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We made it to 2021! After the rollercoaster of 2020, fueled by the agony and uncertainty of Covid-19, a new year is upon us. While much difficulty remains, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. This year will be similar to 2020, and small and medium-sized businesses will need to continue being creative to stay afloat in this new world. Thankfully, this drive toward innovation is ramping up what we at Crowned have been advocating for since our inception. Here are some ideas for small businesses to keep in mind going forward. 

Brainstorm Revenue Streams

Now more than ever is the time to put heads together to figure out how to stay relevant. That means thinking about ways to bring your product to your customers, from tangible items to digital products. If you’re used to leading in-person training, plan ways to take your classes online. If you have a lull in your consulting business, create ebooks and guides to sell on social media. Figure out ways to collaborate with other small businesses to drive revenues across the board. Offer freebies, webinars, or beef up your newsletter to stay relevant. 

Broaden your Digital Footprint

So many small and medium-sized businesses have a minimal online presence. They haven’t updated their website since 2009, and while they might have social media accounts, they never log into them. Invest in your website, social media, and email marketing in 2021. These aspects can be overwhelming, but thankfully there are heaps of tools that can make building your digital footprint easier. This is an investment area; you are laying a foundation for your business by creating a thoughtful online presence. 

Be Agile

The best part of being small is that you can make changes quickly if you’re agility-minded. As a small business, it’s fundamental to make necessary changes. Try not to get bogged down by the same old routine, and think about ways to pivot if you need to change things up. Getting stuck in your own mind as a small business leader can be devastating for your business, so be sure to think outside the box and use all your resources (and your team!) to evaluate what’s important. 

Learn E-Commerce Now

Creating an e-commerce presence is a no-brainer. If you aren’t working toward selling direct, you’re missing out on revenue. This goes hand-in-hand with much of what we’ve already discussed, but can be a challenge to roll out. Thankfully, a lot of website builders include e-commerce right out of the box. If you are working on a more a la carte platform, here’s a resource to help you get started

Be a Thoughtful Leader

These are challenging times for all, and leadership is harder than ever to navigate. Just getting out of bed is a feat of greatness for many more people than you might think, thanks to the Covid Blues. As a leader, think about ways you can be more thoughtful and support your team. This might mean giving paid time off for a long weekend, sending a Covid-fatigue care package, or even just the simple act of asking how everyone is really doing. Try to connect on a human level with your staff and reap great loyalty and better productivity. It’s also vital to also take care of yourself. As we all remember from the days where we used to fly, you have to put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others. Check out our “Another Self Care Blog” for ideas on this front. 

Get Help

Thankfully, if all of the above is just way too much, you can get help! Digital consultants, like yours truly at Crowned, are the juggernauts of helping to make your business thrive, even in uncertain times. We can help you plan your strategy to digitization, e-commerce, and staying on top of your customer relationships with one-on-one help and support, as well as handy guides on how to make the magic happen from our new Digital Library. 

Plan Infrastructure, Analytics, & Customer Care

It’s always, ALWAYS, an excellent idea to improve and enhance your digital infrastructure (think CRM, email service providers, your website), because your infrastructure ultimately makes your relationships with customers better. You may need to be a bit more communicative with customers and clients who want quick answers. They may be glued to their phones and computers, as so many are now, working from home with little divide between work and home life. They will remember and appreciate the human touch. Times of crisis can bring people together (or drive them apart) in ways that “normal times” don’t. Investing in these areas now is a way to plan for the long game. Another important aspect is staying connected to your customers via analytics. Data is every small business’s best friend, that is if you are actually looking into what KPIs, email marketing, Google analytics, and other metrics say about your business. Use your tools and stay curious about trends! 

Tap Your Local Scene

Small businesses need to band together right now for maximum effect. Why not figure out ways to work with your local BBB, schools, religious organizations, community centers, grocery stories… the list goes on and on. Building these relationships now will be yet another way to sure up your foundation for business stability in the future, and you might even make a new friend along the way!

Silver linings? 

Discipline is key now more than ever. While having something to motivate is great for inspiration, the focus of discipline is ultimately what will drive you forward in your small business. Be as specific as possible with your goals; it’s important to make small, reachable targets for yourself in times like this to keep yourself going and not succumb to burnout. Making attainable goals will help you feel in control, set expectations, and help to balance your work with your home life. 

I certainly know how difficult it is to stay positive during uncertainty, and it won’t be possible to be upbeat all the time. That said, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Rest more than usual, eat good food, meaningfully connect with your family and friends, try to do something you are passionate about, and try not to let the apocalyptic nature of it all drag you down into the muck. And if you do find yourself eyeballs deep in the darkness, reach out and talk to someone.

