The Innovators Dec 30, 2015
Lessons Learned From Today's Top CEOs

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 to replace Gil Amelio as CEO, things turned around dramatically. Thanks to Jobs's vision to execute technological innovations, the company he founded in 1976 became an investor's dream. Jobs, who passed away from pancreatic cancer in October 2011 after resigning from his position as Apple's CEO, created one of the greatest success stories in the world...

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The Innovators Dec 30, 2015
8 New Year's Resolutions for Entrepreneurs and Startup Leaders in 2016, Pt. 2

Following the somewhat hectic ramp-up to the holiday season, January can be a time of repose. In fact, studies show that the average worker spends fewer hours working in January than during other parts of the year. As a result, business leaders have a small window of opportunity during this time of the year to step back and think about how they can improve themselves and their...

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The Innovators Dec 30, 2015
How Managers Can Leverage Top Values to Keep Employees Happy and Motivated

Keeping millennial workers happy is not as straightforward as providing a paycheck. Sure, compensation is a factor, but millennials are far more particular and exacting about what they want out of a workplace than previous generations. Not content to be "company" men and women, millennials hop from job to job, demand increasingly flexible and casual work environments, and seek satisfaction in the...

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The Innovators Dec 29, 2015
Most Payroll Funding Contracts 'Suck' — But There May Be a Better Way for Your Startup

Staffing software company TempWorks has been offering payroll funding since its inception in 2007. For the most part, TempWorks used to play by the same rules as other payroll funding services: Startups and other small companies in need of financial assistance would come to TempWorks, sign a contract, and let TempWorks handle payroll for however long the contract stipulated. It's fairly...

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The Innovators Dec 29, 2015
8 New Year's Resolutions for Entrepreneurs and Startup Leaders in 2016, Pt. 1

The start of the new year is as good a time as any to make some long-lasting improvements to the way you run your startup or small business. You've had that holiday period to wind down and take a step back from the daily grind, allowing you to see the big picture for the first time in a long while. This can provide you with some much-needed clarity and a new sense of focus. It's also...

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The Innovators Dec 28, 2015
The First Leadership Skill Every Entrepreneur Should Learn

Entrepreneurs tend to be single-minded, a little obsessive (in a good way!), and completely convinced of their own vision. In the face of obstacles, this tunnel vision can be a very good thing, but if it is not tempered, it can also be an entrepreneur's biggest weakness. In fact, the singular focus of an entrepreneur may even bring about "founder's syndrome" and, eventually, the downfall of...

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The Innovators Dec 23, 2015
The Secret Behind Real Startup Success

When your mind is constantly in motion due to the daily tasks and excitement of startup life, the best thing you can do to refresh is get away from it all. I would argue that intentional downtime is necessary for success – maybe as important as the idea for the business itself. Downtime not only helps keep the mind feeling fresh, but it also helps prevent burnout, something I faced...

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The Innovators Dec 23, 2015
4 Ways to Re-energize Your Employees After the Holidays

Come January, your business will probably need a shot of adrenaline. Research suggests that, for many companies, productivity drops around the holidays, due in part to more employees taking sick days. Without doubt, you'll want to start the new year with a bang to make up for the lost output in December – but that's easier said than done. Once the holiday season comes to a close, many of...

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The Innovators Dec 22, 2015
How to Handle a Disengaged Employee Who Missed Out on a Promotion

As an entrepreneur or small-business owner, you'll face a lot of pain points. One of the most challenging is what to do with an unhappy employee who has missed out on a promotion and grown disengaged as a result. Employees who are overlooked for promotion can become bitter, and they may even spread their negativity around, damaging morale in your business. As if that weren't bad enough, an...

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The Innovators Dec 22, 2015
How to Actualize Your Next Big Business Idea

It happens to all of us: You wake up, have your coffee, take a shower, – and suddenly, you have an epiphany. You think it's a real game-changer – that it will lift you out of your drab or uninspired lull and into a world of opportunity. You think you should tell everyone you know about how you intend to overhaul the personal counseling industry, write a New York Times best...

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The Innovators Dec 21, 2015
Culture Q&A: Good Things Happen When You Put Employee Happiness First

When you think of innovative company cultures, your mind probably jumps immediately to the tech giants of the world: the eternal summer camp vibes of Zappos, the "20 percent rule" at Google, and Airbnb's $2000 travel stipend all shine pretty brightly as examples of game-changing approaches to culture. Or maybe you go smaller. Maybe, for you, agile startups represent the epitome of unique...

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The Innovators Dec 18, 2015
10 Best Tips for Empowering Your Team on a Daily Basis

Ever since I sold my first company, I've been thinking a lot about what I could have done to make it more successful. Some people might think that selling a company for a decent check is a good thing --and I would totally agree. But that doesn't change the fact that I could have done better, and I am always trying to achieve more. I have realized since founding my last successful company that...

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The Innovators Dec 17, 2015
Are You Ready? The Value of Preparing for Meetings

Abe Lincoln* once said, "If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend the first four sharpening the axe." Whether or not you agree with the proportion of time that Lincoln would have you spend on preparation, it's hard to argue against the idea that doing your homework will serve you well. How do you prepare for big meetings or presentations? Has that changed over time, or do you...

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The Innovators Dec 16, 2015
Culture Q&A: At 15Five, Employees 'Work Toward Their Greatest Selves'

You would hope that 15Five, as the purveyor of an employee engagement solution, would have a great company culture. After all: If the employees at the company aren't engaged, why would you trust the company's product to make sure your employees were? Based on my conversations with some 15Five employees – as well as the CEO himself, David Hassell – I can confidently say there's no need to...

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The Innovators Dec 16, 2015
4 Great Ways to Drive Down Startup Costs

Entrepreneurs are great at coming up with innovative products and taking the market by storm. Sometimes, though, they're also great at getting swept up in their own hype – and that can lead to a dangerous loss of financial perspective. In the early days of a startup, all eyes may be drawn to booming sales reports. Meanwhile, more mundane – but absolutely critical – metics fall off the...

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The Innovators Dec 16, 2015
6 Tips for Improving Your Startup Valuation

For business owners, the topic of startup valuation can cause a lot of angst, raise a ton of questions, and get the emotions blazing. But let's take a step back: Why are valuations even important? Valuations are what an investor, acquirer, or the public (in an IPO) is willing to pay for your business. They are based on intangibles, such as the quality of your founding team, the size of...

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The Innovators Dec 15, 2015
How the Grinch Stole Workplace Appreciation (and How to Get It Back)

It's a Christmas classic. Every year, we enjoy the journey of the Grinch -- from ninja-level curmudgeon, to repenter of his ways, and, finally, to the hero of the day. The Grinch remains an interesting character. He's so filled with anger and resentment that it clouds his vision and, certainly, his judgment. He embarks on a journey that he thinks will fill the hole in his small and fragile...

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The Innovators Dec 15, 2015
How to Get Employees Excited About Your New Efficiency Initiative

Organizational efficiency initiatives are often viewed with skepticism – probably because they don't always work, and even when they do, many don't actually attribute the company's success to these initiatives. If this happens regularly, then employees in your company may simply view any and all productivity initiatives as nuisances and distractions. This, in turn, means employees will be...

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The Innovators Dec 14, 2015
How Flexible Work Arrangements Can Make Your Startup Stronger

Starting a business used to be easy! Okay, it was never easy per se, but at least in the old days you could focus on your product/service and your company branding. In today's talent-starved environment, however, you also need to worry about employer branding if you are ever going to attract the best talent to your organization. If you need a skilled barista and not just someone to stand...

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The Innovators Dec 11, 2015
When an Employee Isn't Working Out, Is It Better to Terminate or Reassign Them?

Today's question comes from a busy entrepreneur: Is it better to terminate or reassign an employee that is not working out? I have spent a lot of time training an employee. She is a great person, but I have to remind her several times to do something. I am not sure if she is just not in the right role or if she will always need so much oversight. I am curious how others have handled...

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The Innovators Dec 11, 2015
4 Ways to Raise Prices Without Driving Away Customers

Creativity, innovation, and marketing expertise are crucial to the success of your business – but so is a good pricing strategy. As I discussed yesterday, poor pricing strategies – including undercharging for your good or services – are a common cause of startup failure. To maximize revenue and ensure their businesses stay viable, entrepreneurs need to know how to price their goods and...

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The Innovators Dec 11, 2015
Why You Should Let Your Employees Make Mistakes

You've come a long way since your days in college. Scratch that. You've come a long way since you began your leadership role. It doesn't matter if you've been in the position for two weeks or two decades: Leadership requires a constant evolution of skills and management techniques. But what leaders often don't know how to handle – no matter how long they've been in leadership roles –...

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The Innovators Dec 10, 2015
5 Red Flags That Your Startup's Prices Are Too Low

Research from CB Insights found that poor pricing strategies are one of the most common reasons why small businesses fail. When it comes to poor pricing, overcharging is only one aspect of the problem. Undercharging for goods or services can be just as damaging to a company. Many cautious entrepreneurs choose to adopt a low pricing strategy in order to win business and gain market share. The...

