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UP & RUNNING

Listen your way to small biz success

By Roger Pierce
www.bizlaunch.ca


Successful business people listen more than they talk. That's because good listeners know the value of paying attention to prospects, customers, employees and colleagues.
MAX THE INTERN ICON


Listening skills may also help you to launch a business. "I got my business idea by listening to a friend while we were at a Leaf's game," entrepreneur Evan Carmichael says. "He was telling me about some challenges he was facing in sales."

Carmichael started Max The Intern (www.maxthein tern. com), a web-based service company that helps clients to stay top of mind with prospects and customers. His team developed software that combs the Internet to pluck out and send articles and news items of interest to a subscriber's clients.

"For example, many financial advisers subscribe to our service," Carmichael says. "If one of their prospects is interested in, say, emerging high-tech companies, our service will search and send news items to the prospect relating to that topic along with a personalized cover note."

Carmichael modeled his new service around the needs of his hockey-fan friend, launching Max The Intern in January 2004. Already a veteran entrepreneur with several companies to his credit, Carmichael says he practises good listening skills in all areas of his business.

Fun atmosphere
EVAN CARMICHAEL


"We listened to our new employees who told us they got bored in previous nine-to-five jobs," he explains. "So we created a fun office atmosphere where everyone enjoys coming to work."

Carmichael also listened to successful marketers and came up with an innovative technique to brand his upstart firm. "Everyone -- every day -- wears a blue suit, red tie, white shirt and a pencil behind their ear," he says. "We dress the same as Max, our illustrated corporate icon."

With plans that include the release of a third-generation product and entry into the United States, Carmichael is truly passionate about helping clients through his company. "It's great to hear from our customers how Max helps them to reduce dreaded cold-calling," he says.

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.

www.bizlaunch.ca





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