13 Women Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World Katie Lundin | March 31st, 2017

There’s a revolution going on in the world of entrepreneurship. Though business is traditionally considered a man’s world, the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report shows that the number of women-owned businesses in the US has grown at a rate 5 times faster than the national average over the past 9 years. And women-owned businesses are estimated to generate $1.6 trillion in revenue annually.

Women entrepreneurs are thriving like never before and their success isn’t limited to the business world. Many female entrepreneurs are using their businesses (or the wealth those businesses have created) to make the world a better place. Below you’ll find 13 women entrepreneurs who are changing their own corner of the world.

Oprah Winfrey (Harpo Productions, OWN Network)

At this point in her career, Oprah Winfrey needs no introduction. Founder of both Harpo Productions and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), she is a media mogul with a net worth of approximately $3 billion. Winfrey’s rags-to-riches life story serves as an inspiration to many; and, she came in second on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women in 2016.

But, it’s not just Oprah’s unequivocal financial and popular success that won her spot on this list. She is also a well-regarded philanthropist, giving generously through self-founded charities. Winfrey founded Oprah’s Angel Network in 1998. The charity’s goal is to “inspire individuals to create opportunities that enable underserved women and children to rise to their potential.” Oprah’s Angel Network supports charitable projects and provides grants for non-profit organizations that support that goal.

The Oprah Winfrey Foundation was formed to operate the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The Academy is a residential school for girls with strong academics from disadvantaged family backgrounds. Attendance is free. Oprah founded the school in the hope of providing a strong education for girls who wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise.

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Fresh from the SPRING: square69 Audree | March 30th, 2017

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

The challenge of this project was to create a fresh logo for an IT podcast. They wanted something that would work for Podcast Cover Art, Website, Business Cards and swag. This lovely image says it all!

Let us start the slow clap for square69. Check out more great work on square69’s profile page.

Nicely done, square69, nicely done!

The Immigrant Entrepreneurs Leading Successful American Companies Arielle Kimbarovsky | March 29th, 2017

What do Google, eBay, Whatsapp, Instagram and thousands of other successful companies have in common?

They were each founded by an immigrant entrepreneur. According to Partnership for a New American Economy, 40% of the top Fortune 500 companies were started by immigrant entrepreneurs. Smaller businesses are heavily impacted by immigrant entrepreneurs too: 1 out of 10 immigrants owns their own business.

Over the past several years, the rate of new immigrant-owned businesses has increased by over 50%. In many industries, this has created even more disruption and innovation as immigrants combine their individual perspectives from home with the new opportunities they find in the US. Even more importantly, immigrant entrepreneurs have contributed to our annual Gross Domestic Product with over $775 billion dollars in revenue per year.

Immigrant entrepreneurs face a variety of challenges when starting their own companies. Most entrepreneurs, including immigrants, struggle with raising capital, understanding rules and regulations, or growing their business. Immigrant entrepreneurs also face unique challenges. For example, some do not speak English fluently.

Despite these challenges, many immigrants share a drive and perseverant attitude critical to their success. We took a closer look at 3 successful immigrant entrepreneurs to find out how being an immigrant helped shape them as an entrepreneur.

1. Mike Krieger,
Instagram

Originally born in São Paulo, Brazil, Mike Krieger came to the US to study symbolic systems at Stanford University. While at Stanford, Krieger met Kevin Systrom who had been working on a simple photo sharing app. Together, in 2010, they developed Instagram, a company that changed social media.

By simplifying photo sharing, Instagram created a community and space for millions of people to create their own personal brands, allow people into their lives, and focus on visual content. Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

Krieger and Systrom continue to run the company independently. Today, Krieger focuses on the technical side of Instagram.

The booming success of Instagram didn’t come without a struggle. Krieger remembers having a hard time obtaining an H1-B visa, which would allow him to stay in the US to continue working on Instagram. He recalls:

I had moments where I was like, ‘Maybe I should just tell Kevin to forget about it and find somebody who is easier to hire’…It took less time to build Instagram than it did for me to get my work visa.

Krieger’s situation isn’t uncommon; H1-B visas are notoriously difficult to obtain. While some people believe that H1-B visas take away jobs from Americans, stories like Krieger’s prove that immigrant entrepreneurs can create amazing companies that create many jobs.

There’s no telling if Instagram would have existed without Krieger, and there’s no doubt that it’s been a game changer in social media. But because of Krieger’s persistence and dedication to work hard, he was able to obtain the visa and help create a tech giant.

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The Small Business Guide To Creating a Perfect Logo Ross Kimbarovsky | March 28th, 2017

A good logo is a major contributor to making that crucial first impression on a customer. They convey your company’s values, tell a story, and even help people trust your brand. If your logo does not convey the right message to a prospective customer, your company is at an immediate disadvantage. It could even mean the difference between selecting the competition over you.

When reviewing your current logo or getting started with a new business, make sure your logo has these 10 crucial elements:

1. A great logo is strong and balanced
2. A great logo is simple
3. A great logo is memorable
4. A great logo is flexible

Watch the video for more detail on these four important elements plus six more:


How 21 Brands Use Color to Influence Customers Amanda Bowman | March 27th, 2017

Color is everywhere, and the way we interpret it can be categorized into pretty clearly defined areas. Did you know that red can excite you while blue has been shown to soothe? Black breathes an air of sophistication, whereas a bright yellow feels playful and fun. With that in mind, it is no surprise that understanding the impact that color has on a person is important when selecting the colors for your company’s logo.

A brand’s logo is its principal design element, acting as a visual representation of the company and its values. There are plenty of things that go into a well-designed logo (10, to be more specific), but one of the most important of these is color. It may seem like an artistic decision, but the primary color you choose for your design actually has a serious psychological impact on how people perceive it.

In a widely-cited study called “The Impact of Color on Marketing,” research found that people make a subconscious judgment about products within the first 90 seconds of seeing it. The majority of these people evaluate these products on color alone: almost 85% of consumers cite color as the main reason they buy a certain product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.

So while maybe your favorite color is grass green, it’s good to know how it may affect your customers before you choose it as the main color of your logo. Take a look below at how people perceive different colors, and how twenty-one brands have used this to their advantage:

Red

Red is a powerful color. It’s the color of love and rage, bringing to mind intensity, power, passion, and action. Red encourages people to take risks, according to renowned color expert Pantone and anyone who has ever run with the bulls. It demands your attention and increases your heart rate, and it may incite feelings of love, ardor, or aggression.

Retailers like Target use red because the color’s sense of urgency may drive people to make purchases, whether on impulse or because of an urgent call to action like the final hours of a flash sale.

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6 Successful Entrepreneurs and the Books That Changed Their Lives Katie Lundin | March 24th, 2017

People who love to read know that cracking open a new book often leads to a new adventure.

A good book is memorable long after you finish reading it. A great book can change your life.

We wanted to know what books helped to shape the lives of some of the world’s best entrepreneurs. If you’re ready to reinvent your life, these six books may be a good place to start.

 

Steve Jobs  (Apple Inc.)

Autobiography of A Yogi – Paramahansa Yogananda

Steve Jobs was best known for being the visionary behind Apple Inc. But, we now know that there was a visionary behind the visionary- Paramahansa Yogananda, author of Autobiography of a Yogi. Walter Isaacson shares in his biography Steve Jobs that Jobs read the book for the first time as a teenager and re-read the book every year until his death. In fact, Jobs gave a copy to each guest who attended his funeral as a parting gift.

Autobiography of a Yogi is exactly what it claims to be; but, Yogananda was not only a yogi. He was also a businessman. The book discusses yoga, meditation, and spiritual matters. But, it also talks about how business intersects with an insightful, intuitive life. It’s easy to see how Yogananda’s teachings might resonate with the young man who grew to become one of the world’s most inspired entrepreneurs:

“Most of you have had the feeling that you could be great, and do great things; but because you have lacked intuitive power, that potential has, for the most part, remained dormant. To progress and avoid the misery of mistakes, you have to find what is the truth in everything… In your relationships with others, in your business, in your married life, in every part of your life, intuition is essential.” – Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi

 

Mark Cuban (Dallas Mavericks, AXS tv)

The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

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Fresh from the SPRING: Gernet Audree | March 23rd, 2017

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

The challenge of this project was to create a packaging design for an all natural snack. It needed to be flexible enough to work with different flavors while keeping the same theme. This design has us ready to break out the snack bowls.

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

Nicely done, Gernet, nicely done!

Why You Should Avoid Making This Stupid Branding Mistake With Your Logo Arielle Kimbarovsky | March 23rd, 2017

How many business owners have thought: “I want my brand to be very bland so that my company is indistinguishable from anyone else!”

Not one.

A great logo design can be the difference between blending in and standing out from the competition. But while we often recognize the value of a great logo, we don’t always prioritize it.

New business owners often incorrectly believe that a good logo will cost thousands or tens of thousand of dollars.  As a result, they sometimes buy pre-made logos in an online logo store or try a do-it-yourself approach.

In fact, entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who make the mistake of using generic logos- businesses of all sizes sometimes use logo shortcuts, only to find out that it’s even more expensive to rebrand later. 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.

