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Don’t Let Expensive Exceptions Become the Rule at Your Business

Instead, budget for them — plus other tips for spending less, managing wisely and selling more.




smiling lady holding hell yeah


Like a lot of small business owners, you’re likely often over-committed or just too scattered in your approach to life. You know you should say “no” more often, even to the worthwhile sounding things … But it’s tough. Entrepreneur and author Derek Severs suggests you use this easy-to-remember heuristic: If you’re not saying “hell yeah!” about it, say “no.” Everything has an opportunity cost, not just in time but in your attention and energy. “When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “Hell yeah!” he says on his blog

MANAGEMENT Give Wise Feedback

Employees generally hate reviews. Managers generally hate giving them. What to do? In his book, Culture Code: The Secrets Of Highly Successful Groups, Daniel Coyle recommends using these 19 words to bring out the best in the situation and deliver the feedback that will lead to a “dramatic improvement” in performance and effort: The words? “I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” Why does it work? Coyle says this builds trust, signals belonging, and combines high standards with the assurance that people can reach those standards.



Knowing emails are piling up while you’re on vacation can take a lot of the fun out of a break and undermine the restorative benefits. To address this issue, Arianna Huffington’s company Thrive Global opted for a solution they dubbed Thrive Away: if a colleague sends an email to a co-worker on vacation, they receive an auto-reply informing them that their message has been deleted—and that they’ll just have to resend it when the person returns.

HEALTHTV with Purpose

Approach this summer with more purpose, recommends Greg McKeown, writing in the Harvard Business Review. “That means if you decide to watch TV, really watch it. If you are having a meal, take the time to enjoy the meal.” Of course, it also means making a choice: Do you want to spend your summer downtime in front of the tube?

SALESPound for Sound

The most powerful key on your phone is the # button. Why? According to sales trainer Deb Hiss of Debbie Hiss Consulting, it’s because after leaving a message for your patients, customers or other business contacts, the pound sign will almost always give you the opportunity to listen to your message or delete and start over if you’re not satisfied with it. “How you come across aurally is just as important as the impression you make visually,” she notes.


WORK/LIFESchedule Breaks

Want to be more creative? A
Columbia University study makes the case that you’ll be more creative at work if you schedule your breaks, rather than stopping whenever you feel like it. “Participants who didn’t step away from a task at regular intervals were more likely to write ‘new’ ideas that were very similar to the last one,” the authors said. So, “if you’re hesitant to break away because…you’re on a roll, be mindful that it might be a false impression.”

MANAGEMENTAre You an A-Hole?

There’s been lots of talk recently about building more civilized workplaces. Worried you might be an asshole boss? (Yes, it’s not a good thing.) Take the test here:



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