Working Hard With Microsoft @ My Side

By Kevin Conroy, Ottawa  Computer Services

As a business owner, it’s so important that I be able to work on my business while I’m on the go! With the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, my life just got a whole lot easier! Here’s why:

Versatility and Power…That’s it! For my business, this means a light and fast device that can do what I want, when I want. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has the ability to help me complete my most demanding tasks, whether that’s writing up a proposal for a client or diagnosing their network infrastructure.

If you need a powerful device, great battery life, an amazing display and something that’s easy to use…this is the device for you. In the last 10 years, we’ve ventured from standard desktops, to laptop devices, to netbooks (short lived), to tablets and now the age of hybrid tech. The versatility of a tablet, and the power of a laptop or desktop computer, all under 3.0 lbs.

As a business owner at Ottawa Computer Services Inc. and a technician in the field of information technology, I need a device that will let me examine an organization’s I.T. backbone to find issues that are slowing them down. The SP4 has the speed, power and connectivity ports to allow me to do just that.

Simply put, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a device designed to help people achieve their business and personal goals. It allows me to do my day job, run my business and connect with people more easily.

When it comes to the right tools for my business, this no-nonsense powerhouse is the only thing I need, period. I would like to thank Microsoft and Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX Networking for the opportunity to put this modern day computer through its paces.

Kevin Conroy
CEO @ Ottawa Computer Services Inc

Surface Pro 4 is a dream for East Coast Limos!

As an owner of a successful Limousine Business, (East Coast Limos), I know how quickly we have to adapt to an ever changing market. The Surface Pro 4 has enabled our Sales/HR/dispatching teams to become more streamlined and effective in their day-to-day activities. At times, our office staff will have to attend ‘out of office’ meetings and with the Surface Pro 4 tablet in hand; the transition from our Headquarters to a Coffee Shop for a meeting is a very simple task.

In order to maintain our high standards of excellence in customer service, it is crucial that our chauffeurs are aware of any immediate changes to their itinerary, i.e. client pick up locations and/or pick up times that may impact their assigned limousine service. The Surface Pro 4 tablet is the right tool for this on-demand service.

As an IT Consultant with the Federal Government and a business owner, we are acclimated to bulky computers and older technology. The setup for the Surface Pro 4 was simple, user friendly and functioned perfectly on first attempt to configure.

Our East Coast Limos staff and I highly recommend this beauty of a device because of its relative ease of use and its cohesive nature. In our opinion, this 2-1 is currently the best technology on the market.

Seeing is believing and if this first month is any indication, we are standing pat with this technology because the Surface Pro 4 has evolved beyond our previous imagination.

I would like to thank Christine Bays, Commercial Digital Community Manager, and Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience for providing me with access to the Surface Pro 4 for the month in order to review it and the opportunity to let the Entrepreneurial community know how Microsoft ensures an effective and reliable way to do business in Ottawa.

Keith Rogers
Owner of East Coast Limos

Test-Driving the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 by Tony Snippe

The Microsoft Surface 4 Pro has been a device that I’ve been interested in for quite a while, and when given the opportunity to test drive it, I was very excited. My career means I am usually on the move, and my meetings very quickly jump from business oriented to creative brainstorming sessions and back again. I will meet some clients at their office, others a coffee shop, a job site, or over the phone. What interested me most about the Surface Pro 4 was its ability to give me the power of a desktop computer in such a small size. The business-end of things usually includes Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, project management, etc. and the Surface Pro 4 lets me flip out the attached keyboard and type-in data but also allows me to use the pen or touch screen interface to quickly select a particular field. At the same time, I’m able to open design files and the processing power of the Surface is enough to keep up as we tweak or comment on designs using the pen to draw notes right on the image file.

The portability is better than my laptop, since I can quickly toss the surface under my arm and walk around rather than lug-around my entire computer bag. I hadn’t really known at first that this was a big deal, but after a month of such a light device to carry around, I found going back to my laptop felt like I was trading-in a smartphone for a brick phone.

When we took the device with the family for a short road trip, I could easily prop the Surface up for my kids in the back seat so they could watch a movie which is something I can’t do with my laptop, as there’s simply no place to put it. The kids were even able to use the pen to draw on the screen, giving me some much-needed down time.

One of my biggest draws to the Surface is that fact that it runs an actual desktop OS like Windows. I also have a tablet, but the limitations of its OS just don’t let me run the software I need, making it sort of useless for me. I was concerned at first that I may not use the Surface since my last couple of tablets are in a corner somewhere collecting dust. When the device asked me if I would like to stay in computer-mode or switch to tablet-mode I was very happy. Given the choice to stay in computer-mode meant sticking with an interface I was familiar with and the ability to navigate as I expect a computer should. That’s really what I wanted…a robust powerful computer that was as portable as a tablet.

All in all, the Surface Pro 4 has been able to do everything my laptop can do, but in a smaller and more convenient size. From paperwork to artwork, it is a fast and dependable tool. I have every confidence that it would keep up with everything my job requires of me, and it’s great that I can just as quickly switch to play mode and watch a movie or draw something with my kids on the couch, which just doesn’t work on a conventional laptop. I would like to thank Christine Bays, Commercial Digital Community Manager, and Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience for providing me with access to the Surface Pro 4 for the month in order to review it and the opportunity to let the Entrepreneurial community know how Microsoft ensures an effective and reliable way to do business in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Tony Snippe – Co-Founder

Media Mall Marketing Inc

Surface Pro 4 Simplified My Business!

I remember the days when I used to use a desktop to do everything. Back when I had one location, things were simpler. As a public speaker and owner of three Pita Pit locations (and growing!) I needed something to be with me all the time that I could open up in a split second and dive into work. And it had to be lightweight and portable enough to take between stores, and across the country when needed. That’s where the Surface Pro 3 became a lifesaver. Other laptops I had used were heavy, bulky and just not feasible for me to carry around every day, so when I switched to the Surface Pro 3 in 2015 I was amazed at the difference. It still had the same capabilities as my other computers, but packed into a compact, lightweight workhorse. Whether I’m reviewing documents for my team, crunching financials or writing my next keynote – the Surface Pro has got my back.

The tablet functionality was another great feature so I could walk around my stores taking inventory and placing product orders without running back to the office or trying to unsuccessfully balance a laptop on one hand while typing with another. The touchscreen pen as well made it very easy for those situations where it was more practical to write than type. Notetaking became a breeze and being able to draw different ideas and sketch out new store designs became an irreplaceable feature for me.

It’s not only the surface pro that has become a key part of my business, Microsoft Office 365 is the glue that also holds my organization together. The office suite and Onedrive keep my team working in perfect collaboration from wherever they might be. When you have a team that’s spread out but still need to work together, I can tell you that this works extremely well for us.

For the last month I’ve upgraded to the Surface Pro 4 and I have to say that all the same reasons I came to love the Surface Pro 3 are still true, and then some. It’s faster, it’s lighter, the resolution is better and the surface pen functions even better. To me, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re on the go and you’re looking for the punch of a desktop in the size of a tablet, the surface pro 4 is what you need.

I would like to thank Christine Bays, Commercial Digital Community Manager, and Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience for providing me with access to the Surface Pro 4 for the month in order to review it, and the opportunity to let the Entrepreneurial community hear my story of how Microsoft assists me in running my business.


Andrew Scott
Pita Pit Franchise Owner

How Microsoft helps my Small Business

I have been using a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for over a year now, and I love it. I would have to say that it is the best machine that I have ever owned.

I co-founded Collab Space, an Entrepreneurial Community Centre here in Ottawa Canada over a year ago, and my Pro 3 was with me the whole time, day in and day out, and it has kept up with everything that I have thrown at it.

For the past month, I have been running the Surface Pro 4 as my daily driver and work horse machine, and it hasn’t skipped a beat. The Surface takes the best qualities of a desktop, a laptop, and a tablet PC and smashes them together into one amazing machine.

Why does this matter?

As a small business owner, I am constantly on the go, and I need my machine to come with me.
I have a Surface dock in my home office, and a dock at work, both attached to a dual monitor setup to maximize my screen real estate. When I need to run into a meeting, I can just grab it and go. When I have to run home at the end of the day to put my daughter to bed, I don’t have to close what I am doing, I grab and go, and plug in at home to continue working. I can work from the couch, the kitchen table, the bus, in the truck between meetings, and never have to worry about not having what I need with me.

What complements the Surface, and is a pivotal part of how my small business operates, is Microsoft Office 365. I have several employees spread over two locations, and O365 allows me to manage everything so easily.  I can quickly spin up new employee accounts and add all of the permissions they require, and have them up running quickly. O365 is also great that it can all be operated via a web browser, so if an employee forgets their machine, or if something happens to it, it minimizes the downtime.

We have just started to play with Microsoft Teams, and are excited at the possibilities and options included.

I have been writing this post on the Surface, and ended up switching to Word on my Microsoft Lumia 950XL to finished it up. I love the ease of access to my information, and how it can adapt to my working life.

I would like to thank Christine Bays, Commercial Digital Community Manager, and Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX – The Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience for providing me with access to the Surface Pro 4 for the month in order to review it, and the opportunity to let the Entrepreneurial community hear my story of how Microsoft assists me in running my business.

Blair Kilrea
Co-Founder – Collab Space

Network with Great Business Cards

eSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-marcheSAX-networking-ottawa-business-cards-blog-march-jpgWhen you prepare for a networking event there is one essential that you can’t overlook: your business cards!

Your business card is as important as any other first impression at a networking event in Ottawa. Your card should represent your company in both design and copy. It is highly recommended to use a professional graphic designer to help you, as they have the skills and expertise to make something truly great. One of our favorites is a local Ottawa company called Sure Print & Graphics that we have been using for many years. However, there are many templates available on sites such as CanvaVistaprint, Moo, and even Staples, if you decide to go it alone.

Consider the following elements of a business card to help you work with your designer or templates to make something great!

  1. Decide on what information you will include. Remember that this is a contact card, not a brochure. At a minimum you should include your name and your business name, your email address and website, and a phone number if you have one. Also include your, address (if you have one for your business), title, and tagline.
  2. Consider whitespace. This is the “empty space” on your business card. Cards with ample whitespace are often seen as more professional, as they are more visually balanced and less cluttered.
  3. Typeface: There are certain fonts that go well together, and a general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t use more than two together in any collateral. Remember this rule if you have a logo with typeface in it, because that means you’re already starting with one font! Talk with your designer about the mood or feel you are going for in your business, and decide on fonts that best represent you.
  4. Paper stock: Do you choose Matte or glossy? I personally prefer glossy business cards, because they don’t stick together when you are trying to pull out one to hand to someone! Glossy is thought to look professional and to stand out, but they are hard to write on so you may consider a plain back so your contacts can take notes of your meeting. A popular trend now is spot gloss, as it is beginning to be more widely available. This lets you choose one area (such as your logo) to shine, while the rest stay matte. Also remember that premium stock is a thicker card, and helps portray a professional image.
  5. Add a promotion: At a networking event, people value business cards, but you can increase the value of your card by adding a special code for a discount or promotion. You could also ask them to fill out a survey to get entered in a chance to win in a draw, or maybe you are giving away a whitepaper if they visit your website. Any of these “extras” increase the chances that people will look twice at your card once they are home.
  6. Unique shapes and textures: An oddly shaped or textured card can be fun, and can help you stand out from the crowd, but be careful when deciding to do this. People may not be able to fit your round-shaped or wooden card in their filing system, and the may instead just decide to toss it out. This is a loss for of a valuable referral opportunity for you down the road.

Plus, it’s also very important to be organized with your business cards when attending networking events!

Whatever you decide, make sure you are proud of your business cards. If you are happy with them, then it will be easy for you to hand them out and stand behind them. Your business cards should be an extension of your business, make sure they help you appear your best!

Great Tips For Networking at a Booth

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Events-Booth-Sponsorship-Vendor-Tips-pngHave you thought about exhibiting at eSAX as a way to promote your products / services to 100’s of other businesses?

Having a booth is a great way to increase the likelihood of sales, but all of the principles of networking still apply. You are promoting your business, but you are also out there making valuable connections that may lead to sales or future referrals down the line. If you do decide to take the next step in networking, consider these tips for having a successful experience!

Set your goals ahead of time!

You can get a lot out of an event, but you have to have a good idea of what you want to get out of it. Do you want to collect 50 random business cards, or do you want to really talk to people and end up with 5 genuinely hot leads? Perhaps you want to make a sale that night, or set up a meeting that you are confident will turn into a sale. Or better yet, what if you were to meet the one individual who can change the direction of your business? Maybe you just want to impress some industry leaders and make strong connections with them? Whatever it may be, you should have some way of measurement so when you leave you can know you if experienced a successful event.

You could just decide you want to treat the event as a market research opportunity. Ask verbal questions, or get people to fill out a short survey to enter in your prize draw. You can use paper surveys as well as surveys on a tablet for entry into two separate draws! Ask attendees industry-specific information to give you an idea about the marketplace, or business-specific things to find out which logos, banners, website, or tagline they respond better to. There is a great value to this kind of access to your target market, so don’t waste it!

Promote the event as though it were your own!

This is a great time for you to reconnect with old customers or potential customers, as well as business partners or other associates. Don’t leave the marketing completely to the event management team and just hope that your old connections will learn about the event and feel compelled to go! Increase the chances of gaining more leads by helping to spread the word. Use your blog, newsletter, and social media to advertise your attendance at the event. Mention any on-site promotions, raffles, prize draws, or door prizes that you are giving away. Even better if you can run a giveaway for a free ticket to the event (that you either purchase yourself, or receive from the event manager, as they often give more than one free ticket to booth sponsors). Make sure to tell everyone to bring a friend! Also, keep an eye out for the other sponsors and vendors that may be promoting the event, and cross-promote with them to give your audience even more reason to attend. The more everyone helps to spread the word, the more it helps the event to be an even bigger success. But the true measure of success that you should be after is how it affects your bottom line, or how it can affect your bottom line in the future.  More people = more eyes on your business, so go out of your way to treat eSAX as if it’s your own event and spread the word.

Connect with fellow vendors and event hosts, as well as the event sponsors

Before the event, be sure to connect with all stakeholders on social media. That way, if you haven’t already met them in person, it will help make for an excellent conversation point when you actually do meet them at the event! Speaking of which, when you arrive @eSAX, make the rounds and meet everyone who is setting up for the event. It makes a good impression if you prepare a special goody bag or treat for them. It can be as simple as a candy bar with your logo sticker on it, or a little bag with your brochure, business card, a pen, and a cookie. Not only will you be making new connections, but you are also likely opening the door for them to refer attendees to you throughout the night, now that they know who you are and what you do. Not only that, but who knows what referrals they may send your way at a later time. It pays to connect with influencers!

Build Brand Awareness

It goes without saying that you should have complete branding – banners, table cloths, brochures, business cards, and even your clothing or fashion pieces. What more can you do to get attention and be remembered at an event? Check out this fun little video of eSAX founder Jarrod Goldsmith discussing what personal branding is all about!

Start by standing in front of your booth, smiling, and making eye contact. People usually feel comfortable approaching friendly-looking booth folks. Invite people to sign up for your door prize, take a snack or swag item, and ask them how they are enjoying the event. Remember that running a booth does not mean it’s time to become a salesman. It’s all about making the event attendees feel comfortable and at-ease, so ask questions and don’t just pitch your business.

Interactive displays are always a great way to get people to have more interest in your booth. If you have products, let people pick them up and try them out. If you are service-oriented, prepare a slideshow on a large monitor, or on a tablet that people can pick up and flip through. Conversation pieces are also great. Having a giant-sized mascot could be a great ways to encourage people to tweet or Instagram a picture and increase your business visibility! Make sure your handles and the event hashtag are somewhere handy. (p.s., #eSAX is awesome lol)

You can also get more people to your booth with food! Make sure that the event doesn’t require a food permit of some sort, and then plan on bringing chocolate, cookies, cupcakes, or other treats that will pull people in. Also remember that if you are giving away swag, it should be relevant to the event attendees. The more likely people are to use the item, the better you will be achieving brand awareness.

And don’t forget the follow-up!

Following-up with folks you meet at a networking event is essential to further the relationship that will eventually (…and hopefully) blossom. You never know where you (or they) will be in the future and how such long-term relationships can develop! Here’s a great video on why connecting with someone is almost as important as the initial meeting!

Connect on LinkedIn right away, and have a newsletter ready to go out the next day. Ask your newsletter subscribers to like your Facebook page, but also make sure this newsletter is knock-their-socks off great, chock full of valuable information that will impress them and ensure they want to stay connected with you to continue to receive such great tips and tricks to grow their business.


For more great networking tips, subscribe to the eSAX Ask The Fedora YouTube Channel, hosted by Jarrod Goldsmith!