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Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Organization, Productivity, Success, Work at Home

Can You Achieve Work-Life Balance When You Work from Home?

Starting a home-based business is the dream of many entrepreneurs and for good reason. Running a company from the comfort of your own home provides you with a high degree of flexibility, eliminates the need to commute, offers greater control over your company’s scalability, and brings many useful tax breaks.

But for all the perks that come with running a business out of a private residence, one common problem that many home-based entrepreneurs encounter is the tendency to forget to set boundaries that prevent one’s work and personal life from becoming comingled. If you’re a business owner who has established a company within your own home, the following tips will help you to create healthy habits at home office in order to separate your personal and professional life and contribute to a better overall work-life balance.

Seclude your workspace from the rest of your home

home office

Having a designated space for your business within your home will help you to focus solely on your work as a professional, rather than blending the two and blurring the line between your professional and personal lives. Choosing a specific room within your house to become an office can help you to establish a physical and psychological boundary that allows you to eliminate distractions. If you do not have the ability to dedicate a whole room to your job, then easily portable items such as a divider, curtain, or even furniture can allow you to section off a portion of your room to devote exclusively to your job.

Minimize distractions

Apart from eliminating distractions by establishing physical boundaries, it’s important to keep a clear mind in your office space that allows you to tune out pressures at home that may pull you away from work. To do this, you should commit to reducing clutter and other items that may take up residence in your workspace. Additionally, you should resist the urge to check social media and other online activities during office hours.

Dress up for work

While it may seem simple, choosing to get up in the morning and to dress professionally before working at a home-based business can be a particularly effective way to get more things done. While working in your pajamas or comfortable clothes can be a tempting perk of running a company out of your home, it may not necessarily put you in the most productive mindset. Studies show that the way you dress on any given day can affect the way that you feel and approach your business ventures. In order to be successful in a job that involves working from home, you need to treat your home office the same way that you would any other professional environment and commit to a daily schedule that includes donning business-friendly attire.

Enforce strict office hours

wall clock

It is important for home-based entrepreneurs to remember that just because you work out of your home does not mean that you can be interrupted by the demands of your personal life. Similar to how you must treat your home office as a workplace in the way that you dress, you must also treat it as a workplace in the way that you enforce office hours. Talk to your family about your work schedule, and let them know when you are available to focus on personal matters versus when you need your attention to be trained solely on work. Make sure to also ignore the pressure of household chores. Recognize that any time you take to perform personal tasks during work hours will likely make you feel the need to perform work tasks during your personal time. While your office hours should be set to provide flexibility and accommodate your personal life, you should make it clear to both your loved ones and yourself that when it is time to work, your focus should not be on anything else.

Say “no” when necessary

When you work from home, it can be tempting to change your office hours in order to accommodate the needs of your family. While one of the benefits of running a business from home is that it offers the flexibility to create a schedule on your own terms, you should treat your time at a home-based business the same way that you would treat any other position. Be prudent about the time you spend away from your office, and learn to say “no” to non-professional engagements if they aren’t planned in advance.

Take small breaks

work break

As with any other professional role, you should step away from your desk, as needed. While breaks from work may seem like they would reduce productivity, small blocks of time spent clearing your mind can actually prevent boredom and enhance your focus. Set aside enough time throughout the day to enjoy lunch, take a walk, or perform stretching exercises to refresh yourself and come back to your desk with a renewed enthusiasm for your tasks. This can help you to stay focused, get more accomplished, and feel better about leaving work behind at the end of the day.

Shut the door

As a home-based entrepreneur, it is vital to close the door to your home office, both literally and metaphorically, at the end of your designated work day. Running your own business may require you to work more hours than that of the standard work week in order to achieve success. A work-life balance cannot be achieved if you make yourself available professionally 24/7. A lack of boundaries between your professional and personal life will lead to burnout. When you close the door of your home office at the end of the day, remember to close the door to thoughts about your professional life, as well.

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Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Organization, Productivity, Success, Technology

7 Common Mistakes That New Business Owners Should Avoid

A majority of American employees want to be their own boss, according to articles recently published in magazines such as Forbes and Entrepreneur. A significant number of people in the United States admit that they want to start their own business, an assertion that is supported by the fact that over a half-million people in the country choose to become entrepreneurs every month.

