Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Do It Like the Big Dawgs!

Today we’ll take a look at how the kings of industry wine, dine and otherwise cajole prospects.

Most of successful professionals use a series of information based ads that build emotion and a call to action. These are much more effective than a standard company branding advertisements. The same principles that go into putting together a high impact (and, often, high priced) ad campaign can be adapted to fit your needs with similar results.

Here are some ways to put together and execute a professional, effective ad campaign:

1. Put together a short report that’ll you’ll automatically send to prospects when they contact you. This should include a short description of your business and what you specialize in. Don’t forget to include case studies, samples or other proof of your success.

2. Develop value-oriented social media strategy including: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other other social media activities, tell everyone about your business.

3. Consider newsletters as a way of educating and informing customers about your industry and services offered.

4. Offer a free seminar, webinar or other lecture to build awareness of your business, but make sure you make the information pertinent to your target market and find speakers who are respected and known in the industry.

5. Buy an existing business, introduce better marketing and grow this new business faster than a “from scratch” business.

6. Always test different versions of your ads to find the most effective ones.
7. Use direct mail marketing to grow your business.

8. Put together a database of previous customers and send them new information.

9. Offer incentives such as frequent purchasing benefits, loyalty programs, referral programs or others.

10. Approach large firms who may need your services and negotiate a deal to be their exclusive expert in your field.

Need more marketing information, check out www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com, get one month all access for only $1.00 Over a million dollars in research has gone into this University. If you have topic of interest or want more consultation, contact me at kenselt@sympatico.ca

Monday, October 24, 2011

PR Equals Free Publicity

There are three key areas of public relations you can use to boost your advertising results ten-fold over your paid advertising.
The key to public relations lie in:
• Public relation or publicity
• Merchandising
• Promotions

With a solid plan in place that encompasses all these areas, you’ll have a great approach to use public relations in the best way possible.
Public relations include all that is the media. Don’t limit yourself. The attention of newspapers, television, radio, magazines, bloggers, ezines and more are all equally powerful. Online marketing is just as, if not more, important as conventional media.

Here are the steps to get noticed by the media:
1. Put together a press release for your company. The press release should be relevant to your target market and address consumer interest, not just announce your business.

2. Compact your press release to include one hook and one angle. Choose the most attention-getting to make sure the media person you are sending it to is interested in reading it.

3. Put your press release in professional formatting. With press releases you need a dateline, the most important information at the top, facts, figures and wrap it up with contact details including who and how. Print the press release on your letterhead.

4. Send your press release to all television and radio stations, local and metro newspapers, national newspapers, industry magazines, and any other form of media that reaches your target market. Don’t forgot to include relevant blogs, ezines, press release submission sites and to industry professionals.
More importantly than a perfect press release is to make sure you have addressed the needs of your target market in the products/services you offer and made that clear in the press release. If you are provided people a solution to a problem, a way to avoid a problem and an opportunity to enhance their life the media and public will be interested.

If you have a connection (or the ability to get a connection) with a celebrity, this can practically guarantee you’ll get attention. Make sure you are offered newsworthy information, and then follow up with media outlets to make sure they are publicizing that information.

“One of the most powerful techniques every business should use is free publicity. As the name implies, there is no cost, just the time and effort required to attract attention to your business.” Jay Abraham

Our FREE test drive can show you how to put together press releases that work! Check out how the pro’s do it and craft the perfect press releases for your business.
Contact me or go to www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com for a free 30 day trial. Download as much information as you can to help you grow your business.

Turn Prospects into Customers Overnight!

Today I’d like to talk about how to turn prospects into customers and retain them for future marketing to. While, your marketing is doing its job, you need to be working on turning those prospects into customers.

There are a few key ways to draw them in and seal the deal.

You need to be:
• Inviting
• Informative
• Enjoyable

The biggest fear of most new customers is the dread buyer’s remorse. You want to avoid this at all costs and this should be mitigated if you’ve provided a quality product/service that delivers on the marketing claims you’ve made.

However, this can still occur. There are two ways to deal with this:
• Offer to refund money-no questions asked
• Offer a bonus they can keep even if they return the product

These offers alone will also mitigate buyer’s remorse because the customer will trust you more, just for offering these things.

There are number of other ways to turn a prospect into a customer:
1. Offer a special price as an opportunity for you to test the market.
2. Offer a lower price with the reason of pushing inventory to pay a tax bill, for your kid’s' braces, or another tangible reason. Customers love that this makes you feel so much more human.
3. Offer a referral incentive.
4. Offer a smaller, more inexpensive product first to build trust.
5. Offer package deals.
6. Offer to charge less for their first purchase if they become a repeat customer.
7. Offer extra incentives-longer warranties, free bonuses if ordered by a set date.
8. Offer financing options, if applicable.
9. Offer a bonus if they pay in full.
10. Offer special packaging or delivery.
11. Offer “name your own price” incentives.
12. Offer comparative data or other comparison tools.
13. Offer a trade-up or upgrade to something they already have.
14. Offer additional, educational information to help them make the decision.

The options really are as limitless as you make it. You can use these or other ideas to find what works the best for your business, products/service and target market. Remember this…

“By making it inviting, easy, informative, non-threatening, educational, inspiring and fun to do business with you, you’ll loft your company above the competition.” Jay Abraham

Need help with figuring out the best strategy for converting prospects into customers? Our FREE test drive gives you exclusive access to the mountain of resources and tools, along with information from some of the greatest marketing minds on Earth.

