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Weekly Business News Roundup

News Roundup for SME Businesses & Startups

How to Simplify The Project Planning Process

While project planning can be an extremely complex process, there are ways to simplify it and make it to a streamlined function of your business. Here are five suggested ways: use project management software that “balances the user-friendliness of the whiteboard approach with the details and collaborative approach of cloud software”; select a “taskmaster” who keeps track of the master plan across team functions; “assign names, dates, and consequences” for tasks, and showing the different teams the entire project beyond their immediate parts; prioritize projects and focus on which ones should be handled first, taking care not to give your team more than they can handle; and “have a post-mortem” after every project.

The 1 Strategy That Separates Fast-Growing Businesses From Everyone Else

The stories of business failures abound, and high-profile ones like Kodak, A&P and RadioShack have one common theme: a resistance to change. The author relates he let his company grow at a modest pace for over five years, because “I grew complacent,” and he ended up losing millions because he didn’t change. The problem is that change is constant, particularly in business. He then discusses four attributes of companies that effectively manage change: a purpose-driven mission; engaged executives; an early-adopter culture; and personalized training processes.

You’re still in 2018. But Microsoft is already a decade ahead

Announcements made in advance of Microsoft’s annual developer conference indicate that it is planning, and in some cases has already released, a number of new features to its offerings that could make a big impact on the way your employees do their work. The four biggest advancements include: employees will be able to “more deeply leverage LinkedIn data,” such as collaborating with LinkedIn connections via Word, Excel and PowerPoint; they’ll have access to powerful A.I. technology using Microsoft 365, such as taking an image of a graph or chart and have it automatically convert into an Excel spreadsheet; your developers will be assisted in building applications that use A.I. algorithms by new tools on the Azure Learning Machine, which will help them select the best algorithm to use and automatically optimize it; and, with the introduction of Dynamic 365 A.I. for Sales and for Customer Service, your sales and service teams will be equipped to accomplish their jobs faster, and better.

She Had to Fire 35 People on Her Second Day on the Job. Here’s How She Handled It – and Her Advice for Rebuilding Trust

In this interview, part of Women Entrepreneur’s “My Worst Moment” series where female founders give a firsthand account of their most difficult experience while building a business, the CMO of ContentSquare describes being faced with having to fire 35 people – an entire marketing team in England – on her second day on the (previous) job she held as the new VP of marketing for a well-established tech company in Europe. She hadn’t been informed of this unpleasant task, and as a new leader from the U.S., she didn’t know the employees in question, some of whom had been with the company for many years. She’d been flown from the U.S. to England to “restructure” some of their teams. She describes the process she used and what she learned, including advice for others who may find themselves facing this difficult decision.

RE-WORK Holding its Deep Learning Summit in Toronto in October

Billed as the #1 Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference for Business Leaders in 2018, RE-WORK’s Deep Learning Summit will be holding its second event in Toronto on October 25th and 26th. Featuring 60 speakers and attracting 600 attendees, the event is co-located with the AI for Government Summit and Women in AI Dinner. The summit will feature the latest advancements from AI, or deep learning technology, from global leaders in the field, focusing on how industry leaders and startups are applying deep learning techniques. Because Canada is itself a leader in deep learning, with organizations such as Element AI, Uber AI Labs, and the Vector Institute, the Canadian Government has committed over $125 million to AI developments, including a Toronto Smart City project led by Alphabet. For more information, or to register, visit: the RE-WORK website.

9 Innovation Practices for Long-Term Business Health

Innovation needs to be an integral part of the company business and every process from the start, is the preface to this post. The author continues: “This takes leadership from the top, and an ongoing focus on market change, customer feedback, and internal measurement and rewards.” He then paraphrases the manifesto from Marissa Mayer in her early days as a VP at Google, stating that he believes they should be adopted by every new venture owner and business executive as the keys to their company’s long-term health, with nine innovation practices, from “demand and reward innovation from all business elements” to “connect your innovation efforts to a higher purpose.”

How AI Will Take Process Automation to the Next Level

More small businesses are starting to integrate solutions into their workflows that are based on Artificial Intelligence (AI), giving them a competitive edge by automating processes. In this short guide, the author discusses how AI is being used in email marketing automation, fraud detection, document processing, lead generation, and customer service chatbots.

The Slackification of work

Slack, the intra-office communication tool that is ubiquitous in startups these days, has morphed beyond its primary function as a means to fuel productivity, the author, cofounder and CEO of Vidyard, states. With more than 70% of U.S. tech industry employees using chat apps at work, he addresses the question of the impact of instant office communication platforms on workplace productivity, and how worried you should be about it as a leader. To the latter point, his short answer is “not very,” as the “constant communication is evidence of a new work paradigm, one in which the professional and personal are mingling, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.” He then discusses the “profound upside of office chatter” and how chats function as a “safety valve,” as well as dealing with the downside of chat.

How to Choose a Business Name for Your LLC

Now that you’ve created a solid business plan and are ready to form an LLC (limited liability company), how do choose the right name for your business? The author suggests that for the small business owner, a good place to start is choosing a name that reflects the products and/or services you provide, and is easy for your potential customers to spell and pronounce. Other tips include making your name memorable, avoiding geographic names that (if you plan to expand into other areas), and doing a business and website domain search to determine if your name is available. He further discusses how to avoid registered trademark issues, as well as tips for getting trademark protection for your business name and logo.

Your startup is failing, now what?

The author of the book Dear Founder: Letters of Advice for Anyone Who Owns, Leads, Or Wants to Start a Business starts his article by noting the reality that more startups that fail than succeed: “Whether it’s a hiring misstep, a botched product launch, or a company that never gains traction,” startup founders face all kinds of failures, but what really matters is how they deal with it. He relates that as an investor, he’s seen failure addressed in two extremely different ways — those who try to rationalize their failure and those who take responsibility for it – and states that those who own the outcome and the mistakes that led to it are the ones that won’t repeat their missteps. He then details “how you can bounce back from failure with grace and dignity,” from getting out of “the gray zone” of indecisiveness when you see your startup going downhill to turning your focus to “now what?”

 

About Laura Crest

With an educational background in journalism, Laura began her career as a professional writer and editor 35 years ago with an internship for a magazine while an undergraduate at Michigan State University. After the advent of the internet, Laura transferred her skills from print to digital with a small online consulting business specializing in SEO and content strategy. Since, she has also served as the blog writer, managing editor, and content curator for several small online businesses before joining Telsec Business Centres, where she continues to apply her expertise in content discovery and curation for small businesses.

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