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Technology

COMMUNITY AND BUSINESS LEADERS RALLY AROUND LOCAL STROKE VICTIM

Local business owner and Farmer’s Insurance agent receives massive wave of support from his family, friends, and business colleagues.

(San Bernardino, CA)  While fishing on a recent trip with friends and business colleagues, Farmer’s Insurance agent Paul Le suffered a debilitating stroke. He has always been a generous donor of his time and money to important community causes including AYSO, Redlands Family Services, and local disaster relief efforts. Now that it is his time of need a group of his friends and business associates have setup a charity golf tournaments with proceeds benefitting his recovery efforts.

“Many of us were with Paul off Catalina Island when he had the stroke,” said Ron Drake, Vice President of the BNI chapter in which Paul is a well-respected member. “Paul is a man many have counted on and he has always been there for others. It is our turn to help him and we are asking the community to join us.”

Mr. Le was quickly taken by boat to a hospital on Catalina, then airlifted by the Coast Guard to a facility in Los Angeles County. He is currently in a local rehabilitation facility and being lovingly cared for by his wife, Jennifer, and three children. The golf tournament will help offset the medical bills being incurred during this time. His road to recovery will be lengthy and challenging.

Local business leaders have offered their support and participation in the golf tournament. Monetary donations have been made, volunteers are organizing the event at no cost, and events such as a helicopter ball drop and “closest to the tee” have all been sponsored to support the Le family. Most graciously, Farmer’s Insurance has stepped forward with a considerable donation to the Le family and now serves as the Title Sponsor for the event.

Community members and other business leaders looking to support Paul and his family during this time should visit www.bniriversidecounty.com.

 

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Technology

Have a Little Culture, Please

Last Friday night while sitting at the final performance of the 91st season of the outdoor summer music festival at the Redlands Bowl, I marveled at the talent and expertise of the artists on stage. We had come to hear the Redlands Symphony Orchestra perform directed by Frank Fetta and with guest pianist Rufus Choi. As I observed the people around me, I noted the wide range of age, ethnic background, and lifestyle, and how most were rapt with attention for the performers.

The skill was incredible. Somewhere I heard that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in a trade or field. Any time my husband or I see someone who, with dedication and persistence, has put forth enough effort to truly master something, we’ll lean over to the other and say, “that’s ten thousand hours.” On this Friday night the weather was balmy, the stars twinkled, the fireworks exploded in beautiful precision with the music, and we listened to experts perform their craft. Despite the wide differences in the audience members, for a moment we were bonded together in the culture and awe of the moments.

As I sat there, I began to consider how a culture can either pull people together or drive them apart. This is especially true of an office/business culture. As eTop Technology has grown and we have brought more people on to our team, creating a business culture has become more and more important. Following are a few things that we have been reminded of again and again as we morph our company into what we want it to be:

  1. Employees and coworkers note the way you respond to difficult situations and emulate what you do. Whether that be loudly verbalizing your frustrations or maintaining your cool, people see the way you handle bad. If you want your employees to respond in a cool, collected manner, you have show them how. Lead by example.
  2. If you are an expert in your field you don’t need to advertise to your fellow workers. They see what kind of work performance you have. Actions speak louder than words. If you do a slapped together job, your employees will perform only to that level. Create a culture of excellence.
  3. People are more productive and happier in a positive work environment. Whether that means music, coffee, or a “hey, how’s the family” from the boss, do what it takes to make your environment better. Happy, productive people stick around. They will help your business grow.
  4. Communication is key to a good business culture. Communication should travel both up and down the command chain. If no one knows what’s going on, nothing gets done. Listen to what your coworkers and employees are saying as well as telling them what you need done. People respond to a supervisor that not only listens but actually hears what they have to say. Make pathways for open communication.
  5. Make a workable space where people feel like they are contributing. We have gotten some excellent ideas from asking our employees what they think a good solution would be. Tap into their hidden talents and ideas and then make sure to thank them and tell them how effective their idea was. Let people know they are part of your team.

If you create a culture in your business where people thrive, they feel heard, they know they are contributing, and they know what’s going on, they will work hard to help your business grow beyond your expectations. If you have that culture on the inside of your business, people will notice. Potential customers will notice. They will wonder what makes you great. They will tell other people about you. They will be able to say “that’s ten thousand hours.”

 

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Technology

Setting eTop Apart

In business today it’s difficult to separate yourself from the masses. What makes you different? What makes you better? What are your shortcomings? All of these are questions that businesses face and continue to face throughout the life of the company. As eTop has grown, these questions have been at the forefront of our attention. We aren’t the first IT company and up to this point, our services are not unique from those of other companies. So, how do we set ourselves above the industry standard?

To answer that question you have to ask what the industry standard is. A common truth of people who work in the IT industry is that they make great technicians but not always the best business owners. We believe that this is the space where eTop Technology will excel. In building this company we understand that its success depends on building a strong foundation. Over the last two years eTop has been growing by leaps and bounds in ways that can not necessarily be seen from the outside. Building a company is largely a matter of creating processes and structure for people to work within to always produce the best possible results for the client. This crucial period can make the difference between the success and failure of a company. The more people that work in a company the more important these processes become. The past several years have been a corner stone for eTop. Mostly through trial and error we have been laying the ground work that we hope will one day create an IT company that will meet the needs of most of the companies around us.

As part of our effort to build a great company we have found that the best way to understand what can make us better is to ask and listen. It seems like such a small thing on the surface but the more that we do it the more we have found it to be the missing element in most small businesses. Client satisfaction surveys are a small but crucial part of what makes a big difference in the way a company is structured. After all, who would know what the ideal IT company would look like other than your own clients? Most of our clients have gone through a few IT companies and by the time we get the opportunity to ask them what they like and what frustrates them they have a pretty clear idea.

When we started doing our client satisfaction surveys we were surprised to find that the answers we were looking for were really quite simple. At the top of the list of frustrations that our clients had, was lack in communication. Unsurprisingly, when your computer goes down and you can’t be productive, you want immediate help. When your trusted IT professional is on vacation or simply wont be available for a week, panic ensues. As a result of this we have made it a point to always have someone there to answer your call. Although we try to be as preemptive in our services as possible, it is important to have someone on staff at all times to put out the fires as they come up.

Usually you don’t want to have to call your IT professional, however, this doesn’t stop your computers from having issues. The core idea behind the services that our company offers is to prevent computers from having problems so that you don’t have to deal with the frustrations of down time. In one client satisfaction meeting we picked a small piece of the puzzle that has made our company better. In explaining how, with his already busy schedule, he didn’t have time to make the little IT issues a priority. This client said that he wished that someone would call on a weekly basis to check in and see how their network was running. Now, instead of waiting for calls, we make sure that someone from our company follows up with each of our clients on a weekly basis to make sure there are no problems to resolve.

You can’t put a price on being able to see your services from the point of view of your own customer. From listening to our customers we have been able to get an idea of what our company will look like in the years to come. Being able to avoid the mistakes of others is what we believe will make this biggest difference in making eTop successful. In our effort to set ourselves above and beyond the industry average, we have come to see that success is a team sport. With the help of our clients, it is our hope that eTop Technology will not only meet but exceed the expectations of our clients.

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Technology

eTop Virus Alert

Yahoo ad network is being used to spread cryptowall. BE CAREFUL WHEN CLICKING ON YAHOO ADS!

 

The Yahoo advertisement network has been selected by cyber-criminals to carry out a malicious advertising type of attack on unsuspecting users, by steering them to malicious pages serving a strain of CryptoWall ransom ware.

BE SMART ADD or inquire about Web Protection which delivers extensive, web security across your distributed workforce. Within minutes, your servers, PCs and laptops on the move, are protected from websites pushing malware, phishing sites, proxies, spyware and adware, botnets, and SPAM. It is robust enough to protect your clients. While safe browsing habits are still the best protection from Cyber Criminals Web Protection can add an extra layer of security.

http://blog.mspportal.net/2014/08/11/yahoo-ad-network-used-to-spread-cryptowall-ransomware/

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Technology

What I’ve learned in the last year

In the last year in building eTop Technology the learning curve of building a business has been awesome yet occasionally terrifying. The things I know now vs even just 6 months ago seem substantial. Here are a few things I’ve picked up along the way.Growing Company

  1. Always have a good accountant in your corner.
    1. Luckily we have always had a good accountant but as we are growing having someone that can give you great advice on tax planning, employees, income, and finding new clients has been amazing. I recommend finding someone you can trust that has business experience, to listen to, and then follow through on what they say.
  2. A good attorney
    1. Before we hired our first employee we talked to one of our clients that happened to be a workers comp attorney, it is far cheaper to have a good attorney create and or proof your existing documents then to find out after the fact that your documents are terrible.
    2. I would recommend this for both workers comp and contracts
    3. This one is hardest for me to follow through on since I don’t like having people sign stuff. I also feel like typically my industry doesn’t have anyone sign documents at least at the level I’m at. This is probably the number one way for us as small business owners have good documents and then don’t touch anything before you have your paperwork signed.
  3. Treat your business like a corporation – Even if you’re not.
    1. Always treat your business like a corporation. What I mean by this is no co-mingling of funds. Have separate bank accounts don’t fudge the accounts back and forth. Think like an owner not just like another technician in your business. Becoming someone who thinks like a ceo/president is tough and not always fun, but making decision’s is imperative to your growth.
  4. Learning.
    1. Holy cow I have always had a good breadth of knowledge in computers and small business consulting, but as I have driven our company deeper and deeper into this market the pool of knowledge has grown tremendously. I routinely come home in the evenings with a brain that is tired because of the new ways I have learned to solve a problem with Active Directory, or how to point internal computer’s to the company’s external website(go DNS).
    2. I love making existing things work but something that is a slow learned lesson and I am still learning is that Band-Aids are best left for small wounds on children and not something you use in an office environment. Sometimes it is cheaper to make the recommendation to just replace things up front rather than trying to nurse a sick computer back to health.
  5. There is always something else to learn sometimes you have to stop and let your brain rest so you can come up with the next idea that will help you grow.

 

William Pote

CEO/Founder

eTop Technology, Inc.