Checkout www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com Get the lastest information and take a free 30 day test drive. If you have a story you want to share, contact me at kenselt@sympatico.ca

Thursday, October 13, 2011

How Did Starbucks Build A Multimillion Dollar Empire Using A Basic Commodity?

You can buy a cup of coffee at 7-11, Quik-Trip, Dunkin Donuts and even McDonalds. and buy it for $3.50 less than you can at Starbucks. So WHY are so many people Starbuck junkies?

Why is every airline bankrupt or nearing bankruptcy, and yet Southwest has made a profit every quarter but one since it started flying its planes in 1971? How did Apple come back from the dead and resurrect itself so it now sits at the top of the communications world?

What you need to know.

Starbuck's didn't just happen to get "lucky." This was a very carefully planned and crafted assault that was years in the making. In most cases, when you sell a basic commodity such as coffee, you're forcing yourself into a market that competes on nothing but price.

Well, that's what everyone else was indeed doing. 7-11, Quik-Trip, Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds were locked in battle to see who could offer the cheapest cup of coffee. In fact, most of them were providing it at cost as a way to entice customers to come in more frequently. They figured they could make up the lost profit with additional sales.

Starbucks looked at this and said "these guys are all fighting over who can offer a 50 cent cup of coffee. I wonder how we can get these same people to buy our coffee. and pay us $4 a cup in the process?"

Why you need to know this.

Obviously, they were successful. So how did they do it? In a word. "INNOVATION!"
If you want your business to grow and flourish, then you must stop competing on price. You have to find out specifically what your customers "want" from your business, and then innovate your business to not only give them what they want, but do so in a way that can only be described as "extraordinary."

Customers don't go to Starbucks to pay $4 for a cup of coffee. They pay $4 for the "experience" they enjoy at Starbucks. Starbucks innovated their stores to give their customers what they "wanted." Customers don't want to buy their coffee from a clerk. They want to buy it from a "barista." They don't want to buy coffee from a convenience store or a fast food restaurant. They want to buy their coffee from a specialty coffee establishment where the barista knows them by name and knows what they want to drink without them having to ask for it. In short. they want an "experience," and they're willing to pay $4 a cup to get it.

The cost to you if you fail to act.

* Do you know exactly how to find that "sweet spot" that your competition knows nothing about?
* Do you know how to use that "sweet spot" to instantly attract new clients whenever you want?
* Would you like to finally understand how to separate your business from all of your competition?
* Would you be interested in positioning your business for market dominance?

You can learn to do this for your business. IF you can discover specifically what your customers want. and create an experience that compliments what they want.
For more information, check out my new Marketing University, get as much information as you want and take a test drive on our system.To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://marketingandsalesuniversity.com/guidedtour

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and owner of Marketing and Sales University, a resource for small and medium sized businesses that want more information on marketing.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Writing Great Advertising Copy

This week I thought I would steal a page from www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com and talk about writing good ad copy. I have seen it over the years that companies spend lots of money on marketing only to wonder why their advertising is having little or no impact. Its important for advertisers to consider how to write good ad copy.

With the advent of social media, a lot of people don't think they need to know the basics of writing good copy. For those who still want to know, here are five essential components to writing great advertising copy.

There are 5 major components to good advertising copy: (The order of these is essential to success)
• Command Attention
• Showcase Benefits of Products/Services
• Prove the Benefits
• Persuade People to Embrace the Benefits
• Call to Action

Advertising is sales in print. So, you need to think about the unique benefits your products/services offer and showcase that in a persuasive way. You need to emphasize results, not features.

Let’s take a minute to talk about each of these components:
1. Command Attention: This is usually accomplished with the headline. You need an attention-getter that makes people want to know more about your products/services. The best headlines give a vivid portrayal of the benefits or show how a problem can be avoided with your products/services. The headline is the advertisement for the advertisement.

2. Showcase Benefits: You have to showcase the benefits of your products and services and, more importantly, show how they will solve or prevent a problem. They need to know what’s in it for them. Include useful, factual and clear information to show precisely what the benefits are and how they are going to help the customer.

3. Offer Proof: This is where you prove what the advertisement is offering. You need to establish you have a method to deliver. Consider information that establishes credibility and past performance.

4. Persuade: You need to add compelling reasons for your potential customers to purchase your products/services. Use a hard sell approach and create scarcity. This will enact your potential customers to feel like they have to act now. Which leads into the last component.

5. Call to Action: You need to compel your potential customers to DO something. They need to check out your site, sign up for your newsletter, purchase your products, contact you about services…something. Offer a freebie-a booklet, sample, product, bonus, demo, consult, limited time price…the list goes on. There are lots of ways to get potential customers excited about ordering and help them feel like they are getting an amazing deal.

Good advertisements include all of these components and are not complete without any of them. You can sit down and think through any one of these components, then figure out how to best place them together for the most effectiveness. We can help you with this too.

For more information on this and to get more marketing advice than you ever wanted to know, check out www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com. or contact me at the email address below.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach at The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Chelsea, Quebec. If you are interested in getting more marketing advice or just need a coach to help build your business contact Kensel today at kenselt@sympatico.ca

Do You Have A Unique Selling Proposition?

If I were your prospective customer, why should I do business with you above any and all other options? Why would I be an absolute fool to buy what you sell from anyone else but you? That answer should be clearly articulated in the form of your USP.

