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How to Get Out of a Rut and 4 More Business Tips From the Week

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A roundup of the best tips of the week from

Sometimes your business gets stuck in a rut, or mistakes start piling up. To find your way out of a rough patch, you may need to ask yourself a few simple questions, says Glenda Eoyang, co-author of Adaptive Action: Leveraging Uncertainty in Your Organization (Stanford University Press, 2013). It's important to first ask what's going on around you. Take a closer look at the details of your business, and find out what's new with competitors. Then consider: What does this mean?

Once you're more aware of your situation, asking "So what can I do about it?" helps you hone a plan of action to get you unstuck, Eoyang says. For instance, if you find yourself constantly correcting employees, questioning why and what you can do about it may reveal how you can better communicate your expectations. More: 3 Questions to Get Your Business Unstuck

Make sure your team includes five types of advisors.

No matter how brilliant your initial business idea is, your startup's success depends on the people you have in your corner. Alongside your top employees, you should have a team of five advisors, says serial entrepreneur Naeem Zafar, who teaches entrepreneurship at the University of California, Berkeley. Zafar says you'll need the following types of advisors: a personal coach, a domain expert, a connector with a large network who can make introductions, an industry celebrity for cachet and a technical expert. Don't make your selections lightly. "See who you have the right chemistry with, who is intrigued by your idea and who you can rely on," Zafar says. More: Find the Right Hires for Each Stage of Your Startup

Ask customers to share inventive ways they're using your products.

In this day and age, brands are trying harder than ever to appear authentic. One of the best ways to do that is to get to know how customers are really using your products, says Debra Kaye, a brand and culture strategist at Lucule, a New York City-based innovation consultancy. For instance, food companies may solicit recipes from consumers, while fashion brands might ask customers to post photos of themselves wearing their favorite pieces. This helps fans and potential customers see what current users like and what you're selling, says Kaye. Customer responses may even inspire future products. More: The Obvious Marketing Money-Maker You're Missing

Go where your employees want to be.

You may balk at the high office rents in cities like New York or San Francisco, but depending on the nature of your business, they may still be your best locations for success. "Successful companies are going to go where the best people for their enterprise want to live and work," says Mark Arend, editor-in-chief of Site Selection, a magazine about corporate real estate and economic development. New York and San Francisco boast quality-of-life attractions that continue to draw talented professionals. But they aren't the right choice for everyone. You should go where you can find a qualified workforce, with enough extra workers in the area to help you expand. More: Why Where Startups Are Can Matter More Than What They Pay

Fight the effects of stress with green tea and vitamin C.

Certain food combinations such as green tea and vitamin C can combat stress and improve your health, says holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy. Your body better absorbs the heart-healthy antioxidants in green tea when you drink it in combination with vitamin C. Meanwhile, vitamin C improves blood flow to the brain, supporting your short-term memory, which stress may impair, McCarthy says. More: 4 Food Combinations That Will Boost Your Health and Productivity

Brian Patrick Eha

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Brian Patrick Eha is a freelance journalist and former assistant editor at 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.