When it comes to business communication, do you know the unwritten rules?
You just signed a new client last week and you have some important information to share with them. As you sit down to write out the email, you wonder, would a text be a better option? Your phone is right there, and you know their number...
The world of business communication is evolving as quickly as technology changes. Our mobile phones make most of us accessible at any time, any where. So the rules around communication can get confusing and the lines between personal and professional are often quite blurry. But knowing the right (and wrong) ways to communicate with your clients and coworkers can make the difference between having a healthy business relationship or being that one guy that no one takes seriously. So we've put together a list of simple etiquette for business communication.
DO NOT: USE TEXTING AS YOUR PRIMARY BUSINESS COMMUNICATION.
Texting should be used sparingly, and only with established customers, clients or coworkers. Don't start off your business relationship with text messages.
DO: BE PROFESSIONAL.
This should go without saying, but it's an important rule when it comes to communicating with clients or customers. Unless you have a personal friendship with the client you're addressing, stick with standard salutations such as “Hello,” or “Good morning,” rather than “Yo,” or “Hey, man.” Also, when replying to emails from your phone, be sure the message is coming from your business account. Your customers will be less likely to take you seriously if they receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
DO NOT: TEXT AFTER BUSINESS HOURS.
Unless it's a real emergency, if you must communicate with a customer or client after hours send an email. With our increasingly busy schedules, many of us work outside the standard business hours, but don't assume the person you're communicating with wants to receive a business text at 8:00 pm.
DO: USE A SIGNATURE.
Don't make your customers do a Google search to find your phone number. Make sure your contact information is right at hand in an email signature. Your signature should include your full name and phone number at the very least, but including email and web addresses makes it handy for customers to refer you to others – simply by sharing your signature with someone else.
DO: INCLUDE A CLEAR SUBJECT LINE.
As people often decide whether or not to open an email based on its subject line, this can make a big difference. While some studies show that leaving a subject line empty increases the chances of your email being opened, if you want to make sure your messages are relevant to your customers or co-workers, be sure to include a descriptive subject line. “Meeting date rescheduled” or “Suggestions for next week's presentation” give your reader a clear expectation before they open your message.
DO NOT: ABUSE GROUP TEXTING.
Sending out a group text message is a convenient way to reach multiple people at once, but no one wants their phone to blow up with a dozen messages about last week's meeting from Bob and Steve. Use group texting sparingly, and don't send individual replies or messages from within a group text.
DO NOT: USE EMOJIS.
While they're fun and can brighten up a dull text or email message, reserve emojis for personal communication. The only emoticon typically accepted in business communication is the standard smiley face. :)
DO: USE PROPER GRAMMAR AND BE SURE TO SPELL CHECK.
While you may use acronyms in everyday chats with friends (and even some colleagues), reserve acronyms - like lol, btw and ttys - and cute phrases for personal communication. Also, even in text messages, be sure to use proper grammar and check your spelling, especially as autocorrect can some times make embarrassing substitutions. Read and re-read your messages before hitting the send button.
DO NOT: TEXT BAD NEWS.
While it may seem like a quick solution to an uncomfortable situation, texting is too casual for sending negative feedback or unpleasant information. Never, ever quit a job by text message and never, ever use texting for performance reviews or to sever a business relationship.
DO: DOUBLE CHECK THAT YOU'VE SELECTED THE RIGHT RECIPIENT.
It's probably happened to all of us – we sent a text message and then had to send “Ooooops! That was meant for someone else!” When it comes to business communication, sending messages to the wrong person can be embarrassing at best and disastrous at worst, so double - and triple - check that you have the right recipient before sending. No one wants to accidentally send “Pick up milk on the way home, luv ya!” to their biggest client.
These are just some of the important points you should consider when choosing when and how to communicate with business connections. And remember, always assume that others will see what you write, whether an email or a text message. So keep that in mind when communicating and don't write anything you wouldn't want everyone to see. As always, when in doubt, it never hurts to pick up the phone and call, as long as you're operating within standard business hours.
Do your business applications open you up to security vulnerabilities?
There is no question that businesses today are relying more heavily on software solutions than ever before. From financial institutions to health care and even the mom-and-pop shop on the corner, software applications are vital to continuing our efficiency and overall business performance. But as recent news has proven, this efficiency comes at a cost - the security of our personal data.
As we continue to develop software solutions for running global businesses, we are increasingly aware of the vulnerabilities associated with application security. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 90% of data security incidents are a result of exploits against defects in software. But how do these software vulnerabilities happen?
There are a variety of different reasons behind software vulnerability, but there are five that are worth noting for anyone looking to buy off-the-shelf software or have a custom solution built.
Insecure Coding Practices:
The practices that go into writing an application's code are as important as the code itself. If a software developer is not using secure behaviors, policies and practices as they write an application's code, it can lead to vulnerabilities that may eventually result in stolen data or system corruption. The Global Information Security Workforce Study asserts that 30% of software development companies never scan for vulnerabilities during code development.
The Rapid Evolution of Security Threats:
If it seems like you're receiving news about a new security threat every day, you're not far off the mark. Hackers are hard at work finding and exploiting security vulnerabilities just as developers are working to find solutions for blocking them. And the more the threats evolve, the harder it is to protect against them if a developer doesn't have solid security practices in place.
Programming Language Vulnerabilities:
It would be nice if there was a single programming language that was invulnerable to hackers, but that's just not the case. Every programming language has its strengths and weaknesses, and protecting your application is just a matter of understanding the pros and cons of each and then implementing solutions that take these factors into account.
Re-using Vulnerable Code:
For developers, it saves time, and clients' money, if they are able to utilize pre-written code across multiple applications. That's why it's estimated that 95% of applications in use today utilize open-source or otherwise re-used code. The problem is that many companies don't run system and security checks to ensure their applications are protected against vulnerabilities in re-used code. But rather than banning developers from utilizing pre-built code, it's important instead to keep track of code versions and where and how each module is being used to protect against security vulnerabilities.
Not updating software:
We all know how burdensome updates can be, when you are using your phone or computer it keeps popping up telling us that we have a software update and we keep clicking “Remind me later” button, but we never update because it's always suggested when we are in the middle of something. As annoying or burdensome updates may seem, they are a huge part of keeping software secure. This is because in today's day and age there are tons and tons of websites that list software exploits and vulnerabilities and have the code for the hacker to copy and paste right there. A lot of these exploits and vulnerabilities most likely already have a patch for them that is part of the software update, but if you are not running the most current up-to-date version of the software, you are still vulnerable to the exploits and vulnerabilities.
If you need any assistance working with software security, we're here to help. We can design and develop a software solution that actually works for your company. For more information, visit our website or feel free to give us a call at 810-695-0001.
You can help shape great minds.
With an office full of "computer geeks", it isn't surprising that we love technology. So lately we've been sharing technological developments that range from fun, to world changing and are relevant to not only our business, but yours as well. Still, in the midst of exploring new technology, not only do we want to remember the great minds behind these advances, we also want to consider the young minds who may be the future of technology.
Spud Software is always eager to engage with local students who want to learn more about our industry. In fact, last week we welcomed two groups of Grand Blanc High School students to spend a few hours at Spud to learn from JoAnn Roth, of JJ Roth Design, about the graphic design and website development.
Dozens of students were treated to a tour of our facility, informative discussions about the real world of graphic design and website development complete with Q&A sessions, and some fun with our foosball, ping pong and pool tables. The soda flowed freely and the students had a blast.
Maybe your business isn't equipped to handle a teenage invasion on that scale, but we believe it's important for everyone to make an investment in our future through the inventors, entrepreneurs and decision makers who are rising up behind us. Here are a few suggestions for how you can get involved in shaping the great minds of tomorrow:
A good idea can change your business. A great idea can change the world.
Growth is fueled by ideas. When someone dares to take a risk on an idea, it's amazing what can happen. A man with a kite and a key can change history. A horseless carriage comes to life. Four guys in a garage can turn into a multi-billion dollar industry.
History is full of world changers who had the courage to dream big. Thomas Edison, considered one of the greatest inventors of all time, changed our lives with the electric light bulb, sound recording and the motion picture camera. Imagine how different our world would be without his ideas.
Many dare to risk making their idea become a reality. But without action, your ideas are just that, simply an idea, a thought, a concept. Don't you think the world deserves to see your idea brought to life? Here are a few who brought their idea to life.
Amazon. The king of online retail and also the largest provider of cloud infrastructure services. Amazon was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos. The service originally started as just a simple online bookstore, and then later started to expand from a simple bookstore to an internet retail giant. Selling pretty much anything that you could imagine, they even surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer.
Computers. We all know what they are, they are a key part of how our world works today. The very first computer was invented in the early 19th century by Charles Babbage, also known as “The father of the computer”. It's amazing to think that a machine designed to aid in navigational calculations using punch cards and a bell would evolve into what they are today, and how much it has affected not only our world but also our lives.
Google. It's the name synonymous with searching the web - so much so that it's recognized as a verb by the Oxford English Dictionary. If you don't know the answer to something, google it. Need to find a recipe online, google it. What started out as a research project in 1998 has become an internet giant, impacting not only how people look up information online, but also how we carry out day-to-day business.
We all have ideas. You may not be setting out to change the world with your great idea, but you could change your business. You may be looking to streamline your processes or improve employee productivity and we can help you bring those ideas to life. Whether you've got it all planned out or you just scribbled something down on a napkin during dinner last night, we'd love to help you turn your idea into a reality. It may not change the whole world, but it could change your world.