Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A kick in the butt from IttyBIz

Some kick in the butt advice from Naomi Dunford of IttyBiz (yep, another Facebook friend of mine but since she's moving to the UK soon may become a real friend). I have taken a chunk verbatim from her latest blog post:

If you run a service business — and in service I include coaching and consulting — and to a degree if you run any other kind of business, here’s the best piece of advice I’ve got.

Spend 4 times more time on MARKETING than you do on DOING.

I could give you the list and litany of people who are the worst at this, but basically everybody is the worst at this. Except maybe life coaches. They’re the REAL worst.

You bust your ass creating this wonderful business that is going to change lives. You get the certification and you spend the money on the website and you give the free sessions to get the testimonials. You create something that will quite honestly make it so people will not even remember what their life was like before they worked with you. And then what do you do?

You sit around and wait for people to find you.

Unless any of the other aspects of your business are absolutely tragic, you should not be spending your work time:

- tweaking your website
- responding to comments
- reorganizing your accounting methods
- taking skills upgrade courses, including mine
- reading ebooks
- chatting on IM
- telling people what you ate for breakfast on Twitter

There is nothing wrong with any of the above activities, but those are the things to do in your SPARE time. And if you’re not getting clients right now, you don’t have spare time during the workday. The time that you THINK is spare should be spent getting your name out there, all over the place.

If you are not getting enough clients, your only priority is getting clients.
That is all. Now stop reading blogs and get back to work

Original post at IttyBiz

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Trust, but verify

Seth Godin (marketing expert and one of my Facebook friends) wrote this in his blog today. I have reproduced his blog post verbatim as they are very very wise words:

If you think that's a friend of yours on twitter, don't be so sure.

If you wonder why your boss sent such an insane email to you, don't be so sure.

If you get a chance to invest online, think twice.

Don't buy anything from an inbound phone call.

That email you sent in confidence... probably won't be read that way. And that photo, yes, it's going to show up in the digital world where you least want to see it...

In your little village, where you see your neighbor every day for ten years and the person in the next car might be the local constable, the rules are very simple and obeyed by all. In an electronic world, it's trivial to impersonate, hack and otherwise annoy.

Online, rely on direct, personal interactions to be sure you're seeing what you think you're seeing. Trust, but verify.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Networking - make the effort

Tonight as I walked through the cold deserted streets of Old Montreal towards a networking event I was tempted at one point to turn round and go home ! I was cold and I was thinking that it would probably be a waste of time.... Well, I carried on walking and here's what I got from the evening:

- The first person to greet me opened with "I gave your name to the Haitian Young Chamber of Commerce - they need someone to give a talk on business plans and I immediately thought of you"

- I met up with someone I am working on a new business project with (CanEuropa - helping Canadian companies move into Europe and European companies move into Canada)

- someone working for an organisation representing the Rhône-Alpes region in France needed exactly the kind of services I can provide for their clients

- a fellow lecturer from HEC Montréal (we both teach Sector Analysis)enabled me to catch up with what is happening next year

- I got talking to someone who like me loves hiking and skiing so finally this Winter I may well have someone to go with

- a former coachee who months ago told me about Michael Port, who in turn was instrumental in me getting onto Facebook (where I now have 2,300 friends by the way)and working on teleseminars and information products, was there so I was able to thank her for launching me onto a path I had not expected to travel

The reason for mentioning all of this is to make the point:
- even if you're tired, it's cold, it's a long walk don't turn back when you have set out to a networking event - you never know who who you will meet nor what exciting avenues it might open up for you - personally and/or professionally

And you know what, every time without fail when I go to a networking event and wonder whether I might just not bother and head home .... these are always the ones that bring me the most value, the most interesting conversations. It's like a little guardian angel has driven me there.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Marketing lessons from the street

Today I lined up to buy one of the new plastic cards for the Metro in Montreal and then I lined up a second time to use the machine to actually load my monthly pass onto the card. Pain in the butt system or what ?!!!

In the time all this took I had the opportunity to observe one of the people who regularly beg in the subway here (underground to readers in the UK !!). Then I started to compare him to someone else who begs in the same Metro station (Sherbrooke for those of you who live in Montreal).

I would argue that begging for money isn't a million miles different to getting business from a potential client. Here’s what I learnt from my observations:


Pick the right moment – begging for money is not going to be successful when you solicit people rushing to go to work. I wondered why the guy didn’t pitch to those of us lined up – we were a captive audience, bored, fed up and possibly receptive to a good story.

In business ensure that the client is undistracted and ready to listen to what you would like to say.

Close off objections – dirty, in tatty clothes and telling me you’re hungry … maybe you are but maybe you want money for drugs. Good idea to think about what I might be thinking and then close off that objection before I even make it.

Same applies with a potential business client. If you think the person might be wondering if you have the right experience, could harness the right resources, whatever.. then cover that off when you are speaking to them.

Address the “what’s in it for me” – what should the guy in the Metro be doing so that we get someting? just imposing the odours of his unwashed body so that we give him some money to make him go away? Maybe. But, suppose he appealed to our more generous side: "You’re buying your monthly pass I would like to be able to buy some food" (guilt trip); "While you are waiting in line think about people like me who have ended up on the streets" (compassion with a bit of guilt).

In business think what the person’s pain might be, actively listen and ask questions to make this discovery before pitching in for their business.


Let them come to you – Now the other guy who begs at the same Metro station just stands there and smiles at you. That’s it. He smiles. he ackowledges you as you hurry by. The only person who does. Soon you find he smiles at you each day so you start to say "Bonjour". Then you don’t see him for a while and you ask where he’s been, how he’s been. You learn a bit about his life, his story. Then you find he's quite a conversationalist. Quite smart in a street-wise kind of way. You start to warm to him. From time to time you give him some coins or something. He always remembers you and asks how you are and, in my case, how my mum is. He becomes part of your life.

I bet you he gets way more money than the other guy.

And in business… build yourself a good reputation; strong visibility; be seen in the right places talking to the right people; earn credibility. Then they will come to you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


One of my Facebook friends. Kim Duke, produces a useful newsletter about selling- she's not styled the Sales Diva for nothing.This week her artilce really made me smile so here is an abridged version:

In the good old days popcorn was not a bag that you put in the microwave - to make popcorn you needed a stove, a pot with a lid, oil, popcorn.When you made popcorn - you put the pot on the stove, heated the element, added the oil, then the popcorn, put on the lid and then you waited.

What was the first thing that happened ?

And then???

A lonely little POP.

More waiting.

Then another 2 or 3 little POPS.

Then you start shaking the pot slowly (so nothing burns) and then


Kim says this is like the sales process. She exhorts her readers to make SALES POPCORN. To do this:

You need to have many popcorn pots on your SALES STOVE.

You need to be planting seeds, making connections, have proposals out there with
the right companies and people.

You need to be watching those seeds, giving it some time, shaking the pot a bit and making sure that nothing is burning!

She then askes her reader whether they are making these Sales Popcorn Mistakes:

- You plant some seeds (network, meet with clients, send out an ezine, etc).
- Then you get impatient and keep lifting the lid off the pot or adjust the temp mid-way.
- You ignore your customers who have been loyal to you through good times and bad.
- You only have one SALES POPCORN pot on the stove.
- You only have a few SALES POPCORN seeds in the pot.
- You use stale popcorn seeds that need to be pitched out.

I thought this was a really brilliant analogy and worth sharing with my readers.

Kim's website

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Be in business mode when working from home.

I was browsing through Betty McCray's blog and found a post about setting yourself an appointment at 9am each and every day if you work from home so that you don't let the start time for your day slide. Whether its a meeting with a client or a telephone appointment it ensures that you get your day started in a businesslike way.

I would also add the importance of dressing for business - not only does it put your mind in work mode but it also means that if you get a call from a potential client who wants to meet up almost straight away you're not rushing off to the bathroom to shower and dress and slap make-up on. (OK I'm sitting here typing this in my pj's but it is 5am and my excuse is I am jetlagged and heading back to bed for a couple of hours.!!)

Betty McCrays blogpost

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Canadian citizen (not by birth ) - be careful at Heathrow airport

Be warned - if you fly out of Heathrow with Air Canada and are resident in Canada you risk getting serious hassle and even being refused the right to fly if you do not have a Canadian passport OR a foreign passport and Permanent Resident card. I have been a proud Canadian citizen for almost 4 years. I do not have a Canadian passport as I don't need one, they're expensive and the waiting list to get one is horrendous. It is quite legal for me to fly into Canada with my British passport and a Canadian citizenship card. Permanent Resident and a Citizen of Canada are two distinct status and once a Citizen you do not need, and indeed cannot have, a Permanent Resident card.I pointed this out to the Air Canada check-in person but she decided to get an 'immigration expert'.

