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

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

Networking for Entrepreneurs: Part 2

In BusinessCast podcast episode #92 – Networking for Entrepreneurs, Robert and I interviewed the inspiring networking guru and author of Smart Networking, Liz Lynch. She shared some of the background and core lessons that can be found in her book. But, do we think that her book is going to become the new networking benchmark? Short answer: yes!

Here’s a rapid book evaluation and review which outlines why this is an important resource for any busy entrepreneur looking for practical tools they can use in the short- and long-term. Specifically, Smart Networking:

1) Identifies and addresses the most common obstacles to effective networking. For the most part, these obstacles are ways that people feel about — and therefore approach — networking. Smart Networking addresses these mental blocks head-on rather than avoiding or ignoring them. This is a refreshing approach that will appeal to anyone who hesitates with the prospect of networking (pgs 11-32).

2) Succinctly outlines a straight forward approach to ensuring networking success: be found, be personable and be credible. This foundation may sound simplistic but, the reality is that everyone can build on at least one  of these principles (pgs 33-44).

3) Provides practical and foundation-setting tools that can be used by every current or budding entrepreneur regardless of industry (pgs 45-62).

4) Identifies actionable strategies that entrepreneurs can implement based on their own skills, willingness, availability and budgets (pgs 63-119).

5) Addresses available online tools and communites as a method to optimize networking efforts and results  (pgs 120-164).

6) Outlines a realistic and measurable networking plan (pgs 165-177).

Bottom Line for Entrepreneurs: Smart Networking is a critical networking tool — ideal for those who want to begin or hone their networking activities. Also, check out Liz’s site which complements the book with tools including an initial (and free) self-assessment.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Networking for Entrepreneurs – Part 1

Every entrepreneur recognizes that networking is essential to succeed. It’s the most effective marketing tool for building new business relationships and growing new revenues. However, the truth is that even the prospect of networking causes many entrepreneurs to cringe. But, that’s not because it is not seen as valuable. Rather, its because, mastering the art of networking remains an uncomfortable, and often unaddressed, mystery.

No need to worry. In BusinessCast Podcast episode #92, Networking for Entrepreneurs, Robert and I bring you a resource that is guaranteed to make you a better networker…regardless of your current networking skills.

We interview one of the World’s leading networking “gurus” — Liz Lynch, author of Smart Networking: Attract a Following In Person and Online. Without a doubt, this practical and easy-to-read book is destined to become the networking Bible. And, because Liz is so candid, realistic and knowledgeable, she (and her book) truly inspire!

Later this week, in the blogpost entitled, Networking for Entrepreneurs – Part 2, we build on our conversation by doing a book review/summary of Liz’s book to give you a real flavour of how this resource is a “must-have” for any entrepreneur.

Finally, Liz has so much insight to bring to help entrepreneurs become more effective networkers, we’re going to have her back as a BusinessCast guest in a few weeks. At that time, we’ll play out the most common networking scenarios so that you can see how you will achieve the best results in similar situations.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Great Book Give-Away (September, 2008)

Robert and I are offering our BusinessCast podcast listeners (and blog readers) leading-edge business resources — for FREE!

Currently the BusinessCast Podcast ‘Great Book Give-Away‘ includes the following titles — mostly from the folks at McGraw Hill:

  • The Four Pillars of Profit-Driven Marketing (2009) – Leslie Moeller and Edward Landry
  • Turn Small Talk Into Big Deals (2009) – Don Gabor
  • How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships (2008) – Leil Lowndes (OUT OF STOCK)
  • Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs (2009) – Karen Berman and Joe Knight(OUT OF STOCK)
  • Sales Coaching: Making the Great Leap from Sales Manager to Sales Coach (2009) – Linda Richardson
  • The Inspiring Leader (2009) – John Zenger, Joseph Folkman and Scott Edinger
  • Blogging for Fame and Fortune (2009) – Jason Rich (OUT OF STOCK)
  • Business Lessons from the Edge (2009) – Jim McCormick and Maryann Karinch
  • Smart Networking (2009) – Liz Lynch
  • The Customer Rules: The 14 Indispensable, Irrefutable and Indisputable Qualities of the Greatest Service Companies in the World (2009) – C. Britt Beemer and Robert L. Shook
  • Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (2009) – Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff (OUT OF STOCK)
  • The Extraordinary Leader (2009) – Joseph Zenger & Joseph Folkman
  • Get Content Get Customers (2009) – Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett
  • Am I the Only Sane One Working Here (2009) – Albert Bernstein
  • The Organizational Champion (2009) – Mike Thompson
  • The Purpose Linked Organization (2009) – Alaina Love and Marc Cugnon
  • Every Family’s Business (2009) – Thomas William Deans
  • Performance Intelligence at Work (2009) – Julie Bell
  • Databases: A Beginner’s Guide (2009) – Andy Oppel
  • Digital Strategies for Powerful Corporate Communications (2009) – Paul Argenti
  • Winning Sales Letters (2009) – Ralph Allora
  • PowerPoint Presentations That Sell (2009) – Adam Cooper
  • Mastering Communication at Work (2009)
  • Fearless Leadership (2009) – Loretta Malandro
  • Click: 10 Truths for Building Extraordinary Relationships (2009) – George Fraser
  • Financial Statements Demystified (2009) – Bonita Kramer and Christine Johnson
  • Upstarts: How Gen Y Entrepreneurs Are Rocking the World of Business (2009) – Donna Fenn
  • Succession and the Family Business (2009) – John Geddes
  • Loops: The Seven Keys to Small Business Success (2009) – Mike Chaet and Stephen Lundin

Some of these books or so new they aren’t even available in stores yet! So, why not get a jump on your competitors by sending an email to Robert (Robert@BusinessCast.ca) to get a FREE copy of one of these business tools.

*Note: These titles are among the BusinessCast Business Book Essentials List.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.