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What have you done for someone else lately?

By Leo Valiquette

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with several individuals who reminded me how much a natural part of doing business it should be for philanthropy and giving back in some way to the community that sustains you.

At VLN Advanced Technologies, founder Mohan Vijay spent 13 years fighting uphill to commercialize his company’s forced-pulse waterjet technology. When at last his ship came in, the 75-year-old immediately redirected much of his company’s new profitability into the VLN Reach Foundation. Through his foundation, Vijay supports the Make A Wish Foundation, the Ottawa-Carleton Association for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, the Brain Injury Association of Canada and Propeller Dance, and also makes cash donations to many other charities each year.

But most inspiring of all is his ambitious plan to create a sustainable funding model for worthy charities that struggle year after year to muster sufficient funding. He wants to construct a mixed-use development that operates on a not-for-profit basis, with any net profits donated to charity. The site could be used for almost anything: a convention centre, a retail space, commercial office space, condos or some combination thereof. But the most jaw-dropping aspect of his plan is the physical shape that he wants the building to take.

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Great articles roundup: Lean methodologies, story-centred design, real-time marketing, value proposition, pitching editors

By Daylin Mantyka

link2 300x240 Great articles roundup: Brand differentiation, intrapreneurs, startup pitch, startupsAs a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Ash Maurya: Practice Trumps Theory, GigaOm, Fast Company, Marketing Sherpa Blog and Social Media Explorer.

Your business model is a system and why you should care

Ash Maurya talks about the roots of lean development and why understanding where the concept came from is important for successfully finding that sweet spot in product-market fit.

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The imperatives of leaders, leadership and leading

By Bob Bailly

“Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.”

Harry S Truman, 33rd president of United States (1884 – 1972)

Over the last several months Canadians have watched the eldest son of Pierre Trudeau move from the fringes of the Liberal Party to become its newly elected leader. After he garnered 80 per cent of the first ballot votes at the party convention last weekend, Justin Trudeau has finally been able to overcome the disdain of his opponents and the media. But as journalist Michael Den Tandt observes, “the latter will not last – unless Trudeau proves to be as effective a leader as he is a campaigner.”

But what constitutes an effective leader?

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Great articles roundup: Brand differentiation, intrapreneurs, startup pitch, startups

By Daylin Mantyka

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Fast Company, Gabriel Weinberg’s Blog and ReadWriteWeb.

The sex panther formula for finding your brand’s secret sauce

Anchorman’s Brian Fantana may have been off the mark with his sex panther cologne — but his head was in the right place. Mark McNeilly writes about the importance of product differentiation and finding that secret sauce that separates your brand from the rest.

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Want more business from your website? Here are 6 things your customers need to see

By Tim Peter

The Internet offers customers lots of options before they make a purchase decision. In fact, it’s cliché to say that on the Internet your competition is just a click away. But it’s true. Research from Google and others suggests that customers view an average of seven to 10 sites before making a purchase decision. In some industries, those numbers are even higher.

Why so many?

Simple. Regardless of whether they are looking for a new car, consultant, contractor, or chiropractor, customers really look to answer only two questions when researching products and services online:

Will this product/service meet my needs?

Why should I buy from you?

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