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StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Emergencies That Can Bring Your Business To A Halt

It is a terrifying moment when you realise that your business is about to suffer some kind of a problem. Businesses face all sorts of problems every day, and most of them are dealt with pretty easily and swiftly. But then there are those larger problems, the ones which can bring everything to a sudden stop. When you run the risk of this happening, it can be remarkably worrying. To avoid this, you need to feel protected – and the best way to do that is to be prepared for all eventualities. To that end, let’s take a look at some of the most common and most worrying emergencies that any business might well face in the future.

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System Downtime

If you have been in business for longer than a week, you will know first-hand how important it is to keep your systems going strong. You probably rely quite heavily on technology – most businesses do these days. Clearly, if anything happens on that front, it can spell disaster for the near future of your business. You could be facing data loss, which might in turn mean a sudden downturn of business. Or perhaps some of your automated systems will fail, resulting in lost profits and disappointed customers. Whatever the result, having network downtime is never going to be something you invite.

If this happens, try not to panic. It helps if you have set up some kind of a back-up system beforehand. But if you haven’t, get the professionals in and you should be up and running again in no time. This can be worrying and damaging, but it is always fixable.

Failed Utilities

The workplace itself can often be home to a number of worrying and dramatic emergencies. These are often possible to prevent by following certain regulations, but even then you never quite know what will happen or when. Utilities in particular can be a worrying source of danger, and you will want to make sure you pay close attention to them in your office. These dangers can come in a number of forms. It might be that a plumbing problem has led to a severe leak, in which case calling the likes of ABC Home & Commercial Services is going to be a good move. Or maybe you need to call an electrician to fix a faulty fuse box which has blown out some of your computers. Whatever it is, these are all situations which you want to fix the moment they arise. Nothing good will come of leaving such problems to worsen, so get on it as soon as possible.

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Fire

If you have ever been in a workplace when a fire breaks out, you will know well that it can be truly terrifying. At such a time, your most important thought will not be the business itself, but the people. And that’s just how it should be – if a fire breaks out in your office, you need to evacuate everyone first and foremost. However, you will also be well aware that a fire can cause your business a lot of damage too. Clearly, it is best to do everything you can to prevent it happening in the first place.

This is why standard fire safety practices are so important. Following them will drastically reduce the likelihood of a fire breaking out in your workplace. But as well as that, you need to know what you should do if it happens anyway. Training your employees is the number one matter of concern here. They need to be able to get to safety as quickly as possible, so make sure that they have the necessary skills to do so. It is then a matter of practicing routinely, with fire drills at different and random times of the year. This ensures that everyone will act as well as possible if it should actually occur – and that will mean a greater peace of mind.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article
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Fire is by far one of the most worrisome emergencies that any business can face. Nonetheless, it is surprisingly common, and you absolutely cannot run the risk of not preparing for it. The more you know about what to do in case of a fire, the more likely it is that you can properly prepare and protect your business should it ever happen.

Keeping your business safe and secure means knowing the worst that can happen and being prepared for it, while still hoping for the best. Get this balance right, and you are on track for a bright future.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

5 Ways to Eliminate Comment Spam and Boost Real Conversations

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Blogging is one of the best marketing tools for businesses and influencers. It’s a great way to share one’s knowledge, expertise and opinions. It’s also a great way to build a community of like-minded people.

The only way you can really create that sense of community though, is to boost real conversations among your readers.

Not only do comments make many bloggers feel good, knowing their work has been seen and appreciated, but it’s also a really great way to connect with your audience on a more human level. It allows people to ask questions and get answers, to offer their support, to express their opinions and even build new friendships.

Which is why it’s important to make your blog’s comment section an inviting space.

1. Eliminate Comment Spam

As many bloggers and blog readers know, comment spam is just a part of life online. The bigger your blog grows, the more comment spam there is. It’s never ending, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in.

What is Comment Spam?

So, what is comment spam? Well, comment spam is a term used to describe a broad range of comments that are unwelcome. Often, these are comments left by people advertising products or trying to get people to click on whatever link they’ve left.

Comment spam doesn’t add any value and needs to be eliminated if you want to boost real conversations.

Why You Need to Eliminate Comment Spam

Comment spam is a big deal. It’s not just annoying, but it has a few negative effects on your blog and your reputation.

