Tuesday, May 22, 2007

It is a small world

Last week was truly exciting on many fronts. We were hosting our first annual conference for women in business and by all accounts, it was a huge success. Knowing who we had coming as speakers, I was confident that it would go well, but what I hadn’t known was that we would be joined by some women from Africa and Pakistan who were in Canada as part of an international trade mission.

I had been able to spend some time with them for two days prior to the conference, and when four of them chose to join us on Thursday, it truly made the conference special.
In talking with them afterwards, they found as we do here, that the issues are the same world-wide and there is comfort and support in finding out you are not alone in your business.

I thank everyone for giving them such a warm welcome and I am excited to report that we have our first international member, as one of the women joined. Not only that, they are talking about coming back for next year’s event and bringing more women with them! Now that… as young people say, rocks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Touching base

When did you last ask your customers what they wanted or needed?

So often we spend our time determining what we think our customers need, which of course somehow fits into what we have to offer. But is that good business? Does it work? And how long do you keep those people as clients if that is all they are to you – a pay cheque?

At our members only meeting this week, we actively sought feedback. You could feel the energy in the room as people discussed (and debated) the questions asked of them. It has been my experience that when you involve people, they feel more connected. When you ask their opinion, they feel valued and when you give them a voice, they clamber to be heard. People came up with some great ideas, many of which we hope to implement in the months ahead.

It’s good to touch base and check in with your clients. It keeps you honest and helps also clear up any miscommunication, so everyone is on the same page and expectations are realistic.

Why not contact one of your clients today – not to make a sale, just to chat. You might be surprised what you learn.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Our Hero

This week I had the great pleasure of attending the retirement party for Charlie Coffey, formerly of RBC Financial Group. This wasn't an official party sponsored by the bank, but one where women, many of who were recipients of the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award, came together to celebrate and honour this special man.

Charlie is a strong advocate for women, and especially women entrepreneurs, so it was no surprise that women from across Canada had come to this event. A champion of youth, he also supported their efforts over the years and so the age-mix at this party was also noticeable.

I’ve been to several events hosted by Charlie and what has always struck me was his unfailing interest in people – and not just his guests, but the wait staff and anyone else who crossed his path. One time on the 40th floor at RBC, he had the waiter give the grace according to his culture, and he introduced him personally.

He would always joke that with five sisters and his mother, he had to get women’s issues or he was “toast” at home. At the Women Trading Globally conference in Vancouver a few years ago, Charlie was made an “honorary woman” much to the enjoyment of the women participating in this event.

Naturally we all wish Charlie well in his retirement, but oh we are going to miss him.