You may not realize all that Crowned can offer your business. As we grow, we’re excited to expand what we offer our clients in 2021. From our usual Operations Management plans to one-time projects (request a proposal here!), to our new Digital Library, Crowned is excited for the next chapter in how we help businesses thrive! 

We’re Web-Ops Experts

Crowned consults with a focus on Operations Management. We have years of experience consulting on the how-tos of digital transformation, creating process-driven organizational structures, and custom operations analysis. 

We’re Operations experts, which includes quite a bit, from setting up and training you on your CRM software, to onboarding your team, to launching products and services; Crowned has you covered. 

We offer bespoke operations consulting because we believe that there is no “one size fits all” approach to operations management. With our expertise, we’re able to see the forest for the trees and craft a plan that suits your specific needs.

We Help You Use Digital Tools Better

You’ve probably heard the buzz phrase “digital transformation” out there in the entrepreneurial networking world. Digital transformation is the implementation of software to streamline business processes and operations. Digital transformation includes using CRM (customer relationship management software) and project management applications to improve efficiency and productivity. It also involves replacing outdated software and applications with newer digital technologies and launching new websites and digital products– a common issue we tackle with our clients!  

We can’t tell you how many times we’ve met with clients who aren’t using their CRM software to its full potential. We step in and audit how you’re using your tools and help you use them better. From data management and creating custom dashboards to automating marketing emails and automating workflows, we know how to help make your day to day processes more manageable and efficient in your CRM. 

We Help You Launch Products Better

Crowned is here to help with your pre-launch support needs. Launching a new product or service takes months of planning and can be overwhelming without the right support. When it comes to pre-launch product and service launches, Crowned knows the drill inside and out. We create a systematic plan of action for your products and services, provide research, pre-launch support, and goal setting strategies for workflows, operations, and finance. We walk you through the process from wherever you are to ensure your launch is a success. 

We Help You With One-Time Projects

We’re so excited to be offering you our expert assistance with one-time projects. This service is an excellent fit for clients who may have a large project but may not need all the benefits offered in a plan. 

To take advantage of this service, all you need to do is is request a proposal from us, and we will be in touch as soon as possible to see if we’re a good fit for your project. Fill out our form here to request a proposal. 

Digital Products to Help Your Learn

We know how challenging it is to find reliable information that’s proven to help you succeed.  At Crowned, we want to help you flourish, so we’re thrilled to offer our very own content library in early 2021. The digital library will include freebies as well as more in-depth digital products for purchase, such as Onboarding checklists, Executive Bio templates, Operations Roadmaps, Business Planning guides to steer you through some of the most challenging aspects of running a business, and much more. We hope this will be a valuable resource as you start your journey as an entrepreneur. 

Ready to Get Started?

Sign up here to be amongst the first to gain access to our new Digital Library. 

Want more information? Check out our support page here

Ready to work with us? Get in touch here!

If you haven’t had at least one video call in the last eight months, maybe you’ve been in a cave? 2020 will undoubtedly be a year for the history books, and one of the things we’ll probably all remember is the joys (and sorrows) of the many video calls we’ve attended. Meetings of any sort usually aren’t a favorite activity, and if you’re reading this, you’ve likely been on a video call before and have an opinion on them.

The “Zoom Call” has become part of the collective vernacular, with some praising it and others condemning it. Those who criticize the remote work ritual of the video meeting aren’t looking at the big picture. Sure, meeting in person can help boost your mindset and spur creativity, but to admonish remote work as “unproductive” after less than a year of data during a global pandemic is myopic. (Read our blog on WFH best practice in the “before-times” here!)

For some, video conferencing is old-hat, especially for veteran remote workers. Others who have had the WFH world thrust onto them since March have had to accept a new pace of life for the foreseeable future. 

We at Crowned are pros at conducting remote meetings with video conferencing tools, and we’re here to make your new WFH routine a little easier. Let’s dive into some of the caveats of video conferencing and best practices of how to stay professional while probably still wearing slippers.

Video Conferencing Best Practices

1. The right software

There are loads of free video conferencing tools to choose from, and selecting the right one for your team can be daunting.  Zoom seems to have become the “Google” of video calling in 2020 (remember when everyone called video calls “Skyping”?). Zoom is a popular choice for many reasons, including for security purposes and for meetings that require more seats. However, unless you have a paid plan, your sessions will get cut off at the 45-minute mark. While you can always sign back into the same link to resume the meeting, that’s not the most professional look for most. 

We at Crowned us Google Meet for most of our smaller team calls. Most video conferencing software has similar tooling, save for the few pitfalls of the Zoom free-plan. Make sure you try out whatever software you end up using to familiarize yourself with the mute, share screen, chat window, and hide yourself buttons before you’re live on a call.  

2. Camera Angle

No one wants to see up your nose. Position your webcam to be level with your eyes, and be sure that you look at the camera while presenting and not the screen. It can be hard to remember to look at the camera when you can see yourself, and turning off the view of yourself can help with this. 

3. When not presenting, mute!

Don’t t be afraid to use the mute button! It’s polite to mute yourself when you aren’t presenting or speaking. It may also be appropriate to disable your camera as well. Doing so allows you to grab a snack, type out notes without the annoying clicking sound, sneeze, and tend to your kids or pets who might interrupt your meeting. Muting yourself is a professional courtesy on many levels.

4. A Strong Internet Connection 

With the state of broadband infrastructure being suboptimal in most places, it can sometimes be challenging to have a seamless connection during a video call. There are a few things you can do if your internet connection isn’t great. You can tether to your cell phone and use your mobile data if it’s faster than your wifi connection, or you can use the hardline to your modem if your wifi router is a little on the slow side. Either way, if your connection is subpar, do everyone a favor and turn off your video because audio-only calls are a million percent better than a bad video connection. 

5. Respect Timing

As a rule of thumb, respect your client’s and colleague’s time and do not go over the allotted meeting time on your call. If you have a tight beginning and end time set, you may need to make the meeting longer, because inevitably the beginning of meetings involve a few minutes getting everyone connected.  Set a 5-minute warning timer for yourself if you tend to stray off topic during sessions. If you use the free version of Zoom, there is a 45-minute max meeting time for any call. The call will automatically disconnect after a pop-up warning after 45 minutes (as mentioned early, you can always sign back into the same link). If you want to have more extended and uninterrupted meetings, use a free tool without the time constraint, like Google Meetings, WhatsApp conference calls, Skype, or one of the many other free tools available. If you need the ability to have a large audience, Zoom is still our favorite. 

6. Hardware & Permissions 

Computer speakers are usually not the best, and, most annoying of all, they can cause an echo on a video call. The best way to mitigate this is with a good pair of headphones. Wired is best unless you have Apple products (both computer and Bluetooth headphones).  It’s worth investing a little bit in some nice ones, especially if you’re a heavy meeting person. Either way, I’d recommend noise-canceling headphones, especially if you have kids, pets, or a partner also working from home in the same room or area. 

A good mic is also crucial. Most good headphones will have you covered here. If you present a lot and work with higher-end clients, invest in a high-quality mic. It will make you sound like you’re in the room with the person on the other end and filter out any distracting background noise that can make you sound less than professional. 

You’ll also need to make sure your computer or phone has the proper permissions set for access to your webcam and microphone on your call BEFORE you get on your call.

7. Lighting 

Natural lighting is always going to make you look your best on a video call. If you don’t have access to a window, buy yourself a natural light lamp or a selfie ring light. You’ve probably noticed these on the news lately, especially in the reflections of people’s glasses! Thankfully, you can get a good one without breaking the bank, and they’ll make you look fresh and not like a quarantined couch-slug.

8. A Quiet Space

I realize that this can be a tough one, especially with partners or roommates working from home, kids doing online learning, and just life happening, but there are some ways to make this happen. If you don’t have a room you can dedicate as an office, try to carve out a little nook to make into your workspace. I’ve seen many creative workspaces with the uptick in WFH, including a closet-office, working from inside a bedsheet tacked up around a desk, and even working in a bathroom! If all else fails, getting a good set of noise-canceling headphones and a good mic will help you and your clients in the case of any occasional background noise. Also, never forget that mute button!

9. Etiquette: Food, Bathrooms, Attire

I know it’s hard to work from home; I get it. Sometimes we miss lunch or break time, and you just gotta wolf down some Doritos or take care of personal business during a meeting. If this is you, do your audience a favor and mute yourself and turn off your camera. No one wants to see you licking your fingers while going over KPIs, or hear the flush of a toilet whilst discussing Q3 goals. 

The same goes for your appearance. Dress as you would for the office in most cases and avoid wearing shirts with writing on them. If you wear a shirt with something like a band name or political message, angle your camera so that it’s not in view. The same goes for your background. If your space is cluttered or busy, use a simple background in Zoom to hide it. 

10. The Chat Feature 

All video conferencing software has a chat function. Use it! It’s a great way to ask a question without interrupting, or you can have your attendees post a hand raise to get in the queue to ask a question verbally in an organized way. For meeting notes, I usually take notes on meetings in Slack in my own direct message window and also type out any questions I have before a general post to a public forum. 

The Future of Meetings

Meetings are likely forever changed, along with many other aspects of working, due to the pandemic. But it’s not all bad! Hopefully, this new normal of video meetings will make many folks see the need for fewer meetings. As the adage says, “That meeting could have been an email.” 

As anyone who reads anything on the internet has probably noticed, “self-care” is a popular buzzword going around right now. In normal times (what are those again?), it’d be just a nice reminder to go for a vacation, go to a yoga class, or indulge in your favorite restaurant, but in 2020, the concept of self-care has become a bit different. Let’s talk a bit about how you can “put your oxygen mask on first before helping others,” as those old apparitions known as cabin-crew used to say to us when we still rode on planes. 

What is Self-Care? 

Self-care is just that, caring for yourself. It’s a conscious effort to engage in activities that enrich you in whatever, constructive way you feel you need. A lot of us are accustomed to helping others, keeping our clients happy, and doing what’s best for our organizations and can often forget about number one. Taking care of yourself can be extremely difficult, and I speak from experience; it has to be a conscious choice to take actions that are specifically for you. There’s nothing magical about self-care; it’s about whatever it is that is constructive and enriching to you, be it going for a run or baking cookies. 

Take Time Off

Americans aren’t known for their vacation habits. The US ranks last of the 36 wealthiest countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, mandating zero, yes a big old goose egg zero, paid vacation, or holidays. The United States is the only country in the group “that doesn’t require employers to give workers annual paid leave, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.” Queue sad trombone… So once you’ve got your time off request approved, what to do in the days of Covid? 

Travel?

Air travel isn’t as attractive as it was just a few months ago. There has been a whopping 73.7%: reduction in commercial flights in April compared to 2019 as tracked by Flightradar24. This isn’t the end of the world, in fact, the drop in CO2 emissions is a short-term silver lining. 

Camping!

Gratify your itch to travel in the great outdoors. No need for TSA pat-downs or tiny liquids bottles! Now is a great time to explore your local area and camp out. Camping has boomed this summer, with camping gear and RV sales at record highs. Just be sure to be kind to the nature you’re enjoying, and practice self-care by not leaving trash at your campsite. 

Enjoy Home

The staycation is maybe your safest bet for 2020. No matter where you live, you can be a tourist in your own town, or even in your home. There are bound to be parks and nature areas you’ve never seen before, restaurants you’ve never had take-out from, and shops you’ve not noticed. Get out the old Google map and have a look around your area for some solid me-time. And if you’re more of a home-body, why not get that garden going or work on some DIY projects around the home? You won’t be alone in your home improvement endeavors in 2020!

Indulge 

Enjoyment of whatever sensible lark you love is radical self-care. Maybe there’s a series on Netflix you can binge for a weekend, or you could let yourself sleep in for once, or pop into your local massage therapist’s for a spa day; read that trashy book you’ve secretly wanted to read; buy those cashmere sweatpants you’ve been obsessing over. Do whatever it is you crave without guilt or judgment. Revel in indulgence. In the wise words of Retta, “treat yo sself!”. 

Get a Hobby

Work, work, work, work, work. That’s the mantra it seems from grade school to the grave. With all this toiling, we’ve forgotten that we also need to do, well, other stuff, just for the enjoyment of it. That can be anything from training for a marathon, crafting, cooking, working on old bikes, birdwatching, or losing yourself in a jigsaw puzzle. It’s been shown over and over that hobbies make us happier, so enjoy yourself. Here’s a list of 20 hobbies to boost those happy hormones. So dust off that old craft box, learn a new skill, or take the time to explore your interests with wild abandon.

There’s no better time than the present to do something nice for yourself. Getting into the practice of self-care will allow you to be not only more productive and fresh at work, but also kinder and more patient with yourself and others. Gleaning more satisfaction out of life is what it’s all about, so cheers to you! 

Starting a business is always challenging, with 20% failing in the first year, and 50% by year five. That’s all the more reason to celebrate Crowned’s fifth anniversary and give ourselves a little pat on the back. 2020 has been quite the year so far, and despite the uncertainty and disruption of business-as-usual in many sectors, Crowned is persevering. We couldn’t be more proud of how far we’ve come, or more excited about what lies ahead. 

So what’s it like to have a growing five-year-old business? We asked our founder, Francesca Coronado, about what she thinks about where she’s been and where she plans to go with Crowned.

How does it feel to have your company turn 5? 

It feels humbling and a bit surreal.  The time has gone by very quickly, and I’ve learned so much over the last five years. 

What were some of the hurdles you faced in starting your own business? 

There are always going to be hurdles; I think that’s to be expected.  For me, the biggest challenge was maintaining boundaries. Figuring out how to step away from work has helped me be more productive. 

What’s your favorite part of being your own boss and running a business? 

I like the freedom that remote work provides, and I like being able to shift my schedule when needed.

What’s the most challenging aspect of running your own business?

I think the best and the most challenging aspects are parallel. That said,  as a business owner, everything lands on your shoulders; it’s all up to you to steer the ship.

If you had a time machine, what would you do differently in starting the business?

I’d like to say that I wish I’d been better prepared, but then again, the decision to start Crowned was made on a whim. So I wouldn’t change anything. I’ve learned so much from every experience, good and bad.

What are some of your top resources for getting started? 

There are so many entrepreneurial Facebook groups in every niche you can imagine, and they’re a great way to start networking. LinkedIn is also a great resource for making connections and joining groups. If you have a chance, go to a conference (there are many virtual conferences lately). It’s an easy way to get some face time and learn from other entrepreneurs. 

What’s on the horizon for Crowned in the next year? 

This is an exciting time for Crowned. After some feedback, we realized we’re missing an opportunity to share what we know about operations management with a broader audience. Not everyone has the budget or desire for one on one client support. Maybe they’re just starting out or need a quick solution for their business. To reach this audience, we’re launching our Digital Library in 2021, full of products that I hope will inspire, guide, and be genuinely useful to other entrepreneurs. 

Where do you see Crowned in another 5 years? 

In five years, I hope to continue to expand and pivot with the ever-changing times. No one expected that we would be in the midst of a global pandemic, so you have to be ready for anything. Just a year ago, the thought of full remote work was not feasible for most companies. Now, Zoom meetings are considered the norm. So much can change in a year– nothing is static.  That’s what I think is fundamental when running a business: You must be open to change. 

Here’s to many more years to come for Crowned! Keep an eye out for news about our Digital Library in the coming months. Cheers!

What is GDPR?

Diving into the legalese of GDPR isn’t what we call enjoyable reading, so let’s break it down a bit. GDPR stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It was created in the European Union and rolled out on May 25th of 2018 (happy belated birthday GDPR!) to protect the data of EU citizens, but it has a global impact despite being an EU law. 

GDPR gives individuals more control over their own personal data online. This is extremely important because personal data is a trillion-dollar industry! That’s with a T trillion! With control of your data put back in your own hands, GDPR takes that power away from big companies like Facebook and Google (in theory), who deal heavily in the massively profitable personal data market. 

What is personal data? 

Person data covers a lot of information. Contact information, device details (IP addresses, location data), bank account, ID numbers, social media posts, geotagging, personal health information, race, and even your opinions, videos, and photos posted to social media are considered personal data. 

These elements put together paint a picture of you online. So it’s a pretty big deal to take the power away from those who profit off of selling personal data. 

What happens if GDPR is violated? 

Fines. To be exact, up to €20 million ($23 million) or 4% of annual global turnover. Yikes, right? Well, it’s proven to not be that big of a deal to the really big players, like Google, who was served a $57 million fine, which they probably found in their couch cushions. If nothing else, it’s bad publicity to get slapped with a GDPR fine, and hopefully will persuade companies to be more careful with user data and more serious about data security going forward. For smaller companies, a GDPR fine could be potentially financially devastating. So let’s talk about how to avoid such devastation!

What is GDPR compliance & why is it important?  

Business owners that potentially have EU users, even just as subscribers to a blog or newsletter, need to be compliant with GDPR. 

In broad terms, compliance will include the following aspects:

  1. Collect data legally and use it ethically
  2. Collect as little information as possible
  3. Use trusted applications to protect any collected data
  4. Only store data as necessary

If you run a website that doesn’t collect any subscriber information or sell anything, you’re generally safe to be GDPR worry-free. 

GDPR Checklist

While this is not meant to be legal advice in any way, here’s what you need to become GDPR compliant:

  1. Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) 
    1. Check out the ICO’s comprehensive guide to DPIAs. 
  1. Data Breach Notifications 
    1. You have 72 hours to report a breach and must inform users ASAP. 
  1. Privacy Policies
    1. Termly has a privacy policy generator that can help you out in this area. 

The Future of Privacy Laws

We mentioned in our last blog that GDPR-like laws are popping up all over the place. The most mature of these laws come out of California and is called the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which has been dubbed California’s “GDPR lite”. It’s a new law that rolled out January 1, 2020, based on the EU’s law. (We’re currently in the grace period before the law is enforced, which ends July 1, 2020.) Let’s talk a bit about what to expect. 

CCPA 

Basically, CCPA defines who needs to comply a bit more specifically than GDPR, which is more broad in its compliance definition. CCPA also doesn’t give the consumer/user quite as many rights as GDPR. CCPA is weaker for the consumer/user in that it doesn’t force the company to get permission before selling personal data. It only has the company give you the option to withdraw your consent after the fact. 

The CCPA is not quite as broad as GDPR. This infographic lays out the differences between the two laws, and this checklist is extremely handy in sorting out anything you can think of when it comes to your questions about compliance with CCPA. 

CCPA Checklist

Becoming GDPR compliant is a good starting point for your compliance with US-based privacy laws because if you’re at a minimum GDPR compliant, you’ll very likely already be able to fulfill the requirements of CCPA. And just a reminder that this is in no way intended to be legal advice — chat with your legal advisors on that front if you have any questions. 

Here are the basics of who needs to comply with this law: 

Any organization that meets one of the following three criteria annually:

  • Earn revenues greater than $25 million.
  • Buy, receive, sell, or share the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices for commercial purposes.
  • Derive 50 percent of annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information.

If you fulfill just one of the above criteria, you need to comply with the CCPA. Do head to this website for their checklist tool, and also go to the CCPA’s official site to get more guidance on what you need to do. 

Please do have a chat with your legal counsel if you have any specific concerns about your organization in regards to complying with any of the above laws. 

We at Crowned know the importance of understanding data privacy laws like the EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA. In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, data privacy is as hot a topic as ever. Despite all the media attention to GDPR, we thought it would be helpful to drill down into GDPR in the USA, especially since most small businesses aren’t confident that they comply with GDPR rules.

With more people than ever working from home, keeping data safe and in compliance with data privacy law is more important than ever. The European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), California’s CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and Brazil’s LGPD are just the tip of the iceberg in the era of data protection. It’s important for anyone with an online presence to have a general grasp of these rules. 

Why should I care about GDPR in the USA? 

Being ahead of the curve is key here. GDPR is the headliner of the data privacy show, but we also have to be aware of the laws that have been inspired by GDPR. With the roll-out of California’s CCPA and Brazil’s LGPD this year, data privacy laws are just getting started. In the US alone, several states, including Nevada, New York, Texas, and Washington, are considering following California’s lead and passing their own data protection law. Canada and Australia have data protection laws in the works, too. So why not become GDPR compliant now to save yourself the headache in the inevitability of the deluge of GDPR-type law to-be?

If you have customers in the EU, you should care about GDPR!

GDPR impacts EU/EEA residents (data subjects) and any organization that processes personal data (data processor) of EU/EAA residents. GDPR is location-based, so it is dependent on where the data subject is located when their data is processed. Citizenship is not a factor; location is key here. 

The size of your business (aka the data processor), the number of employees, or the amount of revenue you make doesn’t matter to GDPR rules. If your business does at least one of the following, GDPR applies to you: 

  • Your business offers goods or services (even with no commercial transactions) to EU/EEA residents.
  • Your company monitors or tracks the online behavior of users inside the EU/EEA.

GDPR & COVID-19

The ICO, who regulates GDPR in the UK (where your writer dwells), has published guidelines for businesses operating in the UK which discusses the challenges faced with compliance during the pandemic.

Organizations face many data privacy challenges and with an uptick in working from home, a major rise in phishing attacks and scammer activity, and staff shortages that might make complying with data access requests difficult within the law’s rules. The UK is feeling the brunt of these challenges right now.

The ICO has stated: 

“We understand that resources, whether they are finances or people, might be diverted away from usual compliance or information governance work. We won’t penalise organisations that we know need to prioritise other areas or adapt their usual approach during this extraordinary period.

We can’t extend statutory timescales, but we will tell people through our own communications channels that they may experience understandable delays when making information rights requests during the pandemic.”

GDPR will continue to evolve over time. The European Union will keep this site updated with news of the future of GDPR. 

GDPR Bottom Line for US Companies

The long and short of it is that if you have any data subjects you serve or track (customers, readers, users, etc.) based in the EU, you must comply with GDPR. Here’s a great resource for help if you’re feeling a little astray on this front. 

These laws will continue to develop as regulators interpret how companies respond to complying with privacy legislation. Likely, we will see regulators expand the rules to wrangle companies who do their best to find loopholes. Google and Facebook are already doing just that. 

What’s Next? 

We here at Crowned believe that working toward compliance for GDPR is wise and worth it. Like so much right now, it’s hard to forecast. One thing is for sure, though– data privacy isn’t going away, and it’s best to work toward GDPR compliance ASAP. 

In our next blog, we’ll dive into a few of the details about what GDPR is and how you can work toward compliance.

Welcome to spring, dear readers. We know that times are tough right now on so many levels, and we want you to know what we are right there with you. Thankfully, we’re experts in how to implement digital tools to streamline your business operations, and we know that many businesses need this now more than ever. Let’s dig into how Crowned can work with you.

