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TaylorMade Solutions, cybercrime

Are Communication Failures Lessening the Impact of Cybercriminals?

Not a day goes by where we don’t hear of some hack or another where cybercriminals are making a killing. Despite this however, there are a couple of things that appear to be happening:

  1. The average person, consumer or even worker is not connecting the dots to either realize that they are at risk, or that their actions are the risk and the entry point for these cybercriminals. 
  1. Organizations, for profit or not-for-profit, are not heeding the simple warnings to carry out simple tasks such as patching, but they aren’t also being held accountable for the compromise of personal data breaches.

The lack of accountability is very significant and we as consumers need to hold their feet to the fire and require that regulations, laws and enforcement occur.

So, why is this? I think that there are a few reasons that the message for action and taking precautions are not getting through. They include:

  1. We continue to use language that people don’t understand. This definitely tops my list. I see it when I speak to business people all of the time. I talk about cybersecurity issues or risks and they just don’t get it. One of the first comments is: we outsource our IT. Or, we operate in the Cloud, so it’s not an issue.

These comments definitely demonstrate that they are only seeing cybersecurity as an IT or networking issue. It’s much more than that and we need to educate our front line defence! Our human resources! And to arm them properly, we need to find a common language that people understand, not just the people in the “biz.”TaylorMade Solutions, cybercrime

Rather than refer to cybersecurity breaches, we need to help people see the criminal aspect of what is happening and that there are some easy steps to take to help protect each of us from them. For example, how many people lock their homes when the leave? Heck, how many of us keep the doors locked all of the time? It’s a matter of personal protection. Protecting our families and protecting our property. We now need to think about online safety in the same way. We need to lock the doors (our computers and internet access from criminals) and ensure that ensure that our windows are also closed and locked. If by chance a lock doesn’t quite work like it used to (continuously update our versus protection and software patches), we replace it immediately.

      2. When we do talk about cybercrime, we paint the picture of the villain in a hoodie in a dark basement. This is an old and outdated picture. Reality is, cybercriminals are often the people you least expect and can quite frankly be anywhere in the world, including next door, or in another country on the other side of the world. The point is, they aren’t likely lurking in a basement, but rather in comfortable quarters living off the ill gotten gains of people who might just be a little too trusting. Maybe you, maybe your neighbour, maybe a family member.

So, what is the solution?

In my opinion we need to go back to basics. Communications 101 actually. Who is our audience? What are we trying to tell them in order to get them to change behaviours? What language should we be using so that they understand? In other words, stop with the tech talk or cybersecurity industry talk. Speak to them in their language. And finally, where are they consuming information so that we can reach them?

These are simple steps that we can do. We just need to do them.

Do you have other ideas? We would love to know.

Do you need help implementing your internal Comms Plan or even developing a Privacy Breach Plan? If so, let us know.

An Interview With Cybersecurity Expert: Dr. Natalia Stakhanova

Cybersecurity risk management and mitigation is at the forefront of discussions in boardrooms globally. With an estimated annual burden of up to $1.7 trillion resulting from data loss and downtime (often from security violations), both the c-suite and shareholders have called on security experts to get out in front of the risk.

Researchers and research initiatives are the foundation for accomplishing this. At New Brunswick’s Information Security Centre of Excellence (ISCX), researchers like Dr. Natalia Stakhanova are leading the way with the support of funding, innovative partners, and an unparalleled focus. As one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Stakhanova was recognized in 2014 as the first NB Innovation Research Chair in Cybersecurity.

cybersecurity

I had a chance to sit down with Dr. Stakhanova to talk about her work.

MacLean: You were named the first NB Innovation Research Chair in Cybersecurity, can you tell us about what you want to accomplish in this role?

Dr. Stakhanova: I continue to be very excited about this initiative. Over the next few years we will be facilitating the research that will foster innovation in the field of cybersecurity. An important component will be my team working very closely with local industry to promote further commercialization of products that will benefit companies around the world.

There is already a significant level of expertise right here in New Brunswick. We will be building upon our core expertise and further developing the skills and assets that we have right here. There is a great culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the people collaborating in this space right now. And the best part is seeing the actual results.

To generate a renewing pool of local talent, I’ll be mostly focused on building student knowledge, expertise and entrepreneurial spirit. I’m hoping that in this endeavor the Dr. J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management & Entrepreneurship (TME) will step in with its programs to give students necessary skills and tools to become entrepreneurs.   

MacLean: How will you be working with other New Brunswick companies, students, and people?

Dr. Stakhanova: A major part of my role is to assess the risks that the local industry has, and to provide the research with practical applications to mitigate those risks. My work facilitates research in both the private and public sectors. Several local players have already come on board and are ready to work in a collaborative environment to focus on such issues as Smart Grid to address security-related challenges. Among these players are IBM Canada, Sentrant, and NB Power. We are also working closely with several startups. I know that through the research there will be additional commercialization.

MacLean: How does New Brunswick stand in this field of research and innovation compared to other regions?

Dr. Stakhanova: There is no question that there is a lot of support in Canada for these R&D centres and we are well positioned here at UNB with other global areas. We have leading expertise, lots of researchers, and interested private sector companies. There is an excellent relationship between UNB and the private sector. This fosters collaboration, innovation and the drive to succeed.

MacLean: What do we have here in New Brunswick that positions us better than other areas?

Dr. Stakhanova: I can’t name any other province that has as many initiatives, activities and investments in play at one time to support the Information Technology (IT) industry. There is just so much innovation and research taking place right here in New Brunswick. We also have a unique solidarity of people here in the province. People want to be here. This is so rare and wonderful.

There are of course developers elsewhere, but the developers that are here have a unique connection to the province and its people. They are loyal and can’t be lured away in the same way that you see happening in other regions. This creates a wonderful stability.

MacLean: Do you see spin off companies emerging or other companies wanting to locate here in New Brunswick to take advantage of the work that you are doing?

Dr. Stakhanova: Absolutely. We are already seeing companies from outside the region that are quite interested in what we are doing. These are still early days, but we are hearing from a lot of people.

MacLean: What made you choose to come to New Brunswick and UNB?

Dr. Stakhanova: I moved to Fredericton in 2007 as a professional Fellow. I fell in love with the region immediately. It is one of the most family-friendly places I have ever encountered. There is also a personal touch at UNB. It is essential and critical when education is involved to be able to collaborate, have mentors and to have access to as many private sector companies as we do.

It is truly a unique experience to find a place to grow professionally, while also having everything you would want for your family.

Cybersecurity is one of the most important issues of our time. If you are a small or medium business, cybersecurity should be more top of mind. We can help you develop your Marketing and Communications strategy to handle communications around a breach. We can train you and your team to be media ready. Be Prepared! Be Trained! Have a TaylorMade Solution – Contact us today.

Editor’s Note: This is a post that I originally wrote for Invest NB’s Blog and has since be reposted to Opportunities NB’s Blog.

3 Essential Tips to Start an Influencer Relations Program

Whether you have a small business or a well-established business, influencers can be a very important part of your marketing efforts.I am often asked how to go about setting up a program so I thought I would share these three quick hits to start an Influencer Relations Program. Once you have followed these steps, you will want to consider next steps as outlined in a previous postScreen Shot 2014-02-14 at 6.01.14 PM

1. Define What an Influencer is!

There are many definitions for what an influencer is. It is important that you and your organization come to an agreement on who you consider an influencer. Keep in mind that some influencers will be easier to engage than others. 

For example let’s say that you produce sunglasses and you want celebrities to take notice and talk about your product. That would be an awesome accomplishment, but depending on a number of variables, reaching that demographic and impressing them might be a hard sell.

Instead you might pursue another route, the one I typically recommend. Look instead to those individuals who are industry experts and well respected in your specific sector, business or industry.

2.  Remember You Need to Build Relationships

You know the saying: Rome was not built in a day. The same can be said for nurturing relationships with Influencers. After all, they are people with the same basic needs and wants that you have. They want to be respected. They want to treated well. Most of the time, people want relationships. So take your time and get to know people. 

Reaching out to people that you don’t know and asking for something rarely works…unless of course you are offering something that they want and need in return. 

3.  Determine What Type of Program that You Want and Need

Keep in mind that some Influencers will want to help you for the sake of helping you out, once you have established a relationship.  Others will want compensation for helping you out.  There is nothing wrong with that. It is their business model.  You really need to know and understand this in order to make the right decisions. This will help you decide what type of program you want and need. 

If you do choose the later, be sure to be transparent about paying your influencers.  Being up front about the relationship will benefit you greatly and save you from potential embarrassment.

For more information on starting your program click here. If you like this post, feel free to follow me on Twitter and be sure to tell me a bit about who you are!

50 Free or Low-Cost Apps for Small Businesses

For many small businesses, keeping up with all of the latest tools and apps can be tough. So, we’ll make it a bit easier for you.

