Local businesses may have a new way to field customers’ questions thanks to a popular app’s latest feature.
“Path Talk, a private messaging and social networking app, added a new feature called Places that lets users contact local businesses—from restaurants, hair salons to retail shops—to ask questions, check prices, schedule appointments or make reservations,” writes OPEN Forum’s Kelly Spors. “‘You’ll never have to wait on hold again,’ a company blog post promises.”
Learn more about the small business texting app on OPEN Forum.
1. Decisions are based entirely on the business leader’s ego.
2. Decision makers look to the past to dictate the future.
3. Any research attempts are lazy.
4. Decision makers are indecisive.
Read on for four more common mistakes bad decision makers make on OPEN Forum.
… are truly authentic.
… understand the power of reciprocity.
… are positive.
… listen more than they talk.
… are highly approachable.
… can give constructive criticism.
… work hard.
… are both authoritative and human.
… are know the right way to give praise.
Read more on OPEN Forum.
Eric Ries’ concept of the lean startup—the idea of creating a “minimum viable product” to get customer feedback to iterate on—has become a battle cry for startup founders. But some are taking it to an extreme, writes OPEN Forum contributor Barry Moltz. “Founding a company isn’t simply about throwing a bunch of ideas against the wall and seeing which ones stick with customers,” he says. “It’s about investing time, energy and money into creating a superior product or service that truly solves a deep pain for their target market.”
Here’s a few tips to keep in mind to do just that.
1. Find real paying customers.
2. Landing a first customer doesn’t mean 10 more will follow.
3. Reputation only gets one chance.
Read on for seven more ways to truly stay lean during startup.
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.