Women entrepreneurs like Alexis Maybank of Gilt explain how they found the mentors who helped shape their career paths.

3 Tips for Better Food Habits

Though many entrepreneurs take better care of their businesses than themselves, what you eat does have a direct effect on you and your company’s performance. Adopt better habits with these three tips:

1. Try putting foods and snacks that are healthier for you in the front of your cupboard and fridge, since we’re prone to grab the first thing we see.

2. Place your meals on smaller plates to make them seem larger. If you think your portions are larger, your brain will also think that you’re full. 

3. Drink more water or eat foods that naturally contain a lot of water, such as broccoli and carrots. 

Now that you’re ready to eat better, read on for the six productivity-sapping foods you should avoid

5 Guaranteed Ways to Make A Great First Impression

1. Update your LinkedIn profile. What they see on your profile helps them form an opinion of who they think you are. If you set up your LinkedIn profile years ago, then promptly forgot all about it, it’s time to rectify the situation.”

2. Update your website. If your website is slow or not optimized for mobile users, it conveys sloppiness and unprofessionalism.

3. Pay attention to your clothes. Your clothes are often the first things people notice about you; make sure you’re sending the right message.

 Read on for two more tips on OPEN Forum.

3 Ways to Become a Go-To Expert in Your Field

  1. Establish yourself as an author. Set up a blog and post well-written, original posts on subjects that matter to your industry.
  2. Become a communicator. Accept opportunities to speak at conferences or events about issues you’re well-versed on.
  3. Rebrand and refocus when necessary. Think about how you can use your current business or brand to reposition yourself as an expert.

Read on for more details on how becoming an expert can benefit your business.

This Should Be the First Thing You Do When Launching a Mobile App

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Advice from Bobak Emamian, the co-founder and CEO of Prolific Interactive:

Get Early Input From Users

"Your app may sound cool in theory, but a neat app and one that people actually use on a regular basis aren’t necessarily the same thing. How many times have you installed a cool new app only to delete it days later when you realize it’s just taking up space? Getting direct user feedback is vital in the early stages in order to make sure your app aligns with user goals."

From OPEN Forum’s “4 Strategies That Will Save You From a Mobile App Disaster

Why Millennials Could Be the Most Entrepreneurial Generation Ever

Independent, business-owning millennials have sidestepped traditional career paths and have become a significant force in the small-business milieu. In spite of the recession-wounded economy and striking levels of student debt, they’re building companies and saying some potentially surprising things about the process.

Read more on how millennials feel about their business prospects on OPEN Forum.

Small business owners are constantly looking for ways to make their companies more efficient. They can usually find help in the form of a website or an app. Here are a few ideas from our viewers who shared their favorite web tools for small business.

Instagram: the Sales Tool You’re Not Using

"Despite its widespread popularity, many small businesses aren’t utilizing Instagram to its fullest business potential," writes OPEN Forum contributor Angela Stringfellow. "Retailers post just 7.2 percent of their products on social commerce sites.”

Take advantage of the site’s influence and boost your brand’s value with this tip from Shari Theresia, co-owner of Los Angeles-based event staffing company Toast & Flute:

“To start, I researched and followed Los Angeles-based companies and people who I thought could recommend us to their clientele or would be interested in our services themselves. This included wedding and event planners, caterers, florists, event rental companies and event design companies. I was active on their Instagram accounts, liking their photos and getting on their radar.”

Read on for two more ways you can drive sales through Instagram.

Kristine Gotilla is the artisan mastermind behind SPENCER DEVINE, a very lovely line of custom leather bags. OPEN Forum sat down with Gotilla to learn more about the woman behind the brand of covetable handbags, which are all made in the U.S. of A.

Where does the name SPENCER DEVINE come from?

The business is named for my cousin, who passed away when he was 17 and I was 11. I made the name change in 2012. It’s very personal to me and helps create a lasting legacy. But the name also has a somewhat unisex feel, which reflects the design of many of my bags.

Were you always making things growing up?

My first real memories I have are of mixing paints with my dad in our basement in Bergen County, New Jersey. He is a financial analyst, but he has always had such a talent for painting with oils.

And that helped inspire you?

Yes, I grew up taking art classes. And I got my BFA in fine arts painting and later studied costume design. I went to Italy and learned to sew. I was always intrigued to find ways to merge art and design with the purpose of creating unique products to help people function in their day-to-day more smoothly.

Find out more about Kristine Gottilla’s story on OPEN Forum.

Why Brands Are Having a Bit of a ’90s Moment

Nostalgia for the not-so-distant 1990s seems to be everywhere you turn these days. From Kate Moss’ little sister appearing in her own Calvin Klein ads to the Disney Channel’s spin off “Girl Meets World” following up where “Boys Meets World” left off more than a decade ago, brands are creating ads and products that are decidedly ’90s inspired.

But why?

Brands are focusing on the ’90s, because they know they need to tap into the spending power of the biggest and most diverse generation that’s ever existed: the millennials. Many of these young adults grew up in the 1990s and are now entering their peak earning and spending years. Ignoring them would be a bad business move.

And research backs them up. Apparently when we feel nostalgic, we’re more willing to part with our dollars. 

From OPEN Forum’s “They Love the ’90s: Using Nostalgia to Woo Millennials