What you need to know…

A USP is the single, most distinct and important benefit a business owner provides to their clients that's different from their competition. It's absolutely critical to not only create an effective and highly compelling USP, but to use it in every piece of marketing you develop, and in every form of communication you use with your clients and prospects.

Why you need to know this…

Your USP, working in tandem with your elevator pitch, creates a huge competitive edge for your business. Developed properly, it will separate your business from your competition, eliminate them in the minds of your prospects and have them saying to themselves that they would be fools to do business with anyone else but you.

For example, most business owners place the name of their business at the top of their business card. That's the worst thing you can put there. No one cares who you are or what you do. They only care about the benefits your product or service offers to them.

Instead of a jeweler's business card saying "John's Jewelers," what if it said this…

Discounted Diamonds - Unmatched Quality, Untouchable Price, Unbeatable Guarantee

In just a few words, would you feel like an absolute fool if you bought a diamond from anyone else but this jeweler? That's the power of a well-designed USP.

The cost to you if you fail to act…

Do you have a Unique Selling Proposition?

Do you use it in every piece of marketing you create?

Do you have it prominently displayed on your business card?

If you don't, you're losing market share, a massive amount of potential revenue and the opportunity to dominate your market.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Anti-Socia Media Looks Like Its Arrived and Here to Stay

A couple of days ago a number of things happened to me that has led me to believe that the new social media revolution should actually be called the anti-social media revolution and here's why.

As I walk down any street, I see almost every second person plugged in, buds in their ears and cell phone cranking out emails oblivious to the world around them,the weather or the people next to them. I see people on bicycles with buds in, cutting in and out of traffic and not paying attention to anything.

I sit in a restaurant and hear people talking on the phone, like they are the only one in restaurant, so much so that I actually have to lean over and say, please shut up we are tying to have a conversation here.

I see people communicating on their Facebook page, just talking about them. What about everyone else. I hear from the plugged in generation that if your not on Gmail you out of touch and Twitter is something you need to do if you want to build your personal profile. The issue is what is behind the profile.

I have had discussions with many opinionated, self absorbed and selfish individuals who do not know how to communicate and get frustrated when they need to sit still for a few minutes in a meeting without the habit of picking up their phone or sending an email.

I have had breakfast meetings where the person I am talking with has had to be told to turn that " thing " off so we can chat. I have seen people ignore their work, deadlines and everything else so that they can up date their profile, send Twitter messages and everything else but ignore what is important.

I see stressed out, arrogant, uncommunicative people walking through me in airports, retail stores and shopping centres glued to their phone and nothing else. I see people on the street corner on sunny day glued to their phone as they barge through others who are just in the way. So this is the new social media huh!

In reality, social media may be about getting online and yes texting your friends, emails and phone calls, however in my mind, the world on a common level is getting less friendly,less engaged and less social and on a personal level people pretty much send emails to break relationships dates or ignore paying bills.

I call this new trend " anti-social media", Anti-social media is where the real world does not matter. All that matters is being online. I recently played golf with a couple that could not wait til the game was over on a Sunday morning so they could both check their Blackberry's and took ten minutes to answer emails and such before we could have breakfast.

Social media may be a good thing, however this anti social media thing its going to get worse and the anti-social behaviour will also come with it. I am pretty tired of have a face to face meeting with someone who answers his mobile and talks for 10 minutes about B.S. while I am waiting for an answer or in the middle of an important discussion. I am tired of presenting information at meeting while staring at some fool who is sitting there checking or sending email and not listening to a word I am saying. A a recent breakfast meeting one persons phone rang four times and each time she picked it up for conversation. I finally had to say shut that thing off so we can finish our meeting. She squirmed and shook and twisted and turned for the next half an hour because she had to talk with someone without being armed with a cell phone.

So the next time you hear somebody yelling at someone on their cell phone or being ignored in retail store by someone just checking their email take stock, it could be you.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Referral Marketing and Online Marketing are Growing Leaps and Bounds

As a business and marketing coach you are always reinventing the way you do business. Such is the case with my new website www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com and Stratejis Marketing Solutions.

As a marketing coach clients were always asking for more of something. More business, more time, more revenues. Its important for business owners to continue to reinvent their business even if they think they are on the right track.

Today's consumer has no brand loyalty and its important for a biz owner to understand what it takes to continue to build and market. The younger generation thinks that social media is going to be the next big saving grace for marketing. However its important to consider some of the traditional things you once did in marketing to continue move projects forward.

For example networking is all about building relationships. That's why we are rolling Business Over Breakfast clubs out all across Canada and the United States, to build relationships.

www.marketingandsalesuniversity.com was set up as a simple way for small business owners to get more information for less than $1200 per year. A simple process with a wealth of knowledge. Gives the small business owner an opportunity to grow and prosper on their own terms as well as pick up pointers that they can discuss with their coach or internally to get the ball rolling. Nobody wants to pay huge marketing fees just to get an education in marketing with limited returns.

Stratejis Marketing Solutions is my pet project. Having run a marketing company for a number of years I wanted to get back in the war and develop a few projects as a creative outlet for me personally and my clients. Nothing I like better than discussing creative concepts, graphic design, advertising and marketing and then implementing programs like having a marketing company now provides services to clients that want more. They want to design the ultimate ad, direct mail, website, learn more about social marketing and then having a dedicated approach to executing a program or a strategy.

On many of these projects I have partnered with my good friend Jason Harper his up and coming visual communications shop called Strongevine Visual Communications located in Ottawa. Jason's view is that marketing is a visual medium and that websites, brochures, logo designs and great business cards are still the basis of every company's marketing strategy and I agree with him.

