Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Flash Mob

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Guest Post: Barbara Goldberg and #BCAW2013

Open for Business as Usual
It's March 18, 2013 and the beginning of #BCAW2013, or Business Continuity Awareness Week.  We reached out to productivity expert Barbara Goldberg of Back on Track Solutions to get her insights why this global event is so important for small businesses.

Why Your Small Business Should Make Business Continuity Planning a Priority
Small businesses are constantly being bombarded with a multitude of disruptions that can affect their bottom line. While some of these disruptions can be controlled, others are neither expected nor planned for. Having a business continuity plan in place ahead of time will help minimize the impact any disruption may have on a business.

A business continuity plan provides an outline of steps that a business needs to recover and restore business operations after a disruption, as well as what business functions are critical to ensure those operations can be done. It should also include precautionary steps a business can take to minimize the effects of a disruption prior to any occurring.

We're Open!

Unfortunately many businesses don’t have a business continuity plan in place. They are so busy dealing with what’s occurring right now that they don’t think about the what-ifs. It is easy to overlook making a plan while everything is running smoothly but it is too late to do any planning during and after a disruption. In the end, the decision whether or not to have a business continuity plan will have a major impact on whether or not the business will survive.

The size of the business needs to be taken out of the equation when it comes to deciding to create a business continuity plan. The smaller the business is the more important it is to have a plan in place. The smallest of disruptions can impact the smallest of businesses. These impacts can inevitably result in the closure of the business.

Deciding not to have a business continuity plan can be the most costly decision a business makes. Business downtime can result not only in lost revenue but in lost customers. Once a customer is lost it is very difficult to get them back. They will prefer to deal with a business that is able to weather adversity well. The small price that a business will invest in the creation of a plan outweighs the cost of not having one.
Cost Effort Risk

Do you know if your business is fully prepared to recover after even the most minimal of disruptions? Take the short operational preparedness assessment to see how prepared your business is. Looking for help in getting a business continuity or disaster recovery plan in place for your business? Contact Back On Track Solutions to see how we can help you get a plan in place designed specifically for your business.

A big thank you to Barbara Goldberg for this guest post!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Spotlight Entrepreneur: Nicole Andrews Moore

Nicole Andrews Moore headshot
Nicole Andrews Moore
A while ago I wrote an article titled, Hiring Your Husband: A Modern Day FairyTale? In my research I spoke with a lot of business owners including Nicole Andrews Moore. Like many women I interviewed, Nikki's perspective of working with her hubby was a positive one and one that she cherished. I was expecting the complete opposite when I started writing my story, so I was thankful to have follow up conversations with Nikki learning more about her husband Sam, their business relationship and how it made their family home improvement business, Carolina Home Enhancements, a success.  Many a tweet later we were scheduling coffees and cultivating a supportive friendship as we navigated the highs and lows of self-employment.  I realized I had a lot to learn from this woman!  Not only was she adventurous, but she loved to write about adventure. Are you in the mood for the romantic escape of Sugar Daddy? Or maybe the real journey of Kenna, Sam and Nicole's 9.6oz wonder-baby?  Meet Nicole Andrews Moore: wife, mommy, novelist, blogger, life coach, traveler, adventurer, foodie, friend and author of her latest novel, Hiding Out:

Tell us about your business and target market.
I am a novelist, blogger, and lately…shameless self-promoter.  I write stories of hope, happiness, and love.  From what I gather, my audience is predominantly female, 18-80.  Don’t believe me, the fan page says it all.  ☺ 

When did you decide it was the right time to take the leap into self-employment?
I have worked a number of jobs and potential careers through the years.  Helping others build their dreams was a means to an end for me.  It was always my intention to be self-employed.  I always wanted to be a writer.  And when I met Sam, I encouraged him to build his own company.  After a while, Carolina Home Enhancements was too busy for him to handle it on his own.  We returned from a sailing excursion Memorial Day weekend and Sam called me at work and asked me to turn in my two week notice.  On June 15, 2011, I retired from that life and we’ve been working on building our dreams ever since. 

What is the most challenging aspect about being an entrepreneur?
Leaping and hoping the net will appear.  There is no fall back for income, no guaranteed salary, no benefits, no retirement package. 

What is your #1 tip for balancing work and family?
There are agreed upon times that are dedicated family time.  We accept that our weekends aren’t always Saturday and Sunday.  We have to be willing to chip in and help in areas that we might not always want to.  I have had to mow the lawn in the spring or fall when Sam is busiest.  He has had to help out around the house more than he expected, more than he would sometimes like.

What small business resource(s) can you NOT live without?
My mentor, JB McGee.  I have no idea what I would do without her.  She has introduced me to so many people, taught me how to market, helped me to build my brand.  It’s a process.  I’m growing and learning. 

What advice would you give to a friend who was thinking about starting a business? 
Do it, but do it smart.  Make sure that you have done the research, have a plan, have a net, make sure you have the support of your family/spouse/partner.  All of that is essential.

Favorite social media site? 
Facebook.  It is so easy, so versatile, so user friendly, so interactive…

What book has been an inspiration to you as an entrepreneur? 
I read everything I can get my hands on that has to do with Kindle marketing.  I think the first and most important book I read was by John Locke’s How I Sold a Million ebooks in Five Months!  It taught me so much about how to be a successful writer.  To begin with…he didn’t sell a million books by only having one book out there.  He had many books published on Kindle.  He knew how to market using Twitter, his blog, list build, and create successful sales emails.  I had no idea there was so much involved in it.

When you’re not working, what is your favorite activity? 
When we’re not working? I don’t remember not working.  I think the difference is that we’re doing what we love so that it doesn’t feel like work.  Sam has down time, and I can write anywhere, so we love to travel.  Of course, we’ve been on lockdown the past year because of Kenna.  So…we developed new hobbies.  We planted a vegetable and herb garden.  I learned to make homemade marinara using our fresh basil and our varieties of tomatoes.  Once in a while I get to read for pleasure.  Oh, and Pinterest became my drug…and another marketing tool.

Where do you see your business in 5 years? 
In five years, I hope to be a best seller, have a few series to my credit.  I’d love to have books in production to be movies or even made for TV movies. Yes, I not so secretly want to be Nicholas Sparks.   

Enter to Win the GoodReads Book Giveaway featuring Hiding Out, or follow Nicole @thenicknick, Facebook, Pinterest. And don't forget to stalk her on Amazon!

About the author… 
Nicki has lived in Charlotte, North Carolina with her children for the past eleven years and her husband for the past three years.  Her journey has barely begun and she loves every minute of it.  Every day of her life seems to bring new adventures, some bigger, better, shinier and prettier than others.  She's still getting used to that new life smell she's experiencing, a combination of hope, love, and happiness.  (The perfect scents to build a new life on...)

For fun, she spends time with those she cares about, cooks, reads, writes, and especially lives to travel.  The current travel goal: visit every Margaritaville.  Two down!  (Eleven to go?)

In addition to writing on Suddenly Single Journey, Nicki is a contributor for Project Underblog.  Her writing can also be found on Shine, where she is a Shine Parenting Guru and an award winning Yahoo! Contributor on YourWisdom as the relationship and dating expert.  And she has been published by McClatchy News in their syndicated papers.