Many people warn against hiring or partnering with friends, but it’s not always a bad thing. You just have to know what you’re getting yourself into, writes OPEN Forum contributor Dorie Clark:
…You may assume you know all about your friend based on your experiences with them. But it’s likely you’ve only seen a slice—probably the most fun side—of their personality. They may be entirely different under high-pressure situations…
Be on the lookout for warning signs: If you’ve seen them discuss clients or employees in a problematic way (such as a pattern of blaming other people, or making choices you disagree with), be wary.
Alexa von Tobel took a huge gamble when she took a leave of absence from business school and invested all of her money into LearnVest, a site that provides financial management tools and advice, at the start of the recession. But it was a chance that paid off: LearnVest has since raised $72 million in funding.
So what were some of the lessons she’s learned in the five years since her company has launched?
1. Consider Whether It’s the Right Time to Take the Plunge
Starting a company requires time, money and expertise. Do you know enough about the field you’re interested in? Is there a course you should take or a skill you might need to learn first to ensure that your business is a success?2. Be Willing to Put Your Own Money on the Line
Investing your own money will make you even more focused. In December 2008, when people were hiding cash under their mattresses, I took a leap and invested most of what I had saved since college into starting LearnVest.
Of course, it’s important to first save up an emergency fund for at least nine months so that you’ll have your basic expenses under control should you get off to a rocky start. But putting your money on the line makes starting your own business personal.
Read on for von Tobel’s eight other pieces of great business insight on OPEN Forum.
Flickr user: Courtney Boyd Myers
As a small-business owner, you and everyone you work with are busier than ever. Here’s how to stop wasting other people’s time, so you can build solid relationships.
1. Don’t misrepresent why you’re meeting.
2. Don’t “just drop by.”
3. Don’t create endless communication loops.
4. Don’t skimp on preparation.
5. Don’t create false deadlines.
Read more on OPEN Forum.
"[That’s] long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention," TED curator Chris Anderson said in an interview with Carmine Gallo, author of Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds. “By forcing speakers who are used to going on for 45 minutes to bring it down to 18, you get them to really think about what they want to say. What is the key point they want to communicate? It has a clarifying effect. It brings discipline.”
Read on to learn ways to make your presentations more engaging on OPEN Forum.
Flickr user: TEDx Somerville