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- Create Your Own Future
- Small Business Branding: What You Can Learn From The World’s Best Brands
- This Is Why Social Media Doesn’t Work For Your Business
- Small Business and Social Marketing: Time for an Audit?
- Twitter Link Roundup #179 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
- If You Risk Nothing, You Risk Everything
- The First Step, No Matter How Small, Is Crucial To Success
- Small Business and Startups: Prepare For the Worst
- Twitter Link Roundup #178 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
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- What Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Management and Leadership
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- The May cS Awards and the April cS Awards Finalists!
- The Business Plan. Redux.
- Twitter Link Roundup #177 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
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- Small Business Marketing Guide: Types of Traditional and Online Marketing
- 12 Questions: Meet Moisés Ferreira (Brazil)
- Reputation and Community
- Twitter Link Roundup #176 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
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- Want To Be More Productive? Don’t Use Your Alarm Clock’s Snooze Button
- Five Branding Mistakes That Will Cripple Your Small Business
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Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week! The above is a funny short video looking at an actual conversation between a father and his 2 year old daughter. If you have kids, you'll love this. The twist: the 2 year old is played by a … grown man. 6 Ways to Make Your Business Card Your Best Marketing Tool | Entrepreneur - http://crowdspring.co/12P7buF This Is Why Social Media Doesn’t Work For Your Business - http://crowdspring.co/17YPUFb Small Business Branding: What You Can Learn From The World’s Best Brands - http://crowdspring.co/1a6RHEJ Small Business and Social Marketing: Time for an Audit? - http://crowdspring.co/12oI41n 5 Easy Tech Tweaks That Will Significantly Improve Your Business | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/19EO88s 8 Best Resources to Grow Your Small Business | by Melinda Emerson - http://crowdspring.co/1ad65vh Key Factors to Effective Competitive Analysis as a Small Business | Search Engine Watch - http://crowdspring.co/166jhpp Six Ways Google Is About To Transform Your Small Business | Forbes by Gene Marks - http://crowdspring.co/12sz8YU Excellent Analytics Tip #24: Obsess About Real Business Profitability | by Avinash Kaushik - http://crowdspring.co/10Pw7n3 Setting goals is important, but don't get yourself in a position where you can easily fail http://crowdspring.co/130LaJt This Is Why Social Media Doesn’t Work For Your Business - http://crowdspring.co/17YPUFb 6 Ways to Make Your Business Card Your Best Marketing Tool | Entrepreneur - http://crowdspring.co/12P7buF Why Your Startup Needs To Obsess Over Culture | Groove Blog - http://crowdspring.co/12oZVFl The importance of startups passing the 10 second test - http://crowdspring.co/18gngNv 14 Ways To Be A Great Startup CEO | by Jason Baptiste - http://crowdspring.co/12ztSm9 The Why and How Of Updating Your Angel Investors - http://crowdspring.co/1682Fh3 Excellent Analytics Tip #24: Obsess About Real Business Profitability | by Avniash Kaushik - http://crowdspring.co/10Pw7n3 Tumblr's Perverse Lesson: To Get Rich, Don't Make Money | ReadWrite by Matt Asay - http://crowdspring.co/10Ned4u What Nikola Tesla vs. VCs video says about the state of Silicon Valley | by Om Malik - http://crowdspring.co/12sD3Vq Inside Google's Secret Lab | Businessweek - http://crowdspring.co/1ae0e95 You Shouldn’t Start an Ad Tech Company, But If You Do… | by Tomasz Tunguz - http://crowdspring.co/12ZmGjH Follow the money: AngelList has blown open early-stage investments | Wired UK - http://crowdspring.co/13FM3cM Setting goals is important, but don't get yourself in a position where you can easily fail http://crowdspring.co/130LaJt Open-Plan Offices Suck - http://crowdspring.co/11Wzn3g "Why Silicon Valley is not the second coming of the Gilded Age." - http://crowdspring.co/16bBdyT Excellent post about how challenging it is to come up with a great startup idea | by Carl Tashian - http://crowdspring.co/12svZs0 Does your product suck? Stop adding new features and “zoom in” instead | by Andrew Chen - http://crowdspring.co/161TNth 5 Habits Of The Most Creative People | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/10yI3FE Amazon's never-gonna-happen monopoly - http://crowdspring.co/114ds2v This Is Why Social Media Doesn’t Work For Your Business - http://crowdspring.co/17YPUFb 6 Ways to Make Your Business Card Your Best Marketing Tool | Entrepreneur - http://crowdspring.co/12P7buF Why 'ad agencies' could be on brink of extinction | by Danny Rogers - http://crowdspring.co/10V1n44 7 Basic Types of Stories: Which One Is Your Brand Telling? | Adweek - http://crowdspring.co/1adYvAC The new Flickr: Goodbye customers, hello ads | TechHive by Derek Powazek - http://crowdspring.co/10NdRuq Interesting perspective about how young people view Facebook - http://crowdspring.co/13On1Iq Teens Explain Why They Don't Care About Facebook Anymore | by Charlie Warzel - http://crowdspring.co/14Eh7Jp Good data on teen use of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others - http://crowdspring.co/189DTgi Online publishing game is all about volume right now. It’s not about quality & originality" http://crowdspring.co/12TXtY5 Looks like Digiday has a little BuzzFeed envy - http://crowdspring.co/12PdzC4 Looks like Tumblr is now chasing the native advertising rabbit - http://crowdspring.co/12sxG8T How Facebook Used Science To Design More Emotional Emoticons | Popular Science - http://crowdspring.co/1a692hc Small Business and Social Marketing: Time for an Audit? - http://crowdspring.co/12oI41n How to Assess an Ad's Creativity | Werner Reinartz and Peter Saffert-Harvard Business Review - http://crowdspring.co/12szvT5 5 Habits Of The Most Creative People | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/10yI3FE 20+ Spring and Floral brushes for Photoshop | Design Reviver - http://crowdspring.co/12AW8VQ 12 Super Fresh Text Effect Photoshop Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/19tpLux How Facebook Used Science To Design More Emotional Emoticons | Popular Science - http://crowdspring.co/1a692hc 30 Free Gothic Font For Designers - http://crowdspring.co/12boGEW Freelancers and the shifting foundations of work | GigaOM Pro by Stowe Boyd - http://crowdspring.co/12usukO Gallery of Stunning Surreal Illustrations - http://crowdspring.co/10LR5is Print Ad Design Tutorials & 20 Examples of Creative Ads - http://crowdspring.co/1a6m1zu Grunge Photoshop Tutorials – 51 Creative Ideas to Try Today | Design Web Kit - http://crowdspring.co/10LR1iK 20 Awesome Free Music and Video Players in PSD Format - http://crowdspring.co/12VNnpB How to Assess an Ad's Creativity | Werner Reinartz and Peter Saffert-Harvard Business Review - http://crowdspring.co/12szvT5 84 Useful Cork Background and Textures for Your Designs - http://crowdspring.co/10yH8oK 20 Inspiring Typography Based Web Designs - http://crowdspring.co/10yHOua 30 Fresh & Free Photoshop Brush Packs - http://crowdspring.co/1a6mHoy 40 Stunning Doodles for Inspiration | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/1a6mwth 60 High-Quality Business Cards Design For Inspiration | Graphic Design Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/14xyQ5g 45 Brilliantly Design iOS App Icons - http://crowdspring.co/14xyFXB 40 Stunning and Inspirational Flyer Designs - http://crowdspring.co/17v7obY 45 Outstanding Examples Of Typography Designs - http://crowdspring.co/16Oi31m Inspirational Examples of Flat Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/12AXWyh Los puntos básicos de un contrato freelance - http://crowdspring.co/19xVkDy Legal Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/1ySfi Legal Contracts for Graphic Designers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/XTLkS Professional Design of Corporate Logos (85 Examples) - http://crowdspring.co/19tomUJ 40 Creative Restaurant themed Logo Designs for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/1a6mgdI 50 shades of grey in web design - http://crowdspring.co/19tobZC A Showcase of Flat Design Websites - http://crowdspring.co/12AWpbh Inspirational Examples of Flat Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/12AXWyh 40 Beautiful Flat Icon Sets For Web UI Design | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/10yH5sP Beautiful Examples of Sliders in Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/16zPZyF User Interface Icons for Web Applications - http://crowdspring.co/12VNFwC 25 Modern Content Heavy Websites - http://crowdspring.co/168dUpv The 5 Most Common UX Mistakes - http://crowdspring.co/16OhTqU 25 Creative CSS3 Animations - http://crowdspring.co/14xxibr Best Collection of Pixel Icons for Web and UI Design - http://crowdspring.co/10LQVYz Illustrations in Web Design: the Main Site Types and Creative Examples | Crazy Pixels - http://crowdspring.co/168dMXh Exploring Ten Fundamental Aspects Of M-Commerce Usability | Smashing UX Design - http://crowdspring.co/16OijgP 45 Brilliantly Design iOS App Icons - http://crowdspring.co/14xyFXB 23 Great Industrial Designs | Designskilz - http://crowdspring.co/19to2oZ 40 Creative Packaging Design For Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/17v7ZKP 20 Most Creative And Unusual Bookshelf Designs - http://crowdspring.co/17v87dl Creative product designs #20 | Designskilz - http://crowdspring.co/168d24d 30 Most Beautiful Chocolate Packaging Designs - http://crowdspring.co/10PDT0l How To Create a Fun and Dynamic Animation – Shapes Part - http://crowdspring.co/15MYsyY 20 Awesome Free Music and Video Players in PSD Format - http://crowdspring.co/12VNnpB 25 Creative CSS3 Animations - http://crowdspring.co/14xxibr Create Your Own Future - http://crowdspring.co/12Z7K5c People love to learn/experience new things and there's a scientific explanation for that - http://crowdspring.co/166g499 I hope you enjoy these links! Please leave a comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.
Related posts: * Twitter Link Roundup #179 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More * Twitter Link Roundup #177 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More * Twitter Link Roundup #176 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
Some people are stuck in the present and unable to move forward. Use the future to escape the present. Decide where you'd rather be.
Related posts: * Building A Brand People Love: Create Real Value
The 2013 Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report was just released. The report offers important lessons for startups and small business. Apple is once again listed as the most valuable global brand, with Google, IBM, McDonald's and Coca-Cola rounding out the top five. We've previously written about important lessons small businesses and startups can learn from the world's best Brands. If you want to review our prior posts, read What Small Businesses Can Learn From The World's Best Brands, Branding Secrets of the World's Best Brands, and What Can You Learn From The World's Best Brands. HERE ARE 10 KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BRANDZ 2013 REPORT (AND THE IMPORTANT LESSONS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND STARTUPS): 1) IT'S NOT ENOUGH ANYMORE TO RELEASE NEW PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. There are many products and services in the marketplace and a lot of noise. Smart brands attempt to be omnipresent and useful to their customers. The best brands deliver great value. 2) THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN CONSUMERS' PERSONAL, SOCIAL AND BUSINESS ROLES IS ERODING. We often occupy all of those roles simultaneously and as a result, it's becoming more difficult for many brands to market to their customers. Branding is important, and it's too easy to make a branding mistake that can cripple your small business. 3) LOCATION IS NO LONGER RELEVANT. Smaller brands can effectively compete with bigger brands because you can reach the consumer anywhere, physically or virtually. But you must have a web presence to reach consumers virtually. 4) BRANDS THAT ARE MEANINGFULLY DIFFERENT TEND TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL. Consumers are looking for "a bit more" from most brands - not just the products and services they purchased. This is an opportunity for smaller brands to deliver great value and personalize products, services, and communications with their customers. 5) CUSTOMERS ARE LOOKING FOR A FLAWLESS EXPERIENCE FROM ALL BRANDS AND TYPICALLY HAVE LITTLE PATIENCE WHEN THE EXPERIENCE IS LESS THAN PERFECT. Years ago, certain industries could offer a poor customer experience and customers would tolerate that poor experience because there were few options for customers. This is no longer true. There are numerous options for nearly all customers, and poor experience is a sure way for a brand or a small business to lose customers and go out of business. 6) CONTENT MARKETING IS IMPORTANT. Brands are producing their own content and telling their own stories. It's no longer enough to rely on the media to help brands grow. This means that smaller companies will need to keep up and finds ways to create useful, unique content. Brands with "personalities" tend to do better. 7) BRAND REPUTATION IS BECOMING EVEN MORE IMPORTANT TODAY. Recommendations from friends and colleagues can make or break a brand. 8) TO ACCELERATE GROWTH, IT'S IMPORTANT TO BE PRESENT IN RAPIDLY GROWING MARKETS. 9) THE MIDDLE IS GETTING SQUEEZED. Brands at the premium and low price ends of the spectrum present consumers with a clear choice. Everyone in the middle is being left behind. If you're not at the premium or low end of pricing in your market, you have a greater need to communicate a clear value proposition to your customers. 10) COMPANIES THAT LISTEN TO THEIR CUSTOMERS IN SOCIAL MEDIA AND ENGAGE IN COLLABORATIVE CONVERSATIONS TEND TO BE MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN COMPANIES THAT IGNORE CONSUMERS. What other advice would you offer small businesses and startups building their own brands?
Related posts: * Branding Secrets Of The World's Best Brands * What Small Businesses Can Learn From The World's Best Brands * What Can You Learn From The World's Best Brands?
If you have invested considerable time and resources on social media marketing over the past year and feel frustrated, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
About 61% of small businesses don't see any return on investment on their social-media activities … Yet, almost 50% say they've increased their time spent on social media, and only 7% have decreased their time.The above conclusions are from a survey released by Manta, a social network for small businesses. It's not surprising that many businesses fail to properly leverage social media. After all, the success of any marketing initiative requires careful planning, a strategy, appropriate tactics, and a way to measure results. Many business owners ignore most of these factors and simply dive-in head first. That's a certain recipe for failure. Yet there are many good examples of businesses that leverage social media remarkably well. IF OTHER BUSINESSES ARE SUCCESSFULLY LEVERAGING SOCIAL MEDIA, WHY ISN'T SOCIAL MEDIA WORKING FOR YOUR BUSINESS? What's the most important difference in the way that successful companies use social media, and the millions of other companies that fail? Are you setting your expectations too high? Are you not creating enough content or not enough good content? Are you not spending enough money on social media? Are you not generating enough followers or fans? The answer is really pretty simple but it's not because of poor content, lack of money, or not enough followers. Are you ready for it? SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN'T WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT SETTING CLEAR, MEASURABLE GOALS. A small business that doesn’t set clear, measurable goals is doomed to fail.
Most small businesses – even successful small businesses – fail to grow because the owners don’t take the time to set meaningful goals. I’ve talked to thousands of small business owners. Most want to work for themselves and operate a business that will provide them and their families a good standard of living. But those aren’t the goals I’m talking about. Most small business owners fail to set quarterly or yearly goals for their businesses. They simply operate the business, focusing on day to day activities, without establishing what they hope to accomplish within a certain amount of time. While your overall goal can be to make a ton of money and find enough free time to enjoy other activities, you should establish operating goals for your business.To be fair, you probably are setting broad, long-term goals. For example, you might have a broad goal to increase your revenue or profits over the next six to twelve months leveraging Twitter and Facebook. Broad, long-term goals are important, but they rarely help you to evaluate the success or failure of focused strategies and tactics. It's easy to see why so many businesses don't see any return on investment on their social media activities. According to Manta's survey results, most businesses set very broad goals:
What businesses are trying to get out of social media: 36% said their goal was to acquire and engage new customers, 19% said to gain leads and referrals, and 17% said to boost awareness.But what do those goals mean? How do you measure acquisition and engagement of new customers? How do you measure awareness? Over what period of time? Perhaps the answers to these questions seem pretty simple to you - but they are not. Many small business owners are sold snake oil by self-professed "social media experts" who claim that simply setting up a Twitter account, a LinkedIn company page and a Facebook fan page will open the floodgates to unlimited sales leads. Most of these "experts" offer to maintain those accounts for a monthly fee. This "maintenance" usually means a few generic posts that will not bring you any leads or business. Snake oil indeed. There's a good reason why most business owners don't set relevant goals for their marketing strategies. Few people are comfortable with incremental success. After all, we love and celebrate huge wins. But we rarely celebrate small, incremental success. That's a mistake. We should celebrate incremental success because it becomes a stepping-stone for more success. More importantly, incremental success is easily measurable. You can make social media work for you, but you have to put in the effort and most importantly, set clear, measurable goals. For example, your goals could be to: * drive online traffic to your business * drive offline traffic to your business * promote your products and services * increase your visibility in search results * influence potential customers * build brand visibility and thought leadership * build a community Each of these is a broad, long-term goal. To make such goals meaningful to your social media strategy, you have to break them down into smaller, bite-size pieces. Let’s take a quick look at how a small business can set a clear, measurable goal for driving online traffic to the business from social media activities. Let’s assume the business sells gift baskets, and wants to experiment with Facebook (by participating and sharing interesting, engaging content, and separately, by spending $50 per week on advertising). The small business could set the following goals for the first ninety days of its Facebook marketing efforts:
