Stop procrastinating. Now! Web Worker Daily shares its foolproof strategy for releasing yourself from the grips of a procrastination funk. Step one: admit that you're procrastinating. Reorganizing your bookmarks and skimming Valleywag is just a sham of "productive" work and it's time you came to terms with that. Then figure out why. Is it because you're overworked? Have you spent the day doing tasks for other people and need some downtime? Or are you avoiding a difficult assignment? Next, give yourself a five-minute break away from your desk. When that's over, break down the problem task you were avoiding. Figure out how to tackle each of the components involved. Schedule time to achieve each of those smaller tasks. All that's left is getting started.
Yelp will let businesses fight back against bad reviews. Yelp, the fast-growing customer review site, has gotten its share of jeers from business owners who claim they've been victimized by inaccurate--or just plain mean--reviews. The New York Times reports that, starting next week, Yelp will allow business owners respond to customer complaints. For more, check out Max Chafkin's defense of Yelp, here.
Ever had a colleague fall asleep during a pitch? After a VP of sales from a startup looking for money caught some shut eye during his company's elevator pitch to Canaan Partners, the venture capital firm decided entrepreneurs could use helpful hints. For example, acknowledge a (sleeping) elephant in the room, rather than continuing to plow through your pitch like the CEO of that startup did as his colleague snored. Entrepreneur Pitch Workbook, Canaan Partners' new 27-page guidebook, offers advice on everything from delivering the perfect pitch, to the ideal number of slides in a presentation, to what to wear to the meeting. The Wall Street Journal has the highlights, including the biggest mistakes small business owners make. For more on how (not) to deliver a pitch, take a look at some of thepitches we love.
Are business plans a waste of time? If entrepreneurs who meticulously craft the perfect business plan expect that effort to improve their chances of getting funded, they're fooling themselves. So says new research from the University of Maryland's business school. peHUB's Joanna Glasner reports that the study, which looked at 700 dotcom start-ups from the late '90's to the early '00's, found the quality of a business plan had no impact on the amount of venture capital raised. It may be useful for honing your pitch, but it won't necessarily bring in the money. What actually matters, professor Brent Goldfarb tells peHUB, is social connections. And ironically people who don't have connections typically need to have a business plan handy when they make the rounds.
Cleantech could soon be biggest VC investment.. VentureBeat has the goods on a new report by the National Venture Capital Association, which couldn't be more bullish on the cleantech sector. To wit: "This is an area that's ripe for investment — we're going to be seeing the next eBay, the next Google coming out of the cleantech sector," said Mark Heesen, president of the NVCA. In fact, the report predicts that cleantech could become the largest are of VC investments within five years. Though, the economy has pushed more recent VC investments down in the space, cleantech funding is still up 54 percent from 2007 to 2008. For more, check out our take on eco-minded start-ups that are tackling the world's water crisis.
For richer or poorer, but hopefully for richer. Do you run a business with your spouse? If so, the Wall Street Journal has a nice tax tip for you. If you live in one of the nation's eight community-property states--Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin--you can treat your husband-and-wife-run business as a sole proprietorship for tax filing purposes. Of course, knowing that now probably adds insult to injury if you've already filed, but it could save you big bucks next year. It'll cut down on your self-employment taxes, as well as simplifying matters.
How a once cutting-edge company got behind the times. After the Associated Press launched an initiative to track down and pursue legal action against publishers that use its content without a license, the blogosphere was a quick to call the organization an obsolete middleman in the age of open information, especially after its VP of affiliate relations was clueless to the fact the A.P. had its own YouTube channel. But in the Bits blog, Saul Hansell counteracts that the A.P. was actually the first Web 2.0 company. For more than a century, says Hansell, it defined the reuse and remix principles that drove Web 2.0. And by pulling in articles from local papers to add to its national dispatches and letting those dispatches in turn be repurposed by its member newspapers, the company was also early on in practicing another Web 2.0 tenet: one company doesn't have to everything. Its downfall? The fact that its owned by 1,500 newspapers. The policies it's espousing now regarding fair use reflect the worries of that troubled segment. Hansell recommends adjusting its business model to get back to its roots.
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