Investing in Innovation — What You Need to Bring to the Table

Successful entrepreneurs are by their very nature innovators — it’s very nearly a pre-requisite. But, before determining if their business is going to attract customers and attention, every entrepreneur has to answer a key question: Is their business innovative enough to attract funding?

To answer this question, in BusinessCast episode #126 — Investing in Innovation — Robert and I sat down with David Ceolin who spends his time evaluating, and investing in, entrepreneurs and their innovative business ideas.  David shares with us his criteria for innovation and the processes that entrepreneurs should follow — prior to seeking funding.

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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.

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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Google – Business Lessons for Us All

Love ‘em or hate ‘em – Google is here to stay.

The Search Engine-come-everything-on-the-Internet company has just celebrated its 10th anniversary.

Google is a case study of never-ending ingenuity, persistence, swimming-against-the tide, wise investment and innovation. Here are a few resources to help you get insights into: (i) how Google has succeeded; (ii) why it is poised for greater things; and (iii) lessons that you can learn from and apply to your business:

Globe and Mail Article: Business Lessons from Google

Book: The Google Story

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

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Is Creating a Strong Customer Experience Part of Your Job?

Customer Experience. It is one of the most critical components of your brand and it makes or breaks your business.

So, its inspiring to Robert and me when organizations – of any size, in any industry – find successful ways of ensuring that their customers have consistently, strong and positive experiences. Especially when that means establishing a strong first impression.       

Forrester Research is now making public a recent report that highlights how firms are creating specific positions like Chief Customer Officer and SVP of Customer Experience .

In fact, Forrester interviewed executives from a variety of companies that currently have these types of positions. Their insights fell into five categories:

  1. Make sure that you’ve got the right environment;
  2. Prepare to take on a broad change agenda;
  3. Establish a strong operating structure;
  4. Kick off high-priority activities; and
  5. Look ahead to the future.

Download your copy of the report.

Of course, there are risks of creating such titles and responsibilities as well — such as establishing and maintaining some very challenging expectations.

Let us know if you think that such job positions would work in your company and why.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

 

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