Owning your own business can be an exciting and rewarding venture. However, in order for their venture to succeed, first-time entrepreneurs should avoid the following seven common mistakes made by new business owners:

  1. Starting a company before creating a business plan

It’s easy for novice entrepreneurs to get caught up in the excitement of a new business venture. However, establishing a company without first creating a well-developed business plan is a big mistake. Before making any kind of major financial investment in the foundation of a company, new business owners should take the time to conduct research on market potential and competitors, as well as to plan the financial and marketing support that their venture will need to thrive.

business

  1. Not adhering to a budget

The importance of creating and consistently sticking to a budget cannot be overstated. Businesses that operate outside of a structured budget run the risk of either over- or underspending, both of which can have a detrimental impact on any success that a new company may have been capable of achieving. Creating a solid budget will help new business owners avoid purchasing unnecessary equipment, services, and technology while simultaneously allowing them the freedom to make the best possible investments within their means.

  1. Underpricing products and services

Many new business owners choose to price their goods and services conservatively in the beginning in an effort to win over customers. However, entrepreneurs who take this approach may find that it backfires, as customers may consider significantly low prices to be a sign that the products or services offered are substandard compared to those of the competition. Pricing goods and services too low may also put a new company at risk of making too little profit to cover operating expenses, which may then lead to the closure of a new business before it has a chance to get off the ground. First-time entrepreneurs should thoroughly research the value of their products and services. They should attempt to strike a balance that leaves customers satisfied, but also allows for the healthy growth of the company.

business

  1. Hiring unqualified employees

For first-time entrepreneurs, the prospect of hiring a company’s first employees can be daunting and financially unviable. In these instances, many novice business owners may want to enlist the help of friends or family members to support the business’ work in its earliest stages. While this may help reduce costs and provide some level of comfort in the workplace, new business owners should not hire friends and family members who lack the necessary skills to drive business growth. The founders of a new company should feel free to hire people with whom they have a personal relationship. They should ensure that those employees have experience that will truly benefit company, the same as they would with any other potential staff member.

  1. Operating without a website

In this digital age, very few businesses can find success without an online presence. Among the most important things that a business owner can do in order to establish an online presence is to create a functional, well-designed website. Yet, almost 50 percent of small businesses lack one. While first-time entrepreneurs should create a website for their businesses, they don’t need to spend a lot of money to do it. Through the use of website-building platforms such as Wix and the help of affordable web-hosting companies, even new business owners who must operate on a shoestring budget can find a way to create a professional website that provides basic information to customers.

  1. Mixing business and personal banking

finances

A common and potentially damaging practice for small business owners is to combine their business and personal funds. When new business owners fail to create separate bank accounts, the situation can lead to tax complications, a muddled audit trail, and a general lack of commitment to professionalism. For new business owners, opening up a business bank account should be one of the top priorities when a company launches.

  1. Trying to do everything alone

Entrepreneurs tend to be passionate, driven individuals who are willing to put in any of the work hours necessary to achieve their goals. While this is an admirable quality, it often coincides with a tendency to be the kind of person who feels as though he or she should do everything alone. New business owners need to learn how to recognize when they require professional support and learn to delegate tasks to other staff members as a business grows. By sharing their workload with other employees, new entrepreneurs will have more time to focus on the areas of the company that genuinely require their attention, rather than attempting to be everywhere at once.

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Business, Entrepreneurship, Funding, Management, Productivity, Success

8 Money Management Tips Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know

Regardless of size, industry, and purpose, one thing that all companies have in common is a need for savvy financial management practices that allow them to grow. Good money management is especially important for novice entrepreneurs, who may have less operating cash to work with and thus must take steps to make sure that their fledgling companies adhere to strict fiscal guidelines. Listed here are eight best practices that every new business owner should follow in order to keep his or her business on a healthy financial track:

  1. Record everything.

A simple yet important part of maintaining healthy business finances is keeping detailed, organized notes on every business purchase you make. In the first year, when costs are high and new expenses can arise unexpectedly, it is helpful to track all expenditures, down to even the smallest office items. These notes will help you determine where you can cut spending to create a leaner, more functional budget.

business record

  1. Keep your fixed expenses low.

In addition to keeping track of business spending in general, you should identify and strategically limit your fixed expenses. In a company’s earliest phases, cash tends to flow out rather than in; therefore, you should strive to make sure that your fixed expenses, like rent, insurance, and utilities, are as low as possible to account for this difference.

