Entrepreneurs start businesses to build wealth, to create a legacy, and to do something worthwhile. This takes money, which they don’t have to begin with. As a result, many small business owners take the cheap route to entrepreneurship. The cheap route can include anything free to shoddy, which damages their brand and their professional image.
Going cheap might sound like the only way out, but it isn’t. This mentality kills. Here’s how it’s more damaging than you thought.
Money = Money. Business is Like That.
One overarching difference between regular employment and business is the fact that business is a wealth-builder while employment helps you pay bills. In finance, we learn about “Risk-Return Tradeoff” which points to maximum returns gained with maximum risk undertaken. Employment has almost no risk, and hence low and predictable returns. Business, on the other hand, flirts with risk. The more risk you take, the better your returns are.
Risk isn’t free. It costs money. The demands a business makes on itself take their toll. You start off with business setup, registration, buying a domain name, office space, and computer equipment. You then need to hire staff, advertise, and spend on software and whatever else your business needs. Demands are in the form of time as well as money. One of the most obvious is the time you spend thinking of a name for your startup while one that hits you later is checking out reviews for web hosting providers that match the way your site is set up.
All that you spend, including time, effort and money, on your business is your investment, and you ideally want work to earn multiple times this investment.
The starting premise is simple: if you don’t invest, there is virtually no business to run. Even the most inexpensive of the businesses (the kitchen sink or work from home variety) has expenses.
While you don’t have to invest a million dollars regardless of your endeavor, you still have to spend to get your business off the ground. If you don’t pay enough to get the best talent, for instance, you’d make do with the mediocre, and that affects your business in the long run.
Invest to Impress
What you invest in – and what you don’t – says volumes about your business.
You are already driving perceptions straight to your customers’ mind about how you present yourself and your business. Going cheap on basic investments tells customers exactly what they can expect to get from you if they do decide to part with their hard-earned cash. Brochures on cheap quality paper, a website that looks like it belongs to the 90s, office space in an obscure neighborhood, all contribute to what customers perceive. As they go about forming their first impressions, they better see what they like.
You don’t have to go out on a limb to build an identity because it happens over time. All you need is a reasonably good logo, an interactive website, a good brand presence, and oodles of attitude.
You Scrimp, They Scrimp
Historically, there have always been businesses that play by costs and low prices (too many to list). There are others that charge a premium for their brand (think Mercedes) and/or sheer ingenuity of design (the name Ferrari pops up). Then, there are brands that build a reputation over time and then gradually add a premium for ownership (Land Rover comes to mind).
Here’s the thing about brands: If you scrimp on costs and initial investments, not giving a thought to how your customers perceive your business, you’re hurting your own chances to charge high for your services. You might charge for the sake of charging and you might even be able to justify your premium rates but you’d have to work extra hard if the perceptions aren’t doing the initial grunt work for you.
If charging high and making profits is the essence of your business, “looking good” was never this important.
Creating a Great Logo
A logo is a symbol that represents a business, person, service, concept or place. Logos are designed to help people recognize an organization on the spot. Great logos represent a business well, bad logos make a business look bad. Not only is creating a logo essential for anyone who wants to brand themselves, it’s imperative that the logo actually looks great.
What Makes a Logo Important?
Let’s take a quick look as to why a logo is important. Did you know that people make snap judgements about you and your business in seconds? That is the first phase of the buying process. A professional logo makes you look great. Secondly, a consistent brand crowned by a spectacular logo will build trust amongst your potential customers and clients. A memorable logo goes out as the ambassador to your business. It brings in new clients for you and helps you build long-term business relationships.
Logo Design 101
Now that we know why a logo is so vital to your business, let’s look at the basics of any logo. Every business is different and so is it’s target market. Your business has it’s own culture, personality and speciality. At least it should be unique, to distinguish itself from other businesses. Once you identify exactly what makes your business unique and who exactly it targets, you should create your logo to match that your business.
