Volume 16, Issue 1

Paying tribute to a wonderful writer and magnificent man

Paying tribute to a wonderful writer and magnificent man

This page is usually reserved for my humour column, but for this issue I instead pay tribute to Tom Keyser, who suffered a fatal heart attack on Oct. 2.

Tom was a great friend to many and was a faithful, loving husband, father and grandfather. He was my main writer for Business Edge News Magazine, penning nearly all front-page 20 Questions profiles and features on specific companies for the last several years.

One of the most creative storytellers in the country, he was also a remarkably efficient writer. Tom worked out of the Business Edge office on occasion, and I always marvelled at his speed. Watching him write was like watching a concert pianist; words flowed with uncommon ease and beauty.

I will never forget the first time he wrote an advertorial feature (no byline as it was not editorial) for one of my customers. He drove from his home in southwest Calgary to interview my client in his downtown office at 10 a.m.

At 10:30, my client called me, quite perturbed. “Your writer took off just as we were starting to tell our story!” he said.

I was remiss in failing to mention that Tom could be more than a little blunt. He was the furthest thing from a corporate ass-kisser. That client paid upwards of $7,000 for that feature and expected to have more time with my star writer. I apologized and explained that Tom had probably done a lot of research and was unlikely to disappoint with his writing. My customer was skeptical.

Tom submitted the feature at 12:30 p.m., less than two hours after his abrupt departure . . . and he had a 30-minute drive home! I waited 48 hours to send the feature to the client as it would only make matters worse if he knew that Tom took less than 90 minutes to write this expensive feature.

When I finally forwarded the story, I was aware that although I thought it was a great read, the client might not see through his bias from the disappointing interview experience.

My customer called within an hour: “I have no idea how he did it, but he nailed it! He told our story better than any of us ever have!”

Phew! Another happy customer, and another example of how Tom’s pen was mightier than the sordid.

If you did not have the pleasure of knowing Tom Keyser and/or his writing, please check out his Facebook page, on which tributes continue to pour in.

Tom used Facebook to make us all chuckle and to inspire us with noteworthy performances, milestones and achievements. The dude was a hippie who lived life to the fullest in the 1960s and ‘70s, at one time partying with the Grateful Dead in a hotel room.

His favourite Facebook topics were music and baseball but he highlighted many genres. As one of Tom’s former Calgary Herald colleagues put it, his Facebook page is “a wonderful archive of wise suggestions on music and literature, and a fine example of the art of critical thinking.”

I will leave you with Tom’s final Facebook post on Oct. 1, the day before he died, far too young at 68. It was typically colourful as he delivered a YouTube link to the 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead:

“My lowlife friends and I bought a bunch of cheap wine and watched this gobsmacker of a horror movie at a drive-in during its initial run, having no idea what we were in for. Not that we didn’t enjoy watching a teenage girl zombie drive a garden trowel into Don Rickles’ face.”

Thanks for the memories, Tom. Rest in peace!

baby-boomer business owners | Business Edge News Magazine
Volume 16, Issue 1

ROI Corporation, Brokerage maximizes value for baby-boomer business owners

Business Edge News Magazine

Timothy A. Brown was an impressionable teenager when he started working with his father Roy in appraising the value of dental practices.

His immediate impression was that the dentists were selling themselves and their businesses short. Really short.

“I could see right away that these dentists were sitting on extremely valuable assets, and they seemed to have no idea,” says Brown, president, CEO and broker of record at ROI Corp. “Dentists used to just get older, get tired and then walk away with little or no reward after many years of building solid, profitable businesses.”

Brown discovered that it was very gratifying to help dentists realize substantial profits and exit their businesses with honour, pride and a nice financial payout.

A few decades later, Brown boasts a track record of great success in helping entrepreneurs in various industries formulate and execute effective succession strategies. Methodology that worked well in dentistry also produced excellent results for optometry and veterinary practices as well as in other fields.

In recent years, however, Brown has observed a troubling trend.

“Logically, in our role of business owner, we should be asking ourselves, ‘How much longer am I going to be doing this—three, four, maybe five more years?’ and planning accordingly,’” Brown explains. “But 80 per cent of business owners have no formal succession plan.

“It’s shocking! We become married to our businesses and we just think it will always be there for us. If we don’t have a plan in place, the results can be horrendous. Not only could you be leaving a ton of money on the table; you could be leaving behind a complete disaster for those around you to deal with.”

The good news is that there is an enormous amount of foreign investment and immigrants who want to purchase Canadian small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs). The recent U.S. presidential election provided a major boost to the number of foreigners aiming to hang a shingle in Canada.

