UPGRADE

5 Quick and Dirty Fixes for Your Business

Barry Schuler offers five tips to help you run your business better - condensed for easy summertime reading.
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It's summertime people. Yes, it's ok to take a break, but don't get too relaxed because there is no true downtime for movers and shakers like you. Success belongs to those in a relentless pursuit of the competitive edge, even if you do it doused with SPF 50.

I, too, am on the beach, feigning relaxation while sipping G&Ts and doling advice to anyone willing to listen. Herewith, your summer dose:

3 ways to cope with whiny employees

Haters gonna hate and whiners gonna whine. Silicon Valley has tried to fix the whiners by lavishing the work force with free goodies of every type. Unfortunately, this just fed the beast. Yesterday's perk is tomorrow's expectation. How to deal:

  1. Fire employees who are not bringing their best. A-players hate being around slackers. Slackers are complaint choir leaders.
  2. Have a "no complaining" policy - every complaint must be accompanied by a proposed solution. 
  3. Remind employees your appreciate all of their hard work and reward them via comp tied to performance. Goodies are overrated.

3 essential steps before hiring a consultant

As a CEO, how do you decide when to hire a consultant, and how do you find one that doesn't just tell you something you already know? Follow these three easy tips and problem solved!

  1. Any employee that suggests he/she needs a consultant to help solve a problem should be fired and replaced by someone who knows how to solve the problem.
  2. If the new employee fails to solve that problem, then you might consider a consultant to examine your hiring practices.
  3. After your third pivot, you may reasonable have cause to hire a consultant. Make sure the person or firm has actually solved the kind of problem you have, not just once, but many times.

3 signs that work/life balance is not for you

There are those of us who find relaxation utterly stressful. These are three ways to tell if work/life balance may actually be harmful to your health.

  1. The Date Night (that has been rescheduled 8 times in last 4 months) finally comes and you find yourself at the movies with your significant other tensely gripping the sides of your chair like a white-knuckle flyer enduring extreme turbulence.
  2. While at a midweek casual dinner with friends, you leap up once every 15 minutes and excuse yourself to answer faux-emergency phone calls.
  3. When the dreaded family vacation inevitably comes, you ensure it is near an important customer or prospective new deal.

Balance is a myth for entrepreneurs. It's hard to relax when your competitor doesn't give a hoot about balance.

3 ways social media can get you fired

Freedom of speech does not include yelling "FIRE!" in a theater or #ourcustomersarejerks in the company Twitter feed. In order to practice safe Tweet, avoid these 3 pitfalls.

  1. Politics, religion, gender issues lend to vibrant Thanksgiving table talk, but in the social-sphere #JustDont or #HavePRpersonReview.
  2. Customer Support professionals should never use #IQofClam when tweeting answers to customers.
  3. Disclosing inside information about your company is never a good idea. If you work for a public company, it could be illegal. #PerpWalk

1 reason not to read listicles

What's better than very short-form delivery of the precise tips and tricks that can improve your skills? After all, time is short. And surely there are exactly 5 things that will improve your fundraising pitch. And precisely 8 ways to use social media more effectively.

We all know that startups are risky business and you might have made some mistakes. But fear not, because there are 6 signals that indicate it's time to pivot your strategy. And if bad fortune strikes and that sad day comes where you run out of cash and options, take solace in the 8 reasons why failure is necessary to success.

Here's why that's bunk: tips and tricks are the junk food of learning. Their crunchy, salty goodness are addictive and satisfying but not very nutritious. Critical thinking skills are an essential trait of every leader. Key data and nuance can't always be broken down into info-candy. Snacking is always fun but winning requires a healthy diet.

Garcon! Another Gin and Tonic please.

IMAGE: Getty Images
Last updated: Jul 15, 2014

BARRY SCHULER | Columnist

Barry Schuler is managing director for DFJ Growth and the former chairman and CEO of America Online. He is credited with being one of the pioneers of the modern Internet.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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