The 'immigration expert' had serious 'attitude' and claimed that the citizenship card is honorific and has no value as an ID document - it was just for people like me who had emigrated to Canada and gone through the process of becoming a citizen - an honorary document. This was said in a tone that was méprisant and by someone who seemed to not like immigrants. I was so upset I could have cried.

I told the immigration officer at Montreal airport about all this and he was disgusted that this had happened to me BUT warned me to be careful as these people who, even though they are totally wrong, have POWER, the power to refuse someone the right to board an Air Canada flight to travel back home to Canada.

Sorry to rant but I am so upset by this and want to go public on it to warn other people.

How do YOU spend your time ?

Want to keep track on where you spend your time when you are on line ? Then sign up for F.R.E.E. access to Rescue Time. There is also options that are not free but ....

RescueTime enables you to know exactly what software and sites you’re actively using. If you have staff you can also see where they are spending time - there are various privacy settings which can be applied.

Click here to check it out and sign up. RescueTime.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maybe you should have lunch

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond the winning. (Lao Tzu)

Think about think about it in the context of lunch. Yes, lunch. How many of you skip lunch or eat something at your desk so that you can 'save time' ? Are you really saving time ? Maybe you would still get everything done even if you have a proper lunch break.

When I worked in Paris (in the days of the corporate career) I went out for lunch every day and yes often had a glass of wine (maybe two even) but I sure as heck worked harder and more productively in the afternoon than when I worked in London or Toronto and ate a boring sandwich at my desk and carried on working.

How many of you are taking a real break at lunchtime ? Eating a nice lunch rather than some boring old thing in a food court ? or at least going and eating the boring thing in the sunshine or with friends (no not co-workers - that is great for team building but not every day - you need a break from your work environment). And for readers who work at home... what are you up to ?? Bet you skip lunch or eat at your desk .. go on admit it.

So change it. Things will still get done even if you have a good lunch break.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Carbonite - or backing up your e-business

Have just found out about Carbonite, a company providing unlimited online back up protection for a mere $49.95 a year. All you have to do is sign up, download the software, install it, run through the set up choosing what you want it to back up, set it, and that's it. They even offer a 14 day Free Trial.

Carbonite basically installs a small application on your computer that works quietly in the background looking for new and changed files that need to be backed up. When your computer is idle, Carbonite automatically backs up your new and changed files. You don't have to do anything! When you're using your computer, Carbonite goes to sleep so it will never slow you down or interfere with your Internet connection.All your files are encrypted twice before leaving your PC and they remain encrypted at Carbonite secure data centers, so only you can see your files.

So, if you accidentally delete or lose a files it takes just a few clicks on your desktop to get them back. If your computer is damaged, stolen or dies and you lose all your files, a visit to Carbonite’s website from a new computer and they can be retrieved in no time.

For those stay-at-homes who copy to DVD this is not a service they need but for those of you who work from many locations it can be a godsend. I am currently in the UK, had to have my laptop cleaned and reinstalled but a lot of my back-up was in Canada....

I am heading over to Carbonite right now !!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Time Out

Between working for my business consulting and coaching clients; developing a series of e-books and teleseminars to help people evaluate their business ideas, harness the power of social marketing etc; translating my website content into French; developing CanEuropa - a consulting business helping Canadian companies move into Europe and European companies expand into Canada; working on three totally new business ideas, writing posts here every week…

I need some time out from blogging !

You’ll still find me on Facebook and be able to see what I am up to.

I'll be back at the beginning of October....

Friday, September 19, 2008

Culture Cuts in Canada

This is too funny - albeit a serious matter - culture is such an important part of our heritage.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Folding your T- shirt..

... or a Time Saving Tip for Nomadic Entrepreneurs.

This amused me and it is really practical too. How to fold a T shirt in 2 seconds. Click here.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Marketing Tips from an Olympic champion

Colleen Coyne, a former member of the U.S. women's ice hockey team, earned a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games. And in a post at the HubSpot blog, she outlines how the keys to Olympic success apply to your work in marketing.

1. Don't train harder, train smarter

2. Success is a decision

3. Plan the work

4. Work the plan

5. Be in position to be in position ie anticipate the possibilities and make sure you are prepared to take advantage of them.

6. Nobody cares what you want, they care what you do

7. Hang out with & watch the pros

8. If you are not getting better, you're getting worse - There is no such thing as "maintenance" in business. Everything you do (or don't do) contributes to your level of success.

Click here to read the full post.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tube Mogul - for those of you using video to sell your business

TubeMogul is the first online video analytics and distribution company serving people who need independent information about video performance on the Internet and automated upload to the Web's top video sharing sites. Basically TubeMogul's analytic technology aggregates video-viewing data from multiple sources to give people wanting to post business-related videos an improved understanding of when, where and how often videos are watched, track and compare what's hot and what's not, measure the impact of marketing campaigns, gather competitive intelligence. Yes, its F.R.E.E.

Sites that TubeMogul supports include: AOL Video - — Google Video — Myspace - Yahoo Video - YouTube and quite a few more.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tiny URL

I just went to TinyURL and typed in the URL for an article I co-authored a few years ago (on Human Rights and Music if you really want to know !) it gave me this as a shortened URL which is a lot shorter than the real URL:

I'm sure you have seen these little URLs especially if you use Facebook or Twitter.TinyURL is the most commonly used of these services to shorten long URLs.

The advantages of a shortened URL are:

- URL's are embedded in an e-mail message if they are very long can be spread over two lines and can be off putting.

- Twitter only allows you 140 characters so you don't want to be using up valuable space with a very long URL.

- On Facebook you have a limited space for your "Status" entry so again you don't want to take up valuable space with a very long URL.

Of course for people reading the URL there is no indication where it is going to take them whereas a longer URL can give you a clue to the destination. Having said that would you have guessed that the URL I used as an example would have lead you to an article on Music and Human Rights ?

At the end of the day its all down to the reader having confidence in the person that sent it to them or who is using it in their Twitter Tweet or their Facebook status.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time Snapper

TimeSnapper is an Automatic Screenshot Journal. It runs in the background of your computer, taking screenshots of your desktop every few seconds all week long.

Use TimeSnapper to:

- Keep track of your time using the screenshots and note recording. Useful for anyone who charges by the hour (e.g. consultants, lawyers, technicians)
- Track time spent in each program or the computer (see report)
- Measure your productivity using the Productivity Calculator
- Get a scorecard with a grade every day! Use it to improve yourself
- Use the Note Reminder / Auto-popup to remind you to write down notes throughout the day (without getting knocked out of the zone)
- Recover lost data easily by extracting text from the screenshots *
- Make sure no one is using your computer without your knowledge

And.... its F.R.E.E. Download it clicking here.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Using Facebook ....advice from Brian Campbell

My Facebook friend Brian Campbell has just posted a note that is a must-read for Facebookers for business. Not only does it provide further evidence that Brian Campbell is a canny businessman and a generous person, it also provides great opportunities to spread the word about you and your business offering. Do click on the link and read the full version.

Mindset is so important

I read a great blog post today that set me thinking: launching and/or growing a business is not just about feasiblity studies, biz plans, road maps and marketing strategies it's also mindset - in fact one could perhaps argue that mindset is more important than all the others.

The blogpost is about walking on water (in a metaphoric way)and starts with a joke about three Buddhist monks - two of whom walk across the lake to the monastery and the third one keeps sinking into the lake each time he tries to walk across. Eventually the first monk says to the second one "Do you think we should we tell him where the stones are ?". The blog post takes the idea of stones which enable us to 'walk on water' - stones that are vital to the success of any business venture. These include:

Walk With Open Arms

Walk with Unwavering Faith

Walking Starts With A Single Purposeful Step

Walk With Courage

Walk With Awareness

Gain Speed With The Flow

Go read the entire article (Walk on Water) - its thought-provoking.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Desk Top Publishing

I've just come across a free, open source software package for desktop publishing - Scribus. Really useful if you're getting into producing information products. I have downloaded it but not used it yet. Will report back when I have.

Who's visiting your blog ?

If you look at the right hand side of my blogs you will find that I have added a widget from - Live Traffic Feed which shows who has visited. It shows what country and also by what means they got to my blog. This is providing me with some interesting information on visiters. I have also added MyBlogLog which shows me which MyBlogLog members have been to my blog.

