The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
We're a small, hardworking and informal company. Business attire is for the birds. Meetings are conducted in comfort, and if my exercise ball is what makes me comfortable that day, that's what I'll be sitting on. It might be hard for some people to listen to someone who's bouncing slightly, but my blanket-wrapped, happy employees don't seem to mind.
- Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media
Each Friday we have a weekly staff meeting where we review the highs and lows of the week. At the end of the meeting, we hand out "The Belt" to the person who went above and beyond to add value to the company and our clients. The belt winner wears it with pride, and we add a photo of them to our company Facebook page. The Belt is very coveted and probably the best edition to our staff meeting.
- Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.
One time, to explain how handing over projects from one team to another is a delicate process, I brought in a brick and a tennis ball. Throwing the tennis ball around was easy, but when the brick came out, we changed the way we passed and the way we caught. It made it easier to explain the difference and why chucking things over the fence to the next person was dangerous!
- Robert Castaneda, ServiceRocket
Yodle has an intensely fun culture. Every team in our office has a unique identity and a chant that they do every morning and every afternoon. Creating team identities has created camaraderie and healthy competition. It has also pushed people to be more productive in a fun way.
- Ben Rubenstein, Yodle
The strangest thing I bring to staff meetings is a common hourglass timer. When one of my employees starts taking too long in answering a question or stating a case, I turn over the timer, place it on the table and say, "You have two minutes to finish." The hourglass trick helps focus each employee to make precise presentations, and it keeps meetings brief.
- Jay Wu, A Forever Recovery
Starting a company is hard, and the stress seems to come out at staff meetings. They are more like a counselling session for me. Employees leave scarred and scared, and I leave relaxed and at peace!
- Andrew Angus, Switch Video
I don't know what it is, but everyone in my company loves M&Ms. I bring an entire bowl of them into every meeting, and it always ends up empty. They always leave happy.
- Andrew Saladino, Just Bath Vanities
We have four treadmill desks in our office. I like to hold a lot of staff meetings while on the treadmill -- you get into a great rhythm, and often the best ideas are born while your body is in motion.
- Matt Wilkinson, Crushpath
Follow Young Entrepreneur Council on Twitter: www.twitter.com/YEC