Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Victoria's Secrets

“Ladies Who Launch” is a website for women business owners founded by Cleveland-area entrepreneurs Victoria Colligan and Beth Schoenfeldt. The company describes itself as providing “content and community to help women start and expand their businesses and creative ventures.”

I’m not sure what that means, but I do like the list of Top 10 Business Tips written by co-founder Victoria Colligan. She may be a former lawyer, but she clearly knows that entrepreneurship is a mind game - and you can train yourself to win.

Rather than steal all of Victoria's secrets, I’ll share with you my five favourites. You can click through for more if you like.

1. Train yourself to discern quality in everything you do and in everyone you choose to work with. Do not settle for mediocrity. You always have options.

2 Make the phone call you dread the most first. Make one hard phone call every day towards your goal.

3. Use negative and positive feedback to clarify your business message. View negativity as an opportunity to evolve.

4. Take at least 3 action steps every day towards your final goal.

5. Pay attention to signs that may indicate a change in direction. Your venture will evolve. Your ability to adapt is important.

So many people claim they want to be successful. They say they want to build their business. Well, Victoria's handing you the tools to do both. In five easy steps.

Click here for all of Victoria Colligan’s 10 tips. Or go here for more on Ladies who Launch.
Or just start working on quality, courage and action.

Another Blog Milestone!

It’s time to celebrate: today Canadian Entrepreneur welcomes its 4,000th visitor!

This blog is still small potatoes (at current traffic rates, it’ll take eight years for the accumulated readership of this blog to equal the readership of one of my columns in PROFIT or MoneySense). But this is a more specialized, interactive and fun way to communicate, and I thank you for your participation.

We’re also still on a growth curve. It took seven months to get our first 1,000 visitors. Our next 1,000 took 100 days. The next thousand took 64 days. We gained our most recent thousand in 38 days. So the sky is still the limit.

Feel free to subscribe to this blog, bookmark it, link to it or forward to your friends. Gotta keep the momentum going somehow.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Ultimate Question

Last week I started reading this fabulous book from Fred Reichheld, a customer-loyalty guru in Boston, called The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits and True Growth. It is officially being published next month. While this book is aimed at corporate executives, it underlines the importance of having a strong customer focus.

Reichheld says too many companies are dependent on “bad profits” – revenue from tactics that alienate customers, such as charging service charges and monopoly premiums or cutting back on service. He says that companies grow much faster and more sustainably when they focus on “good profits” – revenues that accrue from customer-pleasing strategies, such as offering lower prices (e.g. Southwest Airlines) or creating better customer experiences (think Amazon.com) or building community (think eBay).

He and his colleagues at Bain & Co. did a multi-year customer loyalty study that found that companies that increase customer retention by 5% can yield a 25% to 100% increase in profits. The problem is, most employees are measured and compensated not on retention or customer satisfaction, but on sales and profits – metrics that do not distinguish between what’s “good” or “bad” for customers. Thus, many executives take the easy way out and compromise the customer experience in order to make their numbers.

Here’s how you make this work for you.

1. Ask customers this simple question:
How likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?

2. Based on the responses to this question, calculate your Net Promoter Score. (Subtract the number of customers who are Promoters of the company from the number who are Detractors.) Reichheld’s research has found that companies with the highest percentage of promoters enjoy strong profits and healthy growth.

3. Continually monitor your NPS and include those results in all calculations of executive compensation or bonuses. That which is measured (and rewarded) gets done.

Run (don’t walk) to your bookstore. This is an easy to read book with a powerful message.

Or, download Chapter 1 for free by clicking here. (Ain't the Internet grand?)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Long Tale: CEO Succession

Here’s an interesting case study of the power of blogging. And it started right here…

Noam Wasserman, a professor at the Harvard Business School, writes an article on CEO succession. I blog about it. Jim Estill of Synnex Canada, a CEO who reads this blog once in a while, leaves a comment about how he handled his evolution from founder to CEO of a $1-billion company.

In Boston, Wasserman finds my blog and mentions it in his blog, Founder Frustrations. He pays special attention to Jim’s comment, since that’s first-hand experience (or primary research, in academic jargon). I saw his post, noted his dissatisfaction with Jim’s answer below, and emailed Jim to let him know.

