Sklar Technology Partners - December 2018

December 2018

7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111 • • 804-730-2628

Holiday Shopping With the Expert

Give a Memorable Gift This Year

I love the holidays, partially because I am great at buying gifts. It’s a matter of pride, which is why I roll my eyes when I see the ridiculous offerings my friend Brad brings to our annual white elephant gift exchange. From nose hair trimmers to little plastic bears that roar when you fire a toy gun, he always manages to find the worst possible “gift.” I’m not sure if this is some twisted humor or if he’s just really bad at buying gifts. In honor of Brad’s terrible gift-giving, each winter I like to bring you some examples of excellent gifts. If you need some tips for your holiday shopping, consider a few of these quality items. Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker I’m a coffee aficionado, always looking for better ways to enjoy my morning brew. Great coffee takes a little extra time, and the Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker gives fresh coffee grounds time to bloom, releasing the best flavors as you pour the hot water by hand.The grounds are evenly soaked and you get to enjoy the most flavorful coffee of your life. This glass coffeemaker even looks like a piece of art. When you pair it with the Chemex filters, it becomes essential for your 3 p.m. coffee fix. Hestra Winter Mittens My son got the Hestra ski gloves not long ago, but even with the army-grade gloves, his fingers were still getting cold.This is because it doesn’t matter how impressive the gloves are, when your fingers are separated, your hands get cold. Here’s where the mittens come in.Your thumbs are free to move, but

your fingers remain snugly bundled together, keeping your hands nice and toasty. Plus, Hestra gloves and mittens use top-of-the-line materials you can trust while skiing down a mountain. KMC 6-Outlet Surge Protector A surge protector isn’t flashy, but anyone who receives this gift will wonder how they managed to live without it.This particular surge protector has three outlets lining both sides and two USB ports right in the front.The surge protector also has two tiny shelves built in that you can rest your smartphone on while it’s charging.This is really handy when you’re traveling with family. No more fighting over limited hotel outlets! And the whole thing is so small that you can fit it in your carry-on. Tumi Alpha 2 Suitcase Did you know you could love your luggage? I didn’t. Not until I got the Tumi Alpha 2 International Carry- On.This suitcase is amazing.The quality of it cannot be overstated. It rolls super nicely, the zipper pockets are easily accessible, a suit bag can fit perfectly inside, and everything stays in place. It’s like a work of art. I love this bag so much that I also got the hangers, which snap easily inside the bag, and the Tumi Alpha Bravo Slim laptop bag.These bags really change the way you travel. Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire Watch A holiday gift list isn’t complete without some technology.This year, I’m singing the praises of the Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire watch. If you want an amazing piece of technology, Garmin has you covered.

This smartwatch has everything. It syncs to your phone, monitors your vitals, offers breathing exercises when you’re stressed out, and has a crazy-long battery life. I also hear that it’s pretty handy on the golf course. Best of all, it looks cool. These are just a few of my favorite gift suggestions from the past year and, as always, they’re available on Amazon for those who don’t want to deal with the mall crowds. I hope these suggestions help you find the perfect gift this holiday season. Let’s be honest — no one should have to unwrap a nose hair trimmer. “In honor of Brad’s terrible gift-giving, each winter I like to bring you some examples of excellent gifts.”

Happy holidays!

–Randy Sklar





How Your Business Can Give Back the Right Way We believe that small businesses can have a positive impact on local communities and the wider world.A successful charity campaign can make a world of difference for people in need, especially over the holidays. But not all charitable organizations are created equal, and supporting the wrong organization can do more harm than good. Here are some tips on finding the best fit for your business.

3 Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns You Won’t Forget

Marketing is hard. If anyone could do it, there wouldn’t be a hundred self-help books claiming to hold the secret to marketing success. Fortunately, we have the answers you seek! Or, at least, we have one very good piece of advice you can’t ignore. Here are a few examples of excellent direct mail marketing. See if you can guess what they have in common. Precrumpled for Your Convenience Here’s a piece of direct mail we received at our office that we were pretty impressed with. A company that specializes in custom shirts sent Randy a sales letter and some fabric swatches. The letter itself was wrinkled up, and the eye-catching header read, “In order to save you time, we have precrumpled this paper to make it easier to throw away. Before you toss it, please use the extra seconds we have saved you to read about our offer.” LavOnline’s Tomato Splat LavOnline is an Italian-based laundry company. Eager to boost their business, LavOnline cultivated a list of 1,000 prospective clients and sent them each a small box with a tomato-shaped stress ball inside. The box unfolded into the shape of a white T-shirt, and recipients were invited to “splat” the tomato onto the shirt. The delightful, interactive ad worked wonders. Thirty-two percent of the target customers signed up, and LavOnline’s website saw a 15 percent increase in traffic overall. Earth Hour’s Candle Box Every year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) organizes Earth Hours. This massive event aims to make people more aware of their energy use by turning off their lights for one hour. To encourage large companies to participate, the WWF sent yellow candles to several CEOs in 2010. The candles came in a box that looked like a tall office building with silhouettes of people in the windows.When the yellow candle was removed, it looked like the lights in the “building” were being turned off, floor by floor. The campaign was so memorable, corporate support for Earth Hour rose 260 percent that year. These are just a few examples of successful direct mail marketing campaigns, but the lesson can be implemented across all platforms: Don’t be boring. It doesn’t matter if you are using email, billboards, or Google AdWords. You aren’t the only person trying to get your clients’ attention, so make sure you’re the most memorable. Talk about a great hook.

Align Missions

When narrowing down the thousands of local and national charities you have to choose from, comparing the mission statements of these organizations to your own is a great place to start. Charities that align with or complement your own goals as a business are natural partners. Still, while matching big-picture goals is a great start, you also need to make sure your chosen organization aligns with the heart and soul of your business: your employees and customers.

Find Human Connections

The most powerful charity work your business can support is a cause that stems from the needs and passions of people connected to your work. Maybe a member of your team lives with a disability or a significant number of your customers face social, cultural, or economic challenges. Putting time, money, and effort into supporting a reputable organization that helps the people and communities connected to your business is one of the best ways to show you care.

Check Credentials

Good intentions only go so far.To really make your charity efforts count and ensure your donations are used appropriately, you need to do some research.Thankfully, organizations like the Better Business Bureau, CharityWatch, and keep data on IRS-registered charities, making it easy to see which groups are reputable. In general, you should look for organizations that have a great track record of transparency and make all of their financial information readily available.

Remember the ‘Why’

If you’re just looking for a tax write-off or good publicity, charity efforts are going to feel hollow and frustrating. More than anything, philanthropy should involve a cause your business is passionate about — no matter how big or small.Taking the time to remind yourself why you’ve chosen to support a particular cause will keep you from losing sight of what giving back is all about.

Just Browsing Web browsers seem pretty cut and dried, depending on the technology you prefer. Android antisurveillance movement; it’s able to obscure your IP

The Most Important App You Never Think About

if you’re worried about the speed of your computer. Apps If you use a lot of Google apps every day, like Gmail or Google Calendars, Chrome might really be your best option. It’s no surprise that Google apps tend to run better on Chrome than they do on any other browser. Meanwhile, if you access a lot of multimedia while online, the extensions for gaming and music found on Torch Browser might be just what you’re looking for. There are a ton of different web browsers available, and the one you should use depends entirely on your unique browsing habits. Switching to a new browser is easier than you might think, so take some time to see what options are available. It might make the time you spend on the internet far more enjoyable.

address and hide your physical location. Other browsers are less intense but equally useful. Opera has a built-in, unlimited- VPN tool, and Firefox’s Tracking Protection feature prevents websites from tracking your online habits. Personalization If your browser customization begins and ends with a Google Chrome theme, then prepare to be amazed. Browsers like Firefox or Vivaldi let you customize the toolbars and

users have Google Chrome, Apple loyalists use Safari, and your nephew with his weird computer from Ukraine uses something called Tor. But here’s the reality: The browser you use shouldn’t be influenced by your technology. You should choose your browser based on what you need it to do. Here are some things to consider when you are choosing a web browser. Privacy

Tired of faceless companies collecting data on you? While Chrome gives you the ability to adjust privacy settings, other browsers put privacy at the forefront of their systems. Tor is a browser beloved by the

drop-down screens, add a sidebar for faster navigation, and truly control your browsing experience. Firefox, specifically, also uses 30 percent less RAM than Chrome, which is great

Paleo Hot Chocolate Yes, you read that right. Just because you adhere to a paleo diet doesn’t mean you have to forgo one of winter’s most nostalgic and warming treats. Here’s how to make a killer hot chocolate that meets the standards of a paleo diet.


• 1 can (14 ounces) coconut cream, chilled • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar

• 2 cups almond or coconut milk • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions 1. In a large saucepan, bring almond or coconut milk to a boil.

2. Once boiling, remove from heat and gradually stir in cocoa and vanilla until well-combined. 3. To make whipped cream, remove coconut cream from refrigerator and pour into a large

bowl; whisk with an electric mixer. Add coconut sugar and mix well. 4. Pour hot chocolate into a mug, top with whipped cream, and enjoy.

Inspired by

7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 804-730-2628


Inside This Issue ‘Don’t Be Like Brad’ 2018 Choosing the Right Charity Stop Boring Your Prospects! The Future Isn’t Shiny and Chrome Paleo Hot Chocolate Misleading Foods to Avoid 1 2 3 4

Healthy Food Faux Pas

Misleading Ingredients You Should Avoid

Lettuce Liars Yes, even salads can be misleading when it comes to dieting. Salad dressing is a yummy way to make a salad more exciting, but it should be doled out in limited quantities. Unfortunately, most prepackaged salads do not limit dressing portions. A pool of ranch dressing over lettuce will limit the benefits you’ll get from the healthy greens. Additionally, nuts, cheeses, and seeds can be healthy and tasty on your salad, but they should also be eaten in moderation. Dinnertime Deception Your California roll may be hiding more than you think. Sushi is usually rolled in sugar-loaded and carbohydrate-heavy white rice. Aside from the white rice, the more intricate rolls often include toppings and condiments best savored in moderation. If you think you can avoid fried and greasy options by ordering a veggie burger, think again. These meat alternatives often contain another unhealthy dose of rice and are fried or baked in processed oils. While this information may send you into a panic about finding healthy foods, remember to stick to natural, low-additive foods, monitor your portion sizes, and create homemade alternatives to some of your favorites. You don’t have to compromise on taste to get the most nutrition out of your meals. Try cooking your favorite foods from scratch and avoid the consequences of misleading ingredients.

Instagram models and fitness specialists flood social media feeds with nutrition tips and tricks, but amid the blur of muscled selfies and misguided dieting advertisements, it’s hard to determine what is actually healthy. Arm yourself with the following knowledge about tricky food ingredients, and always question diet fads blasted on social media. Devious Drinks There’s actually no scientific evidence to suggest “performance-enhancing” drinks will make you a better athlete. If you drink sports drinks regularly, you’re actually filling your body with unnecessary sugars and additives. Furthermore, common fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, and skim or fat-free milk contains additives that eliminate the full feeling whole milk provides you. Sneaky Snacks Food marketing labels use the latest diet trends to twist consumers into thinking they’re making smart choices simply because something is labeled “organic” or “low-fat.” Next time you’re shopping for a quick snack, be mindful when grabbing trail mix, yogurt, granola, microwave popcorn, or protein bars. These items are often falsely advertised as healthy options, and while they may contain some nutrients, most people don’t adhere to the listed serving size. When you eat more than recommended, you could be offsetting the nutritional benefits.


How many accounts do you log into every day?

Are you still using your exposed Facebook password to access your bank accounts?

Between emails, social media accounts, banking, work software, entertainment services, and online shopping, experts estimate we have at least 27 different accounts that require passwords to access. Unfortunately, most people only have around 6 different passwords they use regularly. Learn how to secure ALL your accounts with our free live demo! Using weak passwords or relying on the same passwords again and again makes it easy for hackers to break into your accounts and steal sensitive data. We’ve come up with a simple solution to protect all your accounts with unique, sophisticated passwords you won’t forget. Visit .

their accounts easy to compromise. Using your birthday or your kid’s name as a password? You might as well put a welcome mat out. You wouldn’t protect your home with a doorstop. Why are you leaving your personal accounts unprotected? Randy’s live demo can show you how to upgrade from a doorstep to a real security system. Get started by visiting .

Are your passwords secure? Think again!

The security firm Preempt found that 19% of professionals use “poor-quality passwords," making

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