Business Development

I recently had the pleasure of meeting  a gentleman who had been doing some training for colleagues of mine. As he walked by me, I stretched out my hand and said, “hi, my name is Moji, what do you do?” He pleasantly returned my handshake, handed me his business card, and proceeded to spend the next minute or so, telling me about himself. When he was finished, he promptly said goodbye, turned around and walked out of the room.

I couldn’t help smiling to myself as I wondered how many business development opportunities we miss by not returning simple courtesies. Unknown to this gentleman, I may very well be connected to his most desired client. A simple “how about you?” in return to my initial inquiry, may have been the key to exploring that potential.

Referral marketing is the most powerful form of marketing known to man, its main currency is relationships; rich, deep, profitable relationships, built on the age old law of reciprocity.

Want to grow your business through referrals?  Great networkers know that you don’t have to be at a networking event to network! Every time you, meet another individual is a networking opportunity. There’s no need to try to sell them anything either, a sincere exchange of greetings at the grocery store, or the dentist’s office can be the beginning of a long term profitable relationship.

Make a genuine caring impression, by remembering to smile and giving them an opportunity to tell you about themselves. If you hand out your business card, be sure to request theirs in return. You may choose to deepen your relationship by ask for permission to stay connected via email, LinkedIn or Facebook, whatever is most appropriate.

You just never know, who people know!

Moji Ajele is the executive director and franchise owner for BNI Alberta South. Moji entered university at age 14 and earned her Master’s Degree in civil engineering by age 21. This education has helped Moji develop an appreciation for effective systems in all areas of life. A well sought after speaker and expert on effective business networking, Moji is award winning BNI Executive director, known for her high energy and passion for helping business owners.

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Your Business Survivor Toolkit

Business Survivor Toolkit

I recently posed this question to business owners who have been in operation for ten or more years on Facebook.”What in your opinion is the difference between the 10% of businesses who survive over 10 years and the 90% who don’t? ” In other words, I wanted to know what “secret tools” these business owners had in their toolkit. To my surprise, their responses were not big, insurmountable, ideas. For the most parts, they were seemingly little things, the very things that can easy be overlooked, to the detriment of our businesses.

Below are some of their tips
1) Passion – Doing what you “love” makes it easier to keep going for the long run.
2) Integrity – There is no faster way to lose clients and destroy a business than to be insincere with people. Integrity builds trust and credibility. People will not continue to do business with you, much less refer you if they do not trust you.
3) Wow customer service – If you remember that every client is a potential referral partner and value them as such, watch out! Make sure you can handle the increased business, because they will start raving about you in their networks.
4) Solid systems – Put the systems in as soon as possible, think and plan big. Great systems are like a solid foundation underneath the superstructure of your business, they allow your business to grow successfully without imploding.
5) A long term perspective – How long do you plan to be around? I addressed this in detail in a previous article, titled Shelters and Networks. Never sacrifice the future  for the present, before making a decision, ask yourself, “if I did this consistently, were will my business bi in 10 years?”
6) Refuse to give up – Everyone encounters tough discouraging times,everyone! Only the naive think that others are more successful than them because they do not have challenges. When you encounter challenges, instead of bemoaning your luck and staying stuck on the problem. Turn you mind to finding solutions reach out to the members of your network and  your challenges might  turn into stepping stones.

What about you, what “secret tools” do you have in your survival tool kit? I will love to hear from you.
A big thank you to the business owners who responded to my question. Thanks  for your willingness to share your knowledge and expertise, and best of all, for being beacon’s of hope for all business owners who long, not just to build a business, but to leave a legacy.

Moji Ajele is the executive director and franchise owner for BNI Alberta South. Having entered university at age 14 to study civil engineering, this education has helped Moji develop an appreciation for effectiveness of systems in all areas of life. A well sought after speaker and expert on effective business networking, Moji is known for her high energy and passion for helping business owners. She was named director of the year 2012, for the second consecutive year by BNI Canada for her contribution to networking in southern Alberta.

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A Testimonial By Peter Huszar Creations by Casablanca Ltd.

Creations by Casablanca Ltd.Image

91 Elgin Terrace SE

Calgary, Alberta, Canada  T2Z 0H6

Phone: 403-850-1434   Fax: 403-256-3014

                        March 19, 2013.


BNI Alberta South

130; 3025 – 12 Street NE

Calgary, Alberta  T2E 8T3


Attention: Moji Ajele


Re: LET Training, March 15, 2013

          This letter is to thank you for the excellent program that was prepared for the recent Training.


The opening sessions generated anticipation as they described BNI’s plans for the future.   The on-line training available to assist each of us to grow our business is valuable.  The in-house social network that will shortly link Canada to BNI members world wide will be an amazing vehicle to seek out new business partnerships.


The breakout sessions for the different chapter positions were informative.  The “Growth Coordinator” session that I attended was an eye opener.  It focused on how this position could effectively assist a chapter’s development with a team of 3 to 5 individuals.


In the final part, each of the BNI chapters met in their own break out session.  While the information from the different breakout sessions was still fresh in our minds, we brainstormed on  ways we could improve our individual chapters.  Of course, the “bottom line” is that it would also increase our own bottom lines!


It has been my pleasure to be a part of BNI for just over 2 years.  The quality of the  networking education available is continually improving.  This recent LET Training is no exception.  Learning and implementing this information has helped me grow my business, as well as develop personally as a more effective business owner.


Clearly, BNI’s corporate philosophy of “Givers Gain” is an integral part of your tireless efforts in our behalf.  Many thanks to you, and your team of directors and instructors.


Best regards,


Peter J. Huszar

President (until Mar 31st)

BNI – Rocky Mountain Thunder

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Shelters and Networks

ImageThe similarities between building business realtionships  and building a shelter are quite striking. Depending your plan, purpose and budget, there are myriads of options available to you for a shelter at any given time. 

For a quick camping trip in at a spectacular outdoor location, a tent will do. Erected in less than an hour and you are ready to go. This type of shelter has obvious limitations. 

During a missions trip to Mexico while in university, my son had the joy of helping to build a home for a Mexican family. No kitchen, no bathrooms, just 4 simple walls, yet the family’s expressions of  gratitude had the entire team in tears. This shelter, was erected in two weeks, with a little more investment of time, energy and money  than it took to erect the tent.

The average lifespan of a Canadian home is about 100 years. Many war time Canadian homes are now been torn down to make room for modern in-fills. The investment of time, energy and money to build these homes, is also a bit more than Tolu and his friends put into building the home in Mexico.

The oldest known inhabited building is Windsor Castle, dating back to 1067, this magnificent structure took 17 years to build and would cost over $1 Billion in today’s funds. I can only imagine the amount of time, and energy that went into the planning of a structure that has survived close to a thousand years.

A staggering 90% of businesses fail in the first 10 years! What is it that allows  the other 10% to thrive and flourish, while other businesses fall like packs of cards around them? I believe one factors might be the your perspective as a business owner. Are you simply getting up, making calls and shaking hands each day to pay the bills and put food on the table? Or are plugged in to the overall bigger picture  of what you do and how you make a difference in your world? As far back as 1961 IBM management issued this quote to their staff, “IBM’s future is in the hands of it’s people. Our future is unlimited”! Little wonder this company keeps weathering storm after storm.

What is your outlook for your business? Are you planning for it to last 10 years like most, or are you planning to leave a legacy that will continue to add meaning to the lives of people for generations to come?

Your desired outcome should be reflected in the  amount of time, energy and money that you are willing to invest in building, solid lifelong relationships that will help you accomplish your goals faster than you could by yourself. 

Now, I realize that it  may not be the desire of every business owner to build a legacy. For those  who do, may I suggest that it is very unlikely that you could build a castle in an hour? In the same way, a planned, healthy investment  of time energy and money in your business relationships will set you solidly on your path to a successful business and an enduring legacy. 

I would love to hear from you, what other factors do you think contribute significantly to the the survival  of a business?

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Take Ten

I love meeting people, lots of people, I love shaking their hands and genuinely asking them about their businesses, goals and aspirations. I love asking trying to find out how I might be able to help them.

Unfortunately, my Achilles heel  lies in the follow up process. Like many self professed networking junkies, I pack my schedule so busy, that I often forget to follow up with my newly established contacts. As Dr.Ivan Misner would say, my network was `an inch deep and a mile wide`. 

I recently discovered a neat little trick! If I could just schedule 10 minutes immediately following each appointment, I could actually plan (or in some cases complete) most of the follow up tasks associated with that appointment. Voila! Gone was the guilt, that came with procrastination, and my follow up began taking a lot less time.

Here are a few other tips that make it easier to maintain `Top of Mind“status with my new contacts.

1) I ask if the contact is on the social media networks such as Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter, if they say yes, I always ask for permission to connect. I have never had anyone say no. This allows me to connect and stay in touch with them through their posts. I try to spend about 15 minutes daily reviewing these post.

2) I make a note to `like`, or leave comments on their posts as appropriate. This is a great way to find out how i can help meet their needs by recommending one of the great professionals in my network.

What tricks have you used to ensure that you follow up is effective and consistent? I would love to hear from you!



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Paying it forward! I just finished the most awesome photo session with Janice Meyers, an amazing photographer who seeks to help her clients communicate with their target audience by capturing the essence of their personality. In addition, she blogs about them. Below is a blog she wrote about physiotherapist, and BNI members Blair Schachterle of Nose Creek Sport and Physical Therapy, Calgary.

jmeyersforeman photography

Blair has been a Physical Therapist at Nose Creek Sport Physical Therapy.  During our time photo session I learned a lot about Blair and his passion for helping others, through physiotherapy, mentoring staff, and through his work with BNI.

I met Blair through a BNI referral (BNI, Business Network International), a professional marketing organization specializing in word-of-mouth referrals. I have been a member of the Rocky Mountain Thunder chapter since the beginning of the year. We meet 7 am Thursday mornings, and I have to say, the group is amazing in so many ways.

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