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

Cost Savings for Entrepreneurs

We know the cost pressures that entrepreneurs are facing today. So, Robert and I sat down to identify practical advice that entrepreneurs can take to save costs now. And, that’s why BusinessCast Podcast #100 – Cost Cutting for Entrepreneurs is very straight-forward.

Of course, keep in-mind, before cutting costs across your company, ask yourself two key questions:

  • Are we acting as efficiently as we can?
  • Are we doing anything that we should not be doing?

Often answering these questions for yourself generates the greatest cost-savings for your business.

Finally, here are two other good resources for cost-savings tips:

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

Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Transformative Change: Start with the Digital Mindset

Every successful entrepreneur knows: to be successful means constantly changing. And, therein lies the irony — to be successful you’ve got to change something…and something that has allowed you to be successful up to now. But, where do you start? What needs to change? When should you change? How do you implement change? How do you make the right changes “stick”?

Now, combine that leadership reality with your day-to-day management challenges such as: the entry of new competitors, the rising price of doing business, new technologies, greater business risks, evolving customer expectations and your team’s desire to grow professionally.

So, at the end of the day, who’s got time to plan, implement and measure the kinds of changes that will ensure your continued success? Since this is the reality in which all entrepreneurs work, check out BusinessCast Podcast episode #99 — Grown Up Digital where we talk with Futurist (and pragmatist) Don Tapscott. The internationally renowned author shares insights and principles that you can apply now to ensure your future success.

The core of Don’s insights revolve around the values and behaviours that businesses need to embrace to succeed. And, not surprisingly these are brought to your business (and your competitors’ businesses) by the current generation of workers — those who have, you’ve guessed it , Grown Up Digital. Together, we touch upon issues that span all areas of business such as Human Resources (e.g. recruitment and retention), Marketing, Operations and Finance.

Once you’ve got a handle on the Digital generation and what they expect out of their workplace — as well as the opportunities and costs of adapting to leverage this generation’s strengths, you’ll also want to get a handle on how to manage the mix of generations within your workplace. Three resources that can help you in this regard include the following:

1. A Boomer’s Guide to Communication with Gen X and Gen Y. This Business Week article summarizes how these two generations approach items including: technology, compensation, collaboration, workplace gossip, attire, socializing and corporate loyalty.

2. If your business requires the energies of those who are currently graduating, review the recent Globe and Mail article, The Class of 2012: Mr. Google’s Children.

3. The American Management Association’s “Generations at Work“ has become a seminal piece of business literature that clearly and concisely explains the core values, assumptions and expectations of each of the current/evolving generations. To get you inspired, read Robert and my book review.

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

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Email Marketing Bootcamp – Part 2

Email Marketing…the Right Way!

In BusinessCast podcast episode #93 Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 our guest Matthew Vernhout, email guru and voice behind the authority EmailKarma.net spelled out how entrepreneurs — of all sizes and across industries — can develop email marketing campaigns that truly work. In Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 Matthew addressed:

  • The key players involved in email marketing campaigns
  • How to establish relevant and measurable goals
  • How to build and grow your database of email subscribers

Now in Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 2, Matthew addresses the final stages of any profitable and effective email marketing campaign:

  • Ensuring that email actually arrives after you send it
  • Getting your emails opened
  • Ensuring your email is acted upon
  • Measuring success and improving follow up campaigns

This bootcamp series is an absolute must for any entrepreneur wondering when/how to leap into or optimize their email marketing.

BTW, have you listened to BusinessCast episode #94 — Franchising for Entrepreneurs? Robert and I chatted with Lorraine McLachlan, President and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association (www.cfa.ca). Lorraine shares an insight into this effective and potentially recession-proof business model.

Be sure to join us at the CFA’s Canadian Franchise Show on February 21 and 22. We’ll be at the show gathering compelling stories, lessons and insights for you from franchisors and franchisees.

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

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Email Marketing Bootcamp Part 1

Email is part of every entrepreneur’s life. But, email marketing remains a mystery for most. Why? Because to do it cost-effectively and to achieve the right business objectives has become increasingly complex. That’s where our guest comes in…

In BusinessCast podcast episode #93 Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 our guest Matthew Vernhout, email guru and voice behind the authority EmailKarma.net spells out how entrepreneurs — of all sizes and across industries — can develop email marketing campaigns that truly work. In Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 1 Matthew addresses:

  • The key players involved in any successful email marketing campaign
  • How to establish relevant and measurable goals
  • How to build and grow your database of email subscribers

In a few weeks, Matthew will be back to address the final stages of any profitable and effective email marketing campaign. So, in Email Marketing for Entrepreneurs – Bootcamp Part 2, Matthew discusses how entrepreneurs can optimize their campaigns by:

  • Ensuring that email actually arrives after you send it
  • Getting your emails opened
  • Ensuring your email is acted upon
  • Measuring success and improving follow up campaigns

You’ll enjoy this, our first ‘bootcamp’ series because it mixes some high-level approaches and some practical to-do’s — all of which will help your email marketing campaigns work better for you. Chances are you’ll also be inspired by Matthew because he shares our philosophy of business which is: “by sharing best practices and tools, every entrepreneur wins!”

