Upgrade Available: Growing a Business With Technological Innovation

Article by Adam Evans:

Regardless of your business size, if you operate in the digital space and want to remain competitive, it’s important to keep an eye on the latest movements in digital innovation, integrating tech into the running of your business, optimizing your processes, leveraging data and more.

Digital Marketing

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of tech solutions within modern marketing practices. There are multitude of programs available affordably (or for free) that can help you to manage leads, draw insights, build customer profiles, or mastermind campaigns. The availability of this kind of software means that small or medium-sized companies can often compete with incumbent brands. If you’re looking to get an edge on the competition, look out for software that can help you to build assets for a low price – an online logo maker, for example, can allow you to design an appealing and creative logo on your own. Simply choose a style and icon, then add any text, fonts, and colors.

Business Process Management

If you want to facilitate digital transformation across your workflows, it’s worth implementing digital process automation, otherwise known as Business Process Management (BPM). This is a strategy that aims to streamline and improve laborious business operations by automating menial tasks. When creating a BPM framework, companies usually monitor their effectiveness, then repeatedly check-in/act on this information to improve process and output.

Time Management

Small- to medium-sized businesses are often stretched for time, and, if you want to meet targets and hit deadlines, it’s important to invest in software that can help. There are plenty of programs designed to help you manage tasks, track working hours, and automate meetings. Calendar apps, for example, help you to coordinate with employees and offer transparency to save you time on organization.

Machine Learning

According to a recent survey by IBM, 29% of small businesses have reported that they are employing artificial intelligence or machine learning to some degree in their operations. Machine learning, in plain English, refers specifically to a form of AI that can work autonomously, using historical data to predict outcomes or formulate decisions moving forward. This form of AI has limitless potential and has applications in recruitment, HR, customer service, marketing, predictive analytics, and more.

Cloud Storage

The more we transition towards digital processes, the more the advantages of cloud storage seem to multiply. This is a solution that allows companies to store files, spreadsheets, documents, and other materials online, with access via any console that has internet capabilities. If you haven’t already, switching your systems to advanced cloud storage could save you money, protect your assets more securely and remove the need for hard drives, external drives, and physical file systems.

Accountancy Software

Accountancy software removes the need for manual input or old-fashioned spreadsheets, allowing businesses to create/send invoices, track expenses, manage projects/clients, and view/share reports. The right program will boast cross-platform compatibility, allowing you to check or update your accounts on the move.

Whatever it is you’re selling, as a growing business in the modern era, it’s imperative that you welcome technology into your process. With the right tools at your disposal, there’s no limiting what you might achieve.

The DFW Veterans Chamber of Commerce enhances the professional lives of active duty, transitioning military, and Veterans through business, employment, and education. Learn more at: www.dfwveteranschamber.org

Tips and Resources to Help Veterans Thrive as Entrepreneurs

When it comes to entrepreneurship, veterans bring a lot to the table. Veterans are often skilled in strategic planning, organization, decision-making, and working around obstacles to reach their goals. The skills you developed while serving in the military put you in an excellent position to start your own business! Plus, veterans have access to all kinds of valuable resources to make business ownership a realistic and affordable venture regardless of experience or financial position. To help you get your business off the ground, check out the following tips and resources from The DFW Veterans Chamber of Commerce!

Consider Your Skills and Interests

If you already have a business idea in mind, great! But if not, take a look at your existing skills and experience to see if you can build a business idea based on your strengths. For example, Niche Pursuits suggests that veterans may enjoy teaching wilderness survival or disaster planning courses, running an automotive repair shop, opening a fitness center, or building a business to serve the needs of other veterans and military families. If you love being outside, look for business models that will enable you to work in the great outdoors, like offering adventure tours or hunting guide services.

If you want to run your business from home, look for remote freelancing opportunities. For example, you could work as a digital marketing director, bookkeeper, copywriter, social media manager, website designer, project manager, or cybersecurity expert. Once you have more work than you can handle, you can begin hiring help and building a full-fledged agency!

Use Digital Tools

Digital tools will make your life a lot easier as you build your new business. Even if you have zero entrepreneur experience, you can launch and run a business on your own with access to the right tools. Put together a custom software suite to meet the needs of your business. This might include accounting software, client management tools, project management software, and marketing apps, just to name a few.

Digital tools are particularly useful when it comes to client invoicing and financial management. For example, an invoice generator will allow you to choose a premade invoice template and customize it with your own text, photos, logo, and other important information. Look for a free invoice maker that offers different formatting options to ensure you can upload your invoice to your chosen accounting software.

Take Advantage of Veteran Entrepreneur Resources

As a veteran, you have access to several valuable resources that can offer education, training, mentoring, funding, hiring help, and other forms of assistance to get your business off the ground. Take advantage of these resources! Military-Transition.org lists several entrepreneur resources designed for veterans, including Bunker Labs, Patriot Boot Camp, Boots to Business, and VetToCeo.

