Leveraging The power of partners and mentors Launching an enterprise and getting it off the ground is a great accomplishment. Laying a foundation to grow or become a market leader is the next step. Owners often get side-swiped with operational tasks and day-to-day challenges, and by year-end, the plan for next year or the road ahead might be an afterthought. Once a business is off the ground, almost every entrepreneur is faced with a crossroad. When you’re stuck and don’t know which path is the way forward, outside advice and mentorship can break down barriers and offer clarity. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the cornerstone of the Canadian economy. Those SMEs that are successful have a few things in common according to a BDC study of small business. The top three predictors of success: innovate, ask for outside advice and have a plan to measure your progress. [bctt tweet=”Top 3 predictors
Creating impact beyond the bottom line A growing number of entrepreneurs are starting ventures designed to create a positive social impact. They are looking for authentic ways for their businesses to become the best for the world, not just the best in the world. These are for-profit enterprises that solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, often with a relatively simple solution. It’s a movement that’s worth watching in your own community and across the world. In British Columbia’s Sea to Sky corridor, the Social Venture Challenge is an opportunity for social entrepreneurs to encourage, support and grow new social ventures in the region. After submitting a one-page application, shortlisted entrepreneurs learned how to flush out business ideas, were mentored from experts in their field and were coached how to pitch their venture idea. Around the world, businesses are not only looking for bottom line financial success, but bigger picture impact. A
GOT THE POST-VACATION BLUES? THOSE FRESH IDEAS NEED ACTION. Some down time along with change in scenery is a fabulous way to recharge and get the creative juices flowing. As a business owner or marketer on vacation, do you look for those trends, unique ideas and experiences that might cross over to your market? Have you taken some of these ideas and put them into practice? After a spring vacation in Europe, here are some ideas and lessons learned, fresh perspective that can only come from some time away from it all. IDEA: PULL, DON’T PUSH YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER. Service standards are quite different in European restaurants. They often pride themselves on exceptionally professional service that isn’t pushy or invasive. They keep a low profile but just seem to show up at the right time to let you know they are there to serve. Lesson learned: Thoughtful, timely customer service is
How social ventures can build a movement According to Social Enterprise Canada, social enterprises are businesses that create positive community impacts and social value. They do not have a distribution of profits and assets to individuals or shareholders. These are companies that want to be the best for the world; businesses that have a positive impact on society or the environment, where their bottom line is a combination of financial return and a social return on investment. But how can social ventures stand out from the competition and stay relevant? With effective marketing to the right audience, they can build a movement with momentum to grow. A wave of new entrepreneurs are creating a flood of awesome, buzz-worthy businesses. Social ventures designed around sustainable food systems, knowledge sharing, waste minimization, affordable housing and sustainable transportation which may have been niche co-operative models back in the day are now becoming mainstream.
Brands that aim to create social good Propelling Social Ventures is a one day event hosted by UBC’s Sauder School of Business that uncovers innovative ways to combine business with positive impact. The 2015 conference put the spotlight on social ventures that are re-imagining business for impact and mature businesses that are redefining models and strategies to integrate positive change on a large scale into their organizations. The event featured start up social entrepreneurs along with more seasoned experts and business leaders, each of whom have found a niche where their business can make a positive impact in the world. While there was plenty of food for thought packed throughout the day, these were the five key marketing lessons that could apply to any type of business: HONE YOUR TARGET MARKET Brands for the Heart, an online branding and graphic design agency that brings together a virtual team, chose to
Why you should find and recognize brand advocates It’s never easy… getting up the courage to make a public declaration of love. When it comes to loving a brand, it’s often made through a spontaneous shout out or these days, a quick click of a button to share feedback. Business owners need to pay attention: ignoring customer accolades and shout out’s may risk alienating a brand’s biggest fans and the valuable word-of-mouth marketing that follows. Why pay attention to what advocates say about your brand? Aside from the fact that word-of-mouth marketing is essentially free promotion, there is evidence that these fans are big contributors to the bottom line. Advocates are typically 5x more valuable than an average customer in terms of their own spending and the referrals they generate, Zuberance. According to McKinsey, a relevant recommendation from a trusted friend is 50x more likely to influence a purchase. Advocates