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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

Ask the Fedora: Follow Up With Everyone After a Networking Event!

This week on Ask the Fedora: Follow Up With Everyone After a Networking Event!

Transcript:

Welcome to another exciting episode of Ask The Fedora. I’m your host, Jarrod Goldsmith.

Let’s say you’re at a networking event, but you met someone a month ago, but you forgot to follow up with them. Go up to them! Say to them, “Hi … We met at the last event and I’m really sorry, but I haven’t had a chance to follow up with you. Can we still go for coffee?” At least acknowledge that you didn’t have the time to meet with them. This is a good exercise – take the time to follow up with everyone you’ve met, even if you’re not sure you’d do business with them. If you forget it make for an embarrassing conversation next time, but suck it up.

Thanks for watching. Happy Networking!

Do you have questions about networking? Tweet us at @Askthefedora.

See you next time!

Do you have a networking question you’d like to ask? Email info (at) esax.ca or tweet your question using #eSAX!

Starring: Jarrod Goldsmith of eSAX and Sax Appeal.

With help from Wasim from Storyline Productions

eSAX Networking Ottawa: Wed July 6, 2016

eSAX: Networking in Ottawa

eSAX Makes Networking Work!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016  (18:00 – 22:00)

Featuring Dylan Black (of Boom 99.7 FM) Master of Ceremonies; and

–  Stephen Partridge (International investor, advisor, board member and executive), of Start-Up Canada

– Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards 

– Le Regroupement des gens d’affaires

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months (January, April, July, and October) to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB). Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Event Photo Gallery:

eSAX Networking Ottawa: Wed April 6, 2016

eSAX: Networking in Ottawa

eSAX Makes Networking Work!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016  (18:00 – 22:00)

Featuring Dylan Black (of Boom 99.7 FM) Master of Ceremonies; and

– The Honorable JIM WATSON (MAYOR OF OTTAWA)

Orleans Chamber of Commerce

Tuan Nguyen (Business Detox Expert & Serial Entrepreneur-Philanthropist)

Note: Pre-registration ends on April 1, 2016 (midnight). Student pricing is available.

 

eSAX is an entrepreneur networking event that encourages startups to create connections, gain knowledge from featured speakers and promote collaboration among regional Chambers of Commerce. eSAX Ottawa Networking events are held every three months (January, April, July, and October) to coincide with the Y Enterprise Center’s Ontario Self-Employment Benefit Program (OSEB). Join the eSAX Facebook Page or connect on Twitter using #eSAX to get the latest news, tips, and networking advice.

Event Photo Gallery:

Biggest Misconceptions about Networking

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (14)Networking is a highly beneficial activity that helps those wanting to grow their businesses. It’s great for those with new businesses, and those with established businesses. However, there are still those out there that aren’t sold on it. These people are missing out on a great opportunity for growth. To make sure you aren’t one of those people, let’s look at five of the biggest misconceptions about networking:

#1: It’s a waste of time

Time is our most valuable resource, and we must be careful about where we spend it. That being said, networking is not one of those activities that we should be stingy about our time. Yes, it’s important to make sure you are attending the right events, but the act of developing business connections is an important one and well worth our time.

#2: Personalities at networking events are fake

People think that those they meet at networking events are putting on their fake “sales” face, akin to the stereotype of the slimy used car salesman of days past. Why would we want to spend our time getting to know people like that?

The truth is, you may run into a few people like that, but the vast majority of people are honest and authentic. They are out there trying to meet new people and create a quality network. You simply have to make sure to say hi to enough people to find the good ones!

#3: Owners of successful business does not need networking

This misconception is dual-sided. People think that they won’t run into anyone worth meeting (those with successful businesses) because those types of people don’t need to attend networking events. It’s not true. Many sucessful business owners attend networking events to meet the up-and-comers, as well as to ensure that the newbies know about their business. For those successful business people who DO feel they do not need to network, they are putting themselves at a disadvantage. Their pool for referrals will get smaller and smaller over the years, and they won’t have new people referring them.

