News

Are Businesses Beginning to Reignite their Love of Traditional Print?

printing at work

Digital marketing and advertising were hailed as the answer to printed marketing and predictions were rife that this would end our love affair with printed documents. However, click through rates are in decline and a surge has begun toward direct mail marketing again.

What appears to be the trend now Is that marketeers are using a combination of both to try and attract new customers and many businesses are using print to send vouchers or discounts to entice new customers, or as in some food retailers’ cases, printed food brochures with a certain amount off should you shop with them. Certainly, retailers appear to be engaging with potential customers if they have placed something in their baskets and forgotten about it, personalised printed vouchers may encourage them to remember the items in their basket and entice them to buy.

Whilst GDPR has made businesses reconsider how they contact customers, often the methods now used by direct mail marketeers are via a postcode drop and not based on a database of names and addresses. However, people still like the personalised touch and if you can identify those that have visited your website, then it is of benefit for you to send a personalised direct mail. Be careful with personalisation though as it must be relevant to that person and not just a mail merge. Also, compliance with GDPR law should be adhered should the person insist that their data is removed from your database.

However, marketeers are beginning to realise the value of print and how good quality print is attractive to customers. People are becoming bored with junk in their inboxes and immediately hitting the delete button. Whereas dwell time on printed products has increased and there is value in producing a beautiful brochure/pamphlet to entice people if your offer is right for them.

Recently Print Brain conducted research about the effectiveness of Direct Mail versus Digital marketing and the results were exceedingly interesting! They conducted a cold acquisition campaign split between direct mail and email contacting over 900, 000 cold customers. 1 third received email only and 2 thirds a piece of direct mail.

The result?

  • The email campaign resulted in just 0.02% of email recipients enquiring with a conversion rate of 42%.
  • The DM campaign resulted in almost 1% of recipients making enquiries of which over half resulted in a sale.
  • And when the calculations were made, the cost per sale for the printed direct mail campaign was 57% lower than for the email campaign!

So, whilst these results show the love affair with print reigniting, a cohesive combination of printed direct mail and email may be a winning combination in acquiring new business.

Tips to Manage a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ Workplace

A ‘Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)’ workplace is, as the name suggests, the growing popularity of employee owned devices within a company. One example of this is smartphones, but it could also include tablets, laptops and USB drives.  As with anything, there are both benefits and drawbacks to having a BYOD workplace. It saves money for the company, because devices won’t have to be provided to each employee. It can also improve employee satisfaction and general morale, thus boosting productivity.

Unfortunately, there are also risks. Malware, viruses, unsecured devices and other issues can jeopardise corporate data, including sensitive client information and intellectual property. Fortunately, there are ways this risk can be significantly reduced, through the creation and management of BYOD policy guidelines.

Users must enrol in ‘Find My Device’ so that they have a better chance of finding their gadget if it is misplaced. Remote wipe services are also great, because they will allow the user to erase the data from their device if it goes missing, so that it can’t fall into the wrong hands. Frequent backups will prevent any significant loss if a device does have to be wiped. Regardless, corporate data should be encrypted anyway, so that compromised devices are still secure. Of course, another vital security measure is strong passwords across all smart devices.

It is also possible to prevent access to sensitive documents or applications when the user is offline. In other words, the user won’t be able to download or cache data on the device when they’re not connected to the corporate network.

So, with productivity in mind, BYOD policies have become widespread and with adequate management, it is possible for it to work successfully and safely.

Tips for Flexible and Remote Workers

Today more and more businesses are seeing the benefits of offering their employees flexible working opportunities. With improved staff productivity, extended availability and reduced business downtime, flexible working can offer a number of advantages for both your staff and your business.

 

To help you get started we’ve put together our top tips to enable your workforce to stay connected and productive, at home or on the go….

 

  1. Communication

Agree with your employees how you are going to communicate and when they will be available. Set expectations around reply times to messages and working hours.

 

  1. Meetings

Keep up regular web-video meetings with your remote workers. These meetings are key to a connected and productive team.

