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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Business Crisis? What Crisis?

No-one likes a crisis. That’s why it’s far too common for even the most successful entrepreneur to overlook crisis planning. The challenge is that once you’re in the middle of a true business crisis, you rarely have the time or the resources to deal with it as well as you would want to.

After all, you could find yourself thrown into a very tense situation — trying desperately to deal with members of the media, angry clients, disenchanted employees, wary investors, intrusive regulators and other critical stakeholders.

It’s an emotional time and all it takes is saying ONE wrong word and your business can suffer. That’s why in BusinessCast episode #123, Robert and I “pick the brains” of one of the Nation’s leaders on crisis communications. Dr. Allan Bonner and his team have advised Canada’s most senior business leaders, political figures and sports figures to successfully avoid a crisis, deal with a crisis and turn around a crisis to their advantage.

Listen to BusinessCast episode #123 and get some practical insights on how you can make sure that you’re prepared when a crisis hits your business.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Smart Book Smarts — Key Entrepreneur Resources

Every year a slew of business books arrive in stores claiming to help entrepreneurs become more successful. But which books are really going to help you tackle your short- or long-term challenges?

Since Robert and I are always searching online/offline for resources that are truly practical and relevant for entrepreneurs, in BusinessCast episode #122 — Smart Book Smarts – we review three books that effectively address some of the most common and critical entrepreneur challenges.

The books we review in this episode are the following:

1) Selling to the C-Suite. What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top;

2) The Inspiring Leader. Unlocking the Secrets of How Extraordinary Leaders Motivate; and

3) Upstarts. How Gen Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business.

Listen to BusinessCast episode #122 — Smart Book Smarts to get a flavour of these resources and decide for yourself which one(s) are most appropriate for you.

A special thanks to McGraw Hill who graciously provided these leading-edge entrepreneur resources.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Entrepreneurs — In Action

Robert and I are always looking to identify events that help entrepreneurs succeed. Given that there is such an array of online and offline activities, it’s difficult for any entrepreneur to know which events and forums are truly worth their time.

That’s why we’re so pleased to have been invited to be official media guests for the 7th Annual Business Networking Night. The event has become one of the most worthwhile and fun evenings for up-and-coming business leaders in the City. In BusinessCast #121 – Robert and I captured the energy and enthusiasm from the event — organized by Toronto’s leading business networking facilitator, Jennifer Beale.

While at the event, we spoke to dozens of entrepreneurs and asked them two key questions:

  1. What is their biggest business challenge today; and
  2. How are they overcoming that challenge.

Listen to BusinessCast #121 and tap into the secrets behind how entrepreneurs are successfully tackling today’s most difficult challenges.

BTW, we’ve just added a new title to our ever-growing library of books — available for any of our listeners at no charge. The new book: “Upstarts: How Gen Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business.”

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Guy Kawasaki — Serial Entrepreneur

Energy. Passion. Commitment. Entrepreneurs bring a never-ending amount of these qualities to their businesses — regardless of the industry, the size of the company or the age of the business. But, here’s what’s truly astonishing: while you might expect the day-to-day challenges and pitfalls of leading a business to erode these qualities in fact, the opposite happens.

Dipping into a deep pool of determination and enthusiasm is particularly true in the case of serial entrepreneurs — that special breed of entrepreneur that is hard-wired to continually innovate, challenge themselves as well as challenge conventional ways of doing business . That’s why in BusinessCast podcast #120 Robert and I sat down with one of the World’s best known and most successful serial entrepreneurs: Guy Kawasaki.

Guy is known the World over for launching successful businesses, funding successful business ventures and authoring practical and insightful books to boost entrepreneurs’ success. While Guy’s latest book, Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging and Outmarketing Your Competition may seem like it’s trying to be all things to all business owners/leaders, it certainly is filled with advice and tools that make it a valuable reference book for entrepreneurs.

Listen to BusinessCast podcast #120 and get a glimpse into the mind of a serial entrepreneur with an enviable track record — as Guy shares some of his approaches and secrets.

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Penetrating New Markets

One of the most exciting times in any entrepreneur’s business life is when they successfully penetrate new markets. Of course, “new markets” can mean a different segment, a different industry, a different geographic region, etc. But, whatever the focus, the key to success is applying discipline — but, where to begin?

To answer this question, for BusinessCast podcast episode #119 — Penetrating New Markets – Robert and I sat down with Tony Lourakis, CEO of Markham-based, Complete Innovations. Tony shares his insights about how, in under nine years, he has successfully taken an innovative niche business into new markets. At the same time, Complete Innovations has earned accolades such as being named in the Profit Hot 50 and the Profit 100.

Listen to BusinessCast podcast episode #119 — Penetrating New Markets – and you’ll gain practical insights on how and when you can penetrate your next new market!

A special thanks to Victoria Freeman at High Road Communications for introducing us to Tony.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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