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Volume 5, Issue 9  
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Don't Let Disasters Drive You Out of Business

Hi -

My best tips (in terms of reader response) are usually tied to current events that underscore their value. Hopefully that's the case with this month's suggestion. As you read on and consider how ready you are to handle disasters affecting your business or home, I invite you to consider your clients, family, friends, and colleagues as well.

Situations like those we've been witnessing in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas provide natural openings for discussing how well your contacts are positioned to handle certain emergencies, and to offer concrete, practical suggestions they can use (and will appreciate)... all of which further solidifies your standing as one who keeps others' best interests front and center - the essence of a trusted advisor.

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If you have questions or comments about this material do not reply to this message, email me at kip@gregory-group.com. Responses sent to kipgregory@mailer1.cooleremail.net will not reach me.

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Disaster Planning: An Ounce of Prevention...

Among the casualties of the Gulf Coast hurricanes have been data vital to businesses that operate there. Sadly, many won't recover from the loss; their essential information literally washed away with the storms - a haunting reality has everyone running their own business asking, "how prepared am I to deal with disaster?"

If your answer is "not very," here are several steps you can (and should) take immediately to lessen the impact of disasters big and small on your livelihood.

Create on and offsite file back up systems for your data. While onsite backup hard drives from vendors like Maxtor and Iomega will protect you against an isolated hard drive failure, in Katrina-like situations they won't do you much good. The same flood or fire that consumes your PC will likely kill your backup equipment too. That's where online subscription-based file storage and back up services such as @backup, Connected, and xdrive come in handy. They let you automatically back up data via the Internet on a secure storage drive located away from your office. (High-speed access to the Web is a must if you're going to use those services.)

On the other hand, onsite back up systems are also worth having. They let you restore client data quickly in the more likely event that a single computer fails (vs. your entire office being destroyed). You can find a range of models from the companies mentioned above and others at office supply and electronics stores in your area or on the Web (just Google hard drive backup).

(Publications like PC World and PC Magazine regularly evaluate both categories of products and are sure to run articles reviewing various options over the next several issues. You can visit their sites to read both current and archived articles.)

The trickiest part of any system? Testing to make sure it works, which involves overwriting data stored on your hard drive with the contents of the back up copy. If you're (understandably) nervous about doing that I've included some suggestions below on getting help with the whole process.

Invest in surge suppressors and uninterruptible power supply. Hurricanes and other natural disasters aren't the usual cause of data loss; power surges and outages are. You can protect against both with products from APC, Tripp Lite, Belkin, or Minuteman.

Surge suppressors stop electrical spikes moving through external lines from reaching your equipment such as when lightning strikes a power line near your home or office, or when your power goes out and suddenly is restored. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are large batteries that keep your computer running long enough to save open files and shut it down safely if your office loses power (you plug the UPS into a wall socket and your equipment into the UPS). Many of these systems can even be programmed to shut a computer off on their own if power problems occur on an unattended machine.

Take stock of your hardware and software. Among the things you'll need if your computer is lost in a disaster are the installation codes for the software you were using. The Belarc Advisor is a free tool you can download that will analyze your hard drive and present you with a clear, concise report detailing the name and version of each component inside your computer, including the key codes entered when software was initially loaded on the PC. A small program worth its weight in gold, you'll find it at http://www.belarc.com.

Don't hesitate to ask for help. Finally, if you need assistance setting up a backup system you have several options. One of course is to call the tech support team at the company whose products you purchase. Onsite help is a second option. A growing number of tech support resources are available in markets across the country, Geeks on Call and the Geek Squad are two national firms offering such service. There are dozens of additional smaller companies operating in local markets. My advice: get a referral from a friend or business colleague to someone with whom they've worked and been happy with.

Here's hoping you prepare for a disaster that never strikes. Implement these suggestions and whether it does or not, you'll rest easier knowing your bases are covered.

Ways The Gregory Group Can Help You

Increase Your ROI on Professional Development

Throughout the fall many Tips readers are busy attending industry events and corporate sales conferences. If you're one of them you know firsthand the challenge of actually putting ideas you pick up along the way to work in your business. Too many distractions get in the way.

If competing priorities, confusion, or lack of follow through are preventing you from implementing the improvements you seek, one-on-one or team coaching may be your solution.

My programs are designed to help you define specific objectives (expanding / consolidating your client base, increasing assets, eliminating expenses, automating routine tasks, or building your team) and develop practical strategies for achieving those results (through smarter use of people, process, and personal technology). Just as important, they deliver clear, concrete guidance on implementing those ideas.

We don't just talk we collaborate, via telephone and our own private online conference room. Programs include at least four 50 minute sessions conducted weekly in the comfort and convenience of your office (so there's no travel expense or time lost in traffic).

If you are ready to explore how to take your business to the next level email or call me at 202.364.6913 and let's visit. Don't let the days and dollars you invest in training and development go to waste. Contact me now and let's develop a plan for getting you to where you want to be.


Inject Energy and Enthusiasm into Your Next Meeting

How many presentations do you attend where you come away feeling you actually learned something practical and new that you could implement right away?

My sessions offer guaranteed take-it-back-to-the-office-and-put-it-to-work value that attendees appreciate and ask for. One Greater Washington Board of Trade workshop attendee earlier this week said that he'd "never had so much pertinent information delivered in such a meaningful way."

If you or someone in your organization are planning a fall or winter sales conference, due diligence presentation, product road show, or employee training, email or call me at 202.364.6913 to explore how to achieve maximum ROI on your outside speaker program.


Warmly,

Kip Gregory
The Gregory Group: When You're Ready to Take Your Business to the Next Level
202.364.6913

http://www.kipgregory.com

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Don't forget, for questions or comments about this message email me at kip@gregory-group.com. Responses sent to kipgregory@mailer1.cooleremail.net will not reach me.

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2005 Kip Gregory. All Rights Reserved. You are welcome to forward this message to others in its entirety, but please don't reproduce or republish its content either electronically or in print without my prior permission.