‘Must Haves’ for ANY Business – The 2005 List

As a business consultant I get the opportunity meet hundreds of professionals in every imaginable business each year. And time and experience have taught me one thing – there are a few ‘Must Haves’ for any modern business. My clients hire me to ensure their business does well so the first thing I do is provide them with a list of ‘must haves’. Here it is for 2005…

# 1 Computer and Information Security
Whether for small business, huge corporations or home-based start-ups, this is the place where the most damage can happen in the shortest amount of time. I can’t stress this enough but still most people don’t listen until it’s too late. This year I’ve made it easier than ever. Consider this… Imagine a computer security solution that addresses the root of the problem, costs under $10 and can be implemented in about an hour. Computer Security in the Workplace is a book that does just that. It was written by two IT pros from Harvard but with none of the techno-babble you might expect. It only takes about an hour to read and is becoming THE guide of choice by a lot of savvy companies. You can get it at http://www.ComputerSecurityBook.com. It goes quickly so don’t miss this one. I bought a copy for each of my clients as a holiday gift and the ‘thank you’ messages continue to roll in each time a disaster is averted, which is more than you might imagine.

# 2 Proof of PR
If your name shows up in the media – intentionally or otherwise – you NEED to know about it. Knowing about this can give you the competitive edge to use fast-breaking positive media coverage for publicity (much better than paid advertising) or help you track who is printing your press releases. More than this however, I began recommending ‘media clipping’ services to clients years ago as a way to make sure competitors are not taking liberties with company or trademarked names or, worse yet, running a slander campaign. There are a lot of services out there today. Many of my clients use http://www.CyberAlert.com or http://www.CustomScoop.com, which both offer free trials. If this is not right for you, try entering the term in question in quotes in http://Google.com and running an Internet search. The ‘quotes around term’ will isolate that phrase and return only exact matches, greatly reducing your investigative efforts.

# 3 A Clear Plan
Times have changed. The ‘napkin plans’ just don’t cut it anymore and neither do the overly complex ones created by executives who belong in a ‘Dilbert’ comic strip. And by ‘plan’ I mean ANY plan, be it a Business Plan, Marketing Plan, Financial Plan or even a Project Plan. If this final tip does not apply to you, count yourself among the lucky. If you feel like you could benefit from a better plan, whether it is to obtain a bank loan, investors or just for your own sanity, there are plenty of reasonably priced software products out there that can do a great job for you. Stop by your local office supply superstore or start online with http://www.PaloAlto.com or http://www.PlanMagic.com.
Good luck. I hope this list helps.

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