Sunday, 30 June 2013

Plan ahead for your online hereafter

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley of News and Experts of Wesley Chapel, FL

Asset Protection Lawyer Offers 3 Steps to Take Now
Now, you really can live forever, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Many of your online accounts – from automatic bill payments to eBay – may remain active after you pass away, unless you take steps to ensure they don’t, says attorney Hillel Presser, author of “Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition),
Automatic bill pay, for example, can theoretically keep tapping your bank account long after you’re gone or, at least, until your money is.
“It’s important to make sure your online bank and shopping accounts, even your social media, can be closed out, or that your loved ones are authorized to access them,” Presser says. “You may ask, ‘Why would I care if I’m gone?’ I can tell you from experience: because it can create real headaches, and more heartache, for your family.”
Bank and shopping accounts will be vulnerable to identity theft, which would affect your estate if someone opens credit cards in your name. You might have valuable intellectual property, like domain names. They may need access to your health records, particularly if you died under questionable circumstances, he says.
There’s the sentimental stuff – photos and emails -- that your family may want as a remembrance of you, and the libraries of music and ebooks, which may represent a considerable investment on your part.
Presser offers these tips:
• Create a list of all of your accounts, including log-in names, passwords, and answers to any security questions. Obviously, your list will need to be securely stored. Since you’ll need to update it regularly as you add accounts or change passwords, it will be easiest if you keep the list on your computer in a password-protected folder. Some versions of Windows allow you to create protected folders, but you may need to get third-party software to do this, such as freeAxCrypt. Remember to create a backup of your list, whether it’s on a jump drive or printed out on paper. Store the backup in a secure place such as a safe deposit box. Do not put password information in your will, which is a public document.
• If you have a Google account, set up the new inactive account manager. In May 2013, Google became the first site to give users an option for choosing what becomes of their content if they should become debilitated or die. Under the profile button, click “Account,” scroll down to “Account Management,” and you’ll find instructions for “Control what happens to your account when you stop using Google.” You can select how long the account should be inactive before your plans are set into motion; choose to whom you want to offer content, such as YouTube videos, Gmail, Google+ posts, Blogger and Picasa web albums, or whether it should simply be deleted.
• Appoint a digital executor. Perhaps the simplest way to ensure your online life is taken care of is to appoint a digital executor – a tech-savvy person who will be willing and able to carry out your wishes. Authorize the person to access your inventory of log-in information and spell out what you want done with each account, whether it’s providing access to loved ones or business partners, or deleting it.
The digital world has grown and transformed so rapidly, the law hasn’t kept up, which makes managing your digital afterlife challenging, Presser says.
“Until there are more consistent laws and procedures governing this area, it’s best to plan ahead, leave clear instructions and be sure you have a list of accounts where your estate lawyer or a loved one can find it and access it,” he says. “It will make a world of difference to your survivors.”

Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. Presser is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He is a former adjunct faculty member for law at Lynn University. For more information, visit

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Lecture on mentoring set for July 10

The Community House presents How To Be a Good Mentor and Good Mentee,” as part of  its Bulletproof Your Success Business Lectures. Itis 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 10 at The Community House, 380 South Bates St., Birmingham. The lecture is presented by Camille Jayne, President and CEO of The Community House. John Schamante, of Clear Vision will end up the last 30 minutes of the lecture.The cost is $35 per lecture, add $10 for lunch. For more information and to register, visit or call 248-644-5832.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Processing Payments Securely Online Involves a Few Key Players

If you are going to do business online, secure payment processing is a must. We just completed a three part series posted on the ERP Software Blog about payment gateways, obtaining PCI Compliance and encryption methods.

In part one, the key players of secure payment processing online are discussed. These include the merchant, the cardholder and payment gateways. Different merchant levels are also provided in details. Then in part two of the series, obtaining PCI Compliance is the focus. There are 12 steps in this process that are separated into six categories: build and maintain a secure network, protect cardholder data, maintain a vulnerability management program, implement strong access control measures, regularly monitor and test networks and maintain an information security policy. These were taken directly from the PCI DSS website. How to get started on these steps is also highlighted in part two of the series. And finally, part three details the two ways to handle sensitive data securely: tokenization and encryption. Encryption has been around for years and while tokenization is a newer technology, when it comes to secure payment processing, it is the clear winner.

