Archive for the ‘Business Strategy’ Category

5 Ways to Increase Your Security This On-Line Shopping Season

November 18th, 2016 No comments

The holiday season marks a time of the year known for joyous times with friends and family.  Unfortunately, with the ever increasing shift towards online shopping, the holidays also represent a time of great risk; especially when buying gifts for loved ones.  These tips offer a great start to decreasing your chance to falling victim.

1. Strong Passwords

One of the most tried and true online safety measures is ensuring you have a secure password on your online accounts.  This includes involving a healthy mix of upper-case, lower-case, numbers, and special characters in that password.

This may seem like a no brainer to some, but far too many people still use simple entries out of convenience that create mounted risks which are never worth the extra moments it would take to remember and type in a complex password.

2. Familiar Sites

With the growing array of sites to shop at, it’s important to know that the ones that you visit are verified retailers. Of course, the reason for this is because when you’re shopping online, you are entering very sensitive information into these sites.

One way to spot a secure website is to check to see if the URL is certified and secure.  If the given URL begins with “https”, rather than just “http”, it means that the owner of that site has gone through a validation process to ensure its security.  You should also be aware of the domain in general.

Often times, phishing sites will mimic actual companies in an attempt to trick people into giving them that prized personal information (such as credit card numbers).  Simply taking a second to ensure you are at a legitimate site can save you big in the long run.

3. Keeping Up with Balances

Not only is monitoring your checking account balances and reconciling purchases a good habit for personal finance; it’s also a valuable tool in staying secure while you’re actively online shopping.  When you take note of your recent purchases, you can save valuable time when noticing unauthorized purchases and taking the steps to quickly stop any further damage from occurring.

4. One-Card

Having all your on-line purchases on a single card simplifies the process and makes it much easier to track where you’ve been and whether the purchases are correct.  Like many things, simplicity can lead to security as it’s generally easier to fortify and protect one spending card in contrast to multiple cards in multiple places.

5. Anti-Virus/Malware Software

In addition to all the practical steps you take to decrease your risk, having a solid base in anti-virus/malware software is always a smart idea for safety.  Many times, our manual attempts can have a human error factor; forgetting one of the above steps simply happens and when it does, having software protection can make the save.

While deciding what software is right for you could be a much longer discussion, but professional providers often can help with this council.  This is important because while it’s paramount to have some form of protection software, there could be a difference in your needs.  For example, are you needing to protect a home PC or business network?

To be clear, advanced cybercrime is not going to be completely preventable, no matter what you do.  These steps are a great way to begin to reduce your risk.  Anything that makes your account more difficult to break into can go miles for your financial security.

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3 Reasons Your Next Budget Should Include Updating Tech

October 19th, 2016 No comments

The time of the year has come again for many businesses.  The time for budgeting.  Budgets can often create headaches for those who decide where the dollars go. With all the different matters pressing, many times there are opportunities missed.  One such instance is an aspect of a business that’s often overlooked, but no less important; your hardware and software technology.

Many businesses don’t realize that when you invest in hardware and software, the rewards last much longer than the initial purchase and can often affect your business positively in more than one way.

Reoccurring Costs

There are several ways that dated hardware and software can cost you in the long run through reoccurring costs.  One of these are the warranties that are tied with certain products.  It will progressively cost you more and more for the warranties on your products as they get older.  So when you update your tech, you aren’t only getting the perks that come with newer technology (we’ll cover this next), you are also saving money by easing the repeated cost of warranties.

Not many companies think about the operational costs that come with aging tech.  For the most part, the more modern your equipment is, the better features you are going to have and some of these will save you big in operating costs, namely energy consumption.  Now, energy consumption may seem like something that isn’t going to affect your budget enough to make a dent, but if you take something like servers and workstations that are constantly running, energy efficiency can add up.


There are some obvious reasons for increased productivity from updating hardware and software and then there are some not-so-obvious ones.  One of the reasons for increased productivity after updating your equipment is because the new and more efficient features that many times accompany new releases.  Despite the learning curve that sometimes factors in, the features can pay off in no time with a more efficient office.

With this being said, there should be a word of caution for companies that only update certain parts of their business with new equipment.  Sometimes newer technology only operates successfully with other new technology.  For instance, if you purchase new computer monitors but have dated printers or scanners, there is a chance that there will be compatibility issues.  That’s why it’s equally important to do your research before making these decisions.


At Intellicom, we regularly highlight the importance of online security because it’s absolutely vital to the longevity of your business.  Well, updating the technology in your office is going to directly influence the level this security, particularly with software.

One of the large issues that plague many businesses with older software is the lack of support that is available from the vendor after the software reaches a certain age.  Much like warranties, vendors tend to allocate more resources around maintenance and security to the newest versions of their products.  The result is that you may eventually be left without the necessary protection or support.  With one attack or extended amount of downtime having the possibility of seriously damaging a business, it’s imperative that you make sure account for the latest security software (and hardware) in your budget.

The time to budget can often sneak up on businesses and, as a result, it’s treated as a chore and many opportunities are overlooked for the staples of the budget.  Although there are more, these three examples are an excellent place to start turning that annual planning exercise into a lasting investment. 

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Setting Yourself Up for a Successful Facebook Page

September 16th, 2016 No comments

Like many different mediums, Facebook is a powerful tool for any companies marketing strategy.  The social media site is generally free to use and gives you access to interact with thousands and thousands of people in your market.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t take the time to create a proper plan when developing their Facebook business page and subsequently end up with little to no results.  Simply put, a major aspect in determining the success or failure of your Facebook page is actually going to happen before you even publish one post. These tips will get you started on what you need to know to getting the results you are looking for from Facebook and other social media sites.

Specific Goals

Without goals, you are likely to have no purpose behind your posts and the impact of that can be devastating to your page.  Having specific goals can help you determine what you want from your Facebook page and how you are going to get there. Some examples of goals for a Facebook page can be:

  • Overall brand exposure.
  • Community connection and interaction.
  • Demonstrating expertise in your area of business.
  • Sales.

These are just a glimpse at some of the things you may want to accomplish through your page.  Now, many of you may be gravitating towards the “sales” goal because, well, that is the ultimate goal.  With that being said, focusing on some of the other goals, in combination with broadcasting sales-driven content, may be more beneficial in the long run because people could be turned away by a Facebook page that merely sells to them.

Schedule Monthly

Once you have your goals set, you can begin to develop a schedule of when you want to post.  This is crucial because being current and consistent with your posting is paramount to being relevant to your audience and having a monthly calendar for this is a way to keep yourself on track.  Without scheduling ahead of time, it’s all too easy to have days go by and forget to post.

Not only is scheduling important for posting in general, but it also gives you the chance to focus on your specific goals and create posts that reflect those goals.  If you want to enhance your overall brand exposure and community connection, maybe you want to make sure you schedule in posts about your businesses community involvement or include questions for your audience to respond to. On the other hand, if you’re focusing on your expertise, you may want to schedule links to articles that explore your area of expertise or post about blog topics that your business covers.

Plan “Spontaneous” Posts

No matter what line of business you are in, audience interaction (likes, comments, opening links) is correlated to the success of your page.  Posts that highlight office life or “live photos” at business or community events are always good ways to enhance interaction with your page.  This is why planning your “spontaneous” posts ahead of time are a good strategy for maximizing the amount of posts that capitalize on this.  All it takes is thirty minutes of planning where you can go over community or company events that you can take pictures at and create social buzz.

Utilize Insights

With any goal, you need a way to measure the success of your campaign, and Facebook is no different.  Luckily, there are some very helpful tools that Facebook provides for doing just this.  When you create a Facebook page, you have the option of an “insights” tab that will show you all kinds of information on when you post, what kind of posts you have, and how successful each post is.  Explore this feature and find out where you need to tweak your strategy month to month.

