From the Desk of Paul:

There is so much to be gained for organizations with a strong focus on the Emotional, Spiritual and Social Health of its employees.  Greater employee engagement, retention, performance and culture to name a few.  Other benefits that are often overlooked are concepts such as respect from the community served, appreciation from industry peers and most importantly, the indirect benefits enjoyed by the friends and family members of employees who enjoy a healthy whole self.

How can this be accomplished?  It seems relatively simple in theory, yet more difficult in practice.  Why?  Because it requires the organization to be seemingly sacrificial in some areas.  Organizations with this type of focus are willing to sacrifice resources, namely time and money, to invest in the Emotional, Spiritual and Social Health of their employees.  Such investments may range from community involvement projects that allow for in-kind donation of services to the availability of corporate chaplains.  Most of all, the requirement involves empathy on the part of the employer for the employees needs that are outside of the day-to-day achievement of organizational objectives.  It is less tangible than compensation and benefits – it is recognition that everyone has a life outside of the workday and sometimes that part of life can be overwhelmingly challenging for employees.  It is also recognizing the intangible benefits of an employee feeling like they have contributed to some greater cause than just earning their paycheck – think paid time to support disaster relief for a community or organizational support for some social cause that employees are passionate about, like Wounded Warriors or Habitat for Humanity.  Sometimes it is as simple as taking time out from tasks to just personally check in with employees to see how they are doing and providing resources when they are facing challenges outside of work.  Engaging in that type of activity on a regular basis directly impacts the Emotional, Spiritual and Social Health of the employee population.

Some indirect benefits may include greater employee engagement and loyalty while reducing employee turnover, but those aren’t the right reasons for engaging in such focus on these areas of health and well-being.  Doing so would smell of insincerity and hidden agendas.  No, the only right reason for making this an area of focus is because we are all people and we should want to be better human beings by meeting the needs of other human beings around us.  In doing so, we will always find ourselves blessed beyond measure with results that matter…healthier selves and healthier people around us!

As always, if you have questions or comments that you would like for me to address, please contact me at pmeadows@itgroupva.com.

Want To Make Sure Your Business Is Protected From A Data Disaster?

Did you know that 93% of all businesses – that don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place when they experience a data disaster – go out of business within a year of that disaster? And yet, 68% of businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place.

Losing access to your business’s data in this day and age could very well mean losing everything. That means that as data becomes an increasingly important commodity to businesses of all types and sizes, so does having a plan for if or when your business experiences a data disaster.

The thought of protecting your business against a data disaster might be daunting, but don’t worry. By following the steps listed below in this article, you can make sure that your business is ready to take on the challenge.

However, before we actually get into those steps, there is one distinction you should understand: the difference between a business continuity plan and a disaster recovery plan. A business continuity plan is primarily proactive, in that it is a strategy by which a business can continue to operate no matter what kind of disaster or setback befalls it. A disaster recovery plan is primarily reactive and has to do with how a business acts immediately following a disaster of some sort – in this case, a data disaster.

So, now that we’re clear on what a disaster recovery plan is, here are the steps your business can take to create one that works for you and your employees.

Step 1: Rally The Troops And Assess Your Equipment

In the fight against data disasters, everyone has to be on board. Otherwise, there will always be holes in your defense plan. That’s why executive buy-in – getting everyone in the company, from the CEO to the entry-level employees – is crucial. You need everyone to collaborate cross-functionally in order to fully protect your business.

From there, you need to thoroughly analyze each of your business’s systems, applications and data sets, as well as how they’re physically accessed, in order to suss out any potential vulnerabilities. Then you should determine which systems are absolutely critical to the operation of your business and for getting products and services to your customers. These are the functions that will need to stay up and running, even after a data disaster.

Step 2: Create Your Disaster Recovery Strategy

Once you have everyone on board and an understanding of your equipment and assets (as well as their vulnerabilities), it’s time to actually formulate your disaster recovery plan. To do this, you should take a look at your budget, resources, tools and partners in this endeavor. When you understand how long it takes your business to get back online and the cost for doing so, you’ll have a good idea of how to move forward.

Step 3: Test Your Strategy

No great plan is complete without first testing it to see if it will work. Put your disaster recovery plan through a trial run to see how quickly your team responds to solve the problem and see if there are any improvements that need to be made to the process. Then, by the time an actual data disaster occurs, your business will know how to shut it down and keep running with no problem at all.

While the steps themselves aren’t difficult to understand, preparing your business to combat data disasters takes a lot of work. In the end, though, the work is worth it if it means protecting your data. As a recap, here are the four main action steps that you need to take in formulating a disaster recovery plan:

  1. Get executive buy-in for creating a disaster recovery plan.
  2. Analyze and evaluate your business’s systems, applications and data to understand how they could be impacted.
  3. Find out which systems you need to keep running and prioritize them during the fallout of the data disaster.
  4. Test your plan before you actually need to put it in action.

Follow these steps, and your business’s data will be safe from any threat that comes your way.

Don’t Give Up On You No Matter What Anyone Says

At the office, in our shipping area for our books, there’s a little shelf on the wall, displaying a copy of each of the six books I’ve written. However, technically, there is one book missing from the display: my book Profit First.

Now, there is a copy of Profit First on the shelf. However, it’s not the first copy that I published – it’s self-published, actually. Profit First was the third book that I wrote, the first two being The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan, both through Penguin Random House Publishing. When I pitched Profit First to them, however, their exact words to me were as follows: “No one needs another accounting book.”

And they declined to publish it – at least at first. Not too long after facing that rejection, I spoke with someone who was mentoring me at the time about my frustrations at not getting Profit First into the hands of business owners everywhere just because my publisher didn’t have faith in it. After I finished explaining all of that, my mentor left me with the words that I would actually follow: “Make them regret it.”

I had to make them see that in refusing to publish Profit First, they were making a huge mistake. I had faith in my book. I knew it could help so many business owners out there. All I had to do was prove it.

So, that’s why I initially had to self-publish Profit First. And guess what? It sold so many copies that Penguin Random House eventually came back to me and said that they wanted to buy the book and republish it in a revised and expanded edition. Profit First is by far my most popular book, and it’s helped more than 600,000 business owners apply the profit first method and mentality to their business.

It’s my hope that sharing this story leads to a wake-up call for you. Don’t let the few naysayers who are scrunching their noses at your big ideas dictate the direction you take in your business and in your life. If they don’t share your vision (at least at first), that doesn’t mean you have the wrong vision – it just means you have to double down and press forward. You have to believe in your idea even more than you already did.

If I hadn’t stuck to my guns and published Profit First, regardless of what my publisher said, there would be thousands of business owners out there who would not be nearly as successful as they are now. They’ve grown, curated their clients and automated their business in ways that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

What’s your next big idea? Does the thought of how it could help people fire you up? Are there people in your life, even people who care about you, who tell you that your idea won’t work? Don’t give in. Don’t give up on your dreams. Keep pushing forward, and I promise you that eventually, you’ll see the success that you already know is possible.

Mike Michalowicz is a very successful author, entrepreneur and lecturer. He has written several successful books, including his latest, Get Different. He is currently the host of the Business Rescue segment on MSNBC’s Your Business, and he previously worked as a small-business columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

A Massive Threat To Windows 10 Users? 

Security researchers discovered a vulnerability in Windows Hello’s facial recognition programming that could potentially impact Windows 10 users, but does it warrant much fear? Experts say no – at least, not to the average user.

The vulnerability has to do with Windows Hello’s camera system. It uses a camera with an infrared sensor and an RGB sensor. However, only the infrared image is processed during facial recognition.

This theoretically means that if someone were to get a hold of an infrared image of your face, they could use it to access your computer – and that’s where the threat starts to fall apart.

Whenever a hacker needs physical access to the computer and the computer’s user, they won’t waste their time unless you’re hiding some pretty juicy data.

So, don’t worry, Windows 10 users – you can sleep easy knowing that no one is trying to steal your face.

KEEPING UP WORKPLACE RELATIONSHIPS EVEN WHEN YOU’RE WORKING FROM HOME

When you’re working from home, the valuable bonds that you naturally form with your coworkers in the office will be hard to form and maintain – but not impossible. Here are a few ways that you can build relationships with your coworkers from home.

Communicate (And Listen) Often And Well. That means going beyond just the daily Slack check-ins on progress. Let your coworkers know about areas in which they could improve, and don’t forget to really and truly hear (or read) what they have to say. Active listening is just as important as communicating effectively yourself.

Create Channels For Building Strong Teams. Strong teams mean increased productivity and satisfaction from employees. To build strong teams, build channels for those teams to use to communicate throughout the day.

Find Opportunities For Coworkers To Socialize Online. To get coworkers relating to one another, make online coffee hours (or happy hours!), contests, competitions and classes. Coworkers who have fun together work well together!

WHAT DOES 2021’S RECORD IPO MARKET MEAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS?

If you’re a private business owner looking to take your business public, now is the time.

So far, 2021 has seen a higher full year average of IPOs than those of the previous 10 years, rivaling that of the dot-com boom. To take advantage of the upswing, just use the first three of the four stages of scaling to guide your way to incredible revenue gains.

  1. Get “early adopter” customers to help you develop a product that differentiates your business from the competition. This will lead them to bring you more customers.
  2. Build a scalable business model where you can change how you sell, market, design, build, ship and service your products. Your costs will decline as you grow, and this will help you generate more revenue as your business gets bigger.
  3. Finally, make sure your business gets more and more liquid, expanding into new regions and new customer demographics. Now you’re ready to raise some venture capital!

This monthly publication provided courtesy of Paul Meadows, President/CEO of Integrated Technology Group.

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