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

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.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Business by Inspiration – Part One

Every successful entrepreneur eats, breathes and sleeps their business. But, what keeps entrepreneurs constantly growing and striving for greatness? It’s rarely as simple as a desire for money or notoriety. Rather, it’s usually some intangible and perpetual pool of inspiration. When that source of inspiration is coupled with the ability to harness core business disciplines the outcome is, well…inspirational!

When we sat down with Jennifer Beale, public relations and networking professional, for BusinessCast episode #116 we clearly saw the outcome of her inspiration. At the same, her success reveals some  important business lessons that will truly inspire and direct every entrepreneur.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Overcoming Common Sales Objections

Entrepreneurs know: The sales cycle never stops. And, so it makes sense that entrepreneurs always have to be prepared to face sales objections. Many BusinessCast loyal listeners have asked Robert and me to offer more advice/content on overcoming common sales objections. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.

In BusinessCast podcast episode #113, Robert and I sit down with award-winning sales guru Warren Coughlin. Together, we run through the most common sales scenarios and how you can address them.

So that you can comfortably address sales objections, we’ve also developed some additional guidelines and point to resources that will help you successfully overcome objections prior to, during and after any sales conversation.

Guidelines

1) Keep in-mind there is no “silver bullet” response to any real customer/prospect objection. Addressing real customer objections takes time, patience and commitment to understanding their priorities.

2) Anticipate objections. That means, prepare for ALL of the major objections and the subtle nuances that come with them. Role play with colleagues, friends and relatives. Don’t try to develop an ‘out of the box’ script. Rather, rehearse tackling each objection from several different angles.

3) The more you learn about the prospect/customer before your sales discussion, the more success you are likely to have dealing with objections. This also shows respect for your customer/prospect and helps to demonstrate that you care about helping them succeed.

4) Recognize that regardless of how well you probe, there are simply some objections that you cannot overcome during a particular conversation. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to be a customer in the short-term.

5) How you deal with sales objections sends a very strong message to your customer/prospect. As a result, always be respectful, enthusiastic, courteous, professional and honest.

6) Don’t take any sales objection personally. Objections are not a reflection of you or your product/service.

7) Apply what you learn through the discussion about the objections in subsequent discussions. So, make sure that you always leave the door open to carry on the discussion at an other time. That means promise some kind of follow-up deliverable and meet that deadline.

Resources

Turning Sales Objections Into Opportunities – some good tips and depth of understanding.

Top 10 Lies Customers Tell Sales Reps and Top 5 Dirty Tricks Customers Play on Sales Reps. There are some good tips here. But don’t let the article titles cause you to think of a would-be client as a liar or adversary. If you do, your relationship will be built on mistrust. As soon as that happens, you’ll hate working with them and they’ll feel the same about you.

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

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.

Leveraging LinkedIn – Online Networking for Entrepreneurs

More and more entrepreneurs are jumping on LinkedIn – which is one of the most popular online/social networking tools. But, to what end? So, Robert and I dig into this question.

In BusinessCast #104 – Getting Linked In, we speak with Doyle Slayton who has done a terrific job at using LinkedIn to build his professional profile. Doyle shares some of his experiences of how he’s used the LinkedIn to successfully build the “SalesBlogcast Group” to be one of the largest, fastest growing, most focused and user-friendly resources on LinkedIn.

Whether you’re new to LinkedIn or are an experienced user, here are some useful LinkedIn- related resources:

1) Why Use LinkedIn – This often quoted Guy Kawasaki article is ususally mislabelled “How to use LinkedIn” but really answers the question “why this tool can be useful”. So, while it doesn’t give you any hands-on insights, it still is worthwhile reviewing to determine whether LinkedIn is right for you. For those entrepreneurs who want some more background, here’s a source that prides itself on being the “unofficial source for all things LinkedIn“.

2) Who is on LinkedIn anyway? Here’s a PowerPoint presentation that gives an overview of the demographics of LinkedIn users.

3) Thinking about using LinkedIn to build your business and business network? You’re not alone. While there are thousands of articles that chip away at how to answer this question, here’s one that provides some good hands-on advice.

After listening to Doyle’s passion in BusinessCast #104 – Getting Linked In, you’ll likely want to check out and sign-up to his thriving SalesBlogcast Group or his SalesBlogcast 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.

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Franchise Comes Alive

At the BusinessCast podcast, we bring practical, real-life business lessons from entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs — so that everyone can be more successful.

And, its because of this commitment to the entrepreneur community that Robert and I were invited to be official members of the Media  for the Canadian Franchise Association’s Franchise Show.

It was truly evident by the tremendous turnout and enthusiasm at the show that entrepreneurs of all ages and experiences do indeed recognize that the franchise business model is a viable and highly desirable option in this soft economy. Why? Because: the franchise model saves time and expense that every entrepreneur spends on creating and honing a system that is profitable.

In BusinessCast podcast episode 97 – Franchising for Entrepreneurs – Live! among the most compelling franchisors we spoke to were:

Aarons Rents – This relatively unknown brand of rent-to-own furnishings and equipment in Canada is poised for explosive growth. In fact, it’s one of those businesses that will flourish in soft economies. They’ve had some Canadian franchisees reaching break-even points in record time! Doug Warren, Director of Franchising, tells us of some inspiring successes!

Fast Signs — A business-to-business franchise, this franchise is a salesperson’s dream. If you’re a natural people-person and enjoy networking, selling and building a strong presence in a community (c’mon let’s face it there are a lot of you out there), then listen carefully to our discussions with Brian Wieters, Director of Franchising.

Cobs Bread – A new and fast-growing franchise, this business is perfect for you if you want to build and/or apply your skills in managing people as well as rolling-up your sleeves! John Gilson, Director of Franchising gives us a peek.

We spoke to franchisors, franchisees as well as those looking to get a better understanding of how this model could work for them. The CFA had some great resources — including free seminars and ‘Ask the Expert’ sessions. Even if you’re not sure how franchising may fit into your professional career, check other CFA events! You’ll learn some useful business nuggets just by chatting with other successful entrepreneurs just like you!

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

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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