“Don’t talk to strangers!” Parents have warned their children for decades. Evil often comes packaged in beauty and charm. And so, obedient children have refused to be lured by candy.
Today’s online lures are clever, disguised and not obvious in many cases. Now that we are used to the emails from a Prince in a faraway land who wants to send us money and avoid the demands to “click here to enter banking information”, the scams are getting more sophisticated and aimed straight at our emotions. Let’s look at some common scams that are online today, targeting our curiosity, fear, sympathy or even love and connection.
Shocking social media announcements about a scandalous situation with a celebrity or sudden news that someone has died can be enough to make you click for more. Be aware that not all websites are created equal. False information is everywhere on the internet. Before you click share to be the first to tell your friends, you can verify news via scam-checking websites like https://www.snopes.com/
Have you received a recorded call on your cell phone telling you that you have violated rules with Revenue Canada and there is now a warrant for your arrest? Or perhaps a huge alert appeared on your computer screen, seemingly from the RCMP saying they have detected child pornography on your computer? These terrifying messages are followed by demanding an immediate response from you. Cell phones ask you to press 1 and computers ask you to click a link for help. Stop. If you’re worried about Revenue Canada, call them directly. If you’re worried about a virus on your computer, call an IT company to help you.
There have been numerous fraudsters trying to collect money on group funding websites, or phone calls from a charity. They all tell a sad story with an urgent need. Because this has happened too often, the sites are now tightening up the regulations. To help avoid unwanted cold calls, you should register to be on the “Do Not Call List (DNCL). https://lnnte-dncl.gc.ca/en Let common sense be your guide. Check the story and the source before sending money.
With the rise of popularity and success of online dating, there’s also a rise in catfishing online. Our human need for love and validation, opens the door to the hearts of all ages of people in all walks of life. These clever scammers know how to win trust and what magical words to type so that the victim becomes comfortable. Often it is months before a crisis occurs and a request for money is made. There are signs to look for: never meeting via Skype or Zoom or in-person, outlandish stories about impossible situations or professing undying love forever when you’ve never met. If you suspect this is happening to you or someone you know, search the internet for profiles of this person to see if they are consistent. You can also upload any images you’ve been given to reverse Google image search, or to a website like Tin Eye (https://tineye.com) to request matches elsewhere on the internet. If the images you have been given are actually stock photos, you’ll see that in your results.
If you have spent time on social media, being social with your “friends”, you’ve seen the fun quizzes asking for your favourite colour, your favourite vacation spot, your pet’s first name, your favourite band or the name of your high school. These sound like familiar security questions, don’t they? Of course there may be other harmless questions in there too, but think about the personal information that you’re handing out to the internet and not just your “friends”!
Have you ever received a friend request from someone you thought you were already friends with online? This is another way hackers try to invade your personal accounts. If you think there’s even a chance you may be friends with that person already, double check before clicking accept!
Are you making your accounts easy to hack? Identity theft is a nightmare.
At the end of the day, “Don’t talk to strangers!” is still a solid piece of advice for us all. Beware. Be smart. Be careful, verify and fact check before you click.
Imagine you are out window shopping one day. Suddenly, you come across a lovely new store with an incredible selection of exactly what you have been looking for! How exciting! You cannot wait to start shopping, so you walk on in. However, once you start looking around the store, you start to feel a little uncertain about shopping there. Something just doesn’t feel right, but you can’t put your finger on it. Then suddenly, you realize what’s going on…there is not a single person around to talk to. Not one.
Who is going to answer your questions or help you with your purchase? What if you buy something but need to return it? Who is minding this store? Unless you prefer a completely automated shopping experience, you are probably going to leave this beautiful store and never return.
Surprisingly, albeit it virtually, this scenario occurs on a regular basis for many of us on our favourite social media pages. And, unfortunately, there are far too many pages with large numbers of fans who receive no responses to their questions or comments. With someone to “mind the store,” so to speak, these pages would potentially see increased reach and engagement, as well as more trust and brand loyalty from their fans.
Why is community management so important?
There’s no doubt that social media use has exploded since 2004, and the numbers of users continues to rise. As a result, community management of social media pages on the major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn has become a critical component of customer service. Good community management is key to retaining current customers as well as acquiring new customers, especially through referrals.
Are you still not completely convinced? Check out these statistics:
- As of 2020, there are 3.78 billion social media users, which equates to about 48% of the current world population. (Statista)
- 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend that same brand to their friends and family. (Ambassador)
- In 2020, nearly 6 in 10 consumers preferred visiting social media pages of brands before deciding to visit their websites (an 81% increase from 2019). (Digital Information World)
Clients and Community Managers work together!