While there are, of course, more elements that come to a successful social media campaign, these tips are always a good starting point.  Decide what you want from your page, make tangible goals that achieve that, and build a calendar to ensure you stay true to that strategy and successfully build a purpose-driven Facebook business page.

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Cloud vs. On-Premise Solutions: What You Need to Know

August 18th, 2016 No comments

You’ve come to the point where you have to make the decision.  The dreaded decision.  Will you host your valuable data with a cloud-based vendor or will you opt to keep it close to home with an on-premise solution?  Well, before we dive into the pros and cons of each, we should probably cover what each option entails.

Cloud computing usually consists of your data sitting in a secure data center maintained by the third party vendor.  The client then connects to this vendor, and their data, via a secure internet connection.

On the other hand, the on-premise option is a little more self-explanatory.  Like the name states, this is when the client physically stores their data on servers that are located on their own premise.

So which of these options should you choose?  Well, like most technology decisions, it’s not so much of which option is superior, it’s more about which option is better for you based on your individual circumstances and needs.


The strengths that cloud and on-premise solutions provide for reliability can also be their weaknesses.  For example, with cloud, you are very reliant on an internet connection in order to connect with your data.  This means that if the internet is down, so are you.  An on-premise server doesn’t rely on an internet because the physical servers reside in your building.

With this being said, the cloud’s reliability and redundancy can also be a benefit.  If an instance occurs when your on-premise servers are compromised, such as a natural disaster, the downtime will likely be significant.  With the same natural disaster, having your data in the cloud will prevent this downtime.  As long as you have an internet connection, you can access your data from anywhere in the world.


The cost can sometimes be misleading in the cloud vs. on-premise storage debate.  You can begin by comparing the higher up-front costs of on-premise storage with the usually ongoing subscription costs of the cloud. Another thing to think about is making sure you have adequate bandwidth to access your data in the cloud.

This isn’t where the costs come to an end, though.  Particularly with the on-premise storage, there are a number of on-going costs that people usually don’t think of right away.  You are going to need IT professionals that can maintain and update servers and buying more servers as you require more storage is a distinct possibility.  Even electricity must be taken into consideration when accounting for a room full of servers that must be consistently powered and cooled.


Security is an issue that is many times at the forefront of any decision making; especially with technology.

Although you may have more control over your data with on-premise solutions, storing your data with the cloud usually means getting access to world class security for fraction of the cost.

There is also the matter of the breaches themselves.  Despite popular beliefs, most breaches are more about carelessness than foul intent.  It’s difficult for a company that doesn’t specialize in technology to keep their security practices up to date.

A Different Approach

There is also a third option that is gaining more ground among technology circles recently.  The hybrid approach takes aspects of both the on-premise storage and cloud storage and creates a new solution.

Many times, a company’s decision to take a hybrid approach is less about the sensitivity of the data and more about how critical the application is.  For example, a company may choose to have applications that they need on-premise while applications that aren’t as crucial, and storage of data, is opted to the cloud.

Whether you choose to store your data on-premise, in the cloud, or take a hybrid approach, considering your unique needs is paramount to finding the right solution.  Reliability, cost, and security play important roles in data management but this is by no means an exhaustive list.  Consider talking with a technology expert and make sure you are moving forward with the best option for you.

Keys to a Successful Business Continuity Plan

June 7th, 2016 No comments

Disasters usually don’t come with an advanced warning.  Even if they did, lacking a plan on how to continue your business could prove fatal.  In fact, 40% percent of businesses don’t reopen after a disaster and another 25% fail within one year of such an event.

A business continuity plan can serve as the difference between success and failure for your business.  Although there are many characteristics to these plans, three major keys stand out as factors any business should keep in mind when planning for the unplanned.


You can’t fight an enemy that you aren’t aware of.  Before you start discussing what to do in the event of a disaster, you must layout any and all scenarios that could leave you vulnerable.  This includes both natural and manmade situations that hinder your business from a slight inconvenience to major disruptions.

What are the most vital aspects of your business to keep running regardless of the circumstances?  What is the most likely disaster to befall your company?  Knowing these questions will put you in a better position when planning how each part of your business will continue on in the event of a disaster.