When creating a logo, think of the following:
All the media, offline and online, big and small, where your logo might go.
You will like it, it represents your business and appeals to your customers.
To start creating your logo you should choose, colors, shapes, typography and symbols that your target market can relate to. Your logo should also represent your business in one clear, concise symbol. A good logo will look good on both a business card and a billboard. It will look great on your web site and in a newspaper ad. It will appeal to both you and your customers.
Creating a Consistent Message
When you (or your designer) create a logo, you will want to have a singular focus. This logo will represent you for the long-term, hopefully even decades. So you want to make sure that your logo is timeless so that it can be consistent. This consistency will help build a brand in the the minds of your customers and the public. There are advantages to having a consistent brand. Not only can you serve loyal customers, but it will make it easier to work with suppliers, manufacturers, banks and other organizations essential to your business.
When you design your company logo, work with a professional. Unless you yourself are a professional logo designer, you should consult with a professional. This person should have completed logos in a professional portfolio, experience with working with different file types and media and has a good track record of delivering on time.
If you’re a startup with a limited budget, that’s understandable, but keep in mind that this logo will be representing you to everyone out there who is a potential customer or contractor. This should keep you from hiring the first, cheap service that comes along. Find someone who does great work that is within your budget. Hiring a professional will save you a lot of time and trouble, so you can focus on other things – like building your brand.
As designers, we often find ourselves needing a specific background, graphic, font, icon, etc. There is no point to waste your time creating it, if somebody already did the work for you. The web is packed with premium quality resources which are available for the sweet price of zero dollars. So why not take advantage of them? If you’re looking for free wood textures, you’ve come to the perfect resource. Below we’ve provided websites which contain quality wood textures. The article title isn’t misleading, feel free to visit every resource and count the wood textures yourself.
Freestocktextures.com (Over 144 Wood Textures)
Plaintextures.com (Over 274 Wood Textures)
Startextures.com ( Over 218 Wood Textures)
Anchors are used to prevent water crafts from drifting due to wind or current. Anchors are symmetrical and have multiple meanings like travel, stability, and hope. Because they’re highly metaphorical, anchors are great symbols to use in logo designs. An anchor can be easily associated with metal, vessels, water, crafts, temporary/permanent placement, heaviness, boats, sailing, and much more. For your inspiration we’ve collected thirty-five creative anchor logo designs. We hope this showcase will help you during your logo design process.
The Net by Kandace Green
Smorgasboat Logo by McMillian
PHP Rotterdam Logo by Mike van den IJssel
There’s a famous saying that goes something like this: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” We sometimes forget this simple maxim in the Information Age, where there is almost always a more affordable option. We can shop online for cheaper toys, cheaper jewelry, cheaper almost anything. Of course, cheaper does not always mean better. Business owners can save big bucks on the internet because it offers a wealth of free resources, if they are willing to put in the time. But what they may not realize is that some of these resources may actually undermine their efforts. What do we mean?
The goal for any company that advertises online is to increase traffic to their website. The most effective way to accomplish this is either to purchases banner ads directly from search engine or to utilize a series of strategies and techniques that are collectively known as search engine optimization (SEO). Because it is less expensive, SEO is the more popular option for most small business owners in America.
Is it really worth a thousand words?
At this point, most website owners are aware of the fact that search engines crave new textual content, which is why blogs have become an integral part of online advertising. Simply adding a blog and posting new, original entries every now and then should boost your search engine ranking. But what most website owners do not know is that the same holds true for original pictures.
The popularity of image-based search engines, such as Google Image, has been on the rise. More pictures and more videos means that the web will inevitable become a more visual place in the very near future. Using stock photos for familiar products is fine, but most online shoppers really do prefer original pictures. Why is this?
The eBay effect
Easily the most popular auction site on the internet, eBay has changed the way people buy and sell just about everything. When listing items, sellers are given the option of choosing a stock photo of the item they intend to put up for auction or adding an original photograph. According to just about every consumer survey the website has conducted, buyers prefer original pictures to stock ones. There is a very simple explanation for this—buyers want to see what something really looks like be for they purchase it. The same is true of visitors to any website.