Our Mission

Crowned is a boutique consulting agency that provides ongoing support to help busy professionals apply the latest technologies to streamline workflows, and create organizational structures to help transform the way you work. At Crowned we focus on helping clients streamline operations through digitalization in the workplace. What does that mean for you? It means that you work with us to be your problem solvers, and we work with you to deliver solutions that will help you reach your goals.

What can Crowned do for my business or organization? 

Crowned specializes in operations management. You might be wondering what tools and platforms are best for my organization? How do I even start using them… or training my people to use them? How do I know what ones will work for me and my team? How do I stay agile in this remote work environment? How do I stay productive working from home? How do I continue to grow in a recession? 

Thankfully, we at Crowned know these answers because we have decades of experience within our team of consultants. We can help you figure out what will work for your business or organization, and give you a clear plan of action on how to implement working strategies with concrete results. To us, each client is unique with individual needs. We’re able to see the forest for the trees to help you work at your best.

Is Crowned a virtual or executive assistant?

In a word, nope! VAs and EAs perform similar tasks and tend to work for you. They report to you and are typically a contractor or an employee of your organization. Virtual assistants are remote workers who provide clerical and other support services to businesses. Executive assistants are similar to secretaries or administrative assistants, and they often have duties that overlap with what a VA might do for you, but tend to be in-office rather than remote. They usually perform one-off clerical tasks, like accepting and making phone calls and emails, setting business meeting agendas, sending memos, and setting the executive’s daily schedule just to name a few of their broad duties. 

Bottom line: The Big Picture

At Crowned we are operations experts, collaborating with you to implement solutions that work best for your organization or team in the big picture. We can help you save time and reduce human error by analyzing and improving your existing workflows, providing support for training and onboarding, evaluating KPIs, and providing data-driven solutions. Crowned is passionate about designing customized solutions that work for you and your team.

We are living through a once in 100-year pandemic right now. As our global community learns how to cope with the enormous stress that comes along with the uncertainty of these times, it’s important to connect with the world around you in more creative ways. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to explore the outside world while sheltering in place. Crowned has compiled a list of events and activities from professional, to virtual museum tours, to exercise classes and mental health resources.

We also deeply understand and empathize with the struggle of folks in industries that are suffering, and have included some ideas to support those out of work right now as well. It’s a challenging time, but we hope that our communities will come together to help one another out at least a little bit every day. Take care of each other everyone! 

You can see current updates from the CDC here.

PROFESSIONAL

  1. The Remote Work Summit
  2. Remote Future Summit
  3. Microsoft Build 2020 – Usually, an in-person event transitioned to a virtual for 2020
  4. OCP Global Summit – Open Compute Project has gone virtual for 2020
  5. THINK 2020 – IBM’s Think Digital event experience
  6. ExO World Summit – 14-16 April Connecting world-class professionals, organizations, institutions and people to transform and unlock abundance to change the world

LEISURE (FAMILY TIME)

  1. Marco Polo app – This app is fabulous and easy to use way to connect with your family and friends in a way that’s more direct and personal than traditional social media apps. (Our niece calls this “Snapchat for old people,” which we take as a huge compliment.)
  2. British Museum, London – Virtual tours of their collections
  3. San Diego Zoo live cams – Majestic animals to behold
  4. Lunch Doodles on YouTube – Fun drawings lessons for kids and families
  5. Metropolitan Opera – offering nightly streaming Free
  6. Virtual Field Trips – Each no-cost field trip comes with a companion guide with hands-on learning activities.
  7. Netflix Watch Party – using a Google Chrome extension
  8. Virtual Disney World – Experience Disney rides virtually
  9. Winchester Mystery House – A beautiful, bizarre home and architectural wonder and historic landmark in San Jose, CA. 
  10. Call loved ones- Especially the older folks in your life who might be struggling with loneliness

EDUCATIONAL

  1. Harvard – Free online courses
  2. NASA – Entire Media library publicly accessible and copyright free
  3. Smithsonian – Open access 
  4. Hour of Code – Free 1-hour coding tutorials and activities for all ages and skill levels
  5. Science Sparks – Free science experiments for kids!
  6. CodeAcademy.com – learn to code/build a website for free for kids.
  7. Free online cooking class – offering free lessons

MOVEMENT

  1. Yoga for After a Disaster – Free YouTube channel for some zen time. 
  2. Dance Church – Really fun cardio dance classes! 
  3. FitOn – Free app gives you workouts based on your own equipment or none at all
  4. Nike Run Club – Free app that helps you run better, including GPS run tracking; audio-guided runs; weekly, monthly and custom distance challenges.
  5. 7 App – A HIIT inspired free app with 7-minute guided exercise circuits. 

MENTAL HEALTH

  1. Woebot – A free AI chatbot to help you with your feels
  2. InsightTimer – 35,000 free guided meditations and courses
  3. This is an exhaustive list of an array of mental health resources

NON-TECH OPTIONS

  1. Step outside and enjoy nature
  2. Call a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while, especially our elders! 
  3. Read a guilty pleasure book, like a murder mystery or fantasy novel. Anything to take you out of the real world for at least 20 minutes a day. 
  4. Journal daily. We are living in history right now. Having a journal now will be a priceless view of your daily experiences during this once in 100 years pandemic. Writing down your thoughts and feelings in an uncensored way will help to diffuse your fear or stress as well. 

RESOURCES FOR FOLKS WHO HAVE LOST CLIENTS OR JOBS

Most sources are saying we’re headed for a recession. A lot of small business owners and workers are hurting right now. Unfortunately, we’re at a place as of the time of publishing where much is unknown, and official resources are not yet clear. If you’re out of work and not sure what to do, your state website will have resources for the unemployed if not now, within the next few days. Local community organizations will also be mobilizing the best they can to serve those in need. Contact any local church (even if you aren’t a member), community center, or local charitable organizations to see if they can help with things like food staples, especially if you’re concerned about an older friend or relative. If rent is an issue, reach out to your landlord (we aren’t all monsters!). 

This is an unprecedented time of coming together while being apart, and now more than ever social media will play a vital role in our lives to help us not feel so isolated. Reach out and tell your communities about your experience and your struggles. I think we are about to see the generosity of the masses come out to help our fellow neighbors at an extraordinary level. 

GIVE

If you find that you’re in a place to help, please give to your local food bank. You can find yours here: Feeding America: US Hunger Relief Organization.

Written by: Betty Bair

As a female-founded and operated business, women’s history is close to our hearts here at Crowned.

We all know women are amazing creatures of great brilliance and over-flowing fonts of ingenuity. This fact hasn’t been illuminated as brightly as it could have been throughout the annals of history, but thankfully the light is being shown on so many brave women who have put themselves out there way before it was accepted, now more than ever. 

This Women’s History Month, we want to highlight a few amazing American “female firsts” who have made inspiring contributions to our history and inspire our paths forward. While we’re forever grateful and look with awe upon these female firsts, we look forward to a future with a few less as hopefully, it will become normal for women to have a seat at the table in generations to come. Without these incredible, strong, intelligent women, we wouldn’t be where we are today.  

Jeannette Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Republican from Montana. Her career serving the public started in her 20s when she moved from her home of Montana to San Francisco to become a social worker. She got her degree in New York City at New York School of Philanthropy (now Columbia University School of Social Work) and was active in both social work and the suffrage movement. She was the first woman to address the Montana legislature, arguing in support of enfranchisement for women in her home state.

A life-long pacifist, suffragist, civil and women’s rights advocate, she held office first in 1916 and again in 1940. As a pacifist, she opposed declaring war and helped to cement the 19th Amendment to the constitution, ensuring a woman’s right to vote. Her career spanned six decades and helped to raise women’s voices.

Ellen Ochoa is an American engineer and the first female Mexican-American astronaut. She currently serves as the second female director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. As an astronaut, she spent 9 days aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Ochoa was named Vice-Chair of the National Science Board for the 2018-2020 term. 

Ochoa is quite decorated in her achievements. Her many awards include NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal (2015), Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995) and Space Flight Medals (2002, 1999, 1994, 1993). Ochoa was recognized in Hispanic Executive’s 2017 Best of the Boardroom issue for her work as a board director for Johnson Space Center. In 2018, she was inducted into the International Air and Space Hall of Fame.

She’s also a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the National Academy of Inventors. She has had many schools named after her, including one in our founder’s town of Pasco, Washington —The Ochoa Middle School

In 1993, Toni Morrison became the first female African-American Nobel Prize winner in literature. She was a professor, editor, essayist, and novelist from Ohio whose novels included “Beloved,” “The Bluest Eye,” “Sula,” “Song of Solomon,” “Tar Baby,” “Jazz,” “Paradise,” “Gold Help the Child,” “Home,” “A Mercy” and “Love.”

In the 1960s, she had another first as the first black female fiction editor at Random House. She was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2012 by President Barack Obama. The list of awards that Morrison received is vast, and her work includes best sellers in print and screen adaptations. She was able to illustrate the complexities of interpersonal relationships and gave a voice to the Black experience in America. Her writings are American treasures. 

Thanks for celebrating Women’s History Month with us! We can’t wait to see what amazing things women will bring to the world next, and are forever grateful for all the strides made in the past.

Written by: Betty Bair