PIE: The Simple 3-Step Process for Creating Your Strategic Business Plan

Many business owners (especially those with a non-business background) struggle when it comes to creating a strategic business plan for their business. Chances are they’ve never ran a business before, and even in their “employment” days were not involved with the day-to-day business management.

So when it comes to running their business they struggle!

“Still need to figure out (sit down and actually learn) how to do this!” said one business owner to me earlier this week.

They have a dream for their business, are an expert in whatever it is they do, but have no idea how to take that idea/dream and turn it into a viable and profitable business… so they continue in a state of overwhelm and frustration, with a slow growing business.

Spending some time planning all of your business activities is crucial if you are to succeed long-term. It’s not just about planning your business – you need to understand the strategy behind what you’re going to be doing. And you also need to understand how all the different pieces of your business fit together to create one coherent business.

Today, I’d like to share with you my simple, 3-step process, for sitting down and crafting your own strategic business plan.

PLAN – schedule some time in your calendar to work on your business plan. Some people opt to take a mini-retreat away from their office. It could be spending the day in your local coffee shop, or actually going out of town for a few days. Or you could just schedule one or two hours and sit quietly in your office planning out your business (that advantage of doing in your office is that you have all your business information right there with you). Whatever works best for you is going to work best for your business. But the important thing is, you to schedule in the time to create your plan!

INVESTIGATE – what is it you’re going to be offering over the coming 90 days; 6 months; 12 months? I like to have a loose 12-month plan, but then have a very specific 90-day plan in place. It’s much easier to focus and implement with a shorter time-frame than it is to do so over, say, a 12-month period. Sometimes planning out so far ahead can feel overwhelming. But it is important to have that “big picture vision” in place so that you know where you’re heading.

Also when you’re deciding what it is you’re going to be offering ask yourself, “Does this make sense? Does it fit my big picture vision?” This is where understanding the strategy behind your business comes into play. It’s no good deciding you want to do a live event, or offer an online training course, if you don’t understand how this fits into your “Big Picture Vision”. All paths must lead you to that “Big Picture Vision”.

EXECUTE – now that you know what it is you’re going to be offering and when, it’s time to put that plan into practice. One thing that I do in my business is “reverse engineering”. I always start with the end date in mind and then work backwards. For example, if I’m offering a 4-part live training class on a specific date, what do I need to do to promote that training class, and when. It’s much easier to plan out the promotions if I work backwards from the start date of the class. That way too, I can see if I’m leaving enough time for the promotions or if I need to adjust something in some way.

So there you have my simple 3-step process for creating your strategic business plan. No go ahead and create your own!

(c) 2013 Tracey Lawton

VoIP Phone System: The Authentic and Thorough Solution for Your VoIP Business Need

In the course of the most recent couple of years, VoIP has assumed control over an impressive part of the media transmission showcase. It has turned out to be strikingly famous in the domain of business correspondence. Be it any scaled part, it has ended up being a genuine distinct advantage. Today, the colossal prominence of a VoIP framework has made it necessary for the endeavors to utilize it. Furthermore, subsequently, even the suppliers need to concoct fantastic VoIP arrangements with cutting edge highlights. For the most part, individual arrangements can be procured by correspondence necessities of the organization. Be that as it may, nowadays, organizations will probably contract finish VoIP bundle which covers every one of the arrangements.

We should observe what such bundles regularly include. In a media transmission organizes; Softswitch is the center gadget that associates telephone calls starting with one line then onto the next. It gives a successful entry of information and voice for the phone calls. More helpful for VoIP specialist co-ops, Softswitch is best to handle call directing, flagging and a great deal more. VoIP Billing Solution is for the most part valuable to gather and compute the billing points of interest, delivering solicitations of calls, online installment portals and other important procedures. It additionally screens the business information and redesigns the monetary history. Because of its effectiveness and one of a kind value, VoIP Billing is all around foreseen among the organizations. The PBX System is an essential part of a total VoIP bundle. It bolsters the entire nearby and remote business correspondence. Utilizing a solitary system; PBX framework offers voice, video and sight and sound sharing. Undertakings have all the more progressively began to adjust it since it helps clients to interface from anyplace and whenever.

