How to Stop Wasting Time and Start Seeing Results from Your DIY Small Business Marketing

As a small business owner, it can be hard to see what the best marketing channel is for your specific product. Everywhere you look, you see marketing “tactics” that will “explode your Twitter following overnight” or “start a viral movement.” Unfortunately, the majority of companies out there will see zero positive impact, and going viral is extremely difficult and not always a good thing.

So how do you find the best marketing campaigns for your small business that you can run?

Let me walk you through a simple and effective plan that will get you the business you need. Take 20 minutes and follow these simple steps.

Identify your customer’s problem

The first step is to identify the problem that your small business solves. You know your customers better than anyone, so try and get in their heads.

Take a few minutes and write down some common problems your customers have.

Here are three examples:

A family restaurant:

Problem: “I need a place where my family can eat that has reasonable prices, good atmosphere for kids, and good food.”

A mortgage broker:

Problem: “I don’t even know where to get a home loan and I’m worried I won’t understand the process when I do.”

A business accountant:

Problem: “Our company needs software that allows our accountants to work closely together so we can quickly and efficiently help our customers.”

Show the solution

The next step is to consider each one of the problems you wrote down, then write down two sentences that show how your business solves that particular problem. For example:

Problem: “Our company needs software that allows our accountants to work closely together so that we can quickly and efficiently help our customers.”

Solution: “Our innovative accounting software allows your team to work together quickly and effectively.”

Solution: “We’ve built a suite of tools to help your accountants work together on the same project in real time, saving you and your clients time and money.”

Also, consider looking through your customer testimonials or reviews for snippets that show how your business solves people’s problems. These can be the most effective messages you can share.

Now that you’ve got some good solid ad copy, run it by someone you trust to give you honest feedback. Don’t let your ego get in the way; make sure to listen to what they say. Make changes as necessary.

The last step is to find the best way to get your message in front of your audience. It’s important to recognize that one size does not fit all. If your clientele is small business across the nation, odds are you’re going to need to reach out to your customers on the Internet or through trade publications. If you’re local, it might be the newspaper or local Google ads.

The best way to find the right marketing channel is to determine where your customers are when they make the “decision.” For example, people frequently check Yelp for restaurants, so if you’re trying to find new customers, you may want to take out an ad in Yelp. If you’re a plumber, you may want to take out an ad in the local newspaper or put an ad on Craigslist.

Here’s a list of common marketing channels for small businesses: 

   •     Google AdWords
   •     Facebook ads
   •     Forum banner ads
   •     Bus stations
   •     Local newspapers and radio stations
   •     Yelp
   •     Craigslist
   •     Trade shows
   •     Magazines
   •     Local television

Now that you’ve got your copy and you have your channel, all you have to do is place the ad. Then, make sure to watch the results closely. If it’s not successful, consider changing the message or going with a different channel. Once you find an advertising campaign that works, it can bring profits for years to come.

What kind of success have you had running your own marketing campaigns for your small business? Reply in Comments below.

Captain Sully saved his life. Mozy saved his files.

You’ve probably heard about the new movie, Sully, the story that recounts US Airways Flight 1549 and Captain Chelsey “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who “landed” the Airbus A320 in New York’s Hudson River on January 15, 2009. Just after taking off from LaGuardia Airport, both of the aircraft’s engines were disabled after striking a flock of Canada geese. Realizing there wasn’t time to return to the airport, Captain Sully and his co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles made the decision to ditch the plane in the river. Miraculously, all aboard survived.

Although the “Miracle on the Hudson” is a story that’s known worldwide, there is a smaller, related story that’s not so well known. Businessman Paul Jorgensen was one of the passengers aboard Flight 1549 that day, and EMC was a small part of Jorgensen’s story. That day Jorgensen, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, was on his way home from New York to spend the weekend with his family. “January 15, 2009, started as a normal day for me,” Jorgensen remembers. A few minutes after takeoff, things changed. “I thought for sure we were going to die,” Jorgensen says. “I was convinced. I didn’t think we any chance at all to survive.”

