A hard-nosed approach to getting paid in full and on time. Plus, what happens when the FBI seizes your business, and the rest of today's news.
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today.
Screw you. Pay me. If you've ever labored over a project, working several billable hours for a client only to be told "Actually, this isn't what we were looking for," Mike Monteiro, co-founder of Mule Design, says entrepreneurs must always keep these four words at the ready: 'Screw you. Pay me.'" (Well, his version contains a harsher expletive, but you get the idea.) The video, available at TechCrunch, covers topics ranging from "the importance of contract creation (along with useful tips on what should be included) and how to handle worst-case scenarios, such as clients shifting direction mid-stream and lay offs."
What to do when the FBI seizes your business. On Friday, the FBI kicked down the virtual doors of the world's biggest poker sites, shutting down each site's domain—as well as their business operations within the United States. "Marking the largest crackdown since Congress banned online gambling in 2006, authorities unsealed indictments against executives from Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker, accusing the companies of illegal gambling, money laundering and bank fraud," noted ReadWriteWeb. It was a sobering day for the online gaming world, but some start-ups seem to be poised to capitalize off of the poker site's fall. Gary Wise, the ESPN columnist, noted that Zynga may be in a good spot to capture some of the poker site's market share.
Why the S&P downgrade of the U.S. debt outlook really matters. Analysts were scrambling this morning as the Standard and Poor's rating agency downgraded its outlook of U.S debt from "stable" to "negative." But what does it mean for the economy? "The upshot is that this downgrade is insignificant as a piece of news and very significant as a piece of foreshadowing," notes Derek Thompson in The Atlantic. "Think of the headlines today -- falling stocks, higher yields, mild panic -- and imagine the bad news multiplied by a factor of 10. This is why deficits matter."
How to chose Mr. Right. Promotions are tricky. Office politics, emotions, and rivalries run rampant when a corner office, a larger paycheck or more responsibilites are the future for one lucky employee (and not another). Unless you run a flat company, promotions are inevitable. So how do you decide who is the best man for the job? The New York Times' columnist Adam Bryant identified five key characteristics for choosing Mr. (or Ms.) Right in his weekly column yesterday. Adapted from his book The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, this week's column draws on the advice and expertise of 70 CEOs to determine what it takes to lead.
Why it's great to be small. Sure, small business owners must compete with the big guys, but some firms, savvy in social media, have an easier time with developing real relationships with customers. Mashable's Marsha Collier notes "There is the opportunity for more communication within the company, more chance to build a customer-centric culture. They don't have the issues of having to pass new ideas through meetings and legal department." Social media gives a personality to your business, and, if ran properly, could be the leverage you need to put your small business on the same playing field as larger competitors.
VC Matches made in e-heaven. Finding start-up capital can be difficult. Luckily, there's this little thing called the Internet. Lynn-Ann Gries, president of venture capital fund JumpStart, notes in The Huffington Post the various VC matchmaking and crowdfunding services available to entrepreneurs looking for their own jump start in venture investing. Still, Gries asserts that online investment and matchmaking will never supplant traditional, offline angel investing, because entrepreneurs and investors have the most success with in-person meetings, and subsequent, regular meetings to promote ongoing relationships. In other words, you still need to own a suit.
New York's healthy start-up scene. Sixty-nine companies in the New York area received more than $580 million in funding in the first quarter, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. Not a bad sum for the Empire State, though the number of deals fell 22 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010, according to Crain's New York Business.