Do You Look to a Professional Mentor for Advice?

By American Express OPEN

Women business owners at the OPEN for Women: CEO BootCamp event discuss how they met their business mentors and what they have gained from those relationships. Do you have a mentor that’s made a positive impact on your career?

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How to Listen to Music at Work Without Sacrificing Productivity

By Vivian Giang

We’ve all experienced it: The endless chatter in the row behind you. A colleague talking loudly on the phone as she passes by. Someone nearby tapping his pen distinctively on his desk. A printer humming and spitting out pages of paper.

With the rise in popularity of open-office layouts, many of us have turned to headphones to gain a sense of privacy, block out the rest of the world and just get our work done. There’s a benefit to drowning out our workmates: Research shows that music releases the “pleasure chemical” dopamine in your brain, making you happier and …read more

The 6 Stages of Smart Business Growth

By Brian Moran

“Slow and steady wins the race.” How many times have you heard that? However, if you’re eager to grow your business, the thought of taking it slow and steady may not appeal to you. By moving strategically—and smartly—through the growth process, you minimize the risk of failure. Being an overnight success sounds exciting, but it can easily lead to a complete crash and burn.

There are six stages to growing a business. Successful entrepreneurs first determine their business goals, then move through each of the following stages in order, without skipping ahead, to get to that destination.

1. Crawl

The initial stage …read more

Survey: Small-Business Owners Ready to Unseat Congress in November

By Kelly Spors

A new poll of business owners finds that four out of five business owners (81 percent) plan to vote in this November’s midterm elections—which, if true, would be a much higher voter turnout than the general population for midterm elections. And among those business owners planning to vote, 81 percent said they plan to cast their ballot for a challenger over an incumbent.

The survey, conducted by online business directory Manta, suggests that many business owners—like Americans in general—are unhappy with the state of politics in the United States (particularly Congress) and want change. The results echo …read more

Why Millennials Could Be the Most Entrepreneurial Generation Ever

By James O’Brien, PhD

Independent, business-owning millennials have sidestepped traditional career paths and have become a significant force in the small-business milieu. In spite of the recession-wounded economy and striking levels of student debt, they’re building companies and saying some potentially surprising things about the process.

In a recent survey from Manta, an online community dedicated to small business, 76 percent of the millennial entrepreneurs polled in the first half of 2014 say their businesses have had a successful year so far. Many of them hired new employees, and even more plan to hire through year’s end.

Optimism, the report suggests, is on …read more

Learn to Adapt and the Importance of Integrity

By JJ Ramberg

In this week’s Top Two Tips, David S. Rose, Chairman and CEO of Gust and Founder of New York Angels, and Monica Mehta, a managing principal at Seventh Capital, join us. They tell us about a test you can take to find out what traits you need to work on to be more adaptable and the importance of integrity.

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17 Ways Extremely Busy Entrepreneurs Wind Down

By Darren Dahl

We all know how energizing it can be to run your own business. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear entrepreneurs—who often live and breathe their businesses—say something like, “I’ve never worked a day in my life.”

But growing a business can also be mercilessly stressful—long hours, sleepless nights, little time to spend with friends and family. Despite that, just one in three of the 1,500 small-business owners surveyed in the recently released Office Depot’s Small Business Index plan to make time for a vacation this summer.

One of the big reasons it can be so difficult for entrepreneurs …read more

California Bill Aims to Protect Franchisees from Terminated Contracts

By Kelly Spors

A new California bill would protect franchisees from having their contract terminated by their franchiser over minor issues.

The bill, which passed in the California assembly and appears likely to pass soon in the state senate, would prevent franchise companies from terminating contracts with franchisees except for in instances of a “substantial and material breach.”

Supporters of the bill, including the Coalition of Franchisee Associations, say it would make franchising less nerve-wracking and penalizing for franchisees who are essentially small-business owners who put their lifeblood and savings into their franchises.

Keith Miller, owner of three Subway sandwich shops in …read more

What You Should (and Should Never) Ask When Interviewing Job Applicants

By Geoff Williams

The person you’re about to interview for a job at your company may be nervous, but chances are, you are, too. After all, the last thing you want is to screw up and hire an incompetent or annoying team member.

You may also worry about saying the wrong thing and having a lawsuit foisted on you. And you’ve probably got some ego invested in this meeting—you know that while you may decide you don’t want a particular somebody working for you, it could go the other way and they won’t want to work for you.

If you’re at all anxious about interviewing …read more

Crazy Employee Titles You Should Think Twice About Using

By Barry Moltz

I’ve never thought much about titles in small business because there’s so much overlap of responsibilities. Yet titles are important to people: Being called a CEO, a vice president, a director or a manager can make an employee feel good. Not to mention, these are the titles that most people understand—titles employees aspire to and are proud of. But what about Chief Fun Officer? What is that person’s responsibility—and does he or she deserve a C-level salary as the title suggests?

As traditional employee and management roles have evolved, so have the titles used in many small businesses. Take …read more