First of all, if you allow comment spam to sit around, Google will punish your domain by ranking you lower on search engine results. Google sees comment spam as a bad thing, too. Even if you just have spam links in your comment section, Google might assume you have it on other places on your website and can greatly affect your pageviews. Just check your analytics and you’ll see.

Comment spam actually puts your readers in danger. You want your website to be a safe place that people can trust. If a reader clicks on a link left in your comments that directs them to a malware site, their computer could be infected with spyware. That reader won’t feel safe on your site again and likely won’t come back.

Leaving comment spam makes you look like you don’t care. You should be taking the time to clean out any unwelcome comments, which could be links to anything from advertisements to even porn sites or viruses. People won’t want to leave a comment if it looks like you don’t take the time to look through them.

How to Eliminate Comment Spam

Now that you know why it’s necessary to eliminate comment spam, you need to know how to do it.

There are five main ways to eliminate comment spam on your blog:

  1. Configure WordPress to minimize comment spam. Do this by setting it so comments must be manually approved before they are posted. If you’re still new to WordPress, you can read up on the basics here that’ll guide you through how to set your site up.
  2. Install an anti-spam plugin.
  3. Use a third-party comment-hosting platform.
  4. Shift the conversation to social media.
  5. Remove comments from your blog completely.

It might seem easier to just get rid of comments altogether, but allowing comments on your blog is a great way to continue the conversation.

So assuming you don’t want to remove comments from your blog or shift the conversation to social media, you should focus on the first three steps.

Interested in learning how to boost real conversation in your comment section? Keep reading.

2. Make It Easy

Some blogs make it incredibly difficult to leave a comment. Some require you to fill out robot tests, others require you to sign into Facebook, or even require you to share your email address. If it’s too much work, though, people aren’t going to bother leaving a comment at all.

There are a number of commenting systems that make leaving comments a lot easier. Even better, some commenting systems make it easier to keep track of comments you’ve left on other blogs so you can reply easier and continue the conversation.

Most people aren’t going to go back to the blogs they’ve commented on to see if they got a reply, so having a commenting system would really help.

Commenting systems also make it easier to moderate comments, fight spam, notify commenters of replies, offers lead generation, and more. They’re also easy to install on any WordPress blog no matter what hosting you have.

3. Write Compelling Content

If you want people to leave comments you need to give them a reason to. Quality content that’s thought-provoking and interesting will make it more likely that people will leave meaningful comments.

Surprisingly, one of the best techniques to really take your content to the next level and inspire people to comment is emotion. Add emotion into your blog posts and you’re much more likely to receive more comments.

There are a number of emotions you can try to provoke. It can be inspirational, it can be sad, or exciting, or it can even be upsetting. If you get someone to feel something, they’ll likely want to express it.

In fact, blog posts that discuss controversial topics are much more likely to get more comments that boost real conversations among people.

4. Ask Questions

A lot of bloggers now ask at least one question at the end of every blog post in hopes it will inspire their readers to answer it in the comment section. For many of these bloggers, the closing paragraph is often something like, “What would you add to this list?” But that’s not going to get people to comment.

If you really want to increase reader engagement you should ask questions throughout your blog post that actually gets people to think.

According to ProBlogger there are seven types of questions you should ask. These questions include:

  • What do you think?
  • How do you feel?
  • What will you do?
  • What is your opinion?
  • What is your story?
  • What is your experience?
  • What have you been working on?

So, for example, if you’re writing a blog post about a book you read, you can ask your readers if they have read it, what they thought of it, how it made them feel, or even if they would recommend it to someone and why. Always ask open-ended questions to guarantee a response.

5. Reply to All Comments

Any time you do get a comment you should reply to it right away. A lot of people comment for a reason. They might want to elaborate on what you said, ask a question, share their own experience related to the topic, or even thank you for sharing. So if you’re really interested in boosting real conversations in your comment section, keep the conversation going by replying to comments.

If people come across your blog and see you don’t take the time to reply, they won’t want to comment at all.

Keep the Conversation Going

Now that you know how to eliminate comment spam and boost real conversations, it’s time to head over to your blog and implement these ideas. Once they’re implemented, start your own email marketing campaign to ensure your audience stays up to date with your content and boost your conversations even further.

Is Your Business Heading For The Cliff Edge?

What exactly is a disaster scenario in business? A disaster scenario occurs when you are no longer able to sell your products or make a profit with your company. At that money, the engines for your business have faltered, and you’re falling fast. In cases like this, the best option would be to start completing damage control procedures. But, if we’re looking at the optimum outcome, you should not be controlling the damage at all. Instead, you should do everything you can to make sure it never happens in the first place.

You need to avert a disaster scenario in your business, and there are a number of ways that you can do this.

Keep Spending Under Control


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One of the most common disaster scenarios is caused by a simple case of overspending. By spending more than you make from your business, you will reach the point where you’re no longer making a profit. Once you get to that stage, you only really have two options. You must be ready to cut back. Of course, if you keep your budget under control from day one, you’ll never reach that point. So, you’ll have to think about how to manage your budget.

Outsourcing is a great way to cut the costs while still delivering a quality service to your customers. You can outsource almost any part of a business these days from logistics to HR. When you do outsource, you have to remember that you are essentially giving the control of that part of your business to another company. They’ll still work for you, but they will be responsible for maintaining quality levels. As such, you should choose a company very carefully.

Backup Everything


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Another piece of advice would be to make sure that you are backing up important data and files in your business. To do this, you can use a colocation service for your company. Colocation services provide data protection, handling and backup for companies and colocation pricing can be very reasonable indeed. For just a few hundred out of your budget, you can make sure that if your systems do break down you have a backup ready to go. This can allow you to avoid your business entering a period of disaster recovery that can take weeks or even months.

Hire A Legal Advisor


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Of course, one of the main issues that might cause a disaster scenario for your business would be a legal issue. That’s why you might want to think about hiring a legal advisor for your company. You can check in with your legal advisor every so often and ensure that you’re not crossing any lines that you shouldn’t be.

Legal issues can arise in any area of your company, but you should pay particularly close attention to employee management. It’s quite possible for an injury or complaint from an employee to send your business towards a legal case that could cost hundreds of thousands. An SME won’t survive this type of expense and neither will your business.

If you take this advice, you can steer your business away from the cliff edge before you get anywhere near it.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Extra Steps Your Business Should Take When Risks Are Involved

Running a company is risky business. There is no risk-free way of doing it. So, you should try to learn how to handle risks better. Your business will face all kinds of different risks. Getting your approach to each of them right could turn out to be the difference between success and failure. It really is that important. So, here are some of the extra steps you’ll need to take to keep your business safe when risks are involved.

Get Your Location Right

To start with, your location needs to be right. There are multiple ways in which the location of your business can be impacted by risks. For a start, you will want to be somewhere that gives you the best chance of reaching customers. If you pick a poor location, you risk a poor start that could have a hugely negative impact on the business’s chances of finding success. Then there are environmental risks that should be taken into account. Do you really want to start a business in a location that has a history of flooding or other weather risks?

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article
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Have a Plan for When Tech Disaster Strikes

Tech disasters are very common in the world of business. We rely so much on computers and various other forms of technology. Of course, this has huge benefits. But it’s also a risky way to go about things. Tech can break down or stop working at any time. There could be power cuts or data loss. All of these things need to be planned for properly. There are companies that offer disaster recovery as a service, so look into this if you want an extra layer of protection in place. You should also train your employees on what to do if a tech disaster happens on their watch.

Find the Right Insurance Coverage

Insurance is one of those things that business owners either ignore or view as a necessary evil. Maybe both of those approaches are wrong, though. Insurance can do so many positive things for your business. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to think things through and get the best possible level of coverage for the best price. Unless you put some time into seeking out the best insurance deals, you won’t be able to do that. It’s something you could live to regret when something goes wrong, though.

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Track Your Cash Flow Better

How closely and carefully do you track your cash flow? If you just go with the flow and let it do its own thing, it might work for a while. But before long, things will get messy and chaotic. That is almost always what happens when you don’t track your cash flow properly. Unfortunately, it’s a mistake that is very common as well. Spending money is always a risk in business. If you do too much of it and not enough is coming back into your business, you’ll have a problem. So, keep a close eye on it and make sure everything balances out. It’s a risk that should be simple to manage.

Hank Moore

Mentoring and Lifelong Learning

Professionals who succeed the most are the products of mentoring. I heartily endorse that find a great mentor. I have had many excellent ones in my long career and have in turn mentored hundreds of others.

The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues and opportunities. The mentor becomes a role model, offering insights about their own life-career. The mentor is an advocate for progress and change. Such work empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. The sharing of trust and ideas leads to developing business philosophies.

The mentor endorses the mentee, messages ways to approach issues, helps draw distinctions and paints pictures of success. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals and offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. This is a bonded collaboration toward each other’s success. The mentor stands for mentees throughout their careers and celebrates their successes. This is a lifelong dedication toward mentorship… in all aspects of one’s life.

The most significant lessons that I learned in my business life from mentors, verified with experience, are shared here:

  1. You cannot go through life as a carbon copy of someone else.
  2. You must establish your own identity, which is a long, exacting process.
  3. As you establish a unique identity, others will criticize. Being different, you become a moving target.
  4. People criticize you because of what you represent, not who you are. It is rarely personal against you. Your success may bring out insecurities within others. You might be what they cannot or are not willing to become.
  5. If you cannot take the dirtiest job in any company and do it yourself, then you will never become “management.”
  6. Approach your career as a body of work. This requires planning, purpose and commitment. It’s a career, not just a series of jobs.
  7. The person who is only identified with one career accomplishment or by the identity of one company for whom he-she formerly worked is a one-hit wonder and, thus, has no body of work.
  8. The management that takes steps to “fix themselves” rather than always projecting problems upon other people will have a successful organization.
  9. It’s not when you learn. It’s that you learn.
  10. Many people do without the substantive insights into business because they have not really developed critical thinking skills.
  11. Analytical and reasoning skills are extensions of critical thinking skills.
  12. You perform your best work for free. How you fulfill commitments and pro-bono work speaks to the kind of professional that you are.
  13. People worry so much what others think about them. If they knew how little others thought, they wouldn’t worry so much. This too is your challenge to frame how they see you and your company.
  14. Fame is fleeting and artificial. The public is fickle and quick to jump on the newest flavor, without showing loyalty to the old ones, especially those who are truly original. Working in radio, I was taught, “They only care about you when you’re behind the microphone.”
  15. The pioneer and “one of a kind” professional has a tough lot in life. It is tough to be first or so far ahead of the curve that others cannot see it. Few will understand you. Others will attain success with portions of what you did. None will do it as well.
  16. Consumers are under-educated and don’t know the substance of a pioneer. Our society takes more to the copycats and latest fads. Only the pioneer knows and appreciates what he-she really accomplished. That reassurance will have to be enough.
  17. Life and careers include peaks and valleys. It’s how one copes during the “down times” that is the true measure of success.
  18. Long-term success must be earned. It is not automatic and is worthless if ill-gotten. The more dues one pays, the more you must continue paying.
  19. The next best achievement is the one you’re working on now, inspired by your body of knowledge to date.
  20. The person who never has aggressively pursued a dream or mounted a series of achievements cannot understand the quest of one with a deeply committed dream.
  21. A great percentage of the population does not achieve huge goals but still admires and learns from those who do persevere and succeed. The achiever thus becomes a lifelong mentor to others.
  22. Achievement is a continuum, but it must be benchmarked and enjoyed along the way.

These are my concluding pieces of leadership advice. Know where you are going. Develop, update and maintain a career growth document. Keep a diary of lessons learned but not soon forgotten. Learn the reasons for success and, more importantly, from failure.

Good bosses were good employees. They have keen understanding for both roles. Bad bosses likely were not ideal employees. They too are consistent in career history. Being your own boss is yet another lesson. People who were downsized from a corporate environment suddenly enter the entrepreneurial world and find the transition to be tough.

Poor people skills cloud any job performance and overshadow good technical skills. The worst bosses do not sustain long careers at the top. Their track record catches up with them, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not.

Good workers don’t automatically become good bosses. Just because someone is technically proficient or is an exemplary producer does not mean that he-she will transition to being a boss. The best school teachers do not want to become principals, for that reason. Good job performers are better left doing what they do best. Administrators, at all levels, need to be properly trained as such, not bumped up from the field to do something for which they have no inclination.

Truth and ethics must be woven into how you conduct business. If you do not “walk the talk,” who will? Realize that very little of what happens to you in business is personal. Find common meeting grounds with colleagues. The only workable solution is a win-win.

Leadership and executive development skills are steadily learned and continually sharpened. One course or a quick-read book will not instill them. The best leaders are prepared to go the distance. Professional enrichment must be life-long. Early formal education is but a starting point. Study trends in business, in your industry and in the industries of your customers.

People skills mastery applies to every profession. There is no organization that does not have to communicate to others about what it does. The process of open company dialogs must be developed to address conflicts, facilitate win-win solutions and further organizational goals.


About the Author

Hank MoorePower Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame is now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.