There are hundreds, probably thousands of good business ideas out there.  Some totally new, some because the community has grown into them.  Many, if not most, have the same challenge … adequate funding.

Not all entrepreneurs, especially the younger ones, own their own home, or have a wad of discretionary money sitting there to feed the business idea.  There is no such thing as a missed idea as someone, sooner or later, will see the need and have the means to follow through with it.  It is just sad that an entrepreneur does not have access to angel investors on Vancouver Island.

The TV shows such as Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank have certainly aided a few but of course you have to meet the show’s criteria as it has to an idea that will appeal to the audience.  Traditional banks tend to be very conservative and want to see lots of collateral to back up any loan.  Community Futures might be a little more open to ideas but still has to be assured that there is collateral to back up the loan.

This leaves the investors who are willing to part with some money for a piece of the action although most times it is dependent on the success of the venture.  They may be involved in the day-to-day or choose to be silent in the background.

Angels are willing to take a risk, but it is up to the entrepreneur to do their research well, exhibit a thorough business plan and, most of all, show passion for the business.  Passion actually is the number one thing that all lenders look for, and, if they don’t see it, you won’t see the money.

If you want to see angels, believe, and do your homework.

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Posted in Business Coaching, Business Planning, Coaching, Community Futures, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Entrepreneurs, Networking, self-employment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Start a Business?

Central Vancouver Island has a few thousand businesses.  Some do well, others survive.  If you asked all of them why they started the business, you may be surprised at the myriad of answers that you hear.

Some start it for the money.  Many of the clients that I have coached in the last 5 years have had a very optimistic cash flow projection for their first year in business when the reality is, they will be lucky to break even.  There are those whose dream is to be rich, but few achieve it.  Money may be a motivator but it is not necessarily a good reason to go into business.

Some start a business because they have not had great experiences working for an employer.  This can be from poor pay, lack of advancement, lack of training, or in some cases a toxic environment.  They feel that having their own business, they will have better control over their work environment.

Some see a new opportunity, a business that is not currently serving the community.  They have done the research and feel the time has come and they can be first out of the gate, giving them an advantage of bringing something new to the area.

Some feel they can do a better job than is being provided by their employer so want to start a business giving enhanced customer service in their service or trade.  They feel they will have more satisfaction in what they do and the pride of knowing they are giving a quality product.

There will be many other reasons, but whatever takes a person down the entrepreneurial trail, it needs to be backed up by a detailed business plan to be successful.  Cash flow, marketing, competitors, advertising, licensing, are some of the hurdles to conquer.  Get help, talk to your local Community Futures office.  If you are on Employment Insurance or have had a connection to EI in the past, talk to your local WorkBC Employment office as you may be eligible for assistance.

Whatever the reason for considering being an entrepreneur, it can be very rewarding, if you are prepared!

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Clients, Coaching, Community Futures, Customers, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Entrepreneurs, self-employment, Young Professionals | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Measuring ‘Best’

I just finished reading an article on the biggest companies in British Columbia, ranked in order.  Impressive, to say the least!  Interesting to see the changes from a year ago and the newcomers to the top 100.

Personally, biggest doesn’t resonate with me and I wonder if there could be additional measures to determine the ‘best’ companies.  I would like to see how many people they employ in British Columbia and the value of their payroll.

The article states the earnings of the companies but how much of that remains in BC in the form of corporate taxes?  The measure that would mean the most to me would be knowing their social footprint in the communities.

We see what some of the companies do in the way of sponsorship etc., but many on the list are not visible.  What do they contribute to the social fabric of the province?  What do they support their employees to do in the communities where they reside?

Do they support the charities that struggle for funding or the arts that make our communities places where employees like to reside?  Do they support youth activities or construction of facilities for communities?  How do they support the environment?  Are they a good corporate citizen when it comes to the environment?

The most dollars just doesn’t do it for me.  I like to know the character of the company.  Maybe someone will create a new list showing the ‘Best’ companies in the province.

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Posted in Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Entrepreneurs, Environment, Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Laid Plans ……….

What factor do you build into a project or life for unforeseen challenges?  Things beyond your control do happen, in spite of the best planning.

A project close to home has had its share of delays.  First an unusual lengthy snowfall and heavy frost made the groundwork impossible as did the rain which followed.  A poor contractor created further chaos in the project.  There were further complications with putting in the utilities as the construction industry is the busiest it has been in many years, so the providers are playing catch-up.

This is a one-time project so while it is inconvenient, it is not a major problem in the scheme of things.  But what about life, that ongoing project?  There will be many barriers and challenges along the way.  How will you approach it?  What will your attitude be?  Will it be like Edison when asked about the failures when inventing the light bulb.  He said there were no failures, he just discovered 10,000 ways it would not work.  Can you approach the challenges of life that way?