For some entrepreneurs, this may mean forgoing a conventional office space and working out of one’s home for a period of time. For others, it may mean sharing a flexible workspace with another business owner. Whatever arrangement best suits the situation, you should focus on procuring only the things you need to operate efficiently in the beginning stages, and then take on more overhead as growth and revenue permit.

  1. Enlist the help of a professional.

Initially, the accounting required to efficiently manage a new business may not be too difficult for you to perform yourself. However, as your company grows, it’s a good idea to consider hiring a financial professional to help you analyze expenses, plan for taxes, and establish a solid financial structure for company operations.

Though you may not have the leeway in your budget to consult with a finance professional regularly, you should at least consider making an appointment with an accountant when it comes to tax matters. A tax expert will be able to identify possible deductions and help you avoid costly penalties, which can save you a significant amount of money.

  1. Set financial goals.

income

You need to clearly define short- and long-term financial goals in the early stages of business development. Long-term financial goals keep a company headed in the right direction; short-term financial goals can help you move forward even during difficult periods by allowing you to track progress and celebrate small victories along the way.

  1. Avoid mixing your business and personal finances.

Small business owners who do not separate their personal and business banking accounts can risk creating unprofessional situations and put their companies at risk. If you comingle business and personal banking, you may violate federal laws, complicate tax filing practices, make audit trails unclear, and generally appear unprofessional to clients and business partners. However, this does not apply to the personal capital that entrepreneurs often use to fund the initial startup phase of a company.

If you use your own money to fuel early growth, then you should focus on separating business and personal expenses as quickly as possible afterward. Additionally, you should make sure to pay yourself a salary from the business rather than simply using company money to pay your personal bills.

  1. Keep cash stored away for emergencies.

Business and profit fluctuations can be unpredictable for a business of any age or size, but young small businesses are especially vulnerable to irregular income. To protect your company against the risks posed by periods of lean cash flow, you should focus on building up an emergency reserve of funds during high-earning periods.

This means you will have to resist the urge to use incoming cash to rapidly grow your company and instead adopt a mindset of frugality when things are going well. Building up an emergency fund also helps prevent you from relying on credit cards to rescue you from stressful fiscal periods.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts.

discountIn the early stages of a business, every cost-cutting measure benefits company finances, no matter how small. One way that you can lower expenses is by taking the initiative to negotiate with vendors. Though this will not always be an option, some vendors will offer payment plans or agree to discounts for young companies that offer to barter services or ask for help directly.

  1. Check in on your financial practices regularly.

Another simple yet extremely important money management practice is taking the time to regularly review your company’s finances. Staying up-to-date and categorizing expenses can help you more reliably predict cash flow and avoid spending more money than your company is generating. Overall, being familiar with business finances enables you to make more informed decisions that lead to better business outcomes.

Business, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Management, Organization, Success, Work at Home

6 Things You Need to Keep in Mind When Setting Up a Home Office

According to research published in the online periodical Small Business Trends, almost 70 percent of entrepreneurs in the United States operate out of their own homes when they first open a business. Further, nearly 60 percent of American entrepreneurs opt to continue running their companies from home even after their businesses are comfortably established.

If you want to efficiently operate a home-based company, consider the following six useful tips for establishing a functional home office that will give you the support you need to succeed:

  1. Establish a well-defined space.

Working from home is both comfortable and convenient, but it leaves you vulnerable to the many distractions of everyday living. To avoid losing focus, you should dedicate a specific area of your house to work. A spare bedroom or other area with a door to separate you from the rest of the house is best, but if you can’t dedicate a whole room to your business, you can designate a specific underutilized area solely for work use. This well help you keep your work and home life separated, promote organization, and allow you to concentrate.

home office

  1. Don’t forget the aesthetics.

Once you’ve chosen a space for your home office, the next step is to decide how you want it to look. Creating an atmosphere for your office that is completely unique from the appearance of other, cozier parts of your home can help you stay productive and promote a healthy work mentality.

When making aesthetic decisions about your workspace, you need to take into account whether or not you will be meeting with clients or business partners there. If you will regularly host professional guests in your home office, then you should consider a more traditional office design and eliminate personal effects when decorating. Fewer personal items mean fewer distractions, which will encourage visitors to focus on conducting business.

  1. Plan for more storage space than you think you’ll need.

No matter how small your office space is, you should incorporate as much extra storage space as possible. One of the most common mistakes that business owners make when establishing a home office is neglecting to understand the importance of storage. This can lead to disorganization, stress, and frustration.