Fortunately, Captain Sully’s quick thinking saved all aboard. The 150 passengers and 5 crew members were rescued that day, but personal property was all left behind in the damaged, sinking plane. “It never even occurred to me to grab my laptop or cell phone…or wallet…or keys before I got off the plane,” Jorgensen says.

Once safely back on solid ground, Jorgensen called his company’s IT department. “I’m without a laptop; you have to get me something,” he recalls. The next morning IT provided Jorgensen with a replacement laptop and all of his files as they had been backed up by Mozy from EMC. “I was shocked,” Jorgensen remembers, who says it would have taken him months to replace everything that was on his hard drive.

“Having the laptop delivered with my entire hard drive replicated exactly as I left it saved me literally months of time and hassle,” he says.

Jorgensen says that his experience on Flight 1549 is a reminder that we have very valuable files and “we just simply can’t afford to not back them up on a daily basis.” Today when Jorgensen tells people his story, “I like to say that Captain Sullenberger saved my life. MozyPro from EMC saved my laptop files.”

Tom Hanks plays the lead in “Sully.” It’s quite a performance, but he’s only acting. When it comes to data loss, that’s real. Jorgensen says that backing up valuable data is not a precautionary step to take lightly. “And it doesn’t have to be a plane crash to remind us of that,” he says. Fortunately, you can protect your valuable data with Mozy backup—without landing on the Hudson.

You can hear Paul Jorgensen share his dramatic story here.

Dell + Mozy have a lot in common with greatness!

Holmes and Watson. Batman and Robin. Han and Chewy. Jordan and Pippen. Milk and Cookies. What do all of these have in common? You guessed it; legendary partnerships who were better together. Any one of these individuals was pretty great on their own, but when paired with the other they were greater.

With that in mind, I’m happy to announce the forming of an extraordinary business partnership between Dell and EMC that’s destined for greatness. So maybe you’re asking yourself, “What does this have to do with Mozy?” The merger of Dell and EMC, owner of Mozy, is great news for you, our customer! Dell and Mozy share common values—starting with putting customers first. I’m excited by the opportunities created by Mozy joining Dell Technologies and its family of companies, and want to share my short list of why I think this is a great partnership, as well as what you can count on staying the same.

Complementary technologies

Dell makes world-leading desktops, laptops and servers, and Mozy provides an industry-leading solution for protecting the data on those systems in the cloud. These technologies together are sure to take “industry-leading” to another level. This one is a no-brainer.

Business fit

Dell provides Mozy with a massive new universe of customers in need of data protection. Don’t be surprised to see Mozy offered to Dell business and enterprise customers on new desktops and laptops. We look forward to the growth this partnership will bring, and the additional investment it will enable, which benefits you as a Mozy customer.

Emphasis on partners

Both Dell and Mozy wouldn’t be where they are today without the support of great partners. We expect this commitment to our partners to continue to grow and flourish as a result of this new partnership.

Some things will never change

So what isn’t changing? Our high quality, award-winning service and customer focus. Mozy is committed to our customers and partners for the long haul. We’ve spent years investing in a service you can trust with your most important information.

You’ll also notice a few positive subtle changes over the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned.

Like peanut butter and jelly.


Russ Stockdale is the General Manager at Mozy by Dell

6 Easy Tax Breaks for Small Businesses

To be a small business owner is to know how to save money. Small business owners have to be savvy with how they spend because they often have re-invest a lot of their profits back into building up their business, and profits and costs can vary dramatically.

One of the best ways you can save as a small business it to know the full extent of your available tax breaks. Before we delve into 10 of the easiest tax deductions for small businesses, make sure to review all tax-related information with a certified accountant or tax professional, as I am neither.

