How to Protect Your Company’s Sensitive Information & Intellectual Property

By George Otte

Intangible though it may be, it’s impossible to overstate the value of intellectual property. For many technology-driven companies, intellectual property is the most valuable asset on the books.

Your company’s intellectual property faces a variety of evolving, multi-directional threats. So does the sensitive personal and financial data it collects on employees, clients, and third-parties.

It’s crucial to do everything you can to keep this information safe.

Here’s what you can do to increase your information and data security.

Only Collect Data You Absolutely Need

First, only collect data that you absolutely need for your essential business operations. It’s common for firms to collect sensitive data, such as Social Security numbers, when they don’t really need to do so.

Keep Financial and Personal Records Under Lock and Key

Keep your most sensitive financial and personal records, such as bank account data and Social Security numbers, in highly secure conditions.


“Limit the number of people who have access to these sensitive records, and place tight restrictions on their removal.” — George Otte


Be especially careful with electronic files and to put firewalls and security measures in place to keep information encrypted, safe and secured at all times.

Continue reading

The Top 6 Risk Factors for New Businesses & How to Avoid

By George Otte


Not all of the challenges that you’re likely to face as an entrepreneur are avoidable. However, most can be contained or surmounted with foresight, planning, and resolution.

Here’s how to mitigate or avoid six of the most common risk factors for startups.

1. Lack of Understanding of the Market

Before you formally set your business idea in motion, you need to make sure you’re pursuing the right idea at the right time.

One of the most common causes of early-stage business failure is a lack of due diligence: market testing, product research, and especially competitor analysis. Your due diligence may reveal that you’re entering a crowded, fiercely competitive marketplace — or that you have a tailor-made niche practically to yourself. This alone could be the difference between success and failure.

2. Nonexistent or Unclear Growth Strategy

Once you have a clear understanding of your market, you need a clear understanding of how you’ll grow into that market.

“Growth strategy” sounds intimidating, but developing one is actually a straightforward proposition. Start with a pre-made template and fill in with specific, relevant information based on your understanding of your business and your market research activities.

3. Unclear Value Proposition


“Your company’s value proposition is the clearest possible distillation of its mission, values, and objectives.” — George Otte


The value proposition is a compelling message that answers the question posed by every prospect who considers giving you their business: “What can you do for me?”

If you can’t answer that question clearly, concisely, and persuasively, you may struggle to gain traction with your target audience.

Continue reading

Become a Better Delegator Tomorrow — 5 Easy Strategies

By George Otte

One of the hallmarks of a successful business is a clear chain of command through which tasks are effectively communicated and delegated.

Effective chains of command must be anchored by decisive leadership at the C-level. However, depending on the size and structure of the organization, they rely on honest input from employees, along with efficient workflows and delegation channels through the organization. Imagine a matrix, with ideas and insights flowing, and concrete strategies and directives emanating clearly to all personnel.

Here are 5 proven tips to make sure your business strategies are flowing and being delegated efficiently throughout the organization.

1. Know Your Personal SWOT Analysis

First, you need to develop a deep personal understanding of the opportunities and challenges that are presented to you and your team. This is an essential step in determining where to put your energies and talents to best use within your organization. This is a good step-by-step primer on conducting a methodical, objective assessment of your and your team’s professional capabilities.

2. Assess Your Current Workload

Next, look at your current workload. Make sure you have a healthy work life balance. Having the time to unwind has a direct relation to your productivity and creativity. Never sacrifice quantity over quality. It is important to trust and empower your team and delegate projects that will help managers focus on core activities while team members assist in task completion.

Use your strengths and weaknesses assessment to identify non-core or non-ideal elements of your workload. Set them aside as you work through the rest of this process.

3. Identify and Groom Trusted Subordinates

Now it’s time to identify trusted subordinates and prepare them to take on non-core parts of your workload.


“For each task that you plan to delegate, you need to identify the very best person within your organization. It is also critical that you empower them and provide them with confidence.” — George Otte


Delegating only works when you can trust your subordinates to do a great job.

Continue reading