How to protect your work

I was just reading an interesting post on Mari Smith's blog - How not to do business on Facebook or anywhere about someone who plagiarised all her work. This prompted me to make the following comment on her post:

A variation on a similar theme - I used to do a lot of feasiblility studies and business plans.I once found that a client had revised the 3 year financial projections I had prepared to make the project profitable (and therefore eligible for a grant) when it was destined to be a major loss maker ... fortunately the person reviewing the document knew me and knew that I would never have produced some optimisitic figures. This scared the heck out of me though ... naively perhaps but it had never occurred to me that someone would take my work and then change it and present as my professional judgement in order to raise financing. I also experienced someone using my CV and adding me as a consultant adviser in order to win a contract without my knowledge or consent. I have not figured out how to avoid this - short of restricting my work to business coaching.

Does anyone have suggestions ?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tag Biz - Application on Facebook

I discovered this the other day - haven't had time to test drive it yet but I hear from business associates that it is worth looking at.

Tag Biz is designed to network for you saving you time and expanding your business network. Tag Biz automates the relationship networking and referral process by placing a custom business keyword tag cloud on your Facebook profile and on the Facebook profiles of your friends that are participating in your business network. You need to pick your keywords, invite your friends and then using Tag Biz you can build your own business network. Your business will automatically be listed in the Tag Biz business directory which has over 7000 listed businesses and in June 2008 received over 125,000 visits making it the largest and most active business directory on Facebook. Click here to sign up to add it to your Facebook page.

Let me know how it works for your business.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Commenting on Blogs

It is widely preached that commenting on other people's blogs is a good way to build a reputation as an expert and to drive some traffic to your own blog. However, even if you have your hot list of favourite blogs because they are relevant to your business you are almost certainly missing out on commenting opportunities.

So... what's to be done ?

Answer - download Comment Kahuna free of charge.

And what is Comment Kahuna ? it searches for blog posts that rank in Google for a particular phrase. Once you’ve typed in your keyword phrase it will locate up to 50 blog posts on the topic you’ve searched for that are ranking in Google.

Stumble Upon

For a really useful guide to using Stumble Upon to drive traffic to your website sign up for a series of F.R.E.E. lessons put out by Caroline Middlebrook. They can be found at Caroline is on Facebook and also has a very useful blog packed full of helpful suggstions and advice and refreshingly honest.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Social Media Espionage

I was taking the opportunity presented by a stomach bug to catch up on reading posts on my favourite blogs. This one from Rohit Bhargava entitled How to Avoid Social Media Espionage is worth reading. Your Facebook and Twitter friends and complete strangers could end up knowing enough to know what they should not know.I have copied the following verbatim:

Nearly 1500 people have a window inside my daily actions and thoughts by subscribing to my feed and following me on Twitter. Over a thousand can see updates on what I do through Facebook. There are Flickr photos from the events that I head to and I publish the cities that I will be travelling to on Dopplr. In a social media universe, living your life a bit in the open seems a bit unavoidable if you are really going to take advantage of all the social media tools you are signed up for.

Along with this openness, however, comes the danger of publishing too much information too publicly and unwittingly leading to the rise of social media espionage ... the act of obtaining information published on social networks or online presumed to be secret or confidential and using it for personal or business gain. Here's a step by step fictional example:

Entrepreneur and business owner tweets about heading to a meeting on the west coast from his home in Orlando with a friend (known to be his lawyer)

The lawyer updates Facebook independently about heading to a client meeting in Redmond, Washington

A business executive at Microsoft recently quoted in the media about having some "serious talks" with several companies in a certain type of business similar to what the entrepreneur does.

An engineer at Microsoft blogs about his efforts and cites a really innovative company out of Orlando

In four small updates from unrelated people, a smart social media surfer could get a very direct sense of a deal about to happen and some inside information unintended to be shared. It is only a matter of time before Social Media Espionage becomes a concern that some businesses will need to have a preemptive strategy to fight against. thinking

Posted at 12:18 AM June 30th 2008


What is RACI? At its most basic it is a way to examine a process step, task, activity, effort, decision or inspection to determine who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted or Informed.

RACI Benefits:

- Helps clarify activities and tasks in a process
- Determines ownership
- Clarifies roles and responsibilities
- Eliminates duplication of effort
- Identifies gaps ie steps in the process that are not owned
- Reduces misunderstandings
- Improves communication - make sure people are not 'left out'
- Provides a cross-functional view for all employees

R = Responsible - The person who performs the action/task.
A = Accountable - The person who is held accountable that the action/task is completed.
C = Consulted - The person(s) who is consulted before performing the action/task.
I = Informed - The person(s) who is informed after the action/task is performed.

Creating a RACI chart
Set up a matrix with major tasks/activities as the rows and key positions (or named individuals) as column headers. Cells are designated with an R, A C or I, as appropriate, to indicate the role an individual plays.

Analysing a RACI chart
A RACI chart should be analysed by looking at rows and columns. Here are just some things to look out for:

Columns- Each vertical column should have one Responsible, but can have more in some situations of shared responsibility.
- If a column has more than one R perhaps the task should be subdivided
- No empty spaces in a column - Does this person need to be involved in every step?
- No A's or R's - Should this role be eliminated from this process? Has the process changed over time where they may not be needed? Try to eliminate.
- many A's - Is this person a bottleneck? Can these tasks be shared or segregated?

- Too many A's in a row can be an indicator of impending confusion since no one will be sure who really had the task and each individual will probably have a different approach and/or expectation(s).
- No R's in a row - this is where gaps occur and a task may not be performed
- With too many R's in a row an overlap can occur.
- Completely empty row - Why was this function included? Are we missing including them when they should be? Can the function be correctly eliminated form the process?

- The number of Consults should be minimised so that the decision-making process is not slowed down
- If there are too many I's this can be adminsitratively onerous - possibly some people only need to be informed if exceptional circumstances occur.

Click here for an example of a RACI chart.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Build a blog with WordPress

Sorry blogspot !!! Perhaps not politically correct !! But...

I found the blog of Caroline Middlebrook yesterday and she has produced a great e- book on using WordPress to build a blog that can be monetised. Its downloadable and F.R.E.E.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Incoming Links

What is an incoming link ? each time you link from within your own site to another page of your site, it counts as a link. And each time you link from one of your sites to another, it's an incoming link.

Why are incoming links important ? Incoming links are one of the most important keys to good search engine rankings. You can’t have enough of them.

How can you check how many incoming links your website or blog has ? The easiest way is to use Link Type in your URL, then click - and you'll see links to each of the three major search engines (Google, MSN, Yahoo). Click on each and all the internal links will be listed. Note how many the site has.

Check out your competitors by going to Google, key in one of the keywords from your own website. Note the UTLs for the top 5 websites that come up in the search and then type each one in turn into LinkPopularity. Note how many these sites have. Then you’ll know what to aim for.

Of course if you are already on the first page..... keep up the good work !!

Honesty is not lucrative...

... or is it ?

I bumped into a former colleague in town today and in response to his question about what I was up to I said not a lot as I had exited a mandate where there was a conflict of interest. He commented: "I admire your honesty but its not exactly lucrative is it ?". No but.... three buts.... as someone once said "My reputation is all I have and I must not damage it" and as the maxim goes "Honesty pays" - this client will come back to me and indeed has just hired me for a totally different mandate - Why ? because I was so honest. And the third but... I find that when one door closes another one opens and reveals a path that is very often a far better one to travel.

I would say honesty can be potentially lucrative....

Monday, July 21, 2008

Interior Design

For those of you wanting to sell your house and in need of someone to do your home staging or if you love your home but want to refresh it a bit then check out the website of one of my coachees :

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Elements of Sustainable Companies

I found this on - food for thought to all start-ups. According to Sequoia companies that do well have the following characterisitcs:

Clarity of Purpose
Summarize the company's business on the back of a business card.

Large Markets
Address existing markets poised for rapid growth or change. A market on the path to a $1B potential allows for error and time for real margins to develop.

Rich Customers
Target customers who will move fast and pay a premium for a unique offering.

Customers will only buy a simple product with a singular value proposition.

Pain Killers
Pick the one thing that is of burning importance to the customer then delight them with a compelling solution.

Think Differently
Constantly challenge conventional wisdom. Take the contrarian route. Create novel solutions. Outwit the competition.

Team DNA
A company’s DNA is set in the first 90 days. All team members are the smartest or most clever in their domain. "A" level founders attract an "A" level team.

Stealth and speed will usually help beat-out large companies.

Focus spending on what's critical. Spend only on the priorities and maximize profitability.

Start with only a little money. It forces discipline and focus. A huge market with customers yearning for a product developed by great engineers requires very little firepower.


TweetBeep: Like Google Alerts for Twitter!

