Monday, December 17, 2012

Business Communication

Sharpen Business Communication

Communication is at the core of all our relationships, both business and personal. Business communication must be aligned with the pace of our new world, or it is ineffective. We’re at the mercy of our warp speed digital communication that bombards us with messages we often did not ask for and are irrelevant to our business activity.

Here are some important tips to improve communication and break through all that digital noise and allow us to reach the intended audience.

v Pitching for Business?

-        Ask the right questions by understanding your customer’s needs.

-        Communicate professionally. Make sure written communication is proofread and has an appropriate signature. Make sure phones are answered professionally and people speak articulately.

-        Schedule and prepare well. Make sure you provide potential clients with adequate uninterrupted time to speak. Prepare an agenda and share it before the meeting so all parties can prepare.

-        Communication is a two way street. Express your ideas clearly but be sure to listen. Silence can be a powerful communication tool.  Ask good questions to show your interest and involvement with the customer.

-        Follow-up in writing. Give your customer an overview of the meeting and ask for feedback.

v Customer Service

-        Quality products should be supported by equally strong communication with customers.

-        Make your customers feel they are a priority in your business.

-        Make sure if problems occur they are addressed and fixed.

-        If miscommunication seems to be the source of the problem use a different method; make a phone call to replace email. If the issue requires more than a few sentences to explain, call and speak with the customer personally.

v Networking

-        Communicate confidently. Firm handshakes, eye contact, and smiles are important communication signals.

-        Have a 30 second “elevator speech” that presents an effective first impression.

-        Speak in a relaxed way that makes your audience comfortable.


Work on refining these communications skills to maximize your opportunity for success. That is my take on the subject. What is yours? Let me know.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Business Networking

Networking – Keys to making it work

Having a network of business peers and associates can be invaluable in developing new business, sharing business issues, developing relationships and expanding exposure of your business.

Here are a few keys that may be of value:

v Use networking to gain visibility but be sure to give back to those who may help you.

v Set goals when networking.  Are you attending to learn? To make contacts? Or to make business connections.

v Show your leadership skills by leading discussions and stimulating conversation.

v Follow-up. If you meet new prospects or contacts be sure to make a follow-up call to indicate your pleasure in meeting the person and try to set a date to exchange further ideas.


If you extend efforts to become more involved with a variety of networks there can be a significant payoff in terms of developing  new business opportunities and contributing to others without jeopardizing your own business goals.

Look for different groups to join that can enhance your business. Take no opportunity to network lightly – expand your knowledge base.

Please let me know what you think.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Business Problems

Problems facing small business


External problems

External problems are countless, including the state of the economy, the high cost of insurance, taxes, red tape, health & safety, lack of bank lending, competition within Canada and from abroad, and the list just goes on. Many of these issues are beyond control of the individual business so we will focus on internal problems.

Internal Problems


Finding it and managing it. There is never enough. Fast growing companies can outgrow available resources. Underperformers can’t acquire cash.

Leasing vs purchasing can lesson stress while commercial loans, credit cards and overdrafts are expensive. Care is needed to protect the business’ overall credit rating.

Lack of a Clear Plan

Many businesses don’t know how to plan. Lack of a plan aggravates the cash problem by wasting cash chasing tempting diversions; it is wasteful to throw money at problems hoping for a quick fix. Equally important is revising your plan according to changing economic and business conditions and to ensure your survival in a recession.

Ineffective Leadership
This issue takes many forms. It is frequently in the form of depth of leadership. The owner of the company is too hands-on and a) does not concentrate enough on his primary role as a leader rather than a manager; and b) fails to enlist support of competent managers and staff or through recruitment and outsourcing. This may cause the company to stop growing and eventually could lead to failure.

Sales/Marketing Competence
This leads back to planning and leadership. Many businesses have not defined what their USP is. Don’t try to compete in conflicting areas, such as lowest price and highest service. One lowers revenue and the other adds to costs. Part of the planning process for a product should include a clear answer to one question, “why should they buy from me?”

Lack of Execution
This may be the largest issue facing small business. This lack can be in a number of forms including:

-        Poor execution of strategy

-        Failure of new product development

-        Owners spend only minimal time on strategy

-        Poor communication of strategy to employees

-        Lack of performance measures and little performance analysis


These are some of the problems from my viewpoint. What do you think?