Carey Smith believes in being completely honest with your team. During times of economic strife, that can mean difficult conversations. Ultimately, though, he says, "If you have a concern that's going to affect the people that you employ, you owe it to them to tell them."

Transparent management helped Smith lead his company, Big Ass Fans, through the last recession, and eventually sell it for $500 million. It's just one of the guiding principles he shared in Inc.'s 'Real Talk: Business Reboot' streaming event on June 17. Smith, who's now the head of investment firm Unorthodox Ventures, also offered a wealth of other advice on leading during this crisis, including how to spot new business opportunities, why you shouldn't focus on your competitors, and where to cut your budget to avoid laying off employees.

Watch all the highlights from the session below.

On why you shouldn't lay off employees:

On being transparent with your staff:

On the importance of self-awareness:

On minding the competition:

On what it takes to expand internationally:

On where the name 'Big Ass Fans' came from:

On identifying new startup ideas: