A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
Although your business may start as fun, all-night coding sessions with a best friend, working on it can quickly become a chore. If your business partner isn't as invested as you are, they may lose enthusiasm and let you down. "I don't care if it's a coffee house or a design firm, the business partner's commitment has to equal yours," says Bob Phibbs, chief executive of The Retail Doctor, which provides information to small and medium-sized businesses.
For that matter, you may not need a partner at all. If you don't have much startup capital and won't be profitable immediately, then it is important to have a partner to help you build, says William Moore, founder of the Moore Firm, a San Diego-based law firm that serves entrepreneurs. "But if you can just pay [an employee] to show up and work, it's generally a better option than giving them a stake in the company." More: 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to a Business Partner
Use process maps to help your employees work more efficiently.
When you're first starting a company, you have to micromanage everything. But as the business grows, you should be able to delegate responsibilities and trust that your employees know how to handle them, says Dave Lavinsky, co-founder of Growthink, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm for entrepreneurs. One way to help your employees do things the right way is to create process maps, or flowcharts, for them to follow. These lay out all the steps required in a given task, such as landing a new client or making a sale. Itemizing the steps will allow you to create best practices that yield consistent results. "Running a business without systems in place is like raising a 4-year-old who never grows up," Lavinsky says. More: Why Your Business Needs to Stop Acting Like a 4-Year-Old
Hire an investor relations professional before launching an IPO.
Taking your company public is a major step. It can result in incredible financial reward, but it also comes with a lot of potential drawbacks, including the volatility of the stock market. If your head of marketing doesn't already have experience handling investors and the media, you should hire someone who does before launching your IPO, says Elizabeth Saunders, senior managing director of FTI's strategic communications practice in Chicago. And it's best to keep this person in-house rather than outsourcing the responsibility. "There is no substitute for a person who day-to-day is in the most important operational meetings, with a point of view on how a decision is going to affect external stakeholders," she says. More: 10 Questions to Ask Before Taking Your Company Public
Introverts should work to bolster their self-confidence.
Although you may have faith in your ability to deliver a great product or service, you may doubt yourself when it comes to selling others on your business. Not only does a lack of confidence make it harder to stay motivated and endure setbacks, but it also hurts your chances of success. "People who appear more confident get better outcomes from people around [them]," says Adam Galinsky, a professor of management at Columbia Business School. You need to project confidence in order to win over investors and make sales. One way to boost your confidence: Over-prepare for meetings and other important tasks. That way you'll be more comfortable when you have a lot on the line. More: When Overconfidence Backfires
Soften your email and text communication with colleagues.
While a simple "Okay" or "Will do" in a digital response to a colleague may seem like a time-saver, it can come off as brusque or even snippy to the recipient. Before you hit send, review your message and consider ways to soften it. Add a salutation, such as "Hi Wendy," or a compliment, such as "Thanks for your work," to show that you aren't displeased. A nice sign-off works too. It's worth the extra few seconds to avoid hurt feelings. More: 3 Annoying Online Communication Habits You Need to Break