Business and Life Inspiration with Billionaire Frank Giustra

Billionaire Frank Giustra on Business and PhilanthropyI’m lucky in my line of work that I get to meet so many incredible people. Being able to live and work in the online world allows me flexibility and reach like no other industry I know of. Because of this flexibility I’ve been getting more involved in the Vancouver community, enjoying events with diverse and rich groups of successful business visionaries.

Today was no exception. BCBusiness’s Top 100 honoured the top 100 companies in BC, Canada. Frank Giustra was the special guest of todays event, and I enjoyed the pleasure of listening to his life story and how he has contributed to four different multi-billion dollar corporations.

Though Mr. Giustra is most well known for his work in the mining and film industries (Lions Gate Film), his work as a philanthropist, and his down to earth nature is what attracted me to him as a person. He was genuine in his answers, often being asked about his weaknesses, doubts and past failures, to which he always came out with positive responses of hope, focus and a well balanced life.

For someone who is able to work no more than a regular work week while being able to contribute 100 million dollars to his friend Bill Clinton’s philanthropy projects, it was wonderful to hear his insights into what makes great companies and great human beings.

Personal note: That he was a self made billionaire and came from very humble beginnings, and had to suffer with fear, doubts, seclusion, mockery and down times just like everyone else, explained his compassion to the world and his desire to just be happy, help others and enjoy a well balanced life.

 

Here are a few notes of highlighted comments I took from him today:

– If you truly believe in something, with 100% conviction, anything you dream of can happen.

– Avoid negative energy. Be around the things that push you forward and feel productive and positive in every way. This will produce true success.

– Once they can see they relate to you, you can inspire them.

– Never borrow money. If you have debt, you’re done. Instead, just cut back and spend less until the hurt is over.

– Ego is an important thing to leave on the side when making business decisions.

– I look at the characteristics of successful people and test those out for myself.

– I still make mistakes. Its just part of life. You just have to correct them quickly, learn from them, and move on.

– Success comes from having a balanced life, feeling happy and being at peace. If you’re not at peace, it’s not right. I balance my life with family, friends, cooking, good wine, adventure, exercise, ongoing learning and just staying healthy.

– Content is everything. If you have great content, no matter the industry or subject matter you’re in, you can reach new markets and new opportunities.

 

and a final fun one to take away:

Mr. Giustra was asked “What business advice would you give my six year old?” His reply? “Learn Mandarin.”

It was a pleasure to spend some time with Frank Giustra today. Sometimes it’s good to just step out of your box and listen to someone who can inspire you to be more like yourself, to take risks, to put your heart out there, and to be wholeheartedly passionate about what you do.  That’s what he did, and I do too.

How about you? What are you most passionate about that makes you happy?

How to Succeed at Internet Retailer Conference (IRCE)

Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition Attendee ChartLast week was the world famous Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago where thousands of retailers, vendors and eager students gathered to devour the online retail industry’s latest innovations, strategies and presentations by great leaders in the space.

With over 200 speakers, 600 vendors and an array of opportunities that come about by being anywhere within the 250,000 square foot stoping ground, IRCE is not a show to miss if you’re serious about retail.

However in order to make your time worth while without getting overwhelmed or missing the boat on your greatest opportunities, here are some tips for survival and making the most out of this exceptional show:

 

Five Tips to Success at IRCE:

1. Chose where to spend your time

Plan which areas have your greatest interest and spend time there. There are four main categories of the exhibition hall:

  • marketing/merchandising/social media
  • fulfilment/shipping/delivery
  • e-c0mmerce platforms
  • customer support/order processing/payments

Chose one, maybe two of these to spend your time in, and speak with as many people as possible. If you don’t you’ll find yourself wandering in an abyss of foreverness, not really finding any value in anything because you were spread too thin. Focus. Rinse and repeat.

2. Plan your meetings in advance

Before I left I had breakfast, lunch and dinner planned every day with people I wanted to spend special time with. I left a little flex room one afternoon as well, which resulted in a one hour meeting turning into a highly productive 6.5 hour meeting, which could mean millions of dollars to our brand. It’s a good idea to leave a little flex room so you can catch the shows, meet with the people and make the decisions that are right for you and your business.

3. Three heads (and bodies) are better than one

This show is so massive, so high value, it’s better to have more people covering different areas than sending only one person who misses 95% of the opportunities. There’s only so much ground one person can cover. This goes for both the sessions and the exhibition hall. Or, worse case scenario, have one person attend the sessions and the other work the floor. Whatever you do, if you send more than one person make sure you split up. The point of having more people is to leverage different opportunities rather than follow each other around getting the exact same experience. Collaboration is more effective if you split up and meet throughout the day.

4. Attend the networking events

Magento threw a phenomenal party the first night of IRCE. Probably 1000 people came, and they covered food and open bar for everyone. High profile clients and vendors attended, and it was an amazing opportunity to meet new people, all of which could benefit from knowing each other. My #1 tip on events – know all your options for each night and sign up in advance to make sure you get in. They fill up fast.

5. Follow up

We all get caught in a flood of emails and follow ups from trips like these and its understandable that you’re busy upon return. However you must resist the temptation to push those business cards aside for a later day. Timeliness is everything, and a later day could turn into a later month which could turn into never. This means you’ve just wasted your trip from a relationships standpoint. Stay in touch. Reach back out. Schedule another call to remind each other what you do and build those relationships. Its those relationships that lead to new business or learning opportunities that could mean the difference of your ongoing success or not.

How many of you went to IRCE this year and what were your major highlights?

Affiliate Home Parties Create New Opportunities for Merchants

blurb affiliate program innovative ideasOver the weekend an affiliate friend of mine decided to try something new with some friends. One of my top performing affiliates over the past 8 years, Leanne, decided to combine the Arbone / Mary Kay “Home Party” model to one of our clients, Blurb.

She invited several of her friends who are veteran scrapbookers and photo-albumists to try out Blurb’s self book publishing platform. She prepared by becoming initimately familiar with their online book building tools and asked our affiliate manager for exclusive codes for each of her guests. Brilliant.

Although this was a trial run with friends to see the response rate and get feedback from attendees to tweak her approach and learn how people would respond to her strategy, the response by those who came was incredible. Everyone who attended brought their laptop and sat building their books on the spot, asking questions that Leanne could answer because of her familiarity with the platform, and at no cost to the attendees due to the exclusive coupons offered by Blurb.

As an affiliate, she can monetize this by charging future attendees for her “Book Building Workshops” while also earning affiliate commission through completed books. Further she gets to create original content for her related blog, which potentially triples her income.

This is an example of how innovative affiliates can bring great value to merchants while finding creative ways to increase revenues. I take my hat off to you, Leanne, as always, for trying something new that will absolutely pay itself off. Well done.

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