How Social Media Is Transforming Business

The effect of social technologies in customer-facing processes is already significant. Our survey finds that while overall adoption of these tools has plateaued, companies can do more to measure and then capture social’s benefits.

January 2015

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7 Things Great Leaders Must Do

Every company has underperformers. Sometimes they are just not up to the task or a poor culture fit. Sometimes, however, it’s not entirely the employee’s fault. There are plenty of bad bosses out there as well.

Many people come to positions of power without proper skills or training for managing and leading people. They get their management positions because they were good performers or it was their turn in seniority. Too many companies promote people without helping them learn how to lead and manage. Then all are surprised when performance and morale suffers.

You can help prepare yourself to be a great leader. Start with these actions:

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The Importance of Business Plans in Startups

If you sold your last startup for $800 million, you probably already know how to build a business, and even conservative investors won’t worry about the quality of your next business plan. But for the rest of us, don’t believe the Silicon Valley myth that all you have to do is sketch your million-dollar idea on the back of a napkin and investors will line up to give you money.

Based on my experience as an investor and mentor to aspiring entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, one of the quickest ways to kill your credibility and your startup is to offer a poorly written business plan, or none at all. There really is no excuse these days, with samples on the Internet, business-plan books in every bookstore and dozens of apps to automate the process.

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Considerations For Your Next Hiring Push

Small businesses added 75,000 jobs last January, according to payroll company Automated Data Processing. If things have been looking up at your organization, you may be eyeing a few new potential staff members as well. If you’ve been on the sidelines in the hiring game these past few years though, you might want to take a few moments to review some best practices for your expanding team. Here are seven tips for effective hiring at your small business.

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Is It Time To Hire An In-House Developer?

It’s a question faced by almost every startup founder: Do I need to hire an in-house developer?

Hiring technical resources is all about understanding how time and quality interrelate. If you’re working with developers on contract now and are wondering whether it’s time to hire in-house, here are some red flags you should be aware of:

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Startup Sales: Quality vs. Quantity

Accepting every potential customer is a recipe for disaster, not a growth strategy.

Does the hunger for a sale ever get in the way of finding clients that are a good fit for you and your business? Any business owner can be seduced into making a sale when a prospect expresses interest, especially when you’re just starting out or are in your early years of growth. Yet, some clients can be challenging to work with, aren’t profitable or just don’t fit for a variety of reasons.

Qualifying Leads

Not every sales lead is worth your time or effort, so qualifying leads is an essential part of any growth strategy. Here are some guidelines I’ve developed to qualify leads and ensure the client is a good fit for our company strategically: Continue reading

Sleep Deprivation is Killing You and Your Career

Pushing late into the night is a health and productivity killer. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on your mood, ability to focus, and access to higher-level brain functions for days to come. The negative effects of sleep deprivation are so great that people who are drunk outperform those lacking sleep.

Why You Need Adequate Sleep to Perform

We’ve always known that sleep is good for your brain, but new research from the University of Rochester provides the first direct evidence for why your brain cells need you to sleep (and sleep the right way–more on that later). The study found that when you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep. So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think–something no amount of caffeine can fix.

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