Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Visa Revisited

Visa's Small Business Big Thinking conference in Toronto yesterday was a huge success.

I will be blogging about it more over the next few days as I find time, but more than 200 entrepreneurs turned out and the speakers were fabulous. (Full disclosure: I selected most of them, as a subcontractor to the conference organizers.) I talked to a number of delegates and reviewed a few feedback forms, and it looks like we were a huge hit.

Our keynote speakers, Donald Cooper and Teresa Cascioli, great Canadian entrepreneurs and mavericks, were inspiring and challenging. Donald woke the audience up with humor, insights and challenges, and Teresa sent them marching out the door full of fire, enthusiasm and confidence. I will blog more about them or point you to other writeups later this week.

Another crowd favourite was Krig Kramers, our one American import. Many entrepreneurs lack the experience, structures and processes and systems to grow their businesses in a systematic, professional way. Kramers' "CEO Tools" offer well designed processes and systems that fill the gap.

I didn't attend his sessions (he was the only speaker we asked to speak twice, because he has so much material), but I can point you to his website to check out his tools for yourself. (Yes, most of them are for sale, but you can preview them for free and learn a lot just by looking at the PDF files.)

Want to recruit better? Check out his Interviewing tool. To retain your best people, take a look at his Employee Satisfaction Index. If you're not afraid to think bigger, preview his What causes Sales? tool. Lots more good stuff at http://www.ceotools.com.

One of the best features of the conference? The Meet the Pros lunch, where attendees got to meet over sandwiches with most of the day's speakers. Thanks to all those who took part.

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