Apart from the standard filing cabinet, there are many ways to give your office additional storage space. These include storage desks, walls of bookshelves, or divided shelving within a closet. For a small office space without room for extra furniture, you can look into installing wall storage, such as cabinets or shelving. In addition, don’t forget to invest in smaller desktop storage tools, such as pencil holders and file organizers to help maintain a functional workspace that makes things easy to find when you need them.

home office

  1. Make sure you have the right tools.

Owning your own company can be a rewarding experience, but to do it well you need to have the right tools at your disposal. The business tools that you’ll need will vary based on the industry that you work in, but certain tools, like reliable, high-speed Internet, a paper shredder, a personal server or backup drive, and a comfortable chair, are universally useful in any home-office setting.

While a comfortable chair may seem less important than the more technical items in this list, remember that you will likely be spending a good portion of your work week sitting down at your desk. Having a sturdy chair that allows you to feel comfortable and relaxed while getting things done, which may increase your productivity.

  1. Get the lighting just right.

Sunlight can make you happier and more productive while working. Therefore, you should try, if possible, to position your desk next to a natural light source. Psychological research has shown that professionals who are exposed to natural light over the course of the work day rate their quality of life to be higher, get better sleep, and have lower levels of daytime dysfunction than their counterparts working in darker environments.

In addition to natural light, you should equip your workspace with yellow-cast lighting to brighten the room with warm tones that encourage positivity. It’s also important to keep overhead lighting away from the area above your computer in order to avoid screen glare and the subsequent eye strain that often accompanies it.

home office

  1. Surround yourself with plants.

The presence of plants in a home office can have a surprising number of wonderful psychological and physical effects. Not only can they provide a touch of color and clean the air within your office, but they can also reduce negative feelings like anxiety, depression, and fatigue. If you don’t feel confident in your ability to care for high-maintenance office plants, you can look for hardy indoor plants that don’t require a lot of attention, such as cacti, aloe vera, spider plants, and ivy.

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Education, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Management, Productivity, Success

9 Simple Tips for Better Storytelling as an Entrepreneur

Whether launching a side business or laying the foundation for the next Fortune 500 powerhouse, starting a company also means beginning a story. Strong narratives set businesses in motion, and they help employees, investors, and consumers understand a company and form a personal connection to it. Even if, down the road, an entrepreneur hires a marketing team or a chief storyteller, the ability to craft a business story and relate it to others can help reinforce the entrepreneur’s reputation as a leader.

Storytelling is definitely an art, but entrepreneurs don’t need a degree in creative writing or film to get started. Instead, here are a few pointers for entrepreneurs (or marketers) who want to tell their company’s story.

  1. Put something on the page.

writing

Jodi Picoult, a New York Times bestselling author of multiple novels, once said, “You can’t edit a blank page.” This applies to any business narrative. Entrepreneurs should focus on putting something in writing to begin with and worry about editing later. Similarly, one cannot expect feedback unless the story is shared—incomplete or rough-edged though it may be—with others.

  1. Keep things simple.

Entrepreneurs should aim for simplicity when crafting and presenting the narrative of their company. Too many complex details can bore people or cause them to lose interest if they’re not an expert, and they unnecessarily complicate the story. Avoid overloading the audience with information. Allow the plot to unfold piece-by-piece, and don’t be afraid to start somewhere in the middle.

  1. Cast customers as characters.

The purpose behind thinking of customers as characters is to recognize that the business and its story cannot progress without them. With this mindset, marketers can remove a lot of the guesswork because they can rely on consumer sentiment when deciding how to move the “plot” forward. People want a story they can follow, and they choose the ones that engage them the most.

  1. Support numbers with empathy and emotion.

workplace

Sharing statistics on the performance of the company, how well a product or service works, and other important metrics is valuable. Even more valuable is positioning these figures within engaging anecdotes. After all, people remember stories more than facts and numbers—they don’t develop an emotional connection with percentages and pie charts. To get at the story behind the numbers, think: Do these numbers reflect some type of goal reached? How has a certain product improved the life of a specific client? These human details are necessary to include in your story, no matter who your audience is.

  1. Pay attention to the context.

When telling a business story, entrepreneurs need to be mindful of the context in which their plot develops. This includes following competitors and retooling the company’s story so that it remains relevant. It also means helping consumers differentiate the company from its competitors. In other words, business leaders should strive to not only tell an engaging story, but also to highlight why their narrative is more compelling than the next one.