So remember, when someone comes up to you and your company and thinks that you should have a new Twitter Account and Facebook page yada yada, you need more social media, agree with them and add it to your marketing inventory.

Get online and get social, but also insure that your image and what you are saying to customers is also up date and as matter fact focus in more on knowing who your customers are. Make sure all your marketing and communications tools are all up to date and all are entirely flexible so that you gather all the customers you need.

Remember customers are still about having relationships and getting referrals from people that know, trust and believe in you.

A business club like www.bobclubs.com, marketing efforts and social media combined will help you grow your business and will help it grow and prosper over time all the time.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Canada is A Great Place to Open and Own a Business

This week’s article I thought I would talk about Canada and why it’s a great place to invest or to open up a business. With all the blood on the tracks in the great U.S. of A I thought I would brag a little about your neighbour to the north and discuss why Canada is doing well in spite of issues facing other countries throughout the world.
Here are the top 8 reasons why it makes sense to invest in Canada.
1. First of all Canada has a people advantage. Canada is a nation of intelligent, educated workers, ranking #2 in the OECD in higher education achievement.
2. The next is the business environment advantage: The Economic Intelligence Unit has rated Canada the #1 place to do business in the G7 for the next five years.
3. The economic advantage puts Canada as better placed than many countries to weather the global financial turbulence and worldwide recession
4. This one could be debatable since there are some better tax advantages in other countries. Canada however offers businesses low tax rates, boasting the lowest payroll taxes among the G7 countries.
5. The NAFTA Advantage advantage gives investors access to more than 450 million consumers and a combined GDP of US$ 17.1 trillion (PPP basis).
6. If you are considering doing business in Asia the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI): takes advantage of Canada’s strategic location as the crossroads between the North American marketplace and the booming economies of Asia.
7. The transportation advantage gives Canada a sophisticated infrastructure and a highly developed transportation network.
8. Last of all the main reason we are all here in the first place is the life style advantage which gives Canada world-class universities, a universally acclaimed health care system, clean, friendly cities and spectacular scenery make Canada a great place to invest, work, live and raise a family.
There you have it, a simple and effective reason to invest in Canada. If you are thinking of opening a business, looking for good investment or want to move to stable democracy Canada for my money is the place to start hands down. Hope this helps you think about great places to live and invest.

Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. a business coaching company located in Chelsea Quebec, and Ottawa Ontario. He is also the President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs opening up in every city throughout North America.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Twiiter Helps Small Business Grow and Prosper

Canada it is said is one of the most connected countries in the world and in spite of paying some of the highest rates for internet and mobile phone, social networking is continuing to grow. If you run a business and have an online presence, chances are you have heard about the potential value that Twitter can have as a business tool.

The usefulness of Twitter and other social media for promotion, marketing, interacting with customers and building relationships has been promoted by a number of social media pundits and business professionals in a wide variety of industries. However social media has proven to be much more difficult for small business people to get a hold of and building an active presence on Twitter can me more difficult than expected. With and estimated 200 million tweets a day being sent simply sending off tweets won’t prove very useful nor will starting a twitter account and letting it lay dormant.
So in order to take advantage of what Twitter has to offer it requires having a strategy.

Here are some quick tips on how to start, build and maintain and active and effective Twitter persona for your business.
First step is to understand why you want to start a Twitter account for your business. It is important to have specific goals in mind when creating any channel and ensure they goals are reflected as you setup your profile for you and your business. It’s also important to understand how you will achieve these goals. For example if you are trying to find new customers, make sure what you will say and to whom to attract people to find you on Twitter, subscribe to your messages and eventually visit your store, website or blog.

Twitter takes some understanding to use it effectively. It’s important to understand that Twitter is pull technology and not a push approach to promoting. Traditionally you needed to force people to read your messages by buying some form of media or sending bulk emails to prospects. On Twitter, people need to follow you or opt in to read your messages therefore you need to make sure you saying something that is relevant or interesting to people vs. trying to achieve your goals.
Nobody is going to read a feed full of advertising. This media is called social media for reason as it puts the audience as part of the conversation. Most good case studies show that the most effective use of social media are those in which creative topics are created that are of interest to your potential audience. It’s therefore important to create creative ways to respond, reach out and respond to other individual messages too.

First of all, remember that Social Media can be used for more than just marketing. The key to any marketing program is understanding your customer, their likes, dislikes and interests. Once you have this profile, ensure that your Twitter messages are following these interests (for example, if you own a unique restaurant, tweet about food, preparation, recipes and equipment). Again, Twitter is an opt-in channel, so make sure what you say is something that your customer would want to read out of interest. Be as conversational as you can. In the restaurant example above, ask people what types of food they like and how they cook. Watch for the tweets of people you follow, and when they tweet about food, don't hesitate to reach out and share your thoughts in a friendly way.

Also, understand that tools are rarely effective in isolation. Mention Twitter in conversations, and link to it from your website. Perhaps even mention it in your other marketing materials.

Twitter can be a very effective marketing tool but needs to be used correctly. The key is get the conversation going, build credibility with your business approach or business focus, give information to your audience they want to read and be a source of inspiration and knowledge which will give you an advantage and help you build followers. Also look for key influencers in your industry and follow them on Twitter.

