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California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lookout issue small business cybersecurity guide

Top Priority Sector:  cyber_security Image Caption:  Kamala Harris  Read More….

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Business Profile: Dr. Edward D. Irons

Atlanta Free Speech would like to celebrate a distinguished financial and business executive, Dr. Edward D. Irons. Dr. Irons has a Doctorate of Business Administration in Finance from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Business.  He is the first African American to receive a degree in finance from the university. Dr. Irons is also Dean Emeritus of Clark Atlanta University’s (CAU) School of Business. He is noted for assisting with the initial accreditation of both CAU’s undergraduate and graduate schools.  Over the past 30 years, Dr. Irons has taught business organizational development and world banking classes to thousands of scholars.

Edward D. IronsRecently, Dr. Irons spoke at the Christians for Change Baptist Church Black History Program. There he discussed the current state of African Americans within the present financial economy.  Dr. Irons is confident that he could properly run any major banking institution in the United States, since he and other members established a minority owned commercial banking institution—Riverside National Bank in Houston, Texas in 1964 where he served as President.  This was the first African-American banking institution with a national charter in nearly 40 years.

In 1964, when Riverside National Bank was formed, there were only ten African-American owned banks in the United States, with a total of assets worth $70 million.  Today, there are 180 owned minority banks within the United States, inclusive of blacks, with $70 billion in total assets.  Liberty Bank & Trust Company is currently the largest black owned bank, which is in New Orleans, Louisiana with $600 million in assets.

Today, Dr. Irons feels there is not enough emphasis on economics, which should be our major objective.  There is a great effort in creating economic institutions and building the accumulation of economic resources for blacks to be successful in their economic growth.  However, within this framework, African Americans will continue to be overlooked.  African Americans should strive for entrepreneurship and aim to develop products that can be sold internationally.  In 1865, when slavery was legally abolished, the chains were no longer on our wrist, but ingrained in our minds.  Many African Americans are trained consumers. For that reason, Dr. Irons explains that it does not make rational since for blacks to purchase from outside its own community. Therefore, in business, we should not limit ourselves and engage in markets outside of our community in order to prosper and grow financially.

Dr. Irons is a true financial teaching and wealth management pioneer.  He is a champion of entrepreneurship and economic growth within the African-American community.

Dr. Iron’s book, Only by Grace, is currently available for pre-order.

The post Business Profile: Dr. Edward D. Irons appeared first on Atlanta Free Speech.

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Exelis promotes Dr. Pamela Drew, leader of the company’s Information Systems business, to executive vice president

Top Priority Sector:  military_force_protection McLean, VA-based Exelis has promoted Dr. Pamela Drew, who joined Exelis in January 2013, to the role of executive vice president. Read More….

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Business profile: Colony C. Canady, Esq.‏

Atlanta Free Speech would like to highlight an upcoming pioneer in the fight for justice and servant to the community, Colony C. Canady. Colony is a graduate of The University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. While a student, she became a member of the University’s prestigious Honors Program and Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities. colony canadyIn 2012, she received her Juris Doctorate degree from Emory University’s School of Law where she studied transactional law. While in law school, Colony was also a member of the Transactional Law Certificate Program, Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and Future Music Attorneys (FMA) organizations. 

Colony currently practices Entertainment, Real Estate, and Corporate law. She regularly advises clients on various transactional/business matters involving entity formation and governance, contractual disputes (management, operating, producer, licensing, lease, property management, and joint venture agreements), tenant and landlord rights, as well as  intellectual property rights. She has also mediated and negotiated a number of settlement agreements on behalf of her clients to help them avoid costly litigation.

Colony is licensed to practice in the state of Georgia and is a member of the Atlanta Bar Association. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. She also enjoys volunteering with various organizations including Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, March of Dimes, The American Cancer Society, and Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. When possible, Colony serves as a speaker/panelist for many organizations such as Future Music Attorneys where she gives advice and guidance to law students interested in the entertainment law space.

Atlanta Free Speech salutes Attorney Colony C. Canady. 

Connect with Colony on LinkedIn


The post Business profile: Colony C. Canady, Esq.‏ appeared first on Atlanta Free Speech.

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Axis Communications U.S. expansion plan calls for “Axis Experience Centers” in six business areas

Top Priority Sector:  video_surveillance_cctv In a new growth strategy, network video provider Axis Communications has announced the launch of a U. Read More….

