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Archive for March, 2011

For those newbies (recipients of my e-newsletter for less than a year), this March newsletter may appear to be a bit “odd.” What’s the Ides of March have to do with CMIT Solutions of Denver? Now, really. However, for those tenured and experienced recipients, this traditional focus on the Ides of March has been in effect since March 2005. Wow! Somehow I continue to connect history with the present, and especially with the business and technology arena.

Julius Caesar -Watch Those Around YouFrom Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, 1601. ‘Beware the Ides of March’ is the soothsayer’s message to Julius Caesar, warning of his death. The Ides of March didn’t signify anything special in itself – this was just the usual way of saying “March 15th.” Each month has an Ides (15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months) and this date wasn’t significant in being associated with death.

In years past, I have often made the analogy to watching your (technology) systems and taking good care so no attack is made upon your business from within or from the outside. In 2011, I will take a different spin on this. Instead of “beware”, I am opting to write about being “aware” and leverage the success knowledge from your peers and respected authors and speakers.

Personally, I benefit from surrounding myself with trusted advisors and peers (wish that Julius Caesar had done the same). I leverage my internal team at CMIT Denver, the CMIT Pacesetters and CMIT as a whole as well as outside peer/mastermind groups and even (non work) friends. No one person has the answers to everything (that would be kind of boring), so I have assembled contingents of wise people, or in more Arthurian terminology, my Merlins and knights of the round table. And, I continue to forge ahead in improving my personal knowledge which helps me and those with whom I am a resource for information.

Boot camps are a popular training venue these days. I haven’t participated in the physical workout type of boot camp; however, I have attended and various industry ones that have indeed helped strengthen my and my business. Our annual CMIT convention is basically a boot camp and I have yet to miss one of those since I started with CMIT in 2004. Webinars are another useful tool in the arsenal for gathering success knowledge. An insightful note: in my industry there are a plethora of webinars and this can eat into your productive work time. Determine which webinars can be watched/listened to at a later date and time and at which ones it is more important to be a live attendee. There is great “stuff” all around you for the taking.

Lastly, it is helpful to understand and remember that as much as I benefit from my groups of advisors, they benefit from my participation too.

Have a great Ides of March and celebrate by having some good Italian cuisine!

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This idea came to be due to my poor planning (over a year ago) in managing my own social media personal and professional. I had created what I thought were personal and professional Facebook accounts with the assumption that they would be two completely separate and exclusive accounts to manage. I had not done my homework on this – I had just jumped into the world of Facebook and other social media platforms.

  1. Think about how you want to use the different forms of social media – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, blog. A couple weeks ago I was at an industry “boot camp” and this is what I was told by Stuart Crawford of Ulistic fpr where people “hang out” with social media:
    1. Twitter – it’s like going to a bar/dance club on a Friday night
    2. LinkedIn – it’s your business boardroom
    3. Facebook – think of the content as something you would discuss at a backyard BBQ

I have accounts with each of these. Facebook has been my biggest challenge because not everyone who is connected to me as a “friend” uses their Wall on Facebook in the same way that I would and sometimes choice of language is not what I would deem appropriate to show up on my business Facebook account. LinkedIn is viewed by most as strictly for professional purposes. I use Twitter here and there to complement content that I have placed on other social media platforms. My blog is predominantly dedicated to weekly articles that our marketing department comes up with, usually centered around a theme for a month at a time.

2. Facebook: make sure that you have a business page separate from your personal account. For the business page, once you have 25 “Likes”, you can customize the URL/web address for Facebook to be like www.Facebook.com/yourcompanyname.

3. If you want to make things more centralized in managing your social media, you can use web-based programs like HootSuite or Tweetdeck. This is definitely a personal choice.

4. Be efficient with your time with respect to content creation. You can create content for your social media outlets and schedule them for a later “go live” date. This is super because you could create several posts in a focused time frame (e.g. 2 hours for writing blog posts for the entire month of April instead of taking 30 minutes or more each week to write one post).

5. Be consistent with your posting strategy (for business purposes). Just like any other marketing activity, you need to execute your social media posts on a consistent basis. Whether that means you tweet twice a week and post an article to your blog once a week, just be consistent.

6. Lastly and this is really important — train your team and your family members on proper etiquette for social media. I am “friends” with my teenage son on Facebook and therefore others can see posts of his friends. Too many kids and even some adults do not understand that what is written on Facebook can stay on Facebook for all to read — acronyms or the actual improper word(s) are not prudent. Save that for a private message or chat on Facebook, not for all to see and read on your Wall.

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Since we are in the “beware” theme (staying consistent with the Ides of March message), lest we not forget that using our smartphones (Droid, iPhone, Windows 7…) poses a danger to our businesses. Computer users (at work and at home) are aware of potential threats that could strike at any time if their computer and network is not protected nor managed proactively. However, too many people don’t associate similar threats to that fun, little phone that they carry around on their hip or in their purse. Well, beware! Et tu, smartphone!

A Canalys survey of 814 SMBs finds mobile phone security is lacking and poses a threat to businesses.

According to a recent article in eweek.com, 86% of the respondents in the survey have not yet implemented a mobile (phone) security policy in their respective organizations. Businesses that provide employees with smartphones or compensate for them need to ensure that measures are taken to protect the data on that phone – email, contacts, documents (stored on the phone or attached to emails). Compliance issues in some industries may already be compromised and need to be fixed quickly.

Make sure that you have a conversation with your executive and IT support teams about policies and procedures for protecting your business with respect to smartphones and other mobile devices (laptops, netbooks, iPads)

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Every day I receive an email in my personal Inbox from Real Simple (my favorite magazine). Just last week the Daily Thought was “Tomorrow is often the busiest day of the year.” It’s a Spanish proverb. Another quote on the same tangent was spoken by my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, when she said, “Tomorrow never comes.”

What these two quotes reinforce for me is that I better have my action items (in order of urgency and importance) figured out for each day and be thinking ahead for the next day and week. Too often I have subconsciously and consciously used Scarlett O’Hara’s famous line “Tomorrow is another day.” This leads to not getting things done and downright procrastination (“pro” meaning “for” and the Latin root “cras” meaning “tomorrow”). This is not a good thing. I find that I put off things that I don’t want to do or enjoy doing. So, I need to figure out how and when to perform those actions or find someone to whom I can delegate them.

Alan Lakein’s groundbreaking book on managing your time, How To Get Control of Your Time and Your Life, speaks to the whys and hows of prioritizing and managing all that you have on your plate(s). It is one of hundreds of books for determining how to go about this “animal” known as time management. It’s more about YOU and how you think about using those same 24 hours that everyone else in our world has than what system or method of time management you implement.

Time is fleeting (tempus fugit) so act now! Start with baby steps and build on those so you create a lifelong habit of managing your time better so you can enjoy your life. Check out another book called “The 4 Hour Work Week” (updated edition) by Tim Ferriss to see how you can recapture hours in each week.

Hurry up, hurry up so you can slow down and enjoy your work and your life in general.

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