Be the first to know who's twittering about you, your products, your company, or your website! gives you twitter alerts by email when a tweet matches your search! You can even check for mentions of your site, even if the link is shortened (like through TinyURL). And it's free!

TweetBeep is not affiliated with Twitter, but is a helpful tool for Twitter users. You can spend hours watching conversations or keeping up on RSS feeds so much simpler and time efficient to get an email with TweetBeep?

Click here to sign up !

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

If you use Gmail... some search tips

If you don't get a ton of mail, just typing in the words you're looking for usually does the trick. I can just type lisa in the search box and get all of the messages from my friend Lisa, southwest to bring up my ticket confirmations, or "bank statement" to help get my finances in order.

But the real power of Gmail search lies in search operators -- words that help modify your queries. Search operators work pretty much the same way within Gmail as they do for Google. So, if I want the email Lisa sent me with her flight information so I know when to pick her up at the airport, I type from:lisa SFO. Likewise:

A link from my co-worker Michael: from:michael http
A photo from my mom: from:mom has:attachment
That last chat I had with one of the Gmail product managers: keith is:chat
All messages from ebay that aren't outbid notices: ebay -outbid (the hyphen tells Gmail to return all of the messages that don't contain the word that follows it)
The messages in my inbox sent directly to me that I haven't read yet: to:me is:unread in:inbox

You can limit the scope of your search to a particular subject (subject:) or label (label:) as well. And you can get pretty fancy. Recently, I was trying to remember the date of my friend's April birthday. I always send her a birthday email, so I searched to:maya (birthday OR bday) after:2007/4/1 before:2007/5/1. It's the 19th.

Extracted from: How to find any email with Gmail search, posted by Arielle Reinstein, Product Marketing Manager, Tuesday, May 06, 2008 8:28 AM

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Market Research - Tracking buzzes


Meta Search Engines are under-the-radar rivals of Google Blog Search and Technorati. Sometimes they have gems the bigger guys don't. A few:

Clusty enables searches for news, images, wikipedia articles and blogs.
Serph tracks buzz in real-time. Search for a product, company name or person. It will include results from blogs, news aggregators, social bookmarking sites (such as Magnolia and, image sharing sites like Flickr, and video sharing sites.
Zuula searches multiple sites at the same time. Run a web query; results from Google, Yahoo, MSN, Alexa, Mahalo and other search sites will be separately tabbed for easy perusal.
Nielsen BrandPulse. This enables you to tap into forums, boards, Usenet newsgroups and blogs that may be discussing your company, brand or product.

Google Trends. What's more popular: The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal? Google Trends lets you pit them against each other and graph the results. A broader product, Google Zeitgeist, tracks what users are querying most on the Google search engine.

Facebook Lexicon counts mentions of words and phrases on Facebook users' profiles. Like Google trends, keywords can be pitted against each other (just separate them with a comma). For an example, see Clinton vs. Obama.

TweetScan enables users to search for product or company mentions in real-time across, a website that is popular with early adopters and tech lovers. Also see Twitterverse, which gives you a sense of commonly-tweeted topics of the day; Intwition, which tracks links shared on Twitter; and TweetClouds, which builds tag clouds based on your query. More tools for sifting through Twitter data, or tracking brand buzz on Twitter, are in this article.

BoardTracker lets marketers search for mentions in discussion boards. The homepage also features a dynamic tag cloud, so you can find out what products, brands and topics people are discussing most today.

Google Groups and Yahoo Groups let marketers sift through discussions occurring on, namely, Google or Yahoo Groups.

Much of the information in this MarketingVOX How-To was gleaned from The Art of Strategic Listening by Robert Berkman, who specializes in culling market intelligence from social media resources.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Market Research - Searching blogs

Google Blog Search enables searchers to sift through blog postings. Like typical search results, blog posts are ranked by relevance to your query. Like a regular web search, you may use Boolean commands. Advanced Blog Search lets you limit results to words in the blog title, posts at a certain URL, author name, dates written and language.

The order of results can also be changed by date and time — so you can see the newest postings first.

Caution: Google only indexes blog content from blog RSS feeds. That means Google Blog Search excludes blogs that do not generate a feed. What's more, some blogs only syndicate the title and first paragraph of their posts, further limiting your results.

Other tips: consider mining non-English data when exploring Google Blog Search. As of April 2007, 37 percent of all blog posts were written in Japanese. If you're willing to consider an outside vendor to manually track and translate non-English data on your behalf, Ogilvy PR and Edelman are two useful options.

Technorati Advanced Search. Since its launch in 2003, Technorati has focused on indexing blogs and other social media. Like Google, it has a proprietary ranking system: the perceived "authority" of a site is provided beside each result.

Advanced Search enables you to query for "all blogs" containing your search, "blogs about" your search or posts from a certain URL.

Technorati also enables Tag Search, which checks your query against the "tags" bloggers assign to their posts. Flickr photos and YouTube videos are also "tagged" by authors. Technorati searchers may terrace queries by blogs, photos, or videos.

If you query by tag, Technorati will also provide related tags that may be useful to you.

Do not overlook the Technorati Blog Directory. Instead of searching blog posts by the keywords they contain or by their tags, the blog directory lets you sift through blog descriptions, written by creators or authors.

Caution: Like Google Blog Search, Technorati only indexes some blogs, not all. And while searching by tag or directory description is useful, you are relying heavily on the ability of bloggers to honestly and accurately describe their own content.

Much of the information in this MarketingVOX How-To was gleaned from The Art of Strategic Listening by Robert Berkman, who specializes in culling market intelligence from social media resources.

Boolean Searches

Boolean logic is a system of showing relationships between sets by using the words "AND," "OR," and "NOT." Boolean logic is recognized by many electronic searching tools as a way of defining a search string. So, Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT can refine your searches on Google (or any other search engine) by combining or limiting terms.

Here are some examples of boolean search strings:

mushing AND racing
caribou OR reindeer
fisheries NOT Alaska

Sets get smaller the more " AND" is used, and larger the more "OR" is used. Although you might think "AND" would add more hits to a set, what it has actually added is limitations. The term "OR" adds possible options.

How much to charge a client

A company had a boiler that was working intermittently. They tried everything they could do but nothing worked. Finally they called in a consulting engineer, who they knew to be expensive but the best in the business.

He arrived and set to work studying the boiler, checking connections, temperatures, and overall operations. He then stepped back, stroked his chin and after a few minutes, made a mark on the side of the boiler. He then picked up a sledge hammer and took a full swing and hit the mark. The boiler gasped and sputtered, then started to work perfectly.

The consulting engineer then gave his bill to the client. The boss was shocked and said "I'm not paying $1000 for hitting a boiler with a sledge hammer." I need to see a detailed invoice.

The consultant's bill:
Hitting the boiler: $25
Knowing where to hit the boiler: $975

Takeaway: When setting billing rates, explain to your client that much of what you are being compensated for is diagnosis. The 10-20-30 years of experience you bring drives to a solution that the client or consultant can then implement. Consultants get a bad reputation when they try to diagnose without enough experience and then try to prescribe solution without enough skill.

SOURCE: IMC USA Daily Tips for Consultants #794: Explaining Your Fees May 19th, 2008

Knowing your client too well

Back in May 2008 the USA Daily Tips for Consultants #798 discussed 'going native', - ie. knowing when you been on site at a client's for too long. Here is the list of warning signs:

- You are asked by the client staff how to work the coffee machine

- You remember to bring your "contractor" ID badge but forget your wallet

- You are not displaced from your temporary office but new employees are sharing cubicles

- You know personal life details of the client's night cleaning staff and security guards

- You discuss what needs to be repaired with the copier repair person (whom you also know on a first name basis)

- You are on the faculty for the new employee orientation program

- You use so many acronyms you no longer know whether they are yours or the client's

- You are asked to serve on the the company picnic planning committee

- You are asked by the client to join the staff

- You begin to use the terms "us" and "we" when referring to the client organization

Takeaway: A hallmark of the professional management consultant is their independence and objectivity.

The Hippocratic Oath...

... and its relevance to management consulting.

The Hippocratic Oath is an oath traditionally taken by physicians pertaining to the ethical practice of medicine. It is widely believed that the oath was written by Hippocrates, the father of medicine, in the 4th century BC.Two lines that can be equally pertinent for management consultants are: I will not cut for stone, even for patients in whom the disease is manifest; I will leave this operation to be performed by practitioners, specialists in this art.If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by all men and in all times; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

In other words, know what you don't know or don't do very well and make sure that you have a list of specialists in these fields that you can either refer a client to or to whom you can sub-contract part of a mandate. For example, although I am a chartered accountant I always have a local accountant prepare Income Statements and Balance Sheets when I am putting together a feasibility study or business plan. In this way I play to my strengths and I do not start doing things that I am not qualified to do.

This does not detract from your reputation - on the contrary it enhances it as clients know that they can trust your judgement and that you have professional integrity.

That Elevator Speech

Yes, we all know the elevator speech should be brief, that it should be how you help someone or a company solve a problem but it is also important that the person understands what you do.

So try this... explain to a high school student or your favourite aunt what service you provide. THEN, ask them to explain back to you what you do. Be open to clarifying questions.

Once you can explain your service in a way that doesn't require specialised knowledge, you will have the basis for a great 2 minute introduction to your services.

Capturing good ideas

I keep a folder to hold good ideas - whether a good idea for marketing collateral, a print advertisement, a company that might be interested in my business offering.

When I attend conferences I always have a pad to take notes but I draw a line down the page reserving a thrid for jotting down ideas as they pop into my head while listening to the speakers.

I periodically go through the folder to sling out those ideas that a few weeks later are not quite so relevant or which don't seem so good BUT I also take out one or two items to action. There is no point in having good ideas if you lose track of them and there is also no point in a good idea if it lies buried in a folder going nowhere fast.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tracking Widgets

Technorati Link Count Widget

Technorati is the go-to search engine for bloggers. It shows you every single link to posts made about you in other blogs, along with an authority rank that tells you how important that blog is. This widget enables you to display in real-time the number of links/discussions happening about your posts, which they call "reactions." Of course, your blog should be very active in order for this widget to be meaningful. The site has lots of other interesting widgets too.

Social Media - in plain English

A video produced by Common Craft (link at the end of this post)uses the story of a fictional town called Scoopville to explain social media in a way anyone can understand.

Scoopville, is a town famous for ice cream. For a long time, the ice cream market was dominated by one large company offering only the three basic flavors: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. But then one day, inexpensive ice cream makers appeared in Scoopville, and the local population had the opportunity to experience new flavours. In time people began to see ice cream in a different way. It no longer came from a factory but also from firends and neighbours. Visitors poured into Scoopville, but became overwhelmed by the choices available. So a resident set up a bulletin board in front of his house that enabled visitors to describe his ice cream, rate it and leave messages for others. The feedback enabled residents to improve and market their ice cream, and helped potential customers find exactly what they wanted.

A summery story to enable you to learn more about social media.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Facebook and me

On Facebook I have a page for me and one for my management consulting and coaching business (GSP insights). I also have two groups: Starting out in Business and Business Consultants United.

Initially my Facebook list was just personal friends, business associates, former clients and some of my MBA students at HEC Montréal but then I started to add unknown people.

How did I select these people ?
I joined groups relevant to my business, my interests, my objectives in joining Facebook. I then looked to see who the other members were and invited selected ones to be friends. I checked to see if marketing and sales gurus such as Seth Godin, Jeremiah were on Facebook and invited them to become Facebook friends (all of them accepted). I also invited people who had written intelligent comments on the walls of more influential business and mamrketing people. In this way my list grew and now stands at over 1,000 people. I seem to have reached a critical mass which means that I get increasing numbers of people asking to be friends - from 10 per day to over 30

I am now inviting my friends to consider joining my groups. In this way I achieve increased visibility for my business and website and blogs. The proof ? In the first two weeks of June I have had over 125 unique visiters to my website (I typically got 80 a month) and I am attracting comments on the posts I make on this blog. When I eventually produce the material for teleseminars on starting a business I intend to trial them for free with the members of my group before offering them on my website. This will enable me to fine tune them before I offer a teleseminar series for sale on my website.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Worth reading 2

This book contains a lot of the things that you know already but somehow gives you the wake up call that makes you want to explore how to work less hours and have more money. And, I am convinced that it is possible.

Worth reading 1

This is an easy to read book and extremely helpful in building your business.

The follow up book is:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Marketing Blogs

Advertising Age produces a list of the 500 top media and marketing blogs. No, I have not checked them all but quite a few of them are blogs that I frequently come across in my peregrinations on the internet and I thought I would share them with you. Some will keep you up to date with what is going on in the world of marketing and others can provide you with helpful information on how to market your business.

Streetsmart Marketer (aka Michael Hepworth)

Seth Godin


Drew McLellan

Rohit Bhargava

Marketing Professionals

Thursday, June 12, 2008

FREE Blogging course

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you access it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out.
Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Firing a Client - but...

A while ago I wrote about having the courage to fire a client. Today i was reading through the blog of one of my Facebook friends (Andrea J. Stenberg) and she too had written about firing a client. BUT.... the thrust of her argument was not to have the courage to fire a client but to know when NOT to. Here is a sobering thought taken verbatim from her blog post:

However, there are times when someone looks like a client from hell, acts like a client from hell and sounds like a client from hell. But isn’t. The trick is to know the difference.

Many years ago, in a different lifetime, my husband and I ran a computer store.(...)
We’d only been in business for about six months when we had our first Christmas. Two days before Christmas, right at closing time we got a call from a customer who had just purchased a computer. The computer was crap, it wouldn’t work, we were awful people and we’d better get over there right away and fix it.

Our policy was that we didn’t do house calls, unless you paid for it. If you had a problem with a computer, you had to bring it in. That said, we could usually talk a customer through a problem over the phone; the most frequent computer defect usually turned out to be a disconnected cable.

My husband’s first inclination was to blow this guy off. He had started the phone call with guns blazing and had set my husband’s back up. Add to the mix that we had our own family Christmas to prepare for plus lots of customers we were still dealing with. He was ready to write this guy off as a client from hell.

But something told me not to let this go. I calmed my husband down and persuaded him to go to the guy’s house even though it was against our policy. After all, it was Christmas.

Less than an hour later he returned a very subdued man. It turns out this irate customer had purchased the computer with his wife as a Christmas present for their grandchildren. Since ordering the computer, his wife had died. This was going to be her last present to the grandkids. He wanted them to be able to wake up Christmas morning and have a working computer waiting for them from Grandma.

There wasn’t anything wrong with the computer. This man just didn’t have anything left in him to wrestle with setting up the computer. His rage at my husband and nothing to do with the computer and everything to do with the curveball life had thrown him.

By taking an hour out of his day, my husband helped this man get through an emotional event without his wife. He made what was going to be a sad Christmas a little happier for some kids. And in the process he created one of our biggest supporters.

I don’t know how I knew that this man wasn’t a client from hell. But I’m glad I listened to my intuition that day.

Andrea J. Stenberg

Worth thinking about.....

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Driving visiters to your site

Get 1 Million Hits, FREE!

This claims to explode visiters to your website. I am testing it to see. Its FREE so I figured I did not have too much to lose.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Successful people

Successful people:

1. Look for and find opportunities where others see nothing.

2. Learn lessons while others only see problems.

3. Are solution focused.

4. Consciously and methodically create their own success.

5. May be fearful, but they are not controlled or limited by fear.

6. Ask the right questions — the ones which put them in a positive mindset and emotional state.

7. Rarely complain - they're too busy learnng the lesson and identifying the opportunity.

8. Don’t blame neither circumstances nor others. They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes.

9. Always find a way to maximize their potential, and use what they have effectively.

10. Are busy, productive and proactive.

Wordpress - free tutorial

If you want to learn Wordpress for free click on this link.

Marketing - a new twist to your message

Michael Port published this excellent story in his eZine recently.

One day, there was a blind man sitting on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet and a sign that read: 'I am blind, please help.'

A marketer was walking by and stopped to observe. He saw that the blind man had only a few coins in his hat. He dropped in more coins and, without asking for permission, took the sign and rewrote it. He returned the sign to the blind man and left.

That afternoon the marketer returned to the blind man and noticed that his hat was full of bills and coins. The blind man recognized his footsteps and asked if it was he who had rewritten his sign and wanted to know what he had written on it. The marketer responded: "Nothing that was not true. I just wrote the message a little differently." He smiled and went on his way.

The new sign read: Today is Spring and I cannot see it.

Moral of the story ? Sometimes we need to change our strategy. If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get the same thing (which is fine if this is what you want !). Be innovative - change your world and the world of those around you !

Monday, June 9, 2008

Facebook - learn all about it

Brian Campbell is proving to be THE person to be linked with on Facebook as he generously shares his learnings about making Facebook work for your business whilst still respecting the rules of being on Facebook.

Sign up now for his 10 hour Social Media Monetization Course - totally FREE !!! Click here for "Backdoor Signup "

Its awesome - an absolute must !!

Follow Trends - Start Trends

Have you discovered Edopter ??

Here's what it says about itself: Edopter is social trendcasting.Edopter combines your insight and worldwide buzz to tap into the next big thing. Create and follow trends, share and discuss them - then watch as they spread across the world. Who tells the world what‘s next? You do.

