Bad Business Advice to Avoid

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Starting a small business can be a precarious venture, so entrepreneurs are often given to self-doubt. This usually leads small business owners to seek advice and fail to differentiate the good from the bad. As people are all too willing to offer their two cents, the following five pieces of bad advice should serve as red flags:

  1. “Hire people you know.”

The mantra, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” contains a similar theme: Working with someone you know is a safer bet than employing a random name on a resume. This advice ignores the baggage that generally comes with hiring intimate connections (e.g., the unwillingness to terminate a toxic work relationship in order to preserve the personal relationship). Instead of trying to accommodate your friends, envision the skill-set of the position that needs to be filled and pursue that individual.

  1. “There’s no room for you in the market.”

This statement grossly overlooks the potential for you to carve out a niche market. No market is perfect and thus able to satisfy all consumers. Carefully analyze your target market and position yourself to meet their particular needs, which, consequently, will spell out who you are.

  1. “You have to be cheaper than the other guys.”

Going toe to toe with the established players in a market can be daunting. The clearest strategy would be to start a pricing war, undercutting the competition with outrageously low prices. This cannibalistic pricing strategy assumes that other firms can’t price below you—they can—and there’s no need to test that theory out for yourself. Instead, focus on the value you can provide for your customers and price accordingly.

  1.  “Social media is free.”

Social media is not free. After accounting for the amount of human capital required to maintain a healthy media presence, the costs become very tangible. That said, utilizing social media shrewdly can reap dividends for your business, enabling you to take advantage of social media’s low startup costs.

  1. “You have to spend money to make money.”

This age-old adage is true to a degree. However, when entrepreneurs misinterpret it to the extent that they believe throwing enough money at a problem will magically solve it—decisions become costly. Instead, rely more on creative solutions and keeping costs to a bare minimum. To read the original article, click here: http://mashable.com/2013/09/05/business-bad-advice/

Tips for More Efficient Meetings

Weekly meetings can sometimes cause feelings of anxiety or disdain from employees. Consider these tips to make your meetings run more efficiently, while still covering everything you need to convey.

  1. Only include the most important information. If it can be sent out in an email while still achieving the same efficiency, then do that instead. Save meeting times for issues or projects that require group discussion.
  2. Try setting a shorter time limit. Instead of hour-long meetings, try limiting them to 30 minutes or less. That way, you’re forced to get out the most critical information first, before the 45 minute mark hits and attention is focused more on the clock than on you.
  3. Change up the location. Instead of having your weekly meetings in the same boardroom, try taking employees outside for a meeting if possible. Sometimes changing up the surroundings can do wonders for creativity and lead to livelier discussions.
  4. Allot time blocks for each topic–and stick to them! While it’s important to let creative discussion flow, try limiting the amount of time spent on topics that don’t need as much discussion. By sticking to time limits, you can efficiently cover everything on your agenda, then go back to topics at the end if it’s necessary.
  5. Get creative! Think of new ways to present information that will keep the attention on the presentation during the meeting, instead of on the food truck outside. If employees are engaged in the information, then they will be more likely to soak it all in and remember it.

Original article: http://mashable.com/2014/09/15/no-more-meetings/