  1. Define and emphasize the hero.

People are attracted to heroes, underdogs, and relatable protagonists, whether in books, television shows, or movies. The top businesses find ways to create a leading character in their narratives. It can be the business itself, a product, a customer—really, anything or anyone can function as the hero if the story supports that role. Choose whatever resonates most and make that a point of emphasis as the story unfolds.

  1. Strengthen the story with vulnerability.

cyber vulnerability

The surest way to achieve a compelling story is to find a balance between conflict and resolution. In business terms, this can have a number of applications. One example is to point out an unmet need and then offer the client a solution, or to share that the company failed to reach a goal and outline the steps that will be taken to do better next time.

  1. Tie in the call to action.

Even the most engaging story can fall flat without a smooth transition to the call to action. Every piece of the story should lead to some type of action, whether it’s a purchase, an investment in the company, or just sharing a video on social media. Business leaders should therefore focus intently on the final transition, so that the ultimate invitation feels natural.

  1. Leverage a variety of platforms and voices.

One major advantage for storytelling in the business world is that the narrative does not need to be entirely linear. In other words, entrepreneurs can develop bits and pieces and gather little anecdotes here and there to share with consumers. These accounts can be combined to create an overall story. With this approach, entrepreneurs and marketers should utilize every possible platform and medium available to them, from social media posts to website videos.

entrepreneur
Business, Education, Entrepreneurship, Improvement, Productivity, Success

11 of the Best Books for Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Global literacy percentages are on the rise, yet fewer and fewer people take time to read, with fewer still reading deeply. Books seem to have lost the interest of many, but even as they may have fallen out of vogue, the benefits of reading have not. This is especially true for entrepreneurs and those aspiring to start a business.

Reading enhances verbal and emotional intelligence, and it can foster greater levels of creativity and refine problem-solving skills. Studies also show that spending time turning the pages of a book can significantly reduce stress and can serve as a preventative measure for Alzheimer’s.

For the full effect of reading, scholars recommend that business leaders explore a variety of genres to gain more perspectives. Framing a finance problem as a physical science one, for example, or looking at marketing strategy through the lens of sociological theory can prove advantageous.

Taking the read-to-lead approach is clearly advisable in the business world and in life in general. Here are a few book recommendations to help build up a solid reading list.

  1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – Phil Knight

Phil Knight’s memoir grants insight into how he brought the $30 billion dollar Nike brand into existence. The book includes details on the small loan Knight received from his father, the original business model, and how he commissioned the design of the well-known “swoosh” logo, among other fascinating accounts.

  1. Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One – Jenny Blake

In this publication, Jenny Blake helps entrepreneurs understand the importance of making their next move and how to prepare for it. She stresses the importance of building on personal strengths in any period of transition, and she outlines steps for finding opportunities and completing the necessary research to move from A to B.

  1. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers – Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss, host of the popular podcast by the same name, has compiled in book form bits and pieces of knowledge gained through his interviews with said “billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.” Ferriss presents the strategies and habits observed by some of the most successful people living today, from Jamie Foxx to Malcolm Gladwell.

  1. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed on Your Own Terms – Vishen Lakhiani

With the purpose of helping people rethink their perspectives on life, Vishen Lakhiani proposes a set of 10 laws for setting aside traditional ways of thinking and to redefine success and fulfillment. Entrepreneurs will want to experiment with the lessons in this book to improve not only their businesses but also their personal lives.

  1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth

A well-regarded psychologist, Angela Duckworth has focused much of her research on what kinds of people achieve success and how they get there. In this book, she leverages a number of stories to argue against talent and intellect and in favor of grit, or the mixture of persistence and passion, something people can learn independent of their circumstances.

  1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant

Adam Grant, a psychologist and business professor, is interested in how people improve the world around them by means of originality. He looks at the experiences of prominent and not-so-prominent figures in history, as well as a formidable selection of research, to determine what kind of people are able to disrupt the status quo.

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

A major New York Times bestseller, this book offers an in-depth look into how people negotiate and balance their intuition and logic. Written by Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel laureate in economics, this book addresses when it’s best to trust snap judgments and when it’s best to take some time to ponder.

  1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear – Elizabeth Gilbert

The celebrated author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert returns with another book that promises to inspire. She covers the topic of fear as the main obstacle between people and their dreams, and she offers suggestions, through personal accounts and those of others, on how to better approach hardship with curiosity and creativity.

