Entrepreneur Corner: Learn from your customers and emerge from the slump

Here’s the latest from VentureBeat’s Entrepreneur Corner:

Are your personnel files too personal? – Do former employees have rights to their personnel files? It depends on the state, says attorney Curtis Smolar – but it’s a good idea to assume so and to make sure they’re in order. He outlines the steps to ensure that.

Trade shows (and more) for the 21st century – With travel budgets being slashed and technological networking advances moving faster and faster, you don’t have to leave your office to host or attend a trade show or conference. Unisfair senior director of marketing Joerg Rathenberg discusses the phenomenon.

Your customers are not ignorant, selfish, control freaks – Not every business loves its customers, but every business needs to consider them when making decisions. Serial entrepreneur Dharmesh Shah suggests imagining or inviting them to meetings when big decisions are being made to get a perspective you can’t get from anywhere within the company.

Emerging from the slump – Plenty of startups have been taking any and every deal to stay afloat as the economy sputtered. With recovery potentially on the horizon, Dr. Barbara Weaver Smith, Founder and President of The Whale Hunters, runs down the steps you need to make to ensure you’re ready to recover.

Manage your time like you manage your money – You’ve heard the old adage that time is money – but too many entrepreneurs fail to take that lesson to heart, says Alec Ross, senior advisor for innovation in the Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in this Entrepreneur Thought Leader Lecture given at Stanford University