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July 23, 2008 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

July 23, 2008 at 4:46 pm Leave a comment

Are men better at business than women?

This was a questioned asked by a business coach in a blog posting “Do Women Owned Businesses Earn Lower Profits Than Businesses Owned By Men?“. He attempts to justify his answer by showing some stats and relating research back to Elizabeth Gordon’s book “The Chic Entrepreneur“. Perhaps evidence shows that women owned businesses yield lower profis than those owned by men, but there are a few factors missing. Read my answer to his posting:

It depends what you are asking by “Are men better at Business than women?”. Women bring structure, organization, motivation, compensation, and merit to the workforce. Men think about the Big Bucks and the bottom line. Sure male business owners might bring in a larger profit than women business owners, but how can you compare, really, when a very small percentage of businesses are run by women? Women aim for a better work-life balance, men don’t. Women want the people in her workplace to be happy, healthy, and loving their job. Men want his workers to build his profits.Perhaps this question can be better answered if you look at the type of businesses women run compared to those of men. Depending on the industry, many companies are inherently predisposed to a higher potential earning. Grandmas homebaked goods, unless acquired by Kraft, doubtfully will be a billion dollar company, compared to a fancy-dancy application for your iPhone. I am not suggesting that men are big, mean, horrible people to work for. The opposite is true. I love working with men because they are go getters. But at the same time women bring that organization and stability to the company. A happy mix of both genders works well!

July 22, 2008 at 1:50 pm 1 comment

Web 2.0 – What about Small Business?

What is significant about People, technology, and economics? The three together have created the groundswell. A term coined by Charlene Li and Joseph Bernoff in the Book Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technology. They explain that these three forces together have fashioned a new form of social technology that has brought together people from every corner of the world through technological highways created and maintained by Web 2.0 and internet capabilities. We have far exceeded many expectations in global communications with social platforms such as Facebook and Wikipedia. With the ability to produce personal and business social profiles and user generated content, the business world has shifted to online content generation and instant consumer dialogue. CEO’s and Managers are now blogging. About what? We don’t really know, but their opinions are publicly displayed and are being commented on. Instant PR is taking place all around us.

I had a friend who recently purchased a Dell laptop and was not pleased with the screen so kindly contacted customer service to ask how to return the product. It wasn’t as easy as he expected and soon became disgruntled. He found a Dell VP’s blog and posted his difficulty in returning the product along with some other nasty words, and before you know it, a brand new, shiny Dell laptop is at his doors step. No questions asked. Although most circumstances would not end as such, this is a perfect example of the power of Web 2.0 and how small businesses must be aware of the ease in getting the word out about your product or service, whether it’s good or bad news.

In this new day and age of technology, we are all walking on egg shells. Corporations and small businesses alike must consistently watch the internet for discourse created concerning their product or service. Immediate action must take place in the event of bad conversation in order to prevent a skyrocketing issue. Hush Hush here is a laptop.

What preventative measures do you have established in the event of bad consumer dialogue? Can you monitor the web for content related to your company? Entrepreneurs must set up systems to help monitor what the world is saying about them. But don’t forget, all this open conversation and user generated content can also be a VERY good thing for small business, Think cheap, free, and large untapped market places.

July 18, 2008 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

Small Business Introduction: Hello my name is ABC Inc.

The key to a formal introduction in the small business world is simple; when introducing yourself to someone, whether they are a new neighbour, prospect, client, or car dealer, don’t just say your name, state your company and its purpose. Sounds ‘corny’? Yes, but it works. If I say “Hello my name is Renée. I am the marketing manager of ABC Inc.”. Many people might not recognize my company or exactly what it does. But if I say “Hello my name is Renée. I am the Marketing Manager for a company that helps train entrepreneurs”, the result will be outstandingly different. This is because not only have you grabbed their interest you have also explained to them what it is that your company does.

This is an effortless and important marketing strategy for small businesses as it is a way to market your company through simple introductions. Someone working at Coca Cola wouldn’t have this sort of introduction because they wouldn’t need to. Coca-Cola speaks for itself.

Does your business do they same? If not, then formally, and in detail, introduce yourself and your company purpose in one simple sentence.

July 16, 2008 at 8:23 pm Leave a comment

Workers are Moving West

Workers are moving west. And why wouldn’t they? With 24,000 jobs cut last month alone in Ontario and 61,000 added to the Alberta workforce last year, there is nothing keeping workers here. Alberta is in need of skilled trade’s workers and general labourers. Ontario is in need of help, and they are trying. Most recently the Ontario government created Second Career, a provincially funded program for those who have recently been laid off and are in need of training to be qualified for more specific jobs. The programs initiative is to keep workers here. Will it work? Will workers go weeks or months without a job just to train for a position that they may not want to work? Packing up and moving west seems like a more tempting choice. Standard of living and cost of living are pretty much the same, and there is work out there. Why stay here?