* drive 25 new potential customers per day to the business's website * get 3 new customers per day from these effortsOver 90 days, those are very strong numbers. If the business meets its goals, it would drive at least 2,250 new prospective customers to its site, and would have 270 new customers. Before starting its social media efforts, the business should assess how many prospective customers are already coming from Facebook on a daily basis. After all, it's impossible to tell whether you're driving 25 new customers every day unless you know the baseline. Analytics should provide a clear answer. At the conclusion of the 90 day period, the business can evaluate the success or failure of that effort by looking at the analytics and the results. Did the effort drive at least 2,250 prospective new customers from Facebook? Did the business acquire 270 new customers from its efforts on Facebook? As you can see, the answer to each question is either a YES or NO. You either drove at least 2,250 new prospective customers from Facebook over that period of time, or you did not. You either found 270 new customers through the Facebook campaign or you did not. Now look at your own business and the social media marketing strategies and tactics that you’re executing. Have you set clear, measurable goals for those strategies? If not, set aside some time today to do so – specifying exactly what you hope to accomplish, in what time-frame, and how you will measure progress. SOCIAL MEDIA DOESN'T WORK FOR YOUR BUSINESS BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT SETTING CLEAR GOALS. BUT YOU CAN FIX THAT. _image credit: sybrenstuvel_
Related posts: * Small Business and Social Marketing: Time for an Audit? * Lean Marketing: Delivering Customer Service via Social Media * How Small Businesses Are Using Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]
Marketing is simple: spend $100 advertising your product or service and earn back $110 for your efforts. This has long been the underlying challenge for businesses large and small: how do you acquire new customers, convince them to buy more of whatever it is you are selling, get them to tell other's about your offering, and achieve positive ROI the whole while. Problem is, for many companies, this kind of magical thinking is simply not grounded in any type of reality. Especially for small business, traditional print, radio, and television advertising is out of their reach financially. Online advertising such as keyword search, CPC/PPC, and display ad placement is, quite simply, a waste of money. And for many businesses trying to reach an increasingly distracted, overwhelmed, and fragmented audience has become more difficult than ever. As a result of more and more small businesses have sought alternative channels for their marketing strategies, such as value-add partnerships, inbound marketing campaigns, search engine optimization and social media marketing. The least expensive and, for many businesses, most effective and fastest growing marketing channel is the social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, Quora, and their ilk are highly effective channels that small business can use to reach their target audience engage their customers, encourage word of mouth, and build visibility and awareness for their brand. For most small business it is not a matter of whether they need to have a SM presence, but how effective a job they are doing with their social strategy. But, and this is a big but, unlike traditional advertising the effectiveness of social media campaigns can be very difficult to track, and the ROI near impossible to calculate. Most small businesses try to execute on their SM without a plan in place, absent an understanding of the competitive market, and with a limited knowledge of the tools available. The first step in remedying this is to conduct an audit of your company's social media practices, assets, and strategy; with this data in hand a small business can determine whether what they are doing is effective and whether the ROI on these efforts is positive. Here a 5 tips to get you going and help you craft a roadmap for your company's SM strategy. 1. LOOK TO YOUR COMPETITION First step, like so much in business, is to have a close look at your own market, specifically at your competition. Which social media platforms do they leverage? What is their strategy? And, most importantly, what is working for them and what is not. Take a close look at their Facebook page and their Twitter stream and determine how often they post, what types of content they share, and the level of engagement they are able to achieve. The number of followers your competition has is a good place to start, but also look at who they follow and how they engage with those as well. Another good indicator is to look at the hashtags they are using and how consistent they are with those. Given the fact that you share the same market, similar products, and indistinguishable audiences chances are that what is working for them, will also work for you. 2. LEARN FROM THE BEST. After nearly 10 years of an increasingly social media-driven internet, a number of rock stars have emerged. These are the companies that do the very best job engaging customers via the SM channels, creating viral content, and building strong word-of-mouth through their use of SM. Pick a great company, one that you admire – better yet, one that you follow on SM – and take the time to analyze what they are doing. The visual look of their Facebook and Twitter pages is a good place to start; an effectively designed page can help visitors to immediately understand a brand, its personality, and its target audience. Look at all of their accounts, dig beyond their main FB and Twitter accounts to their more targeted channels that promote everything from specific offerings, to their own philanthropy, to their public relations and media channels. 3. SET GOALS. Duh. Without a grasp of exactly what you are trying to achieve in SM you are spinning your wheels. Your goals can be simple: sign up _x_ new followers; achieve an engagement ratio of 20:1 of followers to people discussing your product; or a objective for the number of retweets of your content over a specific period of time. Why waste effort, capacity, and money on an effort unless you can determine if those are resources well spent? 4. ESTABLISH METRICS. Related to those goals, are the metrics that will allow you to determine whether or not you are succeeding. Companies with successful SM strategies measure everything: number of followers, number of retweets, clicks on content, downloads, number of Likes, frequency of posts. Good data leads to meaningful analysis and can make all of the difference when determining if a marketing channel is effective for your company. 5. TAKE ACTION. Develop your own best practices for your social marketing campaigns and repeat what works again and again. If a piece of your content becomes wildly popular, consider what is was about that particular post excited your followers and determine what else you can do in a similar vein. The best action you can take in your social marketing efforts is one that reflects who you are as a business; your audience is your audience precisely because they appreciate what you represent and the actions that resonate most deeply with your followers are always the best actions to take.
Related posts: * Lean Marketing: Facebook advertising for newbies * Lean Marketing: Delivering Customer Service via Social Media * Lean Marketing Tips: Hyperlocal Marketing Channels
Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week! The above is a fun video of a gas station prank that shows some people have a great, happy attitude - and it's contagious. Small Business and Startups: Prepare For the Worst - http://crowdspring.co/10DZYvs The First Step, No Matter How Small, Is Crucial To Success - http://crowdspring.co/10yoT2A Empower Your Small Business: Steve Jobs on management/leadership, disaster planning, great customer service - http://crowdspring.co/10wjCIQ 4 Reasons Business Owners Are Not Confident About the Economy | Inc by Gene Marks - http://crowdspring.co/1431yL5 Building a Business: How to Get Through Tough Times | Inc by Jeff Haden - http://crowdspring.co/10nAEZB Why Customers Don't Buy | Steve W. Martin - Harvard Business Review - http://crowdspring.co/10riavu The Manual-First Startup - http://crowdspring.co/195TfhO The First Step, No Matter How Small, Is Crucial To Success - http://crowdspring.co/10yoT2A Every Entrepreneur's Least Favorite Question | HBR - http://crowdspring.co/10sN1DI 4 Valuable Lessons on Growing Your Startup | Technori by Chris Campbell - http://crowdspring.co/16y7JdM 8 Successful Entrepreneurs Give Their Younger Selves Lessons They Wish They'd Known Then | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/142LOHS Is The 70-Hour Work Week Worth The Sacrifice? | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/126WhzK 5 Things Founders Don't Talk About | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/15L1d3Y What are key strategies to acquire first 100k users with zero marketing budget? | Quora - http://crowdspring.co/19pyn5t The Groundhog Day Effect | by Ash Maurya - http://crowdspring.co/126ZBuE 5 Habits Of The Most Creative People | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/10yI3FE It's very important to know when something is a lost cause |The Atlantic - http://crowdspring.co/16ABY3V "As a founder, your job isn’t to make a great product. It’s to build a great team that makes great products." by Aza Raskin - http://crowdspring.co/19v40ue Very insightful interview by Great Discontent with Jason Fried of 37signals, covering many interesting topics - http://crowdspring.co/10rqcUV Good reminder from Fred Wilson that your instincts should sometimes guide you when due diligence does not - http://crowdspring.co/1275W9E 4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails | Entrepreneur - http://crowdspring.co/12vp9SN A reminder than overnight success often takes 10 years - http://crowdspring.co/10ziyUw Startup PR Tip: To Get Press, Don't Pitch Your Product - http://crowdspring.co/10uhqFY Good discussion in the comments of this article about the Square Stand (replacement for retail cash registers) - http://crowdspring.co/10zjY1q Most data isn’t “big,” and businesses are wasting money pretending it is | Quartz - http://crowdspring.co/140kdac 10 Simple Ideas To Improve Your Outcomes | by Dharmesh Shah - http://crowdspring.co/17xjNMu Good post by Ben Milne about focus and the challenges of having enough mental "bandwidth" - http://crowdspring.co/15JWhw2 The Corrosive Downside of Acquihires | by Mark Suster - http://crowdspring.co/15GX15e How Marketing Legend Guy Kawasaki Manages His Social Media Presence | Hubspot - http://crowdspring.co/13VVHaf Only 200 Startups Per Year End Up Mattering & Most of them Aren't in Tech | BostInno - http://crowdspring.co/10AwFc9 The 13 Pieces of Advice that Saved our Company | Ecquire - http://crowdspring.co/10Ax2ne How to Find the Right Advisor - http://crowdspring.co/13zgml7 Building a Business: How to Get Through Tough Times | Inc by Jeff Haden - http://crowdspring.co/10nAEZB Small Business and Startups: Prepare For the Worst - http://crowdspring.co/10DZYvs Quora! Quora! Quora!? - http://crowdspring.co/10o8Cxh Good long read on how Netflix leverages technology and the cloud | Businessweek - http://crowdspring.co/10nLb73 Smart, simple take on Tesla Motors strategy - http://crowdspring.co/12mvRKS Dear Social Media Managers: It’s Time To Grow Up - http://crowdspring.co/10o8OMM Selling ads by time, not space | by Jeff Jarvis - http://crowdspring.co/15Qc8cB Teens aren’t abandoning “social.” They’re just using the word correctly - http://crowdspring.co/126ZOOs 5 (Un)Alarming Stats About Banner Ads | by Ben Kunz - http://crowdspring.co/10ziN1S Which are some of the funniest, most clever advertisements? | Quora - http://crowdspring.co/10eHi8u Google Plus Is A Desolated Wasteland | Business Insider - http://crowdspring.co/149G672 Startup PR Tip: To Get Press, Don't Pitch Your Product - http://crowdspring.co/10uhqFY SEO Tips From the Experts: 14 Industry Experts Share Their Strategies - http://crowdspring.co/12dZPAc Customers Don't Want Ads, They Want A Conversation | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/144ue6n Why Customers Don't Buy | Steve W. Martin - Harvard Business Review - http://crowdspring.co/10riavu How to Rank: 25 Step SEO Master Blueprint | SEOmoz by Cyrus Shepard - http://crowdspring.co/17wsKFK How the New York Times can fight BuzzFeed & reinvent its future | by Om - http://crowdspring.co/142LqJi The OREO marketing team is firing on all cylinders. Really good video - http://crowdspring.co/16AAHJX What are key strategies to acquire first 100k users with zero marketing budget? | Quora - http://crowdspring.co/19pyn5t Evan's Awesome A/B Tools - sample size calculator, A/B test results, and more - http://crowdspring.co/15H2AAE 4 Ways to Get Customers to Open Your Emails | Entrepreneur - http://crowdspring.co/12vp9SN How Marketing Legend Guy Kawasaki Manages His Social Media Presence | Hubspot - http://crowdspring.co/13VVHaf Report: Brands Continue To Overlook & Neglect Google+ Pages - http://crowdspring.co/13tUTu0 20+ Effective Public Interest Ads - http://crowdspring.co/10trITD 45 Extremely Clever Billboard Ads | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/12AWaNq Creative advertising by the clothing brands - http://crowdspring.co/19toJi5 30+ free design resources you don't want to miss | Inspired Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/11Vf5lx 15 Beautiful and Awesome Examples of Portfolio Designs | Silky Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15srWSE 25+ New Indesign Tutorials of 2013 | Dzineblog360 - http://crowdspring.co/10tr4p0 Creative Texture Styled Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorial Lounge - http://crowdspring.co/15ssUOW 40 Latest Typography for Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10tr9Jx 5 Habits Of The Most Creative People | Fast Company - http://crowdspring.co/10yI3FE 30 Awesome and Useful Mac Apps for Developers - http://crowdspring.co/15sseJa Cover Design Inspiration | Abduzeedo - http://crowdspring.co/10trhZm 33 Examples of the Flat Web Design Trend | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15stkoq 20+ Effective Public Interest Ads - http://crowdspring.co/10trITD How the crowd is making fashion design more efficient | SmartPlanet by Laura Shin - http://crowdspring.co/19xUTsJ 30 Beautiful Henna Tattoos - http://crowdspring.co/10tqjML 30 Awesome Alternate Movie Posters - http://crowdspring.co/13EssZm 35 Best Fonts that withstood the test of time - http://crowdspring.co/10trFXO 50 Inspiring Examples of Flat User Interfaces - http://crowdspring.co/15MXQcK Free Fonts Friday: 9 Free Slab Serif Fonts | Creative Beacon - http://crowdspring.co/12AWkV6 35 Free Fonts For Designers - http://crowdspring.co/12AW3l0 45 Extremely Clever Billboard Ads | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/12AWaNq 20 Beautiful 3D Characters | DezineGuide - http://crowdspring.co/13EsKzB Creative advertising by the clothing brands - http://crowdspring.co/19toJi5 15 Creatively Designed Computer Arts Magazine Covers - http://crowdspring.co/143foNm 30+ Most Creative and Beautiful Business Cards Design For Inspiration | Dezine Robotics - http://crowdspring.co/16zQqZP 45 Fresh Examples Of iOS App Icon Designs | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/15sslo7 Mobile Designing Color Trends with Examples - http://crowdspring.co/10tqZ4D A Huge Collection of Free Country Flag Icon Set - http://crowdspring.co/13EsSz5 The Beautiful And Stylish Letterpress Prints - 34 Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15MYnvl Legal Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/1ySfi Legal Contracts for Graphic Designers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/XTLkS 50 Creative Mobile Phone Logo For Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/15stNXC Brilliant Design Examples of Book Logo - http://crowdspring.co/10tqfwy 35 Best Fonts that withstood the test of time - http://crowdspring.co/10trFXO 33+ Killer Typography Logo Designs for Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10yHziQ The Beautiful And Stylish Letterpress Prints - 34 Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15MYnvl 50 Vintage Logos for Inspiration | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15su0Ki 35 Free Fonts For Designers - http://crowdspring.co/12AW3l0 Free Fonts Friday: 9 Free Slab Serif Fonts | Creative Beacon - http://crowdspring.co/12AWkV6 25 Amazing Yellow Logos | iBrandStudio - http://crowdspring.co/15stdcs 25 Outstanding Examples Of Branding, Visual Identity and Logo Designs | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/10tqOXd Top 10 Most Widely Used Wireframe & Mockup Tools - http://crowdspring.co/13jTdTM Designing Websites For Mobile Apps - Techniques And Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10tpx2o 60 Most Wanted CSS & jQuery Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/10tqSX0 Web Design Trends of Video Backgrounds - http://crowdspring.co/16zQx7G 29 Bakery and Cake Shop Websites for Design Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/15MYl6H 40 Best Examples of Circular Trends in Modern Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/17v88Of 30 Beautiful Mobile App Websites for Design Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/16zQrwV 33 Examples of the Flat Web Design Trend | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15stkoq 30 New CSS Articles and Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/19to8gh 33+ Examples of Flat UI Design for Inspiration | Bloom Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/17v8jcx 33 Website Layouts from Internet Studios and Media Companies - http://crowdspring.co/12AWfRd How to Make the Landing Pages More Effective | Web Design Stuff - http://crowdspring.co/15MXFxW 20 Really Inspirational Fashion Website Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15stSux 21 Beautiful Examples of Using White in Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/15MXAKW Sign Up Form Inspirations From Dribbble - http://crowdspring.co/15st8W6 30 Vintage and Retro Website Design Examples - http://crowdspring.co/10tqEPs Exploration in Beverage-related Website Designs | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/15st4FS The Essentials of the Mobile User Experience | The Design Work - http://crowdspring.co/10kEXoG 45 Fresh Examples Of iOS App Icon Designs | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/15sslo7 50 Creative Mobile Phone Logo For Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/15stNXC Designing Websites For Mobile Apps - Techniques And Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10tpx2o 30 Beautiful Mobile App Websites for Design Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/16zQrwV 33 Brilliant and Creative Packaging Design examples for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10ddr0a 10 Best Funny 3D Short films and 3D Short Animations for you - http://crowdspring.co/10trwDH 25 Celebrated Saul Bass Title Sequences in 100 seconds | Brain Pickings - http://crowdspring.co/195KoNf Grammar Girl : First, Second, and Third Person - http://crowdspring.co/10trlsf How to immediately become a more productive (and better) writer - http://crowdspring.co/15DQjwR Tesla sales beating Mercedes, BMW and Audi |CNNMoney - http://crowdspring.co/15H0UXR My Brother, My Mother, and a Call Girl | The Hairpin - http://crowdspring.co/15L0RKA "Western college students are not the best representatives of human emotion, behavior, and sexuality." - http://crowdspring.co/15KPhiD I hope you enjoy these links! Please leave a comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.