In certain industries,  generic logos have become extremely problematic. The epidemic of similar fonts, glyphs, and swishy people leaves a weak first impression on customers and is unmemorable. We’ve even talked about the legal and branding dangers of these generic logo symbols in The Logo Store Nightmare: Ready Made Logos Harm Your Business, Even though some of these generic logos may help a person identify the industry itself, the generic logos also detract from the originality and story of your specific company. Generic logos even break the core elements of good logo design: memorable and unique, making them poor choices for any company. In an effort to avoid that, we took a look at four industries to see which ones fall prey to

To give you some perspective on what we’re talking about, let’s look at four industries and the types of generic logos we often see in those industries.

1. Real Estate Generic Logos

Image source: dm243

Many logos in the real estate industry show a house or some buildings with the company name underneath it. It’s like putting the picture of a shoe on the logo of a shoe company!

The colors are usually in serious tones: reds, grays, and dull blues. The logos are literal but people already understand that a real estate company will deal with the buying and selling of houses. When people choose a real estate agency, they assume that! What they don’t know is what makes a real estate company different, whether that is a personal touch or high-quality agents. Real estate companies that use generic elements in their logos completely miss the opportunity to stand out.

You’ve probably seen many variations of the logos above, with different companies names and some stylization. If your logo has those elements, there are probably thousands of other businesses with similar logos. But you are also unlikely to recall any of those companies! When you look at generic house after house, you don’t learn what the company is trying to communicate. However, not every company in the real estate industry has fallen for the generic logo epidemic, some of them do a great job of breaking the boundaries!

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5 Crowdsourced Designs That Level The Playing Field Ross Kimbarovsky | March 21st, 2017

Technology has helped close the gap between small businesses and startups and the larger, better-financed competitors they have set out to disrupt. Today, inexpensive and free small business marketing tools, outstanding small business applications from Google, and crowdsourcing have made it possible for startups and small businesses to level the playing field. In some situations, being smaller can even be a competitive advantage.

Crowdsourcing empowers startups and small businesses to avoid the time-consuming process of finding a graphic designer, negotiating a contract and a fee for the work, and the wait to review one or several design choices. Simply put: crowdsourcing is quicker, less expensive, easier, and offers you far more choice than working with a single freelancer or agency.

There are literally dozens of different types of designs that can be crowdsourced.

In this video, we’ll discuss five designs that startups and small businesses should crowdsource to further level the playing field against better-financed and larger competitors:

1. Logo Design
2. Web Design
3. Flyer Design
4. Stationery Design
5. Banner Ads

Watch the video for more detail on how you can crowdsource these five designs and compete with better-financed and larger companies.

What is a style guide and how can you create one for your business? Amanda Bowman | March 20th, 2017

A style guide is a set of rules to follow any time a member of your organization wants to publish, present or promote content for your brand. It answers questions like:

What font does your logo use? What colors are approved? When you need an image for a project, what tone and feel should it have? Should writers use “email” or does your organization prefer the hyphenated “e-mail?” What is your stance on the Oxford comma debate?

These seem like small details, but if they’re not captured in a style guide your beautiful brand can quickly drift into an inconsistent experience for your customers and employees.

Fast Company’s Delia Bonfilo noted consistency as a critical part of  crafting a sustainable identity, and your style guide can play a major role in maintaining this consistency: “It’s consistent manner of use will evoke a sense of dependability and professionalism.”

Who benefits from a style guide?

Well, everyone:

New Hires

It’s likely that at one point or another, you’ll have more than one person creating content for your brand. You’ll hire new people, your teams will grow and change, and everyone will need to know the ‘rules for your brand’. Vieo Design’s Melanie Chandler said it best:

“Branding style guides are helpful whether you are a small company with only one designer, or are well over 100 employees. They ensure that every visual element produced by or about your company is consistent, so a new hire doesn’t decide to take their own creative spin on your brand.”

Outside Help

External contractors need to quickly be able to pick up on the correct tone and language for your brand, too, and a style guide allows them to do that. It also saves them the time (which as everyone knows is money) trying to track down this information from other sources.

“Visual language is like any other language. Misunderstandings arise if the language is not shared and understood by everyone using it. As a product or team grows, the challenges within these modalities compound.” – Airbnb’s Building a Visual Language

Management

Managers and editors benefit from a solid style guide, too. The less time they have to spend making edits to their employees’ work, the better. Removing uncertainty from a brand discussion (“The logo’s background color is cerulean blue!” “No, it’s deep sky blue!”) saves time and reduces frustration. Having a definitive guideline to refer to allows everyone to feel confident that they’re staying on-brand.

The Customers

Making sure that you define the visual experience throughout all of your communications will lead to a better customer interaction with your brand. Having a style guide ensures that you avoid inconsistent messaging, which is confusing and isolating to your audience.

How to Create a Style Guide

Feel ready to embark on assembling your own style guide? Great! It’s not as overwhelming as you think. How many elements and items that make up your style guide will be based on the size of your company and your branding needs. While your list may expand, here are six basic items that should be on your style guide:

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