Twitter Link Roundup #300 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! Ross Kimbarovsky | July 7th, 2017

Elon Musk may be the greatest entrepreneur of our generation. Sure, there are other phenomenal entrepreneurs, including Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, among others. But Musk has faced enormous challenges and risks in trying to move humanity forward in a number of important areas, including space exploration, green energy, artificial intelligence, and recently, tunneling. Above, Must is interviewed at TED (2017) about Tesla, space, AI and his plans to change the world. It’s well worth your time to watch the interview.

Now, we hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdSPRING Twitter account (and on my Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

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Fresh from the SPRING: horus Audree | July 6th, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize a gem submitted in this logo project:

The challenge of this project was to create a logo design that combines image and text for a wood products company.

Let us start the slow clap for horus. Check out more great work on horus’ profile page.

Nicely done, horus, nicely done!

 

5 Tips for Starting a Successful Clothing Brand Katie Lundin | July 6th, 2017

Many people want to start a clothing brand. After all, how difficult could it be?

The truth is that successful clothing brands become successful in part because they’re created by people who are passionate about clothing.

But, a clothing brand needs more than just exquisite design to create a lasting business. It needs all the trappings of a successful business as well. Apparel retailers need to master marketing, manufacturing, and retailing, among other things.

Shira Sue Carmi, the founder of Launch Collectivereminds us that the business of launching a clothing brand is as important as the artistry:

Fashion is amazing in the way it balances art and commerce, but it’s a business. Don’t start a business because you want to design. Start a business because you want to start a business.

So, are you a designer or an apparel entrepreneur? If you are ready to start a fashion business, let’s get down to it. Here are our top 5 business tips for starting a successful clothing brand.

  • Develop your brand.
  • Fill in the business blanks.
  • Prepare for manufacturing.
  • Create a sales plan.
  • Spread the word.

 

1. Develop Your Brand

Step one of starting a clothing line? Develop your brand.

As we’ve previously discussed,

…your brand is your company’s public identity. Ideally, your brand should embody the best (and most essential) attributes of your company.

The importance of your brand identity cannot be understated – especially in the world of fashion. Clothing is very personal because our clothing choices are one of the ways that we define our identity – to both ourselves and to the world. As a result, the brands we choose to wear become an extension of who we are and how we see ourselves.

In particular, the millennial generation has been shown to desire an authentic connection with their clothing brands. Fabrizio Moreira writes in his article “Building a Startup Clothing Brand in a Fast Fashion Economy“:

They want a brand “experience,” they want authenticity. It follows, then, that having a message that resonates with these consumers, and staying authentic to that message, is one of the few ways to break into the cutthroat fashion industry as a small brand…

So, before you sketch your first rendering, ask yourself these important questions:

  • What identity do I want my clothing brand to project?
  • Who will want to wear my clothes?
  • What can customers get from my clothing brand that they can’t get anywhere else?
  • What makes my clothing unique?
  • What is the most important part of my customer’s experience?

Your answers to these questions (and others like them) will build the core of your brand. All of your future branding decisions should expand on these ideas. Your business name, your logo, your web design should all grow from the concepts you laid out here.

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10 Best Apps For Small Business Owners Amanda Bowman | July 3rd, 2017

Life would be easier if you could run your business from wherever you are.

Running your entire business from your phone without compromising on features or ease of use seems like an impossibility. However, in an increasingly fast-paced business culture, few successful business owners can operate their businesses while tethered to their office desk. Many must find ways to work while they’re away from the office.

Fortunately, small business owners are now living in a time of virtual riches. There is an abundance of productivity and business mobile apps that can help you run your business remotely. Many of these apps are free or inexpensive.

Here are ten terrific mobile apps that you should consider using. If we missed your favorite app, share it in the comments and let us know how it helps you run your business.

 

Full Contact

Full Contact takes the traditional address book and builds on it, turning it into something even more useful.

After you’ve added your contacts to the service (which runs on iOS, Android, and in your web browser) the service spins into action. It ferrets out duplicate contacts and data, scours the web and social media to fill in gaps, and gathers valuable information about your contacts.

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Twitter Link Roundup #299 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! Amanda Bowman | June 30th, 2017

As citizens of the planet, I think it’s our job to be kind to each other as often as possible. I came across this story on tiny kindnesses, and I think it’s a great reminder that being kind doesn’t have to be a huge gesture. Kindness is not always a difficult or profound choice: Often, it’s just being mindful and putting the greater good ahead of personal gain in everyday moments.

We hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdSPRING Twitter account (and on Ross’s Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

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Fresh from the SPRING: AuraDesignStudio Audree | June 29th, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize a gem submitted in this logo project:

The challenge of this project was to create  a magical Steampunk style logo for a comic book series that follows the adventures of an autistic boy and his older sister.

Let us start the slow clap for AuraDesignStudio. Check out more great work on AuraDesignStudio’s profile page.

Nicely done, AuraDesignStudio, nicely done!

Grow Your Small Business with Consistent Branding Katie Lundin | June 29th, 2017

 

Every company has a brand.

This is true for your company whether you’ve made a single conscious branding decision or not.

And that’s why it’s vitally important to make conscious, consistent branding choices. The decisions left unmade, and a brand left untended may hurt your business.

As we previously explained:

A brand is the sum total of the experience your prospects and customers have with your company. A strong brand communicates what your company does, how it does it, and at the same time, establishes trust and credibility with your prospects and customers. Your company’s brand is, in many ways, its personality. Your brand lives in everyday interactions your company has with its prospects and customers, including the images you share, the messages you post on your website, the content of your marketing materials, your presentations and booths at conferences, and your posts on social networks.

