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Weekly Business News Roundup

News Roundup for SME Businesses & Startups

How to solve complex problems (by not focusing on them)

While simple decisions are best made with straightforward logic, complex decisions require “more creativity in meshing together a web of interconnected ideas,” the author states. He continues, “These decisions can be impossible to work through with logic and reason alone. That’s why you need to tap into the proven power of our subconscious mind.” So how do you tap into that power? The author argues that by intentionally letting the mind wander and scattering our attention, you may experience “the Zeigarnik effect”: those eureka moments when your brain suddenly finds the solution to the problem you’ve been stuck on. He goes on to elaborate on how you can purposefully invoke the Zeigarnik effect to discover insights and find solutions to complex problems.

4 Ways Busy People Sabotage Themselves

Self-sabotage creates a cycle of constantly feeling overwhelmed, like when you procrastinate an important task and instead do a bunch of other things while your daily anxiety mounts. Addressing those who are “chronically tapped out of the immense energy required for planning, decision making, and coping,” the author discusses four ways we sabotage ourselves: ploughing away without stepping back and prioritizing; overlooking easy solutions for getting things done; “kick[ing] the can down the road” instead of creating better systems for solving recurring problems; and, using avoidance or escape methods for coping with anxiety. She also offers solutions corresponding to each of these self-sabotaging “traps.”

6 Rules for Nailing the Perfect Elevator Pitch

While it’s unlikely that you’ll deliver a pitch in an actual elevator, it never hurts to master the art of describing your company in 40 seconds or less — but eight semifinalists in Salesforce Ventures’ Dreampitch contest did so literally. The startup founders each rode the elevator in the new Salesforce Tower with Bret Taylor, the enterprise behemoth’s president and chief product officer. In the 40 seconds it took to go from street level to the 61st floor, each delivered their pitch to him. Immediately thereafter, the author talked to the founders about what they learned from the process and their advice for other entrepreneurs:

  1. Explain one thing, namely the nature of the problem you’re solving and how you’re solving it
  2. Practice your pitch with strangers who don’t know anything about your company, and so can better identify your blind spots
  3. Memorize your pitch, but don’t panic if you blank something out
  4. Take it down a notch from what you would say in a larger setting, as you’re having a simple conversation
  5. Communicate, don’t sell
  6. Embrace the constraint of having to articulate your company in a highly precise way

This is the ultimate anti-open office

As the most cost-effective way to corral employees into a space, open plan offices are here to stay. And while they have come under fire for their lack of privacy, noise, and other drawbacks, working with the design can mitigate them while preserving the functional benefits. That is what Work & Co’s new office in Portland, Oregon, has achieved with smart acoustics, a communal kitchen and library, as well as accommodations for its more introverted employees who need their own space.

Nine Valuable Varieties of Online Business Tools

As a business owner and entrepreneur, you’re always looking for ways to save time and boost productivity – and there is an untold number of diverse platforms, extensions, and apps available to help you do so. Here, a leading curator and author shares nine varieties of useful online business tools that include productivity software for everything from email to task automation, as well as tools and extensions for small business accounting and finance, operations management, customer support, project management, marketing, HR and payroll. He also shares a spectrum of special-purpose business software, such as Square for credit card processing.

Canada is Going to Web Summit 2018 and You’re Invited!

Canadian-based tech companies are invited to join the delegation attending Web Summit 2018 in Lisbon, Portugal, from November 5th through the 8th.  As the world’s largest tech conference, Web Summit attracts over 70,000 people annually. This year’s summit boasts an impressive alumni of speakers that include global figures and tech giants such as Kara Swisher (Recode), Andrew Ng (Coursera), and Garry Kasparov (Chess Grandmaster). The Summit is a great opportunity to connect with potential customers and partners, as well as meet potential investors, with over 2,500 VCs and Angels expected to attend.

Interested? Sign up at [email protected] to access discount codes for the Summit and Air Canada flights. You can learn more about the Web Summit at its website.

Congrats, Small-Biz Owners. Your Companies Are Way Less Stressful to Work for Than Large Ones

A 2018 workplace stress survey conducted by the British employee engagement startup Perkbox found a direct correlation between employee stress and company size. According to the survey, microbusinesses with a maximum of four employees had the lowest reported instances of job-related stress (45%) while those with more than 500 had the highest (65%). That’s all well and good, but what’s behind the numbers?

The author states that “a ton of other research” into workplace happiness sheds some “admittedly speculative” light: “Study after study finds that workers need a sense of purpose, close relationships at work, and hope for their future prospects to be happy in their jobs. Smaller businesses, with their human scale, close proximity to customers, and generally transparent paths for advancement (compared with politics-ridden behemoths, at least) may provide more of all three, easing employee stress.” What’s more, research shows that less stressed employees make for more productive employees, which is clearly a win for you too.

Be.Build.Brand Helps Entrepreneurs Develop Skills To Launch Their Own Business

Be.Build.Brand (B3), a 12-week program for aspiring entrepreneurs between ages 18 – 29, is holding information sessions on September 18th and 19th for those interested. Interviews for the program will be held September 24th. B3 launched last year, and now Toronto Community Housing has expanded the program to allow for more participants. The program will feature workshops on topics like business plan development, networking and marketing, and its benefits include startup funding with the possibility of more financing via its pitch contest. For more information, visit the Be.Build.Brand Facebook page (email and phone information are also included in the article).

How to Tell If You’re Delegating Too Much – and What to Do About It

While it’s understood that leaders need to delegate, if you find yourself miscommunicating with your team on deliverables, hearing about issues at the last minute, and misunderstanding how your team sets their priorities, it may indicate that you’ve delegated too much. At this point, you need to take back the responsibility for certain tasks to provide your team with the guidance and structure they need. Here are three steps to doing so: take on a symbolic project as a visible way of demonstrating your re-engagement (and advancing your own learning goals); reset with your team to get everyone on the same page again about goals and expectations; and, recommunicate the vision for the business.

Why a Chief Marketing Officer Wants His Best Employees to Quit

Citing a recent Harvard Business Review article by the CMO of G2Crowd, the author and HR specialist quotes his four reasons for why he encourages his best employees to look around and take a new job if it suits them: employees want development, not lip service; openness allows conversations to thrive; there are benefits to their leaving; and, they’re more likely to return. She notes that unlike corporations, those operating small to medium-size businesses can’t afford to offer all the development a great employee needs. The key is to build a relationship with your employees so there is open communication about their needs for growth, and they know you’d be supportive of them quitting – which means you might actually retain them. Finally, there’s the happy scenario of the “boomerang” employee who leaves, learns something, and then wants to come back.




About Ian Payton

Responsibilities: Social Media Coordination and content creation for companies like the Toronto International Bicycle Show. Outside of work for primary clients,work was done for smaller clients like branches of the Royal Canadian Legion designing and revitalizing web sites. Conceptualizing strategies for online and offline marketing as well as promotional activities for other companies.

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