Home office expenses
If your team is a distributed workforce and you work from a home office, you can deduct your operating expenses. The IRS calls this “Business Use of Your Home.” It works like this:

   •     Calculate the percentage of your home office from the total          square footage of your house. The home office must be a sole          dedicated space to your business—a hobby craft room with a          desk in the corner technically doesn’t count.
   •     That home office percentage is also the percentage of all          utilities you can deduct, including electricity, gas, and Internet.
   •     Take your monthly statements or the yearly averages and          calculate the percentage.
   •     Half of all business dinners

If you regularly meet new or potential clients for dinner or drinks, you can deduct 50% of the amount you paid as a business expense. This is the case whether or not you’re traveling or in your home city.

New technology
Many people forget to deduct a portion of the new technology they buy because they also use it for personal use. The good news is you can deduct the cost of percentage of the item that you use for business. For instance, if you use your smartphone 50% of the time for business calls, email, or Skype IM chat, you can deduct 50% of the cost for a new one. This also goes for your Internet connection costs as well.

The same goes for computers, monitors, back-up batteries, cameras, and more. However, don’t be generous with the deductions—it’s not worth the IRS audit

Car leases or mileage
When deducting use of your personal vehicle for business, you have a few options. For a purchased car, you can deduct either by mileage or actual expenses, according to TurboTax.

Additionally, if you decide to lease your car instead of buy it, you can deduct the percentage use of lease payment (same as the technology example above). So, if you use your car 15% of the time for appointments, driving to clients, etc. you can deduct 15% of your car lease payments. You have to use the “actual expense” model as mentioned above to deduct lease payments.

If you regularly attend conferences, buy books directly related to your business and industry, or attend on-demand courses, you can deduct the related costs. This is a great way to stay relevant in your industry without worrying too much about the costs.

SaaS subscriptions
If you regularly have subscriptions to ongoing services that you use for business, you can deduct them. Some examples include:

   •     Computer virus protection
   •     Cloud file backup (for example, Mozy)
   •     Adobe Creative Cloud
   •     VPN for client security
   •     PayPal or credit card transaction fees

There are several other tax breaks for small businesses available. Get familiar with the IRS guidelines for business deductions and take advantage of as much as you legally can.

The Power and Impact of AES Encryption

In 2011, Ponemon Research released a study that shook the business and hacker community to their digital core. Out of 583 U.S. companies, 90 percent of respondents claimed their computers had been hacked at least once in a year. That’s terrible news for companies, but thrilling news for hackers who continue to find ways to illegally gain access to other people’s data. Unless an Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) is in place.

In 2014, half of American adults had experienced a computer hack. Even more worrisome, the estimated annual cost over global cybercrime is $100 billion, according to The number of hackers rising from behind their laptops is astronomical. But many hackers fear AES encryption, a common encryption technology used by the U.S. military that is now used worldwide. Besides the military, e-commerce websites, banks and hospitals use AES encryption to protect consumers and clients from a data breach. So far, there’s been no major or successful cryptanalytic attacks against AES, which protects classified information and encrypts sensitive data. But how did AES this come about?

The history

It all started with two Belgian cryptographers (a fancy word for the study of secret writing techniques) named Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen. They used cryptography algorithms, known as ciphers, and mathematic functions. No standards existed to promote a secure encryption algorithm until the Data Encryption Standard was published in 1977. However, the key size proved to be too small, leaving vulnerabilities and a painfully slow process. But the two cryptographers developed a symmetric block cipher (code used to conceal messages) comprised of three block ciphers, AES-128, AES-192 and AES-256.

The AES was adopted as industry standard by the U. S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001 after a three-year competition for the best encryption technique. Based off its creators’ names, AES is also called Rijndael.

What set AES apart? AES encrypts data with a secret key, and once decrypted, it uses the same secret key, but the operations are done in reverse. AES allows users to “hide” the relationship between an intended message and an encrypted message. Simply, it creates confusion. Depending on the block ciphers (AES-128, AES-192, AES-256), millions of different possible key combinations occur. Consider this number: AES-128 has more than 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 different key combinations.

Why do hackers fear AES encryption?

According to, it would one billion years for a “super-computer to crack the AES-128 algorithm using brute force.” To put it simply, AES encryption creates an unintelligible cipher block that leave hackers scratching their heads. Some officials, like Ozzie Diaz, president and CEO of AirPatrol, recognize the minor flaws in AES encryption, but still feel confident in the process.

“Can somebody repurpose and weaken the strength of the AES algorithm? Yes. That’s what cryptographers do,” he told TechNewsWorld in 2009. “But we don’t have to worry about AES being weakened anytime soon. Still, AES in theory has flaws. The bottom line is that AES isn’t broken.”

According to, brute-forcing a 128-bit key using even the most advanced supercomputer would take 1.3 quadrillion years. Using a 256-bit key? It’s unfathomable to think how long it would take a cybercriminal to hack that!

Protecting Your Identity from Growing Cyber Crime Threats

In 2015 alone, 13.1 million Americans were victims of identity fraud. Even more shocking, identity fraudsters have stolen approximately $112 billion since 2009, which amounts to $35,600 stolen every minute. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of ways to protect your digital identity from the growing number of cybercrimes. These include shielding your keypad when entering important information, not using public Wi-Fi, using unique and different passwords for each website, and backing up your information in case of a ransomware attack. By following the guidelines in this infographic you can significantly increase your odds of not being a victim of cybercrime! Let us know in the comments how you are protecting your data.

Boston University’s Master of Criminal Justice Online Program

Four Cloud-based Tools that Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

So what are some of the top cloud-based offerings that are changing the game for entrepreneurs? In many ways, the type of app that you will use depends on the field that you are working in. But there are a few applications that are useful for almost everyone. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

4 tools you should definitely be using

Office 365 or Google Docs: The ability to run an entire office via the cloud is something that many people may take for granted, but it’s made a huge difference to startups that no longer have to pay expensive licensing fees for software that traditionally used to tie them down to one location. Now you can create documents, run business email accounts, share spreadsheets, and collaborate over vast distances with just the click of a button. Furthermore, because so many people are familiar with the interfaces provided by Google and Microsoft, the learning curve is not very steep and new team members can slot into the system quickly and easily.

QuickBooks: Accounting and bookkeeping are very often tough for entrepreneurs who are busy trying to grow their businesses and focus on what they do best, without worrying about keeping good records. A cloud-based accounting program that can track your income and expenses, manage cash flow, and take care of payroll is a life-saver to entrepreneurs.

Mozy: One of the biggest fears of small businesses migrating to the cloud is the idea that they may wake up one day to find all their data has been lost or deleted, and there is no way to get it back. But cloud-based services like Mozy provide rock-solid data protection for growing businesses, offering daily, weekly or monthly backups of critical data, as well as syncing from multiple devices with enterprise-grade encryption and full mobile access.

MailChimp: When it comes to marketing, cloud-based apps have been a godsend for entrepreneurs. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–all are wonderful marketing tools to get your products and services out in front of customers and build a community of like-minded people who believe in what you do. But at the end of the day, the one marketing tool that is still more powerful than any other is email marketing. Cloud-based bulk email services, like MailChimp or Constant Contact allow entrepreneurs to build intimate relationships with customers and create working sales funnels that produce sales over and over again. The reporting is world-class too; you get to see who read your mail, what they liked and didn’t like, and much, much more.

How to get started
The beauty of cloud computing is that it allows small businesses to compete effectively with the big players. Start small, see what works, pay only for what you use, then scale up when things are going well and down when things are quiet. That’s the secret to getting the most out of the cloud.

How to Use LinkedIn for Business

You’ve wanted to learn how to use LinkedIn for business for quite some time now. However, the only tips that you’ve been getting from the Internet so far are the cookie-cutter ones (you know, things like complete your profile, network, etc.). It’s quite frustrating, isn’t it?