So, how can you add unique photos without breaking the proverbial bank, i.e., having to hire a professional photographer? It isn’t as challenging as you may think. Of course, good quality photos don’t take themselves. You must follow at least a few simple guidelines.
I recently discovered yet another amazing artist. His name is Jonas De RoThe. Jonas is currently living and working in London. He is a digital artist doing freelance and in-house concept art, design, and illustration for films and games. His tools of the trade are Photoshop, Sketchup, Wacom Intuos 3, and his brain.
The emotional impact of his work is undesirable. As soon as I saw “A Place Called Home,” I stared at it holding my breath with my mouth wide open. I wanted to see more of Jonas’ work, which led me to his Deviant art profile. There I found an influx of illustrations ranging from mythical to apocalyptic.
To give you an idea of how talented he is, check out his previous clients: Square Enix, Warner Bros, Miramax, Perrier, Legendary Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Digital Tutors, Advanced Photoshop, Radical Studios, GREE, and many more.
His work left us amazed, and we only hope you will experience the same effect. If you wish to know more about Jonas or see more of his work, be sure to visit his website: Jonasdero.be. Without further ado, we hope you’ll be inspired by his incredible work.
A Place Called Home
Designers world-wide are getting ready for the public release of iOS 7. That means redesigning current applications to fit the theme of iOS 7. According to Apple, iOS 7 is scheduled to be released this fall. A beta version of the operating system is currently available for developers. Technology blogs speculate it will be released at the same time as the new iPhone 5S.
The new radically overhauled interface has been receiving negative opinions from critics like The Verge, VentureBeat, and The Atlantic, calling the new OS design “blinding,” “harsh,” and ”ugly.” From my personal opinion, I don’t think it’s that bad. iOS 7 is beautiful, but the icons are pretty ugly. Some are ok, like the calendar icon. However the mail, Appstore, iTunes, weather, video, settings, iTunes radio, notification center, Siri, settings, Air drop, and Safari are pretty hideous.
I’m positive that Jony Ive doesn’t live under a rock. I think he’s constantly listening to major critics, and the development of iOS 7 is ongoing. As we get closer to the official release, the design inconsistency will quite possibly be addressed. And if for some reason it does not, then I guess we will just have to deal with it.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before, but I’ll say it again. Packaging design is very important. If you’re selling a high quality product, why in the world would you overlook packaging design?
With money to be made in the pet industry, numerous companies are focusing on providing a great experience for their customer as well as their pets. Invoking emotions with eye-catching and informative packaging is a great strategy to sell your product. Being a pet owner myself, I have a beautiful dog and two lazy cats, I tend to buy products that are well thought of.
If you sell products targeted towards pet owners, always remember that cheaper isn’t always better. People want the best for their pets. Without any statistics to back up my claim, so this is completely based on my own opinion, I strongly believe pet owners are usually intelligent and well informed. Because of this, companies need to make products that will stand out from the crowd and provide more benefits than their competitors.
Below you will find 25 great examples of pet based packaging designs. I tried to find creative designs for you to get inspired from.
Local Litter by Justin Peddycoart
Cocotherapy by Motto
What I love most about skateboarding, is its culture. Skateboarders tend to be rebellious and always embrace their uniqueness. This is the way it should be. We have to many people in their world trying to be like their idols, but they drown in the sea of trends. Skateboarders on the other hand know themselves and they tend to be free souls.
As a skateboarder, your board is a platform for expression. In fact, you yourself are an artist. The skateboard can be compared to a painter’s brush. You’re free to create new tricks and skate freely. This is a form of an artistic endeavour.
Design has a heavy influence on the skateboarding community. For starters, the skateboard provides a simple blank canvas for designers to express their creativity. Plus, their designs will be seen around town while the skateboarder skates. If you think about it, in a way, you artwork touches every stranger who sees it. You might never physically meet them in your life, however knowing that your creation is being witnessed is a special feeling.
If you’re a designer or a skateboarder, this awesome collected is bond to inspire you. Listed below are 60 creative skateboard designs. We searched the web far and wide to find the best examples for your inspiration.
A dashboard is usually a page at the front of the control panel that showcases useful information like stats, analytics, time, schedule, notifications, users, etc. The entire purpose of the dashboard, is to notify the logged-in user about the current state of the website or application. An example you might be familiar with is WordPress.
Whether you’re using WordPress.org or WordPress.com, both content management systems provide a useful dashboard from which you can view multiple reports in the form of graphical representation. Dashboards typically indicate items which require urgent actions at the top of the page, moving into less important statistics at the bottom.
To put it simply a dashboard is kind of like your secretary who deals with correspondence, admits new members, organizes meetings, reminds you about important information, etc. Today we collected thirty-five outstanding dashboard designs for your inspiration.
Every single design was professionally designed to represent a big deal of information in a very detailed and user-friendly manner. Whether you’re currently designing a dashboard, or planning to in the future, the following examples serve as great examples of what to do. Enjoy!
Device Dashboard – iPad – UI/UX/iOS by Jason Wu
Pastel Dashboard by Jakob Henner
Simple Dashboard by Alex Penny
Even though we live in a rapidly changing Internet age, the time-tested business card is still an essential marketing tool. Ten billion cards are printed in the U.S. every year, according to Statistic Brain, which also reports that for every 2,000 cards a company’s reps hand out, company sales increase by 2.5 percent. If you want an easy way to increase sales, you should be carrying business cards with you wherever you go. Consider these top five reasons why business cards are as relevant today as they ever were.
Cards Combine the Best of Both Worlds
When paper business cards contain Internet links or QR codes, they bring together the best of the old and the new. A physical card passing hands creates a special personal bond that is unlikely to occur when someone looks at a screen. At the same time, website links or codes that can be scanned by smartphones enable card recipients to contact you via your social media page or company website. The business card with Internet information creates a bridge between a personal encounter and your company’s online presence.
Some of Your Customers May Like to do Business the Old-fashioned Way
We hear a lot about people who do everything on the Internet, which makes it easy to forget many people still prefer traditional ways of doing business. A few people even take pride in refusing to use computers. When you hand out business cards, you are including people who strongly prefer personal contact, without alienating the people who spend most of their time online.
Business Cards Will Save you Money
Business cards are generally inexpensive, especially considering what an effective marketing tool they are. You can save even more by ordering online, where you can sometimes get business card printing for less money than through a physical store. Compare the cost of a generous supply of business cards to the cost of buying advertising or doing other types of marketing, and it becomes evident the cards are a bargain.
If you told somebody 1,000 years ago that in the future people would fly in huge metal birds, they would probably tell you “You’re drunk.” Without a doubt right now is the best time to be alive. Take a moment to realize that at any given point, you’re able to fly to almost anywhere in the world. This kind of reality never fails to amaze me.
Next time you fly, try to get a seat by the window. Depending on your altitude, the incredible scenery of landscapes will amaze you. Witnessing gorgeous sunsets and sunrises is an emotional feeling every human being should experience. Today we provide you with fifty incredible examples of aviation photography. If you’re an enthusiastic aircraft photographer, this collection is guaranteed to inspire you.
Blogging can be a fun creative outlet or a profitable occupation. A blog can show the world your thoughts and talents while connecting you with other people who share your passions, your concerns, and your point of view. Your options are limited only by the scope of your imagination — your blog can be your thoughts, your photographs, your videos, or your pontifications.
A blog, no matter how well intentioned, isn’t much of a blog without readers. Readers are drawn to bloggers who have a voice and a consistent personal style that gives them a sense of connection to the person behind the keyboard. Finding yours is the first step to separating yourself from the enormous pack of online authors.
