Sunday, May 20, 2012

Only as solo as necessary

Entrepreneurs are famed for being solo achievers, pursuing singular visions. In reality, however, successful entrepreneurs operate only as "solo" as necessary.

My most recent column in the National Post stemmed from a discussion with an entrepreneur whose idea of business development was spending way too much time doing research solo on his computer instead of talking to players in his market.

My rant continued...

"Google is an unmatched business reference tool. But there’s a limit to the help you can get from other people’s websites. Sean should spend less time on the computer, and more time seeking help from real live business people in his market who can answer his questions.

I’ve met lots of entrepreneurs like Sean, filled with passion for their business ideas, but hesitant to bounce them off other people. That’s exactly the wrong attitude. Keeping a great idea to yourself is like buying a beautiful bouquet of roses and locking it in a closet. Ideas are made to be poked, prodded and improved. Get them out in the open. Like flowers, they shrivel and decay in the dark..."

You can read the rest of the column here....

Monday, May 14, 2012

What City is That, Anyway?

For the rest of May 2012, this blog will be headed up by a photo of the dynamic skyline of a certain Canadian city. As often happens, it's on my itinerary for this month.
Can you guess what city it is? If so, please share in the comments.

May 18 Update: Time to put you out of your mystery. The city is not Edmonton, not Richmond Hill, but..

Windsor, Ontario!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Readers offer marketing suggestions for iconic clothing supplier

How do you build a brand in a category that no one knows exists?

That was the challenge I put to National Post readers two weeks ago. And in my column this week, the readers strike back, offering their suggestions for how adaptive-clothing producer Silvert’s can grow not just its business, but consumers’ awareness of the entire category of east-to-wear clothing for infirm seniors.

My challenge drew lots of responses, and some great new ideas – many of which could be applied to businesses in other industries. Maybe even yours. Here’s a sample of the advice received:
“Susan Yates of Richmond Hill, Ont., recommends Silvert’s 'galvanize' caregivers into a sales force, through a representative-sales model such as Avon’s. 'Put the catalogues into the hands of the caregivers and incent them with a commission on sales.' (She suggests caregivers sell to the seniors’ adult children, not their charges directly.) Yates also suggests Silvert’s get its products into other catalogues, through retailers such as Sears.”