The potentially bad news is that there will be a “stampede to the exits” as a glut of aging business owners awaken to the opportunities available to them.

“Billions of dollars in value will be exchanged as the baby boomers sell their businesses in the coming years,” says Brown. “The CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) and all major banks have done studies that indicate a massive transfer of wealth as Canadian SMEs owned by boomers hit the market.

“The people who get on top of things and prepare their businesses for sale now are the ones who will profit the most.”

ROI Corporation, Brokerage enables business owners to maximize profits while avoiding the inevitable disaster that comes with failure to prepare for the uncertain and unknown. Brown and his team of accomplished professionals will assist at whatever level necessary in getting your business ready for sale.

“At times, it is similar to home staging in the sale of a home,” Brown says. “You may just require cosmetic adjustments that make the business much more attractive to the prospective buyer.

“In other instances, we may need to help guide the owner through more significant changes. It could be everything from selling assets to reducing overhead to purchasing a company to grow value or to even finalize a major business reorganization. We will provide a full appraisal and with that comes prudent advice that will help you prepare your business for sale at top value.”

In closing the interview, Brown provided three “essential” tips for the baby-boomer business owner:

  1. Prepare a will that contains a definitive letter of direction!
  2. Contact a professional to help you begin the process. Start planning your exit!
  3. Every business must be ready for sale at all times, because anything can happen. All baby boomers know someone who dropped dead or became suddenly ill for whatever reason. Do everyone in your family and your business a favour; prepare your business for sale!

For more information, call 416 520 7240, email timothy@roicorp.com or visit www.roicorp.com

Start-up Shoptoit drives foot traffic to your business | Business Edge News Magazine

Start-up Shoptoit drives foot traffic to your business

76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby visit a business within a day

28% of those searches for something nearby result in a purchase.

Google/Purchased Digital Diary: How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment, May 2016. Smartphone users = 1000, local searchers = 634, purchases = 1,140

If you own a small or medium business and have given up on the idea of having a digital marketing campaign that consistently drives foot traffic to your place of business, you have plenty of company. Large companies, with their large advertising budgets and large workforces, have dominated the location-based digital marketing realm. It has simply been too expensive and too time consuming for the little guys to compete.

Until now. Emerging company Shoptoit (www.retailers.shoptoit.ca) has come up with a business model that enables the small and medium business to play with the big boys in the battle to attract foot traffic and drive sales.

“Consumers really want to support the local retailer, but when they go to their mobile phones for their searches, they are not seeing the little guys; they are seeing Ultracuts, Walmart and Amazon, but they are looking for alternatives” says Shoptoit co- founder Scott Sanderson. “We can change that.” For less than $200 per month and less than 15 minutes to set up, the Shoptoit Platform handles all aspects of getting found in searches for small business. The comprehensive system includes mobile websites, search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns and guaranteed traffic from Google Adwords. “Shoptoit has you covered every step of the way,” Sanderson adds. “It’s the automation that makes it affordable and efficient. Digital marketing can be a complex science but we have made it the simplest of processes by going to remarkable lengths automating the platform.

“We have partnered with Google and co-developed direct software integration in their AdWords system, so physical stores can tap right into that incredible network and immediately drive consumers to their businesses. Most of these searches start with Google.”

Shoptoit did more than a little research and development in creating this game-changing solution. The company founders invested millions of dollars, wrote more than 650,000 lines of code and entered 28 million product descriptions and images.

“Attracting foot traffic is a very crowded space and most of the smaller bricks-and- mortar players are invisible. We make them visible,” says Shoptoit principal Mark Naylor.

“It is all about the algorithms and the product database. We have the products there for you, so you spend only a few minutes getting activated. Then the Platform drives leads and sales to your business. In its simplest terms, Shoptoit is a highly effective lead driver.”

A critical component of the model is that the business owner is in complete control of the investment level.

“You should start to see results within two days, and you can change the spend at any time,” Naylor adds

Shoptoit’s Channel Program, meanwhile, is an ideal solution for organizations looking to add value to their member services or loyalty programs.

“Our plan is to reach the more than 1 million Canadian small businesses who want to grow their customer base. One of the most powerful ways we do this is by partnering with organizations who have existing relationships and are aligned with our goal to help small business succeed. We work with the partner to reach and show the small business that mobile marketing is within their reach and then get them started down the path,” Sanderson explains.


In a special promotion designed to help small and mid-size Canadian companies attract more local business, Business Edge is offering a free Google-approved starter
kit from Shoptoit. Start getting found by new customers now by going to BusinessEdge.ca and click on the big-box ad on the right side of the home page!