The East Texas Council of Governments (ETCOG) has recently begun funding the incorporation of free-to-use software that will assist businesses, real estate developers, as well as site selectors to find the best local properties for their needs. ETCOG authorities are helping cities fund access to ZoomProspector, which is an online program that will cut down the time and effort it takes entrepreneurs to research new sites for development.
The program works by collecting data on the necessary demographics, all available properties, talent pools, income statistics as well as other vital information that will provide users with a more comprehensive picture of the area’s economic opportunities. Chuck Vanderbuilt, ETCOG’s community, and economic development manager, reportedly “hopes the program will attract locals and outside business developers toward doing business in East Texas.”
“I think it’s useful for someone who is interested in promoting their community,” Vanderbilt said. “Or that small business owner that’s looking to make decisions on starting a business here or making the leap and expanding.”
Texas as a whole has become a hub for business operations and opportunities; the state is currently one of only four states to successfully recover all jobs that had been lost during the covid-19 pandemic, with the unemployment rate in the state dropping from 12.9% to around 5%. This is due to the business-friendly climate that Texas has created, giving entrepreneurs the freedom and resources that they require to grow their companies.
Small Businesses in Texas
Small businesses make up around 99.8% of the total number of businesses in Texas. With the second-largest gross domestic product, valued at $1.77 trillion annually, the Lone Star State does not impose any corporate or individual income taxes as well as no state property taxes. The state provides the perfect playground for entrepreneurs to explore their possibilities.
Many entrepreneurs that are looking towards Texas to start up their small business opt for an LLC business structure. This is because they are provided with the legal protection that structures such as C and S Corps have while still benefiting from the flexibility that sole proprietorships and partnerships provide. LLCs, therefore, allow their members to protect their personal assets– such as their vehicles, properties, and savings– if something should happen to the business. LLCs also provide credibility and options for members to save on taxes.
Entrepreneurs that are looking to start up a new business in Texas are advised to read more about starting an LLC to ensure that the business structure is suitable for their needs.
Why are Large Corporations Moving to Texas
Texas is now home to a number of tech giants and large corporations, many of which have migrated or expanded into Texas because of the state’s ability to promote growth. After Tesla began its expansion into Texas, the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, had taken up residency in the Lone Star State himself.
There are multiple reasons why companies and individuals have been moving to Texas – lower housing costs, better tax rates, and a limited amount of regulations have made it easier for businesses to operate in the state. Texas boasts an abundance of technical talent, and any company moving into the region is able to tap into that well-experienced talent pool.
The State authorities in Texas have a long-standing tradition of providing businesses with a treasure trove of resources to aid in the expansion and development of small businesses and large companies alike. The Lone Star State provides the ideal climate for entrepreneurs to explore their potential and tap into the abundance of skills and tools that the state has to offer.
The Texas labor market has managed to rebound from the covid-19 pandemic. The rapid population growth in the state is driving demand for jobs. With the number of new businesses taking up operations in the area, unemployment levels have seen a steady decline dropping to 5% in December last year. Texas is, in fact, one of just three other states that have managed to recoup the jobs that had been lost since 2019.
With new startups on the rise, the decision regarding the business structure that a new startup will take on is an important decision that every entrepreneur will have to make. The process often requires consultation with an attorney and accountant to ensure that the decision made is the best possible option for the direction that the business wishes to grow in. The decision-making process will involve taking into consideration issues regarding tax, continuity, transferability of ownership interests, liability, management, and formality of operation.
Starting an LLC in the Lone Star State
Limited Liability Companies are a common business structure that has proven popular among new startups in Texas. A Texas limited liability company is relatively easy to create and is made official by filing a certificate of formation. This is done with the Texas Secretary of State. The Secretary of State provides entrepreneurs with a form that meets minimum state law requirements. The online filing of a certificate of formation is also allowed, and this is provided through SOSDirect.
The name of a business is extremely important, as a strong name will leave a lasting impression on consumers and will be the foundation of the brand’s image. In Texas, a business will have to follow these naming guidelines in order to successfully register a business:
Business owners must use an LLC designator in the name of the business.
Cannot use words that could confuse the business with another business structure, e.g., “Corp,” “Inc,” “Non-Profit.”
Terms such as “bank,” “university,” “law center,” or other assuming words can only be used if approval from the proper authorities is obtained.
Assign a registered agent
A registered agent is required for all Texas LLCs and essentially is any individual or entity that has provided consent to receiving tax forms, legal documents, official notices, as well as any other important documents or correspondence from the U.S government on the business’s behalf.
File the LLC Certificate of Formation
To officially form the LLC as a separate legal entity, members will have to file the LLC Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State. This can be done via mail; however, it is more convenient to complete the form online.
Create a Texas LLC Operating Agreement
In Texas, entrepreneurs do not have to file their operating agreement; however, it is good practice to have one in place. A comprehensive agreement will outline essential aspects such as how the business will operate and the ownership agreement.
