Skip to content

logo-n

‘Critical issue’ requires update

 

By Katie Ritchie   Do you use Windows 10? You may need to update your computer. The NSA alerted Microsoft to a vulnerability. The software giant released a patch to fix it Jan. 14. The NSA and Microsoft do not believe the “especially critical” issue was exploited. Without the update, Windows 10 could allow hackers to…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Your 2020 whats, hows and whys

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   We met with our Congressman earlier this month to talk about his 2020 agenda. He is a busy man whose district covers a lot of territory and those who live there. But he showed us a list of 14 goals for 2020. That took thought. But he has in writing what…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Is your phone eavesdropping?

 

By Katie Ritchie   The secret is out: our smartphones and assistants are listening in. The default settings on devices allow our voices to be recorded. The recordings are collected, and used for marketing. It’s legal. The developers claim they aren’t abusing the information. We’ve heard that before. Don’t like “Big Brother” listening in? You…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

The Importance of Brand Reputation in a Crisis

 

By Erin Sanders Senior Communications Advisor with NP Strategy   When a crisis hits your organization – and it will – it’s important to have a solid crisis management plan in place to mitigate the damage and bring closure. But one of the crucial factors that will determine the extent of the damage and timeline…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

Don’t forget your medicine

 

By Katie Ritchie   The weeks after the New Year are usually dedicated to creating new habits. Many folks want to get to the gym or eat better. The habit I’m building in 2020 is taking my vitamins and medicine on time. If you’d like help remembering your medicine, too take a look at these…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Do you have a future on YouTube?

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   What can you learn from an 8-year-old entrepreneur? How to sell lemonade? It’s far simpler than that. What has made Ryan Kaji highly successful is that he reviews toys on the channel “Ryan’s World.” His earnings in 2019 rose from $22 million to $26 million, according to Forbes’ ranking. Ryan and…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

3 Steps to Improve your Public Engagement In 2020

 

By Jesica Johnson Mackey NP Strategy   2020 is here, and if you haven’t already, now is the time to identify some New Year’s resolutions for your company or organization. If you need a suggestion, consider the ways you reach out to the community. In my previous work with state agencies, engaging with the public…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

Foreign spies use your chat app

 

By Katie Ritchie   Many of us are wary of the way companies and apps use and misuse our private information. Facebook and Twitter are common offenders. Last week the New York Times broke a story of the United Arab Emirates government using a chat app to spy. An app called ToTok was released a…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Develop your own millionaire habits

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   Thomas C. Corley spent 5 years studying wealthy people. He found that they practice many of the same daily habits, such as reading, exercising, sleeping at least 7 hours a night and taking time to think. They make choices about who they spend time with, the goals they pursue and who…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Giving becomes enlightened self-interest

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   Last week, 15 local authors and 5 of us from our publishing company gathered at the library to autograph books. These books make unique gifts because the authors personally autograph them to whoever you plan to give them to, many of them people who are hard to find gifts for. The…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

How to beat the Grinch in 2020

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   How do you get the Grinch to go away? Think about where you want to go, what you want to do and write it down, advises our friend Ruth King. The simple act of writing it down will propel you to do the goals even if you don’t think about it.…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Shopping for CBD? Let Quality and Verifiability be Your Guide

 

By W. Louis Miles Founder, Clarity Nutraceuticals Like many native South Carolinians I applauded when state legislators allowed industrial hemp to be legally grown here. Putting family farms back in profitable territory is just one of the benefits; another is unlocking the powerful potential of a plant that appears to benefit many people, in lots…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc   Category: advice, health-care, on-the-move

FTC settlements protect consumers

 

By Katie Ritchie   Every month it seems like news breaks of another big scam or data breach. This week I wanted to focus on some positive news. First is the record $191 million settlement from the University of Phoenix and its parent company Apollo Education Group. The FTC charged that the for-profit school used…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

5 Tips to Plan your 2020 Social Media Strategy

 

  By Sarah Robinson NP Strategy   This year has flown by, and as the New Year approaches, so do the deadlines for 2020 planning. If you’re getting started with building a social media game plan, consider these 5 tips that will help take your organization’s social media to the next level: Identify Your Goals…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

Google gathering your health data

 

By Katie Ritchie   Have you heard about “Project Nightingale?” It’s not a covert military operation. It’s the name of the partnership between tech giant Google and Ascension. one of the largest health systems in the US. The secret project began last year. The data collected includes personally-identifying information. patient names, addresses, dates of birth,…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Want to be the low price leader?