To read these articles in more detail, visit our page on the ERP Software Blog.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

International Council of Shopping Centers hosting show in Novi

NOVI — The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) 43rd Annual Michigan IDEA Exchange and Alliance Program will convene on July 18 at The Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. It will begin with a morning keynote address by Paul Glantz, Co-Founder and Chairman of EMAGINE Entertainment. The program includes a "Municipal Runway" devoted to success stories from six Michigan communities, 12 interactive roundtable discussions, a "Retail Runway" (Biggby Coffee and Shoe Carnival are confirmed), a luncheon keynote address by Mr. Kim Yost, CEO of Art Van Furniture and two hours of networking and deal making. 

The ICSC will host a golf outing, the previous day, July 17 with a shotgun start at 10:30 a.m. at Shenandoah Country Club in West Bloomfield Township. A cocktail reception is  5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Registration is open. For information, visit

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Video: An Important Tool For Ecommerce Websites

According to ComScore, today in the United States, 89 million people will watch 1.2 billion videos on the Internet. These videos of course include those purely for entertainment purposes, but some will also be viewed on ecommerce websites. As online shopping evolves, consumers are demanding more and video is one resource available to marketers that can be used to fulfill this request.

In the past, images and text were used to paint a picture of a product for consumers. These were further enhanced with the use of color swatches, alternate views and zoom. Now ecommerce websites are increasingly incorporating video to provide consumers with a clearer picture of different product offerings. The use of video in this way has been proven to improve conversion rates and SEO. Video can also increase product visibility when shared in email newsletters and across social media sites in addition to web stores. Overall, the use of video in ecommerce is a more engaging way to showcase products.

How to Incorporate Video
Videos can be user-generated or created by a company. Companies might create videos to:

  •         Offer product advice
  •         Provide instructional videos
  •         Assist with product selection
  •         Inform about the product category
  •         Showcase the product with real life views
  •         Give deeper product details

Contrarily, a user-generated video would be a testimonial. The testimonial might show the product in action or offer a review after the consumer has used it.

One company that makes great use of video on their ecommerce website is Zappos films employees wearing and talking about the different shoes sold on their website. By using employees rather than hired models, consumers can relate better to the people in the videos. And further, hearing in-depth product information and seeing the shoes being worn by these employees helps consumers not only make purchase decisions, but also have a greater level of confidence in what they are buying.

As more people begin shopping online and ecommerce sales continue to grow, make sure your website has what your customers want to assist in their purchase decision making process. To learn about what ecommerce and payment processing solutions Azox offers, visit our website.

Business expert identifies 3 leadership styles

Submitted by Ginny Grimsley of, Wesley Chapel, FL 

The top five leaders most admired by the world’s business executives are Winston Churchill, Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela  and Jack Welch – in that order, according to the 2013 Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC.
The qualities the surveyed CEOs most admired? Strong vision, motivational, caring, innovative, persistent and ethical.
“These results tell us a lot about what it takes to be a strong business leader in today’s rapidly changing global marketplace,” said Barbara Trautlein, author of “Change Intelligence: Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change that Sticks” (
“The respondents cited a broad range of qualities to describe the same individual leaders, which tells us they recognize today’s leaders need a combination of strengths.”
Trautlein, who has a PhD in organizational psychology and more than 25 years experience helping businesses lead change, says contemporary leaders must have a high CQ – Change Intelligence.
“Today’s marketplace is in a state of constant change, and successful companies are those that can also respond and quickly adapt to the changes around them. That requires leaders who are able to lead with the head – focusing on the big-picture goal and business objectives; the heart – knowing how to engage, coach and motivate people; and with your hands – providing the tactical tools and skills necessary like a project manager,” she said.
“People tend to be stronger in one or two of those areas and weaker in the others. We need to identify our weak areas and work on strengthening them.”
To do that, you must ask yourself: “Are you a head, heart or hands leader?” Trautlein identifies three of the seven CQ leader styles, their strengths, weaknesses, and a coaching suggestion for each:

The Coach (heart-dominant): 
Encourages people to join in discussions, decisions
Steps in to resolve process problems, such as conflict
Listens to all viewpoints
Recognizes and praises others for their efforts 
Helps reduce stress by lightening the mood.
Sees team process and organizational climate as ends in themselves
Fails to challenge or contradict others
Does not recognize the importance of accomplishing tasks
Overuses humor and other conflict-mitigation techniques
Does not emphasize long-range planning
Coaching: Make connections with people but also connect them with the mission. Don’t allow engagement to take precedence over performance.

