Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Each year, people make New Year’s Resolutions, only to find that they didn't achieve their goals, and then they make the same resolutions again the following year.
Regardless of the goal, one of the major reasons that people fail to achieve their goals is that they do not have a goal-setting process, or a formula for success.
So what makes a good goal? Goal setting provides a target to aim for so that you can make better decisions about how to utilize your time and effort for both business and personal achievement.
A good goal is one that is worthy of individual pursuit and is of course, highly subjective. So, far be it for anyone to define for you what your worthy pursuit ought to be! All goals, no matter what they are, start with a plan!
So what is your Goal-Plan? A good Goal-Plan is one that when followed, offers a reasonably high probability of success, given sufficient time.
Here are a few tips to get you started for 2010
• Identify areas of strength and weakness
• Create a vision statement for the year (What is your Purpose?)
• Determine which areas to focus on in order to receive the biggest payoff
• Set goals to achieve business and personal results
• All goals must be written (and reviewed weekly, monthly and quarterly)
• All goals must be believable
• All goals must be challenging (moving you forward in your life)
• All goals must be measurable and specific
• All goals must have a deadline
• You must hold yourself accountable for all your goals
Find other people to support and encourage you. It’s easier to make progress towards your goals if you have some support from a friend, coach, mentor, or a family member. Share your goals with them and the kind of support you desire so that they can help and encourage you to reach your goals.
This is a great way to begin the New Year!
With solid goals and a primary purpose you will be in a great position to “Build Your Business”.
FloodLight Consulting - Build Your Business - 250-768-9415
Sunday, December 20, 2009
In the Okanagan we had to deal with the summer fires and the downturn in the construction and tourism industry. Many families had to find a way to cope with layoffs and personal tragedies.
In the center of all this turmoil is the business owner who has to weather every day’s business upswings and downturns.
In our lives we get so caught up with the daily news and the negative side of life, that sometimes it’s hard to find the daily gems.
The little things that kept me focused this past year were the things that are most dear to me my family.
My father was declared cancer free after a battle with prostate cancer, my mother had successful hip surgery and is now moving around like a young school girl, my wife is in good health, and my sister just underwent successful surgery. (A family in the US would have been financially crippled.)
This past year I walked my youngest daughter down the aisle in San Diego with the waves of the Pacific Ocean crashing below the Sunset cliffs. I was able to travel throughout the US visiting many spots that I had only previously read about. The visit to the Grand Canyon was the highlight of our tour of the US. My oldest daughter finished her education with her masters and landed a great job with National Resources Canada.
This past year I volunteered my time with the Chamber of Commerce and the Okanagan Mustangs and Fords club which allowed me to meet so many great people of the Okanagan. I hiked and biked many mornings around West Kelowna and I enjoyed many summer afternoons at various beach locations with family and friends.
It was a great year for many personal experiences and when it is all said and done I am thankful for the warm hand shake of a new acquaintance, the hug of an old friend and the love of my family.
It has not been an easy year, but when I reflect back it is those moments of time spent with the people that I care about that mean the most. I have been blessed with a healthy family, truly great friends and I look forward to 2010 with great enthusiasm.
This is an important time of year for reflection and gratitude and a great time to count our blessings.
I wish you all the best this holiday season and I trust you will reflect on those things that will allow you to build your business and personal growth
Saturday, November 28, 2009
At FloodLight Consulting, we know that if you build your website with a marketing strategy in mind as a first step, this will lead to a better strategically designed website, leading to better website construction, design and Internet Implementation.
A website, built with a positive marketing strategy and message, will speak to your clients, generate a response, and greatly assist with its appeal to search engines and visitors alike.
A website that speaks to your clients’ challenges, with content that offers solutions to their issues, including testimonials about your services, will engage them to contact or purchase your product and/or services.
The importance of your website cannot be overstated, as 80% of buyers visit a website before contacting a business; this is due in part to the web’s influence in buying patterns since2005.
Your potential clients make decisions quickly as to whether they call you or ultimately buy from you.
Think of your website as the hub for your Marketing and Branding activities. No matter what marketing style you are using—direct mail, email, referral generation, PR, cold calling, etc.—this style is driving buyers to your website. Your website is the portal by which clients and prospects are using to learn more about you and your services.
They are searching for information to validate you as a professional in your field.
Your potential clients have a need for your service and your website must offer a solution to their problems. You must be able to speak to the challenges that your clients are facing.
If they find what they are looking for, they will take action. They go to your website to form an impression of you and interact with your brand.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
As a business owner it's important to understand what we can do to become 'celebrities' in our own right.
Because as consumers; we view some people as “worthier” or “more expert” than others, just because they’re better known.
