How To

Business Resources for Fort Worth Veterans

Starting a business can be a challenging and risky venture, and Veterans often bring unique skills and experiences to the process that can help them succeed.  Some of the skills that Veterans bring to entrepreneurship include leadership, discipline, problem-solving, teamwork, and adaptability. These skills, along with the experience of serving in the military, can help Veterans navigate the challenges of starting and running a business.  There are a number of resources available to help Veteran entrepreneurs succeed, including government-backed initiatives, business incubators and accelerators, and mentorship programs. Many Veteran-owned businesses also receive support from the Veteran community, as well as from organizations...

Scaling Your Sales

The dream of many entrepreneurs is to get their product on the shelves of big-box merchandise retailers. But how do you take your product from the R&D stage to stores such as Walmart and Target? We’ve compiled a list of steps needed to make your goal a reality. If you’re new to the entrepreneurial world, this cluster of words may seem overwhelming. Here’s what you need to know about creating a product:   Product Validation is a process that decides whether there is a demand for your product. Do consumers really want or need this solution you're providing? Once you’ve decided that your product...

11 Free Entrepreneurial Training Courses (That You Should Take)

Entrepreneurship training is a type of educational program or course that is designed to teach people the skills and knowledge they need to start and run their own businesses. These programs can be offered by educational institutions, business organizations, or independent trainers, and can take a variety of forms, including in-person classes, online courses, workshops, and seminars.  Entrepreneurship training programs typically cover a wide range of topics, including business planning, market research, financial management, sales and marketing, and leadership and management. They may also include practical exercises, case studies, and real-world examples to help participants apply what they have learned.  There are...

Top 10 Important Documents You Need to Launch Your Startup

Starting a business is confusing and when it comes to legal and financial matters, you may not know where to start. Rest assured; you are in the right place. Sparkyard will help you navigate the resources you need for your business and how to build a trusted network to ensure your success. Save this article for later or download our document checklist to reference what documents you still need to create, find, or complete. Find business resources on The City of Fort Worth’s Business Services page here: https://www.fortworthtexas.gov/copy-business Think of this as the handbook that...

Hiring is Hard. Sparkyard’s New Jobs Board is Here to Help!

Here at Sparkyard, we keep a close eye on Fort Worth's local economy, and recently, we have noticed astronomic growth. You may have heard that Fort Worth is the 13th largest city in the nation, but did you know that it is the #1 city in the country for raw population growth, with approximately 53 people added each day? Cowtown is predicted to have a million residents by 2030 and surpass Dallas in population by 2045. With this explosion of new residents, our economy is expanding to...

When to Ask an Investor to Sign an NDA

Most of us have seen the movie The Social Network that shows how Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea for what eventually became Facebook. We know that entrepreneurs are protective of their ideas, but this scenario recalls the familiar adage in the startup world: ideas are cheap; execution is priceless. Zuckerberg didn’t just steal the idea. He actually improved the platform and made it work better. That’s execution. Investors care more about execution than ideas, so asking them to sign anything that protects your idea may actually do more harm than good.  When it comes to protecting intellectual property (IP), it makes...

Anatomy of a Pitch Deck

Pitch deck. Investor pitch. Slide deck. Presentation deck. There are a multitude of names for the same thing: a concise written and visual presentation of your company (or future company) that explains how you will change the world, on a small or big scale. We’ll refer to it as a pitch deck here. If you are an entrepreneur building a fast-scaling product or service based around some type of technology, then you MUST have a pitch deck, but we argue that most founders will benefit from developing one regardless of your company type.  According to Get Backed, a pitch deck serves...

7 Things You Can Do to Celebrate Innovation Day!

Did you know, that today, February 16th, is Innovation Day? Despite hosting a podcast called Innovate Fort Worth, I didn't either. But, that doesn't mean I'm not planning to celebrate this year! According to the National Today website, Innovation Day is, "an event that inspires young inventors to share their ideas with the world. Business organizations all over the world motivate their employees to be creative and develop innovative products and services for their customers." Sounds boring to me. But, I'll bet you can find ways to make it fun and celebrate innovation in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Here are 7...

Avoiding Cofounder Mistakes

We discuss the top mistakes that founding teams make that end up impeding or killing companies. We share advice for how to avoid these mistakes, general tips for finding a cofounder and setting up your founding team for success, and access to tools to help new cofounding teams.

Beyond Founder’s Agreements: The Cofounder “Prenup”

As any experienced entrepreneur, investor or business educator will assure you, a Founders Agreement is essential to your company’s success. This legally binding contract will outline business structure, ownership percentages, operational control, rights and obligations, among other things. It should be advised and executed by an attorney.   In addition—and perhaps even more importantly—cofounders must outline their relationship beyond the legal parameters. According to best-selling author and Harvard Business professor Noam Wasserman, conflict among cofounders causes 65% of the failures among high potential startups. Avoid this pitfall by discussing and documenting how you will navigate challenges that fall outside the Founder’s Agreement.  What...