Now that you have laid out all the scenarios that could hinder your business, it’s time to plan how each compartment will respond in such situations. This part of continuity planning needs to be as detailed as possible and provide alternatives in case “plan a” doesn’t work.

For example, if you are a technology company and you lose access to your main business office, do you have backup options that can keep your business running?  Can you still communicate with customers remotely?  Does everyone on board know how they will continue their respected duties away from the office?  Are backups for data secure? These are all questions that need to be answered when you are developing your continuity plan.


So you know what threats you face and have laid out a plan to counter them and keep your business running.  Now it’s time to practice.  You need to make sure every individual knows what his or her role is when facing a disaster.  With this being said, go beyond mere knowledge.

To have a water-tight plan, you should consider staging “drills” in which you simulate a certain disaster and note how your business responds.  This could include, for example, not allowing your staff to enter the building.  Would everyone be able to function properly outside of the office?  If not, would the most essential aspects of your business be able to? Simulating disasters is a great way to test the resilience of your business continuity plan.

Unfortunately, disasters do happen and whether you are a large enterprise or a small business, you need to have a plan for when they do. It’s important to remember that this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you need to plan for.  Tailor your plan to your specific business needs because your best solution may be different from others.  Do some research and contact a professional that can help because with a disaster, you can never be too prepared.

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4 Ways Managed Services Can Take Your Business to the Next Level

May 3rd, 2016 No comments

Managed services are becoming increasingly popular, but are they worth it?  Whether you are a small business with limited I.T. resources or a large enterprise with a full staff, managed services can help take your business to the next level.  Four unique elements take managed services from being a simple buzz word to a proven business solution.


One Fixed Subscription Price.

Instead of riding the roller coaster of fluctuating costs that come with monitoring, patching, and other maintenance, you can now have a fixed price for those needs. Managed services allows you to know the price you will be paying for items delivered under the scope of the agreement.  Having this stability allows you the opportunity to think beyond the monthly budget and on to other projects and priorities.

Free Up IT for Strategic Opportunities.

People tend to think of technology as just an expense far too frequently.  In truth, technology can make your business more efficient and competitive; if leveraged correctly.  Managed services allows you to transfer important but time consuming tasks to the provider.  This way, instead of putting out fires, your I.T. can focus on leveraging resources to help your business be more efficient and competitive and turn that expense into an investment.


Peace of Mind.

With 24/7/365 monitoring of your systems, manages services are able to identify and remediate issues before they even become issues. For example. If a hard drive becomes too full, it can crash your server.  Managed services can monitor these systems and automatically alert your provider who can take action to prevent those crashes from happening. It is much more cost efficient to take care of a problem before it becomes an emergency. Managed services works behind the scenes to ensure uptime for your employees and keeps you focused on running your business instead of dealing with IT issues as they arise.


Professional Help.

It’s reassuring to know that the technical support you entrust to your managed service provider are typically items they see every day because that they do that for a living.  Any challenge you have; chances are managed service providers have done that job many times and perfected it. It is also reassuring to know that many providers will have multiple people in each technical role which helps insulate your company by providing redundancy in each position.  That way, if someone is on vacation, gets sick, or leaves the company, there are others who can step in and provide technical support.


Renewals are an aspect of managing your technology that businesses often don’t take into account.  There is a process for renewing your support renewals and warranties that many managed service providers can assist with.  They also often provide asset management services that can automatically inventory everything on your network and provide you with a holistic list.  A good provider will also keep track of every trouble ticket, every resolution, and all interactions with your business.


Expert Strategy.

With managed services, you have a provider who is constantly gathering data that can be used to really take your business to the next level.  Monthly executive reports and quarterly business reviews are excellent tools that managed service provider’s use to give businesses a clear view of the status of your technology and the best strategy moving forward.