The result: Jim visits Wasserman’s blog, leaves a comment about how he’s not done yet – his goal is to run a $10-billion company – and then posts more on his own blog about the challenges he’s overcoming as a CEO who needs to keep growing personally even faster than his company.

So there it is: real-time business education, for professors, CEOs and the rest of us, all thanks to the miracle of blogging.

To see Wasserman’s post, along with Jim’s comment, click here.

To read Jim’s new post on "CEO Success - Transitioning from Founder to CEO," click here.

Here are Jim’s main points on successful transitioning (for those who would rather not chase this thread any further):

1 - As always, I need to think bigger.

2 - I need to refine my time systems to handle increased volume.

3 - I need to get other people to make decisions. Organizations fail if every decision needs to be done by one person.

4 - I need to seriously consider where I might add the greatest value and leave areas where the value I could add was low

5 - I need to figure out and address the needs of all my bosses - the customers, the vendors, the staff, head office, etc.

7 - To grow, I needed to give things up.

8 - Larger companies need more replicability. This means good processes that can be repeated. This can be tough on entrepreneurial spirit. But again, if the idea is big enough, then I take the challenge to come up with a process.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thinking before speaking

Today Paul Litwack, who calls himself “the Capability Improvement Coach,” asked readers of his newsletter to contribute ideas on how to “tame the tongue.”

“Words can be powerful,” he says, “and I too sometimes treat them like they are free.”

I believe some of the trickiest communication problems take place when you are in a position to criticize others. In my experience, many people in the role of mentor or advisor avoid such conversations, since the results can be so unpredictable – and sometimes messy. To shun such opportunities, however, is to abdicate your responsibility to your protégés, clients or colleagues.

So here is the advice I e-mailed Paul.

When working toward a criticism or critique, whether it be an employee, client or colleague, I speak slowly and carefully. I establish the difficulty of completing this specific task successfully, to reduce any sense of failure or shame on the part of the person who is sub-performing. I will often talk about a time when I made a similar mistake. (Fortunately, there are lots of those.)

Before I start talking about remedies and strategies for improvement, I like to get the person talking about what they think they could do better.

If you don't do all this in your role as mentor, you run the risk of having the other person focus on one thing: their mistake. Their failure. They may even start internally to question their ability to do the job. They certainly won't be listening to whatever you're saying next -- which is why you need to get them talking and focusing on moving forward.

In business today, not enough bosses/colleagues/consultants have the chutzpah to confront and correct. And most of those who do focus too much on the negative. Yet when done properly and constructively, criticism can be a precious gift.

How do you tame your tongue?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Win or Lose, it's all the same

Congrats to the Canadian Women's hockey team in Torino, winners of Olympic gold!

A friend passed on this insight from sports psychologist Peter Jensen, who works with the Canadian women's team. In hockey, says Jensen, motivation is simple:

"It's, 'If we win, let's go for a beer. If we lose, let's go for a beer.'"

Next time HR tries to overcomplicate things, keep this in mind.

Thanks to Jeff for this one.

Simon Cowell: "So many unhappy billionaires"

Business Week Online recently did a fun Q&A with Simon Cowell, acid-tongued star of American Idol.

What has this got to do with entrepreneurship? It turns out the celebrity judge is a serial entrepreneur. After starting in the music biz in London with giant EMI Music Publishing, he went on to form several record labels as well as a TV production company.

In March, his next competition show, American Inventor, will debut on ABC. Fledgling entrepreneurs from across America will compete to come up with the best new product.

Here are snips from his interview with BW's Stacy Perman.

You're best known as the tough judge on American Idol, but do you consider yourself a music man or an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur. I've always treated the music business as a business. Whether I'm making TV shows or signing artists, you have to do it by the head and not the heart -- and I run my businesses that way.…

Do you find a difference in entrepreneurialism in America and Britain?I think America is a hard nut to crack. But once you get a toehold it's a great place for an entrepreneur because people are so enthusiastic...

What would you consider essential to being a successful entrepreneur? Work hard, be patient, and be a sponge while learning your business. Learn how to take criticism. Follow your gut instincts and don't compromise.

What role has failure played in you career? For instance, your label Fanfare Records went under in 1989, and your reality show Cupid was canceled in 2003.
When I was 30 the company that owned Fanfare went bust, and I effectively lost everything. I had to move in with my parents. In hindsight, it was the best thing that happened in my life because I learned the value of money: not to borrow money and not to live beyond my means. And I learned that getting there is more fun than being there. But one thing that I have always been able to do is to own up to my mistakes and not blame others.

