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.

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.

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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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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.

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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

Business Trends – Part One

Successful entrepreneurs are always harnessing the latest technologies and processes to ensure that their business is as focused and efficient as possible. This requires entrepreneurs to constantly be on the lookout for broad trends (e.g. political, social, demographic) as well as industry-specific trends (e.g. market receptivity, competitors, access to resources and required skills).

So, in BusinessCast podcast episode 115 — Business Trends — Part One — we take up the discussion of the importance of trends with Sacha Ghai. Sacha is a Partner at McKinsey & Co — which is one of the world’s leaders in helping companies develop/improve their strategies, technology and operations.

In future episodes, Robert and I will also drill down with other experts on the trends that will have the greatest on entrepreneurs and their success.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Keeping Entrepreneurs Digitally Connected

Entrepreneurs are constantly looking for practical ways to hone their marketing skills and improve marketing results. And, in today’s world that means leveraging digital marketing strategies, tools, resources, trends, events and insights — whatever business you’re in. But, with so many sources online  — often very self-serving — the question for time-pressed entrepreneurs is: “Where can you get the straight goods”?

We ‘tip our hat’ to the folks at One Degree.  The blog bills itself as “the inside scoop on digital marketing and social media for Canadian marketers“. But, the information is presented so well and without pretense that it is an excellent resource for all entrepreneurs. That’s why it’s become one of Canada’s most-respected and widely resourced marketing blogs!

Since One Degree is such a great complement to the BusinessCast podcast, every so often, we’re going to start highlighting some of the key insights that you can find there.  Enjoy!

Remember: 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.

Making the Most of Common Networking Scenarios

A few months ago, Robert and I chatted with networking guru and internationally acclaimed author of Smart Networking, Liz Lynch. We loved her book because of its honest, straight-forward and practical guidelines to help entrepreneurs create and take advantage of networking opportunities. Well, it turns out that so many BusinessCast Podcast listeners enjoyed Liz that we invited her back!

In BusinessCast Podcast #105, we play out three of the most common networking scenarios; the ones that all entrepreneurs find themselves in at one time or another. Liz effectively tackles all three head-on providing practical insights to make the most of each situation.

And, if you’re like most BusinessCast Podcast loyal listeners and can’t get enough of practical advice about networking, listen to our first interview with Liz about her book, Smart Networking.

Finally, in her book, Smart Networking Liz speaks about the growing use of LinkedIn. If you’re considering this online networking tool or want to learn about how to optimize its use, check out our recent interview with Doyle Slayton a LinkedIn expert.

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

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