In fact, these people may not be any more talented than anyone else, but we assume that they are more skilled or talented just because they are more famous.
And because they’re famous, their names become currency in themselves. For example, think of how many movie stars make commercials for hair products, when they don’t even do their own hair!
It's important for us to do what we can to add some sparkle of celebrity to our own names. Simply put; the better known we become, the more customers and clients we’ll be able to draw in, and the higher the fees we’ll be able to command.
One of the easiest ways to raise your celebrity status is to create your own 'Special Event' - one that will draw attention to your company and its core products and services. The benefit of raising your celebrity status with an event is that the event speaks directly to your target market and establishes credibility for you as a leader in your industry and makes you and your business better known.
Becoming better known is a stepping stone to achieving other goals like attracting new clients, participating in speaking gigs (especially paid speaking gigs), making connections with marketing partners, attracting talented employees, and other activities that generate more business.
I recently worked with a client and helped him create a 'Special Event' designed to draw attention and create awareness for a custom service he provided to his clients. It was a fun event, capped by a contest that allowed him to tap into radio, TV, and newspapers with traditional marketing strategies, and incorporate Internet Marketing Strategies, utilizing newsletters, a Blog, Twitter, and Face book. The event and contest were both successful and the client was subsequently featured on both Global and CHBC news.
Events like this take a little time to assess the opportunities, assemble the right marketing information, and apply the right marketing strategies.
If done correctly, it’s a great way to raise your celebrity status and Build Your Business.
Donald Robichaud is the President of the FloodLight Consulting team and can be reached at http://www.floodlightconsulting.com/ or at 250-768-9415
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been
with us for many years.. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth
records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
- Why the early bird gets the worm;
- Life isn't always fair;
- and maybe it was my fault.
Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than
you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).
His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing
regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual
harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using
mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student,
only worsened his condition.
Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that
they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It
declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to
administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents
when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion..
Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and
criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a
beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and
the burglar could sue you for assault.
Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize
that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and
was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense was preceded in death, by
his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter,
Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone
Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Donald Robichaud - FloodLight - Build Your Business
Best practice demands just one place to plan (yes, that’s ONE). When our work is in one place then we have something we can manage and control.
Now we have consolidated our tasks into one location we have a process that will get you home on time!
1. Write down all the things you need to do tomorrow in one place.
2. Estimate how long it is going to take to get each item done. Total the time - does it fit into
an 8 hour work day?
3. Are you likely to be interrupted tomorrow? If so, how will that impact your work? It will most likely double the time it takes to accomplish your work. Ask yourself if you can still get the work done after the interruption time is added?
4. Have you included time for lunch? What about travel time to and from your appointments? What about time to check your email? Remember that non-productive time for lunch, coffee breaks and checking email can easily add up to one-and-a-half hours.
5. Now total the realistic time and block out your calendar. What time are you going Home?
Is it time you want to go home?
Okanagan Training Solutions / Priority Management Interior BC
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Between the years of 2003 and 2008 Kelowna residents witnessed a period of unprecedented construction activity and real estate sales. Single family construction was ignited by the fires of 2003 (no pun intended), followed by what many saw as condo-mania. Many bought homes and in particular, condos, that they never intended on occupying. The lure of a quick flip and easy money were in full swing! Rising prices and low interest rates forced many buyers to make quick decisions in a very heated market. Most housing prices more than doubled over this period of time. Many of the local old-timers just shook their heads in disbelief.
This activity all but came to a halt in mid to late 2008. As inventory accumulated, trades went elsewhere for jobs, and the ripple effect of a slumped local construction industry created massive lay-offs across the board, when coupled with a gloomy macro economic picture.
Yet, there is hope! Fundamentally, people need homes to live in and Kelowna is still one of the most desirable places to live in Canada. What appears to be selling in today’s climate are homes under say $500K. There’s an issue of affordability and comfort for this buying demographic. Land prices, labor rates, and in many cases, material costs are down. Combine this with the unprecedented money that is sitting on the sidelines, and there’s only one factor missing, and that’s providing consumers with a reason to feel comfortable about buying, which boils down to confidence and perceived value.
There are enough interior and exterior finishing options that builders can use today to ensure their costs are reduced without compromising on appearance and quality significantly. The key to a healthy local residential construction and housing market is the supply of smaller, lower cost, energy-efficient homes to meet the needs of first time home buyers, young families, empty nesters, and the downsizing baby boomers. When builders focus their efforts on meeting the needs of these groups we will all witness some of those unprecedented savings being pulled from low interest yielding financial instruments and find their way back into the housing market.
Richard Tremblay has spent the past 25 years working in various aspects of the construction of building products industries.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Generally a business coach operates with essentially a ‘hands off’ approach guiding and advising the client along the way. A good business coach is typically a generalist in his understanding of sound business management and leadership principles, as opposed to being an expert in any particular area. In most cases, coaching involves working with a client over a period of 6 to 12 months through a structured program where accountability rests squarely in the hands of the client.
In a typical coaching setting key objectives are identified, in many cases in the form of a 90-day plan, and a systematic approach towards achieving those objectives is designed by the coach. Regular weekly coaching sessions are held to monitor progress against those objectives and deal with any stumbling blocks along the way. The uniqueness of the relationship between the client and the coach often results in an on-going program as the client sees the value of having on-going coaching or guidance much in the same way that professional athletes have coaches throughout their careers. Coaching is a very affordable means of achieving greater business and personal success for most clients.
The Business Consultant:
Generally a business consultant operates with a ‘hands on’ approach with a client. In most cases consultant have a particular area of expertise and are brought in by clients to perform a certain task or accomplish a particular objective. While coaching can go on in perpetuity, consulting involves intensive involvement over a specified period of time. Once the task or project is complete, the consultant typically moves on to the next assignment.
And while a business coach can manage a number of clients at once (i.e. 6 to 12 on average), a consultant typically works exclusively for one client and possibly 2. The consultant will typically work full-time for the client until the task is completed, while a coach will usually spend an hour or two per week with each of his or her clients. For this reason, hiring a consultant is usually a more expensive proposition than hiring a coach.
FloodLight Business Solutions Group
At FloodLight we have 60 plus years of business experience and our team approach to business solutions allows us to work with owners, executives, managers, and employees in small to medium sized companies. Our primary focus is to help our clients grow their business and achieve a greater work-life balance!
The outcome is a more effective management of your time, team and money!
In a number of cases we at Floodlight have been called in to address a very specific issue such as Internet Marketing or Search Engine Optimization. This sort of situation lends itself well to a consulting role as circumstances dictate that we specifically focus on implementing a solution over a brief period of time.
In many other situations coaching is a better approach in dealing with operational, strategic, business management, and team leadership issues. At FloodLight we work with business owners to Assess their business needs, Assemble a comprehensive strategy, and Apply tailor-made solutions in a practical day-to-day action plan.
Being a business owner can often be a difficult and lonely job. And hiring a Sales Manager, Marketing Manger, or Operations Manager is not always an affordable option. Hiring a business coach often makes more sense and is certainly more affordable.
At FloodLight we provide you with a coaching team to guide, advise, and coach you towards your business and personal goals.
Please contact us at 250.768.9415 or email us ( Click Here ) for more information on how we can help you “Build Your Business”!
At FloodLight we provide:
Business coaching, personal business coach, business coach, professional business coach, small business coach, business coach,personal coach, Kelowna business coach, strategic business coach, executive coach, coach, coaching and executive coaching.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Donald Robichaud - FloodLight - Build Your Business
Here are 10 tips on how to create high impact graphics:
1.Use an image. The use of a photo creates a 300% greater recall than ads without a photo. Logos and other graphical elements can also be used.
2.Use the right font. The text should be easy to read and no more than two font types should be used. Special effects such as shadows and outlines can be used to create a more visual impact.
3.Use the correct text size. The size of your sign will determine the text size. We recommend one inch for every 10 feet of viewing distance. A combination of upper and lower case letters is more legible from a distance.
4.Use good color combinations. The text and background colors should contrast for better visibility and readability. The sign should also contrast well within the environment that it is placed.
5.Use power words to add sales impact – Approved, Authentic, Bargain, Better, Discount, Easily, Guaranteed, Improved, Introducing, Powerful, Professional, Profitable, Reduced, Successful, You…
6.Target your audience. Who is your best customer? Is your sign appealing to the them. Cartoons aren’t for everyone. What do you provide that they are looking for? Are they current or potential customers?
7.Think about its purpose. What words do you want to linger in your customers mind about what you have to offer? Is the information you include for advertising, direction or for safety purposes?
8.Consistency. Apply a consistent look and feel to all marketing materials – design, color, font. Familiarity leads to trust.
9.White space – Less is more! Although the temptation might be to get the most bang for your buck, too much text will make your sign difficult to read from a distance. If you can get your message across in a word or two, do it. You may only have a second or two to convey your message. Text without adequate white space leaves us feeling crowded and cramped. A general rule of thumb is that around 30% to 40% of the sign's face area should be left as white space for optimal readability.
10.Use a border. This can focus the reader on the most important information that you want them to take away. Also if your sign needs to be noticed by automobiles in traffic, it will increase reading speed.
Your signage is a reflection of your business and if properly designed and situated can attract new business throughout your target market and assist in the advertising, marketing and branding of your business.
