How terrifying is this? You go to bed thinking you’ve got $1 million in your business bank account and wake up to find just $1. The FBI is reporting that cyber crooks are stealing more than $100 million a year from the U.S. bank accounts of small and mid-size organizations. And the problem is only getting worse.
There’s been a “significant increase” in ACH (automated clearinghouse) fraud, the FBI said in an alert posted on its Web site. Criminals are using e-mail attachments and malicious Web sites to plant keylogging software onto a computer with online banking access, then swiping login credentials. The crooks are then moving thousands — even millions — of dollars out of accounts overnight. So what can you do to protect yourself? One organization that was victimized to the tune of $43,000 bought a new laptop computer that’s only being used for online banking — no e-mail, no Web browsing, and definitely no online poker.
Secret of success. When they zig, you zag. When they sell, you buy. When they retreat, you advance. OK, you get the picture. Whether the recession is officially over or not, now’s the time to position your company for growth, says an article in the Los Angeles Times. While others are still playing defense, it’s time for you to go charge the goal line. So what exactly should you be doing to build back your business? Try diversifying into new industries, widening your sales channels, expanding overseas, developing new products, and increasing your online marketing efforts, suggests the article. As the economy starts to rebound, you’ll be moving up while the competition gets left behind.
Jobs key to recovery. If the economic recovery is going to take root, small businesses need to start hiring again, and pronto. That’s the opinion expressed by renowned economist Mark Zandi in a recent New York Times article. He states that small businesses are vital to job growth. No argument there. But the problem is that smaller firms are all but ignored by policy makers, who are throwing their resources behind multinationals instead. Zandi offers a few suggestions that can strengthen small businesses and get them hiring again. First, he wants policy makers to allow small businesses to receive tax refunds on profits earned in previous years. He’d also like to see work-share programs, where struggling employers are encouraged to cut hours rather than jobs. Lost wages would then be supplemented with unemployment insurance payments. Sounds great, but we’re not holding our breath.