  1. Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, members of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, wrote Extreme Ownership to share winning tactics of US Navy SEALS. The book outlines the leadership principles observed by SEALS in combat, and it shows how business leaders can likewise apply them in their daily operations.

  1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – Cal Newport

In Deep Work, Georgetown computer science professor Cal Newport makes a case for the value of working distraction-free and spending a meaningful amount of time on any given project or task. He highlights the benefits of this approach and gives readers actionable steps on how to achieve their own “deep work.”

  1. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown

After 15 years of research and observation, Greg McKeown distilled his findings into a single book that aims to help people claim success through simplicity. He points out how achievement can, if left unchecked, prevent future achievement, and he shows readers how to cut out the trivial and focus on what truly matters to them.

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurship, Funding, Management, Organization, Success

8 Things Investors Look for in an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are familiar with the dilemma of financing a startup: their business is little more than an idea, and, as a result, it has not generated any revenue; yet the startup needs capital to come into existence and survive. A handful of business professionals do possess the resources to start a new enterprise, but by and large, startup owners rely on the assistance of investors.

When seeking funding, entrepreneurs have a few options from which to choose. There are angel investors, peer-to-peer lenders, venture capitalists, personal investors, and banks. Agreements with these different types of individuals and institutions will naturally vary, but the one thing they all have in common is that they start with an initial pitch.

Pitching to an investor involves presenting the business plan and fielding any questions they may have. However, these potential financial backers are often less concerned about the product, the marketing strategy, and the elaborate slideshow than they are about the person in whom they may decide to invest. Here are a few examples of what an entrepreneur can do to look attractive to investors.

  1. Demonstrate tenacity

businessman

Although nothing is guaranteed in business, investors look for tenacity as a major indicator of potential for success. Founders need to demonstrate the work they’ve already put into the business, as well as their willingness to show up every day and put in however many hours it takes. A fighting spirit helps to persuade in ways that numbers and figures simply cannot.

  1. Fill the room with passion

Entrepreneurs can dramatically improve their chances of obtaining funding if they can effectively convey their passion to others. Their passion helps explain their tenacity, and it helps investors gain a better understanding of what truly motivates the individual: is it fame, fortune, a desire to improve the lives of others?

They want to see the personal connection between the founder and his or her business, and so they will almost always ask you, “Why this business and not another?” Answering this question reveals a lot about the entrepreneur.

  1. Show a balance of humility

business

Confidence tends to accompany tenacity and passion, but startup owners should strive to show humility as well, lest they come across as arrogant. Part of staying humble in a pitch to investors is being honest and transparent. If there is a weakness in the business model, do not skirt around it. Address it directly and use it as an opportunity to show how you approach adversity.

  1. Open up to feedback

Because no business model is perfect and because no entrepreneur will have thought of every possible angle or perspective of their proposal, there will always be some form of feedback and questioning. Investors will test a founder’s ability to listen to criticism and learn new things. If this individual is not coachable, potential financial backers will readily spot it.

  1. Tackle new problems willingly

Somewhere in the middle of questioning and suggestions, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to show their ability to think on their feed. How they navigate responses to hypothetical scenarios will exhibit their problem-solving approach and skill in an authentic way. Investors look for people who are creative, flexible, and who will stop and think rather than settle for the first thing that comes to mind.

  1. Aim for clarity and precision

product workup

Whether addressing weaknesses or outlining the strengths of a business model, entrepreneurs should strive to communicate clearly and precisely. Time is valuable for everyone involved, and talking in circles or getting lost on a tangent distracts investors, causing their interest to wane. Find direct lines from point A to point B and help those listening make the same connections.

  1. Match stories with data

Founders can boost their clarity and precision by crafting strong storylines for their presentation. Offering a narrative in place of a data recitation helps investors gain a clearer understanding of the business—as well as more insight into the person behind it.

Storytelling has a way of making the company more “human” and forging a greater relationship of trust between parties. Business leaders do not need stage lights and theatrics to accomplish this; they just need to be genuine in the way they relay their pitch.

  1. Sell the team

Investors are also interested in the people that surround an entrepreneur. Does the business owner attract quality talent? Does he or she work well with colleagues? Business leaders need to convince investors not only of their own character but also that of their employees and partners.

Another important thing to consider on this topic is that some firms will turn startup leaders away if they do not have one or more partners. The adage “strength in numbers” applies well to the mindset that these institutions commonly hold.