Seriously useful for your market research and marketing strategies.

It's FREE !! of course !!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Joke - 1

So who says a business consultant can't appreciate a joke ? I unashamedly 'stole' this one from the Facebook wall of one of my Facebook friends - Lyn Whitsitt - who has posted some hilarious 'blonde' jokes.....

A gorgeous young redhead went to the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it. 'Impossible!' says the doctor. 'Show me.' The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left shoulder and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed. Everywhere she touched made her scream.

The doctor said, 'You're not really a redhead, are you?

'Well, no' she said, 'I'm actually a blonde.'

'I thought so,' the doctor said 'Your finger is broken.'

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let go of the past..

You can't reach for tomorrow, if you have your arms wrapped around yesterday.

Facebook - you have been warned !

Yesterday I was merrily growing my little list of Facebook friends and then BANG - I start to get the nasty warnings that my account will be de-activated because I am allegedly a spammer. I could not even open my messages. I had heard of this happening to people but I assumed (naively) that it was the people who were adding friends at the rate of hundreds a day. NO.

Here's what I have been able to piece together. It seems that you start to get warnings about being a spammer and threats of being bounced off of Facebook if you cut and paste and/or if you include a URL. The cut and paste is a definite and it can be as innocuous as writing a personalised message and then pasting your name and some information underneath it (which is what I was doing).

It is essential to always type each message and cut and paste nothing. Some people are telling me not to include my URL which I was doing when I wrote on new friend's walls to thank them for joining my circle of friends.

For me, the pain with Facebook is that there are no clearly set out rules. I would pay to be on it as I find it heads and shoulders above LinkedIn and Ecademy however the owners seem to prefer free membership but operate with unwritten rules.

I would direct anyone and everyone to the teachings of Brian Campbell and Travis Greenlee who are both 'friends' of mine on Facebook.

Facebook - maximising its potential

If you are on Facebook and want to harness the power of social media marketing then link up with Travis Greenlee and Brian campbell and join all related groups. Both post some awesome videos and provide lots of free advice.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Facebook - a WARNING

I have been reading about people getting blown out of Facebook for spamming or alleged spamming. I never thought it would happen to me. Why ? Because I do not spam and have (currently) no teleseminars or information products to sell. I invite an average of about 15 people a day to join my list of friends and I accept about 12 invitations a day. I thank people for accepting or for inviting via their wall. I do not cut and paste other than sometimes my name and URL.

Today I got a warning that my account would be disabled as I was spamming ... You bet I am offended. Worse.... I cannot even read messages let alone send any or write on walls. I have real friends, my MBA students and family among my Facebook friends so I cannot communicate with them at all.

I found this link which I suggest keen Facebookers read. Take note. Be warned.

I don't intend to go anywhere near ny Facebook account for a week or so because I have no idea whether the block is for a few hours, a few days or longer nor do I know whether every time I attempt to read a message is another nail in my Facebook coffin.

What bugs me here is that there are people out there growing their lists at hundreds a day (and more) but they don't seem to have a problem as they are there day after day.And (while I am on a roll here), there are spammers who send messages to everyone in their Facebook group. My group (Starting out in Busines) has just 11 members because I have never advertised it.

I am not a happy camper here.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Never answer this question...

One of the best things to do to quickly establish credibility, get massive exposure, and attract new clients, is speaking. Whether you organize your own seminars on a regular basis to continually fill the pipeline, or get booked for talks to "pre-formed" groups like associations, it works like a charm—provided you give very good info.

If you deliver the talk properly, there's always a group of people at the end of your talk who rush up to the podium to chat with you. Some will tell you how much they enjoyed the talk, some will be e-zine readers who've wanted to meet you for years, some will want free advice or to "pick your brain." But, there's one question you'll almost always get and it comes in two parts. The first part's the good part; "I'm interested in working with you." The second one is the tricky part; "What do you charge?"

There's ONE fundamental problem with answering the second part of that question. If you answer it right there on the spot, you'll most always lose that client on the spot. Here's why.

When making a purchasing decision, if they're only focused on price, there isn't any room for VALUE or RESULTS. And I believe people buy in three ways: by emotion, by results, and by value.

The solution? Don't give them your rates on the spot. Instead, invite them for a conversation to be held at a later date where you can fully describe the value they'll be getting from working with you. Whether you call it the "get-acquainted session," or a free-consultation, it doesn't matter - the important thing is that's where you can find out more about them, get to the root of their problems, describe solutions, and they sell themselves into your services, based on value.

Never give your rates cold. You'll almost always lose the sale right there on the spot. Instead, invite them for a conversation. Here's what Fabienne Frederickson recommends her clients say to their own prospects:
"I actually offer several different programs, depending on how quickly you want to get results, and of course, on your budget level. What I usually recommend is that we set up a get-acquainted session. Not only do you want to find out more about me, my programs, etc., but I want to find out more about you and your situation to see if you're going to be the right fit for my programs as well. Shall we set that up?"

This is an edited version of an article by Fabienne Fredrickson, The Client Attraction Mentor, founder of the Client Attraction System™, the proven step-by-step program to attract more clients, in record time...guaranteed. To receive your F.R.E.E. Audio CD by mail and receive her weekly how-to articles on attracting more clients, visit

Avoid Identity Theft !

Check out Roboform it can do the following and more (and its FREE !!):

• Remembers and Secures Your Passwords
• Logs You Into Web Sites Automatically
• Fills Long Forms with Just One Click
• Generates Secure Passwords
• Prevents Phishing and Defeats Keyloggers

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Its not what you do in the shower...

"Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that makes a difference."
- Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Think of life like this...

Found this great quote on the Facebook page of one of my FB friends

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming...... Wow....Whatta ride!!!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Be yourself !

1. Know your purpose.

Are you wandering through life with little direction -- hoping that you'll find happiness, health and prosperity? Identify your life purpose or mission statement and you will have your own unique compass that will lead you to your true north every time.

2. Know your values.

What do you value most? Make a list of your top 5 values. Some examples are security, freedom, family, spiritual development, learning. As you set your goals for 2007 -- check your goals against your values. If the goal doesn't align with any of your top five values -- you may want to reconsider it or revise it.

3. Know your needs.

Unmet needs can keep you from living authentically. Take care of yourself. Do you have a need to be acknowledged, to be right, to be in control, to be loved? List your top four needs and get them met!

4. Know your passions.

Honor those things that make your heart sing. Whatever it is, do more of it!

5. Live from the inside out.

Tap into your inner wisdom by regularly reflecting in silence. Commune with nature. Breathe deeply to quiet your mind.

6. Honor your strengths.

What are your positive traits? What special talents do you have? List three -- if you get stuck, ask those closest to you to help identify these. Are you imaginative, witty, good with your hands? Find ways to express your authentic self through your strengths.

7. Take time to play.

Give yourself time to recharge doing things you love to do or by just doing nothing.

8. Be aware of your self-talk.

Are you blocking your potential? Check out your first thoughts when you wake tomorrow. Are they supportive, encouraging or positive? Choose the kind of chatter that goes on in your mind. Become aware of the negative messages you give yourself. Gently catch them and turn them into positive affirmations.

9. Surround yourself with inspiration.

Keep a success journal. Write down your four or five greatest strengths and post them where you can see them. On the last Friday of each month, write down all your accomplishments both big and small.

10. Serve others.

When you live authentically, you may find that you develop an interconnected sense of being. When you are true to who you are, living your purpose and giving of your talents to the world around you, you give back in service what you came to share with others -- your spirit -- your essence.

About the Author: Ann Ronan, Ph.D., Certified Career Coach and author, works with professionals in career transition or career pain. She offers a free e-course on the Top Ten Ways To Live Authentically. To learn more about this step-by-step program and to sign up for free how-to articles and teleclasses, visit Authentic Life Institute.

Firing a Client

Yes, firing a client. An alien idea ? I bet you have clients that drive you crazy, who make you cringe, who make you feel used and abused... so its Springtime - do some spring cleaning.

So many people when they start in business make the mistake of accepting people as clients, and often when their gut feel tells them not to. You get wise eventually. Trust me !!

Clients to possibly fire include:

1. those for whom you have delivered the work but they keep asking this question and that question and suddenly you find you've done many hours of pro bono consulting. Remember you are running a business not a charity.

2. getting paid - especially a problem when you accept young entrepreneurs as clients who are being funded by organisations that help them start out in business. You are not there to provide a free line of credit. Not to mention all the time and energy you spend on trying to get the payment.

