Posted on February 5, 2013 Comments
If you are thinking of starting a business or you own a business currently or maybe you need a boost in your business; your logo should not be placed on the back burner. Your logo should be one of the first steps you take to separate your business. Other than your company name, your logo will be the one factor to help drive sales either down or through the roof.
Don’t fall into the temptation of having a logo with all the horns and whistles. I think about the logo that mogul Jay-Z recently created for the Brooklyn Nets. The logo was clean, unique, and memorable. Nothing extravagant, but a logo that is workable. No glowing edges, no sketch shading instead a logo that can be seen and noticed.
When choosing a logo designer:
Do your homework (research)Visit their website and look for client testimonial
Visit their online portfolio or Facebook portfolio
*Be careful with a designer that doesn’t have a website that informs you of who they are and what they do.
Always get it in ‘black and white’ – No contract no business
Be careful of someone that offers you either a color or black and white logo… A logo is a logo of multiple files for multiple uses.
Always remember: You get what you pay for. The top logo designers understand the importance of a sketch pad. A logo isn’t all graphic design. Don’t disregard google or bing, search what a logo should look like.
Your logo should be relevant for today and five years from now. Your logo should be readable on fax, the same way it should be readable on your business card. You should think about embroidery and how will it look on company apparel and importance of stitch count, especially if you are a start up business. Every corner cut is money saved that can go towards advertising or marketing.
You don’t have to choose a huge design firm! There are freelance designers that produce better work at a much more affordable pricing scale. The reason why: Low overhead cost is the best way to explain it.
Posted on September 7, 2012 Comments
Being a Professional
It is about more than just having a business! You have to be a business! It is hard for someone to understand business owners that are not dependable and honest, especially when you are a Pure Professional. I have had to defend my business and the graphic design business in a whole, due to shady people always wanting to get over. In these days and times, money is not the most plentiful resource we have and we choose to spend it wisely.
Avoiding Scam Artists
- If they don’t have a website, please continue looking.
- Avoid someone that doesn’t have evidence of previous work. (Believe me, I supplied plenty of free and cheap work in order to build my portfolio)
- Ask for references. (I don’t care how small the job, when it comes to your business evey dime matters)
- Ask for an agreement / contract
- Ask if they take PayPal. (PayPal can resolve issues of non receipt of products and misadvertisement)
- Ask if they have an online portfolio
To The Defense of Graphic Designers
Not all graphic / website designers are disgruntled and want to beat people out of their money. Quality designers are more than advertisements and smooth css and html talk.. I would never try and impress a client by talking over their head and promises what I cannot deliver. That is direct negligence! Not only do I post my work for everyone to see, I also post client testimonials that I encourage people to read.
Ask the designer of your choice if there is somewhere you can go on a social forum and ask about his business; his own facebook page even. Look through your designers facebook page, be nosey.. it is your money you are spending anyway. Avoid someone that you feel has a questionable character. View my facebook page (Intravec Designs) and you can even view my personal page (Courtney Cooper). I have nothing to hide. I express my freedom of speech, but never in a respectful manner.
BEWARE AND TAKE THE PROPER PRECAUTION WHEN HIRING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Contact Intravec Designs if you need quality and you are looking for a “Pure Professional”.
Posted on August 5, 2012 Comments
Small Business Friendly
Facebook can increase the value of your business by leaps and bounds. I have personally used Facebook to increase my clientele base for my website design/graphic design business. After countless conversations with my son, I decided to take the plunge into social networking and just give in. After noticing a sharp increase in Friend Requests, I figure that I should be selective who allow into my space. Upon further inquiry, I noticed a lot of businesses advertising and it was all free of charge. I knew that a small business could make huge strides with this type of advertising freedom. This is a social networking site that extends around the world. Not that I know people on every continent, but I know people. You know the story, it’s all about who you know… But you need to know people that know people.
Groups are one of the best ways to access multiple people at one time.. When advertising in groups, you must be persistent. Just because you don’t receive a response on the first couple of ads, don’t get frustrated. Business is about continuing to push forward through adverse situations.
- Target groups with over 1000 members
- Target groups that continue to add members on a regular basis. Never be apart of a stagnant group. If you notice that the groups only adds 10 group member in a week, that is not where you should advertise your business.
- Create a great catch phrase that will make people interested to read your quick ad.
- Make sure your ad isn’t extremely long.
- Take advantage of the Upload Picture / Video feature. Advertise your best work.
- Post client comments and testimonials. Have clients post testimonials of you.
When accepting friend requests, be careful. Investigate them as much as possible, because what they depict for themselves may not be how you want others to depict who you are. Keep your Facebook page clean and free of all the nonsense that can become Facebook. Potential clients will want to browse and see what type of person you are and your images and board posts are one of the easiest ways for them to find out who they are doing business with. It may be a free world and that means your clients are free to move on to the next small business for their needs.
Capitalizing on the Free part
Present your small business as a business, but present yourself as a human. Never over step your boundaries and never get to comfortable. Facebook is social networking, but you should use it also as a way of making your business techniques and tactics sharper. Get back in touch with old friends that have become business owners or work for a business that could use your specific services. Ask board members to introduce you to other groups that you would be interested in. You can always decide not to be a member later if it isn’t working for you. Be friendly, but understand you have to separate business from friendships.
Posted on July 31, 2012 Comments
Website Designer Contracts
Website Design Contracts are an essential part of the Web design process. It is of utter importance that as a web designer and the client of a website designer to get it in writing. Am I trying to bust some designers bubble, YES I AM. This is a profession and should be treated as such. You can go to your friends high school buddy and let him design you a site using tables and you may be found on the web and you may not.
Client – Avoiding Online Scams
Ask a million and one questions. Understand the process. As a client, you should feel overwhelmed. Do not feel as though you are at a complete loss. Ask your potential designer to talk in plain english.
Designer – Make Your Client feel Comfortable
Your client should not get off the phone and you feel as though they have talked to a recording. Your money derives from how many clients you can get to sign on the “dotted line”. Leave the technical terms and Google Algorithms to conversation between you and our “geek” society. You potential client has no idea what Cascading Style Sheets are. Your potential clients think robots.txt is a physical mechanical object.
If you have to, write out how to talk to clients.. Just a few lines to start with.. When I say write, I mean general words that can be used to hide our “geeky” language. You can scare off clients with to much technical talk. I am technical, but I am technical to a point of understanding where I want the conversation to go.
Client – Black and White
As a client, you feel protected. If your potential website designer doesn’t mention contracts or agreements or proposals, become weary and ask for something to sign. Any hesitation and you should turn and go the other way.
Designer – Never Leave Home Without It
You should never be intimidated by offering your potential clients something to sign. You are concreting a job for yourself and your are helping your clients exhale. When someone is investing their hard earned money, they should feel comfortable signing their “John Hancock”. DO NOT overwhelm your clients with wording that they have to constantly call and ask “what does this mean”. Keep it simple and to the point.
Let Your Guards Down
That is why it is important to be professional, but also let your clients know you are human. Don’t always be an uptight business man/woman.
Posted on June 27, 2012 Comments
SEO and SEM and your website
Maybe it does not seem like a big word, but SEO and SEM play a MAJOR role in your website being viewed by potential customers online. So many potential clients want to know what is SEO.. is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine’s “natural,” or un-paid (“organic” or “algorithmic”), search results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine’s users.
If you’re thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better. One of the best times to hire a SEO professional is at the beginning of your site redesign or if you are planning the launch of a new site. By doing this you can ensure that your site is designed to be search engine-friendly from the bottom up. However, a good SEO can also help improve an existing site.
An SEO professional can help clients with this valuable service, but some unethical SEOs have hit the industry below the belt with overly aggressive marketing efforts and attempted manipulation of search engines. Practices that violate search engine guidelines may result in a negative adjustment of your site’s presence in Google, or even the removal of your site from our index. Here are some things to consider:
- Be cautious of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.
- No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.
- Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.
- You should never have to link to an SEO
- Choose wisely
- Be sure to understand where the money goes
- What are the most common abuses a website owner is likely to encounter
- What are some other things to look out for
If you feel that you were deceived by an SEO in some way, you may want to report it.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) handles complaints about deceptive or unfair business practices. To file a complaint, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/ and click on “File a Complaint Online,” call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
Posted on June 4, 2012 Comments
Old Chinese Proverb “fall down 7 times, get up 8″.