We tend to look at the things that do not go our way as failures but in reality, it is building our experience base, our knowledge bank.  It equips us with the ability to work around issues because we have been in similar situations before.

Many successful entrepreneurs have had to abandon a business venture, but the difference is they carried on.  They did not look at it as a failure, they learned from it and built a better mousetrap.

As Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Try new things, make mistakes, learn, try again.  Life is too short to dwell on what didn’t work.  The excitement is in moving forward!

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Coaching, Community Futures, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Empowering people, Entrepreneurs, Human resources, Leadership, Life coaching, Managing stress, self-employment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Retirement  …… ????

Does anyone else find it difficult to retire?  I have retired three times and am still working.  I must admit I am closer to retirement this time and am actually learning to sleep until 6 a.m.!  Feels odd just to check emails and Facebook posts and not leap into action as soon as I arise.

I still run into people who say, “I’m retired, I love it, I don’t do anything.”  Personally, I would go stark raving mad if I did not have a list of things I needed to do, prioritized by urgency!  Many at this point are volunteer tasks, others honey-do, and yes, some paid work.  After all I am a ‘J’ and need to keep things organized!

The thought of not having my mind wrapped upon something to challenge me is uncomfortable!  I thrive on being useful to someone, which may ego, but for me a reality.  I take on ‘widow work’ for friends who no longer have a male around to do tasks.  This satisfies my need for hands-on work, but it is not usually mentally challenging.

Of course, there is Sudoku, but one can only persist at it for so long and it either is boring or hurts the mind.  One has to be careful!  It is great to develop a routine, (‘J’ kicking in again!) which helps to make sure you do not miss anything on the list.  Lately a variance from the list and mindless coffee on the patio because of the unusual June weather.

Life is short, whatever floats your boat.  If you need to work, whether financially or from a mentally stimulating point of view, do it!  It might be paid work, it might not.  If it makes you feel good and helps others, it is worthy work!  Lastly, ignore other opinions, do what is in your heart.

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Posted in Assessments, Coaching, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employment, Empowering people, FaceBook, Life coaching, Lifestyle, LinkedIn, MBTI, Myers-Briggs, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Retirement, Service Clubs, Social Media, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Determination Wins the Game

Not quite.  Determination and a well executed game will win.  I just watched the Blues win the Stanley Cup against the Bruins.  Were they determined?  After 52 years, you bet they were!  But it wasn’t only determination that won the cup.  The seventh game was one of the best defensive games I have seen in many years.  The Bruins only managed one goal to the Blues four.  A well executed game!

Whether sports, business or love, while determination is key, you must have a well executed game plan.  You need to know who you are up against.  In sports you watch their games, employ videos to rerun their plays over and over.  You develop strategies to counter their plays.

In business you research the competition.  Who are they?  What can you do differently?  Who is my target market?  What is my potential geographic market?  Then you keep your business plan updated, dancing to the numbers and making the necessary adjustments to the living document.

In love, you find the common ground in your interests, accepting as they are, not what you would like them to be.  If you find you are drawn to them and don’t want to be away from them, you may have found the one.  You need to offer your authentic self in the execution of the courtship.

In all these cases determination definitely played a part in it. If you have no will for the win, you will not achieve the goal.  Without ‘seeing’ the prize, it is difficult to win the cup.  If you are in business, you need to see past the bumps in the road and be confident that there are answers to the problems.  In love, you need to know who you are, your values, and who you want to share your life with.

Be determined, but also play the game well!

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What is Life?

Is it work?  Is it play?  What constitutes the life we lead?

We start life with play, part of the great learning cycle of life, but unfortunately many of us forget to do this much past adolescence.  Yes, we play golf and perhaps take part in a team sport, but that is not play.  It’s not the same as the inventive games that we enjoyed growing up.  Things that developed the mind through humour, exploration, and stretching beyond our comfort zones.

We get entrenched in ‘education’, (the real education takes place in life), writing exams, and being pushed to decide on careers.  Once we decide on direction, we become mired in the mud of earning a living, paying rent, or if lucky enough, a mortgage.

Then relationships enter the picture, if they haven’t already.  This creates an outlet for fun and play, but also creates commitment, which either adds to, or takes away from fun and becomes work!

We sometimes forget how valuable it is to play.  No matter what you choose as play …. Do it!  It might be golf, a play, fishing, a day with children (where you learn to play again!), or simply a walk on the beach.

Whatever it is, just do it!  If it isn’t fun, find something else.  Revert to childhood and savour the lost moments.

Life is short …..………….

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Coaching, Elephant in the Room, Empowering people, Family, Life coaching, Lifestyle, Managing stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Culture and the Community

Every business, every community, every country; all have their own culture.  They reflect our values, ethics and demographics. We tend to associate culture with those who bring their traditions and values from another region or country, but we all have our own culture.

