Sunday, 16 September 2012

Where do you get ideas? Where do you find Peace?



Networking Paulcast click here! 4mins, 45seconds

There is SO much noise in our now digital world. Are we just following trends, chasing the reactive work or are we strategically achieving our goals?

As much as I like to be creative, my career was built in offices and I work in big institutions…doesn’t mean we have to be devoid of entrepreneurial power, does it?

New Picture (1)

So let’s create OTHER spaces to think about work.

And FIND our peaceful places, and go there to disconnect.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

If you want to take your strategic thinking time to the NEXT level

Thanks to you for investing your time with me!   Paul

Monday, 10 September 2012

LinkedIn for Social Business Engagement

*Note, here is an updated 2013 post* 

LIpeopleLinkedIn is the Facebook of Business.

In August 2012 it crossed 175 million users.

I am user 18,717,680 and joined in 2007. Hardly an early adopter.

But I've read books on it, bumbled my way through the newbie mistakes and business faux-pas. I'm an unabashed fan, promoter and now speaker on how to use it for personal and professional success.LIipad

LOTS of changes to LinkedIn in 2012, here are my updated tips…click on the bolded links for great articles on each tip!! Don’t forget to download apps for mobile use!

1) It’s NOT a resume. It’s a digital business card + opening conversation. Use the summary section to explain why you are the best at what you do and different than the million other people doing it. Personal branding is the goal! Integrate your networking style. Bold, clever, succinct, reserved – make it your words. For your organization or business a company page is a must in 2012. Anti-resume tip : Under work experience do not focus on your job description and duties – instead focus on accomplishments and skills that apply to your career growth

2) Newbie tip!! Don’t EVER use the standard line “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn”. Change it every time. Let them know where you met, how you know each other and why you want to connect. In 25 words or less. This will get you a 90%+ connection rate.

3) You don’t need to have a killer profile right away. Take your time but start today! Don’t use start when you need a job. I didn’t expand my original profile from just my name and work title for two whole years! Also, you don’t need to upload a picture right away. Remember the picture is 1 inch squared, make it professional (no photos from weddings) but interesting. Not facebook interesting, something that says “I’d be an interesting addition to your team, I’m a professional, hire me”. rolodex

4) Growing your connections list is the #1 new user stress. Here’s my personal ratio: 95% people you know, 4% strangers, 1% heroes/mentors you want to learn from. Start with people you already know well, then people you’ve worked with in the past and of course people you know professionally now. What do I mean by heroes? People who lead in your sector, professional heroes or teachers. Remember though, follow your gut: Stranger danger! Ignore invitations from strangers and profile surfers. Connect first to well networked peers to save time looking for names you both know. This is businessalways think about the ROI of time spent.

5) If you’re reading this, you’re seeking to understand the keys to the future of social business like me. So if you can, get your organization whether a for-profit company or social-profit charity involved! Turn your team into referral generators for business and staffing.  LinkedIn’s SEO recruitment arm will change recruitment in 2013 – keep your eyes on them.

socialbusiness6) “Groups” and “LinkedIn Answers” are a huge amplifier of time invested. Again, connect to those in the know and join the groups they’re part of. Answer questions in groups your network/clients/donors are most invested in at least once a month. Look at LinkedIn “Answers” in categories that connect to your business and answer questions with useful resources and you’ll become known as a “go to professional”. This will help you make more contacts outside your immediate network but in your sector. It will also help dynamic like-minded people find you. Me personally, I find groups better for sector networking and answers better for referrals

7) Recommendations are important. The magic number is 3 to 5 on a profile. Consider who you have made an impact on and ask them to write one for you – be specific about what business or characteristics you’d like them to highlight. Give them an out if they’re uncomfortable. HR people are looking at LinkedIn first! Tip: Fastest way to get recommendations is consider who has made an impact in your career, connect and write one for them!

8) Have rules. Know who you don’t want to connect you. Set a daily time limittimer for use. Originally I started at 10mins a week to 30mins a week, to ten mins a day max. This is not Facebook! It is also addictive and can waste your time. As in your business life – follow the revenue line!! Time = money. A simple tool to manage all your social business media.

9) If you’re a book reader, upload what you’re reading ( in the Amazon reading list ) and favourite business books online to help others understand how you think and what you value. Again, it’s about telling the story of your brand/character – Forbes Magazine is awesome at teaching this…

10) Even though it’s no longer on your profile page. Use status update in your “home page” to provide business value, not updates on your life. Connect to a business-focussed Twitter account and you’ll double your audience. In 2012, twitter and LinkedIn broke up, which is a great thing because people didn’t know how to use them to compliment each other. If you want to read a book about the why and how of all social media and social business – Unmarketing is it

I leave you with two great resources:

LinkedIn’s awesome video series for small business ( applicable to all )

The video below is not just for companies but organizations of ANY kind (charities, I’m speaking to you ).

Hope it's of help and value... Contact me any time, and oh yeah, LinkedIn rules.

A 2012 video from LinkedIn on Company Pages

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Zipcar: Value and excellence on the road to social business

You work hard for your money right?

So when you consider who you HAVE to and even who you WANT tozipteam2012 give your money to, mobile phone providers, grocery stores, gas stations, clothing companies, landlords… the question is who do you actually feel brings value? What about fun? Who brings excellence?

Could there be ONE company in your life that brings all three? In mine, it’s Zipcar. I encourage you to join too, here’s my pitch for why.

I’m trying to do the right thing for the planet and my community and drive as little as possible. Now, we own one car which my wife drives to take our little one and herself the 75km a day to work, daycare and back ( longer story, we actually bought our car because we drove it as a Zipcar before we had a kid. Big shout out to Westowne Mazda for wonderful sale, service with integrity and for joining me in seeking social business, but that’s another blog post )

zipcard2012Now, I ride the ‘rocket’ every day. Calling the Toronto Transit Commission a rocket is like calling Mike Tyson a people person – let me be more clear: Riding transit saves the planet, saves me money but drains my energy, destroys my dignity and eats my soul a little bit each day.

I love to drive. As a kid my parents drove us from PEI to Vancouver and through dozens of US States.  ---- but I don’t like the lifestyle, cost, pollution and upkeep of a car.

In 2006 I changed jobs to a building on top of a subway station - even though I drove thousands of kilometres a year for work I didn’t need to buy a car. Why? There was two Zipcars in our office parking lot!! Since then, I have driven tens of thousands of km’s in Zipcars. Now I work in a building where parking is $38 a day and there is NO street parking… heh heh… except for Zipcars

I haven’t paid for gas or insurance, haven’t lifted a finger to clean zipvanor maintain the cars, I always drive virtually brand new cars, have over a dozen models to choose from and there are hundreds of locations all over the city! 2 seaters, sports cars, sedans, microvans, minivans, pickups, SUV’s and now ZipVans!!

Most importantly, the Zipcar team has NEVER let me down. Every problem solved, every question answered, every issue made right. I call it, platinum service.

As I embarked most recently in pursuit of the future of social business ( tied to social media yes ), Zipcar has been along for the ride. Engaging me, a3allowing me to promote their business to my network ( I’ve signed up dozens of friends, family, business peers and they are ALL grateful for the referral ). And hey, from time to time we have some fun too – just recniagaraently I won a high-end car rental from Zipcar on Twitter. I eschewed the BMW because fancy doesn’t appeal to me, like business, I choose performance and excitement. So I went with the Audi – took my wife and friends for a day in Niagara Falls and dinner for my birthday.

Do you have a company in your life that makes you feel like this?

Last week, we exchanged a little mutual business affection. I nominated Zipcar Toronto for Canada’s Passion Capitalist Award and I see zippassionthat they are officially on the list. And Zipcar, as part of another social business contest is naming a car after me! Thanks Zipteam.







I can’t say this enough: I kind of HAVE to use Zipcar. I use it 95% for work. But they have taken this business relationship over, and above.

I continue to enjoy only the best of service and happily refer the ZipToronto team – you have my business, loyalty, gratitude and respect.

Isn’t it time YOU dumped that gas-guzzling, dirty, old car? 

Here’s the BEST argument I’ve read for car sharing ( I totally agree that even the inconvenience is a plus for my health ).

Yes, it’s time. In the words of Starsky and Hutch, Do it.


For business

Zipcar for business

And…. beyond

Zipcar for everything else

Monday, 3 September 2012

Fundraisers and Entrepreneurs: Why don’t we hang out more?

macpc.pngNote: This post has a soundtrack. Click here to play while reading…

In the past few years I’ve become a student of social business

Notice I didn’t say social media. The skills are the tools, the goal is always profit. As a fundraiser my goal was social-profit

A few years ago, sitting at a ‘kitchen table’ discussion an entrepreneur turned to a fellow fundraiser and said “I know you work 60 hours a week for a charity and I respect that. But I work 100 hours a week and I donate a lot to charity too. But I have no office, no resources, no benefits, if I’m sick I don’t eat, I live on the edge and am more ‘non-profit’ than you’ll ever know or be”. He had a point. 

And I took to heart that I would be a better fundraiser if I hung out with a few more hungry folks like him. He yearns to succeed in much the same way my fundraising peers yearn to make social change. I’ve been telling folks that I want to focus less on wearing a tie and more on better work.

When the charities I worked for, rejected social media. My new entrepreneur network embraced it, learned fast and I got to tag along for the ride. Today I often share the power of social media with job seekers – how to use tools like LinkedIn to create a personal brand. Then how to use tools like Twitter and Blogging to engage and use that brand to and a job then develop a career. 

dekefirLast week I sat down with the owners of a business whose delicious product I’ve been enjoying. Sure their product is unique, they sell dekefir1Yogurt’s cousin, Kefir with uber-healthy toppings to the Bay Street crowd in Toronto. But what fascinated me was the strategy and intelligence with which their business was born. They are a coupe of business professionals who had a dream and make it work by mind, not just passion.

I asked a question recently in my first podcast “who do you happily give your hard earned money to?” and what companies are truly engaging in “social business”. DeKefir is one of those businesses. These entrepreneurs host early morning masterminds at their location, they understand that true business is in the relationships with their supporters and customers – just like fundraisers realize the relationships with their network and donors are they key to survival. 

It was an inspirational meeting. 

When I read about the transformation from cubicle dweller and see what it takes to be an entrepreneur, sometimes it can be pretty terrifying. Unsafe, uncomfortable ---- but they are the fuel for the fire in the engine of our economy

When Paul Alofs talks about “Passion Capitalists” – WE are who he was talking about! So why don’t we hang out more? As a fundraiser I was always dreaming of our best conferences and educational gatherings but maybe there is a new class of teacher that we’re already interacting with on a regular basis. 
I know I have the musical taste of a 13 year old sometimes but this song is how I feel when I hang out with a group of entrepreneurs. They inspire and excite me. I learn something every moment we’re together

I look forward to meeting more and encourage any fundraiser reading this to do the same!

As we end the summer and get back to work, remember, I’m here to help. Keep in touch,