Websites and the 5 W Principle


Are you looking to do a refresh of your website? Is it time for an update or perhaps a wholesale change to your content? Today we talk tips on creating short, snappy website content that resonates! Similar in nature to when we looked at blogging for business, we’ll take a brief look at the “5 W Principle.”

To begin, keep this in mind:  Treat your website like your resume and engage in TARGETED MARKETING.  Like a resume, what do people most need to know about you? Do they need to know every job you’ve ever held, from that very first day working on the fry line at a fast food chain or do they only need to know that which is most relevant to the business you are engaged in now? Certainly you should talk about any relevant prior experience but brevity is key. No need to share your life story, just clearly talk about your product or service by answering the “5 W’s” – the who, what, where, when and why questions. In doing so, you’ll create an edited version of your skill set that still sells you and your product or service, just like a resume “sells” you to a potential employer.

Here are your key considerations:

Be targeted (or very specific) in narrowing down your potential audience. You do this by answering the question “who x 2?” That is, who are you and who is your intended audience? It’s actually not limiting your business by weeding out potential customers before you even speak to them, rather, its good time-management. You’re preventing unwanted, time-wasting phone calls from people who will probably never do business with you anyway.  To help with the “who” question, you also need to clearly identify your “why?” Why do you do what you do? This is where your passion for what you do will come through. Use thoughtful, engaging language that helps others understand why you are so passionate about your business. Sharing your passion is what engages potential “right-brained” customers. By addressing the questions of WHAT and HOW (how do you do what you do) you will engage with potential left-brained customers who both need and want specifics in order to determine whether to do business with you. Providing some level of detail will appeal to them. Answering the where and when is easy and somewhat self-explanatory. Finally, I’ve said it before and I will probably say it again as it comes up in all of my seminars; always make sure that your website content is “CORI” content. That is create content that is:

  • Current
  • Original
  • Relevant
  • Interesting

By creating and maintaining content that’s fresh and relevant to your industry – you are demonstrating that you are “on top” of industry trends. Keep your website updated by blogging, posting specials, providing seasonal information and by sharing tips and tools that matter to your customers. Give information away for free to establish goodwill and credibility. But always remember, don’t be that annoying person who shares and posts constantly just to be heard because you risk being ignored or “unsubscribed” instead! So when it comes to websites, practice the “5 W Principle” for a wonderful website that works.

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Reaching for the Moon – Entrepreneurship and the Alchemy of Ideas and Relationships


ari-2In the coming months, I plan to cover those indispensable tips for working with various forms of intellectual property (IP) in your business, such as copyrights and trademarks.  To set the stage, I would like to touch on the desire we have as entrepreneurs to protect our “ideas”.  At the risk of bursting some bubbles, the reality is that the legal system is really not designed to protect ideas. Instead, the whole premise behind having IP legal regimes is to promote the conceptualization, application and exchange of ideas. So if this is the case, why have IP legal regimes or “protect” anything in the first place?

 Before going down a rabbit hole, let me back-up for a moment and try to clarify what I mean when I use the word “idea”. To me an idea is what comes from inspiration, like the epiphany in the mid-20th century that we could fly to the moon. Examples of innovation and creativity around this idea are everywhere, and include everything from Sinatra’s classic rendition of “Fly Me to the Moon,” to NASA’s Apollo missions, to today’s quest by Branson and others to make private space travel a reality. Our drive to innovate is so core to our humanity it bubbles up everywhere, all the time, in all corners of the universe, in all arts, fine or technical, and in all human enterprise and cultures.

So it is not the ideas, but the innovation that flows from them that is addressed by our society. One way this is done is reflected in IP legal regimes. These regimes speak to what happens when an idea is being translated into a result and made accessible to the public. This can only happen in the co-creative processes that take place in relationship with one another. In these relationships there will be intersecting interests and layered rights that arise and are engaged. Innovation in business is no less personal or fundamental to our existence as it is in other areas of our life, and like many other social imperatives can be supported by guidelines and frameworks for balancing interests and contributions to it. While the debate is always open about whether or not existing frameworks help or take away from achieving the best balance, society will always seek to find harmony through constructs for managing relationships.

The two primary issues that IP legal regimes address are who benefits from intellectual endeavour and how. In general terms, the various regimes create economic rights for creators/innovators and rights of use for the public because, after all, the governments and legal systems that grant rights in the form of patents, trademarks, copyright, industrial designs and trade secrets (confidential information) are there for and on behalf of the public.

So when NASA decides to release a chunk of its patent portfolio (under certain terms and conditions of course – we are witnessing that the way things may have been done in the past can change and adapt to the way they need to be for the future, shifting the balance point in the relationship between governments, the marketplace, and the public interest.

At the end of the day, innovation is fueled by a continuing tradition of alchemy between ideas and the relationships which shape and mould them. In my experience, the ideas can be relatively easy to come by, but the magic comes from what we do in relationship with one another on our quests for the philosopher stone, or perhaps, just a little moon rock.

Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.


Ariadni Athanassiadis

Kyma Professional Corporation

T: 613-327-7245



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Planning for success


We’re already at the half-way mark of the month of October! The last quarter of the year always seems to go much faster than the first three for some reason. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me because I always feel the need to end the year with a bang 😉

One of the things on my current to-do list is to complete my plan for 2017. In the last 5 years or so, I have dedicated time in the fall to reflecting on the present year as well as putting together the plan for the upcoming year. I’m sure we’ve all heard it said that a goal without a plan is just a dream. I know that I personally haven’t been able to accomplish anything of real significance without a plan to make it happen.

Whether everything went according to that plan is a completely different story! If there’s anything I’ve learned in planning my goals and helping clients with their own, it’s that things rarely go exactly as planned. The reason for this is that we make the plan with a limited understanding of what’s possible, no matter how open minded we are. As we take action on our goals, receive guidance from others and test the waters, we learn new things that often alter the course, but never the final destination.

An important part of the plan for me is taking the time to celebrate our accomplishments to-date. We can sometimes downplay the progress we’ve made because we’ve set such high expectations of ourselves. I know from personal experience that it’s when we take the time to acknowledge the small wins that we can focus our energy on attracting even bigger ones.

Planning before the start of the year helps us set the tone for 2017. With an established plan now, we know exactly what to do when the New Year starts! It also gives us the opportunity to share our plan with people we know will support you and hold you accountable. It’s about really setting ourselves up for success, not only with the creation of the plan, but making sure that we have everything and everyone we need in place to support us in achieving our goals.

Take the time to start planning your New Year. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did! This doesn’t have to be a chore; you can have fun with it. Plan a girls’ night in and make vision boards. Do a family exercise where everyone shares one thing they want to achieve for the year and everyone brainstorms (in a positive supportive way) different options to make those goals a reality! Planning for 2017 is about creating your future, what can be more exciting than that?

If you want some support in creating your plan for the New Year, join me the weekend of November 11-13 for the Jump Start Your Year Retreat in Blue Mountain! Visit for more information.

Sandra Dawes is a certified life coach specializing in helping women who feel unfulfilled with their 9-5 follow their dreams and pursue their passions. She holds an Honours BA, an MBA as well as a certificate in Dispute Resolution. She has completed her first book,Embrace Your Destiny: 12 Steps to Living the Life You Deserve!


Tagged , , , , , ,

Don’t Do Marketing & PR… Until you can answer these 5 questions


Marketing & Public Relations (AKA PR) should be an important part of your outreach strategy. After all, PR is defined as interacting with your public, and you need to do that to communicate your brand message to your audience. If you’re not trying to communicate with your audience, you are relying too heavily on the “if you build it they will come” strategy. In a world of social media and other online channels as well as all of the visual and informational bombardment on a day-to-day basis face-to-face, there is too much noise in the marketplace to wait for someone to notice you. You need to initiate the connection.

It can be tempting to jump on the first opportunity you see to get your brand “out there” without thinking too much beyond that you just want people to see you. However, just because it is the latest and greatest idea doesn’t mean it is the right one for your business.

You have a lot of options available to you when it comes to marketing and PR. The challenge for you as a small business owner is to pick the right options that will give you the highest return on your investment (of time AND money!).

Here are a few things you need to get straight before you jump on that latest and greatest idea you came across:

  1. What do you do? Be able to identify in detail what product or service you are selling.
  2. Who would be interested in what you have to offer? When you can answer this question, you will have identified your target audience.
  3. Why would your target audience want what you have to offer? This is an important step often skipped by entrepreneurs who are launching a business. You need to be able to articulate – in writing and when you are speaking to people – what makes your product/service so great. Along the same lines, identify what sets you apart from your competitors.
  4. Where does your target audience congregate? Do a bit of research to find out where they get their information from, what organizations they belong to, their social media habits, and what their buying habits are.
  5. What are your goals? Once you have identified who you are and who would be interested in what you have to offer, you need to set goals so you can identify what a successful marketing & PR campaign would look like for you. Is it sign ups? Website traffic? Awareness?

