Category Archives: Strategy

Anything that has to do with strategic planning, vision development, forward thinking, risk management, and business planning.

Test A Business Idea In Minutes

Test whether or not your business will fly by going through the idea tester’s funnel.

 

This 30 minute session is delivered by Small Business Solver co-founder and the author of “Will It Fly? The Idea Tester”, Carla Langhorst. It will give you a solid process to evaluate quickly any great idea that you have. If you have a new product, service, or business, this is for you!

The process has been tested on 1000s of small business ideas and has been used by small business coaches throughout North America as a guide to highlight red flags in a business model.

Top questions that will be answered:
1. Will people buy your product?
2. Is it better than the competition?
3. Will you burnout?
4. Are your salary expectations reasonable?
5. Will you end up working more than you are intending?

Test your business idea for free through the Idea Tester.

Non Profit 101 & Social Enterprise

What makes a non profit? What makes a social enterprise? What is social entrepreneurship?

These are the first pieces to understand within selecting if your organization will be for profit, non profit, or social enterprise. Knowing the difference and knowing where you fit can be powerful.

Being a social enterprise can have a huge advantage to your organization as your employees are proud of where they work, your values are a guiding light and part of the vision which helps you move forward.

Just as important as figuring out how a social enterprise is different than other organizations, there are a lot of similarities. Specifically, just because you have a mission doesn’t mean that you can forget about profit. You still need to start with your customer and client needs, then build out what business model makes sense for you.

Your Expert

Norm Tasevski
Co-Founder and Partner, Venture Deli
Course Director, Social Entrepreneurship | Schulich School of Business | University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Engineering | U Waterloo Faculty of Environment
norm@venturedeli.com
(416) 624 8349

Matter To The World
follow us on twitter: @venturedeli
Want the slideshow? Venture Deli Slideshow

Amazing Customer Service!

Customer service is the backbone of customer retention and customer loyalty. Customer retention is the backbone of increasing your revenue year over year.

 

This webinar will walk through the basics that you need to know about customer service and what you should know NOT to do.
 

 
Customer Service for Products
 

If you are selling a product, here are your customer service metrics.

 

1. Available products: do you actually have the product that they want on the shelf or in stock? Think about Chapters/Indigo, and the fact that you can order books on computers in store or find out physical stores where.

 

2. On time delivery: think about anything that you’ve ordered online and if it is close to when you need the gift, let’s say Christmas, they have a cut off online when they can get it to you by. If they missed the date, you’d be upset!

 

3. Zero defects: Do you buy your new pair of jeans with a hole in it (that wasn’t for fashion?) How upset are you about having to exchange it. Sometimes you’ll simply return it as you are that upset. Or you may simply never buy from that store again.

 

4. Meets customer specifications: If you want something custom, like ordering a custom suit. If it comes to you with pink thread and you expected black, you might be a little upset.

 

5. Amazes customers: This is the extra step. Is there something unexpected like a thank you card? A bonus gift? A loyalty card? For the suit example, maybe they threw in a tie?

 
Customer Service for Services
 
If you are selling a service, it is tougher as it is intangible. Here are your metrics;
 
1. Proximity to customers. Location, location, location becomes increasingly important for many services. It is less likely that someone will go to a salon across town or in another town, than down the street. That’s why franchises make so much sense. You love the product/service, but you simply aren’t willing to make the trek. So they bring it to you.
 
2. Zero wait time. How often have you gone to Tim Horton’s or Starbucks, and decided to wait on your coffee because the wait was too long. That is part of customer service. Both of them ended up changing their processes and adopting payment cards to save time. You might have even seen the Mastercard advertising about their PayPass program that has saved millions of minutes of time. It is the wait time in customer service of why this is sooooo important.
 
3. Consistent delivery. Services are trickier, as it is easy to provide great customer service as a single owner/operator of a business. But if you plan on scaling up, this will become more and more challenging. Maybe get your new employees to watch the recording of this video to start understanding the bigger perspective of customer service.
Part of this is understanding your process, and writing it down. That helps to train your employees as well as to improve upon what you are doing.
 
4. No mistakes in the delivery or unexpected interference. Mistakes happen! At Tim Horton’s I always order Steeped Tea. But I often get coffee instead as they might not have heard me with the noise or it was assumed. Another problem is sometimes the customer makes mistakes! They were talking about mistakes at Tim Horton’s the other day on the radio. One of the stories was about a woman talking on her phone while going through drive through. Apparently she heard the order taker speaking to the car ahead of her, and she ended up giving her order to a garbage can rather than to the order taker. When she got to getting her order, it obviously wasn’t ready for her. She was overheard saying on the phone “they got my order wrong again!”. This is a classic case of the customer not always being right.
 
5. Meets customer expectations. Services are tougher, as often the customer doesn’t know what to expect. Think about your last hair cut, and explaining that you just want a trim. You don’t know until your hair cut is done if it compares to your expectations.
 
6. Amazes customers. One of my best examples is at a nail salon I once went to. They ended up giving me a 5 minute massage while my nails dried. Completely unexpected and appreciated!
 
From here you need to know the best practices where are;
1. Managing expectations
2. Being fair and equitable with all of your customers
3. Listening
4. Over communicating
5. Recovering from mistakes
6. Mass customization
 
The subject matter expert was Carla Langhorst, the President of Small Business Solver. You can reach her at carla@smallbusinesssolver.com

Making Sense of Customer Loyalty for Small Retail Businesses

The new customer is exciting, but not nearly as important as existing customers. Learn about customer loyalty, how to create it, and new ways to create customer stickiness.

 

Your customers are mobile, now you can reap the benefits. Join us on to learn about traditional loyalty and how mobile loyalty can impact foot traffic, sales, and marketing. This is especially impactful for small retail business’.

 

 
Contact the subject matter experts:

 
Ahmed El-Kadars

Ovahi Inc.

+1.416.948.1302

 

How Ovahi works: http://youtu.be/R27lS4uJWz8

Make Your Home Business Fly

Need some tools make your home business fly? This 30 minute video outlines some excellent tools that you will be able to use and incorporate immediately to:

– Set goals that you are more inclined to stick to
– Gain a better perspective on your time
– Learn how to evaluate and course-correct as needed
– Work on your business, not just in your business
– Rediscover the importance and power of communication

Above all, Sheri will inspire you to become even more committed to yourself and your work, reminding you of the value of ongoing study, learning, and dedication of time and patience necessary to bring about the meaningful success you desire.

Follow Sheri on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and her blog at www.ICPublishing.ca .

Copyright 2013

Strategic Planning 2013

This is the best time to sit down and iron out your strategic plan for 2013. But where to start?

This 20 minute video outlines how to create a vision, how to break it down into actionable tasks, and how to keep on moving forward.

Watching this video is a strategic thing to do!  Want to get started yourself, download your own Strategic Planner 2013.

 

Preparing For Change: Career (And Personal) Transition

Starting & running a business can be extremely stressful on a physical, mental, and emotional front. Get advice from a career coach and life coach on how to make this transition successfully.

 

Our subject matter expert is Andrea Bonsey, a Career Counsellor and Counselling Therapist at Navigation Counselling Inc.

 

Reach her at www.navigationcounselling.ca or andrea@navigationcounselling.ca

 

Scaling A Small Business

There are 5 major phases of the enterprise lifecycle from a small business in rapid growth to a mature corporate enterprise. What is important at each stage and how to accomplish this as you grow?

 

The subject matter expert is Adrian Davis, CEO of Whetstone Inc. (www.whetstoneinc.ca) is a professional speaker and technology advisor.

 

Manage Your Energy & Your Choices (Be a Better Self-Manager)

Now there’s a thought?! As you plan your day and week, try evaluating the options and choices you have, and take into consideration the energy you need/want for each task.

We all know what it feels like to be stressed about “time”. You know, too many things to do and not enough time to do them in. If this sounds like you right now, you might be trying too hard to micro-manage every hour, often overfilling your schedule. This is a sure-fire way to set yourself up for frustration and disappointment, versus success.

Managing your choices and assessing wisely the energy and focus you need is a much more realistic and useful approach. You will be more inclined to have a better perspective on how much time you will really need to allot for each appointment or “to do” item on your list.  You will also quickly see the value of creating a cushion over the course of your day, to allow for the meeting that runs a little later or the road repairs that tie up traffic unexpectedly right in the middle of your day.

More positives:

•  The breathing space in your day will help you think more clearly, and recognize opportunities that you might have otherwise missed (being distracted by all that you still had to do).

•  Remaining in the moment will show more respect to others you are engaging with, and definitely give you more joy and respect in return too.

There are still a couple of other significant challenges people can face. Have you ever added tasks to your day just randomly (in reaction mode) without checking and prioritizing with your existing commitments? Or perhaps you added ones that shouldn’t have been there to begin with (i.e. those tasks belonged on someone else’s list)? I’m not saying that these things should never happen; there’s just a lot of wisdom in doing so with more thought than is often given.

To help you get a better sense of where your time is going and provide you a quick and easy way to see where you can tweak things, I encourage you to do what I call a Wellness Journal for one week.

 

From my book, Working From Home & Making It Work©

I initially created the Wellness Journal to help my clients and colleagues get a handle on their use of time—or as often was the case—get a handle on how and who else was using or consuming their time. As with many other tools I have developed or passed on from my mentors, the Wellness Journal has become an amazing exercise that I utilize regularly.

 

It’s very simple, and you can customize it the way you see fit for your particular circumstances. Detail is helpful, but not to the point where it will inhibit you from following through with the process.

 

Every one of us has 168 hours in our week, that’s 7 days times 24 hours.

 

I encourage you to pick a relatively normal week you can commit to—and write, type or record in some way, all that makes up your day. Note everything you do for yourself, for your friends, family, work, etc.

 

Quite likely, well before the week is up, you will see some areas that you can make adjustments in, to help things run more efficiently and productively.

Here’s to your success!

 

_______

 

 

This week’s guest blog is by Sheri Andrunyk, on Managing Your Energy & Your Choices, more insights of which you’ll find in her new book, Working from Home and Making it Work.

 

Sheri Andrunyk is Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Inspiring Speaker, Holistic Business and Life Coach, Author and Publisher. Her specialty is working with small business owners and entrepreneurs.

 

 

She has a passion for all forms of meaningful communication, and has expertise in providing invaluable guidance to her clients, colleagues, and community.

 

Sheri’s new book Working from Home and Making it Work discusses time and choice management, work/life balance and shares powerful insights on how we can become better self-managers, an essential component to success.

 

 

 

For more information and to download a free chapter, please visit

 

www.insightfulcommunications.ca

 

4 Conversations Of A Leader

Building rapport and having great conversations with customers, suppliers, employees, and everyone else you do business with is critical for sustainable growth. Plus better conversations can help build your referral base and your external sales force, a great thing to have as a small business.

 

Learn how to have better conversations for small business (and big business) success.

 

The subject matter expert is Stuart Knight, of www.stuartknightproductions.com