On to Tuktoyaktuk

Are we there yet? Nope, we are trapped by a blizzard.

After 4,000 kilometres of driving on the TITAN Arctic Challenge, we are cut short (hopefully temporarily) on the top of the Dempster Highway because of a blizzard.

The plan is to push through to Inuvik later today and then on to Tuktoyaktuk tomorrow for a turnaround visit, giving us 330 km of driving on Arctic Sea ice tomorrow. It is super exciting for all of us.

It was a chilly night last night with the mercury dipping to minus 30 in the tent, which I was able to put with until 5:30 a.m. and then jumped in to the cab of the truck to warm up a little.

I am astounded by the beauty that surrounds us. I never knew that the Dempster has so many secrets that are largely untold.

Without a doubt, it was the most beautiful mountain scenery I have ever seen. Having travelled and climbed in Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and North America, I was taken aback by the stunning beauty and ruggedness of the mountains here.

A one-hour drive took us four hours because we had to stop and take so many photos, and missed the opportunity to continue on the open road that subsequently closed.

The Dempster segment followed a one night stay in Dawson where I participated in the somewhat obligatory SourToe cocktail — frankly the taste of the tequila was worse for me than someone’s old necrotic toe touching my lips.

It is hard not to reminisce in places like Dawson and cast your mind back to a time when it was first settled during the crazy gold-rush years.

The fever to cash in on a golden future was fuel for many good and bad activities. But what I find curious is that most people in the Yukon and Arctic come here not to seek riches, but to escape the crazy world of seeking riches — despite Discovery Channel’s attempts to prove otherwise.

Most people I spoke to are up here to enjoy the rugged and remote beauty of the region.

I will be back, and if you have not visited the Yukon, then, frankly it should be a must on your travel list.


Build success with action

Five Important Tips For Starting A Business

Since starting in business over 43 years ago, I have not only started and built businesses, but also witnessed other people’s success and failures as well as my own.

The hardest step is to get started. A good idea does not make a good business; action does. With that in mind, I figured I would share my five tips to help you gets started in your own business.

Enjoy what you are about to do

You are about to spend a lot of time working so make sure you enjoy what you are about to do. While every entrepreneurs dream is to control time and money, not all achieve it. What all entrepreneurs do experience is long days and long work weeks if not continuous. 

Make sure you love what you do.

Invest in your own business 

You may not have much cash, but you had better put “skin in the game”. Later in your venture you may be an expert at using OPM (Other People’s Money) but even then, the biggest indication of your commitment to a venture capitalist is how much you have on the line.

A good idea has no value, a book of orders does

On the subject of raising money, remember that a good idea has no value. The biggest mistake an entrepreneur makes is to start drinking their own Kool Aid. No idea has value, they have potential. Value comes from action.

You build value, you don't invent it.

Find some good mentors

Lets face it, you are going to make mistakes.

Mentors can do two things for you, firstly help you to avoid making mistakes and secondly to let you know that they made the same mistake that you just made (the most comforting words in the world) and now they can help you out of the mess.

Never quit

Even when you think your business is over, it is not over. There is always a plan. Even businesses that sadly have to enter bankruptcy retain some value to someone.

The worst thing to do is put your head in the sand and pretend it is over. Your success comes not from what happens to you and your business, but more from how you react to what happens to you and your business.

Entrepreneurs do not stay down.

Remember that very few people decide to become an entrepreneur. Many do not have college or university degrees but many learn the most current management ideologies on the job and become equally as qualified as a degree’d business school graduate.

It is a wonderful and privileged option to take.

But don’t quit.

3 tips for success

Top Three Tips For Sales People That We Can Learn From The Internet Marketing World

Many years ago, I was accepted as a Fellow of the Institute of Sales Management. It was, and still is, a huge honour.

As a young teenager, I had started a company, built some success and studied a lot about sales and marketing. As a result I was recognized for that success at a young age.

Several months ago, I decided to check out a few new cars in Kelowna. In the past I had done the same and was disappointed generally in the sales prowess of the employees. On this morning, with my wife I visited about five car dealerships. 

The first one was around 9:30 a.m., so not too early. I was looking for a particular car and hoping to speak to a salesman. We walked into the showroom, checked out a few floor models waiting for someone to acknowledge us.

There was certainly a lot of busyness, around the coffee machine.

In fact, three staff were chatting to each other and completely ignoring us. We loitered in the showroom for a few more minutes without a single person acknowledging our presence.

I suggested to my wife that we try walking around the lot outside and see if someone realized we were a potential buyer… nope.

A few more dealerships led to the same or similar results.

So we left to the next. Out of all the dealerships, including one of the highest end dealers in town, we only had one meaningful conversation.

