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.
"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.
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.