This clearly true in business. So many get tired and restless when it seems like business is not getting any better. People find so many excuses when they fall flat, but they never find the courage to continue fighting so falling flat seems acceptable.
Success is the equivalent of wealth. Wealth is assets, belongings, commodities, funds, means, opulence, substance, substantiality, worth. Take your pick. Money does not determine your worth or your value. Wealth can also mean resources and when growing your business it takes persistence in attaining those resources.
You must realize that every dream does not come in the form and fashion that you would like. Starting from the bottom and having patience as your business grows is a vital part of being patient, because you will have to find time that is not there in order to do a lot of the foot work. Watching your bottom line in the beginning stages of your business if extremely important.
If you plan on doing business online, you have to remain persistent in incorporating all the resources that being online has to offer. Most are lost when it comes to some of the online resources that are available. Use Google and Bing as a starter and perform research. I could not possibly name all of the resources that are offered online but take time and be patient and persistent and you will find 1000′s of answers.
Posted on May 20, 2012 Comments
I am back to the blog scene after taking a few months off to catchup with some of my work. I am not completely caught up, but that is the great part of business; never catching up. This is especially true for small and freelance business.
I am titling this Good Business and the Results, because we forget about the grassroots of doing business. A dream written in sand disappears 100 million times faster than one written in concrete. The base of any business that has a high ROI (Return On Investment), starts with the blueprint and the materials that are used.
I will touch on one key material in the first article of this series is Clientele (Clients). (I talk about clients)… If you are not a people person or you do not have a partner that is a people person, then you should think about working a regular 9-5 with a boss over your shoulders daily. No business can progress if there is no one to buy or need the services/products that are offering. I am a freelance designer, so people are my business.
If you are a new business, you should have your brand displayed daily. Potential clients associate you with something, 6 times out of 10, it will be your brand; 4 times out of 10, it will be the way you represented yourself. You have to make people comfortable in order to make them “think” about doing business with you. No one business has 100% of its market, competition is what business is based on. The way you talk to people and treat people goes a long way in getting those big contracts that could make your business more formidable in its market.
When you are a small business that specializes in other small businesses, growth comes from being able to communicate. If there is something that I cannot do, I am not ashamed to say “that is beyond my scope”. I also let them know, if I can help resolve a problem; I will. These companies are more than likely to refer me to other businesses and people they know. When they speak about me, they speak about my company. So many times people have seen me with my shirt on and they mention someone they know that did business with me and bragged about how well I took care of them.
Develop an elevator pitch that is under 20 seconds and that makes sense without offended people. Always start your elevator pitch with “Excuse me”. It is a must to always be polite, even when running into a bad customer. Keep a small pad in your vehicle and make note of that person and you will know how to handle that situation a lot better the next it pops up. Every situation is different, so every situation is a learning experience that can result in future profits. Referral business makes up 35% of a company’s income and 32% comes from repeat clients, that is 67% of your business makeup.
Posted on February 29, 2012 Comments
How important are clients to your business?
There is only one answer…. Extremely Important!
I recently went out on an eating expedition to a restaurant that recently opened close to where I live. Upon first viewing of the menu, I thought to myself “I can go down the street and get this same menu item for $1.50 less.” I have always been one to give a person or business a chance to win my business. After a very pleasant waiting staff and a manager that checked on me twice, I quickly became a fan and the prices became secondary.
Then I thought about the other people that were seating around me and upon hearing them talk so positive about the wait staff, I knew they would become return customers.
When you pay attention to what your customers needs, a business shines a light on itself that continues to shine after a customer leaves that restaurant. The service received then becomes a measuring stick for the next restaurant you visit.
RESTURANT AND FREELANCING (Is there a comparison?)
- Introduction – You must always remember, Your first impression could be your last impression.
- Speak clearly – When speaking to a client always speak so you can be heard.
- Know your job, do not run-off and ask others questions. (If that is the case, I need to sign a contract with your competition.)
- Always be willing to help, never let your clients feel like they are on an island by themselves with no life jacket.