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Study: consumers more concerned about business data collection than government surveillance

John Wagley Top Priority Sector:  it_security When it comes to digital privacy, U. Read More….

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4 steps to protect your small business from hackers

Update. Update. Update. Make sure that you’re running up to date software. Old software makes it easy for bad guys to compromise you by using widely available exploits. Control access. Make sure you know who has access to your servers, and that only those people are accessing your servers. Test apps. If you’re running custom application code on […]

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4 steps to protect your small business from hackers CYBERTRUTH

If you’re running your business in the cloud, you’re likely under attack already. Here are four simple things you should be doing:   Update. Update. Update. Make sure that you’re running up to date software. Old software makes it easy for bad guys to compromise you by using widely available exploits.     Control access. Make sure
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10 ways to grow your home based business

Small is beautiful. Slow and steady wins the race. Inch by inch, row by row, that’s the way my garden grows.

While such homespun wisdom might be fine for common folk, it can be awfully frustrating for an ambitious homebased business owner determined to take his company to the next level of growth and profitability. Sure, a thriving one- or two-person service business with no inventory, rent or employees can seem like an easy way to make money at first, but when the phone starts ringing off the hook and customers keep coming back for more, homebased business owners who fail to plan often fall victim to their own success. Either they burn out trying to juggle everything themselves or they spend so much time and money hiring people to help them that their profits go down the drain.



Fortunately, there are some ways to take your homebased business to new heights without sacrificing your business’s profitability or losing your peace of mind.

Follow these 10 steps to grow your homebased business into the personal and professional success it was meant to be:

1. Focus on a single product or service, and then market it, sell it, promote it-do everything you can to increase sales of that one product or service. While it’s tempting to swing for the fences and try to be all things to all people, it’s often less risky and more profitable to pick a product or two that you can execute really well and just try to get on base.

Richard Roy, a Sparta, New Jersey landscaper, started a homebased dog-waste removal business called Dr. Pooper Scooper when he got tired of picking up the dog poop from his customers’ lawns. Instead of splurging on a retail storefront or an expensive Yellow Pages ad, Roy decided to use his truck as his primary advertising vehicle. Says Roy, “I decorated the truck as a Dalmatian, used full signage and put magnetic business cards on it. By using the truck as my moving billboard, by joining community groups and through word of mouth, I’ve turned what was once my nightmare into a thriving business serving 100 customers and making 1,100 pickups a week.”

Thanks to Dr. Pooper Scooper’s success, Roy is now planning to phase out his landscaping business and focus on his new venture full time. “When I scoop the poop, I do it 12 months a year and never have to fix or replace equipment,” Roy says. “It’s also three time easier than landscaping, and I can do it until I can’t walk anymore.”

2. Expand your product line to offer complementary products or services. Once you’ve hit on a product or service that customers really like, don’t miss the opportunity to bring out related items to diversify your product line. Not only does that give your customers a wider selection, but it also makes your products more appealing to retailers who typically like to stock a line of products as opposed to a single item.

Meredith LiePelt, who runs a company called Contemporary Baby out of her home in Dublin, Ohio, started off making colorful burp cloths for newborns. Now she’s expanded her line to include such “go along” products as receiving blankets, bibs and gift baskets. Says LiePelt, “Our retail customers have enjoyed having more gift-giving options, and our wholesale clients are able to offer their customers a wider selection to choose from.”

3. Find ways to increase sales to your existing customers. It’s a lot cheaper than finding new ones. Even if you can’t expand your product line, you can boost revenues by selling more of your existing product or service to the clients you already have. One easy way to do this is through volume discounts. Especially if your products cost little to produce, offering your customers the chance to buy, say, two T-shirts for the price of one lets you ring up additional sales without sacrificing much profit. Another common practice is to reward loyal customers by giving them a punch card that entitles them to a free product or service for every 10 items they buy. This technique is common at hair salons, car washes and arts-and-crafts stores, but homebased businesses can use it, too.

4. Hire someone to help you out-an employee, a freelancer, an intern, an independent contractor, even your kids. Not only does this free up cash flow by adjusting your expenses to the level of work you bring in, but it also enables you to cultivate a large network of talented people you probably couldn’t afford to hire full time.

Marc Kirschner, a neighborhood directory publisher in New York City, employs 50 to 75 writers-all of whom are freelancers-to develop his directory’s content. This way, Marc saves on payroll taxes, medical benefits, employer liability insurance and all the other costs of hiring full-time staffers. There are other benefits, too. “Bringing in outside help gives you someone else to bounce ideas and strategies off of,” Kirschner says. “It prevents you from feeling you’re going it alone.”

5. Create a Web site to advertise your company or sell products online. Thanks to the Internet, it’s no longer necessary to open a store to reach retail customers. For marketers of specialty products like rare books, collectibles and gourmet foods, a Web-based boutique lets you reach millions of shoppers around the world without paying for rent, utilities or garbage collection.

And while creating Web sites once required a big investment and the skills of an experienced Web designer or programmer, do-it-yourself Web sites are now available for less than $30 a month with no technical knowledge required. Typically, the companies that help you register your domain name (Web address) will provide online templates you can use to build your site, host your Web pages on their server and provide you with multiple e-mail addresses as well. E-commerce capabilities can often be had for an additional charge. You can also set up low-cost Web sites through Web hosting companies and search engines.

6. Join forces with another business to promote your company. Partnering with a company in a related industry is one of the cheapest and easiest forms of marketing that you can employ. If you make spa products, for example, you may be able to convince a local health club to carry them in its store by offering a discount to its members. Likewise, you can send a free, one-day health club pass to anybody who buys your lotions and scrubs.

Nancy Tamosaitis, a homebased publicist, says her New York firm, Vorticom, has partnered with a graphic design firm to provide creative services such as Web design and brochures to her corporate PR clients. From time to time, she also joins forces with specialty PR firms to assist clients in fashion, finance and other industries. “Now that I’m working from home, my clients receive infinitely better service and results-at much lower cost-than when I managed a $3 million profit center at a top PR agency,” Tamosaitis says.

7. Target other markets. If you sell to teens, start marketing to college students. If you sell to working moms, maybe your product will work for stay-at-home moms with a few modifications. Another strategy is to take a retail-oriented product or service and sell it wholesale. For example, a homebased catering business that specializes in cakes, pies and other tasty desserts can contact local bakeries to sell its goods on a wholesale basis. While the price you get from the bakeries will be lower (because the bakeries need to mark it up to their customers to make a profit), you’ll sell more products and generate consistent cash flow that you can bank on.

8. Find new and different ways to market your business through e-mail newsletters or by doing guest-speaking gigs or by teaching a class. Marketing your homebased business doesn’t need to involve spending big money on newspaper ads, Yellow Pages listings, or TV or radio spots. Grassroots marketing techniques cost far less and are often much more effective. Most chambers of commerce and community groups are more than happy to provide a forum to a local business owner who’s willing to share his expertise at no charge. Sending out a weekly newsletter is also a great way to get your name out in front of new and potential clients. Thanks to the Internet, you can send out your newsletter via e-mail using online templates and automated delivery systems.

9. Expand to another location. That could mean renting “virtual” office space in a business center or by sharing office space with another growing business. Brad Taylor, a CPA in Springfield, New Jersey, spends most of his time at home preparing tax returns, developing tax-planning strategies and revising his clients’ QuickBooks files. But when he needs to come to New York City for a meeting, he sometimes rents space at a Manhattan business center operated by HQ Global, a national provider of temporary office space.

For a monthly fee or a la cart, business centers like these offer everything from conference rooms and receptionist services to remote-access voicemail, high-speed Internet connectivity and tech support, offering homebased business owners as much or as little outside office services as they need. Taylor pays just $10 an hour to use the space and is able to bill the cost to his client. “While I still want to run my business from home, this has allowed me to pursue new opportunities and network with other professionals,” Taylor says.

10. Think about turning your business into a franchise or business opportunity. While most homebased businesses remain small, yours may have the potential to hit the big time through franchising, licensing or wholesale distribution. The key question to ask yourself is if your business can be converted into a business format that somebody else could operate (a franchise) or if you have a standardized product or service that someone could resell multiple times (a business opportunity). While you may think that expanding your business requires raising capital, hiring employees, buying equipment and leasing office or warehouse space, it’s often more profitable-and less risky-to license your product to a big corporation with manufacturing capabilities and an existing sales force to do the work for you.

For additional information, visit  

The post 10 ways to grow your home based business appeared first on Atlanta Free Speech.

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TSA wants a woman-owned disadvantaged small business to support its I-STEP program

Jacob Goodwin Top Priority Sector:  infrastructure_protection Image Caption: Read More….

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