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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Greening Your Business…For Business

Greenyour business?  Why should you? After all, you’re busy dealing with day-to-day business challenges in the middle of a soft economy. Do you really have time to be thinking “green“? What’s the payback? Will it really matter to your top line or to your bottom line?

Well, “greening” your business means a host of different things to different people. So, in BusinessCast Podcast episode #112 – Greening Your Business — we sat down to get a perspective on greening from an entrepreneur who has a strong track record of successfully implementing green practices. Rob Grand, the President of Grass Roots Store has a relevant perspective for all entrepreneurs. For the better part of 15 years, Rob has worked through the various ways that businesses can become more green. In so doing, he’s weeded through the hype and chosen strategies that have seen his business grow its customer base, its revenues, its brand and achieve operational efficiencies.

If you’ve ever wondered about the value of greening your business, listen to BusinessCast Podcast episode #112.

Here are some additional resources to help you to determine if, when and how you should green your business:

  • A carbon footprint calculator that allows you to play out various scenarios regarding the impact of items such as servers, travel, facilities, etc.

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Getting Media Coverage — 5 Key Steps

While many marketers have, over the last few years, advised entrepreneurs to focus on building their social media profile, keep in-mind that getting your name in the ‘traditional media’ (i.e. newspapers, radio, television and print journals) can still be a powerful marketing tool well-worth pursuing.

In fact, the core principles used for establishing and growing profile online are actually built upon on the methods used in infiltrating the traditional media. That’s why in BusinessCast podcast #103 Robert and I sit down with Gerry Nicholls who is recognized as being one of the Nation’s most media-savvy political pundits. But, Gerry is more than a ‘thinker’ — he’s a doer with a rare history of building public profile for people, companies and causes. So, Gerry draws on his strong track record to share five ways that you can start to build and grow relationships with key media people.

Once you’ve listened to BusinessCast Podcast #103 you’ll be much better equipped to build a plan of action for getting the media coverage you want and deserve.

Here are a few additional points to consider for your media-building plan:

Define your targets precisely — Among the various types of targets, you should include at least one of the following: number of “mentions” in specific media; number of “positive” mentions in specific media; number of times you’re called by editors or journalists as a source of expertise; ‘unassisted name recognition’ as measured in your market research or ‘improved positive name association’ as measured in your market research.

Plan for ‘bad publicity’ — When you’re taking efforts to build your public profile, keep in-mind that there will be occasions when the media will miss a critical point or misunderstand something. The resulting increased buzz may not be the buzz you want. So, play out worst-case scenarios and identify what you will do to correct any inaccuracies or misconceptions about your company. It is particularly important to use the right combination of online tools in order to keep bad press from spreading through search engines.

Establish a precise process — Let everyone in your organization know who will act as your company’s spokesperson(s). Provide them with the training to deal effectively with the media and establish a straight-forward process for responding quickly to media inquiries.

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

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Connecting for Business Success

Today, it’s hard to find real business “truths” because everything that impacts your business changes so quickly — for example: the new technologies you need for your operations, dramatic swings in customer demand, new competitors entering your market, the rising cost of production and sales, the challenges in securing investment resources, evolving employee expectations etc.

But, one truth is constant: your business will only succeed if you are connected to the right people at the right time.

Finding, nurturing and leveraging the right business connections is exactly what Donna Messer, President, ConnectUs Communications Canada — guest for BusinessCast #95, Connecting for Business Success — does day-in and day-out.  Just like every entrepreneur, she has a network of suppliers, customers, advisors, colleagues, media… and the list goes on and on. But, unlike most entrepreneurs, Donna has honed a process for efficiently connecting them with each other so that participants find value in the connection and in the initiator of that connection, Donna. The result: Donna has become an important influencer in dozens of different industries.

Listen to BusinessCast #95, Connecting for Business Success and you’ll find some practical nuggets of wisdom that will help build your connecting skills/opportunities — and therefore ensure your business’ succeess.

If you want to read about how entrepreneurs just like you tackled some of the other most common business problems, check out Your Business Success Stories.

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

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

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

 

Don’t Give Gifts To Your Clients or Prospects!

When Robert and I talked about corporate gift giving on the BusinessCast podcast show # 48 and show #47, we were flooded by emails!

In fact, some corporate gift firms were upset and many marketers were initially confused. But, at the end-of-the-day, entrepreneurs confidently breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, the pressure was off entrepreneurs to find the perfect gift. And, we’d provided perspective by addressing some of the most common reasons – and expectations – for gift giving.

Listen to BusinessCasts podcast show #47 and show # 48  and you’ll find that you can still build/establish meaningful relationships without relying on expensive gifts — as well as avoid some real risks.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes