Son of Five Rivers Blog

For the advancement of Entrepreneurship, Sustainability & the Ecology of Everyday Life

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I’ve been blogging for several months now and I’m glad to have recieved the feedback I have.  I’ve enjoyed the experince and for that reason I’ve decided to take blogging to another level.  I’ll be self hosting my blog and that means you’ll see a lot more creativity in the design, functionality and layout of the new blog.

Check it out:


January 22, 2010 Posted by | 1, A Thought, Ads, Agriculture, Art, Blogging, Books, Brochure, Business, Business Cards, Business Development, Business Model, Carbon Credits, Clean Energy, Co-op, Community Economic Development (CED), Computer Networking, Construction, Creativity, Data Recovery, Definitions, Earth, Economics, Education, Electric Cars, Email, Entrepreneurship, Family, Finance, Geothermal, Government, Grants, Great Ideas, Green Roofs, Human Resources, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Investment, LEED, Life, Marketing, Micro Credit, Not for Profit, Open Source, Packaging, PDA's, Philanthropy, Photography, Politics, Power Piont, Products, Project Management, Quotes, Sales, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Services, Social Enterprise, Social Media, Solar, Sustainability, Sustainable Community Development, Taxes, Venture Capital, Videos, War, Waste, Water, Website | Leave a comment

Google Strikes Back at Rupert Murdoch!

Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, strikes back at Rupert Murdoch in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal (which is owned by Rupert Murdock by the way). Before we get to the good stuff I’ll quickly explain who Rupert Murdoch is for those who don’t know.  He owns lots of media outlets (Newspapers, Magazines, Radio Stations, TV Networks, Cable & Internet Companies etc.) He is the founder, a major shareholder, chairman and managing director of News Corporation (News Corp).  He’s been in the news lately because he wants to ban Google from searching his sites and has been trying to make an agreement with Bing (Microsoft).  I don’t think he should be able to control the message people can and cannot hear.  I think and I hope he loses big on this!

With dwindling revenue and diminished resources, frustrated newspaper executives are looking for someone to blame. Much of their anger is currently directed at Google, whom many executives view as getting all the benefit from the business relationship without giving much in return. The facts, I believe, suggest otherwise.

Google is a great source of promotion. We send online news publishers a billion clicks a month from Google News and more than three billion extra visits from our other services, such as Web Search and iGoogle. That is 100,000 opportunities a minute to win loyal readers and generate revenue—for free. In terms of copyright, another bone of contention, we only show a headline and a couple of lines from each story. If readers want to read on they have to click through to the newspaper’s Web site. (The exception are stories we host through a licensing agreement with news services.) And if they wish, publishers can remove their content from our search index, or from Google News.

here’s even better stuff:

It’s understandable to look to find someone else to blame. But as Rupert Murdoch has said, it is complacency caused by past monopolies, not technology, that has been the real threat to the news industry.

Kudos to the WSJ for running the piece—assuming some editor didn’t lose his or her job for doing this. I just can’t wait to watch Google and News Corp go at it.

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Ads, Blogging, Business, Business Development, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Government, Information Technology (I.T.), Inspiration, Marketing, Politics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media, Sustainable Community Development, War, Website | | Leave a comment

How to writing a Mission Statement that Works

Mission statements to me are like greeting cards from my lawyer who just signs his name underneath the generic message.  It seems like an unneeded formality where no real thought or meaning was put behind it.  Mission Statements just come across more as great vision statements rather than actually being mission driven. This crazy language is stamped all over the place, from business plans to brochures and websites.  If it’s any consolation to people in the private sector, I’ve spent the last three years working for a non-profit organization (NGO) doing economic revitalization and I’ve noticed that NGO’s might just be the biggest culprits of bad Mission Statements.  Most seem cheesy and sometimes just plain difficult to really comprehend.

It’s always difficult for me to think of bright intelligent people come up with such dry material.  Have a look and compare the following 4 examples directly below and then compare it to the other examples further down to get gist of what I’m getting at.

Two are from real organizations and two are made up from the comic site

  1. “It is our job to continually foster world-class infrastructures as well as to quickly create principle-centered sources to meet our customer’s needs.”
  2. “Our challenge is to assertively network economically sound methods of empowerment so that we may continually negotiate performance-based infrastructures.”
  3. “To improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities.”
  4. “Respect, integrity, communication, and excellence.”

Numbers 1 & 2 are from the Dilbert website. Numbers 3 is the mission statement of the NGO the United Way, and number 4 believe it or not used to belong to the beloved Enron.

