A vision to withstand the test of time

Nov 22, 2013

A vision to withstand the test of time is needed for a successful business and personal life.


Great vision gave rise to great men - the greatest men of our time have been able to conceptualize a vision for the future and communicate that vision to influence others so that they may participate in that vision. In so doing lives have been changed, men became wealthy, businesses became profitable, employment was created for many and that vision was passed on from one generation to another. Additionally, the vision survived many years after the visionary leaders were no longer alive. This is the type of vision that can withstand the test of time!

Such vision therefore never dies; it withstands the test of time and provides hope for lives often in darkness and provided continuity for businesses that need to be continuously propelled further. Such vision gave hope to so many in the darkest hours of our time.

Visions are the seedlings for small beginnings

The small beginnings then became huge household names. The vision of one man or woman became the fuel of great things which was imaginable to generations before.

Such visions are truly valuable

So who would form a business without a carefully thought out vision? But is a vision something that can be taught, that can be given? What is the source of this vision which formed the greatness of many? Was it from God? Was it from Business School? Was it from our fathers? Was it from our fathers, fathers? Were we born with a vision, enshrined in our DNA, and just waiting for an opportunity to be brought to the surface?  I am often convinced that the latter is true! I believe that we were born with that vision, planted by our Maker, to give us a purpose in life. If you know your Maker, it would be easier to know the vision for your life, which you would eventually manifest in given birth to your business. My vision in life is to make a difference in people’s lives and Stratking Advisory Services was started to do exactly that. One of the great books I have read, that supports my view is the Best Seller, “The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren”. When the vision comes from our Maker it is bigger than anything we could ever imagine.

Vision drives passion

If your business reflects your vision for it, you would never work a day!  I mean it. It gives you such a great drive and energy. You would often do what would seem impossible to others. You would not know you are working past 5PM. In fact you would be up 1AM in the morning and loving everything you do because you are actually living your vision. Doing what you were designed to do so others would benefit.

A vision that withstands the test of time, should be a labor of love.

You know you are working towards something. There will be ups and down, but you are working towards that state you saw in your mind’s eye, when you were first planning your business. It is great when your employees can be caught on fire with that vision as well!!

The vision is often not valued at all but is reflected eventually in an amazing brand

We speak of brands and valuing a brand. However it is anomalous that long before the brand was created, the vision behind it is not valued. How much pay do we get for our vision initially? NOTHING! It means nothing unless you and I make it into something that people can feel, touch, taste, experience and like. This is too bad since many communicate their vision to others, don’t do anything about it and the person who put the idea into action paid nothing for it. So be careful who you share your vision with. The life behind the vision is often undervalued, by family, by friends, by employees, by clients, by suppliers, by government. What if we could value the vision of a man? How much would that man be worth today? Would his/her pay be enough, $100,000, $1Mn, $2Mn a year? How much should we pay for a man or woman with vision?

How much would we pay for Martin Luther King, Jr and his vision? How much is equality worth today for you and me?

How much would we pay for John F. Kennedy and his vision? How much is going to the moon first worth?

How much more would we have paid for Steve Jobs? How much is the ability to design and communicate with a computer worth?

Vision must be acted on

When no else would do what they spearheaded, they stepped forward in faith, acting on their vision, so that others would be encouraged and challenged to move to the next level. Often alone, often under great hardships they toiled. Often with many sleepless nights they sacrificed, so much they endured to make their vision a reality.  Often not merely for themselves, but for others, for you and me, for the employees sake and for the family’s sake. Visions that was bigger than themselves!


I think great visions are often founded on selflessness. These are the ones that usually made the biggest difference in world history. So a vision means nothing unless it is acted on and also when it is motivated by selflessness. It must have impacted others so the vision would last a life time. People will remember you for what you did for them.

Needs the visionary to drive the vision

As the visionary, you have to be the driver of the vision. It is your cross to bear during your lifetime. You can share it with others, but there are few who will stick with you in the mud to see it through. They may also be with you for part of the journey. The journey is therefore yours to ensure!

Vision comes at a price

So do not seek a vision if you do not want to pay the price of making that vision a reality. Some have paid that price with their lives, others by losing a fortune, others by losing close friends and family, some have lost it all for their vision. Then you ask them, was it worth it? To which they may say, it was worth it, every moment of it! I would not have done it any differently. I did what I had to do, it became my life. So I ask today, what is a life without a vision? And are you living the vision for your today as if it were your life? Are you living each day with the end in mind? Whose vision are you living and is it worth it?

A vision requires sharing with your support system to grow and stay alive

Often a vision is a picture of the future, of the end of it all. A beautiful picture of how the business would be like, what the customer would experience, what the business environment would be, what the lifestyle a people will live. It is often so clear in our minds that we can smell it, we can touch it. Though clear as daylight for the visionary, often hard in the beginning for those who do not believe in the unseen, but the seen. Those who cannot see what you see. It is often a lonely road, where you are building that dream today, when others cannot understand what you are building until it is finished. So what is a vision without trust, without people who believe in you and the vision to make the journey hoping that the end that you see, would materialize one day, to the benefit of all interested parties. To ensure that vision lasts a life time. Gather those around you that would keep your vision alive, that would keep your spirit alive, that would carry the torch when you are no longer there to carry it on…

Make your vision a reality

A vision is worth living, a vision is worth building, a vision is worth sharing, a vision is worth acting on. So take out that note pad and reflect on that vision you had for that business you always dreamt about, the vision of your life after you have paid off your debts, the vision for your existing business, for your department, for your marriage, for your family and start taking action with Trusted Advisors to make it a reality. A vision is a terrible thing to waste! Turn a new page TODAY!

Dane King is the President of Stratking Advisory Services which provides professional services to small businesses across Canada and wealth management services to professionals in Ontario. For over 20 years Dane has helped corporations and individuals increase profitability and/or grow wealth. Dane holds several professional designations such as Certified Management

A Great Lesson on Stress

Nov 22, 2013

A Great Lesson on Stress

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading a seminar and explaining stress management to her audience.  Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'Half empty or half full?'  She fooled them all. "How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.  It depends on how long I hold it.   If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.  If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.  In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress.  If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again.  When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced.

So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night.  Pick them up again tomorrow if you must."


1 * Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3 *  If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

4 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

5 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

6 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well.  Just get up and dance.

7 * The second mouse gets the cheese.

8 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

9 * We could learn a lot from crayons.  Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull.  Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

10 *A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.



York Region Success Story

Apr 19, 2013

York Region Success Story

MERIDIAN CORPORATE CENTRE- Celebrating 16 Successful Years

 Providing Furnished, Fully Serviced Offices For The Richmond Hill & Markham Area 

The Meridian Corporate Centre provides a unique office environment designed to accelerate the success of its business clients. 

Since founding the Richmond Hill business centre in 1996, Emil Zendek has been driven by the goal of providing the right workplace, and supporting professional services, to foster his clients’ entrepreneurial success.  In fact, he has embraced the motto, “We succeed … only if you do”.  It’s no wonder that two-thirds of his clients have made the Meridian Corporate Centre their business home for more than ten years and some since he opened his doors. 

Located at the crossroads of Hwy 404 and 16th Avenue, only one km from Hwy 407, Meridian offers its clients unparalleled access to major highways, the Markham high tech corridor and the neighbourhoods that many self-employed call home.  With about half of the working community within five kilometers belonging to the professional and management ranks, Meridian is well-located to help accelerate the achievement of their entrepreneurial business goals. 

Prestige Building 

Located in a prestigious Class A building owned by the Investors Group (managed by the Menkes Group) at 1595 - 16th Avenue, Meridian provides a contemporary professional office environment that matches the image of its self-employed professionals and business clients.  Parking is ample and free (including covered parking sheltered from the weather); restaurants and other retail/business services are nearby.

The Meridian Business Community 

Meridian clients benefit from co-locating with about 30 other successful businesses, creating continuous opportunities for collaboration and business cross-referrals.  More than half of Meridian clients are lawyers and the others include accountants, software designers, engineers, architects, real estate and other professionals.  Together, they create a unique community incubating relationships and business referrals.

Turn-Key Offices & Service Excellence 

The Meridian Corporate Centre provides a fully-managed office environment relieving its clients of the worries of finding professional support staff and administrative management.  Meridian enables its clients to focus on their businesses, free of admin management headaches. 

Furnished Executive Offices and Suites come in many configurations.  All have access to any one of three prestige meeting rooms in which to host clients.  Telephone services (including voice mail) and high speed internet are available at very attractive rates.  

Most importantly, Meridian’s commitment to the business success of its clients starts with its welcoming and highly professional receptionists.  They not only greet clients’ guests but answer calls in the business name of clients, taking messages or routing calls. 

Professional Business Services 

On-demand professional Meridian Business Services include: 

• Secretarial & Word Processing/Data Base Management

• Photocopying, Mail and Parcel Services

• Document Binding & Courier

Executive Identity Plan – Virtual Office

For those who don’t need a full-time office, Meridian provides a cost effective “Virtual Office”.  Its Executive Identity Plan includes: 

• Personalized Telephone Answering (during business hours) & Telephone Line/Number.

• Professional business address (mail and parcel services) & access to prestige Meeting Rooms for client meetings.

Meridian Corporate Centre

1595 – 16th Avenue, Suite 301

(between 404 & Leslie St)

Richmond Hill, ON, Canada, L4B 3N9

Tel: 905-731-9240




Apr 17, 2013


Unless a person has had their head under a rock for the past 6 months, they’re probably hearing and seeing a lot of buzz around something called the “Cloud”. Microsoft, Cisco, EMC and many others have been aggressively marketing cloud computing.  We were even blessed with a Chatter.com ad during this year’s Superbowl.

But exactly what is the cloud and how might it revolutionize the way companies compute.  First, let me state that the cloud is nothing new.  Every time you’ve logged into your bank account, accessed Gmail or downloaded a song from iTunes, you’ve used cloud computing.  What’s revolutionary is that now instead of accessing files or data from other companies’ servers, you can now do that with your own and pay for that as a service versus a capital expense.

One of the biggest hurdles Center owners and our customers face when planning an IT strategy is how to invest limited capital on technology that provides security, reliability, scalability and flexibility without breaking the bank.  We’ve come to view hardware, software and support as a capital expense and need to constantly build and monitor operating metrics around these assets to ensure proper return.  Cloud computing is going to change that.

I like to use the analogy that I’m not interested in building and maintaining my own electric power plant to run my center but certainly need electrical service to our suite.  Once that power is brought to the Center, it’s up to management on how to “customize” that utility to meet their customers’ needs.  The same should be said for personal enterprise computing.  Why are we so eager to build our own “power plant” when it comes to IT when much more affordable, flexible and customizable options exist in the marketplace?  From here out, we should not.  Think of cloud computing in terms of infrastructure as a service, networking as a service and software as a service.  Now for just dollars a day, all of which should be viewed as billable to the client, an office business center can provide the latest technology, software and support for what would cost tens of thousands of dollars in the past.

And here’s the most important piece.  Whether your center provides these types of services or not, very soon, someone will.  According to the Gartner Group’s annual report called the Peak Hype Cycle of Emerging and Transformative Technologies, cloud computing ranked as the number one “hyped” technology for businesses in 2010.  They further conclude that within a relative short period of time (12-24 months as of July, 2010), cloud computing will move from merely being hyped to reaching a state of mainstream adoption and a plateau of productivity.  In other words, OBC’s must be prepared to provide and support cloud computing or get left behind.

Why would a center customer look to an OBC operator to provide this service and not a traditional IT hosting company?  Well, with the exception of the customer him or herself, who but a center operator knows better the inner workings and needs of the customer.  I claim that no one does.  We know our customers’ customers, we know their work habits and patterns, we understand their service requirements and they trust us.  They trust us to be the first face and voice their customers see and hear, they trust us to keep their systems up and running and they trust us to bring quality services that best impact their bottom line.

Not too many years ago, center owners had the foresight to offer a host of technologies to not only grow their business but serve and retain their clients.  Shared services such as phone, voicemail, fax, videoconferencing, document production were all once mainstream products that our customers purchased from us on a daily basis.  I believe that computing services is next and I’m not just talking internet bandwidth and server hosting.

As opposed to trying to “boil the ocean” and list all the various products available via cloud computing let’s just focus on those fully adopted ones that can be an immediate source of revenue and increase client retention.  Hosted Microsoft Exchange, Office 2010/2011, SharePoint, Microsoft CRM, QuickBooks, data backup, storage and security to name a few, are all available “as a service” without spending one dollar as capital expense.  These products and services alone account for the lion’s share of computing requirements of most small businesses and can provide real time cost advantages for our customers immediately.  As our customer grows or contracts, he simply turns up (or down) services on an as needed basis.  Customers are no longer stuck with obsolete software licenses, maintenance plans or long term hosting agreements.  Just hired a new employee?  They’re up and running on desktop applications within minutes.  Nothing to purchase and nothing to install.

And if all that isn’t enough to convince OBC operators to “get on the cloud”, let me propose one more.  With average deal terms of our customers now down to 6 months in many locations, we are always looking for ways to keep them as a virtual client even though we’ve lost their physical business.  The cloud is a very sharp arrow in our quiver of services that can make that 6 month client a lifetime one.

Enough said and see you in the cloud!

By Andrew Stack, President, My Executive Center and Co-Founder, My Sky Suite


Apr 17, 2013


            A couple of weeks ago we received a letter from our payroll provider that had incorrect information.  So naturally with anything payroll – related, I picked up the phone expecting to handle it immediately.  The customer service agent that answered the phone was friendly, and after explaining the situation and the requested resolution, I was confident this was going to be an easy fix.  But that changed drastically within seconds…

After taking down my account information and agreeing to check into the issue, she said, “Well, I’m not the brightest bulb in the box so I hope I can get this right.”  Huh?!  Even though I’m sure she was joking my confidence in her ability tanked immediately.  Whether it’s “a few shades beyond blonde” or my personal favorite, “a few fries short of a happy meal” (take your pick, there are hundreds of variations), joking about a lack of intelligence to a client is never a good idea.

That conversation got me thinking about other customer service sayings we’ve all heard (or even said ourselves!)  that don’t present us in the best light.  Here are a couple other all-too-common phrases that are best to take out of circulation when dealing with clients or prospects:

“That’s against our policy.”

This is one that can drive clients crazy.  There are certain situations where saying this applies; however, use it sparingly and follow up with a “but here’s what we CAN do instead…”.

“I’m just the receptionist.”

For the most part, nobody cares about your title.  All they care about is how you are able to service them.  Regardless of your position in the organization, you are always a representative of the company.  Particularly with prospects calling for information, YOU are the brand of the center because as far as the caller is concerned, all they know about your center(s) is the first impression they get from you.  Own your position with confidence knowing that you are a valuable resource.

“I don’t know.”

If the client or prospect is requesting assistance, stopping at the end of this phrase is unacceptable. Instead say, “Good question. I’ll do some research and will get back to you within the hour. Does that work for you? “

 “I wish it was Friday.”

Other variations might sound like “if only it were the weekend” or “Only two more days ‘til Friday!” Even though every single one of us has had that thought at one point or another (case of the Mondays, anyone??), this is something your clients should never hear. It is an energy-drainer for clients that do come into the office with a productive, go-get-‘em attitude. Clients don’t want to be brought down by gloomy comments, not to mention the implication of unhappy employees which is never appealing to a client or prospect regardless of the comfort level with that person. Those thoughts are better left unsaid…or better yet, if this is a weekly thought, an attitude shift might be in order. Life is too short to put a fast forward button on Monday-Thursday.

“You’ll have to call back in 30 minutes.”

The client or prospect doesn’t HAVE to do anything…that’s why competition was invented. Take responsibility to make sure the prospect or client gets a call back from the appropriate person. Take down their name, company, phone number, and best time to contact. (For example, “would this afternoon be a good time to have so-and-so call you back?”) Go as far as calling the prospect or client back if the return call from so-and-so will be much later than expected. Always exude a sense of urgency so the client or prospect is confident that you are taking care or their needs in a timely manner. Because we service not only our clients, but our client’s clients and their guests, customer service MUST be extraordinary. That isn’t a unique selling proposition, that’s a requirement to stay in business in the OBC would. Let this article serve as a reminder that the customer service sayings we use have a direct correlation to the implied quality of service.

By Lisa Engelmann, CEO of Revved Results Inc.

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