Transformative Change: Start with the Digital Mindset

Every successful entrepreneur knows: to be successful means constantly changing. And, therein lies the irony — to be successful you’ve got to change something…and something that has allowed you to be successful up to now. But, where do you start? What needs to change? When should you change? How do you implement change? How do you make the right changes “stick”?

Now, combine that leadership reality with your day-to-day management challenges such as: the entry of new competitors, the rising price of doing business, new technologies, greater business risks, evolving customer expectations and your team’s desire to grow professionally.

So, at the end of the day, who’s got time to plan, implement and measure the kinds of changes that will ensure your continued success? Since this is the reality in which all entrepreneurs work, check out BusinessCast Podcast episode #99 — Grown Up Digital where we talk with Futurist (and pragmatist) Don Tapscott. The internationally renowned author shares insights and principles that you can apply now to ensure your future success.

The core of Don’s insights revolve around the values and behaviours that businesses need to embrace to succeed. And, not surprisingly these are brought to your business (and your competitors’ businesses) by the current generation of workers — those who have, you’ve guessed it , Grown Up Digital. Together, we touch upon issues that span all areas of business such as Human Resources (e.g. recruitment and retention), Marketing, Operations and Finance.

Once you’ve got a handle on the Digital generation and what they expect out of their workplace — as well as the opportunities and costs of adapting to leverage this generation’s strengths, you’ll also want to get a handle on how to manage the mix of generations within your workplace. Three resources that can help you in this regard include the following:

1. A Boomer’s Guide to Communication with Gen X and Gen Y. This Business Week article summarizes how these two generations approach items including: technology, compensation, collaboration, workplace gossip, attire, socializing and corporate loyalty.

2. If your business requires the energies of those who are currently graduating, review the recent Globe and Mail article, The Class of 2012: Mr. Google’s Children.

3. The American Management Association’s “Generations at Work“ has become a seminal piece of business literature that clearly and concisely explains the core values, assumptions and expectations of each of the current/evolving generations. To get you inspired, read Robert and my book review.

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

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Scenario Planning: A Look Into the Future

What if…?” is one of the most commonly asked questions by busy and foresightful entrepreneurs when conducting short- and long-term planning. The challenge however isn’t coming up with plausible answers to this question but making sure that:

1) The “what if?” question is asked at the right times 

2) Answering the “what if?”question involves the right people

3) The possible answers to the “what if?” question are accurately evaluated

4) Resources are prioritized to address the most likely responses to the “what if?” question

Fortunately, there is a proven method to help entrepreneurs increase their ability to address these practical day-to-day planning issues: Scenario planning. Here is an overview of the approach — along with some related resource links to help you determine if/when to incorporate scenarios in your business.

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

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Business Resource Give Away Starts Soon!

Robert and I have been in discussion with the good folks at McGraw-Hill. We asked them for a number of exceptional business books that we could pass along to you — our loyal BusinessCast Podcast listeners and BusinessCast Blog readers.

We were able to secure copies of some first-rate, practical and leading-edge business resources. Topics of books we secured include various aspects of: marketing, finance, human resources, operations, people/project management and leadership.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll identify the books — either in this blog or in the BusinessCast Podcast — and let you know how you can get them from us for free!

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These are the final days of the Summer and yet, Robert and I are still getting hundreds of requests for us to tackle many of the pressing/common challenges faced by entrepreneurs.

So, we’ve identified some of the most popular requests. And, by way of giving you a heads-up, here is a partial list of the topics that we’ll be tackling in the BusinessCast podcast and (on this blog) over the next few/several weeks:


  • Word-of-Mouth Marketing
  • Referral Marketing
  • Tag Lines
  • Fine Print Marketing
  • Luxury Marketing
  • How to Leverage Marketing Demographics (Boom, Bust, Echo…Belch)
  • Popular Marketing Tools (i.e. Newsletters, RFPs, Email, Presentations, Events)
  • How to Acquire New/Right Clients

Human Resources

  • How to recruit staff that really works
  • Effective and Cost-Efficient training


  • Alternate Sources of Funding


  • Knowing How/When to Delegate
  • Succession Planning


  • Logistics

Finally, we’re also be interviewing a handful of business entrepreneurs and business book authors.

So, keep tuned. Keep listening to episodes of the BusinessCast podcastAnd, keep your comments coming. We’ll be here to help you get the most out of your business.

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Success Guaranteed: Mentor…Always

Every successful entrepreneur is a life-time learner. And, its easy to understand why: learning new ideas means being better equipped to anticipate and leverage any challenge that your business is going to face. So, one of the surest ways to ensure your success is to build learning into your company’s way of operating.

Mentoring can help you achieve that on-going learning because it compels you/your company to constantly re-examine your business and evolve. The folks at BNET have developed a very good primer to help you in the early stages of pulling together a mentoring program.

Also, keep a look-out later this Fall as Robert and I will devote an episode of the BusinessCast podcast to help you determine:

  • When you should begin your mentoring program
  • How to keep a mentoring program on track and;
  • How to repair mentoring programs.

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Do You Eliminate Employee Perks During Tough Times?

You’ve got some creative people. You’ve got some loyal people. And, you’ve got some great “worker bees”. If you’re truly fortunate – and you’ve done a lot of hard work – you’ve got the right balance of all of them.

But, every now and then people leave your thriving business for any number of personal or professional reasons.

One of the ways that entrepreneurs use to control employee turnover is by introducing or enhancing “employee perks”. And, these are also the areas that are placed on the “chopping block” during tough economic times.*

But, regardless of what you offer by way of employee perks, you’ve got to think carefully before eliminating them — not because they are necessarily valued — but because of the message it sends.

Employees will interpret your scaling back of perks in one of three general ways:

  • “The company doesn’t care about me as much…”,
  • “The company is on its last legs…” or
  • “The company is punishing me…”.

None of these messages are ones you want your employees to have at anytime.  And, the results can be dramatic when employees do feel this way. In fact, you will experience: lower productivity, employee anxiety, employee churn and longer (i.e. more expensive) recruitment.

Keep in-mind that this is not to say that once an employee perk is in-place that it needs to stay forever. However, if you are going to eliminate, reduce or change employee perks, be open with your staff and explain the reason why they need to be changed. Also find some way to send the message that employees continue to be a truly vital part of your business success. 

*Note: This Autumn, Robert and I are devoting several BusinessCasts to employee perks and retaining highly desirable employees.

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Get New Employees Up and Running – Part 3 – Secrets for Your Success

In BusinessCast podcast show #59 Get New Employees Up and Running, we tackle employee orientation. Why should you care? If you want to achieve any of the following objectives, listen to the show:

  • Give the impression that your company is a good place to work
  • Give an accurate sense of what it is like to work at your company
  • Reduce new employees’ ‘ramp up’ time for getting familiar with your company’s culture, required skills and technologies
  • Reduce employee turnover rates – and associated costs
  • Inspire new employees to become ambassadors for your company

Chances are that you want to achieve several of these objectives. So, here are some of the key secrets you need to include in your employee orientation initiatives:

  • Identify those meetings that new employees need to attend, or participate in, so that they feel as if they’re part of the culture. 
  • Keep in mind that how a new employee thinks about your company begins prior to the first day on-the-job (i.e. during your recruitment and interviews).
  • Make sure that employees feel like they are part of the team. A great way of doing this is by assigning a ‘buddy’ during the first six-to-eight weeks of a new employee starting work.
  • Spend some time with your new employee to learn about their skills and career aspirations.
  • Think of your potential new employees as your most important prospect. So, make sure that every interaction your company has with them is professional, respectful and reinforces your company’s core values.
  • Ask your current employees to provide input in developing, monitoring and updating your employee orientation program.

Developing a successful employee orientation will save you time, energy and money. And, now, you’ve got some of the essentials tools to get underway! Remember, let us know about the innovative ways you orient your new employees.


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