#4: Networking and follow-up is too much effort

For those not familiar with networking, it seems like a large amount of effort. Not only do you need to attend the event, but you also need to follow-up with emails, telephone calls, engagement on social media, coffee visits, and more! While we won’t deny that effort is involved, we will say that the more you do it the easier and more automated it becomes. When you schedule time in for the day after an event to do your follow-ups then it will not drag on, and you will get better and better at it each time you do it.

#5: There is no ROI from networking

Some entrepreneurs want to associate a direct dollar value to everything, and networking does translate into a clear ROI (return on investment). When you take into account the cost of the ticket and your time spent on the event, how much money would you have to make to make it worth it? If you consider that someone you met at one event might give you a referral a year later, it’s hard to track that directly. 

That’s why it is important for you to set certain goals for a networking event. The more you can associate a goal (such as, 10 additional people to your newsletter list) to your ROI, the better you can translate your event attendance to it.

Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Networking Is Building Friendships

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When you are just start out with a new business, you’ll find yourself eager to talk about your products or services all the time. It can be easy to overlook the fact that a successful business needs a solid foundation, made up of strong businesses and people who support you. The more people know you, and know about your business, the better the prospects for your business will be, but it is a two-way street. You must show interest in other people and their businesses, and you must be ready to support them as well. Networking is beneficial for both the parties and thus it is nothing but friendship!

Friendships take time to bloom

You COULD choose to meet someone at a networking event, and not engage with them again until the next one, but that would not lead to successful relationships. Think back to when you were in school. You didn’t consider yourself to be “friends” with the person you only saw in your 3rd period class. Your friends were the ones that you ate lunch with, and participated in extracurriculars, and went to the mall after school, and planned your next year’s schedule. If you want a strong relationship to come out of networking, you have to do the extra time. Have follow-up coffee chats, or check-in to see if the other person is planning on going to another upcoming event. 

When you meet any unknown person you do not become friends immediately. You take your time, meet with them for several times, find out what qualities is there in them that attracts you towards them and then you start relying on them. This is true in networking too. In networking once you meet any person you keep their contact, and then start to follow up with them. Of course, here you do that for prospering your business, but in the process, you make friends who stay with you for the long run.

Use events for making friends and grow your network

Anyone who considers themselves a friend to another knows that friendship is just not waste of time. You create something with people who, in the long run, help you in different ways to make your life happier and more fulfilled. Similarly, by meeting people for networking in events like eSAX you get a chance to create a long-term business relationship. However, no one will rely on you if you are only ever asking for something. Instead, you need to give something. Gradually you will find that people will develop faith in you and follow what you are saying, just like in a friendship!

Thus, networking is nothing but an activity that builds friendships, where you make friends who become helpful for spreading the word about your business. However, you have to maintain the relationship or else you will not get results!

 Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Networking and Job Interviewing: A Comparison

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (5)

The idea of “networking” is by no means a new one, but the term has gained popularity recently. The process of building relationships through many interactions has been a part of our human history. It is important for people to feel they know you and can trust you before they commit to a deal, and this is part of why we network.

Many new entrepreneurs may come from the traditional workforce, and while they may not be familiar with the concept of networking, they may be familiar with job interviews.  This process of asking position candidates about their skills and experience helps an employer choose the best person from a pool of people.

Short conversations

At both networking events and job interviews, time is of the essence. You must be aware of how much you are talking, and take care not to talk too much. At a networking event, the goal is to listen, and to spend time with more than one person. At a job interview, you must be concise so the interviewer can move on to the next question. In both cases, if you talk too much you may end up losing a great opportunity because the other party had to move on.

Selling yourself

In both situations, you are selling yourself. Your appearance matters, so you must dress cleanly and appropriately. Your word choice, eye contact, and body language also matter. The impression you make in your appearance and your conversation is all you have to make or break a deal. Of course, networking events allow you the chance for a do-over, if worst comes to worst.

Trust matters

In this short amount of time (in both cases) you must give off the impression that you are a trustworthy person. You must be honest, authentic and sincere and establish the ground that you will build a relationship on over a long period of time. Even if you think that a little white lie might go unnoticed, it’s not worth the risk of them knowing the truth and judging you as untrustworthy.

Mutual contract

Networking is a mutual contract wherein two professional shares their experience for mutual benefit, it’s just not a business deal. Job interviewing too is a mutual contract but it is made between the two parties wherein one shares their skills and experiences and other pay for the skills shared. You should be just as respectful in one situation as in the other. 

While some may never erase their nerves in a job interview, the best way to erase them at networking events is to practice! Be sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

How to Learn Names When Networking

eSAX-Ottawa-Networking-Event (4)

Networking is all about dealing with people, and if you can remember people by name, half your work is done. Remembering names makes others feel as though you value them, which is exactly how you want to treat your relationship with them.

Remembering names can be an especially big challenge at events such as eSAX: the Entrepreneur Social Advantage Experience, where more than 300 people show up. It’s hard to remember that many names! Luckily, everyone gets a name tag, but if you want to go that extra mile and remember names on your own, we have some tips for you!

Get it at the first chance

Sometimes we get so enchanted by someone’s business, that we forget their name as soon as they’ve said it. Make a point to re-ask their name, and then repeat the name and use it a few times in the conversation you are having. This will give you a better chance of remembering it later on, since you are associating that name with their face.

Make a note

After your conversation, make a note on their business card of any characteristics that will help you to connect the name with the face for next time. “Purple glasses” perhaps, or any other noteworthy aspect of their appearance. If they don’t have a business card, it’s even more important for you to write down their information (remember to always have note paper with you!) That way you can spell out their name, and listing to this spelling sends a virtual image to your brain to help you remember it.

Associate

It may sound silly, but sometimes a great way to remember a name is to associate it with something else that is familiar. For example, if you meet someone named Lucy and she has red hair, it would be easy to associate her with the “I Love Lucy” TV show. When you see her next time you’ll think “Red hair… I Love Lucy… her name is Lucy!”

Use social networking

The best way to remember names is to add them to your networks online. If you add them on LinkedIn, you are almost sure to see their photo in their profile and then remember what they look like. The more active you are on social media, and the more you engage with them, the more likely you will be to remember their name next time you meet, in-person, again.

Choose to care

Finally, to remember names you must be eager to remember them. If you are not interested in remembering the name, nothing in this world will help you do so. Care about the person and their name name and you will find it on your tongue next time when you meet the person.

Practice calling people by their name at each event, and make sure to get your tickets to the next eSAX Ottawa networking event!

Start Networking Like A Pro

By Jarrod Goldsmith

“I hate networking events”.

How many times have you heard this or said it yourself?

For most people, the concept of networking conjures up images of a scary, slimy and fake experience with everyone in the room trying to hawk their products and services.

We’ve likely all met someone who barely says hello before launching into their ‘sales-pitch’ with something like: “I do this, that and the other thing, I’m so great and you need my services”.

Really?

When I hear this the first thing that comes to mind is that the person is obviously a networking rookie. Often I’ll stop them in mid-sentence and ask them a simple question like what’s their name. Seems harmless enough right? After a second or two of awkward silence while they compose themselves (having lost their place in their memorized sales-pitch), I introduce myself and extend a hand in greeting. So as to not make them feel embarrassed, I then ask another harmless question such as if they have attended this particular event before, do they know the organizer, what part of town do they live in etc.

You’d be amazed at how people ‘open-up’ by just having a regular conversation without bringing-up business. Asking non work-related questions will make people feel more relaxed and comfortable. But never forget you must be absolutely genuine in wanting to know the answers as people everywhere have an uncanny knack of seeing-through-fake. Check out this short Ask The Fedora video for some good questions to ask when meeting people for the first time.

Always maintain eye-contact and do not scan the room looking for other people to meet while in the middle of a conversation with someone. At that moment, make them the most important person in the word.

To provide an example, I was at an Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Mayors Breakfast a while ago and had the chance to chat with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. When Mr. Trudeau is engaged with talking to you, he makes you feel as if you’re the only one in the room by giving you his undivided attention, not to mention his welcoming body language of legs apart, often on a slight angle facing you, head tilted forward and hands at his side or lightly clasped in front of him (pictured)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right) Justin Trudeau (2nd from right) Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (Far right)
Justin Trudeau (2nd from right)
Jarrod Goldsmith (Far left)

Next time you’re at a networking event, try a few of the above tips and start networking like a pro. Doing so may very well change not only your outlook on networking, but how others view you.

For more networking tips, check out the weekly Ask The Fedora videos on YouTube!