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The Innovators Dec 10, 2015
The Business Benefits of Taking a Daily Stroll

Like many companies, we at Due are always trying to be more productive and more health-conscious at work. A couple of months ago, I read that Stanford University recently conducted a survey that concludes that daily walks improve productivity and creativity, so I decided to put this idea to the test. For 30 days, we asked that everyone in our office (if physically able) take two...

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The Innovators Dec 9, 2015
Building a Culture Where Your Employees Would Rather Be at Work Than on Vacation

Ryan Fitzgerald, cofounder of digital marketing firm Net Conversion, sees his company as a family. "Everyone has each other's backs and will pitch in and help when needed," Fitzgerald says. "I make sure I know what's happening in everyone's lives – not just on a work basis, but on a personal basis. I make sure everything's okay." But we've all heard that kind of thing before, haven't we?...

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The Innovators Dec 8, 2015
4 Traits You Should Look for in Future Business Partners

As cofounder of three companies, I've been asked by many young entrepreneurs how I select the people I go into business with. The following criteria are common traits shared by all of my current business partners, and I believe these traits form the basis of any successful business partnership: 1. A Positive Attitude In life, there are some people who always leave you feeling enthused,...

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The Innovators Dec 8, 2015
Do Away With Goals (Seriously) – Just Give Out Medals When Things Get Done!

Welcome to the end of 2015. Right now, goals and annual plans are being finalized for 2016. Employee performance reviews are being conducted. And whether your company does 360, 180, 90 44.5, 11.6,  peer reviews, or uses the "latest and greatest" impersonal goal measurement software, it's time to understand one thing: most employees totally forget about the goal-setting process once it's...

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The Innovators Dec 7, 2015
Protecting Intellectual Property: From Big Ideas to Branding

Do you have an idea? Great. You can probably start a business with it. From crafty blogs to the latest apps, great ideas are spurring the creation of new businesses left and right. But once you start your new business, you have to consider how you're going to protect its most precious assets: intellectual property (IP). Most modern business have more than one type of IP that must be...

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The Innovators Dec 7, 2015
How to Give Your Freelance Business the Right Name

So you want to be a freelancer. You need to launch yourself as a brand and build a strong online presence. But what do you do first? Well, you're going to need a name – but what name do you pick? Naming your business is one of the most critical steps in building your brand. Your name will be your first introduction to many potential clients, and it has the potential to either draw them...

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The Innovators Dec 4, 2015
Launching a Startup? 4 Tough Questions You Need to Ask Yourself First

There's never been a better time to start your own business. No, really! Following the Great Recession – and all the corporate scandals that preceded it – consumers have grown increasingly wary of the big guys, and as a result, they are more willing to patronize small businesses and startups. If you've always dreamed of heading into business for yourself, now may be the time. In fact,...

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The Innovators Dec 1, 2015
Don't Let Fear Keep You From Making Your First Hire

When InstaNatural, an online retailer of natural health and beauty products, made its first sale in September 2013, the entire company was composed of one man: founder and current chairman AJ Patel. The company started with one product. Now, it has an inventory of 45 products, and there are many more in the pipeline. These days, InstaNatural pulls in seven figures of revenue every month, with...

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The Innovators Nov 27, 2015
7 Lessons in Efficiency From Small Business Owners [Infographic]

To get by in business, you have to be efficient. Unfortunately, this is something that many business owners often fail to realize. To ensure that your business remains a success, you need to take a careful look at how you can run things more effectively. Whether that involves putting more trust in the members of your team or making a few alterations to your own list of everyday tasks, even...

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The Innovators Nov 27, 2015
How Personal Tragedy Led Me to My Purpose

It's after 8 PM on a Thursday night, and although I left the office earlier than usual, I decided to head back and start my "second shift." The day didn't go as planned, and I felt the need to finish well. Over the course of my entrepreneurial journey, I've found that I'm wired a little bit differently from everyone else. I have been able to master myself and my emotions. There is a...

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The Innovators Nov 23, 2015
Do Employees Truly Embrace Diversity at Work?

According toPwC's 18th Annual Global CEO Survey (released this year 2015), 85 percent of CEOs who have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say the strategy has enhanced performance. That's great! However, many employees say they embrace and respect diversity at work, but I'm not so sure this is accurate. Why? Because of the counter-proof I've witnessed a lot lately. Here's a little...

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The Innovators Nov 23, 2015
3 Simple Ways to Show Your Employees (or Coworkers) You Appreciate Them This Thanksgiving

It's that time of year again: With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, countless media outlets will be giving us (maybe "bombarding us with" is the better phrase) suggestions about ways we can show our coworkers and bosses that we appreciate them. At times, "giving thanks" can begin to feel less like a choice and more like a requirement. This whirlwind of "thanks" can be a bit confusing and...

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The Innovators Nov 20, 2015
7 Reasons Your Company Shouldn't Work With Freelancers

Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you'd like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A! This Week's Question: In our travels, we've spoken to many employers who love working with freelancers. Now, however, we want to know if there are...

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The Innovators Nov 20, 2015
4 Essential Personality Traits Every Startup Employee Needs

When you're the owner of a rapidly growing startup or small business, it's really easy to get swept up in the chase for talent, becoming as obsessed with the skills shortage as the rest of the media. This can be dangerous, because the talent-shortage hysteria is largely focused on technical skills. In the panic, employers often forget about the soft, social skills that are just as important to...

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The Innovators Nov 20, 2015
5 Tips for Uniting a Multigenerational Workforce

The American workforce is more diverse than ever before. This is especially true when we consider the ages of today's workers. Four generations now sit side by side in our offices: baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and Generation Z. Each generation is distinct from the others, and all four bring with them unique life experiences, expectations, and work styles that, if leveraged...

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The Innovators Nov 18, 2015
The Entrepreneur's Path Is Rarely Straightforward

I had never heard the word "entrepreneur" until I went to college in California in the '80s. As a kid, I wanted a career in international business because I spoke French and thought jobs in finance sounded cool (my father and both grandfathers were commercial bankers). The only other career I seriously considered was being an ambassador or diplomat, which also seemed like a natural way to...

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The Innovators Nov 18, 2015
The Worksheet That Will Help You Hire the Right First Employee for Your Small Business

Today's question comes from a busy professional: My business is growing, and I know I will need to hire help soon. People have suggested interns or office support – but my business relies a lot on my own skills. I have thought about partnering with or hiring someone who does essentially what I do, so I can expand based on this expertise. What skills should an individual have to...

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The Innovators Nov 13, 2015
8 Reasons to Work With Freelancers

Welcome to Recruiter Q&A, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you'd like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter Q&A! This Week's Question: More and more people are becoming freelancers every day. We want to know how this trend is impacting businesses. Do you work...

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The Innovators Nov 13, 2015
6 Things I Learned About Job Satisfaction From Interviewing More Than 500 People

As full-time videographer for career exploration startup PathSource, Justin Thach has had the unique opportunity to talk with all kinds of people about their career paths, from doctors, lawyers, and CEOs to professional baseball players, animal breeders, and video game designers. Through these conversations, Thach has gleaned six crucial insights about what makes a successful and genuinely...

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The Innovators Nov 12, 2015
The Case for Calling It Quits at Noon Every Day

When it comes to wasting time in front of a computer, I'm a triple black belt. Over the last six years of working for myself, I've wasted not just hours or days in front of a computer, but months. Focus has always been a challenge for me, and I've often felt there should be a better way. I've tried accountability groups, productivity apps, and all sorts of other gimmicks for getting more...

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The Innovators Nov 9, 2015
The 4 Keys to Managing Your Contingent Workforce

A new study from Ardent Partners -- sponsored in part by vendor management system provider Fieldglass, Inc. -- has found that contingent workers account for 35 percent of the total workforce. Moreover, the "2015-2016 State of Contingent Workforce Management Report" asserts that, in the very near future, contingent workers will skyrocket to 50 percent of the total workforce. What this means is...

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The Innovators Nov 6, 2015
How to Capitalize on Evolving Cultures in Creative Businesses

The inherent complexity that underpins today's digital products seems to have put an end to the age of the arrogant leader with the killer instinct. In past decades, it was this person who ruled so many creative businesses. During this time, there were only a few crafts that came together to make a magazine, an ad, a film, or a product. There was time for the individual genius to conceive and...

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The Innovators Nov 5, 2015
5 Eye-Opening Questions to Ask Your Employees

"I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions." - Lou Holtz How often do we leaders overlook details in our businesses because we're too busy barking orders and not asking enough questions? My absolute favorite way to uncover new knowledge that can drive our business forward is by asking our team some important questions. Here are five of my favorites: 1. How...

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The Innovators Nov 4, 2015
Networking Tactics That Will Change the Way You Do Business

When you think about traditional networking tactics, conferences, steak dinners, and mind-numbing small talk probably come to mind. That's because all business leaders resort to these tired tactics to get noticed. But if your goal is to impress a contact, how can you expect to stand out when your networking approach blends in with the crowd? I've worked hard to build and preserve...

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The Innovators Nov 2, 2015
The 5 Keys to Building a Flexible Work Policy That Works

In a recent survey from FlexJobs and WorldatWork, 80 percent of companies said they offer flexible work arrangements to employees. This may not be surprising, given that both employees and employers can benefit from flexible work arrangements. Employees like the freedom and work-life balance of such arrangements, while employers can reap the many rewards that come with building a more...

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