 

By Jerry Bellune   No, you don’t. Leave that to Walmart. Our friend Ruth King tells the story about Chuck the auto mechanic and Charles the Master Jaguar Craftsman. Chuck’s customers bring him their Honda Civics, want to know what repairing it will cost them, argue with him over prices and try to nickel and…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Holidays not the time for less vigilance

 

By Sheriff Leon Lott We are in the midst of the holiday season when most of us more-deeply embrace that which we all want: “Peace on earth; good will toward men.” Unfortunately, those among us with more selfish, self-serving aims will capitalize on the fact that so many of us seem to let-down our guard…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, life, on-the-move

How to earn your prospects’ trust

 

By Katie Ritchie   Occasionally you may have to cold call. It’s no fun, but there are ways to get in the door. Here are 2 suggested by so-called experts at a sales seminar our friend, sales coach Scott Channell, attended: • Find on Linkedin the college they attended and send them a knick-knack or…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Beware dangerous phone chargers

 

By Katie Ritchie   It has happened to all of us. You’re out and about and realize your phone is running low. It’s especially common when you’re traveling. Airport waiting areas often have clusters of nomads around outlets and power strips. Unfortunately, a scam called “juice jacking” makes charging your phone or tablet risky. Juice…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

How to create effective marketing? It’s simple use your magic!

 

By Ken Gasque   Magic is the most powerful tool you have. Use it! And the most powerful tool for creating magic is a pencil. It is a magic wand when it is used to define goals, and create paths to reach those goals, and to illustrate a new concept, and to visualize new brand…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Business Communications in an Era of Fake News

 

By Alfred Leach NP Strategy No one knows what to believe anymore. Misinformation, disinformation and propaganda are being shared from an ever-increasing breadth of “fake news” sources (from social media to fake websites to search engines). It can wreak havoc on your company’s bottom line: killing sales, impeding product performance and turning employees against you.…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

Have you planned your exit strategy?

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   This time of year many of us have much to be thankful for. And those of us who have been at it many years are starting to think about selling our businesses and what our exit strategy should be to retire. Business coach Ruth King says we need profit and wealth…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, business-services, marketing-and-communications

Do Not Call Registry data book released

 

By Katie Ritchie   Over the last year, robocalls have been a popular Tech Talk topic. One of the resources I mentioned for stopping telemarketers was the Do Not Call Registry. The Registry was launched in 2003. As of September 30, 2019, there were 239 million active registrations. How does it work? Telemarketers and phone…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

4 magic words to deal with fear

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   Physicist Albert Einstein said that to solve problems we’ve never dealt with before we must develop a new way of thinking about the problems and our fears. Author and entrepreneur Harv Eker believes we must hone our thinking to gain a free, happy and balanced life. Most of our problems are…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

State Treasurer’s Office Works to ‘Serve Those Who Serve’

 

By South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis   Our nation’s military members know what it means to serve. They are selfless individuals who have committed themselves to safeguarding our country, its values and freedom. The significant sacrifices our service members make are usually not made alone. They are shared by those that support them the most…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, government, on-the-move

Simplify cooking and grocery shopping

 

By Katie Ritchie   Have you planned your Thanksgiving menu? How about your holiday meal grocery shopping list? If you still need to work on it, there are free apps that can help! The best news? You don’t need to wait until the next big holiday to start using them. My favorite option is the…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Making Your Event Stand Out Through Sponsorships

 

By Emily Eckert NP Strategy   Think back to an event that stuck out in your mind. The one you attended where your mouth dropped open when you walked in, you left with a smile on your face or that you tell stories about. Was it your event? One that your corporation hosted or your…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

The 20% rule of costs and returns

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   A friend called the other day to pick our brains. He wants to start a small weekly newspaper in his community and wanted to know what we did in starting ours. Here’s the Cliff Notes version. 1. Create a business plan. Recruit your tax accountant to help you crunch the cost…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Just hang up on a robot

 

By Katie Ritchie   If you’ve been bombarded by more robocalls than usual in the last 2 months, you aren’t alone. A reader emailed to report he has gotten calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. Please remember, the SSA and other government agencies will not contact you by phone. They will never…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

End of the Year Finances…4 Reasons Why They Are So Important

 

  Caffeinated Conversations: Tuesday, November 12th at 7:45 am at the United Way of the Midlands   Expect the Unexpected Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion of the world, once made the statement about a plan: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Whereas it’s almost impossible to plan for every occurrence…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, non-profit

SC vulnerable to ID theft, fraud

 

By Katie Ritchie   Identity theft and fraud are serious issues. From January 1, 2005, to August 31, 2019, there have been 10,818 breaches. That comes out to 1.6 billion records compromised. According to a recent Wallethub study, South Carolina ranks 5th most vulnerable in the nation for ID theft and fraud. Wallethub looked at…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Your 3 best connecting strategies

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   MaryEllen Tribby believes “connecting” is a better word than “networking.” Her 3 best connecting strategies are: 1. Cultivate relationships. Project an image of warmth, approachability, understanding, knowledge, empathy, and an ability to engage. Be genuine. Take an interest in everyone you meet. Remember their names. Listen to understand their needs and…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Bipartisanship: in Business and in Politics

 

By Sam Johnson NP Strategy   Senator John McCain notably stated that “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the capacity to act despite our fears.” He understood that the ability to act despite knowing the potential political ramifications of those actions embodied real courage, instead of elected leaders that acted because they felt…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, non-profit

Never forget the Scouts’ motto

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   Were you a Scout as a kid? If so, you will remember that famous motto – “Be prepared.” It’s not just for when you were young. It’s for business and for life. Ace copywriter John Carlton reminds us that no matter how many good customers we have, it is smart to…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Five things your graphic designer wants to tell you

 

  By Stephanie Heikkila Holman NP Strategy   Working with a designer to bring your business or organization’s vision to life should be an exciting and creatively fulfilling experience. Based on many years of experience, here are five things your designer wants you to know. Talk early – and talk often. Your brand isn’t just…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

Can your business pass this financial test?

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   Our friend Ruth King says financial statements are our scorecard. We need them on time to properly price our offers, make good decisions to earn a profit, spot minor issues and resolve them before they become major crises. A financial statement prepared by the company’s accountant quarterly is unacceptable. Boxes of…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Secure your accounts

 

By Katie Ritchie   This week’s Cybersecurity Month topic is multi-factor authentication (MFA). It’s a mouthful to say, but a simple idea. Think of it as another level of security. If someone steals your username and password, MFA can keep thieves out of your account. It buys you time until you can change your password.…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Avoid your biggest business nightmare

 

By Jerry Bellune   Running out of cash can give you hyper-stress and sleepless nights. This happens when you don’t have enough revenue in slow times, haven’t saved enough to cover those times, an employee is stealing from you every week or you don’t set prices to make a profit. Here are 4 ways our…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Keep devices safe while traveling

 

By Katie Ritchie   October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so I’m sharing tips for traveling safely with your devices. Keep this list on hand when traveling during the holidays. They are good for any device, even if you only travel with your cell phone. Things to do before you leave: Install and update antivirus…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Improve decisions & your bottom line

 

By Jerry Bellune   Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie’s top advisers are women – an exception in a male-dominated sport. Lurie says he didn’t set out to hire women but to hire the best candidates possible. He was looking for diversity of thought. He wanted executives who viewed challenges and made decisions differently. That meant…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Whistleblower Protections and Retaliation Risks

 

By David Dubberly Whistleblower issues are in the news, mainly because a U.S. intelligence officer recently filed a complaint against President Trump under the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA).  The complaint, which asserts that the president engaged in improper conduct in interacting with the government of Ukraine, has led to an impeachment inquiry.  The…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, on-the-move

New phishing scams are here

 

By Katie Ritchie   October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. For the rest of October I’ll be sharing information on cyberthreats and how you can avoid them. This week is a new form of phishing scam. Phishing is when a scammer tries to impersonate a person or company. It’s often an attempt to steal money…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

How to Pitch a Reporter and Be Heard

 

By Angela Rogers  NP Strategy   Today’s reporters – both print and broadcast – are always on the move. Pivoting from one story to another, preparing a “package” for the 4, 5 and 6 o’clock news, or an in-depth investigation for web AND print, you’ll rarely catch one with ‘down time.’    With a journalist’s…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications, on-the-move

3 steps to own your digital marketing power

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   We see many large and small businesses make these 3 digital marketing mistakes: 1. They have a family member set up a clunky web site that may look pretty but is difficult to read on a mobile device. 2. The site just sits there with no enticing product or service offers…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

Make your iPhone battery last

 

By Katie Ritchie The last in this series of battery boosting tips is for the iPhone. I saved the iPhone for last because iOS 13 released an update September 24. Software updates can sometimes make changes to the interface or menu options. If your device is eligible for a software update, you’ll want to download…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

ABLE 529s: A Special Account for Special Needs

 

By Aaron E. Graham Abacus   You may be familiar with 529 accounts. 529 Plans are so named from the originating IRS Code section and serve as tax-advantaged college savings accounts. A new account known as the ABLE 529 is now available as a similar vehicle to save for expenses unique to those with special…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, banking-and-finance

Tiny ads can pack a powerful punch

 

By Jerry Bellune   Imagine you are desperate for steady work to get your spouse off your back about feeding your family. Your kids are under-fed and always hungry. Then you see this tiny ad in the Help Wanted classifieds: “Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, etc.” The effect is electric, writes ace advertising…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

You can boost battery life of Pixel 3

 

By Katie Ritchie   Last week I shared ways to extend Note10 battery life. This week features tips to boost Pixel 3 battery life. Many of these tips also apply to earlier Pixel phones. Have a specific phone or tablet you’d like battery tips for? Email me at [email protected] . Adjust the Ambient display. If…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, technology

Unconventional Excellence

 

By Heather Matthews NP Strategy   A standing ovation, mixed with enthusiastic cheers and a chorus of “good mornings” welcomed me as I walked in to get my car oil changed.  You read that right, loud clapping from the ENTIRE STAFF as I walked into Gerald’s Tire in Mt. Pleasant, SC last month, right when…

Read More

Posted in: lowcountrybizsc, midlandsbiz, upstatebizsc   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications

5 questions all business owners must ask

 
Jerry Bellune

By Jerry Bellune   How do you build a business that rocks? Our friend Ruth King told us that Jim Howard who published her book, The Courage to be Profitable, asks business owners: What is your reason for being in business? Why are you doing this? What does your customer get out of it? Your…

Read More

Posted in: midlandsbiz   Category: advice, marketing-and-communications