Information from my shopping cart and merchant account vendor’s newsletter. It applies to what I do so here I am sharing it with you. You can figure out the moral of the story!
Data breach incidents in the United States alone cost companies an average of $188 per compromised record in 2012*.
Multiply that by dozens or even hundreds of customer records, and it’s easy to see how the costs to your company can spiral quickly out of control if your system is compromised. Clearly, data security is a huge concern to merchants of all sizes.
Great quote from my professional mentor Alan Weiss from his weekly newsletter. I want to share with you…
“Talent, discipline, and hard work will always create good fortune. Sometimes luck creates good fortune, but the harder you work, the luckier you’ll get. Some people were born on third base, and others demand a free pass to third base. I’d rather hit a triple and deserve the roar of the crowd.”
With all due respect to Steve Miller and his band, his lyrics from “Fly Like an Eagle” are spot on. This Sunday, Barb and I went to watch the Champions Tour professional golf tournament near Seattle. We sat in the bleachers all day and I watched men that are my contemporaries in age play the game I had witnessed them play for about 30 years. I remember when the Champions Tour was called the Seniors Tour because all the golfers were ancient. They were over 50 years old, for goodness sakes!
On the ride home, I had a little mid-life crisis pity party. I couldn’t believe these “old guys” out there were just a little older than me. Then it dawned on me. These guys are just hitting their stride. They are athletes that played world class golf on a very challenging course. They hit the ball far, were accurate, and looked like they could go 3 rounds with any middleweight. In short, a lot of gas left in those tanks!
Age is a matter of perspective. It’s all in your attitude and the confidence and passion you bring to the table. We all have our moments of doubt, but they need to be that. Just moments. Great things are accomplished daily by people of all ages. “Old” or “young,” you just have to have the wisdom to grab those moments and hit them straight down the fairway.
As many of you know, my 89-year old mother suffers from dementia and has for the past several years. I’ve watched her and the residents in the memory care facility she lives in suffer through these tragic diseases. My wife Barb has long been researching the effect diet has on preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. There is lots of evidence to the fact that diet plays a huge role. In fact, as we study more, I can look at my mother’s eating habits during the past 20 years and I am convinced this was a factor.
I subscribe to a cool newsletter on aging that I started getting when my mother started showing signs of dementia. It’s called Silver Planet. Today, I received a newsletter with this excellent article on diet and preventing these two dreaded disease. It matches up perfectly to what Barb and I have read. I want to share it with you. The author’s name is Laura MacDougall and she is a chef and owner of Home Plate Advantage.
Crisis hits at home, too. Believe me, the past 3 years have been in somewhat crisis response mode for my family with both parents getting ill. My dad passed away from bladder cancer, yet I can tell you the ordeal with my mom’s dementia has been harder. Do yourself a favor and don’t forget that crisis prevention starts at home!
The story of the day is the recent “almost shooting” at a school in Atlanta. A potential devastating shooting was averted when a school clerk named Antoinette Tuff saved the day with her bravery and quick thinking. A 20-year old brandishing an AK-47 and 500 rounds of ammunition entered the elementary school distraught with his life and ready to take it out on innocent people. He entered past security by following parents that didn’t shut the door quickly enough. Ms. Tuff confronted Michael Brandon Hill and started talking to him. She instinctively created a bond with him by telling her own personal story and calming him down to a point where all the children could be evacuated. Although shots were later exchanged with police, nobody was injured.
This story is getting national attention as it should, however nowhere near the amount that it would have received if the shooting spree went through. If it had and fatalities would have occurred, then the entire nation would be gripped in another incident similar to Connecticut last year. Fear, sadness, and lots of “what if” questions would be felt and asked.
It never will be asked because of Antionette Tuff. Because this story has a happy ending today, I feel like I can help you with its lesson:
Prevention may not be as sexy as all the contingencies you put into place – sprinkler systems, smoke detectors, expensive insurance, and evacuation plans. While these contingent behaviors are necessary, they will never replace the power of having something NEVER HAPPEN. Antoinette Tuff was the perfect preventive “system” in place. What preventive measures do you have in your business? Are your contingent steps out of balance with your preventive?
How well prepared are your employees to deal with a crisis? Ms. Tuff (trained or not) was up to the task (understatement of the year). You can’t take for granted that your people (regardless of how skilled and savvy they are) are prepared to deal with a crisis. Ask yourself this, if there was a small fire in the company break room, would anyone know how to operate the fire extinguisher? I’ve asked many clients this and they smirk, chuckle, and admit they don’t even know how to use one.
Security is the most overlooked area I see with businesses. I get it. You want people to walk in your doors. The problem is that you’ve left yourself open to threats of violence if you don’t take appropriate measures. If you’re not a retail or professional services business, do you need to make it easy to waltz in? If you are a retail or professional services, couldn’t appropriate front desk personnel (see Ms. Tuff as an example), security cameras, and other preventive measures help you? Bottom line is that you have an obligation to your employees to send them back home the way they came in. Part of that obligation includes security. You don’t have to dig too far in your memory banks to remember times when disgruntled employees, unhappy significant others, or just unknown people (see this case study) entered businesses armed and ready to commit violence. These situations don’t just happen in big cities in Atlanta. Remember the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado?
This story was particularly impactful for me. I’m currently on the board of directors of a public school district in my hometown. I’ve worked closely with school district clients in other states. My kids have been that age and what seems not that long ago. Ms Tuff…thank you. I don’t think anyone will ever truly know what you just saved with your bravery.
Here’s your bottom line lesson for today…
Get prepared. Be ready. Take this obligation seriously. Next month is National Preparedness Month in this country. What a great time to get your act together for your business and your family. If you feel like you’ve done your job in this area, great. Re-check your work. If you haven’t (and this is most of you), get busy. The business or life you save just might be your own or that of your employee or family member.
As we are on the eve of National Preparedness Month in September, I am thrilled to unveil a brand new, unique program that only I can offer to businesses of all sizes and industries. I call it the Crisis Awareness and Prevention System (CAPS). This information will be launched officially on my web site in September along with a lot of other changes, however consider this a sneak preview! The good news is also I am prepared to help anyone immediately.
To read about how the program works, click here. You will also find it on the Crisis Conqueror navigation tab above.
Here is what you need to know…
If you own a business or are responsible for its continued operation, you must have a crisis and disaster recovery plan in place. Now. Not doing so is simply negligent. Insurance is a contingent action, and only one of several. What are you doing to prevent calamity in the first place?
Trying to do it internally is a waste of time and internal resources. Most businesses under 300 employees don’t have the resources, the staffing, or the experience to carry out the project. You might be able to procure templates (of which I have an excellent one), but those are only starting points. To be truly effective, you need help.
The good news is I can help. I have nearly 30 years experience in the risk mitigation industry and I will get you in a better and more secure place of readiness and preparedness quickly and skillfully.
Check it out on my page dedicated to it. You owe it to yourself, your employees, their families, and your customers to be ready and prepared as a business. Heck, if you’re like a couple of my clients, you will soon be required by your vendors to have a written plan. Regardless of your motivation, do yourself the favor ans simply contact me to learn more. There is no charge for an initial phone consultation. What do you have to lose (except your business if you don’t call)?
Okay…I like Duck Dynasty. The A&E television reality show has hooked me. I’ve only fed and cooked ducks; never shot them. Their dogs fetch game; mine only play games usually at my expense. How could a television show about a bunch of guys in W. Monroe, LA making duck calls become such a national phenomenon?
Easy. These guys have charisma. They are funny. Sometimes they border on stupid. They look different. We love to be entertained and they are entertainers. They are undoubtedly the only reality show that ends each episode praying together. And, they found a niche.
What’s your niche? How do you express it? Do people find you an object of interest in your business? I’m not saying you have to go out and grow ZZ Top style beards (especially if your a woman), and act crazy. What I am saying is you need to find a way to become that object of interest through your passion, your charisma, your credibility, and your competence. These Duck Men capitalized on their unique ability to make what seems to be THE best duck call around; their zaniness; and their love of family and managed to turn it into a TV show that thumped American Idol ratings.
I was just interviewed for a magazine article on what steps businesses can take to bounce back quickly after a disaster like a fire, flood, or tornado. Here was my response…
Have a crisis/disaster recovery plan in place BEFORE the disaster. Too many businesses simply don’t know what to do in the aftermath because they never planned. Making decisions in real-time is usually a bad thing. The ability to bounce back quickly is directly related to how prepared you are.
Having a strong communication plan in place that is set up to reach employees, supply chain, customers, and community is essential. The quicker and more effectively you can reach people, the quicker you will recover. This is part of the planning.
Have a backup location to go to in the event your building is unusable.
Have strong redundancy for technology and power. Most businesses cannot survive without those two things for very long. They need to have secondary and tertiary plans for both.
Have adequate insurance. Insurance must be reviewed at a minimum of an annual basis. Too often, they policy has become obsolete and the time this has been discovered is at the time of the calamity.
On Saturday night, my wife Barb and I were at our city’s annual summer street dance. It’s a fantastic event that finds people of all ages sharing a terrific experience. When you have 6-year olds dancing to Eric Clapton and 60-year olds dancing to Lady Gaga, you know you have a winning event!
One of the guys in front of me had a t-shirt that caught my attention. There was a picture of a large dog leaving a “package.” The top said “Poop happens…” The bottom said, “Pick it up and move on with your life.” I think I’m going to find that t-shirt.
Too many of us hold on to the bad things that happen to us, our mistakes, failures, and undoings. These events end up renting space in our brains and eventually lead to what my mentor Alan Weiss calls, a “victim mentality.” For all of us, poop happens. It may not be fair; it may not be your fault; and you may have been wronged. But it happened and it’s time to pick up the remnants, toss them in the trash, and get on with your life. Those that can’t end up living lives filled with regret, bitterness, and sadness. Those that do probably end up picking up and tossing out a lot of poop, yet have a blast along the way.
My advice to you…carry a few poop bags with you and be ready for what life throws at you. You will need to get on with your life no matter what happens!
I was recently interviewed for an article on saving money on car insurance by Newsday (NY). They were asking insurance experts on the best strategies for saving money. I will share my response with you for your benefit…
My strategies on saving money on car insurance:
Increase your physical damage (comprehensive and collision) deductibles, especially for luxury and high-priced vehicles. The premiums are based on the value of the vehicle, so the higher the value, the higher the premium. Increased deductibles ($1000 and up) will save on insurance premiums.
Avoid moving violations and at fault accidents. I know this might seem obvious, however driving behaviors can be modified to reduce the risk of tickets and accidents. Insurance companies do experience rate and even two tickets can have a dramatic impact (negatively) on your premium. Bottom line – have a “clean” driving record and your premiums will be optimized.
Competitively shop your insurance at least every 3 years. This can either be done on your own or through your insurance agent. Jumping ship from your current insurer for a few bucks is a bad practice. However, it is important to see what the market is doing based on exactly the same coverages. 2-3 years is a good timetable to do this.
If you have young drivers, make sure they have a good grade-point average (3.0 and better). Good student discounts can be as significant as 30%.
Don’t double spend. If you have a service like AAA, you don’t need to purchase towing on your vehicles. You may not even need rental reimbursement if you have several cars. Even though the premiums might seem low, if you’re never going to use them, why buy them?