 

  1. Pick up the phone

Even if you have a detailed email, it is still easy to misunderstand written messages. Don’t forget to pick up the phone regularly to ensure all messages between your staff are clear and understood.

 

  1. Mobile printing

It is essential to set up mobile printing options for your remote workers. Mobile printing will allow your employees to connect and use various printing services using their own devices.

Mobile printing can  be more cost effective  for your business, improve your print queues and it can still be as secure as printing from within the office.

 

  1. Keep a schedule

Have a way of communicating what all of your team are working on, this way you can all help each other to meet deadlines and learn from each others work

Three Printing Technology Trends for 2019

3D

In the last year we have seen many exciting advances in technology. The continued rise of voice control devices, cloud-based computing, as well as new developments in the internet.

All of this and more is set to transform the printing technology marketplace in 2019 and here we are going to look the top three emerging print trends that we are most excited about…

Voice control

In 2018 we saw the introduction of voice recognition capabilities within a small number of smart printers. In 2019 the focus will be on offering more ‘smart’ services that are required in today’s workplace. Voice control will remain an opportunity for industry players to position their products and services as innovative and help businesses improve their efficiency.

Sustainable packaging

The packaging industry will witness significant advances in digital printing methods, as the need for sustainable packaging increases. In particular, corrugated inkjet will drive growth in this industry with focus on corrugated board, folding cartons, and flexible plastics.

3D Printing

3D printing is a great example of a quickly advancing technology. 3D metal printing is positioned to be the next big wave in this industry. HP has its Jet Fusion model, which it hopes will make a difference in the metal parts manufacturing sector. GE has been printing metal parts for jet engines and even Nike is using this method for its trainers.

Over the next year, the print industry will continue to innovate and reinvent, and offering printing services that are more relevant to the smart workplace and the modern world will remain a very exciting and expanding area.

Cloud printing problems? We offer you the solutions

cloud printing

Cloud printing was hailed as the answer to a lot of our business issues in achieving that office mobile utopia. It allows users to print from any device on the network. It can connect your digital devices like your smartphones, laptops, tablets and any work stations with the printers in your network. This means that traditional printing, often with software driver issues or device compatibility issues have often been eliminated. Not only that software upgrades are done automatically, its greener and the IT infrastructure is a fraction of the cost!

However, what has become apparent in recent times, is that often conventional printing problems still prevail even though we should all now be able to be flexible and versatile in our approach to working.

Mode looks at some of the common issues with cloud printing you may be experiencing and how we suggest these can be resolved:

For some reason you can’t print:

  1. Check your devices are cloud print compatible
  2. If you are using Google Cloud Print, check that the printer you are using is registered properly
  3. Look at your admin tools and ensure that your printer does not have any basic network connection issues. Ensure you are using the appropriate ports (these are often 80, 8080, 5222, 5353) are open and that your router is not blocking any traffic.

Your printer is not registered:

  1. Make sure this is completed before you attempt cloud printing.

Removed/Deleted/Duplicated printers keep appearing:

  1. This is a very similar problem as conventional printing. Cloud printing requires chains of devices authenticating and relaying print jobs. Make sure old printers are removed from your devices and consoles. If necessary, remove all your devices and start again to add new devices.

Print jobs held in the queue:

  1. Just get rid of the print jobs and start again.
  2. Check your firewall and any security measures to ensure that they are not blocking your printing.
  3. Check your connection,
  4. Check for any updates, printer firmware for example as these can often cause issues with connectivity.

Legacy devices not working; this is often a term that refers to devices you have had for a while:

  1. There are often too many potential problems to list here, however, Clouding printing works better with devices that have been set up to have this functionality so getting your old device will be good luck!

As you can see there are always resolutions to your cloud printing problems but for more information on how Mode can help you with your cloud printing visit: https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/managed-print/cloud/

Or call us on 0345 223 2203

Or email is at enquries@modeprintsolutions.co.uk

Cyber Security: How do SME’s protect themselves?

security

Cyber-crime has often been regarded as something a teenager does from their bedroom or criminal individuals to disrupt businesses or for small gain. However, this is no longer the case anymore. Cyber-crime is a major part of organised crime and has now become so large scale that it is being run by gangs that are able to purchase tools cheaply to perform mass attacks on businesses. Mode looks at the most common forms of attacks and what we recommend for combating this.

