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Don't Be a Cheapskate and Other Must-Read Business Tips

September 6, 2013
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228219

A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.

When it comes to running your business, it's natural to want to keep costs low. But if you aren't investing in the equipment and support your employees need, then you should reexamine your priorities.

Keeping your company understaffed or refusing to replace outdated equipment will hold your employees back, says Roberta Matuson, founder of Matuson Consulting and author of Talent Magnetism: How to Build a Workplace that Attracts and Keeps the Best (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2013). "Eventually, that’s going to wear on their morale," she says. "You have to find ways to give people what they need to do their jobs." It isn't worth saving a few bucks if it means losing great talent. More: 4 Ways You Are Driving Your Employees Crazy

Get off the ladder to nowhere.
It's no secret that a majority of people in the United States today are unhappy with their jobs. In fact, job dissatisfaction is one of the top reasons why people take the plunge into entrepreneurship.

But it often takes a while for people to realize that their career path leaves something to be desired. "A lot of people are working toward a definition of success that is meaningless to them," says Scott Dinsmore, founder of Live Your Legend, a website that prepares people to build fulfilling careers. "They're climbing a ladder to nowhere."

To get off that dead-on ladder, you'll need to figure out what you truly care about, not what you think you should care about. Loving your work comes from feeling a sense of purpose and meaning in what you do. "We all want to move the needle in some way," Dinsmore says. "That's what really fuels people." Figure out what your real goals are, then make an effort to achieve them. More: How to Find Work You Truly Love

Use specific language to address problems.
In the business world, it's all too common to hear people using jargon whose practical meaning they don't truly understand. "I once attended a corporate meeting as a consultant at which an executive encouraged his team to streamline their business practices," says Art Markman, a professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas at Austin. "Everyone nodded in agreement, but later that day it became clear that nobody was sure what it meant to streamline the business." Break through that illusion of comprehension by explaining in specific terms how you expect your staff to address problems. More: 3 Reasons Why You Are Failing at Problem Solving

When making hires, value passion over experience.
Hiring managers typically look for the most experienced candidate possible. But that isn't always a good idea, as Marc Kushner, founder of Architizer, a social network for architects, found out in the early days of his company. "I hired people with tons of experience but who lacked a specific passion about what the site was after," Kushner says. "And what I ended up with was a culture that I hated." Eventually he realized that less experienced, more motivated employees who were enthusiastic about his vision performed better than more experienced hires who lacked passion. Now he hires young people with architectural training who are looking to expand into a new industry. More: 3 Tips for Growth From the Details Tech & Tastemakers Summit

Schedule personal activities.
Our best ideas sometimes come to us while our minds are occupied with things other than work. So not only is personal time an important means of reducing stress, it's also an essential way to stay sharp as a business owner. Since work can too easily become all-consuming for entrepreneurs, you should mark out time in your calendar for personal activities, says Lindsay Broder, a professional coach in New York City. "It's not enough to say you'll dedicate time to spending time with family, friends or to that hike you've wanted to do for a while," Broder says. It's easy to allow work related items to sneak into your schedule when you have a vacancy in your calendar, so make sure you mark down your tee time with your golf buddies." More: How to Have a Personal Life Once Startup Fever Sets In