Here are 50 low-cost tools and applications to check out today.

The best part is that many are completely free!

  1. Around Me – Search for the nearest restaurants, banks, gas stations, hotels, and more. Time is money and when travelling for business, this app will help.
  2. Award Wallet – Travel a lot for business and have too many reward programs to keep track of? Track it all and stay organized and in sync with your rewards.
  3. 1ShoppingCart  – Build, sell and grow your ecommerce storefront.  You can try out the tool for one month at no cost.
    1Shopping Cart
  4. Beesy – This low cost app enables you to take meeting notes and has automated To-Do lists as well as some nifty Task/Project Management
  5. Bizzabo – A mobile networking app for events and conferences to keep attendees, organizers and sponsors engaged. You can learn who will be attending in advance and make plans accordingly.
  6. Bump – This free app enables to smart phone users to actually bump their phones together to transfer contact information, photos, files, etc.
  7. Camera Awesome – The name alone is cool. This free app is touted as one of the best photo editors. Even the Wall Street Journal has endorsed it.
  8. Cloze – Overcome “inbox overload” and filter through the noise to get to those critical emails.
  9. Converter Plus – This free app not only helps you with currency conversion, but also comes with a mortgage calculator, fuel consumption tools, and more.
  10. Dashlane – Need a password manager and secure digital wallet for devices? This free app might be just what you are looking for.
  11. Dictionary.com – Need a dictionary and thesaurus on the go? This free app is the way to go. A bonus, you don’t need internet while searching words!
  12. Doodle – This low cost app is a great tool if you are in the position of setting up meetings with people in different locations, businesses, etc. Doodle app enables you to poll invitees to determine which date and time best accommodates people.Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.24.30 PM
  13. Dropbox – Another great free app that lets you store your files, including photos in the Cloud.  Access them anywhere and share with anyone. You will never have to worry about forgetting a thumb drive again. Or, if you can’t make a meeting, your colleague can access that all-important presentation and deliver it for you.
  14. EasilyDo – Your free personal assistant that checks traffic before your commute, checks weather, tracks packages, lets you know when there is an important date you need to celebrate and more.
  15. Blogger – Create your own free blog in minutes and leverage your other Google products to help promote.
  16. Evernote – Another free app that enables you take notes, make lists, sync files across devices and stores everything in the Cloud.
  17. Facebook Pages – Want to engage with your customers, stakeholders and community in general?  Set up a Facebook page to share information and communicate real-time.
  18. Find My iPhone – Not just for your iPhone, but really any Mac Product, this free app is one that you want to have. If you have ever lost your phone, you know the feeling of fear.  Help mitigate loss with this app.
  19. FlipBoard – Curate the news the way you like it in one place with this free app.
  20. Gate Guru – The winner of numerous Best Travel or Airport Apps, this freebee let’s you view your Tripit and Kayak itineraries, view/post airport security waiting times, see a structured list of airport food, shops, etc.
  21. Gmail – Looking for free email, with real-time notifications, multiple account support and more? Check out Gmail.
  22. Google Docs – Want an easy way to share documents with colleagues and be able to edit together simultaneously? With free Google docs you can be in one part of the world while a colleague or client is in another sharing and updating the same document.
  23. Google Hangout – Can’t make the meeting? Use Google Hangout to meet with up to 10 different people while seeing them online at no cost. Share information, photos and more all from the convenience of your office, or even the airport.
  24. Google+ – Looking for a social channel that is different and offers you the flexibility of distribution lists (circles) magazine style viewing on your tablet? Check out Google+.
  25. Google Translate – What a free and easy way to translate messages, signs or social posts?  Google translate offers both text and audio translations.
  26. Instagram – This free app enables you to take photos and video and then apply filters to improve the product, which is perfect for blogs, websites, and more.
  27. Lemon Wallet – Store digital copies of your credit cards, ID, etc. all for free in this app.
  28. Mozy – Looking for an industry leader in online backup? Mozy is a free app that helps you securely access all your backed-up files
  29. ooVoo – Need to conduct video calls? Check out this free app and join ore than 70 million other video chatters.
  30. PCalc Lite – Looking for a calculator that has more capability than the standard one on your device. This free app gives you a scientific calculator.
  31. Perfect365 – Looking to make people picture perfect for your website, blog, etc.  Perfect365 is a free app that offers one-tap makeovers, photo editing and more.
  32. Photo Editor by Aviary – Another great free option to edit your online photos.  Supported by multiple languages and numerous devices, the reviews are good for this app.
  33. Pic Collage – Looking to dress up your photos for your website, blog, newsletter or other collateral? Check out this free app!
  34. Pic Stitch – Want a different photo editor? Pic Stitch is a free app that creates interesting visuals.
  35. Podcasts App – Want an easy way to access your favorite Podcasts to stay up-to-date on trends and news? Want to customize your own station with your favorite podcasts? Check the free Podcasts app!
  36. Skype – Need to connect with a client or colleague and want to talk face-to-face? Or perhaps SMS?  Check out Skype’s free tools. Upgrade to the paid version and get more options.
  37. Skyscanner – Looking for an easy way to compare flights and costs? Check out this free app!  More than 20 million people are using this app to get better and cheaper flights.
  38. Square – Need a quick and easy way to process credit cards? Why not use your smart phone with this free app. They will even give you the free card reader!
  39. Survey Monkey – Want to get the pulse of your market or a sample at least? Try Survey Monkey. Create you own surveys on your schedule. Their free version lets you create a survey with up to 10 questions. Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 7.23.12 PM
  40. Tripit – Need to keep all your travel plans in one place, plus share with key people? Check out Tripit’s free app.
  41. Tumblr – Looking for a place to host your blog?  Tumblr may be your spot. This free resource hosts more than 108.2 million blogs.
  42. Twitter – Want quick news bites and to share quick news bites about your company in 140 Characters or less? Set up your free Twitter account.
  43. Viber Media – Want to connect with people around the world by phone for free? Then check out this free app.
  44. Vine – If you are looking for an interesting way to showcase your company with six-second videos, Vine could be your free resource. Be sure to sign up for Twitter first, if you haven’t thought.
  45. Wave Accounting – Like many small businesses, you need accounting! Why not try this free accounting software with unlimited invoicing, collaboration options and more.
    Wave Accounting
  46. Waze Maps – Looking for free GPS navigation with turn by turn? Waze may be your app.
  47. Weave –  This free Project Management tool will keep your organized and in the know of what is happening with your business.
  48. Wikipedia – This free online encyclopedia is a great resource that is used by researchers and general information seekers. Create your own Wiki page to showcase your business’ history and expertise.
  49. WordPress – A great free resource to help you create great blogs. With a variety of plug-ins, this is a great tool for your blog.
  50. XE Currency – Have the need to convert currency quickly? Check out this free app.

Don’t overlook how technology can support small business growth. With the right tech, you can grow faster, scale more efficiently, and delight customers faster. For more tips on communication, marketing and collaboration for the small business, be sure to check us out at TaylorMade Solutions.

 

5 Ways Small Business Can Leverage Social Media for Real-time Market Research

As a small business owner and a professional Marketing and Communications Practitioner, I know the value of market research.  When I worked for large organizations, we often hired agencies to provide specialized research services. However, we smaller business owners just don’t have the luxury of the big budgets that the larger organizations enjoy.   We also don’t have a lot of spare time.  So, I wanted to share 5 really easy ways that small business can leverage social media for real-time market research:

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1.  Maximize your membership in existing groups like Facebook, Linkedin and blogs to gain valuable insight into what topics are hot. By being an active listener you can find emerging themes.  You can learn quickly what, if any, conversations taking place about your brand.

For example, if you own a restaurant you can learn about trends that are happening in food preferences.  If your customers and/or target market are discussing local organic foods as being important, you could start promoting the local fare that you have on your menu.  Alternatively, there might be an event – perhaps a beer festival – that you would want to promote and create a menu pairing for the various types of beer being featured at the festival.

2.  Use Twitter Lists to organize key stakeholders, customers and Influencers.  Using lists saves time when you want to focus on specific information and/or people.

For example, if there is a specific vertical that you want to penetrate, make a list and add the people you see Tweeting on the topic. You can then easily learn who is in that space.

3. Conduct Facebook surveys to reach out to your followers and ask them specific questions — keep the same questions so that you have consistent data. One of the benefits of doing this type of research versus a focus group is that neither the facilitator nor any other members of the focus group will unintentionally influence the participants. You can have your survey be anonymous or with a customer name attached to it.

For example, if you are uncertain about carrying a new product, you can ask your community.  You can develop a simple questionnaire that you can send to all your followers/subscribers or those who have “Liked” your Brand Page.  By reaching out to your customers you are demonstrating that their opinion matters.  You are getting a first-hand account of what they think about the product.

For more information on how to set up your survey, visit Facebook’s survey page.

4. Use Pinterest to determine what photos are being pinned from your website.  This can be an invaluable tool. Learn what is popular and by default, what is not.  Learn what is resonating with your customers through your visuals.

It is quite easy to do: simply go to your browser and type:  http://pinterest.com/source/YOURWEBSITEHERE.com/.

5. Use Twitter Hashtags to search and track relevant conversations.  You can use hashtags to monitor conversations about competitors, different product lines, events and more.  You can use existing hashtags or set up your own.  They are simple to use.

For example, if you are hosting a user-group and you want to know what the buzz is both leading up to and during the event, you could create a hashtag specific to your event.  Once you do this, be sure to share it with your organizers, sponsors, delegates, etc.  It could be as simple as #CustomerSpeak2014.  By simply searching your event hashtag, you can monitor all the chatter.  If you notice a problem emerging, you can be proactive and take action.  You can then share the solution using the hashtag, letting your delegates know that you were listening.  You can also use the hashtag to monitor post-event conversations and use that intelligence for lessons-learned.

These are just five examples of how you can use social media for real-time market research.  What are some other channels that you use and what have been your results?

3 Ways Color Can Influence Buying Behavior

There are many things that influence human behavior and color is definitely one of them.  The effect is often so subtle that we have no conscious realization that we are being influenced by color.

Research shows however, that color can actually influence buying behavior.  In fact, color has the power to evoke strong emotional responses and depending on your culture and your geographic location, using the wrong color could be enough to turn potential and existing customers away from your business.  As a result many marketers, like myself, have studied the meaning of color and the psychology behind color.  So let’s take a 50,000 foot view of color and give you some tips to help you influence customers the right way.

1. Geography and Culture

Sounds straight forward doesn’t it?  Not necessarily.  You don’t need to be a big company to think about the implications of working in different countries or selling to people of different cultures.  In fact, small business really needs to be on top of localization.

One of the best companies for localization is McDonald’s.  Small business can leverage the work they have done and apply it to their businesses.  For example, McDonald’s has  not only adapted the look and feel of their website to meet the local customer’s expectations, but they have changed their menu.   In terms of color, we see that Red plays prominently on their website in India.  Red is an important color and one that has positive meanings in India.

N&EIndia

McDonald’s Website for Northern & Eastern India

 In Mexico however, red is really downplayed.  The website focuses more on the colors that are seen in the Mexican flag.

McDonald's Website for Mexico

McDonald’s Website for Mexico

And in The Netherlands, green is much more prominent than red on the website.  The golden arches are encased in green, not red.  Again, understanding the implications of color is important so that you can focus the right attention in the right place.

McDonald's Website for The Netherlands

McDonald’s Website for The Netherlands

2.  Age

This little known fact is one that can significantly impact your prospect or customer base. Understanding age and how color influences decisions is important if your business focuses on a specific age group.

According to research, green is a color that is more acceptable to people up to about 50 where as orange is a color that, as a person ages, is generally not preferred.   Additionally, as people age, the darker and strong the color, the more it is not desired.  Blue is consistently acceptable and preferred across all age groups.

If you are marketing to baby boomers, be sure to know what colors to fully leverage and which to stay away from.

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of goinglikesixty.com

Baby Boomer Image courtesy of goinglikesixty.com

3.  Psychological Impact of Color

It is true, colors bring on emotion.  Different colors mean different things.  Silver for example, brings about the emotion of calmness and if more on the gray side, it can bring about an emotional response of security, modesty or even intelligence.  Red in China is a sign of happiness and vitality.  When sending flowers to a family who is grieving and close to their Asian culture, be sure to send flowers that do not contain red.

For more information on the meaning of color, what emotions they evoke and how to use color, check out Using Color to Influence Buyer Behavior.

Takeaways:  Do your homework.  Look at what other companies have done and take cues from them.  Hire professionals who know about localization and understand how color can influence prospects and existing customers.

5 KPIs Every Small Business Needs to Know

Let’s face it, running a small business is challenging but exhilarating!  There are many initiatives that need your focus and many others that take your attention.  When it comes to Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), there are many that you need to know and understand, but here are 5 to really focus on when just getting started:

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

1. Cost per acquisition (CPA)

With limited budgets, knowing where to focus your marketing dollars is critical.  Spending on the right media is essential.  Therefore, knowing your CPA will help you focus your limited dollars.

For help calculating your CPA, check out ClickZ

2.  Customer churn

Do you know how many customers are repeat customers?  Keeping customers is far more cost-effective than acquiring new customers.  While you need both for a business to thrive, you need to focus some attention on keeping customers.  Churn measures the percentage of customers that leave during a given period of time.

While there are different ways to calculate churn, check out  Churn-Rate 101 to get you started.

 3.  Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)

While there are different inputs to calculate a CSI, companies should be looking at what is important to their business and to their customers and ranking that performance.  For example, you may consider response time, safety messaging, and transaction accuracy as your top areas where you wish to measure customer satisfaction.

A CSI is a great way to take a pulse of customer experience and learn what areas of the business may need improvement.

To learn more about CSIs, check out the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

4.  Lifetime Value (LTV)

If a picture is worth a thousand words, LTV is worth much more.  LTV estimates the value of customer-worth to your company.  For example, if you charge a monthly subscription or maintenance fee, you will want to find out how long the average customer will actually be a customer.

To calculate LTV, check out this article on Entepreneur.com

5.  Operating Cash Flow 

The operating cash flow ratio is one of the most important cash flow ratios. It is a clear indication of how money moves into and out of the company and how the company pays its bills.  Understanding your cash flow will help you understand just how liquid your business is and how quick you can move.

These of course are just five of the many business KPIs that are important to a business, but they are great ones to think about when just starting out.

For more small business tips, visit www.taylormadecanada.com

25 Cool Online Resources to Grow Your Business

Small and medium business owners are always on the lookout for great resources to help them grow, but they don’t  always have time to research, read, and sort the wheat from the chaff. So I’ve done the preliminary work for you.

Here are 25 helpful small business resources covering everything from naming your new business to creating content for your marketing strategy, to increasing sales.

Entrepreneur

Image compliments of entrepreneur.com

In no particular order, here a list of SMB resources you’re going to want to bookmark:

1. Entrepreneur Solutions Playbook – 25 Small-Business Challenges [PDF]: A great discussion on the Top 25 Small Business Challenges

2. The Simple Guide to Branding Your Small Business [Infographic]: Looking for great advice on branding?  Check out this visual.

3. 5 Startup Naming Rules from SXSW: This article discusses how to position your business, including Do’s and Don’t’s.

4. Facebook – Small Business Page: Great up-to-date ideas and information for small businesses plus you can contribute your ideas.

5. Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy: Whether you’re just getting started with content marketing or you’re at it for awhile, this article to shares best practices.

6. Small Business Mobility Meets Big Business Needs: Learn more about BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

7. Reuters Small Business Resource Center: Looking for a well-rounded source for starting a business, employment law and more, check out this resource center.

8. CNN Small Business Community: Join the CNN Small Business Community for interesting posts from CNN Money.

9. Smart Bizz – Small Business and Startups Internet Technology Resources: Another good source for a broad range of subjects from e-commerce, productivity and more in this resource center.

10. NFIB – National Federation of Independent Business, the Voice of Small Business: From healthcare to sales and customer service to finance and accounting, get topical posts to help you advance your business.

11. Smallbusiness.com – a Free Wiki: Get local-based information based on your State.  Check out this community portal to learn the latest happenings in small business.

12. Wall Street Journal – Market Watch: Looking for an aggregate of great news-related posts for your small business? This is another great one-stop shop.

13. CitiBank Small Business Resources: Learn more about risk and financial security.

14. AT&T Strategies and Insights:  Access posts on how to attract customers, increase sales, build relationships and more on this handy site.

15. IT Business Edge – Small Business Computing: Get how-to guides, small business tips and more on this site.

16. Bank of America Small Business Community: Learn about small businesses of the month, ask the community questions and more.

17. Network Solutions – Small Business Center: Get a roundup of small business news all in one spot.

18. Cisco Small Business Resource Center: This center has articles, customer stories news and more all in one spot.

19. Small Business Guides: Get the latest guides on financing, training and events.

20. Go Small Biz: Looking for a go-to on tax/accounting, sales, HR, risk and tech in one spot?  This could be your go-to.

21. All Business – Your Small Business Advantage: Get access to the top stories, All Business experts and more.

22. Information Week SMB Technology for Small and Midsized Business: Get access to weekly email updates, SMB stories right from SMBs and more.

23. Microsoft Business for Small and Midsized Business: Learn new ways to use Microsoft tools get tips and marketing research.

24. DuctTape Marketing Blog: Blog posts, free ebooks and information on courses abound this site.

25. AMEX Open Forum: Recently redesigned, exchange advice, get ideas and learn small business success.

Note:  a version of this post appeared on the Salesforce blog that I wrote for them in August of this year.