How to stop McAfee Total Protection’s start up windows

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Business, business advice, COO, Marketing

Are you using McAfee Total Protection antivirus software? If so, are you as annoyed as me with a recent “feature” that has the software popping up a window when you launch or logon to your PC? A persistent window that one has to proactively close in order to make it go away?

The program is also popping up windows in the lower right hand portion of the screen prompting you to run a clean-up of your browser or system without telling you exactly what it plans to do. A popup that you need to manually close in order to make it go away. Worse still, there are no checkboxes or buttons in Total Protection’s settings to make it stop.

Am I the only one who thinks this is crossing the line into being malware? I have software causing popups that don’t go away. Software with no settings to make them stop. Utility software that launches its control center on its own, every time I start my computer. I think that’s pretty close to malware.

McAfee Total Protection Logon task

Read more…

Why your online business should offer a no-hassle money-back guarantee and avoid chargebacks

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, COO, Foundation, free business advice, Getting Started, Marketing

I work with lots of startup companies that sell goods or services to consumers online. Every company believes they are providing a great product but, the fact is, not every customer will be satisfied. So, the question becomes, if and when should a customer get their money back? I believe the correct answer is, when they ask for it. Here’s why…

If you’re selling a physical product that can be returned in “as new” condition, I think it’s pretty clear the customer should get their money back when the merchandise is returned. However, should the shipping be free in both directions? Should your company charge a restocking fee? Should only a partial refund be given if the merchandise is difficult to resell as new? What if your physical product is consumed or perishable? You don’t want the product back or it simply may be impossible to get it back. Should the consumer be out their money if they are not happy? I say no. Give them a full refund and eat the return shipping cost if you want the product returned.

 
Money-back guarantee logo
 
If your company is selling information or e-products you may be thinking, “I can’t un-ring a bell”. The consumer has received the information or could easily make an e-copy that may be of continued benefit to a customer even if they claim they are not satisfied. If the customer claims to be unhappy, is it reasonable to charge the customer a full or even a partial fee? I say no, if a customer wants their money back, I think it’s best to make a full refund upon request.

Read more…

Choosing an Accountant for your Startup

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO, Finance, free business advice

Stacey Dell, a partner with the accounting firm of Moss-Adams (formerly Mohler, Nixon Williams) of Campbell, CA, has been a tax accountant to startup ventures for two decades. In this interview Stacey talks about accounting issues for startups and high growth ventures. Find out about the different aspects of getting your startup company on the right financial and tax footing.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek could use a business lesson

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in business advice, COO, Marketing

I have been a Bloomberg BusinessWeek subscriber since 1975. I’ve also had The New York Times home delivery for over a decade. Both print subscriptions grant my wife and me digital rights access on both of our iPhones or iPads.

In March I decided that I’m so happy with my digital access that I no longer wanted to receive a print copy of BusinessWeek or the NY Times.

New York Times understands that eliminating the print delivery is a huge cost and environmental savings and simply allowed me to change my subscription to digital access only. Doing so drops the rate from $65 per month to $20 per month while still granting access to my wife and me on our individual iPads and iPhones. A simple phone call was all it took and the $480 annual savings almost paid for my iPad.

But BusinessWeek is another story altogether. When I called to change to digital-only service they said I’d have to cancel my print subscription and order a new subscription from the Apple App Store. Read more…

Do the right things and do things right – Bill Shepard

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO

Bill Sheppard of the COO forum was my guest on The Free COO podcast on March 8, 2009. Bill is a seasoned executive and entrepreneur who has created an organization dedicated to the support and growth of COOs. His company the COO Forum has chapters across the US and is growing at a great clip.

In the interview, Bill talks about his highly successful career and how he is now devoting his time to helping entrepreneurs and C-level executives reach their goals.

Hear advice such as a CEO’s role is to guide a company to do the right thing and a COO’s role is to help a company do things right.

The Free COO airs Thursdays at 4:00 pm Pacific Time on Spreaker.com

Escrow Services – Insurance for Intellectual Property Transactions

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO

Software, Web Services, Data Services and Fabless Semiconductor ventures are all examples of attractive opportunities for entrepreneurs. They all have low capital requirements for launching because the primary asset is IP or Intellectual Property. True, there is often someone’s personal savings, angel funds or perhaps even VC money needed to launch a company, but for startup companies producing IP it’s largely the human capital of dedicated and smart entrepreneurs that is the largest input factor.

Once your product is ready for market, the challenge of selling even the best IP can often be more difficult than creating it in the first place, particularly if your target customer is a medium to large enterprise. The sales cycle for enterprise B2B software or to get a fabless semiconductor design embedded in a larger SOC or System On a Chip, can be at least six months and often more than one year. Even after your product passes all the technical due diligence, it turns out that one of the main reasons a sale falls through is that it’s difficult for a startup company to convince the decision maker of a large enterprise that your company is viable enough to warrant a strategic relationship. Read more…

Hiring Contractors – Part 1

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO, Hiring Consultants, Hiring Contractors, HR

Independent Contractors or Independent Consultants are people who do work for your company who are not employees, corporations or LLCs. Hiring independent contractors is attractive to startups because it allows them to quickly bring on talent without the headache of setting up payroll and benefits. Independent contractors also make it easy to bring people onboard for as long or as little as needed without worrying about employment laws that apply to hiring and discharging of regular employees. Without the added expense of benefits, matching FICA payments, and perhaps even office space and equipment, independent contractors can offer real savings and cash flow benefits to a startup organization.

But there are some legal pitfalls to hiring independent contractors that most startups (and many established companies for that matter) don’t understand. This post is the first of a three part series that helps to explain some of those potential pitfalls, so that you can make an informed decision before hiring an independent contractor. Read more…

Justifying Your Pay – An Imperative for the COO and Every Employee

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO, HR

If your manager was faced with a force reduction decision, would he or she be able quantify your contribution and justify your position? In other words, does a cost-benefit analysis of your job result in a net positive? Even if it does, have you made the data necessary to prove it readily available?

In a period of high unemployment, outsourcing, cost-cutting and general economic uncertainty every employee needs to be keenly aware of their value to their organization. They should also be able to easily point to solid data that proves their worth. The ability to do this well, could make the difference between you being someone who is indispensable or someone holding a pink slip. If you are not your own best advocate, you should be. Read more…

Setting Up HR – In-House or PEO

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO, Getting Started, HR

Human resources encompasses a broad array of business functions. There is the obvious sourcing, hiring and firing of employees. However, retaining employees, training employees, managing benefits, setting compensation policy, overseeing contractors, new hire orientation, managing corporate culture and a host of other functions also fall into the domain or share a dotted line to the HR function.

One of the first questions a startup venture needs to address – at least as soon as the founders hire their first employee or contractor – is who will be responsible for the HR function. Getting this right is critical to the success of a venture, as it is the first five to ten people in an organization that will establish the company’s culture for years to come. Read more…

Setting a Vision

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in COO, Priorities, Setting Goals

Setting a clear vision for an organization is perhaps the most important task for a CEO. Sharing and instilling the vision throughout the organization is perhaps the most important task for a COO. A clear vision that is understood by everyone in the organization and continually reinforced by the leaders will provide an intangible force that seems to be driving the company. Read more…