OTTAWA—Canadians tend to be successful people, and the country’s current and future business and entrepreneurial enthusiasts attending the 7th annual Ottawa Business Summit on April 30 had the opportunity to learn from three great examples of that success.
The summit was a fountain of information and inspiration that all seemed to boil down to two things: fearlessness in taking risks, and thinking more about what you can do for others.
The speakers made clear that in following the “human-to-human” model, the most important question seems to be, What can I do for you? With this approach, the message was that, without even trying, you will actually be helping yourself.
The following is an outline of some useful tips given by the three keynote speakers at the summit: Fiona Gilligan, Bob Urichuck, and Dan Martell.
Building Opportunities, Taking Risks
Like many entrepreneurs who say they have been educated in the school of life, Fiona Gilligan is a self-made business leader and investor. She has started two different multimillion-dollar businesses, one of which she still runs and one which she sold when the opportunity came around.
In 2012 Gilligan created Female Founders, a network dedicated to helping and mentoring other women on the same path to achieve their goals. As well as being a professional speaker and media expert for the advancement of entrepreneurship, she has authored her first book, Confessions of a GirlPreneur, to be released this spring.
In her talk at the summit, Gilligan told an inspiring story about how she lost what she thought was her dream job, but instead of letting it become her end, she turned it into what proved to be a fruitful beginning.
She had three points to share with up-and-coming entrepreneurs, all of which she has tried and tested herself.
1. Turn a catalyst into an opportunity
Keep an open mind. Sometimes what might look like a bad thing is actually a good thing and just life’s way of pointing you in a more meaningful and fulfilling direction.
2. Risk is essential for success in business and in life
As scary as risk may seem, it is essential to growth and self-discovery. It is also your best teacher in finding what works and what doesn’t for your business. If you play it too safe, you won’t get to where you want to go.
The good news is that the more risks you take, the more calculated and successful a risk-taker you will become. “We (entrepreneurs) understand that risk is the ‘ugly’ twin of reward,” Gilligan said.
3. Drill down to build million-dollar revenue streams
Just because you need to take risks doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be smart about it. Know your product and make sure there is a market for it. Find out what people want, then find your core revenue stream. Every market has “a customer base that is deep, supportive, lucrative, and ongoing,” noted Gilligan.
The next step is to get out there and sell your product. Hustle, but also use goodwill—it will certainly come back around. And if your product doesn’t sell? “If you can’t sell your product it’s either the product or it’s you—it’s one or the other.”
The next step is to get out there and sell your product, Gilligan said. Hustle, but also use goodwill—it will certainly come back around. And if your product doesn’t sell? “If you can’t sell your product it’s either the product or it’s you—it’s one or the other.”
Increasing Performance, Net Worth
Bob Urichuck is an internationally renowned sales specialist who works with Fortune 500 companies. Ranked 4th among the world’s top 30 sales gurus, he is also the author of two bestselling books and launched his latest, Velocity Selling, at the summit.
Urichuck said he can help people raise both their self worth and net worth, boost personal and professional performance by 200 percent, and increase networking ability, sales margins, and bottom line.
Here are some of the tips he offered:
- Focus on your buyer rather than on yourself or your product, service, or brand. In this digital age it has to be about human-to-human sales—what he called H2H.
- “Continuous learning is key,” he said. You need to learn, apply, bring back, discuss, and repeat. Be ready to change your attitude, behaviour, and competency levels.
- Take care of yourself so that you can take care of others, since “you can’t give what you don’t have”. Be aware that we can be our own worst enemy and that we need to recognize and reward good behaviour.
- Know your rights, and that you have the right to ASK, which stands for Ask, Seek, Knock.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Regard FEAR as Fake Evidence Appearing Real, and consider FAIL as your First Attempt In Learning.
- Cooperate with others rather than compete with them. It is always best to help others.
- The best motivation comes from the inside out—that kind is everlasting. You need to know yourself beyond your role, since your role is much more fleeting.
- You have to believe in your product in order to sell it. If you rate it at 6 or less, you should leave since it is not beneficial for you or the company—it may even be harmful to your health.
- You need to have a clear vision, then focus. Keep to your purpose and things will unfold.
- Take care of your staff. Ask them what their personal goals are and then help them to achieve them. Our personal goals are the foundation of our behaviour.
Urichuck ended his 60-minute motivational talk with a very fitting quote from former U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt: “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Boosting Your Business
Dan Martell, an award-winning Canadian entrepreneur, is founder of Clarity and co-founder of Flowtown. He was named Canada’s top angel investor in 2012, having invested in more than 20 Canadian and American companies.
Martell offered five simple rules to triple your business:
- “Don’t listen to your parents.” Essentially, your parents don’t want to see you struggle, and so they will try to protect you, but in order to be a successful entrepreneur you will have to struggle, Martell explained.
- Motivation trumps knowledge. If you want it bad enough you will figure out the how.
- You are the average of the five people whom you spend the most time with, so surround yourself with successful people at whatever stage you are at in your process.
- Always include passion, be rational, and if you love what you do, you will persevere.
- Aim to help. Always ask, How I can be of help?