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Tip Sheet

Know When to Fold ’em With Underperforming Pet Products and Services

Plus more tips from business through leaders in the May-June issue.

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BUYINGKnow When to Fold ‘Em

The best poker players and the most successful business owners have something in common: They know when to fold. In her book Quit, former pro player Annie Duke notes that in Texas Hold ‘em, the pros play fewer than 25% of their hands. Amateurs play more than 50%. Similarly, retailers who are quickest to cut their losses on bad buys and ill-fated new ventures do the best. Duke’s core argument is that we should all fold more. We spend too much time on too many pursuits that are no longer worthwhile to avoid feeling like we have failed. But in poker, and in business, that’s a good way to go broke. “Success does not lie in sticking to things,” Duke writes. “It lies in picking the right thing to stick to and quitting the rest.”

OPERATIONSBack Up Like a Pro

In most things in life, good enough is just fine. But that’s not the case when it comes to backing up your files. “Be a pro when it comes to storing and saving your data. Back up your backup,” says Kevin Kelly in his excellent little book, Excellent Advice for Living. Kelly recommends you have at least one physical backup and one backup in the cloud. And if you really want peace of mind, keep more than one of each. “How much would you pay to retrieve all your data, photos, notes if you lost them? Backups are cheap compared to regrets,” he says.

PRODUCTIVITYGet Unstuck

Feeling stuck is surprisingly common, whether we hit roadblocks at work or in our relationships or creative or athletic plateaus. To get unstuck, says NYU marketing professor Adam Alter, author of Anatomy of a Breakthrough: How to Get Unstuck When It Matters Most, spend a few minutes “pouring out” your bad ideas by writing, drawing or otherwise generating content that’s actively “bad.” That can nudge you beyond the inertia that comes from inaction, and free mental space for more valuable insights to follow, he says.

MANAGEMENTCapitalize on Spring Fever

Thanks to the warmer temps, your employees are generally in a good mood, but somewhat distracted. And with the improving weather, absenteeism suddenly seems on the rise. Instead of dreading the seasonal slacking, take advantage of it. Channel that wistfulness into idea generation. Pick your slowest day of the week and call a two-hour brainstorming session at a local green spot for half your staff. Just make sure you have a loose agenda of sorts. You may well be amazed by the flow of good ideas unleashed by unlocked minds. Then repeat with the other half on the next slow day.

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PSYCHOLOGYShare the Self-Love

Spring is the season of love. And not just for animals. It’s also the perfect time for a reminder on the importance of sharing the love — with yourself: “The biggest life hack is to become your own best friend. Everything is easier when you do,” says mindfulness teacher Cory Mascara. Keep this in mind for the remainder of the season.

MAINTENANCEBring in a New Set of Eyes

When it comes to spring cleaning, it can help to bring in a set of fresh eyes, says Jennifer Larsen, owner of Firehouse Pet Shop in Wenatchee, WA. “Get a person who normally doesn’t look at the details of your building to point out all the chipped paint, dinged corners, crud built up around edges, etc.” It’s amazing how habituation basically makes us blind to those little blights that can diminish the overall appeal of a business setting.

HIRINGLook For Storytellers

Storytelling is a powerful but underappreciated sales skill, helping you connect with your customers emotionally and encouraging them to lower the guard that comes up when confronted with “facts.” To ensure he’s hiring storytellers, Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of United Talent Agency, tests his potential hires by asking them to share a story. “If we’re selling something, we have to be able to communicate it in an elegant, intelligent way,” he told Business Insider.

ONLINEGo Rogue on Social Media

It sounds obvious, but the quality of your ideas and creative thoughts has a direct correlation to the information you’re exposed to, so choose your inputs carefully — nowhere more so than from social media. In this area, it helps to be both purposeful and random. Spend what may feel is an inordinate amount of time curating your favorite platform feed — it can be an amazing resource when used well, and a terrible, potentially divisive distraction when not. Also throw in some random searches on Google occasionally to prevent its algorithms from stereotyping you and choking off your access to the wilder ideas out there.

MOTIVATIONWake Up Smiling

Put a smile on your face the moment you wake up. “It tricks the brain into thinking: ‘Ooh, I feel quite good about today!’ It’s such a simple thing, and it really works,” says Gaby Roslin, TV and radio presenter and author of Spread The Joy.

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