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As a startup, you may think that simple is best. This isn’t necessarily wrong. The only problem is that many see simplicity as having fewer programs and fewer expenses, and they cut out one key tool: project management. As an entrepreneur trying to get a startup off the ground, a project management tool can be an invaluable asset to your business at any stage. 

These are just a few of the areas that project management can help your business be more successful:

 

Time Management

 

When it comes to projects you’ll always have a deadline. Sometimes this deadline is enforced by a client and sometimes you enforce it on yourself as a goal. Having a project management system in place keeps you accountable to a set timeline and tracks your progress. 

 

Team & Task Management

 

Even if you’re a team of one, managing people can be tough. As an entrepreneur, you’re juggling many aspects of your startup and you should be able to check in to be sure your team is on track easily. This also comes into consideration when thinking of the individual tasks that make up larger projects or goals. Often times these tasks have to be completed in a certain order. If someone is waiting for too long on another task before they can work on their part of the project, your time management will be affected. 

The other great aspect of project management software or a project management system (PMS) is that it involves an element of communication. This is where you can not only dictate a timeline and deadlines, you can assign specific tasks to specific people and check in on the progress all in one place. 

 

Budget Management

 

Utilizing a project management software may seem costly upfront, and creating your own in-house system may seem time-consuming. However, project management can save you money in the long run. A solid PMS for a startup means tracking projects and keeping them on deadline and on budget. If you quoted a client a price and your team takes too long, that could be a lot of work you’re paying people for but making no money. 

A project management system is also a streamlined and efficient way to record the hours and rates of pay for multiple team members. This can make payroll more cost-effective and less of a headache. 

 

Workflow

 

The real benefit when you think of time management, team and task management, and budget management altogether is how it affects your overall workflow as a business and as an individual. When you can clearly track the progress of the projects your startup is responsible for, you not only become more reliable to your clients, but it frees up more time for you to be out there getting new projects and clients. 

 

What to Look for in a Project Management System

 

Not all project management systems are created equal. We recommend finding a program that meets all your needs rather than creating a process in-house with spreadsheets and secondary messaging apps. No matter how you choose to set up your project management system, it needs to be able to do a few key things:

 

  • Easy to use, or no one will use it;
  • Ability to specifically assign tasks and deadlines;
  • Scheduling and planning functionality complete with reminders and notifications;
  • File-sharing within the platform to keep things organized and bundled together;
  • Communication component for your team, both within projects and outside of projects;
  • Real-time reporting so you can stay informed;
  • Dashboards for reports on specific KPIs;
  • Customization to tailor the program to your specific needs; and
  • Time and budget tracking and management

When it comes to your startup, a project management system can help you to feel more proactive instead of reactive. It’s never too soon to feel more in control of your business. The best way to pick a project management software is to find out what other business owners and entrepreneurs are using. Come to a Your Entrepreneurial Society event to network with other business owners and ask them. We host weekly events for you to network and engage with other entrepreneurs. Find an upcoming event on Facebook.

At YES Victoria, we love a good business mixer as much as the next entrepreneur. Having hosted many successful networking events over the last decade, we know that building your professional network is about more than hobnobbing with business owners over cocktail hour. Useful networking should generate results — allowing entrepreneurs to build strong, valuable connections that translate to stronger business prospects. But how?

There’s no reason a networking mixer shouldn’t be fun, but it’s easy to get caught up in the social aspect and lose sight of your true purpose for attending. Handing out an awesome business card is an excellent way to stay on track. It’s the quickest way to leaving a lasting impression with everyone you meet. But here’s the catch — not just any business card will do.

Whether you’re a startup creating its first set of business cards, or a thriving SMB looking to freshen things up, here are a few essential tips for crafting the ultimate business card. 


Keep Your Business Card Concise

Tempting as it may be to include every morsel of detail about your company, the best business cards are short and sweet. Stick to the basics in such a way that is both interesting and to the point. Overloading a pocket-sized business card can make you appear sloppy and unprofessional — plus, it’s just plain overwhelming to read.

White space is your friend. Share only the important details, add some basic design elements, if relevant to your business, and you’re set! Bear in mind that a concise business card is effective because it’s easy to read, understand, and remember. Think of it like an elevator pitch on paper — your goal is to pique interest, not to bear all. 