There following may also be your customer then you have a good chance of participating in a conversation with a variety of people that may also be interested in what it is you are saying. Remember, quality information, valuable knowledge, unique and key learning will help you grow your Twitter reputation and help others seek you out and develop a better understanding of what it is you do and what it is you have to offer.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach, Senior Partner for the Corporate Coachworkz and Managing Director of Stratejis, Results Based Marketing Solutions. He is also the President of Business over Breakfast Clubs in North America now opening up in every city in North America.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Companies Invading Canada in Force, Who's Next?

Over the past few articles I have been explaining how Canada’s robust economy has been driving businesses in Canada and with our production tied to the high price of oil Canada becomes a place for business to thrive and prosper. Many brands are now expanding into Canada, the American brands that once seemed so exotic to Canadian shoppers have expanded north. Victoria's Secret and Crate and Barrel have opened flagship stores in Canadian malls in recent years.

In January, TJX Cos., which owns the discount clothing store Marshalls, and Tanger both announced northern expansion plans as well analysts predict that J. Crew, Macy's, Nordstrom, Kohl's and JC Penny are also on their way into Canada.

So the Canadian economy and the fact that 35 million new consumers are already attracted to American brands offers a unique expansion market for most American retailers. The biggest change however is with Target Stores. Target announced its purchase of 220 Zellers stores in a $1.8-billion deal with the American owner of the Hudson's Bay Co.

Target, which entices thousands of shoppers across the border, will finally cross the border itself. And Target's just the beginning. Like the War of 1812, the date of the last American invasion of Canada, a new invasion is happening only this time it’s an American retail invasion.

As U.S. retailers search for markets outside of their own stagnant economies, many set their sights on Canada. And that may mean trouble for home grown retailers. "Twenty years ago there were 20 U.S. retailers up here," says Toronto-based retail consultant Wendy Evans. "Today there are, soon to be, over 200." Canada is now in the midst of "a really big wave" of U.S. companies moving in, says Evans, and it should be enough to worry major Canadian retailers, such as Canadian Tire and Loblaw’s. "There is going to be a lot more competition," Evans says. "There are nine or 10 U.S. retailers right now that have announced plans to enter this market, or are actively looking. That's a lot." Evans predicts that 70% of the Canadian retail landscape will be foreign controlled by 2015, up from the about 50% that is foreign controlled today.

Many of the retailers now crossing the border have possibly contemplated the move for years, but it appears were finally pressed into action by the weak U.S. economy. Limited American opportunities in the medium term mean Canadian retailers will likely see competition increase steadily over the next five years, as their American counterparts turn to globalization for growth.

There was no real incentive for retailers to look beyond America's borders when its economy was thriving. The entire population of Canada is roughly the same as the population of California, points out retail consultant John C. Williams. While it makes sense for American companies to consider a Canadian move, a lot of U.S. companies, including Target, have been expanding in the States first.

The first proliferation of U.S. retailers really took off after NAFTA in 1994. That was the year Wal-Mart acquired 122 Woolco stores from Woolworth Canada, allowing it to open dozens of stores at once, in much the same manner Target is planning with its Zellers acquisition. The purchase allowed the company to move forward with its plans for international expansion, says Target spokesperson Amy Reilly."The timing is really about the excitement about this opportunity, which will allow us to open a meaningful number of stores in Canada," she says.

So it seems as if Canada is a viable market for American companies. Tim Horton’s the Canadian coffee icon is the reverse, with the Canadian market well saturated with its iconic brand of coffee and donut stores, their expansion is expected state-side over the next few years.

So it’s only a matter of time, Canadian shoppers interested in the unique American brand won’t have to make the trip across the border, fire up the internet or purchase online. Soon be a nice big American branded retail outlet will soon be found in your home town, just wonder who is going to be next?

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach with the Corproate Coachworkz Inc., strategic advisors in the areas of marketing, leadership and business transformations.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Millionaires on the Rise in Canada

If all you ever thought about Canada is that it’s the land of ice, snow, oil, wood and hockey it’s time to think again about doing business in Canada. For example, number of millionaire households in Canada is set to surge 38% and total wealth will more than double, according to a new report.

A study carried out by the Deloitte Centre for Financial Services of 25 countries found that the number of millionaire households in Canada will jump from 1.74 million to 2.4 million in the next nine years according to a report on Global Wealth. This study also found that Canada’s total wealth will rise from $3.35 billion to $6.77 billion. This is great news for a population of some 35 million but still a drop in the bucket in comparison to the U.S.

For example, the total wealth projected in the millionaire households world-wide will grow from $92 Trillion in 2011 to $202 Trillion in 2020. For my American friends who think that their economy is still on the skids, they should be a whole lot more optimistic now because the study also found that the U.S. is likely to remain the world leader in terms of total wealth followed by Japan and Italy.

For example any American worried about the U.S. economy should be investing heavily in real estate, stocks and or bonds since the same study predicts that 43% of the world’s millionaire households are predicted to be in the United States and also the number of millionaire households in the United States is projected to increase from an estimated 10.5 million in 2011 to 20.6 million in 2020.

While this news is good for Canada right now, it’s projected that even with this impressive growth Canada is likely to slip in wealth status to 8th world-wide since China is expected to make huge gains in the next number of years and is currently in 12th place.

The study also showed that wealthy Canadians have the biggest portion of their money in cash and other categories, which accounts for 28% of their total holdings. Canadian millionaires also tend to hold equal shares in real estate and domestic stocks at about 21% and over 11% in foreign stocks.

Meanwhile with the bloom off American real estate in the short-term (except for those Canadians investing in warm climate states like Florida and California) the ownership of property still accounts for 51% of millionaire household assets in Italy, compared with 45% in Spain and 35% in Hong Kong.