Create a Startup Checklist

Starting a business can be overwhelming. There’s just so much to do! Create a startup checklist so you can keep your thoughts organized and avoid missing any important steps in the process. Here are some key tasks to include on your startup checklist:

  • Conduct market research.
  • Write a business plan.
  • Raise or borrow capital to fund your business.
  • Choose a formal business structure (sole proprietorship, LLC, corporation, etc.)
  • Pick a unique business name.
  • Register your business with your state.
  • Apply for the appropriate licenses and permits

There are countless online resources out there to walk you through each step in the startup process. Turn to Google whenever you’re feeling unsure of your next move. Of course, you can always hire professionals to help as well! Accounts, lawyers, business coaches, and marketing professionals can offer advice and tangible assistance as you prepare to launch your company.

Veterans make great entrepreneurs. If you’re looking for ways to make money after leaving the military, consider starting your own business! With the right resources and some good research skills, you’ll be up and running before you know it!

For more entrepreneur resources, join The DFW Veterans Chamber of Commerce! As a member, you’ll have access to networking opportunities, training programs, advertising opportunities, and more!

For more resources on hiring project managers click here.

This Is What Every LLC Needs To Get a Great Start In a Competitive Market

The business world in the United States is highly competitive. When it comes to the market competitiveness index in the U.S, it has constantly ranked 85 and up out of 100 in the last few years. With such high levels of competition, there are so many different businesses competing for the same target market. 

High levels of competition can be extremely stressful and overwhelming, especially for entrepreneurs who are starting a small business or limited liability company (LLC). Luckily, there are many ways to get the best possible start in the market. With a good start from the get-go, entrepreneurs can be confident when they begin working. 

Take Advantage Of The High Levels Of Competition

Competition does not always have to be a bad thing. In fact, small businesses just starting out can learn a lot from the businesses they are competing with. By analyzing and studying the competition, entrepreneurs can see what to do correctly and what not to do.

Alongside this, small businesses just starting out can use the high levels of competition to work hard and be even more efficient. Competition can improve workflow and overall quality, helping entrepreneurs get the best and most productive start. 

Utilizing an LLC Formation Service

One of the main reasons LLCs are such a popular business entity is because they are extremely easy to establish. While entrepreneurs can set up their LLCs on their own, there are many formation services available to help entrepreneurs along the way. 

LLC formation services offer additional benefits and opportunities such as customer support, more organization, registered agent services, and they help with the overall formation of the LLC. 

If starting an LLC in Texas, compare providers in Texas to see which formation services offer the best price and services for the specific needs and wants. 

Hiring An External Registered Agent 

A registered agent is somebody who is responsible for handling communications related to legal matters. They also organize legal and government notices and documents and forward them to the LLC members. 

While a registered agent can be somebody within the LLC, there are many benefits to hiring an external service. External registered agents offer a better sense of organization and privacy, as they will list their own address where they will work from. 

Another benefit of a registered agent is that they ensure a business will not receive any important legal communications (such as being served a lawsuit) in the public eye. Some matters should be private for the business eyes only, and this is one way to ensure that.

Registered agents can help LLCs get off to the best possible start, giving more time for members to work on other matters. 

Have A Detailed Plan

If small businesses start out without a plan, then their overall trajectory will be aimless and uninspired. By having a detailed plan, businesses and entrepreneurs will be able to successfully grow and operate in their industry.

Detailed plans can help with problem-solving and it gives entrepreneurs a good direction and goal to work towards. With tight scheduling and planning, businesses have a much better chance of succeeding from the beginning. 

Creating A Warm And Welcoming Work Environment

From day one, entrepreneurs should ensure that they create the perfect environment that makes employees happy and productive. A warm and welcoming environment can ensure that employees will feel comfortable and relaxed, which will improve the quality of the work. 

Being Passionate About The Work

Entrepreneurs starting an LLC should start one that is fuelled by their passion and love for the specific work or industry.  With so many different business industries and gaps in the market, it is possible for entrepreneurs to create something that is of interest to them and potential consumers. Top-quality can be guaranteed when something is created with passion.

Final Thoughts 

LLCs need to do whatever it takes to get the best possible start during the establishment process. Due to the competitive market, small businesses need to be innovative and unique to stand out in the crowd. While it might be overwhelming at first, following the above-mentioned steps can help entrepreneurs grow their LLCs successfully. 

 

5 Degrees Veterans Can Take for a Career Shift

Article written by Rosie Jenison

Despite the economic difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Texas’s economic landscape in 2021 continues to provide great opportunities for job seekers and entrepreneurs alike. Open roles in the booming construction, agriculture, and hospitality industries allow veterans to move back into the workforce without needing tertiary education.

However, for veterans that want to expand their career options, completing a college degree might be a smart move. The National Center for Education Statistics shows that the employment rate of college graduates is 86%. In comparison, the employment rate of high school graduates is only 69%. A college degree can open doors to better job opportunities. Through college, veterans can build specialized skills, cultivate professional networks, and increase their earning potential.

Below, we’ve listed a few degrees veterans can take to build new careers.