Put another way, your brand is your company’s public identity. Ideally, your brand should embody the best (and most essential) attributes of your company. That’s pretty unlikely to occur if you leave your branding to chance.

Start by making deliberate, informed choices about what elements of your company’s personality and service philosophy should be featured. And once you’ve laid the groundwork, the key to branding success is consistency.

Customers can’t get to know (and trust) your business if they don’t have the opportunity to experience your brand in a consistent manner. Here are some compelling ways that consistent branding ban strengthen your business:

  • Easy brand recognition leads to positive associations.
  • Consistency provides an advantage over the competition.
  • Increased perceived value leads to higher sales.

 

Easy Recognition = Positive Associations

Consistent branding offers many benefits to your business. The most immediately obvious benefit is that it provides easy recognition of your service or product among consumers.

An easily recognized brand benefits from mere exposure. The more customers are exposed to something – a product, a service, or your brand – the more inclined they are to like it. You can learn more about this phenomenon (and how you can use it to your advantage) in 7 Marketing Psychology Tips to Improve Your Business Marketing.

Familiarity increases positive feelings. And, consistent branding keeps your company in front of customers’ eyes in a reassuringly familiar form.

 

Consistency is an Advantage

Keep your branding consistent and you stand to edge ahead of your competition.  BrandExtract, a professional branding firm with more than a century of experience, advocates for consistent branding techniques. They explain:

As you develop a consistent brand, you begin to take ownership of your own niche in the market. When you choose a position and then consistently reinforce your position, it becomes more difficult for competitors to come in and take that advantage away.

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5 Hot Logo Design Trends That Can Improve Startup And Small Business Brands Amanda Bowman | June 26th, 2017

It’s no surprise that business owners want their company’s logo to be memorable. They want their brand to stand out, be recognizable, and for their logo to convey the personality and purpose of their company. As we wrote previously:

Brand awareness reflects the degree to which customers or potential customers can recognize or recall a brand and correctly associate that brand with a specific product or service. Creating brand awareness is one of the key components in promoting a product or service.

Today, small businesses and startups have to compete in an increasingly noisy world, against larger, more established businesses. To do so, they need to get noticed. Customers who are just discovering your brand need something to remember you by, and your logo serves as a kind of souvenir for them to hold on to.

Customer preferences and markets change over time, so it’s important to understand trends before you settle on your brand.

I’m not suggesting you follow fads. For example, for some time, it was very popular to have 3D, animated logos but those were impossible to print and often very difficult to read. Lasting trends help you to better shape and define your brand. Passing fads can lead you astray.

Before we look at the current hot trends in logo design, here are some key principles to keep in mind for getting a great logo that reflects your brand (we’ve listed 4 key principles below but you can see all 10 in our original post: Create a Successful Logo With These 10 Essential Elements):

  • A logo should be simple: logos conveying a strong idea with minimal detailing.
  • A logo should be versatile: a logo that works equally well across different platforms and devices.
  • A logo should be appropriate: the design of your logo should convey your brand in a befitting fashion.
  • A logo should be unique: your logo should set you apart from your competition.

A well-executed logo will help your business appear professional, sharp, and interesting. An added bonus? It’s an easy way to get your brand’s personality across to your customer in those first critical moments of making a first impression.

First impressions are very important. As we wrote previously:

People have a very short attention span. In fact, according to a Princeton University study, snap judgments count. The study found after seeing a face for only 1/10th of a second people formed opinions about that person. Judgments were made on attractiveness, likeability, and trustworthiness, and prolonged exposure to that face just reinforced the initial impression.

The same goes for websites. Three studies found that a mere 50 milliseconds were all people needed to form an opinion about a website. Google performed similar testing and found an even slimmer margin: a speedy 17 to 50 milliseconds were all people needed to decide how they felt about a website.

And this is also true for logos:

After all, memorable logos are 13% more likely to get consumers attention, and 71.6% more likely to get a positive response from consumers. In a world of noise, that can make a big difference.

Here are 5 hot trends and inspirations to help you sharpen your brand’s logo, ensuring that you nail that first impression.

1. Minimal design

Simple designs are popular because they are eye-catching, memorable, and timeless. Less is often more, and nowhere is that truer than with a minimalist design.

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Twitter Link Roundup #298 – Terrific Reads for Small Business, Entrepreneurs, Marketers, and Designers! Amanda Bowman | June 23rd, 2017

Getting ready to head on a summer trip? Paulo Coelho has 9 great tips to make yours a meaningful one. It’s easy to get lost, so to speak, in a long list of must-sees and to-dos when you take a vacation. Try taking some of Mr. Coelho’s suggestions so you can make your experience an extraordinary one.

Now, we hope you enjoy another great set of links and articles that we shared with you over the past week on our crowdSPRING Twitter account (and on Ross’s Twitter account). We regularly share our favorite posts on entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, logo design, web design, startups, leadership, social media, marketing, economics and other interesting stuff! Enjoy!

smallbusinessblog

Read the rest of this post »

Fresh from the SPRING: IM3D Audree | June 22nd, 2017

When perusing our galleries here on crowdSPRING, we see some amazing work submitted in the projects. Today, we recognize a gem submitted in this logo project:

The challenge of this project was to create a unique retro logo for a stable. They wanted a horse design that was more abstract and different from the norm. The solution was this sweet design.

Let us start the slow clap for IM3D. Check out more great work on IM3D’s profile page.

Nicely done, IM3D, nicely done!

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