This study also shows that Canada is still a safe haven to do business, start a new lifestyle or just continue doing what we have been doing since the economy is maintaining a steady growth and there is also strong projected future growth.

This is also a great message for my American friends who can now start to change their attitude slightly and view their economy as one of the best in the world and see that it’s time for America to start to rebuild its business base, its cities, its real estate and its stock market. Even with the current downturns the U.S. it is still the leader in the number of millionaires world-wide.

So even though you think that Canada is that northern white spot on the map north of the 49th parallel remember there are millions of dollars up here waiting for investors and new products and Canada represents a great market for any type of business.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach, Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. and President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs currently opening in every city and town in North America.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Even with Rising Loonie, Canucks pay more than U.S. Counterparts

As luck would have it for the average Canadian consumer travelling to the United States, it still makes a lot of sense to spend more dollars state-side than in Canada. Having recently returned from a holiday in California I was quite happy to spend as many dollars as I could in the old U.S. of A since like me, many Canadian consumers are still paying more for goods and services at home even though the Canadian Dollar is now worth $1.04 U.S.

The Loonie ( as Canadians affectionately call the dollar) has now risen 30% from its levels just two years ago fuelled by investors seeking the stability of Canada’s financial system and booming demand for the nation’s commodities.

BMO Chief Economist Doug Porter says that it’s because of more moderate inflation performance vs. other countries overwhelmed by the surge in currency. As a result says Porter “the cost of a basket of goods, adjusted for today’s exchange rate, has bolted higher in Canada relative to the U.S”.

Having lived in Toronto growing up, it was not uncommon in the 60’s and 70’s to make the trip to Buffalo N.Y to shop and to pick up Lee Jeans, and Penny loafers ( once all proudly carrying the Made in USA sticker) and bring them back to Canada every chance you got. The U.S. dollar could be purchased for as little as $.70 cents Canadian and it made perfect sense to purchase goods at lower prices in the U.S. with higher Canadian dollars.

Over the years that has all changed. The Loonie fell behind the U.S. dollar and Free Trade had so much impact in that it became attractive to start to sell your goods in the U.S. at margins 25-40 percent higher due to the fact that the Canadian dollar was trading in the $.60-$.70 cent range for one U.S. dollar. The U.S. economy was booming and everything from lumber to pork bellies was in demand.

This helped Canada in the export market because goods bought with U.S. dollars gave manufacturers a comfortable margin just with the exchange rate. Now however, some companies have had to learn how to adapt to being more competitive in sales, quality, delivery and performance based on the rising Loonie.

Now another thing is happening with the a the rising Canadian dollar, consumers are still paying more for comparable products in Canada than our friends south of the boarder. For example, check out the price of Books and Food. The U.S. price is still lower for a book in comparison to Canada even if the book is printed in Canada and there are no shipping costs.

Running shoes in the U.S. can be had for a low buy one pair for $69.00 get the second pair at ½ price. In Canada the same shoes cost $147.99 Canadian for one pair. Golf balls have an 11% price difference in Canada than in the U.S. Gap Cargo shorts are 15% more expensive and an IPod Touch costs $249.00 in Canada and $200.89 in the U.S. The cost of gas and alcohol is also cheaper in the U.S. due to lower government taxes. For example a gallon of gas in Canada costs $5.62 cents (at $1.25 a liter) and a six pack of beer is around $10.99 plus deposit. I recently bought a case of 12 Becks beer in California for $11.99 and a dozen Budweiser’s for $6.99. The price of gasoline was less than $4.00 a gallon.

The BMO says that the lofty Loonie is here to stay so that it will appear that many more Canadians will be taking their vacations State-side this year and Canada will see less U.S. tourism based on the higher price of goods and services and the need to have a passport to cross the border.

This does not favour good long-term growth for tourism related industries or those exporters and those who ship the majority of their production to the U.S.
It should however give Canadian politicians some food for thought about reducing corporate taxes, reducing the taxes on gas and decreasing consumption taxes such as the HST and GST to make Canada more competitive with our friends to the south.

Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach and is Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz in Chelsea, Quebec.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Canadian Companies Face Different Challenges than U.S. Counterparts.

I came across an interesting discussion this week online by Paul Ricketts where he put a question out on his blog about the differences that Canadian companies face in comparison to those starting up in United States.

Many of my American business friends and I discuss this on a regular basis especially now that the world is getting smaller every day and Canada’s small business environment is growing especially now that we have a solid economy, great standard of living and a highly educated workforce. Yes, in many parts of the country that goes with 6 months of winter, but Canada is still a great place to start a business.

However in spite of all the good things about doing business in Canada, Ricketts brief survey addressed some of the issues affecting Canadian start-ups. For one, Canada has a small domestic market which is further fragmented by inter-provincial barriers and regulations. This is especially true for tangible goods. Many products are regulated provincially forcing many Canadian companies to seek markets offshore or in the U.S. quicker than developing the Canadian market. For many start-ups this means that many companies are doing business in foreign markets quicker than their U.S. counterparts and this leads to increased costs and marketing issues as companies are forced to tackle markets outside of their home country.

Canada also has a much smaller VC market and angel capital pools are smaller. This means that investors are required to be less patient in there need for returns which forces a lot of smaller companies to grow much more quickly to satisfy investors forcing in some cases quicker expansion and higher risk taking. This is not all bad, however but if you have a product that requires good long term patient investment it can be difficult to find the right investors in Canada.

