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.

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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

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

Social Media – Keeping Your Ear to the Groundswell

Every single entrepreneur that Robert and I have spoken to is grappling with ‘social media’.  Entrepreneurs just like you — across all industries — are asking the fundamental questions, such as:

  • Should I use social media tools?
  • What social media tools should I use?
  • How should I use social media to get the most out of them?
  • When should I be using these tools?
  • How much time/money/effort should I invest in social media tools?
  • How will I know that I’m using social media tools effectively?

Don’t be put off if you don’t have the answers. Because, in fact, many entrepreneurs just like you are still asking: “What are social media tools anyway?” Over the next few months, Robert and I are taking this fascinating and fast-moving topic head-on.

1) To get underway, in BusinessCast #101, we’ve just interviewed Charlene Li. Charlene is the engaging co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies — considered to be one of the landmark books on social media. And, no wonder. The resource accomplishes something that few other social media books, articles or websites do: it provides practical and actionable advice, clearly and concisely. The ‘heart’ of the book is a way to view your current/targeted markets based on how they actually use technology.  And, then once you’ve got a handle on how your audience interacts with technology, Groundswell provides guidelines for how to reach them. Equally as practical is the overall Groundswell approach which recommends that you should focus on the type of relationship you want with your markets — rather than focusing on the social media tools (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, etc. etc.) themselves.

2) We’re also attending a fascinating and highly-recommended series of social media webinars made available through Marketwire — which is one of the World leaders for press release distribution, public relations and investor relations. We will be bringing you updates on each of the monthly webinars. However, we recommend that if you want to remain on the leading-edge of this topic, sign-up for them now so that you can get a jump on your competitors by building a social media roadmap.

3) Whenever we see a resource that is particularly useful for entrepreneurs, we cherry-pick some of the most relevant social media news and insights. So, here are two BusinessCast blogposts that can help you quickly get up-and-running on social media:

4) You’re probably asking yourself how popular is social media? Here’s a resource that provides some social media usage stats.

5) Finally, when you’ve had a chance to review the above resources, check out Charlene Li’s blog where she tackles the future of social media.

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

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

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

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