 

Print With the Professionals 

If you’re a relatively new startup or small business, we understand that your marketing budget and resources may be somewhat limited. Don’t worry; creating an effective business card doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, even with only a small investment, you can design and print your new business cards with a professional. 


Unless you have your own commercial printing capabilities, try to avoid doing DIY business cards. The truth is, they tend to cheapen your brand and give off the wrong impression to your clients and prospects. Instead, try reaching out to a local print shop, or leverage the affordability of online print and design companies like VistaPrint or Moo Print Ltd. Most printing shops offer bulk discounts and small business deals, too. 

 

Follow Design Trends Carefully

If you’re new to the world of graphic design, building your first business card may leave you feeling like a kid in a candy store. Between all the different shapes, sizes and cardstock finishes to choose from, you might lean toward the more flashy, on-trend designs.

 

Don’t get us wrong, there’s certainly room here for some creative freedom. That said, stay mindful of your audience. Only choose graphic elements that are relevant to your business.

Experiment With Functionality 

If innovation is a driving force or philosophy at your company, consider experimenting with a business card that serves a dual purpose. Get creative with the design so that you’re both sharing your business details and providing clients with a useful tool. For example, you might print a business card onto a magnet or design a card that folds into a phone stand. That way, you stand out more and decrease the chances of your card ending up in the recycling bin. 

 

Review Your Content for Errors

Sounds obvious, right? Judging by the number of typos and design cut-offs circulating on even the most professionally produced business cards, we could all use a reminder. Editing your content and reviewing your business card mockups at every stage in the game is critical. It may seem like a time sink, putting in the extra effort of revision. In the long run, though, triple checking everything before it goes to print will save you time, money, and resources. 

Ultimately, your business card should be a simple, memorable reflection of who you are and what your company is about. Follow these essential tips on creating an effective business card, and we’re confident you’ll be a big hit at your next business mixer!

Plan on putting these tips to good use? Be sure to bring along your new business cards to our next networking event — we can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Starting a new business venture is an incredibly exciting process. That said, nothing quite prepares you for the investment of time, money, and resources required to grow. We tell ourselves that the hustle is worth it; that the entrepreneurial life demands our everything because that passion empowers us to live the dream. But how often have you wished for more hours in the day to complete routine tasks? How many times have you tried to standardize, automate, and multitask your way to higher productivity? If any of this sounds familiar, it might be time for you to think about hiring your first employee.

 

1. Gauge How Busy You Truly Are

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s safe to assume you’re pretty sold on hiring your first employee. Whether or not you’re certain, it’s a good idea to sit down and determine how busy you are. You know what we’re talking about — most entrepreneurs experience hectic and slow seasons, respectively. Are you overwhelmed because you really need the help, or are you burning yourself out making busywork?

To figure out the extent of your busyness, do a little workflow audit. If you find you’re consistently swamped to a point where you’re turning new clients away, you probably need to delegate. That way, you can get back to what you do best.

 

2. Make a Hiring Budget

Now that you know how much help you need, it’s time to set your hiring budget. Before you start cringing over your finances, keep in mind that hiring your first employee adds tremendous value to your business. As entrepreneurs, we can get so caught up in the lone wolf mindset that we forget it takes a village to scale a business. So while you may need to cut costs elsewhere to make room for a new hire, finding the right person will be worth the investment.

 

3. Consider Outsourcing to Freelancers

Once you’ve determined your budget for hiring, you may find that you have financial limitations. If you can’t afford to hire a full-time permanent employee just yet, don’t panic. There are plenty of affordable hiring alternatives when you’re willing to outsource the standardized tasks to freelance agencies or contractors. For example, let’s say you wanted help running your social media channels and blog so you can focus on client acquisition and retention. There’s a freelancer for that!

 

4. Get Your Documentation in Order

Whether you’re hiring a full-time employee or a freelancer, you need to get organized before you start searching for the ideal candidate. Completing the workflow audit we mentioned earlier is a great place to start. Use the audit to decide what tasks you want to keep for yourself and those you plan to delegate to your new employee. Our advice? Document everything! Jot down your procedures, list your expectations for their role, and brainstorm a variety of routine tasks, one-off projects, and “filler” work for slower days. That way, you’ll have a better idea who you’re looking to hire.

 

5. Prioritize Candidates With Small Business Experience

At YES Victoria, we know a little something about HR for small businesses, so here’s a pro tip: try to find candidates who already have small business experience. If this seems obvious, bear in mind that plenty of startups opt to hire employees coming from big, impressive companies because they appear more experienced.

While formerly corporate employees do add value, candidates with SMB experience often have more realistic expectations for the scope of work required at a small business. Those who’ve only worked for major brands are accustomed to plenty of direction, well-established procedures, and clear-cut roles. The environment at a growing small business requires a uniquely qualified, yet flexible employee who’s willing to wear a few different hats within their role on your team.

So there you have it, 5 tried and tested tips to help simplify your first run at the hiring process. Best of luck on the search, and happy hiring!

Ready to hire your first employee? Networking is a great way to meet local, like-minded people who could lead to your next hire. Join us at our next monthly YES mixer to find out!

The world of business is continuously changing, and our culture’s obsession with technology demands that entrepreneurs evolve, too. In many ways, there’s never been a better time to start a business. With the rise of the internet, opportunities abound through digital marketing to reach new and ever-expanding markets.

So how do you navigate the digital era when the goal isn’t just to survive as an entrepreneur but to thrive? At Your Entrepreneur Society, we spend a lot of time helping Small to Medium Businesses (SMBs) grow, and digital marketing is a significant part of that effort.

Whether you’re a new startup or an established local business, digital marketing is essential to the long-term success of your brand. When it comes to staying competitive, any entrepreneurs unwilling to adapt to digital trends get left behind. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of five top reasons why entrepreneurs should use digital marketing. Let’s jump right in! 

1. Expand Your Reach

 

Think of digital marketing as your go-to toolkit for entrepreneurial outreach. Inside your toolbox, you’ll find the nuts and bolts required to build a business —  and it never comes down to just one tool.

The internet offers unique, unparalleled access to myriads of local and international audiences. Businesses can use a strategic combination of digital marketing practices, like web pages, blogging, email marketing, and social media, to reach heaps of new customers online. After all, how can you make a sale on your products or services if nobody knows you’re in business? 

 

2. Grow Your Brand 

 

Let’s talk about entrepreneurial growing pains — yes, we all get them at some point! Building brand awareness and maintaining relevance are two of the most difficult ongoing challenges SMBs face. Fortunately, building your online presence is a great way to get your business out into the world and convert new audiences into paid customers.

Social media is a great place to start. According to this 2018 Facebook study, 86% of Canadian consumers use social media to discover new products and services online. Talk about a huge market! Consistently posting relevant, targeted content across the social media channels most suitable to your customer helps increase brand awareness.

 

3. Stay Competitive

 

You might be reading this and wondering, “Okay, so without digital marketing, we fall behind, but if every business uses digital marketing, how is it possible to get ahead?” The truth is, not all businesses use digital marketing yet. For those that do implement a digital marketing strategy, you get a sneak peek right into their playbook. 

It used to be that you had to covertly keep an eye on your competition from secluded street corners or through tedious market research. Nowadays, you can track competitor success straight across their social media channels. Keep an eye out for what types of content they post and tweak your own strategy based on how their content performs.

 

4. Improve Your Marketing ROI

 

Traditional marketing tactics like offline ad campaigns, billboards, or T.V. commercials are notoriously expensive. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is an affordable alternative with powerful results.

Consider social media ads. Let’s say you’ve posted some brilliant blog content on Facebook that performs well with your followers, so you decide to boost the post. Even at rates as low as $3, you can get your content — an extension of your brand — in front of thousands of people uniquely targeted based on their personal details and activity within the social media platform. You can’t buy that kind of precision just anywhere! 

 

5. Enhance Your Entrepreneurial Network

 

Digital marketing isn’t just about connecting with your direct customers; it’s also a fantastic way to network with other SMBs, both locally and abroad. Digital marketing empowers you to present your business as an industry leader, too, which is particularly vital in the business-to-business (B2B) industry. Sharing highly valuable content that your fellow entrepreneurs relate to, just the same as your customers, is a win-win. 

Despite the various benefits of digital marketing, many businesses remain resistant to adaptation. While there’s certainly still merit in implementing traditional marketing methods, companies should take advantage of modern digital alternatives. With even the smallest digital shifts, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Trust us — entrepreneurship is what we do!

Want to connect with other like-minded entrepreneurs? Join our YES Victoria community on Facebook, and keep tabs on upcoming events and learning opportunities!