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Tip Sheet

Don’t Let Your Entreprenurial Bravery Lead You Into an Expensive Con Job

Also, some tips on productivity that will help shake up your routine.

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SECURITYEntrepreneur Beware

Every so often you’ll read a news story about a street-smart businessperson who does something inexplicable, like wiring money to a man peddling hidden gold. The reason, as the psychology writer Maria Konnikova points out in her podcast, is that entrepreneurial types are actually more susceptible to being conned. They’re risk-takers who trust their own judgment and shun excess caution. But the trait can spell their undoing. As we move through tax scam season, take care if you’re an entrepreneur whose boldness and lack of skepticism has aided your success.

PRODUCTIVITYMix Fun and Uggh

Have items on your to-do list that never get done? Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian has a hack: “Spend an hour or two alternating between the most and least enticing items on your list, then the next most and least enticing, and so on, each time sugaring the pill of an important task with a pleasant one.”

STAFF MANAGEMENTGive Hours Off

In The Small Business Bible, Steven D. Strauss suggests pooling holidays and vacation time into a single bank of hours that employees can use as they see fit. Instead of giving employees 11 holidays and five vacation days a year, give everyone 100 hours a year off to use how and when they want. This sort of plan promotes honesty, and shows you respect your staff as adults.

PRODUCTIVITY Narrate Your Life

Having trouble staying focused on a mundane task? Charles Duhigg, author of Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets Of Being Productive in Life and Business, suggests explaining to yourself what you’re going to do, as if it were a story. “Take a moment to visualize, with as much detail as possible, what you are about to do. It is easier to know what’s ahead when there’s a well-rounded script in your head,” he explained to Science OF Life. Then it’s just a matter of going through the motions.

CUSTOMER RELATIONS Eyeball to Eyeball

Have you ever wondered how much eye contact is too much and how much is too little? Here’s the answer from Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time. “If you maintain an unblinking stare 100 percent of the time, that qualifies as leering. If you keep eye contact less than 70 percent of the time, you’ll seem disinterested and rude. Somewhere in between is the balance you’re looking for.”

FACILITIESHumor Me

One of the constant challenges of being a small business owner is how to respond to bad customer behavior. In the face of senseless vandalism, humor is often best, a la the manager at Bonez restaurant in Crested Butte, CO.

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Since launching in 2014, INVISION has won 23 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INVISION's editors at [email protected].

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