As a rally driver, I would love to take a look at the one particular car. It is a real competitor for the Subaru WRX/STi. Thanks to the salesman this time, my contact details were collected, I was promised that I would be called for a test drive.

Well, kudos to the dealer for some staff training, but that actually was the second time I had tried to take an up close look at the car, with no follow up. Not a single person has called me to pre-qualify me or ask why I would be interested. I certainly have never been called to take a look at one.

You might think a guy who has a won a couple of rally championships would be a good client to get on the books… 

So what can we learn from the Internet marketing world and how does it even relate?

Last year, my business partner and I formed a partnership with several leading players in the Internet marketing industry. It is a business that is renowned for selling information as opposed to products. Two of the partners alone had sold $70 million last year on the Internet.

My guess is that they did not do that by hanging around a coffee machine. Well, perhaps, to a certain extent they did because they work from home.

Here are the three things that stand out to me that a few car dealerships in town could learn from:

They entice me to leave my contact details.

  • You see, these guys know their numbers inside out. They know exactly how much money it costs them to get a visitor to their web page and they want to maximize their return.
  • So, they make it easy for me, if you leave your email address here, I will give you my information. So a car salesman could ask if “I forward you an electronic copy of our brochure?” Bingo, he has a client's email address.
  • One dealership last year even told me to go to their website to download the brochure, which did not require me to leave an email address… So for goodness sake, if you have a business that people walk in to, land on a webpage or otherwise connect with you, do something to get a name and contact.

They build a relationship with me.

  • Internet marketers actually know that they have little time to build credibility. I may have landed on their website, but I don't know who they are. So in a matter of a few weeks, they give me advice, for free. They let me know what success they have had in the past and they build a relationship with me.
  • It might seem like a crazy idea, but if one salesperson at the first dealership had said good morning to me, he might have closed a sale. Just by saying good morning…
  • So if I were in the car sales business and I were smart enough to get a client's contact details and knew they were looking for a particular car, I may in fact send over some independent reviews of the car, perhaps some video links.
  • I might even send over some recent client testimonials. I would attempt to develop a relationship with a new client.

They follow up with me and start to sell me benefits.

  • Internet marketers are very astute sales people. While the car industry brags about features, the internet marketing world talks about benefits.
  • For example, rather than telling me that a car has air conditioning, perhaps ask me if I would be interested in having a car that kept me more energized for business meetings in the summer so I could close more business deals, have a more successful business myself and enjoy the increased success, because the car has a superior air conditioning system designed for busy people like me.
  • Perhaps if I had some down time in the car sales business, rather than chat around the coffee machine I would study the art of selling a little more keep a head up for new clients walking in the showroom.

If you are interested in sales training for your sales team, feel free to send me an email at [email protected].

Tuktoyaktuk or bust

Is Arctic ice salty? I’m about to find out—I hope?

Next week, I leave on a big adventure to the distant town of Tuktoyaktuk, which along the way I hope to find out how to pronounce.

Details of the adventure will be unveiled next week with social media updates and video blogs happening routinely along the way.

You may even see a few decaled trucks driving around town over the next week as we hurriedly prepare to step off.

What is so big about the adventure? Well, it will be the last time we will be able to drive the ice roads to “Tuk” because the new paved super highway opens in the summer.

I was really excited to be invited on the trip until I found out that we would be camping and hence would need a polar bear gun.

My only question was whether the barrel of the gun was big enough for me to crawl in to if we saw a polar bear? I probably should have asked why we would drive past a perfectly good hotel to pitch a tent.

I can only imagine that there are hours of rather mundane driving to get there, interspersed with scenery that is absolutely awesome.

At the moment, my mind (with a little help from YouTube) is doing all the work for me. By the end of March I will have the full picture.

I will be able to regale great stories of epic adventures going on detours that we probably should not have done and getting stuck (temporarily), fighting our ways through blizzards, sitting around a camp fire gazing at the northern lights dancing in a starry sky and reminding us how tiny we really are.

Then there is the issue of salty ice. Will arctic ice spoil a good gin and tonic?

I will advise later. I am hoping it won’t.

There are so many questions I will be able to answer including:

Can you actually sleep outside in -40 C?

Are polar bears really aggressive?

Can you get motion sickness driving on sea ice?

How many other crazy people decided to do the same thing?

Do people really kiss the necrotic toe in a bottle of booze in Dawson?

Are all people genuinely crazy up north?

Does a compass actually do any good as you get further north?

Is there cellphone coverage on the Dempster Highway?

I will be a veritable encyclopedia when I return and hopefully I will be permanently touched by the pure, stunning beauty of Northern Canada, our home and native land.

More It's All About . . . articles

About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories