Trust Your 'Innate Wisdom' and 4 More Business Tips From the Week
A roundup of the best tips of the week from Entrepreneur.com.
When it comes to decision-making, some entrepreneurs are known for going with their gut -- making instinctual decisions -- while others are more methodical and calculating. No matter what your style, all of us could benefit from cultivating our own "innate wisdom," says Lodro Rinzler, a meditation instructor who wrote Walk Like a Buddha (Shambhala, 2013). Innate wisdom is said to be the source of gut instincts, creativity and inspiration. "When an idea just occurs to you, that's your innate wisdom," Rinzler says.
One way to get in touch with your innate wisdom is through meditation, Rinzler says. By grounding you in the present, meditation allows you to take notice of your feelings unobscured by harmful thought patterns. Moments that feel especially genuine are a sign that you're acting from your innate wisdom. But it will take time before you develop this authenticity into a habit. "We can do so many things for instant gratification, and meditation isn't one of them," Rinzler says. More: 3 Ways Meditation Can Make You a Better Leader
Get beta customers to set investors' minds at ease.
Investors will be wary of putting money into your product or service unless you can demonstrate that there is a market for it. One way to convince investors that they will be able to recoup their money is to get beta customers, says Dave Lavinsky, the co-founder of Growthink, a Los Angeles-based consulting firm. Beta customers try out an early version of your product or service for free, and in return they prove that there is a demand for it. "Equally, if not more importantly, beta customers tell your company what they like and don't like about your product or service, so you can make improvements before a public launch," Lavinsky says. "This market research is invaluable, and gives investors and lenders comfort that your offering will truly satisfy customer needs." More: 5 Ways to Minimize Risk for Investors
Cut excessive details from your emails.
Many business owners receive a flood of emails on a daily basis, and most can't afford the time it takes to answer each message at length. Serial entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki has a simple rule that he says balances politeness and succinctness: Limit each of your emails to five sentences. This strategy not only saves you time but increases the odds of getting a response. "Long emails are either unread, or if they are read, they are unanswered," Kawasaki says. "Right now I have 600 read but unanswered emails in my inbox." More: Productivity Lifesaver: The 5-Sentence Email
Use an emotional hook to land top employees.
These days, competition for top technical talent is fierce. But when it comes to courting rock-star employees, startups have at least one advantage over the Apples and Googles of the world: emotional appeal. Peter Cohan, president of Peter S. Cohan & Associates, a management consulting and venture capital firm, cites the example of a software company co-founded by one of Facebook's first 100 employees. The company's software examines the genetic basis of cancer. Its co-founder chose to leave Facebook before the social network's initial public offering, sacrificing a big payday in order to do more meaningful work. "If you can convey your company has a mission that's more compelling than others in your industry, you will have an easier time hiring top employees," says Cohan. More: 5 Ways to Recruit Rock-Star Employees on a Budget
When doing business overseas, learn and adapt to new customer behavior.
Customer preferences are not universal. As your company expands overseas, whether by opening new offices in foreign countries or simply by finding international customers, you would be wise to study customer habits and tastes in these markets. "It's astonishing how many retailers haven't made it because they haven't studied how consumers shop," says Barbara Kahn, author of Global Brand Power (Wharton Digital Press, 2013). For instance, Kahn says, Walmart erred badly when it opened stores in China that were near industrial parks. Chinese consumers prefer to shop near their homes rather than near their offices. More: 5 Strategies to Build a Global Brand
Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at Entrepreneur.com. He is writing a book about the global phenomenon of Bitcoin for Portfolio, an imprint of Penguin Random House. It will be published in 2015.