Once you have answered these five questions, you can sit down and use the information to decide what kind of marketing & PR strategy you should run. Your audience and your goals will dictate what channels you use to reach out and your product/service offering and differentiators will help you determine what type of content and messaging to use on each channel.

While it means you need to invest more time in the beginning to help set yourself on the right track, it is worth it in the long-term.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

Connect with Candace


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Six Degrees of Separation


Many years ago Will Smith, prior to his Men in Black days, starred in a movie called “Six Degrees of Separation.” I remember at the time thinking it was a pretty good movie and memorable. In a pre social media world it was a social commentary on how small the world around us really is and how we are all connected. After two recent incidences involving people with whom I was interviewing or working with, it struck home once again how connected we are. In one, I interviewed a woman who it turned out, actually knew the publisher of the magazine for whom I was working. In the other, the mother of one of my daughter’s besties invited me to attend an event featuring her old high school buddy – whom it turned out I’d had the pleasure of meeting to discuss business with just one week prior.  In the words of a song “it’s a small world after all.”

What these experiences emphasized to me is the ongoing theme of the importance of networking. It seems to be something universally loved or hated.  For some it’s intimidating, others see it as too “salesy” and still others both love and embrace the challenge of walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation.  Regardless of where you stand on the issue, if it’s of any comfort to the haters, invariably I would argue that within just a few minutes at any event, chances are you will connect with someone who knows someone who knows you. It makes having a conversation easier as you discuss your mutual common interests. It also means we truly are all connected and that’s why the value of networking and a willingness to act as a referral source for one another, cannot be overstated.

What six degrees of separation also means to me is that more often than not, networking often doesn’t take place at a networking event at all. Rather, it is when you are “out and about” in the world at large, conducting business, working, or attending a charitable event. Heck, it even happens in hockey arenas and over the bleachers at your kids soccer game. Networking is about relationships. Period.

Here’s what I mean: In the example of the subject of my magazine article, not only did she know the publisher (helping cement our burgeoning business relationship) but the more I chatted with her, the more it became clear how we could be of service to one another.  I knew several people that might be in a position to help the organization with whom she was working and she in turn was able to put me in contact with a great potential opportunity for my future development. That’s networking in action and we weren’t even at a networking event, just having a coffee while she shared her story with me.

Networking isn’t about handing out as many cards as you possibly can – it’s about fostering a relationship with others, getting to know them on a personal level and even if you aren’t in a business that is mutually beneficial, you might know or be connected with someone who is. If you’ve taken the time to develop that one to one connection – your referral is guaranteed because you know, like and trust the person and in this world – that’s very valuable.  Not to mention, just like in the movie – you never know who might know whom! It’s a small world indeed. Business can come from anywhere and we are all just six degrees (at most) of separation away from one another. Make sure you are always acting with integrity and not just with your own, but with others best interests at heart too. Then you can sit back and watch how opportunity will come your way!

As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed?  Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.

Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.

Writing Right For You

Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!

416-420-9415 Cell/Business

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Dr. Helen Ofosu: Small Business Woman of the month of September 2016

Dr. Helen Ofosu Career Coach Outplacement Specialist Hiring Consultant

Dr. Helen Ofosu has over 15 years of experience in HR and Career Coaching in the public and private sectors. Part of what sets her apart is her foundation in Industrial / Organizational (I/O) psychology which is also known as work or business psychology. She brings her knowledge, sensitivity, and special brand of humour to her career consultations, outplacement, business clients, and speaking engagements. She helps her clients make the most of their skills, experience, values, and interests to build a satisfying and resilient career.  She’s also skilled at developing hiring processes that allow employers to understand what job candidates can actually do rather than relying only on what candidates say during interviews. This approach is based on competencies and behaviourally-based assessments.

Our Q & A with Helen:

*What inspires you?
Technology has leveled the playing field in many respects, but access to timely and
strategic HR advice on an as-needed basis saves companiesa lot of money and prevents many problems.

I am inspired to provide enterprise quality consulting services to small and medium sized businesses who would not have access to this level of service otherwise.
I understand that there are many coaching options available. In my experience, when the stakes are high, it’s essential to work with a coach who understands complex circumstances and can find an effective way forward. My MA and PhD training have given me the tools that are helpful when there’s no obvious solution to the problems at hand. I’m motivated to offer more than career coaching, it’s career psychology

*As a small business owner, what achievements make you most proud?
I love watching talented clients thrive when their success and professional fulfillment had been elusive in the past. This is true of businesses who had been held back personnel-related matters and it’s true of professionals and aspiring professionals who had been under-employed and unsatisfied in the past.

*What advice would you give to other aspiring small business owners?
Always honour your obligations; do what you said you’d do to the best of your ability on the timeline and budget that you agreed to. When you consistently demonstrate that you’re reliable and can deliver the expected results, you’re bound to succeed.
*What new things can we look forward to from your business in the upcoming year?
(1) This year, watch for me to work with more franchise (business) owners to help them expand with fewer setbacks.
(2) A very pro-active service called “Right-Placement” as a better alternative to Outplacement
(3) Details on both will be available in my quarterly HR and Career Coaching Newsletter
Contact Helen:
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Intellectual Property is Your Business and “A rose by any other name …”



I remember my first exposure to Shakespeare in high school and the stress it caused when I realized that somehow I had to understand what looked like English, but which to me, might as well have been written in Klingon. I have witnessed the same stress in business owners when the topic and lingo of intellectual property comes up. The way to get through it, like anything else, is to start with what does make sense and go from there. So, with that in mind, let me recount to you the gist of two conversations I recently had with business owners about intellectual property and their business.


Do I really need to bother with intellectual property?

The short answer to that question is IP is always part of your business, so why wouldn’t you? Let’s also consider, however, the context for the question.

The question was prompted after a business owner received mixed messages from her board of advisors about the relevance of intellectual property (IP) to her business, an enterprise focused on educating young entrepreneurs. The different perspectives of her advisors ranged from “forget about IP” to “worry about it later”; focus instead on your “value proposition and managing risk”.

This thinking reveals some common misconceptions about what IP is and the role it plays in a business. The first was that IP can somehow be disassociated from managing risk and is extraneous to the brand, content, and expertise, at the core of her business. In fact, in this case, content is her product, and so the value proposition of her business is all about IP.  Selling her brand of content fundamentally relies on working with her copyrights and trademark rights. Whether or not she chooses to register these IP rights is another question, but even if she does not, she will still be using those rights in her transactions with publishers, distributors and customers.

Then there is the idea that you can put off addressing IP issues until you have some traction in the marketplace and some cash to spare. While addressing IP issues early on can indeed pull on meager start-up resources, suggesting you can cut IP out of the business incubation stage is like saying you can add yeast to bread to make it rise after you have baked it. In reality, you can make the most of the bread (and butter) of your business if you take the time to consider the legal nature of your creative assets from the get go. To do otherwise, is to risk not achieving the very thing you set out to do.


If I am dealing with intellectual property in my business, I don’t know it.

The business owner who raised this point works with a number of artisans and was thoughtfully reflecting on how business relationships seem to work fine without bringing intellectual property into the conversation. I get it. The more you talk about “legal stuff”, the harder it can be to get folks on board. The thing is, at the risk of being repetitive, IP is part of the equation even if not seen or acknowledged, and the math generally will not work in the long run if it is not somehow accounted for. So knowing this, would you rather address IP issues before or after they become a problem?

While the language of IP is not the most prosaic, understanding and talking about what something is, instead of around it, makes for clear, transparent and informed conversations, conducive to building solid business relationships. You can also save everyone the trouble of investing in relationships which are not a fit to begin with.

Whenever I have had this discussion with small business owners, I am reminded of my early days as a gardener, going to the nursery, buying plants and overlooking some of the details about how to care for them in different seasons. During the summer, flowers bloomed and there was new growth. In the fall and winter I would bypass a few steps to help the plants weather the colder days, and then when spring arrived, there was not much of a garden to speak of. Out of pocket and starting over, it was clear that there is no substitute for having a few targeted conversations and paying attention to the details.

And so it is with IP and your business relationships –  a more thorough understanding of your creative assets is always a plus and with this knowledge, the options for cultivating business plans and relationships become more numerous, adaptable, sustainable and reflective of the real value of your business.


Ariadni Athanassiadis is the lead attorney of Kyma Professional Corporation, which provides intellectual property (IP) legal services to help your business develop and benefit from the creative efforts and assets that make it distinctive. Whether it is your brand, product, services, designs, technology or business processes, Ariadni can help design IP legal solutions which let you make the most of what you give to your business.


Ariadni Athanassiadis

Kyma Professional Corporation

T: 613-327-7245



Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are you spending your time effectively on Facebook?


Kelly Farrell - Teach Me Social -headshot (2)

Are you spending time looking at the right parts of your Facebook business page? It’s so easy to get distracted by “shiny things” on Facebook, but as a business owner it’s important to stay focused on your goal to connect with your followers. Having a strategy for your social media marketing should also include regular maintenance on your Facebook page to ensure that what you are posting and sharing is actually connecting with the right followers.

  1. Update the “About” tab on your Facebook Business Page regularly. Take a few minutes at least once a month to revisit and revise the fields with important information about your business. In particular, ensure that the Short Description, Long Description and all contact details are up-to-date and accurate.
  2. Review the Insights for your Facebook Business Page often to analyze what posts are reaching your audience and are engaging your followers. The Insights can help you identify the best time to post and can provide you with more demographic information about the people who engage with your Page.
  3. Monitor the interaction on your posts and be sure to reply to all comments quickly! The average social media user expects a reply within 1 hour to a comment that they make on social media. Be considerate of the time someone took to make a comment, and respond in kind, even if just to say Thank You!
  4. Share your involvement in local or online events and be sure to create event listing for events that your business is hosting. Invite your friends and contacts to join your event page for updates and event information. If you are participating in someone else’s event, you can add that event to your page’s event listing without creating a new event. This helps to connect your business page with others, thus increasing your visibility!
  5. Know when to spend money on boosted posts and promotions on Facebook and allocate an appropriate budget for this purpose. Keep in mind that you should first set up target audiences in Facebook Ad Manager before spending any money on promotions. The more time you spend to target the right demographic, the more return you will see on your ad spend.

To learn more about how to maximise the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing efforts, schedule a complimentary consultation with Teach Me Social. Teach Me Social owner Kelly Farrell has been helping empower Canadian Small Business owners through social media for over four years. Teach Me Social offers effective social media services which include training sessions and consulting as well as full-service social media account management.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Women On Top


FB Pic

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life as an entrepreneur versus life in the corporate world and how it has affected me as a woman. I am thinking in particular about my ceiling in both worlds.  How much success can women achieve in both worlds?  How far out of reach is the ceiling and have us as women found the magic formula to breaking that glass ceiling?

Let’s start with the corporate world.  In my case our corporate structure is that of the “good old boys club”.  Senior executives are the picture of corporate with not a woman in sight.  Middle management is made up of about 10 percent women.  On the bottom of the totem pole, the structure is as expected – a male dominated production group and a female dominated office group.  To excel in an environment as this takes a lot of game play and sometimes ruthlessness.  You cannot be too tough or else you are labeled as “bitchy” or “moody” and you cannot be overly nice or you can be deemed to office “harlot.”  You not only have to play the game, but you also have to continuously prove your knowledge and capabilities to the powers that be.  This part has me baffled.  Why?  I’m sure those powers would not have made you a part of the organization if you were not remotely qualified to do the job or if they didn’t feel you were well suited for the position and the company.  How far up the corporate ladder can women get in an environment such as this?  It’s a far climb for us and especially rough when obstacles are placed in our way.  My feeling is that we are fighting continuously for what we deserve – even when it is earned.  Not many of us know how to demand what we have earned.  In my case, I have set my goals to what my definition of success would be in the corporate world.  Do I want to be President of the company? NO!! What I want is what I have earned – nothing more and definitely nothing less!!

As an entrepreneur I have the opportunity to be the President, Owner, Assistant, Director, coffee runner, pencil sharpener…you name it, I am in charge of it.  More women are going down the entrepreneurial path without really understanding how much more work it takes to be successful. As a female entrepreneur, when I attend networking events that are male dominated I get a lot of pats on the back and “good for you”, “you’re a smart girl”, “you did this all on your own” from the male networkers.  It is as if I am not perceived of being capable of achieving all that I have or that I have or that it is a surprise that a woman can really be successful in their world.  There are also always a few men who are there to be the “saviours” or “messiah.”  I remember being told by one man in particular who came to a female dominated networking event that he was there to help the women.  Take note, he said HELP not SUPPORT. Now, I will be the first to agree that we all need to support each other, but what I do not like is the notion that women cannot find ways to help each other succeed.  We are a resourceful group and we find ways to dig our way out of a hole.  There is still that mental and societal influence that makes us feel like being solopreneurs is the pinnacle of success.  Why not strive to grow your business into a multinational corporation? Sky is the limit-not the glass ceiling.  It truly depends on what your personal goal is.

For me, I enjoy the challenges of both the corporate world and the entrepreneurial world.  Women will always have to work extra hard to break that glass ceiling.  For most of us, the ceiling is not made by others, but by our personal limiting beliefs.  Identifying what is causing these beliefs is the first step towards breaking the ceiling and allowing ourselves to strive for the highest of highs.  I know one thing – this woman plans to be on the top when it comes to the entrepreneurial game. I will not stop until my business is where I want it to be – Canada-wide.  I will not let being woman be a hindrance.  It is not a crutch.


Dwania is the Founder and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women Contact Canadian Small Business Women:


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: