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

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

When Top Performers Leave

In a few weeks, Robert and I are going to address a topic that dozens of people have asked us to address (in one way or another): “What should an entrepreneur do when a top performering employee leaves the business to pursue other opportunities?”

The way an entrepreneur deals with this challenge sends a very strong message to several key stakeholders such as employees and customers. So, tune in later in September for the BusinessCast episde “What to Do When Top Performers Leave“.

Also, tune in next week for BusinessCast episode #73 – Hockey Lessons for Business (Part 2). We pick up where we left off with former President and CEO of the Calgary Flames, Ron Bremner . Ron weaves compelling stories from his days when he served as the force behind the Flames — working to get the team out of a deep crisis.

Finally, make sure you check out the BusinessCast Podcast ‘Blog Review’ Episode where we outline how you can get some practical business books for free!

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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