For further information or for great ideas on how to market and brand your business contact us SpeedPro Imaging at 250-763-8868
SpeedPro Imaging Kelowna
#135 – 1855 Kirschner Road, Kelowna, BC V1Y 4N7
Ph: (250)763-8868 Fax: (250)763-8768 email@example.com
Friday, September 25, 2009
Social networks allow for the relationships that tie us together. When you meet someone for the first time you ask them “What do you do?” Or, “where do they work?” Or, “where they grew up?” Or, “where they went to school?” Through these questions you might discover people with common interests and develop new friendships. A social network begins to take shape.
When you go to someone’s house you get a feel for who the person is. You get to see family pictures, artifacts from where people have travelled, a guitar sitting in a corner, or a workshop for fine wood carvings. When you attend someone’s house party or meet people at a social event you become tied into a larger network of people.
Some of these people may never use your products or services, but guess what? If they like you and get to know you, they will eventually run into someone who can use your services and they will recommend you. Bingo! The power of social networking!
If you sat down to draw your social network in regards to which you are connected, you would have a difficult time establishing your complete sphere of influence. This is why internet social networking is so powerful. It allows you to hook up with old friends, make new ones, share photos, music, videos, and areas of common interest all in an interactive way. You can also join groups based on your interests such as politics, hobbies, favorite TV shows, job hunting, or seeking your soul mate! Again, the power of social networking!
Now apply internet social networking to your business and you can see how you might be able to raise your profile if you focus on the demographics of your target market. Different Social networking sites will achieve different networking results as they are focused on different target markets.
To implement your social media strategy you will need to decide which one of the social networking sites will best suit your specific goals. Below is a guideline to some of the most common.
- Micro blogging (Twitter)
- Business Networking (LinkedIn, Xing)
- Social Networking (Facebook, MySpace, Blogger)
- Photo & Video Sharing (Flickr, You tube, Picasa)
Donald Robichaud President
FloodLight Consulting Build Your Buisiness
Friday, September 18, 2009
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Politicians: Municipal, Provincial, National
Civil Servants:Police, Fireman, Security guards
Sports Figures: Hockey, Baseball, Football, Soccer
General Public: Young Adults, Retires, Others
Ladies Division: Self Explanatory
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It’s about time the courts got involved to get rid of these petty tormentors!!!!
Donald Robichaud – FloodLight -Build Your Business
Anonymous Blogger Called Cohen a 'Skank' and a 'Ho'
By RICH MCHUGH and NOEL HARTMAN
Aug. 19, 2009
She had graced the cover of Vogue and found success as a model. But Liskula Cohen's latest achievement came in the courtroom.
Horrified by the hateful words of an anonymous blogger, Cohen took Google to court in hopes of forcing the company to reveal the writer's identity -- and won.
"Why should anybody let it go? If somebody attacks somebody on the street, you're not going to let it go … why should I just ignore it?" Cohen told "Good Morning America" exclusively today. "I couldn't find one reason to ignore it."
Google initially refused to unmask the unidentified writer, who Cohen, 36, claimed defamed her by posting words like "skanky," "ho", and "whoring" below her photographs. The IP address turned over by Google revealed that the blogger was an acquaintance of Cohen's.
Cohen said it was a woman she hadn't seen in about a year, but who was a regular fixture at dinners and parties, but she was not, as Cohen had feared, someone who was close to her.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
In the current economic climate we tend to complicate matters by tuning into the negative press that surrounds us: the market is more down than up tourism is hampered by the fires and the overall ‘gloomy’ market some have lost their jobs a number of businesses are struggling. Yet the only matter we have any control over is the quality or level of customer service we provide for our customers. From the moment we pick up the phone or open our doors for business, we send signals to many buying customers every day.
The question to be asked is, what kind of signals are we sending?
For example, I was recently shopping for paint products for my classic car. I needed professional help to match a colour for the interior of my car, since the colour is not one that can be easily matched. Two outlets were referred to me at a recent car event held locally. I decided to visit the two stores and see what I might find.
Customer Experience Number #1
As I entered the first store I noticed that the clerk was busy assisting a lady. I was not acknowledged by the clerk and I also noticed that the store was not well laid out there were unpacked boxes all over the store. I decided to walk around and check out the inventory, and after five minutes I went back to the main counter. The lady had left but the clerk was nowhere to be found! I heard a noise coming from the next aisle and walked over to see the clerk working away.
I asked for some assistance and explained what I was looking for. The clerk explained that they were short staffed and had lots of stock to unpack. He also told me they could match the paint but that it was really tricky to match perfectly. The clerk was helpful but I could not help feeling that he was distracted and really not overly interested in my business. I obviously wasn’t a priority for him. He showed no real interest in my request and just gave me a price sheet with a breakdown of the services they offered. I left without making a purchase!
