Showing by category: Startup Best Practices

How To Be an Entrepreneur and Not Ruin Your Marriage
The associated risks of starting a company are hard enough when you are young and unattached (though lack of experience and naïveté keeps you brave and motivated). But being in a long-term relationship, married, or a parent adds a whole new level of complications, risks, and motivations. It is not surprising that VCs like investing in companies led by young, single, male entrepreneurs (some think this is because it is easier to control them and make them work 24x7).  But my own experience tells me that the vast majority of entrepreneurs are married and many are even parents. Our wives/husbands/partners are the true unsung heroes. Some of the most successful business people have a great[more]
Why I LOVE Critics and Why You Should Too
Since I don't allow anonymous comments on my blog*, sometimes I get e-mails with long diatribes on why I am wrong. Some are quite extensive and come from people who take my critiques to heart (sometimes taking things too personally). Not only do I love these e-mails, but if you send one, be ready to have a dialog! I am absolutely honored to hear comments in person or via social media. I enjoy knowing when my answers to a question on LinkedIn (or Answers.onstartups.com) or another blog helps someone. But the world would not advance anywhere if everyone agreed! Therefore, I also highly value feedback from those who disagree with me (as long as it is presented in civilized manner). My crit[more]
The 7 Deadly Sins of Entrepreneurs
I love startups and small businesses! It has been an unpredictable ride over the past 12 years, but I have always enjoyed working and meeting with some incredibly interesting people. I recently met Jason (founder of GreenhornConnect), and he invited me to write a guest blog post sharing some of the major mistakes I think entrepreneurs make. I have made tons of them myself and have also seen many others shoot themselves in the foot. But, perhaps this list will help you avoid some of the biggest ones! Please read the rest of the article on GreenhornConnect - The 7 deadly sins of entrepreneurs[more]
My Boss Doesn’t Answer My E-mails! What Should I Do?
Everywhere you turn, someone is typing away on their Blackberry or iPhone.  While more and more of us are plugged in 24/7, since smartphone technology has become easier to use and cheaper to acquire, you’d think people would be responding more quickly to all their emails.  But, I’m actually not surprised that one of the most searched terms on my blog is: “boss does not respond to e-mails,” because the person sending the message often forgets that they are responsible for making sure the message AND the method of delivery encourages the receiver’s response. I have already written an article on how to write e-mails to your boss or an executive, but now want to focus on a different[more]
Dear attorneys, here’s what you can do to stop business people from hating you.
When the word "lawyer" or "attorney" is mentioned, most business people either make a joke about how lawyers belong in hell, or complain about how their attorney recently overcharged them. As the head of operations for several companies, I had to deal with attorneys almost every day.  I was also part of a law firm at one point in my career, so I have developed a very intimate and unique perspective of the inner workings of the legal industry. So why am I writing this open letter to lawyers? Like many others, I have a love and hate relationship with attorneys. I don’t expect I can change much, since many bad practices become engrained during law school.  But, us business people will alwa[more]
Time to end the frat house culture! We need more women in our midst.
One of the top five issues I’m passionate about is the need to increase the number of women executives, techies, scientists, and entrepreneurs. Why does this subject get so much of my mental energy? Progress is too slow! We are raising the next generation in an environment where women are still impeded by their gender.  Parents only want the best for their children, and we need to make sure our girls are judged on their merits. There is extensive scientific proof demonstrating that male-dominated teams are less efficient and less innovative than those with a healthy dose of ladies to break up their groupthink and egos. My favorite example is this paper by The London Business Sch[more]
Thinking about joining a family-owned company? Watch out for stormy waters!
Many wonderful small businesses around the world, from restaurants to product manufacturers, are run by families.  In my opinion, these companies have a lot of longevity built into them, because exit strategies rarely cross the minds of founders, and family ties keep the employee retention rate high. But, there is the caveat: family businesses are great… if you are a member of the family. If you are an outsider, there are several dangers: Blood is thicker than water. If push comes to shove, you will be shoved.  Even if you are the most productive employee, you are not family, and fairness and professional treatment may not be extended to you. Family politics = major distractio[more]
Companies That Become Unionized Deserve It!
Back when I lived in Chicago, I had the pleasure of working with a really grounded and wise CFO. He was an “old dog” with a CV many would envy. During one of our conversations about work environments, he said something that stuck with me: “companies that get unions deserve them”. If you treat your people fairly, invest in them, and genuinely care about their future, no union or union mentality has any reason to exist in your company. So how do we make sure our employees are working for and not against us? Shared pain & shared gain. The alarms are already sounding about an impending firestorm of talent defections. Retention is going to be hell for a large number of organizat[more]
Beware Of Corporate Cockroaches
I recently overheard a conversation on the T (Boston’s subway) between two coworkers who were scheming on how to take more “sick time” without getting caught, brown-nose their boss to get what they want, and stay under the radar. These two individuals were corporate cockroaches! I have an allergy to corporate cockroaches that no EpiPen can cure. They are the spoon of crap that ruins a barrel of honey and the rotten apples in a bushel of good ones. Nothing makes me angrier than those who try to game the system – their actions hurt both their team and company. As long as we turn a blind eye to corporate cockroaches, they will thrive, so we need to take an active role in keeping thes[more]
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