- Be prompt and on time. When schedule a meeting, DO NOT keep your clients waiting. If you have to be late, call ahead.
- Be concise. When a client ask you a question about your work or how you can help them, do not “beat around the bush”. Get straight to the point at hand. My catch phrase “I design for my clients vision”.
- Deliver what you say you can deliver. If I order a steak well done, do not bring me a steak that has blood running out of it. If you are a graphic designer and you cannot build a website, do not take on a web designing project.
- Stay on the proposed deadline date. I am not going to wait on my steak for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Know your abilities and how long it takes you to perform your duties.
When you keep your clients happy, 9 times out of 10 those clients will become repeat clients who tell their family and friends about how great your service was and how you held to your word. A large part of my business is from referrals and the other major chunk of my clients are repeat clients.
Never underestimate the power of being nice!
Posted on February 19, 2012 Comments
I am a member of several group forums and while advertising in one of them, I run across competing businesses everyday. Someone was looking for a website designer and someone told them to try one of the $xx.xx a month sites. I laughed and said to myself, “if only they knew the trouble they were getting themselves into.”
- $xx.xx a month providers will help you gain no traffic towards your website.
- Without traffic, you should have never bothered placing a website on the WorldWideWeb.
- The purpose of placing a website on the internet, if you have a for profit business, is ROI (Return On Investment).
- Compare $30.00/month to a one time fee of $750.00 over the next 5 years compared to how much you are bringing in.
- Search Engine Optimization is a major factor in moving up the search engine ranks and no pay per month host and you build per month service is going to accomplish this feat for you.
- Without proper training and studying, it is hard to grasp the concepts of proper search engine optimization.
- To add… I take my car to my mechanic because that is his job, he understands the small things it takes before going into a bigger job.
As a designer and developer, I charge my clients because it is my job to make sure your money is an investment in your future. It is my job to understand that you have certain expectations when looking to expand your viewer and potential customer base. Whether it is local or national. There are millions of websites on the Internet. Google search your specific business and look at the total!
I do not tell everything about what I do. I had a client that wanted to know how can I achieve such goals when there are so many SEO experts that offer the same service. A lot of these suppose to be SEO experts are only scam artist that promise something they cannot deliver. Some of the others only work on basic SEO strategies that accomplish you being found within the first 10 pages with only your home page being found. I charge based on a specific goal that the client has set for company growth.
Posted on February 12, 2012 Comments
WHAT AM I WORTH?
When going into business, the most important part is understanding your “self-value”. Self-value is understanding what you should charge for your specific service. Pricing products is a lot different than pricing services. Services do not price themselves! You have to be able to match your skill level with the service you are performing. You do not want to price yourself so high that potential customers automatically turn their heads and reroute their direction. Competitive is the key word, you must remain competitive. The oldest and truest statement of valuing your worth is simply calling around to your competition and seeing how much they charge.
What makes you better than me? A college degree as a lawyer is a lot different than becoming a entreprenuer and guru. Experience is the greatest teacher. You have to understand the career that you are devoting your time towards and most importantly, you have to love your job. As an entrepreneur you must have a passion for what you are doing. Keeping your skill level at its highest peak and never being afraid to learn something new helps you price yourself accordingly. Their are millions of millionaires that never set foot on a college campus and some that never received a college diploma. Sure it is a great help, but having a college degree does not impress 85% of your potential clients. Your portfolio and job experience is the key factor.
In order to open eyes to your service or product, you must be able to have an effective marketing plan. The most important word in the previous sentence is “plan”. In every aspect of being successful, you must have a plan. You must effectively execute your plan in order to increase marketing value. When marketing value increases, you will see more potential client interest. Do not confuse advertising with marketing. I will not go into details, but you need to know that they are two different aspects of business.
You must brand yourself. This is the quickest way to set yourself apart from your competition. This is one the most important parts of any business. Musical artist brand themselves through their look and some through their sound. Athletes brand themselves through their name and commercial endorsements. Businesses brand themselves through logos. This is the most visual aspect a business has that lets their potential clients see who they are. Before you get carried away with logos and their representation, you must understand a logo does not say what a company does. A logo is a visual representation of that company.