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Why was my website hacked?

Two of our Plan 4 Profit clients have had their websites hacked in the last 12 months and one of their first questions is “Why”.
It is natural to wonder why someone would bother causing damage to their particular website.

As usual, the motive is usually MONEY.
Website hackers didn’t actually target YOUR website, they have targeted thousands of websites based purely on the website structure and your site has just happened to get caught up in their net. I’ll explain this in a moment.

But how can they make money damaging your website?
1/            They are often trying to publicise their website that is trying to sell something. Rather than publicise their website the normal way, they want to steal the contact details of hundreds of legitimate websites and their customers and then bombard those customers with SPAM in the hope that 1% will get sucked in and buy something.
2/            They may hack in and then insert keystroke recording software to steal credit card details etc.

So how did they hack in?
Most website software consists of a basic platform (Wordpress, Magento, Wix, Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, Shopify, etc.) and then has any number of specialist applications (Apps or Plugins) added to perform specific functions. These Apps may be the design of your Contact Us page where a form is filled out, or a Gift Card page, or a scrolling Testimonials application.
Hackers work hard to find a platform or Application that has a small weakness, bug or loophole that lets them into your website.
Then they write a program that scans thousands of websites looking for sites using that App. Once they gain access to your website, the software looks for your client list or infects customers visiting your website so they can find their contacts list.
Alternatively, they spread a virus that quietly infects your computer and looks for passwords so it can break into your website.
Either way, they have not specifically targeted your website. Your website has just been caught in the net along with thousands of other sites around the world.

So how do we prevent this?
1/            Ensure that your computers have a reputable Anti-virus program installed and that it is up to date.
2/            Ensure that your website platform and any Apps have been updated to the latest versions. The designers of these platforms and Apps are always trying to stay one step in front of hackers are constantly improving, fixing and updating their software to block these types of attacks.
3/            Keep your passwords secure, change them frequently and limit the number of people with access to your passwords.
Google has made some great videos that explain Hacking and what to do if your website is hacked. You can click the link below to see a short Google video.
If you would like to more information or you would like your website checked, please call Andrew at Plan 4 Profit on 0412 548 609.

Car companies are trying to put independent workshops out of business
We all know that cars produced today are equipped with amazing technology with some cars featuring as many as 4 independent computers to operate all the different systems.

But did you know that many manufacturers purposely withhold technical specifications and fault diagnosis codes to force customers to only use new car dealers for vehicle servicing.

If car owners are forced to only take their cars to specific dealers, then they can charge whatever prices they like. This is obviously anti-competitive.

In the US, it is mandatory that ALL manufacturers make all their service documents and technology available all workshops in the country thereby promoting open competition.

But despite 68 Australian car manufacturers and importers signing up to an Industry Heads of Agreement on vehicle data sharing, only one manufacturer is fully compliant today.

In February of this year, the AAAA, an industry group representing many independent workshop owners took this issue to Canberra seeking a cross party agreement that would see all manufacturers sharing essential vehicle diagnostic and repair information.

As concerned members of the public and independent workshop owners, we encourage you to contact your local member on this issue and continue to support independent workshops.

Ask yourselves, how well does your business engage with your customers?
By avghinve, October 10th 2015 10:30AM
You have 2 types of customers.

Those that you forge relationships with and those that you don’t.
Those that buy from you regularly and those that don’t.
So what makes a customer buy from you regularly.

  • Trust
  • Service
  • Range
  • Prices
  • And relationships

How often have you heard a friend say, “you should buy from XYZ Company as I know someone there. Call them and ask for Freddy”.

Your friend has a relationship with that supplier. He knows Freddy and in turn that company has engaged with your friend. He probably feels comfortable buying from them. He knows he is treated well when he does business there. He trusts them.

And if we apply the 80:20 rule, those 20% of customers that you forge a relationship with, contribute 80% of your income.

So what would happen if you could convert another 20% of your customers into “relationship” customers. What if you really welcomed their business, talked to them, got to know them, sent them regular relevant info about you, your products and the industry. What if you really helped their business with product deals, advice and encouragement?

If you could double the number of engaged customers you have from 20% to 40%, you could increase your business by 80%.

OK, the numbers may be fuzzy, but you get the point.

Ask yourselves, how well does your business engage with your customers.

If you don't sell to ebay sellers you are missing out big time
By avghinve, Sept 14 2015 1:30PM
EBay is a massive marketplace. They can outspend any other online sellers and Ebay Australia attracts an incredible 8 million unique visitors per month.

Wholesalers and manufacturers that do NOT supply professional ebay seller stores are missing out on a huge opportunity.

I used to run a wholesale company that was an approved supplier to every major auto parts franchise group and mass merchants in Australia yet one of my biggest Victorian customers sold auto parts part time on ebay out of his lounge room.

Yes, you need to watch your price policies as you do not want to lose your bricks and mortar retail presence. However, with some ebay sellers in Australia turning over more than A$30m per year, you would be foolish to ignore this rapidly growing marketplace.

We have written a report detailing the sales of 17 of the top ebay sellers in Australia. Call Andrew today on 0412 548 609 to receive your copy.

How to choose the best ERP system
By avghinve, August 16 2015 2:30PM
Working on an interesting project at the moment investigating the best computer management systems to run a small to medium sized business.

These days they call systems that can manage all or most aspects of your business, ERP Systems or Enterprise Resource Planning. These ERP systems give you clear and instant visibility over all aspects of your business from a single dashboard. They clearly show you full profit and loss and balance sheet from the inbuilt accounting system. They also show you inventory control, sales management, custom relationship management and can be synced to your B2B and B2C website sales.

The best part is that you no longer need to buy these systems and the expensive in-house servers to run them. You can effectively rent them and just pay a monthly fee. They are either in the Cloud (online) or hosted by an external server system meaning that you can direct more resources the profit making aspects of your business.

Stay in touch if you would like to learn more about this critical part of your business.

Call Andrew today on 0412 548 609 to discuss the above in more detail.

You Must Be On The Front Page Of Google
By avghinve, Apr 7 2015 9:30PM
With 80+% of people looking on Google before making a major purchase or buying decision (ROBO- research online, buy off line), you must ensure that your business, products or services come up on the front page of Google if you want to win some of this business. 
In fact, Google should be the number one place you advertise to gain customers, leads and sales.
As you can imagine, with plenty of competitors in all business categories, ranking on Google can be hard to do.
As marketing professionals, Plan 4 Profit can now offer the right marketing plan to get your business on the front page of Google allowing you to stay in front of your competitors.
Within 8 years, 20% of all sales will be done online so an active presence on the web will be vital to help you capture those sales.
Your website should be a living place where you are constantly adding more product and service information.
This should also tie in with your social media presence via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs etc.
Call Andrew today on 0412 548 609 to discuss the above in more detail.

eCommerce has turned the retail world upside down
By avghinve, Dec 2 2014 8:56PM
The Internet and eCommerce have quite literally been the biggest change to retailing since the invention of the department store. We have been studying the rise of eCommerce around the world and have been saying that all the trends indicate that online shopping will account for 20% of all retail in Australia within 10 years.

Currently, eCommerce accounts for 5-6% of the $240 billion Australian retail economy whereas that figure is around 8-9% in the US and as much as 12% in the UK. Some experts have predicted that UK online sales will continue to grow at rates of 25% per annum and online sales could reach 23% of the total UK retail economy by 2016. That sounds overly ambitious to us, but is indicative of the massive change occuring in the UK.

Australia is often 2-3 years behind some overseas trends and poor download speeds and the absence of catalogue buying are some of the reasons blamed on the slow take up. We think that major retailers have also been slow to see the potential and they have allowed businesses such as Catch of the Day, Deals Direct and Kogan to get the jump on them.

But the big retailers have finally woken up and recognise the potential that online can provide. In fact, Eli Greenblat wrote in the weekend Melbourne Age newspaper (1st Dec 2012) that old world retailers can use "omni channel" or cross channel marketing to compete and even beat online only retailers.

Eli Greenbat goes on to quote Karson Stimson, the founder of the internet retailing agency WeAreDigital, saying the omnichannel strategy can actually mean that bricks-and-mortar retailers could be at an advantage over online pure plays, as their physical presence enables them to touch consumers in the offline world.

''Omnichannel allows the customer to research in the store and buy online, or research online and buy in the store, or buy online and return in store,'' Stimson says.

''And omnichannel customers are spending significantly more than single channel shoppers.''

We were also pleased to hear that finally other Australian institutions have started to agree with our predictions with Alan Oster, the chief economist at NAB coing out and predicting online sales will comprise approx 20% of the Australian retail economy within 10 years.

If you are interested in how you can create a successful multi-channel retail experience for your customers, call Andrew at Plan 4 Profit on 0412 548 609 and request an appointment.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/tis-the-season-to-be-online-20121130-2amcn.html#ixzz2DwvQZa19

With the Worlds Markets
Edging Closer to Recession,
The Tough Get Going
By avghinve, May 22 2014 7:45AM
With markets around the world verging on recession, there was never a better time to step back from your business and ask yourself some extremely important questions.

   Am I hoping things will get better later in the year?
    Do I hope all my debtors will pay me on time?
    Will the same number of customers walk in the door this year as they did last year?
    I plan to keep the same advertising that I used last year?
    I plan to save money by cutting back on advertising?

If you answered yes to some or all of the above questions, you may not HAVE a business to worry about next year.

The world has changed dramatically over the last 3 years and yes, it has certainly become a much tougher environment in which to operate a small to medium business. In fact, even the big guys are struggling, especially in the retail sector.

Of course we have all heard the Albert Einstien quote "the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results".

However change is very difficult to achieve. It is much easier to keep doing the same things that you have always done. Staff get set in their ways. They always grumble if you try to tell them to work harder, take on a new job, or to improve their efficiency.

But with tough times continuing, there is no time like NOW to take a step back from your business and consider where you want to be in 12 months and what actions you need to take to achieve those goals.

Ask yourself the following:

Do my customers love doing business with me? If not, why not.  Aim to amaze your customers with your exceptional service every day.
Remember it is much more expensive to find a new customer than to look after your existing customers.

What do you do that loses you money? We are all guilty of supporting customers that at the end of the day don't make a contribution to the bottom line. Either out their prices up or get rid of them. They are wasting your valuable time.

Speaking of putting your prices up, now is probably a great time to review prices and margins. You have probably absorbed product cost increases as well as increasing utilities, wages and everything else.
Never be scared of charging your customers a fair price. Those that complain the loudest are probably the ones you don't need. If you do increase your prices, make sure that you also increase your service.

What is your staff training policy? Do you have a staff training policy? If your staff improve their skills then your business will also improve its performance. This will be evident throughout your business and is a great way to keep and motivate your staff.

Are your staff on your side? When you are finding business tough, it is easy to forget about how your staff feel. They need to understand that they have a vital role in the success of your business. Don't scare them, but tell them the facts and get their input into your ideas for the future. If they feel they have had a say in the planning for the direction of the business, they will work harder to support you and your business plans.

Hello World!!
By guest, May 22 2012 6:01AM
This is the first post in your new blog. To add another or delete this one click the Blog option on the toolbar above.

Welcome to our blog.

This blog is written and maintained by Andrew Holdsworth, the Managing Director of Plan 4 Profit.
Andrew has 25 years experience in successful business ownership and management and talks about the key elements of business success in 2015.
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