As technology grows, the demand for a competitive I.T. system grows too.  What was enough five years ago, just isn’t anymore.  That’s why managed services has become increasing popular.  They’ve become a legitimate solution for businesses of all kinds to get to that next level of efficiency.  Companies need a way to operate faster and that is an element that managed services offers.  It’s important to find the provider that is right for your business and allows you to use the managed services to their full potential.

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Ways to Help Protect Your Business from Cyber Threats

February 18th, 2016 No comments

Small businesses should no longer consider themselves less at threat from cyber-attacks, viruses, malware, ransom ware, or phishing schemes than larger corporations.  Yes, you hear about the big companies that are hit with the headline cyber security woes, but small businesses are being targeting just as often.  These basic areas of cyber security will help minimize your risk.


  • Update all employees on the reality that threats exist and the importance that individual vigilance plays in cyber security.
  • Be aware of any security or privacy regulations that govern your specific industry (PCI, HIPPA, etc).
  • Make sure employee passwords are strong and are changed regularly.
  • Teach employees safe browsing techniques and encourage good online habits.
  • Teach employees to spot spoofed e-mails and other types of phishing related emails.
  • Teach employees what to do in the event of a breach.


  • Purchase security software as it is vital to help protect your business from various attacks.
  • At a bare minimum, have a firewall and anti-virus software that is updated frequently.
  • Have a back-up of your systems performed nightly with recent copies of that data stored off-site or in the cloud.
  • Make sure you have security updated on often overlooked items such as phones, tablets, and laptops.


  • Keep your operating system software patched and up to date.
  • Keep other programs such as Flash and Java up to date with latest versions.
  • Keep your anti-virus software updated with the most recent definitions.

Professional Support

These tips will help you get started with the security of your business but it is always a good idea to seek the help of professionals who focus on these matters.  They will be able to give you a more accurate picture of where you are at regarding security and the measures that need to be followed for your business in particular.   Partnering with a strong IT company can help in a variety of ways; from developing policies, to performing security assessments/penetration tests, and also by implementing any recommendations to fix deficiencies found in an assessment or audit.

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Four Ways to Maximize your Online Presence

January 21st, 2016 No comments

Online presence is becoming more vital as the business world continues to shift from physical to virtual.  Many business interactions are now being done completely online and this presence can be the difference between success and failure.  These are four easy ways that you can make sure your business is ahead of the game and can be found in what may be an already  competitive market.

Professionally Designed Website

Your website could be the first interaction someone has with your business and first impressions really do count when it comes to consumers.  Having a professional look to your website can set up a positive connection that people have with your business. 

Although the look of the website is important, making sure your site operates efficiently is equally crucial.  You can have an absolutely amazing look to your website but if people have a difficult time navigating or struggle getting through transaction features, those looks will count for little and that positive impression could turn sour.  Nothing turns a potential buyer away more than frustration of an inefficient website.  With professional help, features such as e-commerce, accepting on-line payments, event calendars, photo galleries, statistical reports on visitors and trends, html newsletters, etc… can be made easy and take your site to the next level.

Social Media

Social media is a useful tool that can serve as gentle reminders throughout the day that bring your business to the mind of the consumers.  It is also a way to be a little more informal with your audience and put a human face to your business.  For example, this direct communication could come when someone posts to your page a question relating to one of your products or a problem they are having with your services.  You are now able to professionally display your customer service and responsiveness not only to that person but to a much wider audience.  If you struggle with content, try posting interesting industry articles or scenes from the office that display the personality of your company.  Some popular social media sites many businesses utilize include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Strong Blog

A strong blog can be a great way to demonstrate your expertise in your area of business and create a hub for people to get useful information.  Take topics that your consumers will care about and use your blog to address those topics, show your expertise, and really connect with people.


SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is obviously paramount to online presence because, well, how can people enjoy your website if they can’t find it in a search engine?  There are many ways to improve your SEO rankings and many actually stem from the professional build of your website.  Improving your on-page content, creating effective meta tags, and keeping the content of your website new and relevant all will help keep your page at the top of searches. 

