Forget Business Books: Why Reading Fiction Is Better for Your Business

By Rohit Bhargava

If you had a bucket list for this summer, chances are, reading a book for pleasure might have been on it.

Whether you managed to check that aspiration off the list or not, it reveals a bias that many of us have when it comes to thinking about books, especially fiction: They’re great reality diversions we can leave behind once we get back to “real work.”

The truth is, reading fiction can be as valuable to your business as reading a business book. For busy entrepreneurs, taking the time to sit down with a great book, though, can certainly seem like an …read more

The Real Reason You Feel Overwhelmed

By kelly This is a guest post by Jim Woods. Jim is a status-quo defying writer and coach who helps others get unstuck so they can live a better story. You can connect with him on Twitter. His next ebook, with Erik Fisher,is now available. Hit The Mark will help you improve your focus, boost your energy, […]

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The Right Time To Fire Yourself and Building B2B Relationships

By JJ Ramberg

Small business consultant Barry Moltz and Christiane Lemieux, the executive creative director at Wayfair.com, answer viewer questions about the right time to fire yourself from your own company and how to access the decision makers when trying to build B2B relationships.

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Top 10 Business Tips From This Week’s OPEN Forum

By Anthonia Akitunde

1. Show why your topic is important. A great story can boost a business or product into the stratosphere, but storytelling can just as easily bring you crashing to the ground if it’s not compelling to an audience, writes OPEN Forum contributor Mike Michalowicz. Great storytelling in public speaking does more than stating facts; it should compel the audience to act after hearing it. (From “5 Ways Storytelling Can Kill Your Message,” by Mike Michalowicz)

2. Follow the cues your body sends. Pushing through fatigue isn’t always the best idea: It can lead to you submitting sloppy …read more

Here’s How Small Businesses Can Provide Stellar Customer Support

By Julie Bawden Davis

As a small-business owner, you likely went into business to provide customers with a stellar product or service. Somewhere along the line you realized you also had to provide customer support, too—but didn’t know where to start. This topic was broached recently when OPEN Forum community member T.S. Praveen Kumar, CEO and founder of Animonks Animation Pvt. Ltd., asked:

“How do you guys handle customer support for your startups/companies? You may get a lot of email support tickets, calls from clients and on-site live chat support—how are you handling it? Even if you want to hire a …read more

7 Things Stopping You From Pursuing Your Impossible Dreams

By Craig You have dreams inside you. BIG things that you want to accomplish. Yet, you have never started many of them. Your dreams remain thoughts in your head. You have convinced yourself that they are impossible. Or you don’t know where to start. Or you don’t have time. What’s stopping you from pursuing your dreams? In Pursuit […]

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What Do the Fast-Food Wage Protests Mean for Small Business?

By Kelly Spors

Fast-food workers in 150 cities across the United States protested on Thursday, demanding that their employers pay them at least $15 per hour—a campaign called Fight for 15 being led by the Service Employees International Union.

The protests even led to many arrests in Detroit, Pittsburgh and New York.

The call for higher wages in the fast-food industry echoes the debates happening in many cities and states over the minimum wage. Seattle and several other local and state governments have enacted new, much higher minimum wages this year; labor activists and low-wage workers say paying all workers …read more

How to Make NFL Season a Win-Win for the Workplace

By Kelly Spors

NFL season has arrived, with the Green Bay Packers going against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. For football fans, the season’s start is a time of great joy and excitement. For business owners and managers? Maybe not so much.

Football season inevitably means football-loving employees will be in constant distraction mode—whether checking game scores and pregame analysis on their work computers, trading fantasy football players or making tailgating plans for the weekend. How can you turn football season into a win-win for the office rather than a time suck and productivity loss?

Embrace the season. If you can’t beat …read more

10 Steps to a Remarkably Productive Workweek

By Brian Moran

We all start our workweeks with the best intentions. We promise ourselves that “this week will be different.” That “I’m going to complete everything on my list.” That “I will take a walk on the hour for 10 minutes and not get distracted by bright shiny objects.”

Then, at approximately 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, that first shiny obstacle appears. Next, a few time robbers enter your office. Before you know it, the workweek is over, and your to-do list has turned into a “haven’t done” list.

If you really want to get things accomplished and have a productive week every week, …read more

Finding Your Purpose: A Guide to Getting Unstuck When You’re Most Stuck

By Erika Napoletano

Have you ever been stuck? You know that feeling you get of being so much in your own way that you can’t get anywhere, like a turtle flipped over on its back? If someone would just come along and flip you over, you could be on your merry way.

Odds are, you just might need someone like Erin Weed, founder and CEO of Boulder, Colorado-based evoso, to flip you back over and point you in the right direction. Weed and her team are professional “un-stuckers.” She’s coached multiple speakers to standing ovations at TED-branded events all over the country …read more