Get an EIN
Assigned to businesses by the IRS, an Employee Identification Number helps the government identify a business and essentially will act as the company’s social security number. The IRS will use the number to keep track of the business’s tax reporting.
Forming an LLC in Texas is a great way to capitalize on the state’s business-friendly environment while still receiving superior asset protection should there be a case where the business is unable to pay off debts or is facing a lawsuit. The business structure covers all members of the LLC by keeping their assets separate from the business.
California’s mild climate, educational opportunities, and the job prospects that the state provides have proven attractive to workers for tens of years which helped turn the area into a hub for the tech industry. However, the region’s status as the center-of-the-tech-universe seems to be fading at a rapid rate. Silicon Valley has been the epicenter for the tech industry in the United States; however, there appears to be a paradigm shift due to the high housing costs, unfavorable tax rates, and stricter regulations that have made it difficult to live, work, and do business in the region.
As a result, more businesses are drifting away from the San Francisco Bay area and migrating into Texas. The growth that Texas has experienced is so great that the state now has more jobs than it did prior to the unemployment spike caused by the covid-19 pandemic. The job growth is strongly driven by population gains, which has significantly outpaced the rate that the rest of the country had seen in recent months– based on federal data.
Starting a Business in Texas
Texas LLC formation has proven to be a popular choice among new entrepreneurs as well. Teaming the zero income tax that the state imposes with the pass-through taxation that LLCs are subjected to means that members of an LLC in Texas will turn over a larger profit. An LLC is therefore considered as a pass-through entity, which is also referred to as a flow-through entity. This means that the LLC will pay taxes through an individual income tax code instead of through a corporate tax code.
Registering an LLC comes with a filing fee of $300, which is payable when filing the Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State. The filing process can be conducted by mail or online, and correctly filing this document will officially form the Texas LLC– making it a legal entity that is registered with the state of Texas. However, before this can be done, entrepreneurs will be required to complete other requirements.
Naming the LLC is an important aspect and is a detail that needs to be included when filing the Certificate of Formation. A good business name should evoke emotion in a consumer and should accurately represent what the brand stands for. It should also be catchy enough to grab the attention of a customer, yet simple enough that they are able to easily remember the name. Keeping this in mind, entrepreneurs will also have to strictly conform to the rules and guidelines that have been laid out by the local, state, and federal authorities. This will ensure that while the name is exciting and memorable, it does not cause confusion or infringe on any copyrights of other businesses.
A registered agent will also need to be assigned as their details will be needed when filing for registration. Details such as the agent’s address and contact details are necessary since a registered agent is the official line of communication that the state will use when contacting the business.
While New York may be called the city of dreams, Texas is definitely the state that has been turning dreams into a reality. The Texas Economic Development webpage states, “Texas offers the best business ecosystem in the nation and has frequently been named the best state to start a business. Our leading business climate and favorable regulatory environment provide the groundwork small businesses and entrepreneurs need to succeed.” With the strong support of the government and the thriving business ecosystem, the Lone Star State is well on its way to becoming the new epicenter for technology in the United States.
Working remotely wasn’t an option for organizations that could allow employees to conduct their duties outside of the office. Working from home was necessary when cities throughout the world shut down after the pandemic hit.
As life restarts and businesses reopen, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, but many employees who have become accustomed to remote working are left in the dark. Has the world of work been altered forever? Let’s have a look at some of the forecasts for the future of remote work.
Remote Employment Isn’t Going Anywhere
As we adapt to a post-pandemic lifestyle, the first truth that businesses and employees must recognize is that remote work will not go away. While it may not be as prevalent as it was during the peak of the shutdowns, it will remain a common and popular work arrangement.
As our economy changes and the way we work evolves, there’s been a lot of talk about the future of remote employment. Furthermore, there has surely been an increase in remote job searches.
According to a study by SHRM, One-third of workers say they would not want to work for a company that required them to be onsite in a physical office full-time. Organizations that want to attract and keep top talent will need to emphasize remote work, and other employers will be forced to follow suit in order to stay competitive.
Businesses Will Adopt a Hybrid Work Approach
Will businesses abandon their office space in favor of purely remote teams? Not quite, although several well-known corporations have done so. Employers are more inclined to use a more flexible approach, known as the hybrid model.
Rather than forcing employees to choose between working remotely or in an office, a hybrid approach allows people to choose the work location that best suits them, with the understanding that it may change. They can choose to work from home a few days a week or occasionally from the office. It is not rigid and allows for a great deal of flexibility.
As a result, many companies are pursuing a hybrid strategy, with companies such as Ford and Spotify already implementing it. Nine out of ten executives see a hybrid approach as the way forward. Employees appear to agree, with many indicating they’d prefer employers embrace a more flexible working model following the pandemic.
The Number of Digital Nomads Will Increase
While remote work may conjure images of working from a home office or even the couch, many professionals have higher aspirations. Widespread and long-term lockdowns have sparked wanderlust, which led to an increase in the number of people who identify as digital nomads, people who travel and work remotely from various locations regularly.
You may not be able to video call your remote team from the comfort of your own home in the post-COVID era. One coworker may connect from a Vermont wood cabin, while another may connect from a coffee shop in Spain. This flexibility has led to an increase in remote work jobs and occupations such as software developers, writers, web developers, data scientists, digital marketers, and more,
Businesses Will Spend Money on the Correct Tools and Training
Working from home isn’t a fad. Companies that previously viewed it as a temporary stumbling block are now understanding that it is something they must embrace on a long-term basis.
When employees claim they’re unhappy at work because of outdated technology, it all starts with ensuring that their teams have the proper tools to communicate and cooperate effortlessly, both asynchronously and in real-time.
We’re sure we’ll see companies abandon clunky workarounds and inefficient processes in favor of setting up tech-savvy systems that are remote-friendly, from project management platforms and goal dashboards to instant messaging tools and virtual meeting solutions.
Businesses will also invest time and money in training managers and leaders in charge of distributed teams and departments. Employees can attend coding bootcamps to learn skills that will help them perform their jobs more effectively.
Leaders will need the right tools and knowledge to handle remote onboarding and then successfully manage, inspire, and monitor their direct reports as remote work becomes the norm.
What Does the Future of Work Have in Store for Us?
Unless you have a crystal ball, predicting what’s coming down the pike is tough. After all, most of us are unlikely to have seen the huge curve balls that have been thrown our way during the last year or two.
However, studies and expert projections indicate a future in which the focus is on what work is done, rather than where or when it is done. That isn’t only a change in logistics. It’s a cultural shift for many firms that will prioritize results over hours, employee productivity over whereabouts.
Though we live in the digital age, don’t assume traditional marketing is dead. Granted, certain traditional methods are declining, but many others are thriving and helping small businesses build their brands.
The first step to any impactful marketing strategy is to zero in on your target audience, which you can do by conducting market research and asking consumers how they heard about your company. Know your audience, invest in good branding, and choose your marketing methods, and you will have the essentials for creating a stellar marketing campaign!
Below, The DFW Veterans Chamber of Commerce covers some of the forgotten marketing methods that can help your company flourish. Some of them can prove effective on their own, while others pair nicely with digital methods.
Not too long ago, more and more people were frowning upon direct mail and tossing it immediately in the trash. But the creativity, personalization, and targeting capabilities have caused direct mail to make a comeback.
For many consumers, direct mail is easier to understand than online materials, and it is an excellent way to elicit brand recall and faster consumer response while allowing you to target your key demographics.
Flyers and Brochures
If you are offering special discounts and offers to your customers, flyers and brochures are still the most effective methods to use. Similar to handing out business cards in person, giving out flyers and brochures to people is a more connective and interactive way of promoting your brand than directing people to your website or social media pages. If you run a brick-and-mortar establishment, using these materials can prove especially beneficial.
Signage and Billboards
Signage is thriving in the marketing world. These days, you can see impactful images on shop-fronts, malls, and buildings.
And the same goes with billboards. If you want to get your brand in front of commuters, investing in a highway billboard will do the trick. As with all the other methods in this list, you can even direct your consumers to your website to increase traffic when using signage and billboards.
Nothing is more powerful than employing human interaction in your marketing strategy. At the end of the day, people are used to traditional marketing like face-to-face interaction.
Whether you are speaking with someone in person or they see your company’s signage, flyers, or billboard, the experience will evoke a sensation and a lasting memory. Think of ways you can meet new people and provide tangible connections to your brand.
Customers love freebies, and giveaways for everything from store swag to contests can make a dent in your marketing efforts. Stock up on stickers, notepads, pens, totes and tumblers, and hand them out when customers spend a certain amount.
Drawings are another great way to generate interest. Consider offering a pair of tickets to watch the Houston Astros play the beloved Texas Rangers. With sites like TickPick, you can get affordable seats. You can also offer tickets to a play, concert or dinner
One of the most practical ways to increase the number of human interactions is to attend networking events. Persuasive copy on printed materials can go a long way in growing your customer base, but if you really want to generate buzz around your business, look to event marketing. Along with adding clients to your resume, networking will present opportunities to attract top talent and meet potential business partners.
The market is full of affordable tools to help you create impactful, traditional marketing materials. Look to design tools for creating a unique logo and laying out your colors and typography. Invest in a quality printer for developing your own flyers and brochures.
Don’t assume that traditional marketing cannot move your company forward, or you could miss out on valuable opportunities. Consider the methods above as you make a plan for implementing traditional marketing for your brand. And always keep an eye out for other ways that small businesses are getting their message out to their target audiences!