Phishers: Phishing emails pose as emails from trustworthy companies, they could look like they have come from a trusted company you deal with or even a customer, asking for information or even urgent action like making a payment or confirming details from yourselves. As these cyber criminals are becoming more sophisticated and evolving their techniques now,  more than ever,  you must be wary of proceeding.

Check:

  • The email address. Tap on the email address to see the full email address behind it. If it looks full of gobbledegook, then you will know this is a fake address. Also look for misspellings or additional characters in the email address.
  • What details or payments are they asking you to make. If necessary, make a call to see if this is real.

Ransomware: this is where cyber criminals steal and encrypt your data and hold it to ransom until you exchange the release of that data for money.

Mobile Malware: A new sophisticated process where criminals are developing apps that look like games. Once downloaded this enables them access to steal your personal information.

What must SME’s do to help prevent cyber-criminal activity?

  • Back up: Mitigate the risk and danger of attack by backing up all your data. Think about all your operational and financial data that is important to you and that is business critical.
  • 2 factor Authentication: Consider having a password and a pin required (where this is sent by text) to be able to access software and emails. Strong passwords involving words as well as numbers and symbols will also help protection.
  • IT Policy: create one to prevent attacks but do make sure that this is easy to read for your employees. Make it the Top 10 points of cyber security but make sure it covers:
    1. Acceptable usage of your systems
    2. Password policy
    3. Social media guidelines
    4. Network security
    5. Physical security
    6. Data protection
    7. Incident response
    8. Disaster recovery
  • Finally, TEST: Staff training, simulated phishing emails, these will all educate employees and help highlight potential risk areas.

For more guidance on being Secure in print, contact Mode today

How to Prepare Your Small Business for Christmas

Although many people are complaining about the arrival of Christmas advertising and other festivities before December has even hit, it’s very important for small businesses around the world to start taking Christmas seriously in the run up to the 25th. Like it or not, Christmas is coming! Whether you sell handmade jewellery online, or you’re a freelancer to lots of different clients, here are some tips to help you prepare for Christmas:

Consider Supply and Demand

 If Christmas is your busiest period, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to meet the high demand. Ask yourself:

  • Do I have enough time?
  • Do I have enough stock?
  • Do I have enough staff?
  • Do I have enough marketing?

It’s vital that you have the resources you need to keep your customers happy, so plan ahead. And don’t forgot; a lot of people will want to take time off over Christmas, so you might need to hire some temporary employees to cover.

Think About Your Marketing Strategies

 Give your business a boost with a well thought out marketing strategy that makes the most of the festive theme. Consider your goals be and try to think outside the box and test new approaches. Here are some ideas:

  • Update your website
  • Send out a newsletter
  • Give away discounts
  • Give your packaging a festive makeover
  • Schedule your social media posts before you take time off
  • Write a festive blog post
  • Offer a gift-wrapping service for free

Stay Positive

 Christmas can be quite stressful for many people; the shops are hectic, money is tight and lots of organisation is required. For that reason, you should check in on your employees and try to keep their spirits bright as much as possible. Send your clients Christmas cards and think about getting some sweet treats (mince pies) for your staff. Overall, just try and stay positive!

With our advice and some hard work and organisation, you should be fully prepared to enjoy a fantastic Christmas. Good luck!

Entrepreneur Day 2018

entrepreneur

Entrepreneur day was 20th November and it celebrates and creates awareness for entrepreneurship and leadership.

Many people dream of owning their own business but there are many factors that often prevent people from branching out and working for themselves. However, in celebration of all those entrepreneurs out there, Mode has compiled our top 10 tips for being the next Alan Sugar!

The hardest part to be an entrepreneur is starting, so find the will to start!