3. you dread seeing their name appear in your email inbox - you know that they are going to bug you about something - usually something they hope to get for free except they are starting to do this too often and rarely email back to say 'thank you'. They are making you feel used and abused.

4. when you started out you gave some clients a really preferential rate because you liked them and their business idea, you wanted to get the experience, you thought they would be successful and for later work would be able to pay you what you were really worth... but this has not happened and you are now attracting clients who are able to pay what you are worth. Unless you have a really good reason its time to move on.

So, work with clients who respect you, who value you, who appreciate your knowledge and expertise and who are willing to pay you what you are worth and promptly. It's your right !

Tactics for success as an entrepreneur

1. “Dig the well before you’re thirsty” – Confucius

Marketing, whether your business or yourself, is the one task that wise people do daily – YES...DAILY. You should do at least one thing each day to keep your marketing funnel full.

2. “The moment you begin to think of time as precious and that it has a price, the richer you will become.” – Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad’s Guide to Investing

Do you spend your time wisely or do you squander it procrastinating ? Successful entrepreneurs understand that how they spend their time determines their future. It’s critical to do the things that will move you/your business forward each day.

3. Have a wealth mindset

Successful entrepreneurs are focused, first and foremost, on being secure. Then on being comfortable and finally, on being rich. It is this focus on security that forces them to build systems and look at the big picture as opposed to doing what is best only for the short-term.

Successful entrepreneurs also understand that they need to invest in themselves and their business in order to reach their long-term goals. Doing things “quick and dirty” or for the fast buck doesn’t create the long-lasting success that you are looking for.

4. Have a sense of urgency

Successful entrepreneurs are not procrastinators – they get things done and done today! Their sense of urgency is borne not only of their appreciation for the value of time, but also as a way of insuring their clients are always satisfied. Why make them wait? Happy clients purchase from you and they do so repeatedly.

5. “Don’t feel overwhelmed...just do one thing at a time.” --

The above quote may sound familiar and is a trademark of all successful entrepreneurs. Have 100 things to do? Don’t know where to start?

Just pick one and do it. It doesn’t matter which one, just do something. Sitting and staring at the pile or fretting about how much you need to do won’t get you anywhere. But doing one thing, and then another, and then another will.

6. Be a “big picture optimist and detail pessimist”.
Direct marketing guru Dan Kennedy tells the story of how he travels a lot and never worries about the plane going to the wrong city or exploding in midair or experiencing some other trouble that would result in his never reaching to his destination (big picture optimist). At the same time, he plans for the plane to leave late and arrive late, for his luggage to be lost and for the food (when you get it) to be inedible (detail pessimist).

Using this approach in project (and travel) planning insures that you’ve anticipated the potential problems which Murphy’s Law usually provides and have solutions already in hand. The worst that can happen is that you never need your “Plan B”.

7. You can't (and shouldn't) do it all

Successful entrepreneurs know and understand that trying to do everything themselves is a prescription for overwhelm and burnout.

The truly successful create teams and delegate effectively. Having one (or several) good virtual assistants, a bookkeeper, a pre-paid legal plan, etc. takes the day-to-day minutiae off you so that you can focus on the big picture.

No matter where you are today, do one thing today that will move you forward in your goals. Remember Confucius : “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Take that step today and feel the momentum carry you forward.

This post is based on an article by Sandra Martini who requires that I add the following: © Sandra P. Martini, The Automatic Business Coach 2007. Get Sandra Martini's FREE "5 Simple Steps to Putting Your Marketing on Autopilot" e-course/audio mini-workshop and her FREE small business success how-to tips at

Creativity in business

We read these days that we have to be increasingly creative to survive in business, to ensure that our business survives. One of my MBA students is planning a series of workshops in Montreal,not only on this aspect of creativity and how we can all become more creative, but also how to manage creative people (creative in the sense of graphic designers etc) - if you want to know more about these or debate the subject leave you comments and email address so that can let you know when these workshops are rolled out.

More Twittering !

Use Twitter to gather intelligence about your target clients and to announce your products and services:

Start a Twitter profile. Visit and sign up. If you want to communicate with just a few clients or colleagues, keep your stream private by checking the "protect my updates" box under Settings.

Spread the word to your target audience, with simple instructions on how to sign up for a free account and follow your stream. Now you're rolling.

Explore the universe. Share news from seminars and other events; broadcast meetings and meeting places; announce your teleclasses; open a video or audio channel for those who can't join you.

Demographics search tool

Quantcast has launched a service that claims to enable marketers to search for websites by readership demographic.

"If a marketer is targeting black female readers, over 40, with an income over $60,000, then Quantcast’s new service serves up a list of websites which attracts that audience, and also tells you whether or not the site accepts advertising," CMSWire reports.

Quantcast divides sites between those that measure raw metrics ("Quantified" publishers) and those that do not. In the latter case, Quantcast's figures come from the site's own reports of traffic and audience.

The service is complimentary to users.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mind Mapping

A mind map can be defined as a diagram that represents ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. Mind mapping can be used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

Its a really great tool to use if you want to map out the structure of a book or a seminar you are preparing or to organise a special event.

Free mind mapping software is available such as Smart Draw and Mind Meister. The latter is really cool as it is an online product so you can work on it with members of your team wherever you are located.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Its not what you say to people that counts - it's what they understand.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Using Squidoo is the brainchild of expert marketer Seth Godin and its rapidly becoming one of the most trafficked web sites in the world and is a must use for any Guerrilla Marketer.

Squidoo is simply a collection of sites (or len’s as they call them). These can be on any topic and both business and personal in nature. The user fills the lens with relevant content, audios, pictures, links and even videos. is an effective way to market your product/services.For example do a search for laptop bags in google, check out the number 1 result - A Squidoo page. This Squidoo lens is beating out companies that have been trying to get in the top ten of the search engines for years for that phrase. How did they do it? Simple: Google LOVES because it’s full of content. And if Google loves, they also love lens’s that were built on the platform.

So, get started on Squidoo ! Visit, sign up and create a lens.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Accord Québec-Ontario sur le commerce et l'économie

Améliorer l’ensemble de l’activité économique dans les deux provinces, en éliminant les obstacles qui subsistent à leurs échanges commerciaux et à la mobilité de la main-d’œuvre tout en renforçant leur coopération économique.

Le Québec et l’Ontario s’inscrivent comme des acteurs économiques de premier plan.

Plus des trois quarts des achats de services à l’extérieur du Québec sont faits en Ontario. Et près de 50 % des achats de services de l’Ontario sont faits au Québec.

Le Québec et l’Ontario constituent le centre de l’activité manufacturière au pays avec les trois quarts de la production. Ce secteur représente une importante part de leurs économies, soit 19 % du PIB.

La forte intégration économique du Québec et de l’Ontario constitue l’un des éléments de la stratégie d’affaires de plusieurs entreprises.

Même si l’intégration est déjà une réalité pour certains secteurs et entreprises, des obstacles subsistent.

Le Québec et l’Ontario doivent travailler à réduire ces obstacles dans l’intérêt de leurs économies respectives.

Le 26 novembre 2007, les premiers ministres du Québec et de l’Ontario ont convenu de conclure un accord économique et commercial d’envergure entre les deux provinces, avant la fin de l’année 2008.

À cette occasion, ils ont signé une « Déclaration conjointe du gouvernement de l’Ontario et du gouvernement du Québec relative à la négociation d’un Accord visant à renforcer l’Espace économique Québec-Ontario ».

Il existe déjà trois ententes entre le Québec et l’Ontario : la première concerne la mobilité de la main-d’oeuvre (secteur de la construction), la deuxième porte sur les marchés publics et la troisième est une entente de coopération touchant une dizaine de secteurs.

Le projet
La portée projetée de l’accord sera importante. Ainsi, il conciliera le plus possible les pratiques et la réglementation et éliminera des barrières interprovinciales :

en matière de mobilité de la main-d’œuvre;
pour les achats des marchés publics;
dans les domaines du transport, de l’énergie et des services financiers;
et dans plusieurs autres secteurs.
L’accord comportera aussi un volet important sur la coopération économique et la réalisation de projets conjoints porteurs de retombées importantes pour les deux économies.

L’accord se fonde sur les ententes existantes en matière de commerce, de marchés publics et de mobilité de la main-d’œuvre, en leur donnant un cadre d’ensemble. Ainsi, nous avons déjà conclu, en juin 2006, une entente sur la mobilité des travailleurs de la construction.

L’accord permettra le maintien et le renforcement des politiques gouvernementales spécifiques du Québec dans des domaines comme:

la culture;
les normes du travail;
la santé;
le développement économique et régional;
la protection du consommateur.

