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.

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Financial Intelligence…It Doesn’t Have to Be Painful!

How many of you look forward to talking about numbers (really)?

The truth is that most entrepreneurs only have a very rudimentary understanding of finance. The problem is that having little or no skill in gathering, organizing or interpreting your company’s finances can lead to less-than-perfect, and sometime disastrous, decision making.

That’s why Robert — a longtime believer in helping entrepreneurs gain financial intelligence — and I are constantly looking for tools and resources that breathe life into the “numbers side” of your business.

And, that’s why we’re so happy to have identified “Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs“. In BusinessCast #98, Financial Intelligence, we interview co-author Joe Knight. He shares some nuggets but, perhaps more importantly he demonstrates his commitment to developing a truly practical resource.

What impressed me — and, I’m not a “numbers person” — is how well this book is written. It’s clear, concise and really, well…very human! Meaning, it doesn’t feel anything like a finance or accounting text book that speaks down to you. Nor is it so dry that you’re just aching to get to the end of the next paragraph.

The authors quite successfully convey fundamental and complex ideas in a way that you’d wish your CFO could! If you’re running a business and you’re the least bit uncomfortable with business numbers, read this book….and read it, now.

BTW, we have several free copies of Financial Intelligence for Entrepreneurs so, read an excerpt and then send Robert an email (robert@businesscast.ca) and we’ll send you a free copy. You’ll be glad you did!

Other resources to help you tackle your finances include:

BusinessCast Podcast #69 – Business Success By the Numbers — to help you get straight-forward answers to these common numbers-focused questions:

  1. Should you buy or lease your car?
  2. Should you invest available cash in your mortgage or an RRSP (IRA)?
  3. Who should you sell your business to?

Also, find below some focused resources to help you work through these questions and get you more comfortable dealing with financial issues critical to your business –

A Lease or Buy Your Car Calculator

A Contribute to Your Mortgage or RRSP Calculator

A Video on Finances for Business Leaders (Note: The video providers will prompt you to register before you will be able to view this video.)

BTW, if you have a ‘numbers’ question, let us know. We’ll address it in an upcoming show.

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

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

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!

Remember: Subscribe to the BusinessCast Podcast at iTunes

Monthly Resource Update

It’s the first of the month. And, we’re launching a new feature – a Monthly Resource Update.

Robert and I will cut through the clutter of purely self-promotional materials/resources aimed at entrepreneurs and small/medium-sized business owners. We know your time is precious and that when you do devote time to improving your business, you need resources that provide real insight – i.e. not hype and not sales pitches.

So, on the first of every month, we highlight a very select handful of books, summaries, soundbites, videos, blogs, articles and tools that provide practical business insights. These are sources that we discovered as we prepared the previous month’s podcasts and blog entries.

Of course, let us know what you think of these resources and tell us some of the resources you’ve discovered.

By the way, please note that we do not receive any money from recommending these resources.

Resources For Developing Memorable Marketing Materials for Your Company

Resources For Building the Profile of Your Company

Resources For Increasing Sales

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures Book by Dan Roam

Good Deeds That Drive Business – Part 3 – Resource Round-Up

When Robert and I decided to devote an episode of the BusinessCast podcast (# 63- Good Deeds that Drive Business) to helping entrepreneurs determine how best to apply their passion towards community initiatives that deliver a measurable return-on-investment, we hadn’t anticipated the tremendous interest it would generate.

We knew that there was demand for such advice. But, we were surprised when our research revealed that there were few resources available for small- and medium-sized business entrepreneurs that were effective and truly impartial.

 

Because we always aim to provide practical and relevant tools – rather than referencing consultants who have agendas beyond helping entrepreneurs succeed – we have pulled together a short but focused list of resources to help you initiate and optimize your efforts:

 

1. Listen to the BusinessCast podcast # 63 – Good Deeds that Drive Business.

 

2. Plan out a rough budget of the amount you are prepared to invest, your desired expectations and requirements. 

 

3. Develop a plan of action. 

 

4. Research charities that may make sense for you – visit www.ImagineCanada.ca.

 

5. Work with your chosen cause, charity or community organization to agree on measurable goals and how they will be confirmed.

 

6. Look to adapt relevant marketing ideas: http://www.frugalmarketing.com/dtb/charity.shtml

 

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