Because of the size of the market only 30 million people, there is a lack of diversity of industry clusters and sub-clusters and fewer companion companies within those clusters, so a lot of start-ups are forced to go alone or go a long way from home to find companion products and companies that can use their products. Canada also suffers from a lack of large major home grown companies and has limited national and global players with a major presence to act as catalysts for new ideas and to grow management talent. This does not mean there isn’t any real talent there is, just not enough.

Ricketts also thinks that Canadian business owners have a bad case of “ sell-out-itis “ which forces Canadian companies too often to take the big cheque sell out too early or plan a business with short-term or limited thinking where the entire business strategy is predicated on finding an exit.

With that being said, a stable economy, solid work force and a growing market Canada is still a great place to consider starting a business. There are a large number of government business incentives and safe environments. The only thing that we really need is a better climate in general, because sometimes you just don’t need 6 months of winter.

Kensel Tracy, The Marketing Coach is a Senior Partner with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. located in Ottawa and Chelsea, Quebec and is also the President of Business over Breakfast Clubs of North America now opening in every City. If you have a story that you think on doing business in Canada, he can be reached at kenselt@sympatico.ca.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Canada's Cities Deemed Most Livable

As a Canadian and a business owner it was great to find out this week that based on research provided the by the Economist Intelligence Unit that three of the top-ten most livable cities in the world were in Canada and that Vancouver ranked as the number one most livable city in the world.

The Economist Intelligence Unit is the world's leading resource for economic and business research, forecasting and analysis. Like The Economist, it is an independent of all governing bodies and corporations, leaving it free to deliver accurate and impartial business intelligence. The report provided livability rankings for 140 cities. Each city was assigned a score for over 30 qualitative and quantitative factors across five broad categories which included, stability, health care, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Australia had four cities in the top ten and Vienna, Helsinki and Auckland New Zealand rounded out the top-ten group. A big disappointment for my American friends was that the highest ranked city was Pittsburgh at 29, and that Los Angles ranked at 44 and New York ranked at 56.

Why are these rankings so important? Well as a business owner, a highly livable city allows you the opportunity to define the best places to setup and run a business and it is important to know what cities have the greatest potential.

For Canada to have three cities, Vancouver ranked as number one and Toronto and Calgary as four and five respectively it’s quite an accomplishment. It shows that low interest rates, coupled with good government, limited risk, vision, stability, infrastructure and commitment are all important in growing an economy and a city. Canada has managed to build the infrastructure in order to make its major cities as appealing places to live and as such, great places to start and grow a business.

Canada has also weathered the economic downturn quite nicely.Our business growth is strong and emerging and our banking system is also strong. Although we take a lot of flak from our neighbors to the south and sometimes throughout the world in regards to Canada’s commitment to national health care and high taxes which are in some cases perceived as detrimental, Canada continues to lead all of the G8 countries in economic growth. Combine that with high livability rankings and you have a country that is well positioned in regards to providing opportunities for business for the future.

This study also shows that if quality of life can be sustained then businesses can also grow and prosper in these environments. An educated work force and a highly livable city are usually tied into a strong economy and significant business growth.

As a Canadian I am proud of the fact that Canada is the land of opportunity. Yes it may have cold weather, 15% of the population that speaks French, higher personal and business taxes, the HST (sales taxes) and higher municipal taxes, but now Canada should have no inferiority complex on both the world stage and in the business world.

Lowering our national debt and continuing to provide lower corporate taxes, rebuilding our education system and ensuring a high standard of living will ensure that Canada is a good place to invest and build a business. These are the things that hopefully we can teach the world. Combine that with mutual respect for our fellow humans throughout the planet and you have a winning formula for business success.

For more information on the study and to register free for additional information checkout http://www.eiu.com/ at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach and Senior Partner with The Corporate Coachworkz Inc. and a Senior Consultant with the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing in Ottawa. He is also the President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs now opening in every city in North America. If you have something of interest he can be contacted at kenselt@sympatico.ca

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aboriginal People in Canada Getting into Clean Energy Business

As part of a an ongoing profile of unique business opportunities in Canada I came across this story.

In this age where virtually every country is looking for cleaner sources of energy Aboriginal organizations are getting involved in the clean energy business in Canada. Canada like other countries in the world are discovering that run-of-river hydro projects can offer more than clean energy and they also have the potential to generate significant, long-term economic benefits for the country’s Aboriginal people.

As the push to develop more clean energy has increased, independent power producers are approaching individual First Nations in Canada on a regular basis with proposals for small hydro development. Under Canadian law, most Aboriginal peoples have certain rights with regard to resource development on their traditional territories.
Aboriginal corporations that provide business financing and support services to First Nations in British Columbia and the Tribal Resource Investment Corporation (TRICORP) and the Tale'awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation are taking a major stake in various projects throughout Canada. They also created the First Nation
Regeneration Fund specifically to provide financing to enable First Nations to purchase equity positions in power projects.

“Run-of-river hydro power generation is one area where First Nations clearly have a competitive advantage,” says Peter Lantin, TRICORP’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our traditional territories, especially on the coast, have an abundance of clean energy. In fact, the first project we are helping to finance is a two-megawatt run-of-river hydro project owned by the Taku River Tlingit First Nation near Atlin in northern British Columbia.”

