place for remote employees and online interaction with your company?
    This is another complicated issue. Most remote employees use their home computers to work, while having social media, and personal email tabs open. While working, they should log out of everything personal and ONLY use work related internet. After work, they should ALWAYS delete search history, cookies, and online activity. The best option would be for every remote employee to have a company’s laptop that should be used ONLY for work.
  • Does your online presence portray EXACTLY what it is you are offering or selling?
    A lot of companies try to over-promise only to regret it later. The consumer is used to instant gratification. If what they receive is not 100% exactly as you portray online, they start asking for refunds, write negative comments about your company, and in the end, you lose revenue and reputation (which is a very strong ally for your future success).

 

 

Do your research

LinkedIn has become a must for startups, companies, professionals, job seekers and recruiters.

A lot of new companies are trying to sell lead generation products and services, so that one can succeed through LinkedIn.

So the questions here are:

  1. WHY should I choose your product, when LinkedIn already offers sales and lead generation solutions ?
  2. Have you done your research? There are similar companies like Linked Super Powers, and Salesflow
  3. Also LINKEDIN
  4. WHAT makes your services different and how can you prove it?
  5. How do you plan to get on top of your competition?
  6. Do you have a strategy in place?
  7. Messaging, emailing and simply marketing will not satisfy the prospective customer, as there are a ton of solutions to choose from.

So LEARN, TEST, COMPARE and PROVE!

Risk Management and Cyber Security

A lot of fellow professionals see that I am in Risk Management and immediately think that this is Cyber Security.

I will explain in as much detail as possible, to clarify the differences

Below are layers of different risk management disciplines in a company to understand where cybersecurity (or cybersecurity risk) is situated.

  • Enterprise Risk Management: This is the capability to understand and manage all risk types in a given organization. Depending on the company, this usually includes managing strategic risks, reputational risks, financial risks, compliance risks and operational risks.
  • Operational Risk Management: Operational risks are a subset of enterprise risks and are associated with operational processes, employee errors and technology systems.
  • IT Risk Management belongs to the operational risk category and includes all types of risks related to using and managing information technology. A simple way to think about IT risk management is the infamous CIA model which is basically a nifty acronym for confidentiality, integrity and availability. IT risk management is there to address the risks related to these three main areas.
  • Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs and data from attack, damage or unauthorized access.
  • Cybersecurity risk is one of several risks in the IT risk management space. It’s also one of the most important risks for any organization that has cyber presence.

Are you really a professional?

Professional behavior says it all.
And NEVER add a title on your profile, unless you prove that you are who you portray!

Read this article and be open to actually learn!

If you call yourself an expert, don’t make the mistake on platforms like LinkedIn to add positions, expertise and companies that don’t exist online, except for in your profile!

Rethink your hiring mentality

Business Owners and CEO’s!
Are you open to change course and think a little differently?
Can you forget age for a moment when hiring?

Let’s change course here.
Have you ever thought that you could give an “older” candidate a break by hiring them as a paid mentor or consultant?
If you do that you will gain a LOT!

  1. It will save you the pre conceived high onboarding cost, as your candidate will not need insurance, 401K or anything.
  2. You will have a mentor who has been where you are now and can teach you a whole lot.
  3. Teach your HR people about every aspect of the department your are hiring for, or even better have the head of the hiring department do the interviews! They know exactly what they need and are looking for.
  4. “Older” seasoned professionals, are not looking to jump positions and change companies. They are ALWAYS loyal and here to stay and help.
  5. Put yourself in their shoes. How will you feel in a few years when you will be excluded from any opportunities due to your age? You will have the experience and knowledge, but no opportunity to help someone younger succeed like you are trying to do now.
  6. NEVER forget, that everything you have to work with today, was created, implemented and envisioned by those before you!
  7. How will it hurt your company if you listen to a seasoned professional and maybe learn a thing or two that you hadn’t thought about until now?
  8. Not one “older” professional is coming to replace you or anyone in your company. They are there to help you succeed!

So sit back and think!
Less overhead, more experience, more knowledge, and only gains for your company!

Have you thought about all the possible risks and scenarios?
Have you thought about missing factors?

OPEN your mind and give it a try!
You will be amazed!

 

How to ruin your business

A historic Santa Barbara music store that offers Rentals, Repairs, Band & Orchestral Instruments, Accessories, and In-Store Lessons, was recently sold to a new owner.

The company has multiple stores throughout California, and a savvy business professional would assume that the new owners knew what they were doing.

As a risk professional, I will explain what they are doing wrong, in the hopes that they are open minded enough to see their mistakes, learn from them and fix them.

MISTAKES:
1. The business has moved to a new building nearby.
Their Facebook page, still has the old store’s picture as a header. A lot of people go by, see that there is no store anymore and leave. Anyone ever think to at least update the Social Media pictures? Or add a sign ON the old business door directing customers to the new building?

2. It’s been more than 8 months now, and they still do not honor and name their music teachers. They posted recently about their “newest” guitar teacher, and have totally disrespected veteran teachers who have been teaching for this company for decades.

3. Their website does not even include all the instruments being taught.
It doesn’t take a genius to update a website that manages 6 stores! You are not the owners of thousands of stores! It’s not rocket science.

4. Once you have a plan, you should leave room for adjustments along the way. You’ll likely learn new information or find out what tactics work better than others. So don’t just stick with something based on some ideology that you think is working. It’s NOT!

5. Let each store work as one entity. You can’t have parents call for music lessons, only to talk to someone 70 miles away who has absolutely no idea what, where and how Santa Barbara is and works.

6. You can’t micromanage. You will end up losing your business.

7. Your worst failure, is when a customer enters your store, being used to royalty treatment, and come out saying: “UGH I will NEVER go to that store again!”

8. Respect the previous owner’s legacy! It’s not by chance that he created such a success.

And last but not least, RESPECT those who work for you. You DON’T know it all, and neither are you allowed to behave like you do!

 

5 Key Cybersecurity Tips for Small Businesses

Author: Paul Adamson

The average cost of a cyberattack on a business is almost four million dollars. That’s enough to put most small and medium companies out of business.

As business becomes an increasingly online affair, the number of bad actors trying to break down your digital defenses only grows. But many small businesses aren’t sure exactly how to keep themselves protected.

If you’re looking for cybersecurity tips, read on. We’ve got five key pieces of advice to help your business stay safe online.

Read the entire article HERE

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