Posts tagged entrepreneurship

A chance conversation about the necessary evil of conference calls led one lean startup expert and his partner to create a breakthrough conference call system, with the help of some startup and Hollywood bigwigs.

You gotta have a gimmick if you want to stand out in today’s crowded market. For marketing expert Ted Rubin, his penchant for wearing crazy socks were the key to social media stardom.
Find out how on OPEN Forum.

You gotta have a gimmick if you want to stand out in today’s crowded market. For marketing expert Ted Rubin, his penchant for wearing crazy socks were the key to social media stardom.

Find out how on OPEN Forum.

Lynn Tilton, the founder and CEO of Patriarch Partners, has had ownership in and restructured more than 240 companies with combined revenues of $100 billion. From Stila Cosmetics to Rand McNally, her company’s investments span 14 industries. Tilton is all about saving American jobs. She talks about great products and working from the customer backward in this Learning from the Pros.

Should You Ever Do Business With a Good Friend?

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.

Read on for five more tips on whether or not you should work with your friends.

10 Powerful Business Lessons from Alexa von Tobel of LearnVest


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

5 Ways to Avoid Wasting Other People’s Time

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.

How do startups that go through accelerator programs scale so quickly? One reason is because they collaborate with and get advice from peers outside of their industries.

“Every Tuesday we come in here and go over everyone’s fundraising deck,” says Maisie Devine of Poacht, a candidate-minded recruitment platform. “Everyone gets feedback on what they’re seeing and what’s confusing. When I think about my deck before I came into this program and where it is now, you wouldn’t even believe it came from the same person.”

Read on for two more reasons why accelerated startups see results faster.

In this week’s Top Two Tips, David Kidder, co-founder of Bionic, and Skin Authority founder and CEO Celeste Hilling, join us. They tell us why solving your customer’s problems will pay off for your small business and why you should always have a Plan B when it comes to cash flow.

The Best Way to Manage Your Energy Level

"Research done at the USC Center for Effective Organizations found that 82 percent of business leaders aren’t working at their ideal energy levels,” writes small-business consultant Rieva Lesonsky. “Sixty-one percent felt they were working below their best energy level, while 21 percent felt they were working above their ideal energy level.”

This may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to manage your energy levels so you’re most effective is to leave well enough alone, Lesonsky writes:

Once you know your natural energy rhythms, try to honor them. If you experience a 3 p.m. slump every day, for example, trying to power through it will do more harm than good. You won’t be working efficiently, your results will be poor, and you’ll drain even more energy from your mind and body. Instead, during a slump time, try taking a quick walk, doing stretches in your office or even taking a power nap for 10 to 20 minutes. 

Read on for six more ways to stay productive throughout your day.

8 Common Traits All Great Leaders Have

1. Accepting. Self-actualized leaders accept themselves, as well as their employees, colleagues, vendors and customers, as they are rather than hoping for something different. 

2. Humble. Great leaders don’t need to announce their many attributes: it shows in their work, and the amount of respect they receive from everyone around them.

3. Willing to seek assistance. Self-aware leaders have no problem reaching out to their customers and clients or membership bases and asking questions that reveal their lack of knowledge or skills in certain areas.

Read on for five more attributes great leaders possess.