Friday, April 13, 2007

Ask a Legendary Entrepreneur

PROFIT Magazine's "Ask the Legends" feature makes you feel like you're sitting down with top Canadian entrepreneurs and asking any questions you like.

This month's guest legend is Miles Nadal, a former sports photographer who has built his own communications empire. Miles, 49, is chairman & CEO of Toronto-based MDC Partners.

Click here to read the questions that PROFIT readers had for Miles. Alternatively, here are a few highlights.

With the marketing industry being so competitive, how do you maintain your edge over the competition?
Nadal: The limiting factor around business success today is not financial capital but human or "creative" capital. My constant message to our partner organizations is that access to talent is our competitive edge in a creative industry whose principal assets go up and down the elevator every day, and that we must be on a constant lookout for talent and acquire talent when it's available as opposed to when we need it. I also think we've created a unique network within MDC that's predicated on two fundamental principals. One is the empowerment of talent, and the other is wealth sharing.
If you were about to launch a new product to market with no marketing budget, how would you go about it?

Nadal: The benefit that exists with new media is you have instant access to chat rooms, blogs and all kinds of things. It's not hard to get a message out there today, if you're clever and innovative. The viral marketing campaigns we did [for Burger King] with Subservient Chicken, which cost us $40,000 and generated 500 million hits, show that the right idea launched in the right way can make a big impact for very little money.
When you are small and the banks offer you little if any financial assistance, how do you deal with the stress of financial uncertainty?

Nadal: Nobody ever has enough money to buy their first house, and nobody ever has enough money to build their first business. When you go into business for yourself, you need to expect that you will experience adversity and uncertainty. But I do think it's getting easier to finance a new business, because there are more capital sources available. And don't just look at the Canadian marketplace for capital. If I could go back and do things differently, I would have moved towards larger sources of capital earlier, and broadened my geographic reach to access those sources.
For more Miles, click here.

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