The answer is easy, if you are thinking about starting a business or recently launched one staying in Ontario is a better choice. We have more government programs, more entrepreneurs per capita, better access to resources such as funding, and a higher start-up success rate. Ontarians are engineered to be great entrepreneurs. If you or someone you know has recently been laid off, think about starting your own business. These websites will help you find your passion, start-up and be on your way to small business success:

http://www.staples.ca/
www.getgrowingforbusiness.com
www.smallbizlabs.com
www.smallbiztrends.com
www.cyberbahn.com
www.lastminutetraining.ca
www.cfib.com
www.sbe.gov.on.ca
http://www.mndm.gov.on.ca/
http://www.bizlaunch.ca/
www.bizlaunch.ca/bellseminars

July 14, 2008 at 7:13 pm Leave a comment

Last Minute Training

Are you an entrepreneur looking for extra training on the side?

Last Minute Training provides North America’s premier training suppliers with an opportunity to sell their excess participant capacity on a last minute, discount basis to our members.

Membership is free, and gives you the inside track on training opportunities. Create a confidential member profile, including your personal ‘training wish list’, and they’ll email you immediately when a course you are interested in becomes available.

Optionally you can choose to browse their selection of available courses at Last Minute Training. They will offer a broad range of personal and professional development courses at discounts of 30% or more.

July 10, 2008 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

Afraid to Take the Leap of Faith

I made a trip home to North Bay, ON this weekend to enjoy the lake, the weather, and my mothers home cooking. Although my time home was short, it was well worth the 6 hour drive. I realised while sitting in the dining room and peering out the window through a beautiful stained glass piece my mother designed, that there was a great small business opportunity right before my eyes. The problem was that my mother refuses to take the leap of faith and go into business on her own. Age and lack of business experience has limited her motivation to start something new. But the skill and creativity she possesses defies all small business odds. If you have a great product offering then the business skill will develop over time with the proper training and consulting. Start small and expand with customer demand.

Her Story:
After retiring from a 30-odd year career in teaching, my mother has never been busier with Sorority meetings, gardening, supply teaching, travelling, and enjoying the lake with my father. But lack of routine and structure in her weekly tasks led her to rethink her ultimate life goals. She soon developed an interest in entrepreneurship and starting a small home based business. However, she could not decide what to do, where to start, or how to get going. Like most potential entrepreneurs she is afraid of taking that leap of faith.

Designing and selling stained glass pieces would be a hot seller in many cottage country markets. My suggestion to her was:
1. Create a business card and hand it out to everybody
2. Design an attractive sandwich board to place at the end of the driveway (high traffic street on the lake)
3. My mother often creates stained glass pieces for presents to those getting married, having a baby…I suggested she include with the piece she is gifting a bio of her and her work and an attached business card.
4. Send out a mass email to everyone in her database about her stained glass work
5. Approach local craft stores and offer a commissioned model to sell her work
6. Create a Facebook group
7. Attend craft shows
8. Periodically place little ads in newspapers and journals
9. Consider an open house
10. Write a media release and send it out to the local newspaper
And the list goes on and on.

Although taking that initial step in setting up shop is very intimidating, it has its rewards. Entrepreneurship is the spirit of our times. If you are thinking about starting a small business than just do it! Small business advice is readily available. BizLaunch.ca, for example, offers free small business advice in a ready-to-apply method. BizLaunch focuses on training as a holistic community and bringing to the forefront successful start-up business enterprises that will lead the way to innovation.

July 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

State of Small business – Industry Canada

I just finished skimming through the May 2008 Small Business Quarterly and was very pleased with what I read about Small Business. Small business contributed to over 35% of the job growth over 2007 in Canada. With over 319 000 jobs created last year alone, small business is a large contributor to job creation. Perhaps its time the provincial governments give small business owners a tax break?

July 2, 2008 at 7:55 pm 1 comment

Stepping Down to Step it up: Exiting your Small Business

In relation to yesterdays post, Keeping it in the Family, I came across another article related to this topic. Changing of the Guard in PROFIT magazine discusses the founder’s ability to run a business after it has become successful, i.e. if he/she is still right for the job? If you have brought your company from launch to consistent year-after-year growth you have achieved something all entrepreneurs dream of. Now, its time to assess whether to hang on to it or let it go.

Entrepreneurs cannot be everything at once. Operations, PR, HR, marketing, sales, finance, design, culture, ideas, and planning are not a one man job. “…a COO is perfect for handling operations in a rapidly growing, smaller business, a slower-growing, larger business needs a president who can create and implement well defined systems and processes…” – Brian Scudamore, Founder CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?.

Define your exit strategy. Will you work in your business until death or will some other fortunate spirit help you define the awesomeness of your creation?

June 24, 2008 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

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