If you’re running a small business, you probably have some vital and sensitive information about your company and its customers stored online. 63% of small businesses have been victims of a cyberattack and 79% of them do not have a cyberattack response plan*.
Is your business a part of the above statistic? If it is, you need to get to work creating a response plan for when an attack happens. Things you must do are: (1) notify customers of any security breaches; (2) regularly change passwords; (3) secure payment systems; (4) conduct frequent security audits; (5) consider hiring a cybersecurity firm to find weaknesses in your systems and procedures; (6) get a cybersecurity insurance policy. According to Jack J Landers of Teague Insurance in San Diego, these insurance policies are affordable and provide a wide array of policy limits. Many carriers are even offering extra coverage endorsements that can even be added on to their General Liability/Package policies at very low cost.
*Louie Beaupre, “Smarter Office Blog”, 2016.
Based on a report from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the San Diego region comes ninth for the number of technology patents granted with over 34,000, among other metropolitan areas from 2000-2013. The amount of intellectual property has more than doubled in the last decade!
Most of the innovation has been in biotechnology companies established in Sorrento Mesa and La Jolla. But what about non-biotech, non-clean-tech or non-software businesses like yours? What have you done in your organization in the last 1-2 years that has “wowed” customers and has given you an edge? Has it been better productivity? Have you come up with a product, process, or way of delivering your services that has put you ahead? If not, what is stopping you? Is it cash? Better planning? More creativity? Perhaps you are making some decent profits and don’t want to “rock the boat” too much?
A lean, practical and reasonably priced business strategy that uses a combination of virtual services may be the place to start. With many entrepreneurs and solo practitioners, we’ve found that what triggers innovation is when they start to think differently about using professional space or admin support.
Remember: it’s your business and your life. You make it what you want it to be.
There’s a lot of hype about “chatbots” lately in Silicon Valley. These are little artificial-intelligence programs that work like personalized assistants.* Microsoft talks about a bot that is a personal digital assistant that knows you, knows about your world and helps you with everyday tasks like ordering pizza using text, Skype or Slack. However, the digital beings (e.g., Alexa, Operator, Assist, x.ai, Siri, Magic, Fin, Messenger) that claim to make our lives easier, organize us and even make us feel emotionally better off are not the Nirvana we expect. Many times, chatbots cannot accomplish a task without the help of a human being in the “back office” somewhere around the world (be more inquisitive about this the next time you use a bot!). The bots may misinterpret what you want done because of your accent, tone or the way you phrased your question or need.
And in the business world, they won’t help you with handling a critical client or an irritated caller. It is very challenging to replace human interaction in day-to-day business dealings and settings. Assistance is not just about ordering things or playing the music you want. It is about paying attention to tone of voice and acting in consequence; it is about anticipating what your needs will be; making your clients feel taken care of; it is an exchange of information on a daily basis; it is about the nuances in a conversation to better interpret what you and your clients need.
The underlying reason chatbots exist is for companies like Facebook, Apple and Microsoft to keep you as a client/subscriber for their core services. So ask yourself whether the AI services you are using are putting you in the path of “wallet domination.”
*Please refer to “What Chatbots Reveal About Our Own Shortcomings”, by Jenna Wortham, The New York Times Magazine, April 21, 2016.
Virtual Impressions Matter
You’ve heard the old expression “first Impressions matter” when you meet someone. The same applies to your callers. Customers and prospects form an impression of you and your business within 7 seconds of initial contact, and 87% state that the tone of voice highly impacts their experience.
Though we see many improvements in customer service technology, customers still prefer to connect with a human being.
Having a friendly and professional person answering your phone creates a great experience for callers, opens a personal connection, builds trust, and increases the likelihood of repeat business. A virtual assistant can transfer calls to you wherever you are, and take messages when you can’t or don’t want to be reached. Your callers get the attention they deserve, you save on hiring a full-time employee and you get the freedom to do more with your business.
A top notch virtual assistant service will know how to handle prospects, current clients, solicitors, vendors and family/personal. These calls can be prioritized (e.g. create specific instructions for certain types of calls) and based on your schedule (there are times when you don’t want to take calls or only calls from certain people or companies).
What else can a Virtual Assistant do?
Remember, first caller impressions count for a lot!
Beyond Starbucks: Where freelancers are working
Apr 26, 2013 (MoneyWatch) -- If you're a freelancer, you may be spending your days competing for electrical outlets at the 'Bucks or struggling to be efficient in a home office, with distractions ranging from kids to the kitchen. If you have a little extra money... Read the article.
Workers Demand Social Media Rights
Employees no longer see using Facebook in the office as luxury or a business tool, but as a right, new research shows. A quarter of employees say they would not work for a company that banned social media at work. In total, nearly one-third of employees are spending an hour or more a day on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites during work hours, a study by virtual office space franchise Intelligent Office found. Read the article.
Technology Fueling Workers' Desire for More Choice on the Job, Including Greater Flexibility and Mobility
DENVER, Apr 17, 2013 -- A new survey has found that technology is fueling workers' desire for more choice on the job, including greater flexibility and mobility. In a survey of more than 1,000 people in the United States and Canada, 61 percent want to use a more mobile device than a desktop while at work. Additionally, a third of respondents now want to work for a company that allows them to use their own technology. These are results of the newest survey from the Intelligent Office Work IQ brand, which looked at the use of technology and social media in the workplace. Read the press release.
In a world increasingly dominated by smartphones, it seems natural that the workforce is developing into a mobile one. No longer do workers need to go to the office to accomplish their daily tasks. They can answer emails, conduct meetings, take notes and keep organized on a calendar — all on a device that is not much larger than a business card
Last week, we had a videographer from Streamlight Productions tape our beautiful offices and the busy work of our capable Intelligent Assistants. View the video via the link below:
Thank you to all who attended the Grand Opening last night.Close to 100 guests showed up to support the newest IO office! The team here at IO San Diego really enjoyed meeting all of you. It was a great night and we appreciated your presence.
Congratulations to our raffle winners, and thank you to all those who donated in support of the raffle for the International Children’s Cancer Foundation. Proceeds from that raffle will go towards the ICCF’s ministry. We are proud to announce that, with your help, we raised over $200!
(January 2, 2012) — Intelligent Office, the virtual, professionally staffed office space for mobile executives and small businesses opening in February 2012, has chosen Johnson and Jennings as general contractor.
“Johnson and Jennings was an obvious choice for this project,” said
The project will encompass all interior construction of the 4,500 square-foot office space that upon completion will have two conference rooms and multiple office spaces.
Johnson & Jennings specializes in tenant improvement and commercial construction. The firm has worked with Taylor Made, Procopio, the State Attorney General, Francis Parker Lower School and more.
Scheduled for a grand opening in February 2012, visits to the location, as well as appointments for tours can be made by going to www.intelligentoffice.com/sandiego or calling (858) 964-2300.
About Intelligent Office-San Diego
Intelligent Office is the leading virtual, professionally staffed office space for mobile executives and small businesses in North America. Intelligent Office helps clients grow their businesses and work smarter by
San Diego, Calif. – (Nov. 21, 2011) — Intelligent Office, a virtual, professionally staffed office space for mobile executives and small businesses, is expanding its presence in California with the opening of a San Diego location.
Adding a new office at 4275 Executive Square in La Jolla increases the company’s presence into Southern California. With its existing Walnut Creek location, Intelligent Office now has two centrally located offices in California: Northern California and Southern California to provide new ways for mobile executives and small businesses to reduce overhead costs while benefitting from the assistance of a professional support staff.
With San Diego ranked as one of the most expensive places to rent office space in North America, Intelligent Office is filling a need in this particular area by offering professional office space and services that allow people to work smarter and meet the demands of modern business.
“Our concept is based on combining
About Intelligent Office
Intelligent Office is the leading virtual, professionally staffed office space for mobile executives and small businesses in North America. The company is headquartered in Boulder, Colo., and has 50 franchises across the United States and Canada. Intelligent Office helps clients grow their businesses and work smarter by
Intelligent Office San Diego