Kijiji – An Entrepreneur Story Within eBay

We know that entrepreneurship is an unquenchable thirst that provides focus, energy and purpose. But, can it really be sustained inside a company that has grown to be wildly successful?

You bet! In BusinessCast #102, we spoke to Senior Marketing Manager, Eric Pierni at Kijiji, an eBay company. He shares with us just how the spirit and discipline of entrepreneurship thrives within Kijiji — one of Canada’s outstanding online success stories.

It turns out that the entrepreneurial approach that gave rise to Kijiji is also the secret to its continued and future success. Eric’s passion and approach is inspirational. You can find out more about how you can apply ‘s formula for success when Eric presents at the upcoming eMetrics Summit.

A special thanks to Wendy Vincent at for connecting us with Eric.

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 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 ( 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

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

Re-Wind: The Recession Sessions

When Robert and I began our successful Podcast partnership, we promised ourselves, and you our listeners, that we would provide practical advice for entrepreneurs — recognizing that this often meant tackling unpopular, contentious or difficult subjects.

That’s why, 10 months ago, long before the current upheaval in the financial markets, Robert and I started dealing head-on with the recession. Our position was painfully practical: Entrepreneurs can emerge from the economic downturn only by acknowledging, addressing and planning for a recession rather than hoping it will never happen.

So, here we are ten months later and we’re in a global recession. If you haven’t yet heard them, give a listen to some of the BusinessCast episodes that were designed specifically to help you, the entrepreneur, successfully navigate through the recession storm – no matter how fierce it turns out to be:

#42  The Recession Session Part 1 – with Gold ‘n’ Brown

#43  The Recession Session Part 2 – with Gold ‘n’ Brown

#44  How To Achieve Business Success – with Gold ‘n’ Brown

#45  OMG Wow Client Service – with Gold ‘n’ Brown

#46  Firing A Client Before You Get Burned – with Gold ‘n’ Brown

#49  Steal Your Next Customer! – with Gold ‘n’ Brown – and Guest Alex Allan of Alex Allan Integrated (

Power Referrals and The Customer Rules…

Robert and I continue to offer our BusinessCast podcast listeners some leading-edge business resources.

The newest additions include some very exciting books from the folks at McGraw Hill. The two new titles include:

  • Power Referrals : The Ambassador Method for Empowering Others to Promote Your Business and Do the Selling for You (2009) – Andrea Sittig-Rolf;


  • 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.

These books or so new that they aren’t even on the shelves yet!

So, find out how you can get these — and other practical business books –absolutely FREE by listening to the BusinessCast Podcast ‘Blog Review’ Episode. 

Also see an earlier BusinessCast blog post for some of the other books available.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Music In the Workplace: “Happy Together” or “Don’t Bring Me Down”?

Now that portable music devices like the iPod and mp3-enabled phones have revolutionized the way people listen to music — more and more people are listening to music (and podcasts like the BusinessCast) at work.

So, where do you stand on listening to music at your work place? Sooner or later, you’ll need to put a ‘stake in the sand’ and define a policy around this practice — particularly, if your team consists of people in their 20s.

Of course, your policy about listening to music at work will vary according to the nature of the work. But, here are some practical questions for you to think through as you pull together guidelines about music at work:

Clients. To what degree does listening to music prevent employees from responding to or interacting with clients?

Deadlines/Concentration. Are there specific times of the day, week or month that require special attention to ensure accurate completion of highly technical and/or deadline-driven tasks?

I.T. Department. Does listening to music cause an unacceptable drain on the I.T. infrastructure – to initiate or support? This can be the case if ‘streaming music’ is being used.

Reputation. What image are you sending to people coming to your place of work when people are seen listening to music at your work place? Is it an image that you’re comfortable with?

Employee Recruitment/Retention. Do your employees look upon listening to work as a ‘right’ or as a privilege?

Management. Do the rules about listening to music at work apply to everyone — including you and your senior management team?

Productivity. Does listening to music at work make for a more pleasant and productive environment?

Finally, whatever your policy, you’ve got to work through how it will be introduced, monitored, measured and maintained.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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

Transition Smoothly Or Incur the Wrath of Customers

Last week, I received a call from a CEO who had been mishandled by a prominent professional services firm. It turns out that because one of the senior professionals was moving on to other accounts, the CEO was ‘transitioned’ to an other professional – who would be handling her account.

Sounds simple enough. You’d think so, wouldn’t you? You’ve probably introduced less potentially disruptive changes to how you work with customers/clients yourself.

But, the unfortunate truth was that this firm — in the interests of efficiency, profitability and some inaccurate assessment of customer service — kept the CEO completely in the dark of the transition.

All of a sudden someone else was handling the account — no warning, no communication, no rationale…just a new person.

The lesson here, can be summed up by way of a key question: “How do you prepare your customers/clients for any kind of transition?”

Keep in-mind that a transition may come in many forms, for example — a transition from one primary contact to another primary contact. Or, it might be from one contract to another. Or, it may involve upgrading products, new processes for ordering, new technologies or new pricing.

The reality is that how you make the transition is often more important than the new product, process, person, etc. that you’ve introduced to your customer — regardless of the benefit that it brings them (or you).

So, keep in-mind that no matter how small you think the transition is for the customer/client, you’ve got to think about it in terms of the their day-to-day activities. Best rule of thumb: give them a heads-up. Let them know the nature of the transition so that they can plan for any potential impact on their business. And, use that opportunity to strengthen your relationship with them.

Robert and I will delve more deeply into this subject in an upcoming BusinessCast Podcast later this Autumn.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Hockey Is a Business: Now’s the Time to Score Big!

Have you ever wondered if the issues you face on a daily basis as an entrepreneur apply to other types of organizations? Well, the fact is they do!

And, nowhere is that more evident in the compelling stories told by our entertaining guest, Ron Bremner – former President & CEO of the NHL’s Calgary Flames hockey team and the Saddledome.

Listen to the BusinessCast Podcast episode #71 – Hockey Lessons for Business – and you’ll get some down-to-earth advice from Ron, Robert and myself on addressing some of your most critical issues. Many of the lessons Ron surfaces are items that we’ve explored in some of our previous podcast episodes, including:

BusinessCast Podcast # 55 – Feedback – Or Is It Just Noise? with Gold ‘n’ Brown – where Robert and I provide an overview of how/when to collect customer insights that can increase your success; and

BusinessCast Podcast #46 – Wow Client Service’ with Gold ‘n’ Brown – where Robert and I discuss how to “Wow” you client with customer service that really has an impact!

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


Fire Your Clients…Before You Get Burned

It takes considerable time, effort and resource to land a client — regardless of your product or service offering. So, you’d never think of dumping a client/customer – or would you? Or more importantly, should you? There are some very real reasons that you need to fire some clients – the sooner the better.

But, when should you fire a client? How do you do it without gaining a reputation for being difficult? And, how do you know that you’ve made the right choice?

Robert and I tackle these thorny issues in the BusinessCast Podcast #45 – Firing a Client Before You Get Burned. This episode will provide you with some practical steps so that you can feel confident when you are put in that difficult position of needing to sever the relationship with a customer/client who, while they may be paying your fees, is actually doing your business more harm than good.

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes