Dell Technologies


By Debbie Gregory.

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Part 2 of 3


It is never easy to start a business.  It involves very careful planning, evaluation, and a money to begin. The mindset of the entrepreneur beginning the business is one of the most important parts.


There is not any test or certification out there that states you are prepared to become a business owner or that you will start and run a successful business. Your mindset determines how motivated, driven, happy, and focused you are on making your business successful. Education is always valuable, but it will not fully prepare you to become an entrepreneur.


How do you improve your mindset to be successful?


-Your Responsibilities: You need to know and accept that starting a running your own business is a 24/7 job and that is going to have a major impact on your personal life. You will need to make sure that you are ok with missing events, holidays, weekends, evenings, etc. while you get your business up and running. Find out who you can lean on to take up the slack in your personal responsibilities.


-Your Personality: To run a successful business you need to be i flexible, patient, and prepared for the completely unexpected. If you tend to become overly stressed and/or irritable at the drop of a hat, you will be challenged with the turbulent nature of running a business.


-Your Motivation: Even though you are the “boss” of your new business, you still have customers, partners, lenders, and investors to answer to and they are your focus and priority.


-Your Willingness to Work With Others & Your Management Skills: Regardless of the type of business you begin, you will need to work with many other people including customers, employees, vendors, suppliers, partners, lawyers, accountants, engineers, and others. You can find strength and success in those people.  Take the time and energy to develop your people skills and your relationships.


-Your Network: As the saying goes “It’s not what you know, but who you know.” Carefully cultivating a wide network of other entrepreneurs and professionals can help your business dramatically. Take the time to form relationships with successful people in like-minded businesses as well as differing business services – such as lawyers, lenders, influencers.


-Your Competitors: Knowing who your competition is and how they do business can help you determine what makes you different and how you will stand out. Use this information to build your brand and better your offerings.


-Your Relationship with Money:  Your financial management skills can make or break your business. If you spend money too freely, you will have cash flow problems with your business that can ultimately lead to closing. Make sure that you have the capital in place and you do not overspend.


-Your Scalability: Successful business owners simply cannot do everything on their own.   If your business cannot survive without your presence, you may need to rethink your business structure.


Working on yourself is the best way to ensure you are ready to run a business and make it successful.


Stay tuned for Part 3 – Online resources and tools to help you start your business and run it.


Tips for Veterans Starting a Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Veterans face unique challenges when they return home from active duty.  They are often way behind on the political and cultural events happening back home.  Additionally, many return from incredibly stressful and violent situations overseas which can cause debilitating injuries and emotional wounds that may not ever fully heal. They also need to find a job or start a business to support themselves and their families.


Tips For Servicemembers Starting a Business:


1.) Have Confidence in Yourself and Plan Ahead

As an entrepreneur, you need to have confidence in your own ability and skills. As a veteran, stepping into an entrepreneur role is simply an extension of everything you have learned from your time in the service. You have already learned when to pivot from one thing to the next, how to handle unknowns, how to deal with pressure, and sacrifice, how to focus and complete the mission and teamwork. Though in the business world there is generally a lot less on the line, you can still benefit from your experiences dealing with unpredictable unknowns. You simply need to use some creativity to transition your thinking from military to business.


2.) Embrace and Use Your Military Training

For many the transition to civilian life after the military can be rather unsettling and unnerving. Embrace your military past.  You have been instilled with phenomenal skills of adaptation, the ability to thrive under pressure, and how to use that pressure to perform better and use it as a strength. Those exact skills are a big reason why many veterans become such good entrepreneurs. You have had much worse tossed at you in the military than you will face in the business world.  Remind yourself of that and that you were able to persevere.


3.) Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Take stock of your strengths and weaknesses. Following your passion is a nice thought but often does not translate into a lucrative business. Find out exactly what you are good at and where you excel and then identify something in the market that can be improved on or a new product that would benefit your market.


4.) Work with Other Companies That Share Your Vision

Success is easier when you work with others who share your vision. Once you have your own mission statement finished laying out your personal and business goals, core values, and passions, take the time to visit other entrepreneurial companies that fit your vision and values and offer to work with them. The companies you visit do not need to do exactly what you to do or even be in the same market as your company; they just need to share your values. This type of collaboration helps both of your companies by leveraging the experiences and strengths that you both bring to the table.


5.) Understand and Plan for the Costs Associated with Starting a Business

One of the most important things to think about when starting a new business is how much it will cost to get the business up and running. Write out your plan and your expected expenses and then multiply your expected startup costs by two or three (depending on the type of business you are starting). Good financial planning is key to long term business success. Give yourself the best possible start by saving or otherwise acquiring sufficient financial resources before you begin your new business.



Starting a new business is challenging for everyone and can be even more challenging for a veteran. However, with good planning, confidence, collaboration, and support you will succeed.

Instagram Tips for Entrepreneurs

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Navigating social media can be daunting for entrepreneurs. You need need to be on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  It is also in your best interest to also be on Instagram if you run a business.


Why?  The customers you want to reach are using this platform to connect with friends and businesses like yours. Instagram has over a billion monthly active users and most use the platform to find and connect with business brands.


Tips for Better Instagram Use and Engagement:


  • Follow and Engage with Others:

The best way to gain followers and boost engagement in your posts is to follow and engage with other people! Find and build relationships with current customers, prospective clients, and other like-minded or complementary businesses. This does multiple things for you and your business – it establishes you as an authority, it helps boost your credibility, it makes your company seem more personable and it encourages people to follow you back and engage with you. Don’t forget to respond to comments, mentions, and private messages.


  • Hastags! Hashtags! Hashtags!:

Hashtags are searchable keywords that begin with the pound sign (#) and all social media platforms use hastags to search their platform for content. Using relevant hashtags will get new eyes on your business’ content and boost the associated post’s engagement. Instagram users can also follow hashtags as well as accounts; which can mean more engagement for your company if you use hashtags people are following. You can easily find relevant hashtags by using Instagram’s search bar. Simply type in a potential hashtag and you will see not only related hashtags but how many times each hashtag has been used.


  • Instagram Stories:

Instagram Stories are short-lived posts that receive top billing in the social media interface. This means the post will be the first thing your followers see when they login to their accounts. These posts last 24 hours then disappear. It is a great place to make short announcements, specials, or shout-outs.


  • Keep your Brand Consistent:

Be sure to keep your company’s brand consistent when posting on Instagram. Don’t go overboard with the filters and cute little addons. People want companies to be more “real” and approachable.


  • Link it in the Bio:

Instagram doesn’t allow clickable links in actual posts now but there are ways around this. Simply put the link in your account bio and on your posts state “link in bio.” This also allows you to focus more attention on the link by calling it out.


  • Measure it!:

Having a lot of followers (on any social platform) sounds great but if they are not engaged with you and clicking on your links what is the point? Make sure to track the clicks to your personal website using both the in-platform analytics (follows, likes, shares, and comments) and 3rd party analytics on your website (like Google Analytics). Use the data from the analytics to craft your posts to better engage your audience.


In summary, make sure what you’re putting up is highly visual and engaging yet consistent with your brand; utilize local, popular, and other relevant hashtags; interact with other Instagram users to get more eyes on your page and brand; and don’t forget to measure the results.

The Importance of Social Capital

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social capital


By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter


Social capital refers to the connections and shared values between people that enable more cooperation and growth than one person can do alone. When you have taken the time to develop a wealth of social capital you will easily obtain any other resource that you need.


1.)  It Should be Natural Networking

Networking can be unpleasant for most people, but it is truly important to be successful. The best is to start small and be patient. Let the relationship grow naturally by being honest and authentic and show the people that you value them. Start with your own friends, family, and coworkers. Find others in your field that you look up to and connect with them. Just remember to be authentic – don’t put on a fake persona, eventually they will see through it and be less than pleased.


2.) It Establishes You As A Leader

Offering advice or resources to other people without expecting something in return builds trust and establishes your reputation as an upstanding person in your field. If the assistance is helpful, you place yourself as an honorable and knowledgeable person in your field.


3.) It Creates Strong Teams

Social capital is not limited to those who you know personally, who work with you, or those in your company. You can, and should, extend your network as far as you can. Nurturing a wide ranging network will provide you more resources to look to for solving a greater variety of issues.


4.) It Makes People Want to Help You

Once you have provided helpful support and advice to others in your network, they will want to give it back when you need the assistance. Most people genuinely like helping others – especially if they have been helped at some point by that person. Never be afraid to ask for assistance when needed from the network you are carefully creating. It you don’t ask, you don’t get.


Other tips to build social capital:

  • Be honest and do not shy away from hard truths. People value honesty.
  • Help connect others together.
  • Contribute to debates.
  • Actively contribute in your chosen field.
  • Support other people when they need it.
  • Help others in your network with their work.


As the saying goes – every entrepreneur needs three kinds of capital: financial, human, and social. The financial is easy – the other two take a lot of work. Take the time to build your social capital and both you and your Veteran or Military owned business will reap the rewards.

Turning Construction Contacts into Contracts

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Don’t Miss This – December 13, 2018

Over 60 exhibitors looking for business with small certified firms DVBE’s, DBE’s, WBE’s, and SBE’s.