Customer Experience Number #2
When I entered the second store I noticed the clerk was busy, but this time I was acknowledged. The young lady smiled and mentioned that she would be with me in just a few minutes. I walked around the store and noticed how tidy it was. The shelves were well laid out and the store looked like it was ready for business. Within a few minutes I was greeted with another smile as the clerk said, “How can I assist you?”
I explained my situation and the issue of matching the paint. She asked me a few questions about my specific needs and mentioned that they specialized in paint matching and that she had personally helped many car enthusiasts match their paint colours in the past.
She also mentioned that she had access to paint swatches of vintage cars but she needed a sample so that she could better match the colour. We agreed to a time frame and a price, and we struck a deal. I left with a great feeling of having received extraordinary customer service. Suffice it to say that I will be back to do more business with this second store!
Perhaps it’s time to reflect on the kind of customer service your company is providing for its customers. What processes do you have in place to ensure all customers receive an extraordinary experience? What kind of ‘culture’ have you fostered in your company?
To help you with this, here are a few key areas of Customer Service to think about:
1. Friendliness – This is the foundation for great customer service, and is usually characterized by the customer being acknowledged and greeted graciously, with warmth. A customer shouldn’t feel like they are an intrusion on the service provider’s work day!
2. Understanding and empathy - Customers need to feel the service person understands and appreciates their circumstances and that they understand what it is the customer came in for in the first place. Our ability to meet our customers’ needs comes from asking questions and then delivering products and services that match the client’s needs.
3. Options - Customers need to feel they are dealing with a person who understands the products and services available, so they in turn can be presented with applicable options in order to make proper decisions.
4. Information -“Tell me, and show me”. Customers need to be educated and accurately informed about the products and services they are seeking. And this information needs to be clearly and simply laid out for the customer to understand.
5. Appreciation – Customers don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy. Let them know that you appreciate their business and that you hope to see them again. Make them feel special!
So ask yourself, what processes do you have in place to ensure your customers are provided with extraordinary customer service so that they’ll want to come back again and again?
Improve your customer service and you will continue to “Build Your Business”.
Written in conjunction with Richard Tremblay, Kelowna BC
As posted on Castanet
Donald Robichaud is the President of FloodLight Consulting
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Business Examiner – July 2009 - Craig Brown Publisher
The first two questions asked if the recession had affected their business, and if they had lost business on account f it. Intuitively one might expect both answers to be nearly identical, but that is only partly correct.
The ‘4’ and ‘5’ answers, meaning a very strong effect was felt, is almost the same for both questions: just over 37% say the recession has strongly affected their business, and 35% say they lost quite a bit of business.
Peter Jeffrey of FormaShape in Kelowna has definitely felt the impact. The company produces water slides and what it calls its “architectural side”, which are the outside signs and design elements seen at gas stations. Sales are down.
He says it’s not all bad news. Faced with shrinking revenues, the recession “goaded us to bid on products in other places. “Right now they are looking at custom one-off products for the film industry. Jeffrey says, “That is a market we wouldn’t have dreamt of looking at before.”
The other end of the scales on those first two questions produced quite different results. A score of ‘1’ meaning there was virtually no effect on their business was given by only 12% of respondents, but 35% said they had lost no business because of the recession.
This suggests that while more than a third of the respondents have not lost sales or revenue, there are other impacts.
The Digital Art School says the recession has brought them more business. This makes sense as, in tougher times more people will go to school or upgrade their skills to enhance their chances of getting job.
Another business doing well in this recession is Donald Robichaud’s Floodlight Consulting. Most companies experiencing a strong downturn, he believes, got used to the good times of the boom economy and didn’t reinvest through marketing. “Those that are waiting for the phone to call are the ones suffering. The sales are there to be made and those that understand it takes longer to close leads know they need to have more leads and contacts.” Donald Robichaud says his business was up 18% in May over last year and expects 2009 to be up by 15% over 2008.
On the question of marketing and advertising 59% say they have not spent any more money this year. This result is hard to interpret. Companies with well developed marketing plans, as Donald Robichaud points out, may not need to increase their budgets. Others may be cutting expenses including advertising, to keep costs down.
Donald Robichaud also believes that the Okanagan is buffered somewhat by the large number of retirees still wanting to move here who will help to keep the economy going.
Responses to the question of employment suggest that business owners would seem to believe he is right. Less than a quarter of respondents (22%) say they have laid anyone off. Looking ahead 71% feel it is very unlikely they will be laying anyone off this year even though only a slim majority (56%), believe the worst of the recession is over. A nearly identical number (55%) believe their sales, if they declined, will recover as the year goes on.
Greg Salloum is the owner of the Best Western Inn in Kelowna. He is a nay sayer on the immediate prospects for the economy. He explains, “Two reasons that lead me to believe this are: How can the solution to our problems be also the cause of our problems? Cheap money. Second, there is another wave of mortgage renewals coming in the U.S. that is a bit larger than the last one that caused the recession to begin with. So, while I am generally still an optimist, I am being very cautious these days”.
Friday, July 17, 2009
As Social networking expands people need to understand that they are putting themselves at risk when joining social networking groups.
How much information should your social networking club have about you?
How much control should you have as an individual?
Is “Big Brother” really watching?
FloodLight - Build Your Business
OTTAWA - The writing is on the wall for Facebook, the popular social networking site: do more to protect the privacy of Canadian users or face the threat of court action.
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart posted that message for all to see Thursday in a report that warns the personal information of Facebook members may be at risk.
Facebook, with nearly 12 million Canadian users and some 250 million worldwide, allows people to keep in touch with friends and family by updating their pages with a stream of fresh messages and photos.
Stoddart said Facebook breaches federal privacy law by keeping users' personal information indefinitely - even after members close their accounts.
She also raised concerns about the sharing of users' files with the almost one million third-party developers scattered across the globe who create Facebook applications such as games and quizzes.
Stoddart applauded Facebook for making some changes, but urged the site to remedy outstanding privacy shortfalls, raising the possibility of legal proceedings if it doesn't comply.
In a statement, Facebook said it would "soon be introducing a number of new additional privacy features" that will address any remaining concerns the privacy watchdog might have.
Stoddart launched the probe in response to a complaint last year from the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, based at the University of Ottawa's law faculty.
Facebook user Harley Finkelstein, one of the students who lodged the grievance, said Thursday that users share responsibility for guarding their privacy. But he said the site must also do its part, particularly since millions of members are less-than-savvy teenagers.
"I don't think Facebook is bad, I think it's a wonderful application," said Finkelstein, 25. "But I think there needs to be a little bit of constraint put on, and (we shouldn't) necessarily leave everything up to the user."
Stoddart acknowledged that the social networking phenomenon has highlighted the fact some people are quite comfortable showcasing their lives online.
"Canadians live more and more in a virtual world," Stoddart told a news conference. "It brings many advantages."
Her investigation found that although Facebook provides information about its privacy practices, it is often confusing or incomplete.
"It's clear that privacy issues are a key concern for Facebook, and yet we found some serious gaps," she said. "In some cases Facebook must make some changes to its site to bring it into compliance with Canadian privacy law."
For example, the "account settings" page describes how to deactivate accounts but not how to delete them, which actually removes personal data from Facebook's computer servers.
Stoddart wants Facebook to wipe the information in deactivated accounts after a reasonable length of time.
Facebook lacks proper safeguards to prevent independent developers of games and other applications like horoscope services from seeing users' profile information, along with details about their online "friends," the investigation found.
The report recommends technological measures to ensure developers have access only to the user information actually required to run a specific application. It also says Facebook should prevent disclosure of personal information of any of the user's friends who are not themselves signing up for the application, unless they consent.
Facebook hasn't agreed to the recommendations on third-party access.
However, it agreed to more fully explain the advertising used to generate revenue and to inform members that their profile information, such as a person's favourite movie, is used to decide which ads to feature.
In general, Stoddart's report calls for more transparency to ensure the site's Canadian users have the knowledge they need to make meaningful decisions about how widely they share personal information.
The privacy commissioner will review Facebook's actions after 30 days to gauge progress. She can take the case to the Federal Court of Canada to have her recommendations enforced.
"It's discretionary. We're very hopeful that things can be solved," she said. "But we can go to Federal Courts on a variety of things."
Stoddart found four of 12 aspects of the complaint were well-founded. Four were well-founded but resolved after Facebook agreed to make changes. The final four issues were dismissed.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This is a great time to review your business goals for the year and your results for the first half of the year. Are you on track? If so, great! Pat yourself on the back. If not, Why? What do you need to do to get back on track and ensure success for the balance of 2009?
I’ve had many discussions with business owners and entrepreneurs in small to medium sized companies and some are struggling to find new leads, close sales, and grow their business. In fact, some are losing market share or seeing sales decline, and aren’t sure what to do. When I ask if they’re experts in their field or whether they have a plan, I get all types of answers from, “I’m not sure what to do”, to, “I’m not smart enough”, or even worse, “It’s the market’s fault”.
If you’re not an expert in your field and fully confident of your products and services, then your customers and potential customers will sense your weakness and not be motivated to purchase from you.
Many businesses are held back because key people in the organization lack the skills to manage effectively and deliver results or, they lack the ability to utilize new technologies like the internet to leverage their business.