Business Administration

The values learned in military experiences — such as leadership, discipline, and stress resilience — make veterans well-equipped to succeed in business. Leadership skills help entrepreneurs guide and motivate employees, discipline keeps them focused on their goals, while a resilience to stress ensures that they perform well under pressure. Degrees in business administration can help veterans blend their military-instilled skills with business knowledge and strategies. Through these programs, students can explore deeper business subjects, such as management, finance, and law. From there, they can start their own businesses or use their entrepreneurial prowess in corporate settings.

Education

Teaching careers let veterans serve their communities in an entirely new way. Through teaching, veterans get to use their real-world experiences to pass down knowledge, provide guidance, and set examples to young students. Veterans that want to take degrees in education can even get support from the government. The Troops to Teachers program, founded in 1993, provides financial support and career placement assistance to veterans interested in teaching. Since the program’s inception, an estimated total of 23,000 veterans have built careers as educators.

Information Technology

As the country becomes more dependent on technology, the demand for skilled IT professionals increases. Through information technology programs, students get to deepen their knowledge of the complex tech systems humans use in their daily lives, learning subjects like electronics, programming, web design, and much more. Veterans with good logical reasoning skills are well-suited to pursue IT degrees, especially since military training prepares them to learn new skills efficiently. And because IT skills are extremely in-demand, veterans who complete IT courses can have a competitive edge in today’s job market.

Nursing

Healthcare settings need disciplined, collaborative workers who can remain calm in the face of adversity. Fittingly, military culture primes veterans to value teamwork, discipline, and fortitude. By taking degrees in nursing, veterans can combine their military training with lessons in anatomy, physiology, psychology, and healthcare and train themselves to serve their American brothers and sisters in a new way. Nurses are especially needed now, as labor shortages limit the country’s access to quality care. Researchers predict that the need for qualified nurses will exceed 3.6 million by the next decade.

When it comes to career-building, veterans have many options. The skills they learned from military service can make them efficient learners and employees. Those that want to take their potential even further can develop their skills through college degrees, such as business administration, education, IT, and nursing.

 

Build a Successful Team of International Freelancers in 4 Steps

When you make the commitment to expand and improve your business, you need the best talent available. You will be limiting your future growth if you don’t tap into the skills of remote freelancers available all around the world. Voices notes that veteran entrepreneurs agree that hiring freelancers has many benefits, including the potential to create a talent network specific to your needs. By simplifying the process into four easy steps, as Blu Dragonfly outlines here, you will have an actionable plan for building a happy and productive team of international freelancers for your business.

  1. Lay Administrative Groundwork

Taking care of some key administrative tasks before introducing new employees or freelancers to your business will save you trouble in the long run. You will want to have your financial affairs in order, which may entail opening a business bank account for processing payments to your future freelancers.

Establishing a sustainable business structure is also important, so you may consider forming a limited liability company that will be subject to certain tax advantages and other flexibility benefits. You can avoid costly lawyers by using an LLC formation service to establish a business structure that complies with your state’s laws.

  1. Determine the Type of Freelancer You Need

As a business owner, you should differentiate between the help you need locally and the tasks you can source to remote freelancers. Job Hunt points out that some common freelance fields include web development, accounting, and writing. When hiring remote workers for these tasks, be sure to think about the type of individual you would like to keep on your team long-term. You will be more likely to find a fruitful business partner in a freelancer with a skill set that can scale well into future projects. It is equally important to consider how consistent an individual’s work is with your existing brand design and voice.

  1. Find and Hire Freelancers

Social media and freelance marketplaces are great platforms for advertising work opportunities with your business. If you prefer to scout out potential workers yourself, you can search online job boards for remote workers. For example, you could use Guru or similar sites to hire freelancers from Denmark. When you need to pay your workers, consider using a reliable low-fee money transfer service instead of typical payment platforms and expensive international wire transfers.

  1. Maintain Communication and Productivity

Completing your team of freelancers is not the end of your involvement in a business project. You have to continue to manage your team and may need to facilitate communication between several individuals across various time zones. Determine your team’s preference on a centralized communication channel, be it email or a third-party messaging app.

When collaborating on documents, you may need to make significant text or formatting edits to PDFs. To make this less of a hassle, try using an online conversion tool that automatically converts a PDF to Word, so you can quickly and easily edit it. Just upload your PDF, convert the file, start working in Word, and then save it as PDF when you’ve finished editing it.

With an outline for building a productive team of freelancers, you can tackle any business project with the best professionals from around the world. Your remote workers will be happier and more effective knowing that their team is being thoughtfully managed. Should you decide to expand your business, you might even use your prior experience to efficiently oversee multiple teams of international freelancers.

Blu Dragonfly creates relevant, meaningful, and personalized brand assets that ring in harmony with each other. Connect with us today to find out more! (214) 714.5344

Article by: Sarah Bull

Successful McKinney Circle First Meeting

Great turnout for the first McKinney City Circle Happy Hour this evening. Thank you to Lloyd Dobson for organizing this monthly networking event. If you missed the April meeting, don’t worry. We’ll be meeting again next month on the first Wednesday of the month. Join us at the next meeting on Wednesday, May 4th. Grab a drink, grab dinner, and enjoy casual networking with Veterans and Veteran supporters! RSVP here.