If you are in business, thinking of going into business, or coordinating volunteers, you need to be able to read the culture of the ‘community’ you are in.  Who are you selling to or working with in the community? You need to be able to connect with them.

This is especially important when selling a product or service.  Where will you find your target market, the ones who will be your prime customers or clients?  Small communities sometimes rely on local connections such as the radio, or community page on social media.  Seniors tend to rely on newspapers, the media they grew up with.  Some like Facebook, while others prefer Instagram.  Then there are those who rely on word of mouth and referrals.

Organizations have their own culture or ‘community’.  Two businesses may have the same staffing and qualifications but may operate quite differently even if producing the identical product.  Two communities may have the same population, same industries, but the feeling in each of them is quite different.  They have their own culture.

Job seekers need to be cognizant of the culture they like to work in and be sure to target those businesses that match their needs.  If an employer does not match your values or personal culture, it can seriously impact your well-being.

Our personal culture needs to feel comfortable in life and work.

As always, feel free to share this post giving credit to the author.

Posted in Assessments, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Career development, Clients, Coaching, Customers, Diversity, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Empowering people, Entrepreneurs, Life coaching, Lifestyle, Relationships, Sales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Employers and job seekers are always concerned with competencies.  Employers want applicants to have the right competencies to fit the position being advertised.  Job seekers are trying to show they have the competencies to compete for the positions, cognizant that they need to be brief and not have more than a one or two-page resume.

Where many employers, especially in larger organizations, miss the boat is in tracking the other competencies of their employees.  The ones that did not appear on the targeted resume.  In larger organizations it is difficult for managers or owners to know all of their employees beyond what they do on their job on a daily basis.  Who are they?  Do they have a family?  What other skills do they have?  What do they aspire to be?

One way is to create an employee profile.  Some of the things that the profile might track are;

What is the employee’s history with the company?

  • What positions have they held?
  • What were their accomplishments?


  • What is their educational background?
  • Are they taking any training currently?

Professional Designations & Tickets

  • Do they have a degree?
  • Are they a Red Seal?


  • Do they belong to any professional associations?

Skills and Abilities

  • What skills and abilities do they have including ones not necessarily related to current work?


  • What languages are they fluent in writing and speaking?

Training and Development

  • What training have they received both on and off the job?  This can be formal and informal.

Career Experience

  • What other careers or work experience have they had?


  • Have they had experience as a volunteer?  If so, what was it and what skills were gained from it.

Hobbies and Interests

  • What do they do when not at work for relaxation or recreation and what skills are gained from it?

Career Interests

  • What are their goals?

One example of the value of such an exercise occurred when I worked in the forest industry.  We constantly had visitors from other countries touring our operations to gain knowledge and our employees visited other countries for the same purpose.  When this happened, we employed the services of a translation company at considerable expense.  When the employee profile was completed, we found that we had employees who not only could communicate in all the major languages, but they also had the knowledge of the industry.

For employers who are looking to grow their organizations, an employee profile can show you how you can do it from within, possibly keeping your experienced talent!

Know who your employees are, not just a position description and title.  The dividends can be huge, for the organization, and for the employees!

As always, feel free to share this post giving credit to the author.

Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Career development, Coaching, Communication, Diversity, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Employees, Employment, Empowering people, Human resources, Leadership, Relationships, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Money’s Worth

Don’t get me wrong, I like staying at hotels that have all of the amenities.  What I don’t like is staying at high priced hotels that are not maintained to my picky standards.  I’m not talking about how you are greeted at reception or the fantastic location.  I am talking about the facility itself.

I do not want the doors to squeak.  I want them to close properly.  I expect them to be plumbed correctly and not have cold where it says hot and vice-versa.  When it says it has a kitchen, I would like it have pots with lids and a frying pan that has retained its non-stick coating.  I expect the coffee carafe to be compatible with the coffee maker.

I recently had the above experience and while we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, these little items bugged me and did interfere with my enjoyment to some degree.  Am I too picky?  Perhaps, but where does one draw the line?  Some would probably say that I’m the one to blame for choosing to let the nit-picking interfere with my enjoyment.  And, they may be right!

How many times do we let insignificant things interfere with our daily appreciation of the things around us?   We get wrapped up in things that are beyond our control.  We need to sometimes ask ourselves if anyone is going to get hurt or suffer as a result of what is happening and, if not, walk away and enjoy the moments in front of you and those you are with.

Choose you battles carefully and be aware if you are actually battling yourself!

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Posted in Believe and Succeed Life Coaching, Business Coaching, Business Planning, Coaching, Elephant in the Room, Elephants, Empowering people, Life coaching, Lifestyle, Managing stress | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment