A tour of any modern small & medium-sized business (SMB) highlights how IT solutions are critical to business success. From email and communication systems to productivity applications, these tools do everything from reporting on financial data to organizing supply chain logistics. And yet despite this reliance, IT security is viewed as an unnecessary cost.
The problem with this is that the SMB is under attack. From the 2017 Ponemon Institute Study, statistically speaking - it is happening! More than 61% of SMBs have been breached in the last 12 months vs 55% in 2016.
As well as the obvious cost in penalties, business disruption, loss of customers and damage to brand, there is another cost for any SMB who treat security as an unwelcome requirement.
Today any SMB can quickly adopt a new technology to gain new capabilities, improve efficiency and/or reduce costs. However each new application creates a need to secure users, data and the environment that the solution integrates into.
Those that treat security as an onerous requirement that is invoked each time a new technology is contemplated will be slow to adopt – and slow to profit from – new efficiencies.
SMBs that build effective IT security frameworks are able to move more quickly and surely than their competitors. Environments without effective IT security solutions will have difficulty innovating and are likely to fall behind more nimble competitors.
Striving for Enterprise caliber solutions with SMB sensitivity
So how does an SMB – and the Managed Service Providers servicing them - build the best security to safeguard their organization, users and data?
Well the most important point to remember is that security solutions for an SMB should not be any less effective than it is for an enterprise client. The data is no less sensitive, the disruption no less serious. They need enterprise caliber defense in terms of focus and effectiveness, but with SMB sensibilities in terms of implementation and use.
To help, we’ve worked with our SMB clients and put together this infographic to show 8 SMB-friendly criteria to remember when choosing cybersecurity solutions.
SMBs rely on SEO experts to track on-site engagement for their SEO efforts, according to a new survey from The Manifest, a B2B news and how-to website. More than 20% of small businesses that partner with SEO consultants or agencies to measure on-site engagement to determine the success of their SEO strategy.
Measuring on-site engagement allows an SMB to determine how potential customers will engage with their website content and advance through the conversion funnel.
The other popular SEO metric that SMBs track is the number and quality of backlinks (25%).
Equipped with engagement metrics tracked with help from an SEO agency or consultant, SMBs can adjust their SEO strategies to optimize how they convert search audiences to leads and ultimately to customers.
Company Size and Marketing Budget Determine SEO Investment
Number of employees and scope of marketing budget indicate how likely an SMB is to invest in SEO and PPC advertising.
Over 80% of small businesses with more than 50 employees currently invest in SEO or plan to in 2018. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of this group also invest in PPC advertising.
The size of a small business' marketing budget indicates whether a small business will invest in SEO.Over 90% of SMBs surveyed with a marketing budget of $500,000 or more invest in SEO, compared to 34% with marketing budgets of $10,000 or less.
SEO Investment is a Competitive Advantage for Small Businesses
Experts say investing in SEO provides a competitive advantage and a stamp of legitimacy for SMBs.
Most small businesses with fewer employees and smaller marketing budgets don't invest in SEO, providing an opportunity for other businesses to fill a market gap. Researching how competitors invest in SEO can help a small business stand out.
"Since your competition is most likely not investing in SEO, I'd urge small businesses to take the plunge. Because your competition isn't there, there's sure to be low-hanging fruit you can leverage and find success early on," said Lisa Hirst Carnes, co-founder and marketing director of ArcStone, a design and marketing agency based in Minneapolis.
Failing to appear in search engines for relevant queries, particularly those that contain a company's brand name, may raise skepticism among customers who expect all companies to have either a website or a social media presence.
Regardless of company size or marketing budget, social media marketing (56%) is the most common SEO service that SMBs can easily carry out.
However, having a few social media accounts is not nearly as effective as having a custom made website for your company. If you are an SMB with enough funds, hire a web design company for website building and web hosting services
. A website will help solidify your SEO presence and can also improve day-to-day operations.
Irreverent Scottish craft brewer BrewDog, who will launch its American facility in Ohio in 2017, announced today that it plans to open a BrewDog BrewPub in any American city where at least 500 people invest in its Equity For Punks USA crowdfunding offering. By launching one of its world-famous bars in each city that provides such investor support for the smb craft beer brewery, BrewDog's nationwide U.S. expansion will create local jobs and continue its mission to promote other local craft breweries across the United States.
BrewDog's bar division has been a huge success worldwide, with popular locations ranging from Tokyo to Sao Paulo, London to Barcelona and Hong Kong to Rome. Every BrewDog bar, including the first U.S. location at the soon-to-open 110,000 square foot brewery in Columbus, Ohio, are places where beer and food lovers can indulge in everything that is great about craft beer. With knowledgeable staff that are passionately evangelical about the world of craft beer, "Beer Schools" to educate customers about beery nuances, and great food paired perfectly to the wide selection of beers they offer, BrewDog bars are craft beer cathedrals for locals and tourists alike, acting as outposts for the brewery's overarching mission across the planet.
James Watt, CEO of BrewDog USA Inc. says,
"Our BrewDog bars are beer meccas, hop temples and cathedrals of malt. We strive to spread the word about awesome craft beer in our bars, embracing the local beer scene and providing a platform for the world's best beers to be enjoyed in an inimitable setting."
Every investor in BrewDog USA Inc. (with a minimum investment of only $95) receives equity shares in the company, owns part of the Columbus brewery and the U.S. distribution of BrewDog beer, and receives the numerous perks of being an Equity Punk including a 20% lifetime discount in the BrewDog USA online shop, a 5% discount in any BrewDog bar worldwide, and in invite to BrewDog's notorious U.S. AGM (annual general meeting) where beer and bands collide in a day-long shareholder meeting like no other. In addition, for each city where 500 people invest in BrewDog USA Inc., when BrewDog opens its local BrewPub, investors from the area have the opportunity to notch up the following perks:
$10 in BrewDog "Beer Bucks" for the first 500 investors in each eligible city,
The first 100 investors in each city will have their name permanently emblazoned on the "Wall of Punks" in their local BrewDog bar, and
The first 500 investors in each city will gain access to exclusive previews of new offers and launches at their local bar before anyone else.
Watt is particularly excited about being able to brew small batches of unique craft beer in each U.S. BrewDog pub:
"With on-site brewing in each U.S. BrewPub, we can take our bar concept to another level as we brew the beer on site as well as serve brews from like-minded breweries – the beer we offer will be as fresh as possible every single time. We're already experimenting with some awesome recipes before we've even set our sights on specific cities, and this is your chance to help shape those decisions for yourself."
Founded in 2007 by two humans and one dog with a passion for craft beer, BrewDog has grown into an international sensation by turning traditional business finance on its head with its Equity For Punks crowdfunding initiatives in the U.K., Europe and now the U.S. BrewDog has recruited an army of 50,000 Equity Punks who have invested in its craft beer revolution, and have helped BrewDog to secure distribution into more than 60 countries, and grow a business that now employs more than 600 people worldwide. To help finance its U.S. expansion, in August 2016, BrewDog started its Equity For Punks USA crowdfunding offering, which received an overwhelming $1 million in the first three days of launch. Equity for Punks USA will be open until February 2017, and prospective investors can visit EquityForPunksUSA.com to find out more and buy shares in BrewDog's U.S. enterprise.
More information on BrewDog can be found at https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/press-hub/paradise-city-brewdog-brewpubs
Since 2007 BrewDog has been on a mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. From the Headliner series, which includes bold, uncompromising pack leaders like the flagship Punk IPA, to the Amplified range (beer, but turned up to 11), BrewDog creates beer that blows people's minds and has kick-started a revolution.
Cofounders James Watt and Martin Dickie shook up the business world in 2010 with the launch of pioneering crowdfunding offering Equity for Punks, an initiative that has seen the company raise $35 million worldwide, taking more money through equity crowdfunding than any other company on record. The funds, and the army of punk shareholders (50,000) enabled the Scottish craft brewery to scale up without selling out.
With more than 45+ global bar launches, export into 60 countries, and a brand new brewery in Ohio opening in 2017, BrewDog continues to take the craft beer revolution stratospheric, whilst continuing to push the boundaries, invest in people, put the beer first, and champion other smb breweries in its venues.