Small Business Spotlight of the Week: SkiTown.com Laura | December 17th, 2010
Winter is finally here! Know what that means? Ski trips! But how does one go about choosing the perfect slope? It is as simple as SkiTown.com. SkiTown.com is your guide to skiing and snowboarding in North America. It’s equipped with a resort guide featuring over 600 resorts in the United States and Canada. All you have to do is click on the state or province you would like to find a resort in, locate a resort and SkiTown.com updates you on current weather conditions, trail maps of the resort, prices for lift tickets and season passes, lodging, directions, and even reviews from previous customers. If you decide you like that resort there’s a convenient flight search on the page to book flights right away. How simple is that!
Charles Greer recently posted a logo project on the site for SkiTown.com. He received over 150 entries but it was finally awarded to Lanex! The project was to update the logo but also make it more adaptable for a smart phone application. That app would definitely come in handy!
1. How did you get things designed before crowdSPRING?
We used to have designers on staff years ago, and we used some local graphic designers when we no longer needed full time designers on staff. A local design shop was charging us $500 – $1000 for three comps of a design and we had to choose from one of them. If we did not like the designs or they required significant tweaking we would be charged additional fees.
2. Why in the world did you decide to use crowdSPRING?!
We decided that we needed to redesign our logo so that it would work in an App world as well as the web. After reading about crowdSPRING in various publications, we thought we would give it a try. We were overwhelmed with the number of designs we received, over 120 of them. Some did not seem to be good fits for us at all, most were pretty good and there were eight that we thought were really outstanding! SkiTown.com is an online guide to every ski area in North America, and we expected most designs to come from the US and Canada, people closer to our industry and market. However, we received some truly excellent design ideas from all over the world, even in places that do not get any snow, like Indonesia! In fact that is where our winning design came from! We were able to communicate our thoughts on the graphics submitted with the designers who very often would come back with tweaks or a whole new design. Some of the designers submitted more than 5 separate design ideas. It was awesome!
3. What’s the single best small biz resource that you’ve found (magazine, website, blog, etc.)?
There are so many… Inc. Magazine is one we scan on a regular basis. There are also some podcasts we enjoy, Internet Marketing out of the UK is one we like, I think they even mentioned crowdSPRING in one of their shows. Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine have good online resources as well.
4. If your best friend told you they were going to start a business, what’s the ONE piece of advice you’d give them?
Contract out almost everything you can! There are all sorts of great people out there who have the skills needed to help get your project off the ground without having to commit to hiring them full time. The web is making it so much easier to find the right person with the right skills to handle whatever part of the project that needs attention, and they can be located almost anywhere in the world. Hiring someone full time could be a very expensive mistake.