You can also compliment building your long term SEO strategy with PPC, or Pay-Per-Click, advertisements where your site can be sponsored at the top of the search results when certain keywords are searched.  This does have a cost associated with it but can be helpful for fast results.  

Taking advantage of these four areas will enhance your online presence but we would warn you against ever becoming complacent in the ever changing online world.  Many of these tips can be done personally so do some research for the best approach to suit your individual needs and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you need assistance with implementation.

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Intellicom featured in Gov. Dave Heineman’s article about the participants of the Entrepreneur Acceleration System

July 20th, 2012 No comments

Intellicom sets pace in state mentor program
Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
DAVE HEINEMAN, Nebraska View

In March 2011, I announced a new partnership to help strengthen Nebraska small businesses and startup enterprises through mentorship. Joining me in this effort were the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Gallup Organization.

This highly targeted, strategic intervention for entrepreneurs is helping create a new generation of homegrown business success stories in Nebraska. The initiative combines business-to-business guides and a consulting program called the Entrepreneur Acceleration System created by The Gallup Organization to help early-stage entrepreneurs and established firms grow their enterprises.

The program encourages business growth by creating value-based relationships with customers through engaged employees, leading to revenue growth. Growth in revenue, in turn, leads to sustainable job creation, which is at the heart of the Entrepreneur Acceleration System program.

More than 50 volunteer small business and economic development leaders have been selected and trained by Gallup to work closely with individual entrepreneurs in the 12-month, talent-based development program.

Guides offer advice to business owners as they confront challenges in growing their enterprises, ranging from securing startup capital and developing new products to building their leadership teams and transferring ownership of existing businesses. This effort has the potential to help 400 businesses statewide over the next few years.

In 2011, 113 companies and 621 managers participated, impacting an estimated 2,985 employees. More than 160 companies and 1,000 managers are currently participating in the 2012 Entrepreneur Acceleration System cohort, impacting nearly 5,000 employees across Nebraska.

Impacts are already being felt as witnessed by the following testimonies:

  • LiteForm Technologies in South Sioux City has taken what it has learned so far through the Entrepreneur Acceleration System to focus more on engaging customers, resulting in one customer making its biggest order yet — $220,000. The company now expects to hire three additional employees during the next 18 months.
  • Key performance indicators for Intellicom of Kearney show a 24-percent increase in revenue, a 75-percent increase in profits, and a 24-percent increase in employee productivity during the first half of 2011.
  • In 2011, Hudl of Lincoln grew from 18 full-time to 41 full-time employees while the client base grew from 2,200 high schools to more than 5,000 as the company acquired its top competitor.

The bottom line is that Nebraska wants to be a top ally for small businesses and entrepreneurs. This partnership is helping us deliver a more coordinated, intensive effort to provide the guidance and expertise that helps small businesses be successful.

Gallup’s involvement makes it all the more unique in that it combines the behavioral economic research and management expertise of a leading Nebraska company to help benefit startup companies in ways that are typically only available to large corporations.

As high-growth potential entrepreneurs apply the behavioral economic principles and tools to their companies, they grow, they hire and jobs are created. This is an outstanding example of the collaborative partnerships that exist in Nebraska, and the innovative way we are willing to work together to move Nebraska forward.

Dave Heineman is governor of Nebraska.

© Kearney Hub 2012

Full article can also be found here.

Intellicom presents at the 2011 Gallup EAS Impact Summit

February 15th, 2012 No comments

In front of a statewide audience at the 2011 Gallup EAS Impact Summit, Dan Shundoff, CEO of Intellicom, was able to share a little bit about the company and talk about the business growth that we are experiencing here in Nebraska. Much of Intellicom’s recent success, Dan attributes to Intellicom participating in the Gallup EAS program. The program is designed to help strengthen Nebraska small businesses and startup enterprises through mentorship. The initiative combines business-to-business mentors and a Gallup entrepreneur consulting program to provide business development assistance to early-stage entrepreneurs and established firms with high-growth potential. It is aimed at creating a new generation of homegrown business success stories in Nebraska. Nice job Dan!