A VC and former entrepreneur holds that you should have multiple versions of your “pitch deck” (a short, compelling visual presentation in Keynote, PowerPoint or something similar, and shared as a PDF), for specific occasions and their attendant goals: before the meeting, during the meeting, and following the meeting. He shares highly specific tips for each stage, including the number of pages each should be. He also argues strongly for sending a “teaser deck” in advance of the meeting, focusing on rapport during the meeting rather than getting into “pitch mode,” and recommending possible “next steps” after the meeting with your thank-you email.
If you’re an entrepreneur with an innovative idea for any type of start-up, applications for the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) Incubator Track Fall 2018 Session (from October 2018 to January 2019) are now available. Only 15 entrepreneurs are admitted per cohort, and applications are due by August 30th. The 16-week program is intensive, and includes formal academic lectures, work-based training in entrepreneurship, and ongoing mentorship by industry leaders. Upon completion, graduates are eligible for seed funding. Among the criteria for successful applications are being the founder (co-founders will be considered) of a startup or not-for-profit organization that is, or will be, based in Toronto or the York region, and either resides in Toronto or is able to commute for the program. Applicants do not have to be enrolled in York University. For more information and an application, visit the YEDI website: http://www.yedinstitute.org/apply/incubator/
Here’s a couple of stats to consider: 75% of hiring is because of employee turnover, and many companies responding to a CareerBuilder survey reported having lost an average of $14,900 on every bad hire in the last year. All of the reasons given for why they were bad hires (there were many listed) could be prevented with methodical, standardized hiring systems in place. Your small business hiring practices may not be fully developed, but there are some steps you can take to ensure you hire top employees (the author discusses nine), from developing an employee handbook that clearly outlines your company’s expectations to structuring your interview process. Other guidelines address improving “your employer brand,” ensuring your candidates have a good experience when applying and interviewing, and learning from the best practices of other companies when developing your hiring processes.
If you’ve been freelancing awhile now, you may well be familiar with many (if not all) of the challenges that remote freelance professionals face: the burden of self-promotion; working in a lonely solo void; time management; scope creep; and chasing down payments from clients. What you may not be so familiar with are the possible solutions suggested by the author (and “serial entrepreneur”), such as co-working spaces to combat isolation and using BidSketch to create your own contracts to prevent project scope creep.
The best performing entrepreneurs have to do three things in order of priority: take care of themselves; continue learning; be more productive. Here’s a curated list of nine products (and services) under each category:
Self Care: Calm (breathing and meditation techniques); iGOTHAM (eyewear to relieve digital eye strain and headaches from staring at your screen); and 7-minute daily workouts.
Learning: Rype (to learn a foreign language around your busy schedule); Audible (for audiobooks); and Blinkist (read top non-fiction book summaries in 15 minutes or less).
Productivity: Five minute journal (keeping track of goals and practicing gratitude); Varidesk (quality standing desk to maintain posture); and Calendly (booking meetings with calendar integration that fits your schedule).
Managing your workforce in a way that promotes employee engagement is not only vitally important, it can impact your bottom line. Gallup reports that only about one-third of employees are actually engaged in their work, and more than half are actively looking for other employment. That said, here are five tips to get the most out of your employees and make lasting improvements in their lives:
- Match the right HR software to your needs.
- Encourage employees to be well-rounded outside of the office.
- Show your employees that you’re behind them and support them in all their efforts, whether they’re about work or not.
- Realize that appreciation is strong currency.
- Stop being a private eye (micromanagement is counterproductive).
Net neutrality rules designed to ensure equal access to the internet officially expired Monday after a lengthy battle between Silicon Valley leaders and investors and politicians siding with the decision. The Federal Communication Commission repealed Obama-era regulations that prevented internet providers from blocking, slowing, or charging websites special fees to get their content seen by users. The idea was that all internet traffic should be treated equally by broadband providers, but now large companies like Verizon and Comcast could pay for internet “fast lanes,” while smaller businesses that couldn’t pay for premium service would see slower service on their sites. This also could affect freelance and gig economy workers who rely on the internet to do their jobs, and those businesses that rely on freelancers for outsourced work. Washington and Oregon have passed net neutrality laws of their own, and California could follow. Some 29 states are considering similar legislation.
There are several different forms your business can take: a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation (or LLC). While each has its pros and cons, if you’re just starting out, going solo is the best route. There are five reasons why: freedom, which includes if your business idea proves unfeasible once you subject it to the market, you are free to change your mind without consulting anyone else; speed, especially when it comes to making decisions; more learning, so you can get a feel for every facet of your business; the profit is all yours to either keep or (preferably) reinvest back into your business; and finally, flexibility to prioritize what matters the most to you.
It’s no secret that we all have blind spots. In business, however, they can quickly derail your growth. Citing a new book, David Mattson’s The Road to Excellence, the startup and small business advisor penning this article lists 10 key blind spots for leaders to avoid, from not sharing your vision with those tasked with implementing it to not building and modelling a culture of accountability. Noting that in his experience, “blind spots are the symptoms of an impending downward spiral for your business,” the author recommends taking immediate corrective action if you can relate to more than a couple of those listed.
Had Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg heeded warnings from its safety advisory board that user data could be seriously compromised, he may have steered the company clear of the morass it finds itself in now. You know you should have an advisory board to guide you, but how and when should you start one?
One school of thought holds that it should wait to you’ve achieved a solid business first, while the second recommends you have one from the very first, as there are endless questions to consider before even a starting a business. While it is really up to your own preferences on when to start, going about how has three basic guidelines: identify your deficiencies so you can find people who can bridge your skill gaps, such as finance; tap into your network to find high-level expertise, but dare to go outside of it too; and lastly, give your board structure and clarity of purpose.