When you think about it, although the cookie-cutter tips are technically correct, it doesn’t really give you an edge over your competitors because everybody knows about it. What’s worse, none of these tips are actionable.

If you’re tired of reading useless, borderline cringe-worthy tips on how to use LinkedIn for business, then you’re in the right place. I will share with you three LinkedIn marketing tips that are actionable, simple to implement, and most of all effective.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Use LinkedIn’s “15 Ways to Keep in Touch” feature.

The thing with using LinkedIn is it can be such a productivity black hole, especially if you aren’t keeping track of your time. That’s why using LinkedIn’s “15 Ways to Keep in Touch” feature is such an amazing strategy; it works somewhat as a “counter.” The way I use it is I send messages to all 15 users, and when I’m done sending messages, I then stop using LinkedIn and proceed on doing other more important tasks.

Before you use this tip, I’d like to highlight two critical points first:

1. Send a personalized message. You can create a template if you want, but be sure to leave room for customization. Don’t ever send LinkedIn’s “Congrats on the new job!” default message.

2. Do not sell your services on your first contact. Establish a level of connection with them first. On my end, I tend to send my pitch on my 3rd or 4th reply to their message, depending on how our conversation progresses.

This is one of my favorite strategies on how to use LinkedIn for business. Not only is it effective in terms of bringing you new customers, but it also helps you keep track of your time, making it easier for you to manage it.

2. Uncover possibilities of collaboration with the users connecting with you.

When other LinkedIn users start sending you connection requests, I hope you aren’t just accepting them without sending them a message. That would be a wasted opportunity! Because you’d like to learn how to use LinkedIn for business, here’s what you can do instead. You can send them a message thanking them for connecting with you, add a one-liner personal message, then ask about possibilities where you can both collaborate.

Giving them that kind of message will show the person on the other end that you are a real person, and a “likable” one at that! This is one of the versions that I use when others add me at LinkedIn:

“Hi (first name).

I appreciate connection request. How’s everything in (write the name of their city here)?

Can you tell me more about your job role in (the company that they are connected with)? I’d love to explore opportunities where we can both collaborate in the future. Take care.


This template usually yields surprising results. The user almost always replies with what it is that they do and asks me about what kind of collaboration opportunities I have in mind. At this point, all you need to do is to pitch your services strategically to what it is that they do. If they’d like to give your idea a try, then they’ll go for it. But if not, then just be a good sport and accept their decision.

Another route that you can take (which you should almost always be doing) is to ask for referrals. Doing so gives you more mileage on every connection/relationship that you establish.

3. Contact the users who viewed your profile.

There’s a reason why others are viewing your profile. Whatever that reason is, you can bet your family jewels that it has something to do with the work that you do, or the product or services that you offer. This somewhat makes them a warm lead. Be sure to capitalize on this feature and start contacting those who viewed your profile. Your message doesn’t have to be long and intricate. You can say something along the lines of:

“Hi (first name).

I noticed that you viewed my profile. If there’s anything that I can help you with, do let me know.

I wish you the best! 


What makes this strategy so effective is the fact that it isn’t intrusive at all. I say that because between you and the other user, it isn’t really you who showed the first interest. It was him/her by checking out your profile.

What’s next?

What are some of the LinkedIn marketing tips that you can share with our readers? If there are strategies on how to use LinkedIn for business that you feel should be a part of this list, then please share them in the comments section below.


Mozy Will Soon Keep Backups Even Longer

Mozy understands that your important files are critical to the success of your business. Likewise, we understand that MozyHome users rely on Mozy to safeguard their documents, photographs, music files, and other important files. Mozy protects your data by keeping older versions of your files available so that they can be restored if necessary. There are various reasons why you might need to restore an older version of a file, including:
   •     You changed a file and want to go back to an older version of the file.
   •     You deleted content from a file and want to retrieve that content.
   •     You accidentally deleted a file and now want it back.
   •     You have a corrupted file (due to ransomware, for example) and need to go back to a version of the file before it became          corrupted.

We will be rolling out a new extended retention policy for all Mozy solutions. That means the older versions of your backed-up files will be kept for longer before they expire. This significantly improves your data protection at no cost to you. For MozyHome users, older file versions will be retained for 3 months (previously, MozyHome retained files for 1 month). For MozyPro users, older file versions will be retained for 6 months (previously, MozyPro retained files for 2 months). For MozyEnterprise users, older file versions will be retailed for 1 year (previously, MozyEnterprise retained files for 3 months).

To enable this extended data retention and the benefits it provides to you, Mozy will be introducing file version consolidation. Mozy restores are highly reliable, but version consolidation allows us to extend that reliability out to greater backup retention times. This means that rather than keeping every version of your files, we progressively consolidate older file versions so that the number of versions available for restore decreases as you go further into the past. For example, for MozyHome we will keep all versions of a file for one day, hourly versions of that file for 3 days, daily versions of that file for 31 days, and weekly versions of that file for 92 days. Version consolidation never loses any data; it merely rolls up the changes of multiple versions into one version. And it is unlikely you will even notice it, since typically you will not need to restore a file version to within an hour from many weeks in the past, whereas you quite likely will want to do so for a restore from yesterday. Because it keeps file version lists shorter, version consolidation allows you to more easily choose a restore point, and it also allows Mozy to provide the restore more quickly.

Mozy is continuously looking for ways to improve the backup process and meet the needs of its users. Our goal is to ensure that each time you save one of your files, it’s backed up, protected and, if necessary, can be recovered and restored exactly as it was.

Air gapping: What is it and when is it the right security measure for you?

As more and more organizations commit their sensitive resources to the cloud, and consumers demand faster and easier access to their online data, so the issue of data security has become more important and relevant to users. There are many ways to increase digital security measures, from better passwords and multi-level authentication to encryption and segmentation of data. But one of the most foolproof, and least understood, security concepts is that of air gapping.

What is air gapping? According to reference site, an air-gapped computer “is physically segregated and incapable of connecting wirelessly or physically with other computers or network devices.” In addition to that physical removal from a network, a gap is specified between the computer and the outside walls, as well as between the wires servicing the air-gapped system and all the other systems in the physical space. By observing these rather extreme measures, the possibility of data being stolen or extruded via electromagnetic means is removed.

It stands to reason that when a computer is not connected to the Internet, or to a network that is connected to the Internet, the chances of data theft is extremely remote. That’s why air-gapped computers are often used in military applications, or in retail institutions that process large amounts of money via online transactions, and even in industrial situations that control critical infrastructure.

So how does data get into an air-gapped system in the first place? Very methodically, either by USB or by a removable storage device, which is disconnected as soon as the data is transferred. Until quite recently, air gapping was thought of as being an impenetrable form of security, due to the fact that physical access to a machine was the only way to breach its defenses, and that access could be carefully controlled. But the Stuxnet virus, which was designed to breach Iran’s nuclear program, laid waste to that notion. According to Wired magazine, “Computer systems controlling the centrifuges were air gapped, so the attackers designed Stuxnet to spread surreptitiously via USB flash drives. Outside contractors responsible for programming the systems in Iran were infected first and then became unwitting carriers for the malware when they brought their laptops into the plant and transferred data to the air-gapped systems with a flash drive.”

More recently, Israeli researchers found a way to use radio waves and devices to siphon off data from air-gapped machines, effectively proving that no system is utterly impregnable. Yet it is still a first-class security measure.

Are there cases when air gapping would be appropriate for a small business? Certainly. In an average small business that has 15 to 25 computers connected to the Internet, there is a good chance that the business has some sensitive data which it needs to protect closely. There would be a strong case for air gapping one particular machine which contains that sensitive data, and delegating one person to be in charge of importing and exporting data from that particular machine on a regular basis.

The physical distance between an air-gapped machine and a network, coupled with strict access of who interacts with that machine, is one more way to ensure that sensitive data is protected in this day and age.