Tag Archives: Web

How Do You Raise Cash Short Term? Seven Suggestions

Situation: A CEO has identified a new business opportunity that looks promising but will require raising additional cash short term. What are good sources of short term cash, and what will simplify access to these resources? How do you raise cash short term?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • You must be the biggest critic of this opportunity. If it doesn’t fly to your critical eye, it will be hard to sell to others. As a reality check, ask yourself whether the opportunity is something on which you’d bet your house.
  • Build the new capability around a web distribution system that compliments your other capabilities. This broadens the appeal of the offer.
  • Generate an investment proforma and revenue stream. Most investors or debt financers will want to see this. You can position it as an immature business plan backed by your best estimate of the numbers.
  • You’ll need a business plan unless you’re lucky enough to find someone who believes that you can turn any opportunity into gold.
  • Presell subscriptions to target clients to prove the value of the offer – both to you and for investors.
  • Assure that any payments due from you go into an escrow account, to be released on a quarterly or other phased basis pending performance from the other parties within this deal.
  • This is not a venture capital story. Angel investors will seek a lower return for lower risk than VCs. Set some milestones for the Angels that will help them to see that you are monitoring their risk.

How Do You Boost Your Internet Marketing? Six Guidelines

Situation: A company wants to boost their marketing through the Internet. They have had a web site for years, but the site doesn’t bring in much new business. How do you optimize visibility for your web site, and how do you boost your Internet marketing?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Among search engines, despite Microsoft’s efforts to boost Bing’s presence, Google is the elephant in the room. They host 65% of search engine traffic, and represent 75% of buying activity. Google writes the rules, others copy.
  • As an exercise to test your web presence, go to Google and search for your company and city. See whether you appear in the local directory. If not, have your web master put your address and phone number on each page of your web site. If you can’t find yourself or easily find your contact information, others won’t be able to find you either.
  • Use the Google External Keyword tool – just search and you’ll find it. This will help you to tailor your key words so that potential customers will find you. Another tool is wordtracker.com. Both will show you domestic and international hit rates over the last month on different key words.
  • What is the optimal number of words per web page? About 250. Put your key words in your titles, in the first sentence and the last sentence of the first paragraph.
  • The typical web user will form a lasting impression of your web site in the first 3 seconds. Can they find information easily? Is the layout pleasant? Is it informative? Does it have the information that they’re looking for?
  • Hitting high on Google searches counts. Only 20% of viewers will go to Page 2 of a search, and most only go 5 hits deep on Page 1.
  • Stay fresh. Change SOMETHING about your site at least monthly.
  • Thanks to Kevin Dean of WSI NetAdvantage for his contribution to this discussion.

How Many Web Sites Should One Company Have? Three Thoughts

Situation: A company has two businesses in different locations serving different sets of customers in two separate markets. The CEO is evaluating whether it makes more sense to have one umbrella web site with pages for each of the two businesses, or to create two complete web sites with different URLs. How many web sites should a small business have, and why?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The first question is whether you call both businesses the same or different names. Many small companies have separate businesses at different sites, and just differentiate the businesses through division names. Moreover, because you use the same company name for both businesses, you want to make it easy for customers to find your web sites. This argues for at least a single splash page, listed under your current company URL.
  • There are many corporations with diverse, unrelated businesses. Generally, these corporations don’t have any problem having a general web site, with separate links to the individual division web sites where customers and partners can drill down to detail specific to each division. The advantage to this strategy is that by having one corporate site, the larger entity strengthens its own market presence.
  • Given that the advice of the group is to have a single splash page how do you construct it?
    • You want to prominently feature your company name on the splash page, but not to include much detail. Maybe just an overall positioning message that expresses your core values or a distinctive visual that shows what you do.
    • On the splash page, create two links with distinctive pictures and names that enable your customer to easily go to the side of your business that interests them.

How Can Private Business Help Retool the Workforce? Three Methods

Interview with Anju Bajaj, CEO, Zuna Infotech, Inc.

Situation: The US economy is slowly trying to get back on its feet, but many potential obstacles remain. In the mid-west, there is good talent with deep enterprise-level IT experience, and lots of new young talent looking for positions. How can private business help to retool the workforce and boost employment?