To be a successful business in this challenging climate you must to continue to stretch yourself and learn new skills. You are the key to your own success! You need to have an open mind and become and expert in your field. And the only way to do this is to continue learning and growing. Here’s how:
1. Write down the top ten must improve areas of your business for 2009.
2. Now divide the top ten in to the following areas of Sales, Marketing, and Operations.
3. You will notice that one area will become painfully obvious in that you need more work to do.
4. Now go buy a couple of books to read in that obvious area. (Possibly Marketing).
5. Monday to Friday get up early every morning or shut off the TV early at night and read every day for one hour.
Five days a week for one hour. Write down the things you like and implement them as soon as possible.
5 hours x 26 weeks = 180 hours dedicated to learning.
To really achieve any goal or to learn a meaningful new skill, we need to discipline ourselves to stay on track until it’s accomplished. There are several ways to effectively track your goals.
•Keep a list and review your goals regularly, preferably daily
•Break down a goal into action steps
•Measure your results by establishing key performance indicators
•Set new goals and repeat the above
The investment in learning will pay multiple dividends for the balance of 2009 and help you to “Build your Business”.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The Seed A successful business man was growing old andKnew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children,He decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.
I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO."
One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives beganTo talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure.
Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however.
He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- In all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him! When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back. "My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!"
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room withHis empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story.
The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.
All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants andFlowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, youSubstituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!"
1. If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
2. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
3. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
4. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
5. If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
6. If you plant hard work, you will reap success
7. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
8. If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest
So, be careful what you plant now; It will determine what you will reap later. "Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back"
Okanagan Training Solutions / Priority Management Interior BC
250 762-5096 / 1-877-762-5096
Thursday, May 14, 2009
President FloodLight Consulting
Friday, April 17, 2009
that speaks to computer clutter- Donald Robichaud
- 1. Create files in your computer to match the paper filing system in your office.
Use broad headings with obvious names. Think of the main folder as the "file drawer" then create subfolders from there.
- Computer files can be categorized into "action," "reference" and "archive."
- Do not get carried away and create too many levels or subfolders. In general, you should not build deeper than three subfolder levels.
- Create a standard method for naming computer files. For example, letters can be named according to date and/or subject or recipient name. Pictures should be dated and filed by event or subject.
- Try to limit the number of documents you keep in each folder. Create a new folder every time you accumulate more than 20 files. The fewer files you have in a folder, the faster a file can be found.
- Remember to periodically review, purge, and refine.
If you would like to learn more about organizing your computer, managing e-mail, and using technology to your advantage, join us at Okanagan College on April 22. You can register online at http://www.organizinghelp.ca/newsletter/lt/t_go.php?i=30&e=Mjg1&l=http://www.okanagan.bc.ca/csreg.contact or
contact Okanagan College at (250) 862-5480.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Spending money on technology is an investment, not a cost for business.
In the latest Microsoft TV commercial Sean Durfy, President and CEO of WestJet, is asked “how do you keep your vision alive?” He says with 7500 employees all over the US and Canada, “we can’t look at everybody’s eyes anymore. We now look at technology as a strategic driver of the company. If you don’t have that, you’re screwed brother”. Wise words!!!!
In today’s business climate, the business owner must understand technology and use it to their advantage to improve efficiencies and even expand operations. However, the use of technology should be balanced with your specific business needs.
Technology allows your business to reach a worldwide audience, yet many business owners take a very short-sighted look at their daily operations and how it affects their business model.
Let’s take a look at some of the basic technology tools to enhance your business activities, and that with a little planning, will take your business to the next level.
Your Computers: I recently purchased a Lenovo laptop and I am very pleased with its performance and it uses less energy than a desktop computer. Today's laptops are right on the heels of desktops when it comes to power and performance, and remember, you can’t beat the convenience. Being stuck in an airport for three hours in Vancouver can become a real pain, but with a laptop you are still connected and productive.
Backup Solutions: It always amazes me how business owners will spend thousands of dollars entertaining their clients but they won’t spend the money to back up their client’s data. Costs of hard drives and backup solutions are at an all time low, so protect your business. The losses of your core data will cripple your business for weeks and possibly end your relationship with your client.
Software: The most cost-effective time to buy software is at the time of your computer purchase. Microsoft and many other software providers offer great incentives and lower cost solutions at time of purchase, which in the long run will save you hundreds of dollars. The appropriate software will enhance your total operation.
Printing Solutions: Today there are many colour laser solutions that truly can enhance all your printed presentations. Company’s like Xerox and others offer an array of solutions for your business needs. I moved to a colour laser two years ago and recouped my investment in less than 4 months with better looking proposals and less time driving to the print shop.