The Visionary (head-dominant) 
Stays focused on goals
 Engages in long-range thinking and planning
 Takes a big-picture view
 Enjoys seeing new possibilities
 Scans the horizon for the next big opportunity 
Doesn’t fully consider the effects a change will have on organizational culture
May be less apt to focus on team members’ individual needs
Complains about lack of progress toward goals
Does not give sufficient attention to the process by which goals are met
Neglects to ensure that the tactical details of the change process are handled
Coaching: It’s vital that the vision be shared by all those working to make it happen. Remember to share your vision with others (heart) and lay out a path to that vision that incorporates visible milestones along the way (hands).

The Executor (hands-dominant) 
Excels at project planning and execution
Accomplishes tasks in a timely and efficient manner
Can be depended upon to do what’s asked
Freely shares information and materials so other have the training, tools and resources they need Pushes the team to set high performance standards
Loses sight of the big picture – the goal of the change process
Lacks patience with people and process issues
Pushes for unrealistic performance standards
Becomes impatient with other team members who don’t live up to standards.
Goes into data overload, providing too much detailed information.
Coaching: Expand your definition “execution.” Engage people by making a compelling case for the change so you’ll have their support, and take time-outs periodically to evaluate your goals and strategy.

"Most leaders are not all head, hands or heart – most are some combination, which is why there are seven Change Leader styles,” Trautlein says. “And even leaders who have all three in seemingly equal measures have some pitfalls to watch out for.”
The point is not to change who we are fundamentally, but rather to embrace our strengths, shore up our blindspots, and adapt our styles to be more effective when leading across a variety of different people and situations.  By building their CQ, leaders simultaneously become more powerful to help their teams and organizations - as well as less stressed and frustrated themselves.  And, they more consistently role model the pivotal leadership qualities CEOs most admire

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Oakland County offers free business counseling every Thursday

Every Thursday, the Oakland County Business Center offers Walk-In Start-Up Thursdays Free Business Counseling, 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford Township. (closed July 4)

The center also holds monthly workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs:

Writing a Business Plan is 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 20. This workshop is $40 per person.

Business Research - Feasibility to Expansion is 9 a.m. to noon, July 10. Free workshop, registration is required.

CEED Microloan Orientation is 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 17. Free workshop, registration is required.

Writing a Business Plan is 9 a.m. to noon, July 17. This workshop is $40 per person.

Legal & Financial Basics for Small Business is 9 a.m. to noon July 30. Free workshop, registration is required.

For registration, visit or call 248-858-0783.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Inventors make it happen

The Inventors’ Council of Mid-Michigan monthly meeting is a great place to move an idea forward. The group meets in Burton, which is east of Flint. The next meeting is 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at Walli’s, 1341 S. Center Road, Burton. The meetings help inventors pursue their dreams of bringing new and innovative products to market and includes networking time, guest speaker and time for members to showcase new products. It costs $5 to attend plus meal, if desired. The best part is having access to the group leadership who help people take an idea to fruition. For more information, visit

Azox Webinars in June

Each month Azox hosts three webinars to showcase our solutions. Customers, prospects and partners are all invited to attend these free webinars to watch live demos of each of the three Azox solutions. This June, our webinars will be held the 18, 19 and 20. Read more about our products and signup to attend one of these webinars today. Follow the links below to register.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Adding Online Bill Pay to your ecommerce website gives your customers a portal to log into and view, print and pay outstanding invoices. This self-service feature adds convenience and allows you to collect payments 24/7/365. Azox Online Bill Pay solution integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics GP. Attend this webinar to see a live demo of this product.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Accept ACH and credit card payments from your web store when you implement Azox Credit Card Extension (CCE). This solution is PA-DSS certified and uses tokenization to store sensitive data offsite. Pre-authorize, post-authorize, sale, void and credit when you add Azox CCE to your ecommerce website. Attend this webinar to see a live demo of this product.

Thursday, June 20, 2013
1:00 – 1:30 p.m. EST

Grow your business online with an ecommerce website built on Microsoft Dynamics GP. Provide your customers with a web store where they can browse products, see real-time pricing and inventory information and place orders. One page guest checkout and a shipping calculator are two other features in addition to many more. Attend this webinar to see a live demo of our ecommerce solution.

If these dates do not fit your schedule, visit our website to schedule a personal demo or look for next month's webinars.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Troy chamber hosts networking event with new president

TROY — The Troy Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has named Ara Topouzian president/CEO. As an opportunity to meet Topouzian, the Troy Chamber is hosting an “After-Hours Networking & Meet the President” event 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at Tre Monti Ristorante, 1695 E. Big Beaver Road, Troy. It includes complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The cost to attend is $12 in advance. $17 at the door. To register, call 248-641-8151 or visit

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Google Checkout Will No Longer Be an Option for Payment Processing This November

Google Checkout, an online payment processing service, will be discontinued November 20, 2013 Google announced at the end of May this year. This service, which acted as an alternative to PayPal, will be integrated with Google Wallet, a tool that allows shoppers to store credit and debit card information, loyalty cards and more using their Google account. This service additionally provides fraud protection as well as purchase history and status.

Merchants who currently use Google Checkout will be able to continue doing so until November 20, 2013. At that point, however, if the merchant does not have their own payment processing solution, a new option will need to be implemented. In an attempt to make this process easier for merchants, Google has partnered with several solutions, none of which are free. These options include Braintree, Freshbooks and Shopify. Google has described these as “discounted migration options.”

On the other hand, U.S. merchants that have other payment processing solutions will be able to take advantage of Google Wallet, which Google has been working to improve. Google added two new features to Google Wallet, which were also announced in May 2013. These new features are Wallet Objects API and Instant Buy API. Wallet Objects API is the feature that allows users to store their loyalty card information, take advantage of promos and more. The second addition, Instant Buy API, is a feature that makes the checkout process easier for customers. Those shopping with an Android device who also use Google Wallet will be able to make purchases with just a few clicks since the app saves their billing, shipping and card information. This feature can be offered to customers by merchants that sell a physical good or service.

If you are using Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting software and need a payment processing solution, explore Azox Credit Card Extension. This product allows you to process both ACH and credit card payments securely while integrating with Dynamics GP.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Attorney to present 'Business and Social Media: The Legal Issues'

Robin Luce Hermann, shareholder and attorney at Butzel Long, will offer a presentation titled "Business and Social Media: The Legal Issues," at the Macomb-OU INCubator's next Lunch & Launch event, noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 6. Business professionals who use computers for requesting and providing quotes, obtaining job applications and displaying products are affected by social media regulations. Luce Hermann is a practice group leader of Butzel Long's litigation practice and the head of Butzel Long's media group. She serves as general counsel to the Michigan Press Association, the official trade association for the newspapers of Michigan.
The free lecture will include a question and answer period. Coffee and dessert will be served, though guests are asked to bring their own lunch.
The Macomb-OU INCubator is in the Velocity building at 6633 Eighteen Mile Road in Sterling Heights. Those interested in attending the lecture are asked to register in advance by contacting Joan Carleton at 586-884-9324 or emailing to For more information, visit the incubator website at

Saturday, 1 June 2013

National Association of Women Business Owners - Detroit hosts ‘Runway to Success'

The National Association of Women Business Owners – Greater Detroit Chapter (NAWBO-GDC) will collaborate with sponsor Macy’s for their annual meeting and fashion show entitled, “Runway To Success”. The event will be held at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20 at the Somerset Collection. The event will also include induction of the organization’s new board of directors for the 2013-2014 year as well as recognition of outstanding member’s contributions. The event festivities will take place on the second floor of Macy’s By Appointment at Somerset Collection, 2800 West Big Beaver Road in Troy.
The event will also feature representatives from NAWBO corporate sponsor’s General Motors, DTE, Comerica Bank, Sam’s Club, among others, modeling the summers hottest and latest fashion trends. A networking reception will take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. followed by the board swearing-in ceremony and fashion show from 6 to 8 p.m. Tickets for NAWBO-GDC members are $60 and $85 for non members. With the purchase of admission, each attendee will receive a $25 Macy’s gift card. A private store shopping experience will conclude the evening’s program. Advance registration is required in order to attend this event. Visit to purchase tickets.