Blog — as a Verb
If you want to get better at doing pushups, the trick is to do more pushups. The best way to get good at blogging is to blog — a lot. Blog whenever you can, and don’t worry at first about the content. Just do it. Posting frequently not only gives your readers a steady stream of fresh material and a reason to keep coming back, but it gives you the practice and experience it takes to get good.
Write Your Passions
You don’t need to find a blogging niche. It’s already inside of you. No matter how obscure, your passions and interests are shared by a multitude of people who are on the internet every day looking for awesome new content.
If you’re really into Topps baseball cards from 1987, the year they had the wood trim, blog about that. If your thing is hand-blown glass, then that’s your niche. Don’t seek out a hot topic and try to find an angle. If blogs about credit card debt are trending, but you’re not interested or knowledgeable about credit cards, it will come off in your writing and no one will read it anyway. Be true to yourself — your readers will appreciate it and reward you by returning.
Listen to Critics
If people comment on your blog, take it to heart. Your blog is your baby, and no one knows how to raise it better than you, but a second opinion never hurts as long as the criticism is constructive. The anonymity that people feel online gives them carte blanche to be honest in a way that they wouldn’t be if you were in the room with them.
That’s a good thing! If people point out your blog’s shortcomings, they’re doing you a favor. Take honest inventory of the early criticism that you’re certain to receive and use it to improve.
Coffee is experiencing a renaissance. Being cultivated in over 70 countries, coffee is a very important agricultural commodity and one of the most consumed drinks in the world. Fun fact: More than 150 million Americans (18 and older) drink coffee on a daily basis. Take a moment to let that sink in.
I can keep hitting you with more data, but that would be pretty boring. The bottom line is that coffee has lovers worldwide. It has its own culture, economy, and without it life wouldn’t be the same.
If you’re serious about your morning brew, then we’ve got your fix. Today we aggregated a handy gift guide for die-hard coffee lovers.
Happiness Coffee Mug
Rocket Espresso Cup
An espresso cup specially designed with fins, to ensure the successful deployment of your rocket fuel. All systems are go!
These creative novelty cups are a great gift idea for that special some one in your life.
Outdoor advertising is a medium that has been around for a long time. The classic highway billboard has been a staple for outdoor marketers and continues to be an effective tool. However, as advertising budgets have shrank and competition for the target audience’s attention has increased; marketers are looking for more unique and unconventional locations for their ads. Here is a list of some creative placements for outdoor advertising that can offer advertisers some unique opportunities.
The sky is a location that provides a few different opportunities for outdoor advertising. Aside from the famous Goodyear blimp, advertisers can use hot-air balloons as giant floating billboards. These balloon advertisements can be particularly effective when used during specific hot-air balloon events or festivals. Another creative way to advertise in the sky is through the use of “Flogos”. These “floating logos” are comprised of a light foam substance that allows the small cloud-like flogos to float through the air for as far as 30 miles. Flogos can be shaped and molded to resemble a company’s logo and are ideal for those with strong brand recognition.
Athletic events offer a wealth of opportunities for advertisers to get creative with outdoor advertising. For instance, a local marketer may choose to place their logo on the flags of the pins at a local golf tournament. Another example that has been prevalent in Europe for years and has recently been adopted more in the United States is the ability to advertise directly on a team’s uniform.
These types of ad placements are unique as they are an actual part of the athletic event itself. To go even further with this idea, recently marketers have started offering professional athletes compensation to tattoo a logo or sponsored message on their body. This provides the advertiser with the impressions of the audience that sees the athlete both live and on TV, as well as the buzz that is typically generated by such a move.
Modes of Transportation
These types of ads provide the obvious advantage of mobility. Along with this unique advantage, they also present some interesting locations for outdoor advertising. Aside from the traditional taxi or bus ad marketers can get creative with other modes of transportation. For example, a hand sanitizer company may incorporate the use of subway grip poles into an ad. Also, smaller forms of transportation such as escalators and elevators can be used to produce unique and captivating ads.
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