Advice from Anju Bajaj:

  • Working in IT services to provide end-to-end technology solutions, we have found highly skilled talent in the American Midwest. In recent years, many seasoned IT professionals have lost their jobs as Midwestern companies downsized. These individuals have deep enterprise level IT skills, but may not be up to speed with the latest technologies. There are also many brilliant young people available who have good web-based technology skills, but no experience in legacy systems or the working of complex enterprises. Our focus is on cross-training both groups as they collaborate to build IT solutions for our customers.
  • We have found that by organizing these two groups into small teams, guided by a lead who knows both web-based and legacy systems, we can leverage their individual strengths to cross-train each other. It turns out that both sets of workers are smart, capable and, in live project settings, collaborate and acquire technical skills and domain knowledge relatively quickly.
  • The bigger and more subtle challenge is teaching younger workers about business processes. Each process must fit the workflow so that a process change in one area doesn’t produce difficulties in other areas. For this, you need to have people with deep expertise in functional and domain disciplines as well as technical experts. By teaming talent, we can produce functional experts who understand all areas. We have found that in three to six months of working together, about 25% of team members reach almost guru status; while the remaining 75% have become quite skilled.
  • Like most leading service providers, we at Zuna Infotech also build capability through our Centers of Excellence.  We focus on developing practices within different industry verticals. With this comes knowledge and structure which we can then pass on through train-the-trainer programs.
  • We have been inspired by the desire to help keep US workers working while retooling their skills. The results that we’ve found to date have been very encouraging. We hope that this can provide a model for other companies.

You can contact Anju Bajaj at anju@zunainfotech.com;

Key Words: Workforce, Retool, Talent, Legacy, Web, Cross-train, Project, Business Process, Workflow, Functional, Domain, Technical, Agile

What Is Changing The Game in Network Security?

Interview with Philippe Courtot, CEO, Qualys

Situation: Companies experiencing security breaches and data theft are regularly in the headlines. Those launching these attacks are increasingly well organized and very creative. What is changing the game in network security and how can you respond?

Advice from Philippe Courtot:

  • The movements from enterprise software to Software as a Service (SaaS), and from mainframes to PCs to mobile devices increase the challenges of protecting enterprise environments. Therefore, a cohesive technology platform is imperative.
  • Companies are sensitive to the possibility of attack at any time. There are three principal attack vectors: breach through web applications, breach through email and browsers, and breach by device. Between PCs, iPhones and Android devices, the PC is the most closely linked to the corporate intranet while often the most vulnerable because users are lax about updating their systems and applications.
  • Attackers often target a company executive or high level administrative assistant to access the user’s profile and passwords.  In one type of attack called spear fishing, the attacker creates emails tailored to the person targeted appearing to come from a colleague or friend. When the target clicks on the email, a small piece of code is inserted in the computer, which can give control to the attacker. Another way to gain control of a computer is through physical access. An attacker can learn about a pending vacation via Facebook or twitter, providing an opportunity for home invasion. Once the attacker has access to the computer, they can plant a control program on the system. When the user returns, the attackers can make fast, brief forays inserting additional code or taking data from the enterprise network. They may use the information themselves, or sell it to others.

Given these new realities, how does a company prevent attack?

  • First, the company must thoroughly analyze and understand their vulnerabilities which are all potential entry points for an attacker. Once vulnerabilities are mapped, work on a schedule to remediate them.
  • Second, you must educate all users about the threats. This is especially critical for any personnel who have access to secure company data.
  • Third, invest in and build additional defenses to shield all remaining vulnerabilities. Make sure that employees are drilled on the defenses and that they are used. One growing trend is the use of two factor authentication, requiring employees to carry token generation devices with them to use in addition to their password. These tokens can be delivered by smart phone.

You can contact Philippe Courtot at pcourtot@qualys.com

Key Words:  Network, Security, Breach, Data, Theft, Response, Mainframe, PC, Mobile, Enterprise, Environment, Criminal, Government, Attack, Vector, Social Network, Email, Browser, Web, Application, Device, Spear Fishing, Executive, Assistant, Profile, Password, Vulnerability, Educate, Defense, ID