Showing by category: Startup Best Practices

Better Solution to Outdated One Time Employee Referral Bonuses
One time employee referral bonuses need to go the way of the dodo. They are an antiquated reward system that motivates the wrong things. Yes, some of the most well known companies use them, but these companies end up hurting both themselves and also the business community. Even the biggest morons can waste investor/company money, so enough with these one time referral bonuses! Before I suggest a solution, let me tell you why one time referral bonuses are a waste of money: One time large rewards do not work! The effect of the bonus wears off by the next paycheck. I’ve seen this happen many times - it is often like flushing thousands down the toilet. The person referring the can[more]
12 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mistakes Managing Employees
Ever since I discovered a phenomenal app called Evernote (it works on all my devices!!!), I have been diligently documenting the lessons I learn each day. I also write drafts of blog articles whenever inspiration hits. If you don't have Evernote, get it; it will change the way you work. That said, in the last couple of weeks, several conversations with my consulting clients and venture-running friends motivated me to dig into my notes and produce this post. Since people management seems to be the dominant discussion I am having these days (sales operations and marketing automation are a close second), here are 12 lessons I’ve picked up along the way about leading and managing employees [more]
Stop Wasting Resources on Improving Weaknesses!
So here is my question for the many organizations that have an unhealthy fascination with improving the weaknesses of their talent: How was Michael Jordan in baseball?.. Exactly! I started my career as a talent agent. Yes, a talent agent in the entertainment industry. I even went to the top school in the field, Columbia College Chicago, to study under some of the luminaries. Even though I transitioned to the technology industry half way through my career, I picked up a lot of wisdom from several of my mentors/teachers including Irwin H. Steinberg (founder of Mercury Records and CEO of then 2nd largest record label in the world - Polygram) and Joey Edmonds (talent agent who discovered gre[more]
Why Companies Built for Just the Good Times Don’t Last
Folks, hate to be Mr. Pragmatic Realist, but in the emerging company world full of often deliriously optimistic people, I can't help but feel this way after a decade and a half in the "trenches". When I look at the companies myself and my fellow execs have worked in, there is one very clear trend with those still around - businesses built with resiliency, resource scarcity, team loyalty, and sub-optimal conditions in mind are still thriving, others - bankrupt. I am not preaching doom and gloom (that is for politicians), but what I am saying is that while you project measured optimism pointing to the inevitable highs, you should also be pragmatic and realist to the core, because some hard[more]
Poor Managers Kill Companies – 5 Ways to Improve Your Management Style and Skills
I’ve spent the last several months preparing for the birth of my first child and thinking very hard about the value of my every waking minute. If I am going to spend time away from my child, my work better be making one hell of an impact. So, I have been digging deep and thinking about what I have learned throughout my career and what I want to focus on and further improve. Managing and developing people is that highest ROI skill which you can always work to enhance. Why should you care? Well, unless you are running company of one (you), management skills and style are paramount with the consequences of hitting the viability of the company where it hurts the most - profitability. Endles[more]
Being a CEO Is a Brutal and Lonely Job, But It Doesn’t Have To Be
Who gets their head "chopped" if a company can't get traction, hit their sales numbers, find enough financing, or retain their high-performers? Who has to be the chief recruiter, fundraiser, strategist, and often makes the most expensive mistakes? Who has to listen to endless opinions and filter out all that noise? The answer is simple – the CEO! As many of my friend CEOs would attest to, being a CEO is a brutally hard and very lonely job! Add family, personal relationships, and other responsibilities to the mix and you understand why CEOs yet to cross 3-0 mark are already developing gray hair. But it doesn't have to be this way. I have spent a decade and a half being part of these[more]
The Most Powerful Tool for Improving Morale in a Rapid Pace Environment
Let’s face it, when our companies are searching for the perfect product/market fit or working to scale a repeatable business model, we have plenty of fires to extinguish and opportunities to chase. Closing that next deal, managing another huge money-making project, and releasing the features our customers have been knocking on our doors about can easily overshadow one crucial leadership duty we have - communication. You can overdo many things, but you can't overdo communication. Progress is the fuel that powers employee morale, and morale is like the air your team breathes. If you don't replenish it, things will go downhill and people will head for the door.  One way to improve morale i[more]
How To Hire Top Talent Without Paying Recruiters
As a Chief Business Hacker, one of the top things I love to do is recruit talent. The exhilaration I get from finding a team member who is going to help elevate everyone is like winning a race. Recruiting is hard; it is very hard. In my experience, recruiting the right team with culture and longevity in mind is even harder than finding a product-market fit. But I do have a confession. I used to HATE recruiting. I thought it was a massively mind numbing process more fit for paper-pushers. I used to dread sifting through piles of resumes filled with endless clichés and small (or at times, large) lies. However, the process I just described is old-school recruiting; the kind of garbage still[more]
3 Startup Offers You Shouldn’t Accept – How Compensation Shortcuts Hurt You
I love these hot and tumultuous times for emerging companies. Contrary to what some politicians and the media would love to have you believe, with every iteration the whole ecosystem is getting stronger, better, and more agile. But as more companies start up (or expand), there is a desperate rush to snap up the talented individuals needed to grow these businesses. This haste often leads to poor decisions and/or shortcut-taking, which results in compensation packages/offers that are one-sided, unfair, and detrimental to both sides. In this article I want to take care of my readers who are looking to move to another startup or join their first emerging company. Here are the three top startu[more]
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