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It's no secret that happy, satisfied employees are a key ingredient to a successful company. But what really motivates people? Traditional thinking follows that the more you pay someone the more loyal and satisfied they are in their job.

But, the truth behind employee motivation is a more complicated mix including praise, autonomy, and leadership opportunities. Take a look at the infographic below for more on the many factors involved in motivating employees. 

Related: Inside Employee Motivation: Does Money Really Make a Difference?

Ben Horowitz, a founding partner of Silicon Valley powerhouse venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, made an interesting point at the recent DLD (Digital-Life-Design) conference.

Horowitz was running through the factors that make a great investment.

One of those factors is "the team" -- or, more specifically, the entrepreneur.

Horowitz says the entrepreneur is vastly more important than the idea--because if an idea is lousy, a great entrepreneur will see that quickly and then change the idea. Horowitz ran through several examples of this, which included PayPalGoogle, and other massive home runs.

Great entrepreneurs, Horowitz said, have two key qualities:

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Papers piling up on your desk? You're not alone. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), the number one organizing dilemma for entrepreneurs is getting a handle on paperwork.

"The onslaught of incoming communication is enormous in our society," says Sande Nelson, a New York City-based professional organizer who specializes in helping businesses get organized.  "Mail comes in from a variety of different sources, and the results of not keeping it all up can be dropped actions and piles of paper that cause more problems," she says. "A good filing system is a valuable tool to help you get things done and grow your business. It will serve you loyally for as long as it is maintained."

But how to get started? Here are four steps small-business owners can take to create a filing system that works for them: 

image credit: Tracey Clark

Great entrepreneurs often talk about persistence -- pushing past ridicule and doubt to achieve success that no one believed possible. But successful leaders have another skill that often slips under the radar: the wisdom to let go of ideas that fail or lose their luster.

As an entrepreneur, how do you know when it’s time to let go?

Sadly, there's no formula for making that decision. "Many successful people have had success because they pivot and others because they persevere," says Jason Calacanis, a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and founder of Mahalo.com. The choice depends on the leader and the situation.

Learning to make that choice for yourself is about gaining the self-awareness to sense when your effort is productive and when it’s not. "People with a sense of commitment and loyalty sometimes feel like they need to fight the battle until the last dying breath," Calacanis says. "That's honorable, but naive."

Related: How to Sharpen Your Decision-Making Skills

To help you decide if it's time to move on, try these four tips: 

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In a speech built around the Declaration of Independence, there was, despite little mention of independent business owners, an affirmation of America's need to innovate in a global economy and to invest in young people as the nation's future. Today, in his second inaugural address, President Barack Obama told a crowd of many thousands that American enterprise flourishes in a just society.

Four years ago, in Obama's first inaugural address, he praised entrepreneurial effort, saying "it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things ... who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom."

Today's speech emphasized instead the need for a social safety net as a ground for business activity. Programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, he said, "do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

Obama did, however, single out for celebration an American work ethic of "initiative and enterprise" involving "hard work and personal responsibility."

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This year's flu season is hitting the U.S. harder than normal. All those coughs and sneezes could put the brakes on your company's productivity. According to the Center for the Disease Control (CDC), up to 20 percent of Americans contract the flu virus each year, and it's likely to be more this season.

Failure to prepare your company for the flu season can result in missed deadlines and lost opportunities. Nim Traeger, vice president of casualty services risk control at Travelers Insurance, says crafting a contingency plan to deal with the flu is the best way to minimize the impact of illness on your company’s bottom line. Here are her suggestions:

1. Evaluate employee roles. "Managing the human resource element of a contingency plan is critical [in preparing your company for dealing with the flu]," says Traeger. Examine your critical operations and the individuals who perform them and discuss how to build contingencies around how these tasks could get done in the event that someone is away sick. 

image credit: Facebook

This week's need-to-know social-media news.

This week, Facebook unveiled a major new feature: Graph Search. Designed to be a discovery engine for your "social graph" -- the network of friends and brands you "like" on Facebook -- Graph Search allows you to parse your personal network and address messages to a select number of people based on specific criteria.

Currently Graph Search is available in beta to a very limited number of users. You can sign up for the mailing list and be notified when you're able to use it. By the time Graph Search is available to all users, it's possible that brands will have the ability to single out both their most engaged followers and potential fans and target them for special deals, promotions and other offers.

Only time will tell whether Graph Search raises Facebook's stock price, shakes up its competitors or irritates privacy activists. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg sees it as a move in the right direction toward fulfilling Facebook's mission. "Exploring your community is a core human need, and this is the first big step we're taking in that direction," Zuckerberg said. -- Wired

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

As a manager, asking questions can be a powerful means of focusing an employee's thoughts and encouraging him or her to come up with a solution independently. Socrates made the technique famous, allowing his listeners to reason out their own conclusions about life and the nature of things rather than imposing his own philosophy on them.

One experiment you can try is to spend an entire conversation asking only questions, says LeeAnn Renninger, director of professional-development organization LifeLabs. Rather than giving direct advice, phrase your statements as questions to lead your employees to a solution. Ask things like, "What are your thoughts on this so far? What have you tried? What options are you leaning towards?" The answer will often present itself. More: Why the Best Managers Ask the Most Questions

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Venture capitalists are likely to invest fewer dollars this year, but that doesn’t signal doomsday for entrepreneurs with solid business models.

"I think we will be seeing much better deals being done, much better entrepreneurs being funded," says Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association. "There will be less duplicative deals."

Heesen's remarks on a media call yesterday came as the venture capital industry released its fourth quarter and full year results.

Venture capitalists invested $26.5 billion in 3,698 deals in 2012. That's down 10 percent in dollar terms and down 6 percent in deal volume from 2011, according to the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and the National Venture Capital Association, based on data from Thomson Reuters.

Related: What's Ahead in 2013 for Venture Capital

image credit: Om Sweet Yoga

Poor posture can cause back, neck and shoulder pain and negatively impact your productivity -- poor posture. While a healthy spine has a slight S-shaped curve, the majority of us slouch into a C-shape when sitting at our desks.

"The human body was built to move more than sit in a chair, car and couch for a large chunk of the day," says Seattle-based yoga instructor Michael Huffman. Leaning too far forward to look at a computer monitor or slouching can cause neck and back aches, stiffness and cartilage compression.

"No matter how good your posture is, when you're sitting at a desk all day, your muscles are working very hard to hold your spine up, so just releasing tension from those muscles and allowing them to stretch takes a lot of pressure off the spine and is also energizing," says Alameda,Calif-based yoga instructor Sandy Blaine and author of Yoga for Computer Users (Rodmell Press, 2008).

Good posture allows the muscles around the lungs to stretch, allowing you to take fuller breaths, boosting productivity and improving concentration and focus. But you don't have to go to a yoga studio to get these benefits. The following yoga poses can be done even when you can't leave your desk.

The flu outbreak in the United States has been making headlines. According to the Center for the Disease Control, 47 states have reported a widespread outbreak of influenza.

All of those sick days take a toll on both employees' wallets, business-owners' bottom lines, and the U.S. economy as a whole. For a break down of the hidden costs of the flu and a guide to your office's potential germ hotspots, see the infographic below

image credit: shutterstock

Is your company stuck in a rut? Do you need an expert, someone with fresh eyes and money to invest, to come in and shake things up? Would you consider going on reality TV? CNBC is currently accepting submissions for an upcoming reality series titled The Big Fix.

In this new series, self-made millionaire and CEO of Camping World Marcus Lemonis will invest up to $2 million of his fortune by giving small businesses extreme makeovers. CNBC will document the turnarounds, with Lemonis personally investing his time, experience and up to $500,000 in each business selected for the show.

While other makeover shows focus on certain types of businesses -- think Bravo's Tabatha's Salon Takeover and FOX's Kitchen Nightmares, “The Big Fix works with all types of small-businesses in need of transformation. 

Geofencing notifications.

Just as radio gave way to TV and newspapers gave way to the internet, the growing use of mobile phones offers new opportunities for delivering your company's message to potential customers. While the power of being able to reach exactly the right consumers in exactly the right location at exactly the right time may sound like an advertiser's dream, there are a lot of factors to consider to get a local mobile advertising campaign right.

Mobile-marketing experts from heavy hitters such as the Weather Channel and AT&T AdWorks shared their thoughts on the many factors that go in to a successful localized mobile ad campaign at a panel discussion at this week’s Street Fight Summit in Manhattan. If mobile advertising is a whole new world for your business, here are three things beginners should familiarize themselves with. 

Related: Making Mobile Marketing Work for Your Business

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The Internal Revenue Service has made a new option for how to calculate your home office space deduction that is easier than it has been in the past. Yes, that’s right, the IRS made something easier.

Many small-business owners have a love-hate relationship with the home-office deduction. It can be a great way to shave away at the amount of income you have to pay taxes on. It is also a 43-line bear of a tax form (form number 8829 for the self-employed) to fill out, rife with opportunities to report something incorrectly and flag yourself for the ever-dreaded audit.

image credit: Frostbox

While it might be difficult to imagine that you'll ever need to revisit a Facebook post from two years ago or see what a customer tweeted to you last April, there are certain times you might need to. And if you haven't taken steps to back up your social media posts, you might be out of luck.

Social media data essentially is no different than company emails or printed memos. In case of a dispute, social media records fall under the e-discovery process mandated by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Besides the legal issues, having a full record of your social media interactions can help you quantify your marketing efforts and follow up on customer service issues.

But what happens if your accounts get hacked and all your social data disappears without a way to retrieve it? Twitter and Facebook both offer links where you can download an archive of your site history but to get the full picture, you'll need the assistance of a social media back-up service. Here's a look at three tools you might consider trying:

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