No one wants to come into work every day feeling miserable. If you enjoy your work, your productivity increases by 31 percent. This week’s Trending Thursday features advice on the best ways to create an environment for your employees that encourages creativity and increases productivity. We also have an update on small businesses’ current performance in the economy and advice for entrepreneurs looking to step up their pitching game.

Check out this week’s roundup below and let us know what your company does to create a fun and supportive culture.

  1. TrendingOct1 01Jeanne M. Sullivan, co-founder of StarVest Partners, has been listening to entrepreneurs pitch for decades. Despite all the information available to founders, Sullivan says too many still make mistakes that torpedo their chances with investors. Some errors are form, others substance. She detailed five common mistakes entrepreneurs make in this Forbes article. Here’s a preview: not knowing your finances well enough, not having your pitch down and messing up the follow-up.


  1. Do you ever feel like your office wastes too much time with birthday parties and celebrations? Turns out, this is actually helping your bottom line. There are numerous studies and research proving that employees who feel like they’re being treated as friends are more productive. It makes sense that people who actually enjoy coming into work every day keep returning, right? Plus they’ll put forth their best effort if your company has a supportive and inclusive culture.


  1. In an interview with Bloomberg News, Martin Mucci, CEO at Paychex, states that small businesses (which make up 95 percent of the U.S. economy) are back on track. Speaking on the role of small businesses since the Great Recession, Mucci says this rise is due in part to an increase in consumer confidence, as well as a resumed investment in housing and retail.


  1. TrendingOct1What qualities make the perfect manager? Many people say managers should be visionaries, high-flying individuals who are creative and intense. However, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor of business psychology at University College London, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that the perfect manager is a lot less exciting than you might think. The perfect manager, he writes, is “objective, transparent, unselfish, and apolitical.” So don’t bemoan your boring boss tomorrow morning.


  1. One of the most common interview questions is, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” It’s one that most people have a standard response for, but it’s usually not what they actually want to do or end up doing. Mike Templeman has some advice on how to actually plan your next five years in a realistic and traditional fashion, which he says will launch your business to success if you stick with it.