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2015

About_Us_body.jpgBy Robert Lerose.

 

Your website's About Us page is your chance to put a human face to your company and introduce yourself to prospects—who you are, what you believe in, how and why you started your business. Striking the right balance in tone and content can be a delicate act. Susan Greene, an Orlando, Florida-based copywriter, has these suggestions for assembling a distinctive About Us page.

 

1. Lay out the facts.

Promote your accomplishments without being boastful or overbearing. Use a conversational, straightforward style to describe the benefits of doing business with you, why your company is uniquely qualified in your sector, and any milestones, credentials, or company objectives.

 

2. Keep your audience in mind.

Construct an image of your ideal customer and then tailor your About Us page to resonate with them. For example, the website of a business that caters to young parents will look and sound different than one that addresses C-suite executives.

 

About_Us_PQ.jpg3. Show your personal side.

Use "I" or "We" on your About Us page, not an impersonal corporate voice. "Convey the passion you feel for your company's mission," Greene says. "Be sincere and personal. You can still appear professional while being casual, even humorous, in your writing."

 

4. Talk about your values.

Let prospects see what motivates you and your company. One of Greene's clients revealed her satisfaction with running a business that allowed her to donate 10 percent of her sales to humanitarian organizations close to her heart.

 

5. Tell how you got started.

The story behind your decision to start and build your business can be a powerful way to connect with prospects on your About Us page. Greene had a client who missed foods from her native land when she settled in the U.S. That longing was the spark to start a company that sells African cooking sauces. "Facts are important, but stories get remembered," Greene says.

 

6. Post photos.

Candid pictures of you, members of your company, the office itself, or your product in action can make a stronger impact than words alone. A family-owned online seller of camping goods posted a photo of the husband, wife, and son on an outdoor hike. "Visitors will begin to feel they know you. From there, it's just a small leap for them to trust you and want to do business with you," Greene says.

 

7. Refresh your content often.

Prospects and search engines both like new material. Updates to your About Us page can include things like the addition of new team members, recent awards, and new product launches.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

 

Best_Password_Strategies_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


Human beings are great at lots of things, but generating strong passwords is not one of them. For some reason, whether it’s fear of forgetting or a lack of imagination, many people rely on exceptionally easy to guess passwords such as “12345” or “password.” This practice exponentially increases the odds that a hacker will be able to gain access to your company’s networks, which can have painful financial or competitive consequences. Better passwords means better protection. Educate and encourage your employees to follow these password practices to keep your data safe:


Make a list of forbidden passwords

Easily guessed passwords, such as ABC123, Guest, or Admin should never be used. Tell your team they’re off limits. Additionally, avoid passwords based on the company name, an employee’s first or last name, or other language associated with your brand, such as a tagline or catchphrase.


Go the distance

Longer passwords are stronger than shorter ones. Encourage employees to create passwords that are of the maximum allowable length. It greatly reduces a hacker’s odds of being able to crack it, particularly if other best practices are followed. At a minimum, passwords should be 12 to 15 characters in length.


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Use special characters, numbers, and upper & lower case letters

Adding punctuation marks and numbers to your passwords makes them tougher to crack. That being said, avoid the common error of trying to outsmart the hackers by choosing “p@ssw0rd”—this technique is already quite familiar. Instead, combine special characters and numbers with uncommon password phrases for best results. Case sensitivity isn’t available on all platforms, but when it is, your team should use it.


Use multi-word phrases rather than single passwords

Password phrases are more complex than single passwords, increasing the relative security of the password. For best results, use a phrase or even a sentence that doesn’t occur in everyday conversation. This will make it harder for people to guess. For example, the sentence “My Silly Password is Long” is unusual enough, but when combined with uncommon symbols and upper and lower case letters, it becomes that much for difficult for a hacker to guess.

 

Mandate frequent password changes

Experts recommend frequently changing passwords for small businesses and the effort needs to apply to every employee. No one is immune from being hacked. Companies that deal with highly sensitive data may want to change their passwords more frequently or use something called two-factor authentication. This protection requires two forms of identification—a personal password and a one-time password randomly generated on a mobile phone or other device.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

Apps_body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


Business owners are perpetually pressed for time. One way to increase your efficiency is the smart use of apps, which allow you to accomplish everyday business tasks via your mobile device. Having the right combination of apps makes it easy to transform even small blocks of downtime, such as the morning train ride, into an opportunity to be productive.


When choosing what apps you’d like to use, it’s important to make sure they’re compatible with your mobile device. Additionally, be aware of what you’re truly paying for with the app: some apps that purport to be free actually trade quite a bit of your personal data in exchange for your use of the service. You may be more comfortable paying a fee up front and protecting your company’s privacy.


Here are the four types of time saving apps every small business owner should consider:


The Companion App: Almost all of the cloud-based services small business owners use to run their businesses, including Paychex, Quickbooks, and Teamwork offer companion apps that allow you to access your account from your mobile device. The cost of this app is generally included in the cost of your service agreement, although in some instances there may be a nominal or monthly fee for use. Be sure to check the fine print.


Apps_PQ.jpg

The Banking App: Make sure you’re taking advantage of whatever apps your bank offers. Many leading financial institutions offer apps that allow you to check account balances, make payments, transfer funds between account, make deposits, and more. Shopping for a loan? Apps like Bankrate provide a good starting point by comparing available interest rates from a variety of lenders.


The Shipping App: FedEx, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service all have Android and IOS apps that make it easy to schedule package pickup, arrange deliveries, track packages and confirm delivery. If you use multiple carriers, look into an app like TrackPackages or Overnight to manage all of your shipments. Need freight hauling services, but only occasionally? UShip makes it simple to connect with a tractor trailer operator who can do the delivery for you.


The Travel App: Minimize the time you spend traveling with route planning apps such as Waze, Road Warrior, and Voyager, which provide near-real time road condition reports and more. Skyscanner and Momondo streamline the process of finding and booking affordable flights, particularly to popular business destination cities.


Bank of America, N.A. engages with Touchpoint Media Inc. to provide informational materials for your discussion or review purposes only. Touchpoint Media Inc. is a registered trademark, used pursuant to license. The third parties within articles are used under license from Touchpoint Media Inc. Consult your financial, legal and accounting advisors, as neither Bank of America, its affiliates, nor their employees provide legal, accounting and tax advice.

 

Bank of America, N.A. Member FDIC.

 

©2015 Bank of America Corporation

 

 

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