Investing in Innovation — What You Need to Bring to the Table

Successful entrepreneurs are by their very nature innovators — it’s very nearly a pre-requisite. But, before determining if their business is going to attract customers and attention, every entrepreneur has to answer a key question: Is their business innovative enough to attract funding?

To answer this question, in BusinessCast episode #126 — Investing in Innovation — Robert and I sat down with David Ceolin who spends his time evaluating, and investing in, entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas.  David shares with us his criteria for innovation and the processes that entrepreneurs should follow — prior to seeking funding.

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Starting and Growing Your Business: Success Now and in the Future

All successful entrepreneurs are forward-looking. So much so that even when entrepreneurs are in the very early stages of starting their business, they are typically actively searching for future ways to improve it, grow it and expand it.

One of the greatest examples of successfully applying this approach is the disciplined and innovative mind behind Verity – Canada’s premiere Women’s networking club.  The club’s founder Mary Aitken began Verity as a stand-alone business where women could meet, network, relax and have fun.

But, Mary, who is a very successful entrepreneur, thoughtfully researched the targeted market and soon found the need to expand Verity to include a world-leading restaurant (George), an enviable spa (Sweetgrass) and most recently, a luxurious hotel (The Ivey).

For BusinessCast #125 — Starting and Growing Your Business, Mary sits down with Robert and me and shares her compelling and exciting story. She also highlights some key lessons relevant for all entrepreneurs. Whether you are starting, honing or expanding your business, Mary provides some practical tips as well as inspires you to keep looking forward — and thereby ensure your success.

Buying Technology To Help Your Business Grow

A few weeks ago in BusinessCast 109 — I.T. Support for Entrepreneurs – Robert and I got the “low down” on the best ways of selecting and working with a competent I.T support professional. After all, all entrepreneurs require technologies to work 24/7.

But, here’s a critical technology question that many entrepreneurs have trouble answering: “Are we evaluating, purchasing and integrating our technologies in ways that ensure it is allowing us to focus on our business — rather than on our business technologies?

So, in BusinessCast #124 — Buying Technology — Robert and I sat down with Marco Nalli from technology innovator and leader Samsung. Marco has an enviable track record as an expert who helps entrepreneurs negotiate the minefield of purchasing technology so that it effectively balances short- and long-term investments, opportunity costs and business goals.

Listen to BusinessCast #124 — Buying Technology — to hone the processes you use to  evaluate, purchase and integrate your technologies. That means you’ll keep your attention where it belongs…growing your business.

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Looking after Your Wealth

We’ve all seen businesses rise and fall. But, why do some businesses implode while others flourish? We’re fascinated to find the different answers to this question which has perplexed entrepreneurs since the onset of commerce. That’s why Robert and I are constantly exploring the critical components and conditions that make entrepreneurs and their businesses succeed.

It turns out that one of the fundamentals to determining success or failure hinges on an often unspoken assumption: entrepreneurs equate business success with their wealth. But, what happens when that isn’t the case? What happens when an entrepreneur’s long-term wealth is hampered by their very own life’s work (i.e. their business)?

In BusinessCast #117 — Family. Business. And, Wealth – Robert and I explore how entrepreneurs can ensure long-term wealth by sitting down with Thomas Deans, author of the widely-acclaimed book: Every Family’s Business. Thomas takes a truly practical — and sometimes controversial — approach to ensure that entrepreneurs can build and sustain the wealth they’ve worked so hard to build…even if that means drastically changing their relationship with the business that’s been in their family for generations. While that might sound sacreligious to many, his disciplined approach and rationale is a wake-up call to every entrepreneur.

Whether you’re managing a family business, selling a family business, investing in a family business or purchasing a family business, you’ll want to listen to Thomas’ insights in this episode of the BusinessCast podcast.

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More Free Business Resources

Robert and I are constantly gathering and sharing useful business resources with BusinessCast podcast listeners. For example, last month, we gave away a Blackberry Bold to an intrepid entrepreneur in our Entrepreneur Be Bold!” contest.

And, we’re always adding to our library of practical business books. In fact, recently, we added several new titles including:

  • Business Lessons from the Edge – Learn How Extreme Athletes Use Intelligent Risk Taking to Succeed in Business
  • Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications
  • Financial Statements Demystified
  • Click: Ten Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships
  • Fearless Leadership
  • Winning Sales Letters
  • Every Family’s Business – 12 Common Sense Questions to Protect Your Wealth
  • Turn Small Talk Into Big Deals

To get any of these free resources,  just send a note to robert@BusinessCast.ca.

Later this week, we’ll be posting an interview with Tom Deans, author of Every Family’s Business. Because this book is focused, practical, easy-to-read and truly universal, it’s become  a “BusinessCast Essential” book — that is, a critical resource that we believe all entrepreneurs should spend time with. Tom takes a fascinating, controversial and unique approach to ensure that every entrepreneur — buying or selling a family business — can retain wealth.

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Business Trends – Part One

Successful entrepreneurs are always harnessing the latest technologies and processes to ensure that their business is as focused and efficient as possible. This requires entrepreneurs to constantly be on the lookout for broad trends (e.g. political, social, demographic) as well as industry-specific trends (e.g. market receptivity, competitors, access to resources and required skills).

So, in BusinessCast podcast episode 115 — Business Trends — Part One — we take up the discussion of the importance of trends with Sacha Ghai. Sacha is a Partner at McKinsey & Co — which is one of the world’s leaders in helping companies develop/improve their strategies, technology and operations.

In future episodes, Robert and I will also drill down with other experts on the trends that will have the greatest on entrepreneurs and their success.

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Business Succession — Making the Most of the Opportunity

All entrepreneurs, at one time or another, must contend with business succession. For example:

  • Are you buying a business from someone?
  • Are you planning to sell your own business?
  • Are you taking a back seat/different role in the business you’ve built?
  • Have you taken over the helm of a business for an aging/exiting family member?

Regardless of the circumstances, you’re going to face succession issues and challenges. And the way, you deal with these issues will have a tremendous impact on you, your friends, your family and your business.

That’s why in BusinessCast Podast #110 Robert and I sat down with succession-management guru John Geddes who recently authored one of Canada’s business top sellers Succession and the Family Business: A Road Full of Potholes or Paved With Gold“. The old school of thought for succession had been “get the legal and accounting issues dealt with and everything would be fine.” But, John’s worked with enough entrepreneurs to know that the interpersonal challenges unique to family businesses must be dealt with properly to ensure a successful and smooth succession. And, that rule applies whether you’re an entrepreneur taking over a family business or an entrepreneur making plans to leave a family business to take on other opportunities.

But, John’s wisdom is universal. His insights about the emotional dynamics that play out in family businesses during succession can help any entrepreneur who serves or sells to family businesses going through difficult transitions.

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