Now have a look at the phrase “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” (BHAG) which is a very interesting theory form the book Built to Last.

BHAG: “Clear and compelling it serves as a unifying focal point of effort, often creating immense team spirit. It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal …. A BHAG should not be a sure bet… but the organization must believe ‘we can do it anyway.”

Now check these so out:

Microsoft:  “A computer on every desk and in every home, all running Microsoft software.” The guys don’t want to just sell computer software, they wants their software on every computer, in every home.  (I run Ubuntu an open source operating system based on a Linux platform so it’ll never really happen…  we all know someone with a Mac computer as well.  But its a nice goal for Microsoft to set as it easily and simply defines the standards and objectives for everyone in the organization)

BHAG’s can be used for products as well, like Amazons Kindle: “Every book ever printed, in any language, all available in less than 60 seconds.” Amazon not only wants you help you buy any book, it wants to help you do it in less than a minute.

Google’s mission statement is to “organize the world’s information” That’s as big as a Big Hairy Audacious Goal can get!

Google’s unofficial one is to “do no evil.” That’s just cool!

Even if you’re a grass routes organization starting out of someones living room, its important to have “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” (BHAG).  It helps everyone know your groups direction and purpose.  As the strategic planners and thinkers you have the important duty of laying a solid foundation for the future of the organization and guiding principles for any new faces joining the team.

Son of Five Rivers.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Great Ideas | , | Leave a comment

What it feels like to be an Entrepreneur

I love this video, it just put a huge smile on my face… It perfectly describes what an Entrepreneur goes through from starting on an initial idea to finishing with a successful business.

Here’s ,my translation of the video:

Start-up (Initial 20 seconds): The idea phase, you don’t know if it will work let alone be successful. You possibly doubt yourself, but all you know is that it excites you!  You take the risk and dance with the idea… Even though you may look like a fool and your reputation is on the line… You think, oh well, I did the initial calculation on napkin… it should work!  I’m an entrepreneur!  I’m a visionary lol.   Plus didn’t someone say its not how many times you fall down, its about how many times you get up…

Development (One  minute into the video) You’re still doing what feels good. Its getting a bit tougher. You’ve got few friends and family that are  grooving with you and are showing their support, but they’re a not totally sure, but you appreciate that unconditional love and support.  You do doubt yourself for a moment, maybe I’m taking the wrong approach? I should have got a partner, someone who actually knows how to dance to this song, who has some experience… Then you just decide too keep going, because you’ve already come this far and it just feels so good. You’ve forgotten all the physical and mental wear and tear, and that you’ve had to work twice as long as you did before…  You have everything on that excel spread sheet, your ready to keep pushing your idea and take it to market.

The Dream(The next 30 seconds) All of a sudden, things start to speed-up.  The days of you counting what you’ve sold hoping to break even is long gone… You see strange new faces, smiling, dancing with your idea. They feel good, you feel good.  These people have names… and number reference numbers, job numbers or client numbers.   This is Tom, Dick & Harry! This is great

The Realization (One minute and 45 seconds onwards) The point that every entrepreneur lives for. The part where you’ve got people that truly believe in your idea, your vision! All those past  reservations you’ve had are starting to disappear.   A huge weight has just been lifted off your shoulders.   People want to be part of your movement.

The End You did what needed to be done… Your happy, you’ve proved things to yourself.  You’ve made some change in this world, but you also begin to realize that this isn’t your idea anymore, its bigger then that…  So you exit stage left… quietly and  humbly  thank those folks that helped you, all while saying to your self  “you did it!”  Now its time to move on… its time for another journey. This is what every entrepreneur lives for.

We can all make this happen… My hat goes off to the gentleman in the video…

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed the video.

November 5, 2009 Posted by | Entrepreneurship | | Leave a comment

Great Deal on Business Cards

The company is Juke Box Print Shop, They offer a killer deal where you get 1250 Full Color 2 sided business cards for $99.00 Canadian.  Plus Free shipping to anywhere in Canada. (I hope everyone can learn from this example, even if they break even at the end of it.  Imagine how many people have refered these folks or ordered their products.

Another piece of advice since I’m giving it… Never use Vista Print, which offers free business cards.  how they work is they put their  logo and website on the back of your card and charge you an arm and a leg in shipping and handling.   So my advice is if you can’t afford the extra $10 on  business cards, don’t start a business!  Go back to work for someone else…


October 30, 2009 Posted by | Business Development, Entrepreneurship | , , , | 1 Comment

Advice to Eentrepreneurs (38years, 100+ Franchises)

Here’s a quick read you all might enjoy, it is a presentation from George Moen, President, Blenz, The Canadian Coffee Company.  This presentation was done during small business month, presented during entrepreneurship showcase during at Small Business BC.

These are the lessons I’ve learned (so far) in my 38 years of entrepreneurship:

Pursue Your Passion

  • Work at something you’re passionate about.
  • Don’t do something just because you can.
  • There’s no point in doing something if you don’t love it.
  • Become an expert.Work to a Plan
  • Think big, but …
    – Develop a detailed plan and a budget.


  • Avoid overwhelming yourself.
    – Focus on 3 to 4 specific goals for a year.


  • Monitor your results quarterly.
  • Once one goal is complete, add the nextHave a Mission
  • You need to have a Mission Statement to be “On Mission”.
  • Act out your Mission Statement.
  • “On Time, On Budget, On Spec”
  • If you say you will, you’d better.Fail Forward
  • Do it rough until you do it well.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail.
  • Businesses fail … People don’t.Pursue a Debt-Free Life
  • Debt is an anchor.
  • Put away the chequebook.
  • If you knew how it felt to be debt-free, you’d work harder!Diversify
  • Develop multiple streams of income.Always Be A Student
  • Read.
  • Network.
  • Be a great listener.
  • Embrace Change.
    – The only constant is change.
    – Only pursue change if there’s a clear and obvious benefit.


  • Develop discipline.Network
  • Find genuine support.
    – No one can win alone.


  • Team with like-minded people
    …to amplify your efforts.


  • Surround yourself with a great virtual team.
    – Virtual Teams are the structure of the future.


  • Network without expectation
    – Your Network is your Net Worth.


  • Don’t grow a hero complex.Mentor
  • Give some of your time and effort to someone else.
  • You’re only as good as what you give.
  • This is something you can do just because you can.Protect Yourself and Your Family
    ………………’Nuff said.

    Never, Never, Never Quit

  • October 30, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Can you cash a cheque with a stop payment on it? YES

    At one point or another a Small Business has proabably put a stop payment on a cheque.  But guess what, it still can be cashed! That’s right,  places like Money Mart cash the cheque even with the stop payment.

    Money Marts’ view on the matter:

    “What we need is better consumer education about the obligation that comes with writing cheques in the first place”

    – Money Mart

    So your out the amount on the cheuqe and decide to sue to get it back… guess what you’ll lose and the court costs are on you, don’t forget to mention your time.   How do they win, they use an old law from the 1890’s called  The Bills of Exchange Act.   The act basically says the person who writes the cheque is responsible for it.

    September 5, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Products, Sales | , , , , | Leave a comment

    Online Resources for Small Business


    Government Resources

    Entrepreneur Advocates, Blogs and Magazines

    Entrepreneur Resources for Women

    Entrepreneur Resources for Specific Groups

    Entrepreneur Resources for Youth

    September 5, 2009 Posted by | A Thought, Business, Business Development, Business Model, Economics, Education, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Grants, Human Resources, Marketing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    3 Business Tips (RE: Recession, Fear & Intuition)

    I’ve been supporting a friend start his business, The Green Element Building Services ( and these are the three things I’ve been trying to reinforce.
    1. The Recession is a great time to start a business.
      More millionaires were created during the Great Depression than at any other point in Canadian history. There’s opportunity that doesn’t exist in normal times and that can lead to higher rewards. Recessions have a very Darwinian process, the fittest companies survive while the weakest fall out. With less competition in the market, your company will have more room and time to grow.
    2. Fear is Healthy.
      Every entrepreneur has to have some dose of healthy fear to drive themselves forward. The trick is not to let fear cripple you. You can’t be so afraid that you don’t try, but being too comfortable and cocky with your business can lead to trouble as well… (I’ve really being trying to explain preparation and planning will go a long way!)
    3. Trust your Iintuition.
      True business instinct/ iintuition comes from being able to take random factors in the market and put together in a way that you can recognize opportunities. If you have a moment of realization, trust your instinct and go ahead. Missing a true opportunity could be more costly to your Psyche and pocket than trying and failing.

    September 5, 2009 Posted by | Business, Business Development, Entrepreneurship | , , , | Leave a comment

    Secrets to Success (Fortune Hunters)

    Fortune HuntersI’ve become a fan of Dianne Buckner who is the host of Venture, Dragons Den & Fortune Hunters which air on the CBC.   I was just scanning the website and came across this article that I wanted to share.

    All season, we have featured successful entrepreneurs who saw a trend early on and cashed in on their ideas.  Before they became business moguls, these entrepreneurs made mistakes, had many fears and sometimes trusted the wrong gut instinct.  To close our second season, we’re tapping into the minds of all our My First Millionaires.  We got their insights on fear, gut instinct, luck and mistakes. Plus, we got their picks for the next big trend of the future.

    Photo of John Sleeman, Nina Gupta, Bruce Croxon and Cora Tsouflidou


    “I think my biggest mistake over the years has been listening to people who thought they knew better than I did how to grow my business. Go figure.” (Bruce Croxon – Co-founder, Lavalife)

    “Well speaking from personal experience I would say the biggest mistakes I have made have been taking on too many opportunities and not having the time available to follow through on each one of them.” (Bill Pollock – Founder & Chairman, Drake International)

    “That was the biggest mistake I made is trying to do everything myself and it’s taken me 30 years to realize I can trust other people to do a better job than I do.” (John Sleeman – Founder, Chairman & CEO, Sleeman Breweries)

    “The biggest mistake I made? To underestimate the actual workload. To oversimplify: ‘Oh, it’s no big deal.’ Everything is a big deal.” (Nina Gupta – Founder & President, Greenlite)


    “I never believed in luck. I think people have to create their own luck.” (Jackie Shan – Co-inventor, COLD-FX)

    “Luck is where opportunity meets preparation, and luck certainly doesn’t build a business.” (Judson Macor – Founder, Chairman & CEO, AirSprint Inc.)

    “Luck plays a big part. I’m a big believer in being in the right place, the right time. I’m a big believer in fate and luck.” (Nina Gupta – Founder & President, Greenlite)

    “The harder you work, the luckier you get. It’s true!” (Rita Tsang – Founder, President & CEO, Tour East Holidays)

    “I think you need to be lucky to be successful.” (Mac Voisin – Founder & Chairman, M&M Meat Shops)


    “Oh, at the beginning, fear was a monster for me. Fear of incompetence, fear of lacking money, fear of everything. Fear of success!” (Cora Tsouflidou – Founder, Cora Breakfast and Lunch)

    “Well I think all businessmen operate with a certain fear of failure.” (Bill Pollock – Founder & Chairman, Drake International)

    “Well, I think fear’s pretty important because if you’re too cocky about something then you get arrogant and you make mistakes.” (John Sleeman – Founder, Chairman & CEO, Sleeman Breweries)

    “I stared at the ceiling at nights on lots of occasions wondering where the next dollar, the next payroll was going to come from. Certainly there was a lot of fear of failure early on in the business and that fear has subsided a great deal and I’m thankful for that, but fear is also very motivational and keeps you going.” (Judson Macor – Founder, Chairman & CEO, AirSprint Inc.)

    “You should not have fear. Nothing should make you that frightened. You shouldn’t do anything that could frighten you to make you have fear.” (Nina Gupta – Founder & President, Greenlite)

    “You need a go ahead with the idea when you have no fear and you’re ready to stick with it right to the bitter end.” (Mac Voisin – Founder & Chairman, M&M Meat Shops)


    “I think that as an entrepreneur it is our duty to nurture and follow our gut instinct all the time.” (Paul-Andre Savoie – Co-founder, Boomerang Tracking Inc.)

    “Seventy per cent of my instinct is pretty right and thirty per cent of my initial instinct is not right.” (Jackie Shan – Co-inventor, COLD-FX)

    “As a guiding principle, gut instinct is the only thing you can use to make good decisions on a regular basis.” (Garner Bornstein – Co-founder & CEO, Airborne Mobile)

    “I remember when my gut instinct failed me miserably when a childhood friend brought me a restaurant idea in Thunder Bay. And I’m here to tell you that Thunder Bay does not need, in hind sight, another road house.” (Bruce Croxon – Co-founder, Lavalife)


    “There’s a trend for people who want to stay healthier and live longer. They are more proactively looking after their health. That’s the trend I’m particularly interested in.” (Jackie Shan – Co-inventor, COLD-FX)

    “The next trends are probably going to be in health care as baby boomers get older and we continue to be concerned about our health.” (John Sleeman – Founder, Chairman & CEO, Sleeman Breweries)

    “I’m actually pushing my daughter to go into the spa business or look into personal wellness or spiritual growth, personal growth, health-wise, etc. That’s what I feel would be a very strong trend going forward.” (Nina Gupta – Founder & President, Greenlite)

    “Help me make life easier for myself, more convenient for myself and you’re right on trend.” (Mac Voisin – Founder & Chairman, M&M Meat Shops)

    September 5, 2009 Posted by | A Thought, Business, Business Development, Creativity, Entrepreneurship, Quotes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment