IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Quit Being a Scraggly Entrepreneur and Other Must-Read Business Tips

A look at the importance of appearance, how the FOMO phenomenon affects partnerships and more advice for business owners.
/ Source:

A roundup of the best tips of the week from

As on the dating scene, looking good is an easy way to stand out from the crowd. That could mean sporting a well-fitted suit or the right pair of shoes, but at a minimum it means being well-groomed and presentable. "Just because you may not be pitching an angel investor or VC every day doesn't mean it's acceptable to look like a mess," says Thomas Edwards, the founder of Confidence Unchained, an executive coaching firm. "You never know who you'll meet at any given moment and it's pivotal for your confidence to know you're looking good."

Similarly, your smile is one of your most effective tools for making people see you in a positive light. A great introduction to that key investor or potential client can hinge on a smile. Smiling makes you a better leader, too. "Even in the most strenuous of circumstances, smiling can put everyone around you -- including yourself -- at ease," Edwards says. "Then, you're in a position of influence to make decisions people will trust." More: 5 Simple Steps to Be a Super-Confident Leader

Take advantage of the FOMO phenomenon.
As a business owner, your first few partnerships will be the hardest to get. But once you have those, you can use them to get interest from other potential partners, says David Chait, the co-founder and chief executive of group travel tool Travefy. This works because companies, like people, often suffer from FOMO, or the fear of missing out on a good thing. But partnering with a startup also comes with risks, and it's easier for a large company to feel confident if other partners are already onboard. "Take advantage of the FOMO phenomenon and shamelessly leverage your existing partnerships to build additional ones," Chait says. More: 5 Secrets to Landing the Perfect Partnership

A product company needs more than one product to survive.
Nowadays, Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites are full of cool ideas for gadgets. The first task of an inventor entrepreneur is to develop a product and bring it successfully to market. But once that is done, "you will need to immediately start developing follow-up products in order for your company to survive," says Christopher Hawker, the president of Trident Design, LLC, a product development and commercialization firm. "You have to keep adding new items every year in order to stay relevant and ahead of the innovation curve." And if you don't have any additional ideas yourself, you had better start thinking about where you are going to source them. More: 3 Things You Need to Know About Launching a Product Business

Find inspiration by getting out of your office.
It's easy to get lost in the technological tumult of 21st-century life, but when you need inspiration for your next big idea or project, it helps to get away from it all, says Steve Tobak, a managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based management and strategy consulting firm. Either take a walk, put yourself through an intense workout or just bask in nature. A beautiful landscape" has a magical way of drawing you in and making you feel part of something alive and wonderful," Tobak says. Exercise will clear your head and a little time in the natural world will put things into perspective. More: Need Inspiration? Here Are 9 Ways to Find It

Motivate your employees by showing gratitude.
Companies who can't inspire loyalty in their employees are bound to lose them -- or at least the most talented ones. You can forestall the brain drain by showing appreciation for the efforts of your staff. One way to do this is to foster wellness by paying for nearby yoga classes or subsidizing (partially or wholly) your employees' gym memberships. You could also upgrade the office lighting (no hideous fluorescents!) or eliminate a time-sucking errand by offering dry cleaning drop-off and pick up at the office. "Even in this climate with higher unemployment, people can change jobs," says Victoria Krotzer, an independent human resources consultant at Maximum Business Consulting in York, Pa. "You want to encourage loyalty, and appreciation from the manager and the company can do that." More: 18 Easy Ways to Say 'Thanks'