SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Business 101: A reading list for lifelong learners

biz101 draft3

Ready to level up your working knowledge of business? Here’s what to read now — and next.

Business 101, with Nilofer Merchant

First, read these 2 foundational books…
1. The Change Masters
Rosabeth Moss Kanter
Free Press, 1985

“A foundational book for your collection. When a colleague recently switched careers, I lent her this incredibly dog-eared book from college days. Rosabeth Moss Kanter helped coined the idea and term ’empowerment’ in the 1970s, a sure sign she was ahead of her time. Even though The Change Masters was published forty years ago, it’s relevant. Why? Because all progress is made by those that are change masters. Become one.”

2. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations
Clay Shirky
Penguin, 2008

“A few years back, I took out Clay Shirky’s book and found it filled with scribbles. While it’s almost passé now to talk of how Obama organized a large community to sweep into the presidency, Shirky’s book is textbook quality for what will happen next. It points to a new truth: Today, connected individuals can do what once only large organizations could. So look past the timeliness of his stories to see the timeless.”

Then, try these 4 to understand current needs…

1. Opposable Mind: Winning through Integrative Thinking
Roger Martin
Harvard Business Review, 2009

“I’m convinced that the way we create an abundant future of prosperity will require a global redesign of what is possible. And I think Roger Martin’s idea here could be key. When you hold two ideas as opposites, you’ll never find a way for both things to be true. But to go forward and reconcile some deep divides we have, we’re going to have to find new solutions to old problems through new thinking. Martin’s book is like yoga for the mind.”

2. Redesigning Leadership (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life)
John Maeda
MIT Press, 2011

“The real question is: How will we reinvent the world around us? Well, fundamentally, it will involve having folks take the big step away from just being themselves (the thing we all know best) and join in doing something with others (the people we fear may let us down). John Maeda’s book captures a modern leader’s challenge to switch gears and become a social, collaborative leader.”

3. The Difference
Scott E. Page
Princeton University Press, 2010

“Complex systems turn out to be adaptive and resilient, and therefore thriving, systems. Sounds like something our world needs more of, right? See how a math theorist argues for including difference –- that is, cognitive difference — into our lives, our workplaces and ultimately what we create. The value of this difference is a proven truth, not a feel-good mantra, for how you shape both better ideas and new solutions. It’s going to be central to what happens next.”

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Webroot/Ninja Integration

Expanded Security Service Offering to include DNS Protection and Integrated Console Allows NinjaRMM Clients to Reduce Complexity of Cybersecurity Management While Growing their Revenue Stream

About the Partnership:

  • NinjaRMM has been partnering with Webroot since May 2016.
  • NinjaRMM’s addition of Webroot’s SecureAnywhere® DNS Protection to its portfolio will provide customers protection against malicious websites with minimal complexity for the service provider and the end consumer. The product is controlled via the Webroot Global Site Manager used by the endpoint solution, offering a single console to set company-wide browsing controls and internet-use tracking.
  • In addition to SecureAnywhere DNS Protection, NinjaRMM offers its customers Webroot’s SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection, providing MSPs the ability to offer multiple layers of protection and increase revenue.
  • The integration of Webroot’s industry-leading solutions into Ninja’s RMM platform provides one location for management and reporting, saving time and reducing the overall cost of administration.

Ninja is now HIPPA Compliant – Ninja’s focus on Healthcare will give the ability for agency’s to be sure of compliance standards from its platform.

Release 2.14 – Just completed

Third-Party Patching (beta): Fully managed patching of 100+ applications. Includes common office applications like Adobe products, browsers, Java, and more. For more information on how to access the beta, please refer to the Ninja Support Community.

Splashtop for Windows and Mac: Remote access your Win/Mac devices through a single-pane integration with NinjaRMM. Easily deploy Splashtop to your desired organizations.

NEW Mac Scripting: New out-of-box scripts for Macs. You can now enable SSH, re-apply user permissions and more directly from NinjaRMM console.

  • Enable/Disable Firewall
  • Disable Firewall
  • Reset printing
  • Empty trash
  • Flush DNS
  • Kill core audio
  • Auto updates off
  • Purge disk cache
  • Reapply user permissions
  • Reset launcher service
  • Repair disk permissions
  • Repair SSH
  • Repair TeamViewer
    • Reinitializes Teamviewer, kills the service and restarts it

Windows OS Keys Report: New reporting section for Windows OS keys to make software asset management easier.

Remote Command Line: Ability to run commands as currently logged-in user.For full release notes, please refer to our community page here.

 

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How to Start a Business With (Almost) No Money

How to start a business

 

By: Jayson Demers

VIP CONTRIBUTOR

MARCH 21, 2016

You’re excited to start a business. Maybe you have an idea, or you’re just fascinated with the idea of launching and growing your own enterprise. You’re willing to take some risks, like leaving your current job or going without personal revenue for a while. But there’s one logistical hurdle stopping you: You don’t have much money.


On the surface, this seems like a major problem, but a lack of personal capital shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your dreams. In fact, it’s entirely possible to start and grow a business with almost no personal financial investment whatsoever -- if you know what you’re doing.

Why a business needs money

First, let’s take a look at why a business needs money in the first place. There’s no uniform “startup” fee for building a business, so different businesses will have different needs. It’s important to first estimate how much you need before you start finding alternative methods to fund your company.


Consider the following uses:

  • Licenses and permits. Depending on your region, you may need special paperwork and registry to operate.
  • Supplies. Are you buying raw materials? Do you need computers and/or other devices?
  • Equipment. Do you need specialized machinery or software?
  • Office space. This is a huge expense, and you can't neglect things like Internet, utilities costs, janitorial services and whether to outsource back office tasks, like payroll and invoicing.
  • Associations, subscriptions, memberships. What publications and affiliations will you subsribe to every month?
  • Operating expenses. Dig into the nooks and crannies here, and don’t forget about marketing.
  • Legal fees. Are you consulting a lawyer throughout your business-development process?
  • Employees, freelancers and contractors. If you can’t do it alone, you’ll need people on your payroll.

With that said, you have two main paths of starting a business with less money: lowering your costs or increasing your available capital from outside sources. You have three options here:

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Q&A: How Fortinet’s Security Fabric Creates New Opportunity for Channel Partners

Joe Sykora, Fortinet’s Vice President of Americas Channels and Enhanced Technologies, gives his perspective on how an integrated security architecture like Fortinet’s Security Fabric creates new opportunities for solution providers. Joe Sykora, Fortinet’s Vice President of Americas Channels and Enhanced Technologies, gives his perspective on how an integrated security architecture like Fortinet’s Security Fabric creates new opportunities for solution providers. 


Why is the idea of a security fabric so important to network security in this current environment?

Organizations can’t just keep adding new, siloed security solutions that don’t talk to other devices on their network, banner ad security fabric 220x150 002and that require separate management and collaboration tools. What organizations need today is a collaborative system of tools that work together to monitor their network, share information, and respond to threats no matter where they occur.

The Fortinet Security Fabric allows us to take all of our tools and integrate them into a single, interactive security framework. This collaborative ecosystem also includes third-party partners in cloud, software-defined networking, sandboxing, testing, security information and event management (SIEM), and Single Sign On technologies, as well as support for the services provided by our worldwide family of channel partners.

How does Fortinet’s Security Fabric benefit Fortinet’s global partner network of distributors and solution providers?

Because of its critical and complex nature, security continues to be one of the largest opportunities for the channel. Partners that can plan, design, deploy, and optimize an integrated security offering are finding a growing demand for their skills. 

By tying traditional security appliances and emerging technologies together into an integrated security fabric, partners can help their customers collect and respond to more actionable intelligence, synchronize threat responses, and centralize the creation, distribution, and orchestration of their security management and analysis. This broad visibility and open-standards approach provided by the Fortinet Security Fabric allows solution providers to implement more automation to focus on the alerts that really matter.

How is Fortinet’s Fabric Ready Partner program different from the alliance partner programs we see other vendors promoting?

Like many partner programs, Fortinet’s Fabric Ready Partner Program brings together best-in-class technology alliance partners. But unlike those other approaches, Fortinet’s approach actually allows our channel partners to deliver pre-integrated, end-to-end security offerings ready for deployment.

And for our channel partners, extending the functionality and intelligence of the Fortinet Security Fabric vision with an open and cooperative ecosystem of partner solutions means they can more easily:

  • Deliver more effective, more responsive security solutions that leverage the collaborative power of the Fortinet Security Fabric
  • Speed business outcomes with integrated ecosystem solutions that address customers’ needs.  Leverage Fortinet’s Fabric-Ready seal of approval to build trust with customers and instill confidence that the solutions work
  • Deliver solutions with faster time-to-deployment to customers, with reduced technical support burden & costs due to pre-validation.

Download our eBook, How the Fortinet Security Fabric Addresses Today’s Top Security Concerns.

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7 Common Legal Issues Entrepreneurs Need to Consider When Starting a Business

When it comes to starting a business, you might be a pro…

But, what about when it comes to working through all the legal issues you must Entreprenuerconsider as an entrepreneur when launching your start-up?

The world of business can get complicated quickly when you add in all the laws that apply – liability, finances, trademarks…

The list goes on. 

Most entrepreneurs get caught up in the midst of starting their business and quickly forget about the legal aspects that need to be considered.

To ensure that you avoid the negative repercussions of an avoidable mistake, there are a few common legal issues you should be aware of:

1. Non-disclosure agreements.

It seems like a given – don’t talk about anything that is considered “top secret.” But, it isn’t that obvious to everyone and to some, it just isn’t a priority or even a concern…

Particularly those outside of your business who might become involved with you in some way.

Anyone who interacts with your business – from the business side, not your clients – should sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) to ensure they won’t run and share your ideas with the competition. 

2. Future of the business – the what if’s?

Life happens. Unfortunately, sometimes people leave this world too soon. If that is the case, what will happen to your business?

It is important to invest in a will kit to ensure the assets of your business are protected and have a designated owner should you become unavailable. 

Have your attorney send your will kit to the post office for easy pickup.

3. Vesting.

Finding the right co-founder for your business is quite the task…

Who do you trust? Who will make a good fit and lead your business in the right direction?

It is important that you have a similar work ethic and timelines for investment – you need to have chemistry. 

Instead of getting all your shares at once, once option to consider is vesting. Your equity can be vested over time so that if you don’t have the chemistry you thought you did, there is a fair solution. 

4. Intellectual property.

While your business is still small, it is hard to imagine that you could potentially face the issue of people infringing on your intellectual property assets (or vice versa)…

But, it can happen easier than you think.

It is worth the investment of both time and money to get your trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets legally registered. It will be a lifesaver if, or when, an issue arises. 

5. Trademarks.

You just thought choosing a business name was difficult…

But, did you consider that even as creative as you might have been, someone else might still have thought of it first? 

Invest in performing a killer search to ensure your business name is not already another company’s trademark.

6. Compliance.

There are corporate compliance laws in place that affect companies in various industries. The laws that apply specifically to your business will vary based on the type of business entity you are, the state you do business in, and several other determining factors.

Do some research, and consult the help of an attorney, to ensure you know what documents should be generated and maintained by your business to remain compliant. 

7. Business structure.

There are several different business structures…

Partnerships, S corporations, corporations, sole proprietorship and a limited liability company.

All business structures hold very different meanings and offer a variety of different benefits. You should consider if your business is going to remain privately funded, if you plan on taking on investors, and what type of growth you expect your company to have in the future. 

You’ve already put in all the leg work to get your business up and running, don’t let a simple – and costly – legal mistake cause you to lose it all.

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