Cyber-Security for Small Business Owners (Part 1)

Cyber-Security for Small Business Owners (Part 1)

Recently, I attended a Cyber-Security Summit organized by the Arizona Technology Council. After attending many of these events in the past few years and through conversations at the many events I’ve attended, it’s clear this is still an important topic of education for small businesses. I’ll try to cover, not just the reasons for concern (hopefully without scaring anyone into giving up their smart phone entirely), but also some tips on how to prepare your small business for the ever-changing cyber-security threats.

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AZ Ecommerce: The Tax Man Cometh

AZ Ecommerce: The Tax Man Cometh

When building an ecommerce site, there's a lot of nuances that need to be taken into account, from what to charge for shipping (and how to determine the fees you pass on to the customer) to charging for sales tax. Collection of sales tax is one item that can't be ignored - unless you're happy to pay large sums in monetary penalties because you didn't collect and/or pay enough. This week, we'll cover a bit about sales tax considerations when launching an Arizona-based ecommerce business.

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Development Diary 5: Plan to Pivot

Development Diary 5: Plan to Pivot

In this installment, I’m going to talk about something that comes up on many projects: the pivot. Every project starts out with one idea that is believed to be set in stone, but what inevitably happens is a customer starts asking for something no one ever conceived (or that was downplayed for one reason or another). For Compliance Clinic, that was data storage.

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3 Ways to Secure Your Online Transactions

3 Ways to Secure Your Online Transactions

Security was a hot topic in 2016 (and 2015 and, to some extent, 2014), but it seems that we see news of a data breach almost daily. Consumers are often more savvy (or at least more paranoid) when it comes to online purchases. Attacks on small businesses are increasing because hackers know these are the weakest links. Here are a few tips to make sure you aren't their next victim.

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How to Know When You Need a Developer Instead of a Designer

How to Know When You Need a Developer Instead of a Designer

When it comes to a digital presence, you want to look good and your first instinct is to find a great Web designer. After all, you're not writing software, so why would you want a developer? As I network with other businesses, I find they tend to fall into two camps: they either believe Web designers are the same as Web developers or they think a Web developer can only write code and can't create a Web site. Well, I'm here to set the record straight.

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Development Diary 4: What Do You Mean, "Infrastructure"?

Development Diary 4: What Do You Mean, "Infrastructure"?

By far the most common oversight by clients (and often by inexperienced developers) is the long-term solution. We start projects so they can be finished, so that means that the project has to “live” somewhere for the foreseeable future, right? Most clients gloss over this need assuming the developer will take care of it. Other times, they wait until the day before the launch to find out the Developer didn’t plan. In the worst cases, the client has no idea where their digital product lives and the developer goes AWOL. It’s important to be a part of this planning from the beginning.

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Leverage Your Network for Pitch Practice

Leverage Your Network for Pitch Practice

As you’ve already seen, I’m building more than just a consulting business and I’ve mentioned a few times that marketing a product is very different from marketing services. Since July, I’ve been working on creating a new digital product and there’s been a lot of lessons along the way. Here’s a few tips about leveraging the network you’ve built for more than just referrals.

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How Not to Derail Your Marketing Plan

How Not to Derail Your Marketing Plan

Marketing, whether it's a digital product, professional services, or a non-profit movement, is necessary and it requires attention. A marketing strategy, much like a new digital product, requires ongoing maintenance, planning, and adjustments. Here are a few ways to keep your marketing on track.

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Development Diary: Silence Never Says Anything

Development Diary: Silence Never Says Anything

Up until now in this series, we’ve primarily talked about what goes into building the application. There’s more to building a new online service than creating the functional pieces of the platform. As with everything, you must market it. In the beginning, this doesn't have to be perfect or fancy - it just needs to provide information consistent with the product itself.

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Scope Creep: The Silent Killer

Scope Creep: The Silent Killer

When it comes to product development, whether it's digital or not, there's an on-going conversation between the person behind the actual production and the person guiding the process. This is important because it helps to clarify the vision, validate the work as part of the creation process, and ensure everything stays on track. Unfortunately, it's inevitable that somewhere along the line, a request will be made that impacts the original scope. This is called "scope creep" and it needs to be managed carefully.

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5 Great Tools That Help You “Do”

5 Great Tools That Help You “Do”

When it comes to doing business, there are a ton of tools to help get the job done. And it seems like every week there’s something new trying to wiggle it’s way into my workflow. Some of them make the cut and others get kicked to the curb. Here’s the tools I use most (meaning, daily) to help me do, create, and manage my business and products.

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Marketing Digital Products

Marketing Digital Products

Next month, we’ll be covering this topic with more specific details, but I thought it important to provide a broader overview. When you create new online services, you are undergoing digital product development. Like traditional product development which results in a tangible item that you can sell, it’s a process and requires time and patience. But the way you market a digital product differs significantly from marketing traditional products.

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Network Like a Gardener

Network Like a Gardener

Marketing has taken on a new level of complexity these days. Between social media, SEO, and email, we often forget that it's not always about selling (at least not constantly). Many of us, myself included, market during face-to-face opportunities. It's important to not let those connections fall through the cracks. We never know where that next big project is going to come from.

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Security Should Never Be Ruled Out

Security Should Never Be Ruled Out

We recently started to map out a proposal for a new project. This particular project meant working around an existing relationship with a staff developer who maintains a version of the app for another platform. As we moved through the process of crafting a proposal to meet their needs, a number of questions came up, including the question about security.

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Treat Your Web Site Like an Investment

Treat Your Web Site Like an Investment

Our projects typically fall on the highly-technical end of the spectrum (in case last week’s blog hadn’t already made that abundantly clear) and represent a much more significant investment for a company, but even the much commonplace “brochure site” which is often your first point of contact in sales is an important part of your marketing efforts.

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