Connectivity: I love the wireless age. It allows me to be mobile and stay in touch with my clients. I enjoy the convenience of sitting on my deck at home and being connected with my clients. I meet my clients at restaurants and coffee shops that offer a wireless service. For a few extra dollars a month your service provider will offer great bundle packages that will enhance your business, office, your home and your mobile experience which will take your business to the next level.
VOIP- (Voice over IP) Small- and medium-sized businesses have perhaps the most to gain from the explosion of new VOIP services. In one move, businesses can outsource their communications, doing away with clunky, on-site PBX equipment and reduce their monthly phone bills. For home business, Skype allows you to reach your clients throughout the world at a very low cost..... It’s free.
Training: So you have all this technology. Now what do you do? People always ask me “How did you learn all this technology?” I educated myself. Over the last twenty years I upgraded my skills by taking training courses on various programs like Microsoft Outlook. The investment has increased my knowledge, skills and competencies and helped to increase productivity and performance, while giving me more control over my decision-making process for my business.
Value added resellers - I like to browse the latest technology at the retail stores and ask about the products, but that is as far as I go. When I am making technology business decisions I like to engage the services of a Value Added Reseller, like Voda Computer Systems locally, and others who will have firsthand knowledge of the best solution for my business needs. They also have knowledge of the best ways to keep my equipment running efficiently and they offer support plans to keep it operating for years to come.
You may be a small or mid-sized business but that doesn’t mean that you have to operate the business as if you are back in the Stone Age.
Get with it.
The key to a successful business is to do it faster and better – so use Technology to “Build Your Business”.
President FloodLight Consulting
250-768-9415 Kelowna, BC
As posted on Castanet:
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Information Technology for Business"Ideas that Work"
May 12, 2009 - The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Kelowna, BC - 8:30am - 5:00pm
IBM, Lenovo, DLink, HP ProCurve, Sonicwall, Data Domain, Cisco, Polycom, Fortinet
IBM, Lenovo, DLink, HP ProCurve, Sonicwall, Data Domain, Cisco, Polycom, Avocent, Trend MicroSutus, Xerox, Barracuda, Toggle Networks, Fortinet
Click here for information on Manufacturers!
SPECIAL GUEST:Microsoft Specialist: Ian WatsonClick here for more info!
Keynote Speaker: Frank Morassutti from IBMClick here for more info!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
FloodLight Consulting -Build Your Business
I define networking as the process of creating and developing relationships from initial contact to ultimate outcome. My premise, and my exprience has been, is that the process is fundamentally unalterable. This means that networking online will never replace face-to-face contact, nor was it ever meant to. When the technology is used effectively, it can enhance the relationship process.
- Accept reality. Because online networking often doesn’t include the all-important human contact factor, it can make relationship-building more difficult and complicated. Don’t misinterpret that acceptance of a connection equals a relationship. This is simply one small step towards building the relationship. You will often have to work harder to create relationships online because of this very fact.
- Embrace the process. Relationships take time, require investment and need to be nurtured. Be prepared to invest in all three if you really want your online contacts to blossom. Keep thinking and working in terms of small steps that will build into future success for you and others.
- Take responsibility. Many people are unsure of protocol when it comes to moving a relationship forward. Make it easy for them by suggesting a next step. Reduce their anxiety by adapting to their schedule or time line. Increase their level of comfort by allowing them to set the terms of contact. Every time you do this,you build trust as they will gain more appreciation for your sincerity and professionalism.
- Emphasize context. An online connection occurs as a result of pre-determined context. This could be a common contact, similar interests, parallel career path or complementary needs. Use this seed as the basis for relationship growth. Relationship-building online is no different than at a networking event. In fact, it requires even more work in the early stages to overcome the inertia of non-human contact.
- Build trust. Just about everyone today is cautious, even more when dealing with others online. Take this into consideration in your relationship-building mindset and methodology. Over-compensate when it comes to simple trust issues such as honoring commitments, disclosing agenda or sharing information. Consistenly demonstrate that others can depend on you to deliver on small promises and specific actions. This will have a huge impact in a short time.
- Communicate effectively. This is one area that most online networkers miss. The best communicators focus less on communicating their own agenda and work harder to discover what others want and need. Taking this tact with online conversations will have others perceive you as more professional and more polished.
- Think options. Relationships always carry outcomes. This is a simple fact of life. Take this perspective will help you keep investing in the relationships you make online until they yield results. Be prepared to allow online relationships to grow at their own pace, that way others will know you care about them and will open their minds, hearts and networks for you.
Michael J. Hughes is a recognized authority on utilizing networking as a business strategy. To find out more about him, or to have him present at your next meeting or conference, contact him at his web site at http://www.networkingforresults.com/.