  1. Think big: If you have a vision of the type of business you want to create, or you see the need in a market, have your dream and think about how you are going to pursue this. Walt Disney said “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”
  1. Have values: all the greatest businesses have been created underpinned by strong values and having a clear mission statement. Think about what you want to stand for, make this your starting point.
  1. Be passionate: drive, commitment, hard work. These are the key elements to owning your own business.
  1. Reach out: in this age of technology and mass customisation remember that whatever service or product you are offering, each person’s experience is individual to them. Make sure your offering allows for each unique encounter, speak to people, conduct market research.
  1. Focus: Where do you want your business to be, how are you going to get there. Plan the future.
  1. Know your market: understand whether there is a need for your product/service, as in point 4, conduct the right research, know your competitors.
  1. Be relolute: You’ll have mishaps, setbacks, brick walls to face, you’ll want to give up. Being resolute in your vision will be paramount in these moments.
  1. Trust your skills: have faith and self-belief in your talents.
  1. Accept change: don’t be too headstrong or stubborn. Accept that sometimes things must change and will change.
  1. Evolve: keep an open mind and be eager to learn new things, find new technologies.

If you bear all of these in mind, then you have every opportunity to be that successful entrepreneur.

What is Follow Me Printing?

follow me printing

Follow me printing has become a popular solution in a variation of print environments, such as legal settings where the need for confidentiality is paramount, for example. This is due to the many benefits; it is convenient, flexible, and secure, and increases the level of control that the user has. What’s more, by making print more intentional, it also reduces waste. But what is it?

Essentially, with follow me printing solutions the user starts a print job from their workstation, but it doesn’t actually print until it has been authenticated by the user. Authentication protocols could be something like scanning an ID badge.

Example 1;

A lawyer needs to print an extremely confidential document about a client’s case, which cannot be seen by prying eyes. Follow me printing allows the lawyer to verify their identity upon retrieving the document, so that it does not fall into the wrong hands. The system reduces the need for a personal printer for each lawyer.

 Example 2;

A student is studying in the library and wants to print something in the room where she will have her next lesson. When she leaves the library and finds her way to the printer in her classroom, she can scan her ID badge and receive the document. This means she can print to a convenient location without her documents being left for someone else to see or even take (either accidentally or on purpose).

Based on the above scenarios, you can see just how beneficial follow me printing can be, especially when applied correctly, on large sites. Since the documents are deliberately printed during the authentication stage, the potential for wasted, unclaimed items drastically declines. As a result, the cost benefits on ink and paper is remarkable. This level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness is one of the key benefits to follow me printing.

If you have any questions about follow me printing, or managed print in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us – we’d be more than happy to help.

National Fraud Awareness Week: How Can Small Businesses Prevent Fraud?

fraud prevention

Fraud threat affects every size of business, however smaller businesses can often be more vulnerable to fraud than those larger organisations. Last year an estimated £18.9 billion was lost as a result of fraud in SME’s alone.

Fraud can occur from within your organisation but can often extend beyond that even though Banks and other fraud prevention organisations have highlighted the need to be wary of disclosing information. Yet still worryingly, cyber crime is up by 63% in 2017. This is a decrease of 15% from the previous year, but this is still a concerning figure.

To ensure your business is protected you should identify:

  • Common types of fraud that can expose your small business
  • Steps you should take to prevent fraud and implement regulations to help you achieve this.
  • Identify employees that could potentially commit fraud. This is an awful way to have to think but the reality is, to always keep an open mind and minimise the potential risk of any kind of fraud anywhere.

Whilst the types of fraud are no different to larger organisations, smaller businesses are more susceptible because they often do not have the measures in place to identify or ringfence potential issues.

Until your business understands the type of frauds that can occur, it’s essential to understand what fraud can be committed and this can be split into 6 categories:

Assets fraud

  • Expenses theft: when an employee uses their expenses for their own benefit
  • Compensation fraud: When an injury is exaggerated to gain compensation for something that wasn’t the company’s fault.
  • Cheque forging/tampering: An employee forging signatures or altering payee info, amount info.
  • Cash theft: Stealing physical cash from the business
  • Product theft: When an employee uses company money to gain a product for their own use

Accounting

  • Embezzlement: When someone has control of the company funds and uses them inappropriately for their own benefit
  • Personal use purchases: When company funds are used to buy something for personal use, but it is recorded as legitimate company purposes.
  • Accounts payable: This can be the most detrimental fraud to the business, as this can involve invoice or expenses tampering
  • Fake Employees: When an employee does not exist but appears on the payroll
  • Ghost suppliers: Suppliers that don’t exist that are billing for services or products that don’t exist.

Data:

  • Trade secrets: when these are sold to competitors to the detriment to your business.
  • Theft of sensitive data: when data such as credit card numbers, client info is sold to 3rd

Bribery & or corruption:

  • Bribes: This occurs when another business is paid to aid their own company’s or personal benefit.
  • Product fakes: When the original product is substituted for inferior products than what was initially agreed. This is usually to help reduce cost.

Billing:

  • Billing schemes: False payments are sent to individuals within the business from the company and can involve creating a fake customer or editing an existing one.

Overcharging:

  • Overcharging people than what was initially agreed.

Preventing fraud in small business:

There are several steps to prevent fraud in your small business and protect your assets whether they are physical or monetary assets. So, we have come up with a series of tips to help you:

Know your clients: Vet potential clients, there is nothing wring in ascertaining who your potential clients are.

Threats identified: dubious clients can use several methods to pay for things which could leave you out of pocket. This can include using cloned cards to make payments.

Cheque fraud: This is a great way to commit fraud. The fraudster can leave with the product but leave you with a cheque that can be bounced by the bank

Therefore, only accept cheques from trusted customers and suppliers and always use a pen and cross through any empty spaces. Ask for alternative payment if the cheque appears to look wrong in any way or if the customer writes a greater amount and asks for change.

Cash: fraudulent cash is an old school tactic, and this is still occurring even in the light of the new £5 £10 notes. Therefore, always check the following:

  • Any raised print: you should feel this on words like “Bank of England” if it feels flat then it could be fake.
  • The print on the new polymer notes is sharp: if there is any blurriness then then its fake. Big Ben is finely detailed and when the note is tilted you should see a coloured rainbow effect.

Look out for suspicious orders: if a client wants to pay outside of your preferred payment method this will lower your protection to fraud, so you should always stick to your payment methods.

Secure your assets

  • List your assets (Physical and digital) and initiate an action plan on how you can keep these safe. E.g. loss of data is extremely detrimental to your business.
  • Protect your branding and identity: this is the most valuable thing to you so read up on your intellectual property rights. Plus ensure that your details at Companies house is protected as this is often an ideal place for fraudsters to go to obtain your details.
  • All businesses must comply with the Payment Card Industry and Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) an this applies to all businesses that handle card and online payments. There are huge consequences if you do not comply
  • Know your suppliers: invoice fraud is the most common type of B2B fraud. Research who you are dealing with and keep regular checks on them including financial health checks.
  • Know your employees: 80% of data breaches occur as a result of employees according to the Information Commissioners Office. Monitor their behaviour and be alerted to any changes in their behaviour as even the most loyal person can be swayed into committing fraud.
  • Implement an anti-fraud/Anti bribery policy in your company handbook so that everyone is clear that this behaviour is not accepted and will result in disciplinary procedures.
  • Educate your employees on fraud and bribery: including preventing the use of common passwords and implement a policy to ensure that the company data and products are secure.
  • Keep clear records: As a small business it is very easy to be stretched in all directions but keeping consistent and clear records will minimise your risk to fraud.
  • One computer for accounting: do not allow people to use social media on this computer as this can create vulnerabilities that can allow hackers to break into your accounting systems.
  • Insurance cover: essential for any business so that you are covered if you do fall victim to fraud.
  • Secure your IT: implement a firewall as well as anti-virus, spyware, and malware detection.

If you need any assistance with how Mode can help you secure your hardware and software against fraud then visit https://www.modeprintsolutions.co.uk/secure-printing/ or contact us on 0345 223 2203 or alternatively email us on enquiries@modeprintsolutions.co.uk

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