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

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.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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

All the Money You Ever Needed — Winning The Entrepreneur Lottery

Congratulations, you’ve done it — you found investment funds for your business!  But now, what can you expect from those who have invested in your dream? Is all the hard work really over?

To answer these questions, in BusinessCast Podcast #106, we sat down with John Loewen, CEO of Loewen & Partners, a specialty private equity investment bank, to help provide clarity about what life is like for entrepreneurs after receiving investment funds. It turns out that this can be a great time — if the “fit” is right. John brings a wealth of experience as well as provides some straight-talk and practical insights.

After listening to BusinessCast Podcast #106, you will be much better informed about what you can expect after you receive investment and therefore when it’s truly the right time for you to seek and secure investment.

When you are ready for investment make sure that you listen to BusinessCast Podcast #74 – Money Magnet -- where we review one of the finest and most effective resources to help entrepreneurs secure investment funding.

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.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Financial Intelligence…It Doesn’t Have to Be Painful!

How many of you look forward to talking about numbers (really)?

The truth is that most entrepreneurs only have a very rudimentary understanding of finance. The problem is that having little or no skill in gathering, organizing or interpreting your company’s finances can lead to less-than-perfect, and sometime disastrous, decision making.

That’s why Robert — a longtime believer in helping entrepreneurs gain financial intelligence — and I are constantly looking for tools and resources that breathe life into the “numbers side” of your business.

And, that’s why we’re so happy to have identified “Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs“. In BusinessCast #98, Financial Intelligence, we interview co-author Joe Knight. He shares some nuggets but, perhaps more importantly he demonstrates his commitment to developing a truly practical resource.

What impressed me — and, I’m not a “numbers person” — is how well this book is written. It’s clear, concise and really, well…very human! Meaning, it doesn’t feel anything like a finance or accounting text book that speaks down to you. Nor is it so dry that you’re just aching to get to the end of the next paragraph.

The authors quite successfully convey fundamental and complex ideas in a way that you’d wish your CFO could! If you’re running a business and you’re the least bit uncomfortable with business numbers, read this book….and read it, now.

BTW, we have several free copies of Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs so, read an excerpt and then send Robert an email (robert@businesscast.ca) and we’ll send you a free copy. You’ll be glad you did!

Other resources to help you tackle your finances include:

BusinessCast Podcast #69 – Business Success By the Numbers – to help you get straight-forward answers to these common numbers-focused questions:

  1. Should you buy or lease your car?
  2. Should you invest available cash in your mortgage or an RRSP (IRA)?
  3. Who should you sell your business to?

Also, find below some focused resources to help you work through these questions and get you more comfortable dealing with financial issues critical to your business -

A Lease or Buy Your Car Calculator

A Contribute to Your Mortgage or RRSP Calculator

A Video on Finances for Business Leaders (Note: The video providers will prompt you to register before you will be able to view this video.)

BTW, if you have a ‘numbers’ question, let us know. We’ll address it in an upcoming show.

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win a Blackberry Bold!

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Great Book Give-Away (September, 2008)

Robert and I are offering our BusinessCast podcast listeners (and blog readers) leading-edge business resources — for FREE!

Currently the BusinessCast Podcast ‘Great Book Give-Away‘ includes the following titles — mostly from the folks at McGraw Hill:

  • The Four Pillars of Profit-Driven Marketing (2009) – Leslie Moeller and Edward Landry
  • Turn Small Talk Into Big Deals (2009) – Don Gabor
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships (2008) – Leil Lowndes (OUT OF STOCK)
  • Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs (2009) – Karen Berman and Joe Knight(OUT OF STOCK)
  • Sales Coaching: Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach (2009) – Linda Richardson
  • The Inspiring Leader (2009) – John Zenger, Joseph Folkman and Scott Edinger
  • Blogging for Fame and Fortune (2009) – Jason Rich (OUT OF STOCK)
  • Business Lessons from the Edge (2009) – Jim McCormick and Maryann Karinch
  • Smart Networking (2009) – Liz Lynch
  • The Customer Rules: The 14 Indispensable, Irrefutable and Indisputable Qualities of the Greatest Service Companies in the World (2009) – C. Britt Beemer and Robert L. Shook
  • Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (2009) – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (OUT OF STOCK)
  • The Extraordinary Leader (2009) – Joseph Zenger & Joseph Folkman
  • Get Content Get Customers (2009) – Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett
  • Am I the Only Sane One Working Here (2009) – Albert Bernstein
  • The Organizational Champion (2009) – Mike Thompson
  • The Purpose Linked Organization (2009) – Alaina Love and Marc Cugnon
  • Every Family’s Business (2009) – Thomas William Deans
  • Performance Intelligence at Work (2009) – Julie Bell
  • Databases: A Beginner’s Guide (2009) – Andy Oppel
  • Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications (2009) – Paul Argenti
  • Winning Sales Letters (2009) – Ralph Allora
  • PowerPoint Presentations That Sell (2009) – Adam Cooper
  • Mastering Communication at Work (2009)
  • Fearless Leadership (2009) – Loretta Malandro
  • Click: 10 Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships (2009) – George Fraser
  • Financial Statements Demystified (2009) – Bonita Kramer and Christine Johnson
  • Upstarts: How Gen Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business (2009) – Donna Fenn
  • Succession and the Family Business (2009) – John Geddes
  • Loops: The Seven Keys to Small Business Success (2009) – Mike Chaet and Stephen Lundin

Some of these books or so new they aren’t even available in stores yet! So, why not get a jump on your competitors by sending an email to Robert (Robert@BusinessCast.ca) to get a FREE copy of one of these business tools.

*Note: These titles are among the BusinessCast Business Book Essentials List.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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