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Get Everyone Answering the Phone, Secure Your Email and More Tips for October

Also, set a verification protocol for phone calls. Imposter scams are on the rise.

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communicationsSecure Your Email

It’s hard to overestimate the impact of email, but much of its power goes underutilized, because, simply put, no one tells us! Here’s one for Gmail you should know: Confidential Mode for sensitive emails. It allows you to set a message expiration date, revoke message access at any time and require a verification code (sent by text) to open a message. Simply locate the “padlock” icon at the bottom of your message (usually it’s near the blue “Send” button), choose your options, and you’re set to go.

MANAGEMENTNo Regrets

How to reframe a bad decision? You were given incomplete information. The future was unknowable. What is there to regret? And if you can view such “mistakes” as chances to learn and grow you’ll be even better off, says Dan Pink in his latest book, The Power Of Regret.

MANAGEMENTRead the Classics

Look for books that have stayed relevant for 30-plus years. “They have stood the test of time for a reason,” says business author and venture capitalist Naval Ravikant.

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PRODUCTIVITYPrep an Easy Work File

As busy as most business owners are, there are also frequent periods of forced downtime, as you wait for someone to get back to you with a quote, for the lunchtime rush of customers, for a seasonal project to be implemented. For such times, Greg Rudolph, founder and CEO of Board Blazers, recommends keeping an “easy work” file on your desktop. “This includes simple tasks that might require lots of time but can be easily interrupted, such as data entry, reading, or small unfinished items from the day before. That way, you have a simple task ready to go whenever you find yourself with a few free minutes in your day,” he tells Inc.

CUSTOMER SERVICEMan the Phones

Once your store gets big enough, you hire someone to answer the phones. That’s great for efficiency but it also adds a layer between you and your customers. And it’s not just you — it’s everyone who no longer answers phones, from your manager to your bench jewelers. But there’s real benefit in maintaining that contact, says marketer and business author Seth Godin, arguing that everyone on your team should spend time every month working the customer service line and answering a few questions. On top of learning about what people are searching for or unhappy about, you establish a small human connection.

SELF-IMPROVEMENTStory-worthy moments

Each day, write down the most “story-worthy” thing that happened. It improves your memory, makes you more grateful and gives you more stories to tell, says productivity blogger Colby Kultgen.

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SECURITYBeware imposters

Beware! That relative, employee or even loyal customer on the end of the line asking for some sort of financial help may not be who you think they are. According to a story in the Washington Post, technology is making it easier and cheaper for bad actors to convincingly mimic voices. In 2022, impostor scams were the second-most popular racket in America, with over 36,000 reports of people being swindled by those pretending to be friends and family, according to data from the FTC. If you receive such a call requesting money, even if the voice is uncannily like someone you know, insist on switching to video or put the person on hold and try to dial them yourself. In 2023, you need a solid verification protocol with friends/family to defend against scammers.

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