Monday, August 24, 2009

Does Face to Face Networking Still Work in the Modern Era of Tweeting and Twittering?

A few weeks ago, this question was asked by a Canadian Business coach at a recent event I attended in Ottawa. I was going on about the value of business referral clubs and how they can help small and medium sized businesses to build business through one to one referrals. This coach suggested that the business club was dead and that in the modern era all one needed to do was reach out through any of the local online networks and he or she could have all the contacts they wanted.

I posed that question to members of my Likened group a few weeks back only to get a barrage of answers that supported the question and a lot more that didn’t. Most of the respondents said that it was still important to have personal contact with customers or prospective customers in order to build that personal contact. Most felt that it was all right after the fact to contact people online but the initial contact should be in person.

At that point, I started researching business clubs in Canada. I came upon the usual suspects. The Chambers, Rotary, Kinsmen and Kinettes, BNI, BoB Clubs, and quite a few smaller lesser known local breakfast clubs. There were a number of online networking clubs mostly of regional nature and a number of business clubs that were part of other organizations. I realized that business referral or networking clubs are still alive, are well, and thriving in Canada.

There are also a large number of business networking websites, many which I have written about over the past year in this column, actually are growing and so are the lists of local meetings dedicated to the art of business and business networking. Based on my rough survey, I could say that in Canada the art of Face to Face networking is still a going and growing business. I can also say that in the era of tweets, Face book, Likened, Eecademy and number of other online sites, that both still have merit for promoting one’s business and making business contacts.

As the century unfolds, online networking will get bigger and more active and offline face to face networking will still be needed to build the relationship. It’s a much closer world today and as the online world continues to get stronger, the world will become even a smaller place. So in my mind, tweeting, and tweets are only the beginning of a good solid networking relationship. Its still up to two human beings regardless of where they live to find something in common, reach out, communicate and then see what happens.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. in Chelsea, Quebec and is the Presidents of Business over Breakfast (BoB Clubs) of North America.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Nortel and the Canadian Government

There was an interesting debate happening this morning on CFRA the Talk Radio station in Ottawa on whether or not that governments at all levels should have bailed out Nortel. A Canadian icon and Canada's sympbol of technology to the world was left to the wolves of big business in the telecommunications industry. Like the auto industry they were seeking bail out money to keep the company from going into bankruptcy.

The debate focused on whether the various levels of government, city,provincial,federal should have helped Nortel with loans and funding to keep the company in Ottawa and keep it Canadian.

Its an interesting debate. First of all, Ottawa City Council does not have the intelligence to consider this a debate. They are all too worried about their own personal egos and really have little or no understanding about business or the business community in Ottawa. Nortel was a significant employer and the city should have been lobbying the province and the feds to keep a major employer alive in this city. Instead we waisted valuable time at the council table debating Shannon Tweed day. Graeat move City of Ottawa! This is the level of intelligence that comes from the City of Ottawa and its elected officials. Employment or Shannon Tweed Day? What would you choose?

Second, Premier McGinty is also focused on the other things in Ontario like creating more tax dollars and the HST. He managed to take a postion on the auto industry because its important for votes but Ottawa. A major employer a high technology firm in Ottawa is not high on the priority list even though he is from the region. The feds, well, my friends after watching our government at work for the past 8 years I have decided that they have no plan ( even though I am a conservative) and would not show any leadership anyway unless " Stevie Boy" calls in the troops. " Stevie Boy" seems to have no interest in this at the moment. In fact no one really knows what " Stevie Boy" is interested in since he is floundering around like a fish out of water. This guy our leader is more interested in travel ( afterall it is summer, the government jet still has money left in the budget, better get it spent) than in keeping jobs in Canada. I guess a reformist can never really be called a true conservative. A true conservative has a focus for big business, employement and helping to build business inside a true democracy. "Stevie Boy" is a dictator with limited vision and well big business just does not go with the territory. What's 50,000 high tech jobs anyway and how many votes will I get from that and besides Ottawa is not even in that red part of the map central Ontario.

So the debate continues, was Nortel a good candidate for a bailout or should it's years of missmangement be seen as a reason for letting it go.

It should be mentioned here that at one time our Federal government had a agreement to support Nortel's research and development for reciporal taxes. So our government has already invested millions already in the technology and Nortel so why let it go.

The debate continues and now we are without a current employer and we have lost another Canadian icon. Short sighted governments and busiess people with limited management skills mean this country has a long way to go before it will be a major player on the world stage. So, so long Nortel, its been good to know ya. Its only too bad that we did not do something about this company earlier.