Pour plus d'informations

Asia-Pacific Gateway

Canada's Asia Pacific Gateway is a burgeoning national strategy that is responding to the rise of Asian economies and the challenges and opportunities Asia now poses for Canada. The strategy provides a framework for policies, investments, and initiatives that seeks to make Canada the most competitive exit and entry point in North America for Asian and Canadian goods, services, and investment.

By maximizing Canada's strategic geographic location, as well as other natural advantages such as human and cultural linkages, the Asia Pacific Gateway will make Canada the gateway between North America and Asia for business, trade and investment, and even cultural exchange.

More information.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


If you had a free session with a business coach what questions would you be asking ? Your answers will help me to better serve my clients by better meeting their needs.

If you are on Facebook please join my Starting out in Business group.

Hypnotise your reader !

Joe Vitale suggests starting a post or sales letter using the pronoun "you" and making a statement that your readers already know to be true. This creates trust and a sense of comfort. Examples might be:

You probably already know...
You're smart enough to realize...
Of course you've heard that...
You might be one of those people intelligent to spot this...

In doing this you are creating rapport through your use of words. And rapport is essential for building trust and confidence. And that's essential for having any influence and impact over a reader's actions.

Generating Traffic

Here are three free ways to get traffic:

1) Post in forums, with a link to your site in your forum signature. That “sig” is likely to get you some click-through traffic, if what you say is compelling enough. (HINT: You could tell them about your free offer!)

2) Write short articles and publish them for free at sites like You’ll put a link to your site in your author box at the end of the article, which most article sites encourage. You might say something like this:

3) Create what’s called a lens at That site lets you create your own page (they call it a lens), much like a blog. Then you can link to any other site you want. You could create a lens, describe your free offer, give people a link to your site and see your traffic soar.

All of those techniques will give you high-quality inbound links to your site, which will help you Google PageRank.

A side benefit of all of those strategies is that search engines like Google love sites with frequently changing content. Forums, article sites and especially Squidoo all fit the bill. Google loves them. So you’ll probably get an extra SEO boost for any keyword you put in your link text in your forum sig, your article author boxes, or your Squidoo links.

“Michael Rasmussen wrote this article. If you liked it, there’s more where that came from! Visit to read more, and get a free list-building kit just for stopping by.”

Why listening to Twitter is good..

Here's the scoop - Facebook and Twitter are the best social networking sites for small businesses. As far as Facebook is concerned I am currently writing a paper on this which will soon be available to download from my website. But meanwhile, here's the deal on Twitter. Twitter enables you to observe your potential clients and associates - almost a legitimised eavesdropping - and we all know from our marketing courses that the more we can learn about our target clients then the easier it is to reach them and communicate with them in an appropriate way. Twitter enables trust to be built up - not overnight but over a period of time. And don't forget, Twitter is opt-in marketing.

Procrastination - is it an evil ?

There can be a whole bunch of reasons why you are procrastinating but before you force yourself to do something try to figure out why you are procrastinating.

Maybe you don't enjoy the task you have to do (tax returns, chasing a client for paymnet for example) perhaps you should find someone else to do it for you, then you can spend time growing your business or networking rather than stressing over something you hate doing. (I'm an accountant but I get someone else to do my tax returns - and then drive them nuts with all my questions !!)

Maybe the thing have to do is something you don't know how to do - so see if there is a suitable course or workshop running in your town or do some research on the internet - its amazing what you can learn via the internet. If you can afford to - outsource it !

Maybe you're procrastinating because you can't find the time, so draw up a list of things you have to do - assign priorities to them and then work your way down through the list. A little Excel spreadsheet is great for this - then whenever priorities change you can reassign, sort the list by priority and start working your way through the new list !

Start to watch yourself and see what tasks you are always deferring and then spend some time (maybe over a glass of wine) and figure out how you are going to either motivate yourself to get them done or delegate them. Sometimes, you just have to bite the bullet and pay someone to do them.

I read somewhere once that if you don't like to do something "delete it, delegate it, or automate it." So play to your strengths, stick to the things you enjoy doing and are good at.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Biz Information at the British Library

With impartial information experts on hand to guide you, here is just a taste of some of the information available.

Online business information databases
Some 30 high-value subscription databases (which we make available for free) giving up-to-the minute company, business and industry information and financial news, such as Amadeus, Economist Intelligence Unit Viewswire, Euromonitor, Factiva, Fame, Financial Times, OneSource and the Complete Business Reference Adviser (COBRA).

Online intellectual property databases
Searchable databases listing patents, trade marks and registered designs, such as Derwent Innovations Index, Esp@cenet and Optics.

Market research reports
Hundreds of market research reports in hard copy and/or electronic format, such as Mintel, Datamonitor and Frost & Sullivan.

For company news, competitor information and industry trends.

UK and overseas directories giving company information on suppliers.

Industry Guides
Consult over 30 guides, compiled by the library's information specialists, detailing printed and internet sources. Use them to find sources of market and company information on your chosen industry sector.

If you cannot get to the Library, consider using their Research Service where you can pay one of their experts to search for you or you can use British Library Direct to search and order from a database of over 9 million articles.

Biz Courses at the British Library

The British Library, located between Euston and Kings Cross stations in London, runs a regular programme of workshops on business and intellectual property topics.

The workshops are generally aimed at a small business audience, last a few hours, and are either free or cost a few pounds. Since they can get crowded - advance booking is essential.

Topics have included Business Planning Toolbox workshop; Walk-in business surgery; Knowing your market; Researching a company; Access to finance; Search engine optimisation to name but a few of the varied subjects on offer.

Many past talks by inspirational entrepreneurs are available in the podcast area of the library's site.

The library holds a large collection of market research reports, fact sheets on starting different sorts of business, and a searchable database of patents. To use these you will need to get a reader pass, but this is free.

Researching for business - London

For those of you living in or near London (England) the City Business Library, located in the City of London near Moorgate, is the largest specialised public reference library in the country dedicated to practical business information. You can use it for free and there are no membership requirements.

The library runs regular 40-minute tours and longer two-hour workshops on how to find information - all of thse are free.

To book a place on any of these courses, telephone the City Business Library on 020 7332 1812 or email

Free (yes, free) books on business

Webooks has some fairly good books on starting a business and starting specific types of business.

The Courage to take the first step

Feeling nervous about starting a business ? I thought this list entitled: "The Key to Changing Course is to Start" was very apt. Aimed at people wanting to start their own business, it's just as applicable to anyone who wants to follow their dream, find their bliss.

1. Start where you are

2. Start hanging out with the right crowd

3. Start tuning into your gifts

4. Start listening more to yourself and less to others

5. Start letting go of the idea that everything has to be perfect

6. Start taking action

If we can help you get your business started visit our website and read more about our services.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Having a Bad Day ?

Here are a few suggestions for those of you who work from home on what to do when you are having a bad day:

Know when to stop. One bad thing seems to attract another and when you are feeling this way, it is far better to move away from what you are doing. Stop forcing yourself to follow up those phone calls, for example, when you are beginning to believe that you are only going to get "no's". Because that is exactly what you will get at that time.

Take a break. Go out for a walk, do some household chores, go out and buy a newspaper - it doesn't really matter what it is a long as you are able to distance yourself from the stuff that doesn't seem to be going your way.

Have a business buddy. A friend may not understand what you are going through if you phone up for a moan (and can quite often encourage you to moan even more if they are being sympathetic to your needs!) Having one or two business buddies - people you feel you can be honest with and yet can encourage each other to move forward with projects and ideas - can be a lifesaver on a bad day. Having someone who understands but keeps you on track with a little kick up the butt!

Play your favourite tune - playing your favourite upbeat music can lift your mood and make you feel motivated.

Make a daily list of achievements. Write down the 3 things you have been most proud of each day in a journal, diary or on your PC (or maybe even your blog). It could be as amazing as winning a huge contract or as small as making a call to someone you have been putting off for weeks. Whenever you feel like the business is against you, read through your lists and realise how much you have achieved already.

Remember that some days will always be bad days
. Not every day is going to be a great day. There will be days that clients cancel, work goes wrong. You can't control other people's (and technology!) actions. The one thing you can control is the way you deal with those actions when they happen.

These suggestions came from the Karen Skidmore Kick-Ass blog (I edited them a bit but I don't think she'll mind !).

I would also add - connect to someone else who works from home using Skype. You don't have to talk to each other, but its kind of like being in an office environment in that you hear papers being moved, the phone rings and so on. You can always hit mute when you don't want the other person to hear your phone conversation. My friend Florence and I passed many a compainable hour working on the lectures we were going to be giving to our students with Skype open and every now and then exchanging a few words - we reckoned we were a lot more productive.