With $2 million from each of the Aboriginal corporations, and a $3 million contribution from Canada’s Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, the First Nation Regeneration Fund now has a total endowment of $7 million. It’s administered by Ecotrust Canada Capital, a subsidiary of Ecotrust Canada.
Loans made available through the Regeneration Fund are repaid by the First Nation through dividends and royalties from the run-of-river power project and possibly other sources. Once the loan is repaid, the dividends and royalties become long-term discretionary income that can be used by First Nations for economic or social development.

“The Regeneration Fund is going to provide access to much needed capital for First Nations,” says Sandy Wong, General Manager of the Tale’awtxw Aboriginal Capital Corporation. “It will help First Nations finance equity in independent power projects in British Columbia, and grow Aboriginal ownership in this critical sector of our economy. At the same time, these green energy projects are a natural fit with the social and cultural principles we support.”

It is these types of unique partnerships that are helping to position Canada and it various group as leaders in the area of sustainable development and growth in the area of developing the clean energy business.

Kensel Tracy is The Marketing Coach and is a Senior Partner in the Corporate Coachworkz located in Chelsea, Quebec and offices in Ottawa Ontario.. If you have a unique story on business in Canada, he can be reached at kenselt@sympatico.ca

Monday, January 10, 2011

Canadian Federation of Independent Business Launches Red Tape Awareness Week

In an interesting twist this month, the Canadian Federation of Business, ( CFIB) launched a new campaign to cut red tape in regards to how business deals with government. With the strength of over 107,000 small business owners from coast-to-coast the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is the big voice for small businesses. For over 35 years, it has represented the interests of the small business community to all three levels of government in their fight for tax fairness, reasonable labour laws and reduction of regulatory paper burden.

So what is red tape exactly? According to the CFIB, it’s a combination of things. Sometimes it’s dumb rules that don’t accomplish what they intend to accomplish. Sometimes it’s complicated forms or language, permit delays or getting different interpretations about the rules from government.

How big is the problem? Thee CFIB says that if you ask any business owner, they’ll tell you a red tape story. Some problems are small; some threaten or have closed businesses. Around 60 per cent of business owners say that it affects their productivity, their ability to innovate and to be competitive in global markets. There’s a huge opportunity here for Canada to get serious about this issue, and have a competitive advantage.

Why should the public care? The CFIB estimates that regulation costs Canadian businesses over $30-billion a year. Reducing red tape translates into more job opportunities, higher wages, lower prices, higher tax revenues and less stress for business owners and their families. The CFIB says that first step toward meaningful change is to make sure the public knows about it and understands that this is a huge hidden tax that frustrates entrepreneurship. The general public might encounter red tape occasionally with renovating a home or getting a passport, but business owners encounter red tape day in and day out being in compliance with business regulations with three levels of government. The CFIB also wanted to give business owners a sense of hope that things can change. Many business owners often feel no one is listening to them or that there’s nowhere to tell their stories and get action.

So who in Canada is the biggest red tape offender? Many say Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), who is responsible for monitoring the collection of taxes. The CRA has made every business a tax collector (unpaid it should be noted) as small business is responsible for collecting and remitting the taxes at both the employee and customer level. In some cases this becomes a Red Tape nightmare. CRA also represents the federal government . But provincial and municipal governments can make life miserable and threaten business, too.

The CFIB differentiates red tape from necessary rules and regulations. Business owners say that red tape could easily be reduced by 25 per cent without harming any of the legitimate health and safety objectives of regulations. That’s the equivalent of a $7.5-billion annual stimulus package for business.

Here are some great Red Tape examples. Duplication is a huge problem for businesses. Often the level of government isn’t aware of the duplication, and sometimes the duplication has conflicting rules. That type of issue can be extremely frustrating.

So what can governments do?The CFIB says it’s pretty simple. They want government to set targets for reducing red tape. They want them to measure and be publicly accountable for those targets. Once those targets have been met, they want them to keep measuring and being publicly accountable and to set a ‘zero increase' target to control red tape going into the future.

The CFIB also wants the CRA to introduce a taxpayer fairness code, to use more tax-friendly language and to give taxpayers the right to get information in writing. They want this for all large and small companies or individuals should be able to call and ask for advice, be able to get that in writing, and then have that written advice respected even if it’s wrong.

Another factor is accessibility. Many CFIB members get busy signals, are put on hold or get disconnected. For example, once the CFIB called the CRA on a member’s behalf, and was disconnected after 17 minutes on hold, then when they called back, got a different answer the second time, asked again where if they could see the issue in writing on the Web site, got put on hold again, this time for 26 minutes, and then were disconnected. The third time they called back, the CFIB rep asked to speak to a manager. The person on the other end of the phone said we couldn’t speak to a manager and wouldn’t give them any identifying information, and said if we left their information, someone would call them back tomorrow. A perfect example of more Red Tape.

What can business do? Business should also contact their Member of Parliament, their local municipal politicians or provincial counterparts and tell them you need more help in cutting out Red Tape.

If this was business and we gave our customers the same type of Red Tape problems you know they would shop somewhere else. Unfortunately governments at all levels have monopolies and they are not customer centric. In that case they can give us all the Red Tape we can handle. For most Canadian businesses we want less Red Tape and better environment to make money.

Want to get involved in Red Tape Awareness Week, check out www.cfib.ca
Kensel Tracy is the Marketing Coach with the Corporate Coachworkz Inc. with offices located in Ottawa and Chelsea, Quebec. He is also the President of Business Over Breakfast Clubs of North America. If you have a story of interest, he can be contacted at kenselt@sympatico.ca