The relationship between a client/brand and its Community Manager is critical for a variety of reasons, but especially because it requires complete confidence for them to delegate the critical task of engaging with their consumers on their behalf. Although it can truly be challenging at times, it is important to understand both the tone of voice, and the industry jargon. This ensures that engagement with the clients’ followers on their social media pages is reliable and genuine.
Community Managers are on the front lines to promote and protect their clients’ reputation. This includes responding to negative feedback and all comments in a timely and respectful manner. All in all, the client is counting on their Community Manager to “mind the store”. By interacting with customers through social media platforms you are showing them that you care. What may seem like a simple gesture will often go a long way toward establishing positive customer relationships.
At MYOB, our Community Managers research your brand and competitors to develop a strategy to meet your marketing goals. They will prepare an audit of your existing accounts and offer recommendations to move forward. MYOB can help you mind your own business better!
Let’s face it… when you’re a small business owner, you have more important things to do with your time than gathering your bank statements, credit card statements, receipts, and deposit information for a bookkeeper. Not only is doing so quite tedious, but it also sounds really boring, don’t you think? But you know what’s even worse? A Canada Revenue Agency Audit!
When you think about it that way, organizing and staying on top of your finances doesn’t seem so bad! And although audits are unavoidable, having the right bookkeeping service can help make the process less stressful in the long run. If you’re considering hiring a bookkeeper, here are two valid reasons to do so.
1. Hiring a bookkeeper can assist small business owners in cutting costs.
Many people, for example, discover that they save money on accountant fees during tax season because their books are neat and in order.
One big lie we all tell ourselves is that we don’t need to write something down because we’ll remember it later. Or we’ll find those receipts for business expenses and/or dinners because we’d never throw something like that away, right? Why take that risk?
One reason you should keep accurate and up-to-date records of your revenue and expenses now is that you are more likely than not to forget three years from now – which could certainly come back to haunt you if you’re selected for an audit. So having your bookkeeping in order makes an audit go much more smoothly.
2. When your bookkeeping is organized, government filings can be kept up to date and deadlines can be met.
Filing on time is the law. Understandably, some businesses struggle to pay their HST obligations at certain times of the year due to a lack of cash flow. However, hiring a bookkeeper who oversees and keeps your financials up to date on a monthly or even quarterly basis helps small business owners make smart decisions about purchases, staffing, raises, and so on. This also includes liabilities such as how much HST they owe or payroll remittance they will have to pay. It is also important to note that there are penalties for late payment, but the law requires the HST report to be filed ON TIME. At Mind Your Own Business, we work with our clients and communicate with them regularly as we maintain their books and ensure that all government filings are completed on time.
Are you ready to get started? Great! Although you are always welcome to bring your bags, boxes, and folders of receipts for us to sort through, we also have a secure online portal where people can upload digital files! We are very customer-focused, and we are open to receiving your information in any way you prefer. Also, some clients prefer to do their own invoicing and/or payroll and we do the rest – but, once again, we can provide a customized service package based on what YOU require.
We’ve all had a bad customer service experience or two in our lives, but how often do we actually “complain” to someone who can turn a bad situation into a good one? According to a recent statistic, as many as 96% of us will say something about a negative experience to 15 friends, without speaking to anyone within the organization we are upset with. Here’s a thought: perhaps being proactive with a tailored approach to customer service from the start of the relationship can help to prevent a negative situation from the get-go. After all, it’s about the customer!
Here are three suggestions for providing excellent customer service.
- To earn customers’ trust, make them feel seen and heard.
Successfully competing in the market involves more than offering the best prices. Nowadays, potential customers are drawn in and compelled to stay when you provide top-notch customer service. At the very least, they expect to be treated with kindness and respect. With a global average of 59% of consumers having higher expectations of customer service, continuing to use outdated or ineffective strategies may cause you to fall behind your competitors. To attract and retain customers, it is critical to make each individual feel special by providing them with personalized customer service.
Another important factor in attracting and retaining customers is to meet their needs. Being aware of your target market’s customer service preferences can also benefit your business, since approximately 54% of consumers say they base their purchasing decisions on the quality of a company’s customer service. Furthermore, more than 19% say that the quality of service is one of the most important factors influencing their final purchasing decision.
- Proactive customer service will set you apart from the competition.
It is pretty clear that any type of service—for example, being greeted by name, being recognized from previous interactions, and receiving contextualized support—is appreciated and makes a customer feel valued. In addition, anticipating your customers’ support needs can give your company a competitive edge.
- Communicate and interact with your customers to build stronger relationships.
At the end of the day, remember that cultivating relationships with your customer base does not end with the sale. That is only the beginning. To keep connected, you must provide excellent, consistent, and meaningful customer care. The key is to listen to your customers and act on their feedback to demonstrate that addressing their concerns is a top priority. There are many ways to stay connected including seasonal cards, birthday cards, newsletters and phone call check-ins. Continued interaction sends a strong message that you care.
It’s better for dissatisfied customers to talk to you than about you.
Following these simple steps will help you in maintaining open lines of communication with your customers. That way, if they have a negative experience, they will be far more likely to tell you directly rather than complaining to 15 (or 1,500!) of their friends. And, with a higher level of trust between you and your customers, you have a much better chance of making things right and reinforcing their trust in you.
Most small business owners agree that one of their most powerful marketing tools is their website. And, as you are probably aware, some websites are designed better than others. Have you ever visited a website and been disappointed by its appearance or complicated navigation? Or become frustrated when visiting a website that takes forever to load? Of course, you have. We all have. And, more likely than not, you have probably moved on to a fancier (and faster!) website.
The simple truth is that a business that wishes to be competitive online needs a website that wows its visitors. In a nutshell, a business website has the potential to do one of two things:
- Help you stand out from your competitors or
- Drive people directly to your competitors.
Savvy business owners realize their potential clients go online for more than purchasing products and/or services. Instead, they crave a unique and highly visual online experience which entices and delights them as well. This is where the importance of exceptional website design comes in.
Reasons why you need a well-designed business website:
1. You only have one chance to make a first impression – so make it count!
Visitors to your website often decide whether they want to do business with you within a fraction of a second, based on their perceptions of your site. They may not even be aware they are judging you, but having bias is part of being human.
The better first impression you give, the more likely your visitors are to stay or return to your website. In other words, your website’s design can make a big difference when it comes to attracting and retaining potential clients.
2. Your business website is a direct reflection of YOU.
Along with that all-important first impression a website gives to its visitors, your website design also gives them an idea of how you conduct business. For example, a web design that is outdated or sloppy may inadvertently give your visitors the impression that your products or services are also inferior or low quality.
On the other hand, a well-designed website can go a long way towards building trust in your business, and trust is a big factor in sales. An organized website with a strong visual component helps to create an air of legitimacy for you and your business. This is why we say your business’ website is your most powerful marketing tool. Consider good design as another way for you to successfully reach out to your customers.
3. Your website is an essential component of your business’ brand.
As part of your marketing toolbox, your business’ website also serves to promote your brand. While brand awareness is valuable for all businesses, brand-building is especially important for new business owners who need to establish a positive reputation from the get-go.
Over to you
Good website design is a must in today’s highly visual market. Understanding the importance of a well-designed business website is step one. What is the next step? Building one. Mind Your Own Business will work with you to develop and implement a plan to create a website that accurately represents you and your business in a current, approachable, and positive way. Are you ready to get started? Contact us today by calling 519-657-4283 or by filling out our online form.
Have you ever watched the Olympics and marveled at the athletes who have mastered control of their muscles and movements? It all looks so easy because they have mastered their craft. It’s deceiving how effortless it looks to achieve such perfection. We all know that years of training and hard work brought these top athletes to this world stage. Determination and hard work applied to small business will pay off too. Maybe someone looks at you and thinks you have it so “easy”!
We work with clients who are brilliant in their field. Some are too busy to monitor the engagement and content for their social media. Some are so focused on what makes their business great, they need to outsource their bookkeeping and have up-to-date financial reports readily available. There are many tools available for small business owners and entrepreneurs to help their business run smoothly and to make the process look easy-peasy.
Grammarly is a free software that you can access through your browser. It also offers a plug-in to help you correct your grammar wherever you’re writing. Grammarly boasts, “Great writing, simplified”. That sounds easy-peasy!
- Google Docs
Google Docs is an effective way to share information between a client and your company. We use this with a number of clients, as it allows them to share information with us and if they require our input, we can provide edits easily and efficiently.
Trello is a great tool for prioritizing workload. This program allows you to organize your tasks, make notes, set deadlines and file when completed. It works especially well for teams. Designated team leaders assign tasks or projects to other team members’ “boards” to communicate they need to be completed during the day, week, or month. You are able to add attachments, instructions and links to other resources. Our team uses this program as an organization and communication tool to keep our organization running smoothly. The best part? It’s available for mobile as well so that you can update your tasks on the go.
With so many applications to use in your business, there becomes a growing list of passwords. BitWarden simplifies keeping track of all those passwords and also allows you to input them to any given website at the touch of a button. Some of our team members use this and find it user friendly and valuable.
No, this isn’t a program. It’s a concept. Running a business is complex and can be easier if you consider outsourcing the tasks that bog you down or that you aren’t passionate about. Here at Mind Your Business, we work with people who have made the choice to outsource their bookkeeping, social media and website design. We love to learn about our clients’ company and help them to thrive!
You work hard at what you do, and we work hard at what we do! Together we can make it all look so easy. Let’s talk about what your challenges are and let us help you mind your own business!