A necessary part of the worldwide business interchanges, Wholesale VoIP is basically for the specialist co-ops offered by the discount bearers. By empowering the clients to appreciate media transmission over the web, it has contributed a considerable measure to the VoIP business transformation. More often than not, organizations employ particular arrangements from the whole scope of VoIP arrangements as indicated by their correspondence needs. What’s more, VoIP specialist organizations cost them on the premise of those employed arrangements. Be that as it may, if the general estimation is made, it is prudent to contract finish VoIP bundle which incorporates all the communication related administrations. Along these lines, an undertaking can even make the worldwide and national calls, course the calls, naturally gather the bills, orchestrate video and web gatherings, bolster the remote correspondence needs and do a considerable measure different thing all the more rapidly and effortlessly.

Presently the world is rising into the latest smart phone generation. These days a large number of people use their mobile phone to make calls abroad. So the basic application can be installed in cell phones to make VoIP calls, which are called mobile softphone or SIP Dialer. With a Mobile Dialer, clients can make national or global calls at exceptionally shoddy rates. They can likewise send SMS/IM without any difficulty and at lower rates. This is the manner by which a VoIP Mobile Dialer can decrease the communication cost of an endeavor all things considered! An entire VoIP bundle not just upgrades the correspondence and coordinated effort of a business, additionally shockingly diminishes the general cost of doing business.

Along these lines, a business can develop rapidly in light of the fact that the time and labor will be spared and in the meantime, the costs will be diminished. More or less, it will demonstrate as a genuine distinct advantage for the business!

Florida’s Information Privacy Act

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The author of this article is an information security specialist, not an attorney. The opinions contained in this article should not be construed as legal advice. The reader should consult with a licensed attorney if legal counsel is required relative to FS 501.171.

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Cybercriminals prowl the Internet looking for openings in computer systems to exploit. They want to steal, alter, destroy or otherwise illicitly gain access to the confidential information held by businesses and organizations. Both vulnerabilities and threats are growing. Law enforcement officials have been unable to put a “dent” in cybercrime.

Law-makers in Florida, however, have decided who should have the lion’s share of the responsibility for protecting PII (or Personally Identifiable Information). Individuals now have the responsibility of protecting confidential information if they are a “covered entity” or business in Florida.

Do you know what the law (FS 501.171) requires? Are you a “covered entity under Florida law?” Is your data processing system set up to be in compliance with Florida’s privacy law? Can you prove that you have taken the “reasonable measures” that the law requires to protect the confidential information that you possess on employees, customers and others?

Is your information system strong enough to deter a cyber attack?

Would you successfully be able to defend yourself against a compliance audit?

What can you otherwise do?

You can consult with an attorney to determine if you are covered by the provisions of Florida’s Information Privacy Act. The wise and prudent thing to do would be to assume that if you are acquiring or maintaining confidential personal data on people, you are likely considered to be a covered entity.

Florida’s law includes a lengthy definition as to what is protected. It is: any material, regardless of physical form, on which personal information is recorded or preserved by any means, including, but not limited to, written or spoken words, graphically depicted, printed or electromagnetically transmitted that are provided by an individual for the purpose of purchasing or leasing a product or obtaining a service.

The personal information covered under Florida’s Privacy Act would include a person’s social security number, a driver’s license or identification card number, passport number, military identification card or other similar documents used to verify identity. Additionally included are financial account numbers, credit or debit card numbers with any required security codes, access code, or password that is necessary to permit access to an individual account; any information regarding an individual’s medical history, mental or physical condition, or medical treatment or diagnosis by an individual’s health care professional; or an individual’s health insurance policy number or subscriber identification number and an unique identifier used by a health insurer to identify the individual.

The storage of confidential information would appear to include all “hard copy” or paper records and those stored by a cloud service. The covered entity is solely responsible for securing the information it collected and cannot transfer its responsibilities to a third party (such as a cloud storage company).

FS 501.171 states that each covered entity, governmental entity or third-party agent shall take reasonable measures to protect and secure data in electronic form that contains personal information.

The Law states, among other provisions, how the breaches will be reported to authorities (including the number of compromised records and notification requirements). Possible fines are included.

Florida’s Information Privacy Act, FS 501.171 requires that organizations must take reasonable measures to handle confidential information. The Law doesn’t precisely dictate, however, the details of what information policies and procedures should be used.

There are a number of information security controls and standards, none of which carry the force of law. However, many are considered to be very robust security models that are used in business and industry. Organizations, in the opinion of the author, should at least have an information security policy.

Otherwise, guidance from management is likely absent. Meeting the test of “reasonable” measures to protect under the FS 501.171 would be challenging if the organization had failed to address the topic of how it officially handled or processed confidential information.

You should always take aggressive steps against possible intruders and protect the confidential information in your possession.