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Practice Your Loan Pitch With a Bank You DON’T Want to Work With and More Tips for April

Forget bonuses, give pizza and stop saying ‘No.’

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FINANCINGSharpen Your Pitch

Need a business loan or some other form of financing? Then don’t go to your best prospect first. You’re better off working out the rough spots in your presentation with the financing sources that are least likely to give you funding, say Lyle Maul and Diane Craig Mayfield in The Entrepreneur’s Road Map to Business Success. And if/when you do get the thumbs down, find out why the financing source rejected you and if they have any suggestions about other banks or institutions you should try.

LEGAL MATTERSDo What Lawyers Do

Like the sound (not to mention tax benefits) of those letters “Inc.” or “LLC” behind the name of your business but not so crazy about the legal costs? Eva Rosenberg, author of Small Business Taxes Made Easy, suggests you do what lawyers do and outsource some of the work. When setting up a corporate entity, attorneys generally provide about an hour of advice before passing the job to an outside service to create the document kit. Your attorney will then hand the bundle of paperwork back to you for your tax pro to clean up — along with a bill for $2,000. A better idea, Rosenberg says, is to pay your attorney for the hour of consultation time and then use an online site like incorporate.com to take care of the paperwork, just like your attorney would. Remember though that you do need your attorney’s guidance. Bring your tax advisor along for that meeting, too.

STAFFINGListen, Watch, Hire

When interviewing a job candidate put all your initial questions on the table up front. This accomplishes two things, says Pierre Mornell, author of Hiring Smart! First, you put the spotlight on the candidate. He or she must step up and respond. It shouldn’t be you who is trying to sell yourself or the organization. Second, it tackles the most common problem in interviewing: the employer talking too much. With this technique you are forced to listen and watch the candidate’s behavior.

CUSTOMER SERVICETry to AVoid “No”

In 2020, people are used to getting what they want. Do whatever you have to in order not to give customers a flat “no.” At popular New York City drink spot Please Don’t Tell, staff are instructed to always try to find a way to say “No, but ….” “No, we are all booked up at 8:30, unfortunately, but how about 11?” or “No, we don’t have brand X, but we have brand Y. Would you like to try it?”

STAFF INCENTIVESThe Power of Appreciation

To be sure, salespeople like performance-based pay incentives, especially when the fish are biting during peak selling periods, but to maintain drive and focus throughout the year, don’t overlook the power of appreciation, says Wharton professor Adam Grant. “Extrinsic motivators can stop having much meaning — your bonus gets spent, your raise in pay feels like your just due, your new title doesn’t sound so important once you have it,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “But the sense that other people appreciate what you do sticks with you.” So, give the people what they want: compliments and pizza.

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