The “Entrepreneur and the Netbook”: The Checklist Episode

Netbooks are all the rage. But, are they right for entrepreneurs? And, are they right for entrepreneurs, now? They certainly can be when entrepreneurs apply a disciplined approach when searching, evaluating and comparing this leading-edge type of business tool.

In BusinessCast Podcast 109a – “The Entrepreneur and the Netbook”, we go through the key criteria that all entrepreneurs should use when considering a netbook as well as identify a handful of key free resources.

After listening to BusinessCast Podcast 109a – “The Entrepreneur and the Netbook”, you will have the tools you need to make sure that the netbook you choose is right for you and your business!

And, in case you can’t wait to find out which netbook we chose at the BusinessCast Podcast– have a peek at the Samsung N-110.

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Information Technology for Entrepreneurs: Getting the Right I.T. Support

Information Technology (I.T.) plays a critical role in every entrepreneur’s success — at every stage of business growth.

That’s why for BusinessCast Podcast # 109 — I.T. Support for Entrepreneurs, we sat down with ThinkQuick’s Michael Donovan. Michael brings a rare combination of strategic and hands-on experience solving I.T. issues — in hardware, software and systems.

Michael also has an uncanny way of getting to the crux of I.T. problems and describing them clearly without technical jargon. So, we focused on one of the most basic I.T. issues: I.T. support. In short, when should you get I.T. support? And, who should provide it?

After listening to BusinessCast Podcast # 109 — I.T. Support for Entrepreneurs you will have a much better idea of what you should do in order to find and secure the kind of  I.T. support that will keep your computers, and therefore your business, up-and-running.

BTW, here are 15 key questions you should ask when choosing your I.T. support whether that is to solve an immediate problem or to head-off issues before they interrupt your business:

1. What steps will you take to ensure that my data is safe/recovered?

2.  How are you going to diagnose my technical issue(s)?

3. What guarantee will you give me on the work that you do?

4. On what basis do you charge (i.e. hourly/per project/retainer)? Do you charge for estimates?

5. What kind of computers/software/systems have you worked on in the last 2 to 3 years?

6. How do you keep current on the latest I.T. challenges/technologies?

7.  What do you see as the single most important thing in resolving/anticipating my business’ technology issues?

8. What is your troubleshooting timetable (i.e. how often do you look for ways to avoid problems before they arise)?

9. What is your method for delivering I.T. support (i.e. on the phone, on the web, via email, via Twitter, via Instant Messenger, in person)? Can I, as a client, choose what support method I want?

10. What are your hours of operation? Do you charge differently for “off hours”? Do you charge differently based on how quickly technology issues need to be resolved?

11. Can you give me the name of three entrepreneurs that you have helped overcome similar issues or are providing ongoing support?

12. How big is your operation? On average, how many calls does each member of your Support Team handle per day? What’s the average turnaround time that I can expect before I receive a call and/or service?

13. Do you support PC/MAC/LINUX or mobile technologies like Blackberry and iPhone?

14. What’s the range of support services you offer (i.e. from individual workstations to servers and networks)?

15. Do you sell hardware/software if I need something replaced or installed? What sort of additional markup do you add on top of retail (or discount do you take off)?

You can reach our I.T. expert Michael Donovan by email at: Donovan@ThinkQuick.com.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold! All it takes is 100 words (or less) on why a Blackberry Bold will help your business. Send your note to Robert@businesscast.ca.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Networking for Entrepreneurs – Resource Round-up

Robert and I are always being asked by entrepreneurs for tips and tools about networking. It’s not that there aren’t a vast array of worthwhile networking resources available online and offline. But, given hectic schedules, entrepreneurs want to find and tap into those tools that will help achieve a wide range of networking goals quickly and cost-effectively.

So, over the last few months, we’ve reviewed a number of critical networking resources. For example, in BusinessCast #92 we reviewed Liz Lynch’s practical and powerful handbook entitled, Networking for Entrepreneurs. Then in BusinessCast Podcast #105, Liz, Robert and I ran through three of the most common networking scenarios faced by all entrepreneurs.

We also tackled the growing topic of online networking by focusing on LinkedIn. In BusinessCast Podcast #104, Doyle Slayton shared tips on how he uses this online community to forward his networking agenda. While we’ll be building on this topic in future BusinessCast Podcast episodes this interview, along with the associated blog post, is an easy and practical introduction to LinkedIn.

It’s with this imperative on practical tips and speed that we bring in one of Canada’s most prominent and successful “connectors” — Donna Messer. That’s why in BusinessCast Podcast #108, Essential Networking Rules, we have Donna rifle through 15 of the most important networking tips in under 10 minutes!!

Don’t forget to enter the contest to Win a Blackberry Bold! All it takes is 100 words (or less) on how a Blackberry Bold will help your business. Send a note to Robert@BusinessCast.ca and you could win this powerful smartphone — provided by Research in Motion.

Massive Technology Show

Like many entrepreneurs, Robert and I are avid technology enthusiasts. Listeners will no doubt remember some of the many BusinessCast Podcasts where we’ve dug deeply into the latest and greatest technologies that increase business productivity and efficiencies.

So, we’re thrilled that the Massive Technology Show is coming to Toronto later this week! And, just like we are at many entrepreneur-focused events, we’re official members of the media for this tradeshow and conference.

The Massive Technology Show promises to be entertaining as well as highly informative. But, more importantly, you’ll get a glimpse of technologies that you’ll be using in your business over the next few years. Here’s a great opportunity to get a jump on your competition — whether you’re feeding that “inner technology geek” or not. See you there!

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold! All it takes is 100 words (or less) on why a Blackberry Bold will help your business. Send your note to Robert@businesscast.ca.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Your Brand: “Entrepreneur” — A National Perspective

Robert and I speak with international authors, experts and innovators — sharing advice that helps entrepreneurs become more successful. But, what often goes unsaid is that part of every entrepreneur’s success stems from the strength, reach and consistency of the brand “entrepreneur”. If you describe yourself, or more importantly, if others label you as an entrepreneur — you get branded with a series of very specific skills, characteristics and motivations. That’s why we’re always keeping an eye open for how entrepreneurs are branded, individually and collectively.

So, in BusinessCast Podcast #107 we chatted with Maclean’s Magazine’s National Editor, Andrew Coyne.  Maclean’s Magazine is Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine and Andrew is one of a few people with a good sense for the pulse of the Nation. So it seemed only fitting to gather his “take” on entrepreneurs, the importance of entrepreneurs to our economy and the challenges facing entrepreneurs today.

Among his reflections, Andrew highlights examples and key sources of innovation — including Tesla Motors – and blogs/podcasts like the BusinessCast!

Listen to BusinessCast Podcast #107 and you’ll get a picture of how you, and all entrepreneurs, come across to the rest of Canada.  To read more from Andrew Coyne, check out his insightful blog.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold! All it takes is 100 words (or less) on why a Blackberry Bold will help your business. Send your note to Robert@businesscast.ca.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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