Decklan Group Newsletter - February 2016 

Why the Change?

You may be noticing a slight change in how Decklan Group is delivering you information in this new year.  After 3 years of publishing our events, news, and information in emails, we have decided to transition the majority of our content to right here on DecklanGroup.com.  Our hope is that with the incredible variation in devices, internet speeds, and information consumption methods of our audience, publishing on our website will allow the most uniform viewing, sharing, and engagement experience for all of you.  

We hope you continue to read, share, and interact with us as we embark on Year 4 of building, growing, and improving small businesses across the country.  

2016 Project Diversity Shows Promise

Back in October of 2015, we started looking at the projects that were lining up for Decklan Group across Minnesota and the Midwest. What stood out to us was the incredible diversity of project types, business types, and geographic locations.  For us, the natural conclusion this information brought us to was this...business is good in the Midwest. 

As we sit here, already knee deep in 2016, Decklan Group has projects in aerospace manufacturing, defense manufacturing, medical manufacturing, banking, food production, durable goods manufacturing, commercial construction, residential construction, breweries, non-profits, government agencies, and the diversity goes on.  These projects range from our back yard in Elk River, MN, to Minneapolis and St. Paul, across our Eastern border, our Southern border, and even jumping a couple states over.  And best of all the services retained from us run the gamut from site selection, to impact studies, to incentive searches, to marketing, to workforce development, to strategic reviews and partnership.

Although we have all watched as our financial markets have gotten pummeled this year, we can't help but continue to look to the future with wide eyes and excitement.  Our local economy is healthy.  Businesses are hiring.  Manufacturers are exporting. Bankers are lending. 2016 will be another great year for economic development, especially in Minnesota.

Decklan Group Heading the Charge for Local School

Twin Lakes Elementary in Elk River has been at the center of a good deal of controversy lately.  The school is operating well above capacity this year, to the point of holding classes in non-traditional classrooms such as the library and common areas.  This dramatic increase in attendance has caused the school board to develop a plan to redraw the boundaries for the Elk River School District, moving students from the school to other, under capacity, schools in the district.  These changes, for some children mid-way through their elementary years, have put many parents up in arms.  Tough decisions are being made.

Despite all the headlines being made, one thing remains certain at Twin Lakes, funding short falls land on the shoulders of parents, grandparents, and local businesses.  One of Twin Lakes' most popular and successful fundraisers each year is the Otterfest Carnival. This carnival brings the friends and families of Twin Lakes 900+ students through the doors of the school for an evening filled with games, food, entertainment, and community. This event has historically raised tens of thousands of dollars to help purchase additional books, resources, and technology to be used by Twin Lakes students, and this year should be no different.

This year, Decklan Group's Chief Strategist, Tim Dolan has chosen to volunteer and head the fundraising efforts for Otterfest.  Tim's youngest child, Gavin, is a third grader at Twin Lakes which makes this community outreach even more personal.  Tim has began reaching out to local businesses with many different sponsorship opportunities and would love to talk to any and all of our followers about how they can help the local community.  Decklan Group has already pledged a Platinum Level sponsorship to Otterfest, and we urge our clients, friends, colleagues, and followers to match our giving.

To get more information about sponsorship opportunities for Otterfest, contact Tim at tim@decklangroup.com

Secrets to success...

I sat down recently with a close friend who has chosen to start his own business.  He was leaving a relatively lucrative job with a solid future, good benefits, and of course, paid vacation for an uncertain future in making his passion his career.  He and I discussed many things; from branding to price points, start-up costs to if I even thought the business was a good idea.

After all of the serious discussions, we turned the corner to some of the basics.  He asked me what tools, services and software we use in our business that we couldn't live without.  It dawned on me that this was a question I often found myself answering from others, so I figured I'd share my must haves with everyone.  Below are the two items that I shared with my friend, things Decklan Group could seemingly not exist without:

1. Evernote - As a very early adopter of the Evernote software, I have been pleasantly surprised with the continued evolution of the platform.  The ability to take notes on my phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop and have them synced to a single location is the single most useful benefit to using Evernote.  Combine that with making handwritten notes into searchable pdfs, single click web-clipping saving articles to my notebooks for future reading or reference, taking voice notes with one click on my phone, and of course, creating a digital contact file by simply snapping a picture of a business card with my phone.  All of the files and notebooks I create are easily shared with the rest of my team, or clients. Evernote was kind enough to let me offer  a FREE MONTH of Evernote Premium, just the click big green button.

2. Google Apps for Work - There is no greater tool for organization and productivity than the almighty Google Apps for Work.  The suite of applications from Google includes Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and of course Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and Vault.  Our company email is hosted on the Gmail platform, every working document is saved on Google Drive, every appointment is saved in Google Calendar, and video conferencing via Google Hangouts is great.  Being cloud based means everyone in the company can access all of this information, all the time, no matter the device they're using.  One of the best things about Google Apps for Work is that it is rich with integration.  If you are using any other software, odds are pretty good that it integrates well with this suite of Cloud services from Google.  Whether you have 2 employees or 1,000 this is a great choice.  Decklan Group grabbed this code (6VVENL66FQQPMR4KHMTDWCVADUAV) to get 20% for the first year of service.  Click the Google icon for this sweet deal. 

There are no shortage of software solutions in the world today, and I am sure many of you have your preferences.  Why don't you share them with us via one of our social profiles Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn seem to be the most popular.