Change doesn’t have to be hard

Small business owners constantly deal with change and over the course of time realize it’s the normal way of doing business as a entrepreneur. Most entrepreneurs became entrepreneurs either from drastic change in their life that occurred, such as a loss of job, or from a need for more flexible hours, or perhaps they discovered a need in the market and went after it. These are all good reasons for change.

The thing with change is this: it does not have to be complex, it does not have to impact the world and it does not have to be difficult or painful. Change can be as simple as moving from writing things down in a daily planner to typing it into your calendar and tasks in electronic form.

Change is as much about knowing what to ask as it is how to go through it. What is simple to one person is difficult for another – this happens for one very simple reason: lack of knowledge. I say lack of knowledge but not in a bad way, in way that you had no idea such a thing existed in the first place or how simple it truly is. This is compounded by the fear of what might happen if you try something you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.

I had a discussion the other day with a business friend who runs a successful small business. We talked about reading. He hit the nail on the head when I told him I only read business related articles and books. His response was that in order to truly get perspective he reads novels – fiction or otherwise, they challenge people to think of the unthinkable, look at things in ways they may never have thought before and even evoke controversy with your beliefs.

This kind of analogy challenges me to rethink my reading habits. This means changing the way I look at business by changing they way I look at reading. It also tells me doing what I do best isn’t good enough, I need to be better. I need to tell people what I think and why I think that way so I can help them make better decisions through change.

This means coming out of my hiding place for the last couple of years and being that social person I used to be – even though Myers-Briggs tells me I’m highly introverted – that has to change in order for me to be successful at coaching you through this. I do this by making things seem very simple. By taking small steps at a time not one large leap. This is why I love my 4 for 4 program (read more about 4for4 here if you so desire). It fits my personality – focused, to the point and results oriented.

The under $2500 Start-up in less than a week

Sometimes, you just want to get started. Nothing fancy but something more than what you have today. You’ve decided to turn a passion, hobby or interest into something more. Where do you start?

Well, that’s the million dollar question and I can help you answer that. Let’s be clear, you need to define what your product or service will be before starting. This is a must. You also need to know who you intend to sell to or have sold to in the past and what it is you would like to say to them – describe your product or service, list them, have pictures and or testimonials readily available.

Next, you need a tax number. In Canada, call CRA and tell them you are starting up a sole proprietorship and want a tax number. They will ask you some basic questions and you will then be given an HST number. Some people might tell you that you don’t need one. I highly suggest that if you intend on making any kind of money (over $30k a year for example) that you get one now and start charging for it.

Set up a separate account specifically for depositing and saving HST. DO NOT SPEND THIS MONEY !! This is how businesses get in trouble financially. Operate on a cash flow premise and you will avoid this pitfall.

Now, in Nova Scotia there is this thing called Registry of Joint Stock. Here you can register and request a business name. In order to qualify for some government grants you need to be registered here. However, as a sole proprietor you are not legally obligated to register your business here. If you feel the need go here for more information: .

Now, you need a logo, business cards, website and email and maybe even a social media page. To keep this simple and within budget you can do a couple things – hire a company like to walk you through this and set you up. or you can manage it yourself through connections you may already have, or a combination of both.

Let’s say you decide to go it alone – okay, good for you. Here is what I suggest:

  1. ALWAYS buy your own domain name.. NEVER let someone do this for you and place the domain under their control. Once you build up your business it becomes exceedingly harder to get them to transfer into your name.
  2. Buy hosting that auto-renews annually and pay monthly. As a start up, there is no need to incur costs up front when you can spread it out over time. Check out or for domain searches and hosting.
  3. Next, you need a website. WordPress templates are the fastest way to get started on a minimal budget. You will need help setting this up. Call a friend or visit to help you with this. You can find templates that can be modified to your business here:
  4. Once you have your hosting set up – this can take up to 72 hrs for the domain to go live, be patient, you have no control over that, you can then install and modify your template, add your logo and content and start sharing the news!!
  5. Hire a bookkeeper if you are not one yourself.

There are more layers to this, and much more you can do, however, you now have a web presence, a legal business and are ready to hit the road. If you decide you want business cards, work with a local printer like

It’s that simple.

Here is an example of one that just went live:

Reinvention Project – Approved Mortgage Professionals

Recently Trigve was asked to help  a local business completely reinvent themselves. They were transitioning from one national brand to another which gave them the opportunity to showcase their own brand power moving forward. Audrey Wamboldt has been operating under her own company name, Approved Mortgage Professionals Ltd., for many many years even though her local brand was under the Dominion Lending banner.

Recently, Trigve Business Solutions helped her design a completely new brand that allowed her to promote her own business and her own business name. This could not have been accomplished until she moved to another national brand – Invis – as her provider of services. She had worked with in the past and had many years of experience dealing with them.

Trigve, used various areas of his business offerings, including his sketch art techniques, to design, develop and deploy a new logo, new office signage, business cards and website – content not included.

The result was a complete re-branding project with a professional look and feel that seamlessly transitioned Audrey’s business without interruption of service. See her business in action here: Approved Mortgage Professionals Ltd.

CRM – What is it?


CRM: Customer Relationship Management
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia defines it as:

“Customer relationship management (CRM) is an approach to managing a company’s interaction with current and future customers. It often involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.”


Every week that passes I find myself asking: “How is it that smart, successful business people do not know about CRM?”

After which I remind myself that not everyone has been enveloped in technology for the past twenty plus years the way I have. The use of technology to support sales, marketing and other customer service and support functions has been around a long time. The transition of this technology to a mobile friendly environment has made it even easier and more accessible to businesses of all sizes.

As a busy business person, always being on the move and rarely having time to stop and eat unless you force yourself to make the time, you often need tools to help you do your daily tasks. Having these tools readily accessible no matter where you are can be invaluable. Take, for example, you just walked out of a very lucrative (potentially) business venture. You took many notes and you feel like your head is spinning.

Now, you have so much going through your mind about what just happened. This is the best time to write down everything that was said, done, requires follow up, etc. But wait, you need to set your calendar, tasks, reminders, and so on, to do this properly. In comes “CRM”. CRM, if implemented and used correctly, will save you time and money.

CRM allows you to import your contacts, create tasks and to-do lists, complete with follow ups, such as email and phone. Some CRM systems let you manage and change many features, while others restrict what you can do. CRM allows you to set reminders based on how frequently you want to be reminded and how you enter it into the system. You can email direct from most systems and in some case run your social media from it.

In the previous paragraph I mentioned “CRM allows you to set reminders based on how frequently you want to be reminded and how you enter it into the system”. This is significant, given that technology has helped us be better organizers. The sooner you can enter your notes into the system the more valuable the system will be. The accuracy of the data is best when entered immediately after a meeting or event. As time progresses you lose context of the meeting and your notes become vague.

Here are a couple quotes to help you remember the importance of data entry and management:

“The information you get from a CRM system is only as good as the information that has been entered into it”

“Garbage in, garbage out.”

As always, if you are uncomfortable with technology, not sure how to choose the right system for your business, do some research, hire someone to help you and take your time to make the right choice. It’s worth the effort and very rewarding as your business grows. You’ll be thankful you did.

The CO2 Coaching Model – not just for business coaches

The CO2 Coaching Model is more than a business coaching model, it is a model designed to help business owners lead their company and better service their customers. Business leaders and managers need to understand that there is more to running a business than looking at the numbers and the bottom line. Business is about how emotionally intelligent you are to lead a business through change, manage your operations and service customers.

The core of your business is it’s organizational operations (O2). The operations are there to service your customers (C) and ensure they are happy. Refer to the image below. You can see that the O2 – organizational operations, is on a vertical axis that rotates inside the C – your target customers. Since operations is the core of your business when it is running smoothly and efficiently it is well aligned with your customers and spins on it’s axis without resistance.

not just for business coaches
not just for business coaches

However, if your operations are not properly aligned, perhaps because your target market has shifted, then your operations will slow down because the axis is no longer aligned with customers expectations. When this happens your business begins to produce ‘operational waste’ and your customers start to dwindle. You need to realign your business so that it is back in tune with your customers.

Why Google Business Pages?

How we search the web for products and services is continuously changing, changing to the point where we need to rethink and revisit where and how we spend our time developing ways for our customers to find us and connect with us. One of these evolving changes is with Google and their business profiles.

See our example by selecting the image here:

Trigve Google Business Profile
Sample of a Google business profile






Think about how you look for a restaurant in your area. Whether you are on your mobile, tablet or desktop pc, chances are you will “Google it”. Once you do this, where does your eye go to first? Most likely, the image on the right, with the hours of operation, website, phone number, menu, etc. in most cases you won’t even visit their website, you will click on their contact info and make reservations accordingly. The map is already there in front of you, so you don’t even have to call them and ask for directions.

But wait. Not all businesses are listed that way. Why not? It is because they have not taken the time to set up a Google Business Page for this to happen. A Google business page, like the one you see in the image here, is FREE. Simply fill out a profile, verify the business and presto, you have a page that shows up  during a search.

This is different than the paid ads that are listed at the top. Businesses pay to be listed first, but do not have to pay anything to have their profile up. You can also view the businesses entire profile by choosing the appropriate link on the page.

Why is this so significant? Because the business website you have today or are looking to develop is becoming somewhat of an after thought when it comes to search optimization. Your Google profile is now becoming an extremely important part of your business marketing.


Keep it Simple – We’ve all heard this before


“Keep it Simple” they say. 

That’s easy for them to say, they don’t understand the roller coaster ride of entrepreneurship or at least they have never experienced it first hand. But then again, why can’t we as entrepreneurs “keep it simple”?

How many of you actually have a written plan and are executing to that plan today? What are your top 3 goals for today? How do they help you achieve your plan? If you didn’t have an answer to the first two questions then the last one would have been moot.

Let me keep this post simple and pointed:

1. Have a plan.

2. Know and review your plan daily.

3. Set realistic goals to achieve your plan.

4. Measure your performance against the plan to ensure you are meeting your goals.

5. Have daily tasks and prioritize these tasks.

6. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – know your numbers and manage them, from sales to finance.

7. Know when to say “no”.

8. Define your target market, and go after it. Avoid distractions from sales that are not in your focused market – they will suck the life out of you.

9. Referrals – get some.

10. If this doesn’t seem simple to you, seek advice, hire a business coach and/or someone to take on this task on your behalf.

Take the time now to do this, start with the basics then add to it. Keep it simple and know when to seek help, don’t be too proud. This list can be made easy for you to complete through the help of an experienced individual.