Make sure that you listen to next week’s episode as well — particularly if you’ve ever thought about franchising your business or investing in a franchise. Robert and I chat with Lorraine MacLachlan, President and CEO of the Canadian Franchise Association (www.cfa.ca). Lorraine brings passion and excitement to the topic of franchising. And, the timing couldn’t be better because the CFA is hosing the Canadian Franchise Show on February 21 and 22. FYI, Robert and I will be at the show gathering compelling stories, lessons and insights for you from franchisors and franchisees.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

BusinessCast Round-Up

Well, Robert and I have done over 20 shows since our last BusinessCast Podcast round-up. These shows are always popular because they give all entrepreneurs — i.e. new subscribers and loyal listeners alike — a quick and easy way of hearing what business-critical issues we’ve covered over the last handful of months. So, in BusinessCast Podcast #89 – Greatest Hits Vol. 3 we highlight some of the most essential topics and key learnings from BusinessCast episodes as far back as episode #67.

Specifically, in Greatest Hits Vol. 3 we highlights shows AND key BusinessCast blogposts where we provided practical tools and advice to help entrepreneurs address key issues such as:

  • Building Profile for Your Business
  • Developing Sales Incentives That Increase Revenues
  • Tackling Crisis Communication
  • Establishing a Strong Foundation in Mobile Marketing
  • Speaking Confidently in Public
  • Securing Financing
  • Emerging Stronger When Good Employees Leave
  • Finding the Right Business Partner
  • Increasing Cash Flow
  • Dealing Effectively with Cross-Generational Values
  • Overcoming Sales Objections

In so doing, we also recount some of our most memorable guests, including:

  • Catherine Swift (Canadian Federation of Independent Business)
  • Michael Younder, Senior Product Marketer (Research in Motion)
  • Paul Chato, President of YourWebDepartment and member of the Canadian comedy troupe the Frantics
  • Bruce Hunter, Fortune 500 heavyweight and insightful author

And, we do it all in under 20 minutes!

As always you can listen to each of the shows we touch upon in Greatest Hits Vol. 3 by clicking on the BusinessCast Podcast Archives.

Finally, a quick thank you to all BusinessCast Podcast fans who voted for us in the 2008 national blog and podcast competition. The BusinessCast Podcast Canada’s was voted as Canada’s 2nd most favourite podcast!

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Bringing Out the Passion

Robert and I are always talking about passion — particularly when it comes to passion that entrepreneurs have for their businesses. Over the last few months, we’ve interviewed business entrepreneurs who truly exude passion in everything they do. In fact, they eat, sleep and breath their business.  In BusinessCast Podcast #88 – A Business Passion Play, we sat down with Paul Chato – President of Your Web Department and member of the hilarious Canadian comedy troup the Frantics – who is passionate about his business because he sees it as a tool to re-connect entrepreneurs with passion about their business! Paul provided some keen and entertaining insights as well as a handful of very unique ways for tapping into and extracting passion about business. This podcast will make you laugh and think! Enjoy!

After speaking with Paul, we asked ourselves, “How is that people lose passion for their business?” After all, why have a business unless it energizes and inspires you! So, we spoke to a number of BusinessCast Podcast listeners and fans and came up with a shortlist of reasons. Here are the top seven reasons why entrenpreneurs lose passion for their business:

  • Frustration with the time, effort and expense required to have customers understand the benefits of products/services
  • Keeping pace with rapid fluctuations in product/service development and marketing costs
  • The inability to consistently anticipate costs and revenues accurately
  • Losing touch with customers’ demands
  • Experiencing turnover of key staff
  • Spending considerable time and expense recruiting and hiring staff
  • Feeling the burden of needing to control every aspect of work

But, hope is not lost if your passion is waning. We address many of these issues head on other episodes of the BusinessCast Podcast.

Finally, read 12 one-and-a-half page stories of how entrepreneurs with passion solved today’s most common business challenges .

BTW, if you want to see Paul in action, here are a couple of classic Frantics skits from YouTube -

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Overrule Any Sales Objections

Sales Objections. They’re part of any sales process. And, how you deal with them can make the difference between you having a banner sales year or falling into a sales slump.

That’s why, Robert and I sat down with Nicole Jansen — a Toronto representative from Sales Partners Worldwide. In BusinessCast episode #86 – Winning the Sales Fight – Nicole gave us some tips that anyone can use when confronted with the most common sales objections.

But, because dealing with sales objections effectively is such an important topic, Robert and I put our heads together, did some research and summarize here some of the most fundamental principles you should use prior to, during and after a sales conversation when confronting objections:

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. That means, 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.

Finally, while there are literally thousands of “how to deal with sales objections” resources available, here are a couple of the most practical:

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Coaching for Entrepreneurs

Whenever entrepreneurs share their success stories with Robert and me, we hear a lot of common themes. One of the most prominent themes is the importance that a trusted and compassionate mentor plays in short-term and long-term business success.

It’s because entrepreneurs — at every stage of their personal and professional lives — place such a high value on mentoring that it shouldn’t be a surprise that an industry has arisen that draws on many of the principles of mentoring. That industry: “business coaching”.

We recently had a chance to sit down with Robin Kennedy — an enthusiastic business coach — to hear about her success and how she ignites it in others. Listen to BusinessCast Podcast #78, Coaching for Success and decide for yourself if/when business coaching can help you achieve your goals. At the same time, learn how to squeeze the most from any advisor by listening to How to Get the Most Out of Your Business Advisor.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes 

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