As for Cupid, we compromised. We allowed other people to make decisions for us, [but] I don't blame anybody but myself for allowing that to happen.…

Who have been your role models?
I actually really like Donald Trump. I think he's entertaining. There are so many unhappy billionaires, and he's a happy one with a great sense of humor. I didn't think I'd like him. I like people [who] don't take themselves too seriously.

Idol music lovers may read the whole story here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Your Guide to Business Capital

PROFIT Magazine has just published its 2006 Finance Guide, an epic article I worked on most of last month.

If you're looking to raise funds for your business, this story looks at hot new financing sources and reviews the state of the art in Angel investors, Asset-based lending, Private equity, Venture capital, Public venture capital, Venture debt and ordinary commercial banking.

For those too busy to click, here's an excerpt.

Across Canada, moonlighting entrepreneurs, semi-retired executives and other venturesome high-net-worth individuals are looking to invest in private, early-stage businesses with great growth prospects. They come in earlier than the venture-capital funds, consider relationships to be as important as the business plan, focus less on high-tech businesses than most VCs and invest anywhere from $20,000 to $500,000.

Some angels are mainly after higher returns than they can get from indexed mutual finds. But many others are motivated by the thrill of being involved in a risky, growing business that needs both their expertise and cash. They tend to enter the picture after a firm has burned through its "love money" (from "friends, family and fools"), and well before it can earn the attention of VC funds. They hope to hang in for three to five years, then collect a big payout as the firm starts making hay in its market or attracts venture capital.

(SNIP) .... Where angels used to keep a low profile to discourage endless appeals for money, today more and more of them are uniting in "angel networks" to systematize the vetting of potential deals and share the risk with fellow angels. Sean Wise, president of Toronto-based Wise Mentor Capital and a close observer of the equity scene, says this reflects a new mentality: "Before the tech bubble, they were very much more lone wolves, investing in one company at a time. Now they have banded together to share best practices, increase their bandwidth, work together on due diligence and boost deal flow."

(SNIP)...But you don't have to go through formal organizations to find an angel. They're all around: a recent U.S. study shows 3% of Canadians invest in private businesses. And most aren't joiners.

Andrew Patricio, a partner in Toronto-based Biz Launch, says many of his clients are accessing relatively large sums from non-aligned angels. Local angels invest after a lot less due diligence than regular VCs, and are generally more open to investing in a variety of sectors. Patricio says he knows one entrepreneur who just scored $500,000 to make fishing rods, and a makeup distributor who raised $250,000.

Don't stop now! You can read the whole story here.

PROFIT's Jim McElgunn, my assigning editor on the project, also offers a good interview with consultant Sean Wise on "Five Keys to Getting Cash." Click here for more.

Is it just me?

I have noted for a while that it seems to be getting harder and harder to get people to call you back or respond to an e-mail.

This has always been an issue for sales people, but my experience used to be that most people would return calls fairly faithfully if they it didn’t require them to pull out their wallet.

Over the past week or so I have had occasion to make a lot of calls to individual business people, some of whom I knew or have met before, some of whom I don’t know at all. My response rate is only about 30%.

Clearly this is my fault for not providing a compelling enough message. On the other hand, I didn’t think it would be necessary. Yes, I am trying to get these people to participate in something, but I thought the benefit to them was pretty obvious.

So there's a lesson in itself. If you want people to return your calls, give them a compelling reason why it’s in their interests to do so. Don't assume they’ll take the time to think it through and recognize the benefits on their own.

But why are callbacks and return e-mails so hard? After all, we’re in the era of “instant-on,” where everyone carries their phones everywhere and checks email obsessively.

My theory is that instant e-mail has reduced our attention spans. We now respond readily to urgent messages that require very little thinking. But if a message requires a little more judgment and reflection, I suspect we put that off. With the sheer volume of calls and e-mails we all get, perhaps a message that has been read once but not responded to falls quickly off the to-do list – just as it literally scrolls right off the monitor screen as new messages pile up.

Since I believe that business is a subtle art form that demands thinking and reflection time, this scenario scares me just a little.

Maybe you have another theory as to why it’s so hard to get messages returned? Please share it here by clicking on comments, below. The best response will win a prize. (See? I’m learning.)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Affordable PR for Smart Businesses

How do you get the PR you need? You select your target media and then write articles that they want to run.

Well, it’s a little more complex than that, but not by much. As a content marketing specialist, I believe many companies are missing the boat by not submitting more articles to the media on appropriate issues that would interest (and impress) their customers and prospects.

Earlier this week I spoke on article writing at my local chapter meeting of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. I also handed out a one-page tipsheet, “Key Elements of Article Writing,” featuring story ideas, media suggestions and guidelines for better writing.

The handout is a little too long to reprint in this blog, but if you’re interested in the subject, I’d be happy to send you a free copy. (It's just a one-page Word document, nothing fancy.)

Just e-mail me at rick(at)rickspence.ca and put “article handout” in the subject line. (Use the @ instead of the “(at)”, of course.)
(If you also want to add a comment on this blog, I’d be happy to receive your feedback.)

Here’s a quick sample from the handout to whet your appetite.

Questions to ask yourself:
1. Who is my market? Who am I trying to reach with my writing?
2. What media (newspapers, Internet, magazines, radio, podcasts, etc.) best help me reach my market?
3. What kind of content are the editors of those media looking for? How can I pass their screen?

It’s just a primer. But if you have any questions after reading the handout, leave a comment here, and I will respond as best as I can.

Now get writing!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The strange politics of CEO succession

Should the founding entrepreneur stay or go?

I found an interesting article this week from Harvard’s Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship. It’s about the strange politics of CEO succession that often results when a small business becomes so successful that the person who founded it can't run it properly any more.

There are always exceptions to this phenomenon – look at Bill Gates and Larry Ellison, or, closer to home, Frank Stronach or Jim Estill (click here for the blog of a CEO who loves to learn). Generally, however, most entrepreneurs aren't the right people to manage large, complex businesses. We all have our limits.

Professor Noam Wasserman of Harvard Business School’s Entrepreneurial Management Unit has studied what he calls founder frustrations. Here’s the paradox he sees:

“In large companies, when the CEO doesn't do well, the CEO gets replaced. When the CEO does do well, there is almost no chance that person will be replaced…

"My research shows that in small companies, it's still true that when founder-CEOs do badly, they are replaced. But the interesting paradox is that when founder-CEOs do really well, that also increases the chances that they're going to be replaced.

“The challenges within the company change so dramatically that the person who was best suited to lead the early stage of company development is no longer the best person to continue leading the company. Now, the product has to be sold: You have to create a sales organization, manage multiple functions, deal with customers, handle more complex financial issues, and deal with a very different set of challenges for which many founder-CEOs are not equipped.”

The trouble is, convincing the founder it’s time to go. “Objectively, many founders might agree that the CEO's job will require skills they don't have, but emotionally, they are very attached to the companies they started.”

Wasserman notes the pattern is even more pronounced when outside investors are involved. “VCs, in particular, often make the assumption that the person who started the company is going to have to be replaced along the way, and may therefore have a quicker ‘trigger finger’ than the founder-CEO wants.”

But all is not lost. While ex-CEOs in big business usually make a clean break, that’s not necessarily so in smaller businesses. “In entrepreneurial companies, the board often tries to find ways the founder can remain within the company in a different role, such as remaining on the board or taking a lower-ranking executive role. Because those founders are so central to their companies, losing them completely could be very disruptive for the company. The ideal situation is where the board and the founder can craft an appropriate non-CEO role, one that the founder willingly takes on.”

Of course, such changes do not come easy, Wasserman warns. “Given how hard it is to convince many founders that they should step down, there is also a big cost to keeping a disgruntled founder active in the company.” Stepping in to run a company is never easy, he notes, “but doing it in that kind of situation brings the challenge to a very different level.”

Read more here.

And Jim Estill, if you're reading this, why do you think you've been an exception?

4 pm UPDATE: Jim, the CEO of Synnex Canada, a $1-billion distributor of technology products that began out of the back of his car, has responded to the question! Check out his answer under "Comments," below.
And feel free to leave your own.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Your Belated Birthday Present

When I celebrated this blog's first birthday last week, I had hoped to inaugurate a new feature: the "Most Popular Posts" archive. I created it to help you find the more popular or significant posts from among the more than 200 Canadian Entrepreneur posts now cluttering up cyberspace.

Unfortunately, I messed up the code, so it wasn't ready in time for the official birthday. So consider this a belated present to you.

To find my most worthwhile posts, scroll down the right side; the new archive starts right after the list of "Best Links."

Lessons from Canada's emerging growth companies

I’m just back from a presentation at the National Club in downtown Toronto, where I spoke to a group called Future Leaders on "Lessons from Canada’s Newest Growth Companies." Using information derived from PROFIT Magazine and from my own journalism for the magazine, I analyzed some of the top companies on the PROFIT 100 list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies, and shared a few of their common business strategies and favourite success tactics.

Here are a couple of excerpts, and a few personal comments (in italics).

“These are trying times for entrepreneurs. We’ve had several years of strong economic growth and stock market growth – the usual indicators of prosperity – but a lot of businesses aren't seeing any of it. We’re trying to compete in a world economy with rising energy prices, high commodity prices, a high dollar, and increasing competition from China and other countries for our manufactured goods – and, increasingly, business services.”

(Little did I know that there were several entrepreneurs in the audience who are actually engaged in outsourcing business services to India. I met two of them after my speech. Which serves to remind us that one business’s problem is always another’s opportunity.)

"It takes a lot of confidence to survive in business today. You’ve got to have the optimism of a 10-year-old hockey player, who knows that the game does not always go to the strongest or the swiftest, but to the team that wants to win the most. But wanting to win doesn’t mean trusting to pluck and luck.

"It means working hard, preparing yourself and your team to go out and win. And you do that by fine-tuning the ways you manage your business, transforming your staff into an aligned, effective and close-knit team, elevating your relationships with customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and constantly looking ahead to see how you and your products and services can add more value.

"These are, of course, truisms. But they are nonetheless true. People who own their own businesses or manage business units have remarkable power at their disposal. Because every business can be improved, every process and policy you have can be rethought, and every business relationship you have can be made stronger….

"What I want to do tonight is share some of the strategies and tactics that have fuelled the success of Canada’s fastest-growing companies….

(I then profiled the top 5 companies on the list, whom I interviewed last year. Then I tried to point out some of the commonalities that unite these diverse businesses.)

First, these companies were all founded on innovation. They present new solutions to their markets, not business as usual. Angiotech jump-started a new line of medical research and a whole new industry. Pethealth broadened the market for a niche product by selling pet insurance through retailers, animal shelters and the Net. Fundtrade offered financial planners a better way to do business. These firms have written the book on innovation – yet they demonstrate how innovation is just as much a product of our imaginations as it is of the high-tech laboratory.

Second, these companies offer real value. Pethealth entered the market charging less than its competitors. Glacier Ventures helps media owners sell out and yet keep a stake in the future growth of the organizations they owned – upside potential that keeps them engaged and performing. Hostopia puts its clients in a new, high-tech business, and lets them keep most of the profits. If your firm wants to deal with growth firms like these, keep in mind that they will be most receptive to suppliers who also put value first.

(Then I offered seven proven success tactics of these companies. Here’s my favorite.)

"No. 6: Successful growth companies communicate all the time. They have to: things move so fast that if they don't keep everyone in the loop, sales, morale and customers all can suffer.

"When PROFIT’s No. 1 company, Hostopia, was facing hard times in September 2000, founder Franc Nemanic called a staff meeting and explained that Hostopia had to sign up 100 new websites a day by the end of the year — a fourfold increase. "A sense of urgency motivates the whole organization," says Nemanic. "We told them where we were and what we had to accomplish to survive. It made them realize we were all going to sink or swim as a team."

Nemanic kept his team paddling by providing a daily report on Hostopia's progress toward its target. "It was a continuous process of communication." He says even non-sales staff adopted the mission, with administrators and programmers focusing their efforts on helping sales. "As long as you have a customer-centric attitude and you're focused on helping other people achieve their goals," says Nemanic, 'everyone will achieve their goal.'"

Also on the program, and speaking (thank goodness) after me, was Manjit Minhas, owner of Minhas Creek, a $40-million-a-year Calgary-based distributor of low-priced beers sold in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. She has been trying for two years to break into the Ontario market. She is headstrong, dynamic and very well spoken. She is 25 years old.

Believe me, you wouldn’t have wanted to speak after her, either.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Ten Steps to a Business Turnaround

I haven’t had the time yet to report on the “Comebacks that Last” conference held at the U of T's Rotman School last week. There were some quite revealing presentations, but even those that were less than forthcoming still contained worthy insights. (Did you know that Ronald McDonald got a wardrobe makeover?)

The point was to learn from businesses that had been “to a dark place” and tried, in an orderly and strategic way, to come back. Among those businesses: TD Bank, the Hamilton Tiger Cats, Canadian Tire, the Art Gallery of Ontario, McDonald’s, Maclean’s Magazine, and others.

I’ll blog later on some of the individual presentations, but the overall lesson was this: coming back from the dark place takes courage, commitment and knowledge.

Here’s a rough draft of the Ten Steps in a Successful Turnaround:

1. Acknowledge the problem.

2. Find a new management perspective (i.e., the people who got you into the problem are rarely the ones who can get you out).

3. Measure the problem. (You need the "before" metrics so you can set some goals.)

4. Study the problem. (Include customers and employees in your research, as well as standard sales and production metrics.) Understand what’s not working.

5. Build awareness of the problem and a commitment to change.

6. Come up with a bold plan that incorporates new goals, new targets, new customer benefits and new ways of doing business.

7. Create buy-in for your plan inside and outside your organization.

8. Don’t be afraid to demand bold change (e.g., some top performers at TD had to accept a new system of compensation). Without attitudinal and behavioural change, your new new plan will not work.

9. Segment your objectives. Celebrate each success. Reward change.

10. Be ready to do it again, because comebacks never last. Dark times are part of the business cycle.

Which is why turnaround management matters so much.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Mysterious Island

I've had a couple of inquiries about the map below - specifically, about that little dot in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Some castaway in a lifeboat surfing with his Blackberry, perhaps?

Nothing quite so romantic. That visitor came to us from the wonderful island nation of Mauritius, a blend of Creole and East Indian cultures with a French accent and a flourishing economy based on tourism, sugar cane and finance. (A friend of mine lived there back in the '80s while her husband was on assignment for the World Bank.)

As of 1 am tomorrow morning, it was 27 degrees C in Mauritius. A perfect place to be this time of year.

Happy Birthday, Blog!

This blog is one year old today!

Here are the stats: 3,228 visitors, 5,666 page views, and 250 posts. Plus, this site has enabled me to sound off with some ideas, share best practices from other Canadian entrepreneurs, meet new people, and celebrate the richness of entrepreneurship in this country.

What I’m proudest of, however, is reaching an international market – not just for my writing, but for Canadian entrepreneurs as a whole. This blog is being read by people all over the world, and it’s a chance to show what cutting-edge products, people and ideas are coming out of the Great White North.

Here’s a map of 100 recent visitors to this site – as you can see, they come from every continent – though Canadians are, of course, best represented.

Thanks for your participation. It’s been a great year!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Comebacks that Last

Here’s your heads-up on a new conference coming up Feb. 3 from the innovative minds at Rotman, the University of Toronto’s business school.

“REBOUND: STAGING A COMEBACK THAT LASTS” will look at great comebacks in the worlds of business, arts, media and sports.

I have always believed you can learn more from turnarounds than from unalloyed success stories. “Comebacks” allow you to study much more typical, flawed organizations. You see how they reassessed their situation and their strategy, and learn how they built things back up again. It’s much more relevant to most organizations than simply, “We had a good idea and a good team and things took off.”

(BTW, the best business comeback story I ever heard was from a non-profit organization. Elyse Allan, now president of GE Canada, does a wonderful presentation on how she had to turn things around under pressure soon after becoming president of the Toronto Board of Trade. She had to lop operations, change the culture, even sell the art on the walls. It’s an inspiring story you should ask her about sometime.)

She’s not on the roster at Rotman on Feb. 3, but McDonald’s, TD Bank, Canadian Tire and Maclean’s Magazine are. As well as Bob Young, owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and presenters from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Learn what it takes “to face up to the unique challenges of a turnaround situation and craft a new strategy for lasting success.”

You can get more details or register at http://www.rotman.utoronto.ca/businessconference/

In case you can’t make it, I will try to get down there for at least Friday morning and report back.