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People fear many things. The fear of failure is perhaps one of the greatest and most dangerous fears. If you risk nothing, you risk everything.
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Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO and founder of Chobani, recently talked about how he started Chobani. It's a wonderful story and well worth your time to watch how an immigrant entrepreneur with a vision others thought was crazy, built a business that grew from zero to a billion dollars in just five years. Ulukaya was born in Turkey and was an accomplished feta-cheese-maker. He lived in Upstate New York when he saw an ad for a closed Kraft yogurt plant. Ulukaya initially threw the ad away. But his gut told him to go see the place. He bought the plant, despite friends telling him otherwise, and hired a small staff. With no plan, Ulukaya wasn’t sure what to do next. So he did something that seems pretty strange. Ulukaya and his small team repainted the walls of the factory. This small act gave momentum to his team and inspired them with other ideas. Instead of sitting around paralyzed and thinking about what to do next, the team took a small step and created big progress. The first step, no matter how small, is crucial to success.
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Disaster strikes. Extreme weather events, fires, data storage failures, illness or even the death of a key team member can occur at any time and when something happens, will your small business be prepared? According to ReadWrite, 74% of small businesses do not have a disaster plan and 84% don't even carry insurance against natural events. Preparing for a disaster is a simply matter of reviewing your vulnerabilities, developing a detailed plan, and training your employees for the inevitable. When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast last fall, thousands of businesses were impacted with many forced to close and many others experiencing physical damage ranging from fairly mild to very severe. 6 months later and some of these businesses have yet to reopen and others have gone out of business altogether. But disaster does not always come with howling winds and driven rain. Sometimes it is as banal as a drive failure and sometimes as tragic as an injury or death. The point is that every business should take the time to think through how an emergency could affect your business and what you would need to do to keep operations going. Preparing for disaster is not particularly time-consuming nor is it expensive, but the benefit to your business can be meaningful. Here are 8 thoughts on what you can do to prepare your business for emergencies of all stripes: 1. WRITE A PLAN, FOR GOODNESS SAKE! Start by conducting a risk assessment and taking inventory of your company's specific risks: natural disaster, weather-connected, and personnel-related. Before you write the actual plan, you need to understand your company's vulnerabilities, so you will need to carefully consider what will happen if the power goes out or if key hardware fails or if your office is flooded or if your phones go dead? Then take all of that data and put it on paper; at the very least, your plan should clearly designate who is in charge during emergency situations; a protocol or system for warning employees about emergencies and communicating with local authorities; procedures addressing any special needs of employees with disabilities or medical conditions.; plans for employees to follow for evacuation or , sheltering-in-place and procedures for responding injuries or other medical situations. 2. KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. Your region may have specific types of disasters that are more likely than others. For instance, if you are located in Florida, there is a good chance that sooner or later a hurricane will strike and if you are in Oklahoma you have probably experienced tornado warnings any number of times. As you conduct your risk assessment, give some thought to the types of emergencies that have occurred in the past, consider which specific threats have the greatest likelihood and plan for those. 3. CREATE A CONTACT LIST. Maintain an up-to-date list of local authorities and their contact information and their location: local police, the nearest firehouse, your utility companies, and the National Weather Service. Even the phone number for the local Red Cross can come in super handy in an emergency. Make sure you have (and share) contact information for everyone on the team as well as their their information on whom they want you to contact in an emergency. 4. DETERMINE THE IMPACT. Give consideration to the real impact that various disasters could have on your business. For instance an electrical outage caused by a power station fire will have a very different effect on your business than a Category 5 hurricane which could easily tear off your roof or blow out your windows. Make allowances for the various scenarios and make sure your plan includes specific details on what to do in the event that any of those occur. 5. BACK UP Many small businesses are dependent on their computers ad servers, but make little or no effort to protect their data. If your company's data is in the cloud, you have little to worry about, but if you store important data locally on hard drives make sure that your backup strategy is up to date and that you are regularly performing data backup procedures. At a minimum identify your most critical data and applications and have a plan in place for how you will protect those in the event of a disaster. 6. STOCK UP. Everything from safety equipment to backup computers and cell phones to water and food can be readied for an emergency. Many companies keep their own backup generators, but (not surprisingly) many never take the time to test and maintain that hardware until the day of a disaster when it may be too late. 7. COOP UP. Critical to any disaster plan is the COOP, or Continuity of Operations Plan. The idea is to keep your business operating even as it responds to and recovers from a disaster. Your company's COOP should include procedures for COOP activation, a list of your essential business functions and the staff to needed to carry those out, procedures for communicating with suppliers and vendors critical to your operations, a plan for continuing operations if your facility is not accessible, and a list of records and documents that should be readily readily available to perform essential work (be sure that these are stored safely and easily retrievable, even off-site). 8. TRAIN UP. Name a committee to take responsibility for conducting the assessment, creating the plan, and communicating internally and externally. Encourage personal preparedness. Practice with the team what will happen in an actual emergency and make sure everyone understands their role as well as anything they need to do to get to safety and stay safe. Photo:_ paulmcenany_
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Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week! Do you love the TV series The Walking Dead? What if you tried lip reading and changed the dialogue based on what you thought people were saying … the video above is probably what you'd hear. Plus, for the first time, you can hear the zombies talking! Steve Case on Risk-Taking, or Lack Thereof, in Business | NYT - http://crowdspring.co/13feE8r 7 A/B Testing Blunders That Even Experts Make - http://crowdspring.co/ZCNTq8 "Embrace skeptics. They can make your business better. Toss out cynics, because they don't further your cause." http://crowdspring.co/14142sE "Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity." - http://crowdspring.co/ZCZaKH Building Loyalty The Lady Gaga Way: Focus On 1% Of Your Customers | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/195MVXy How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day | by Michael Hyatt - http://crowdspring.co/10bON06 What Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Management and Leadership - http://crowdspring.co/13ytBSb Surround yourself with people who make you happy | TNW - http://crowdspring.co/13iydwE crowdSPRING's Small Business Spotlight: Red Poppy Floral Design - http://crowdspring.co/10b3mB3 Defending the Brash Arrogance of Silicon Valley | by Mike Greenfield - http://crowdspring.co/ZHJwxt Avoiding Burnout | by Andrew Dumont - http://crowdspring.co/10WvdrD I Can't Code, and You Can't Sell Crap | by Gary Vaynerchuk - http://crowdspring.co/16ed3D0 It's difficult to fake corporate culture | Business Insider - http://crowdspring.co/16l01nb 10 Myths about Startups - http://crowdspring.co/ZNgv3B How a 1-Page Business Model Will – and Won’t–Help Your Lean Startup | by Kevin Dewalt - http://crowdspring.co/18ZLnhH The critical metrics for each stage of your SaaS business | by Lars Lofrgren - http://crowdspring.co/15nU8WI Steve Case on Risk-Taking, or Lack Thereof, in Business | NYT - http://crowdspring.co/13feE8r Why do we worry about scalability on Day 1? | by Adii Pienaar - http://crowdspring.co/15n62QM Surround yourself with people who make you happy | TNW - http://crowdspring.co/13iydwE How to Set Yourself Up for a Productive Day | by Michael Hyatt - http://crowdspring.co/10bON06 Reverse Engineering Your Startup’s Success - http://crowdspring.co/195KOTF Building Loyalty The Lady Gaga Way: Focus On 1% Of Your Customers | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/195MVXy The Start-up Hall of Shame (America's 10 Worst States for Entrepreneurs) - http://crowdspring.co/1934U0I Startups: You Should Value Software More | by Wade Foster - http://crowdspring.co/13AX3ai Startup Founders: Don’t Forget to Sell the Dream | by Jason Shen - http://crowdspring.co/10bPbvr Why variety is no longer the spice of life: How to be happier by avoiding decision fatigue | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/10lWpJm How to Calculate Customer Experience | Evergage - http://crowdspring.co/16jGFib Warren Buffett's advice to women | Business Insider - http://crowdspring.co/13AAEK5 What Steve Jobs Can Teach Us About Management and Leadership - http://crowdspring.co/13ytBSb 7 A/B Testing Blunders That Even Experts Make - http://crowdspring.co/ZCNTq8 Urgency and accountability are two sides of the innovation coin - http://crowdspring.co/1413Ute The Damaging Psychology of Down Rounds | by Mark Suster - http://crowdspring.co/10mBruW "Embrace skeptics. They can make your business better. Toss out cynics, because they don't further your cause." http://crowdspring.co/14142sE Remote Work vs. Collaboration: 8 Startups Weigh In | ReadWrite by Scott Gerber -http://crowdspring.co/15lYyNX How MailChimp learned to treat data like orange juice and rethink email in the process - http://crowdspring.co/ZNeCns Is working in a startup as great as it sounds? - http://crowdspring.co/11d2oYf What Really Happened When Facebook Bought Instagram | Vanity Fair - http://crowdspring.co/1413zXw The Business Plan. Redux - http://crowdspring.co/11NOjeL "Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity." - http://crowdspring.co/ZCZaKH eBay, The FBI, Shawn Hogan And Brian Dunning | Business Insider - http://crowdspring.co/ZCN8xr 7 A/B Testing Blunders That Even Experts Make - http://crowdspring.co/ZCNTq8 Pay Closer Attention To YouTube - http://crowdspring.co/195zeYA 5 Surprising Facts On Quality Score Change - http://crowdspring.co/195P6KE Publishers Scramble for a New Model | Digiday by Josh Sternberg - http://crowdspring.co/16kX6Lh Ad Tech’s Got a Business Model Problem | Digiday - http://crowdspring.co/13ff6DP Should EBay Share Its Users' Data With Brands | Adweek - http://crowdspring.co/15su8ti Men and Hard-to-Reach Audiences Are Spending More Time Streaming Digital Video | Adweek - http://crowdspring.co/13fccPq Newspapers need to stop lying to themselves — and to advertisers — about their circulation - http://crowdspring.co/159NgMq 6 Interesting Facebook Tricks You Might Not Know | Search Engine Journal - http://crowdspring.co/102aq4p 25 Creative Adobe Illustrator and Vector Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/Zh4uj5 19 Nature Silhouettes Trees & Grass Brushes | PEPSized - http://crowdspring.co/ZwsJgO 10 Free Calligraphy Fonts to Download - http://crowdspring.co/Zh2h7g 25 Examples of Stylish and Creative Designed Wedding Invitations - http://crowdspring.co/10mKsUA 30 Highly Creative Business Cards For Inspiration | Top Design Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/10mKD2c 50+ Creative Advertising Print Ads | Grafix Designs - http://crowdspring.co/10PNxCK 10 brilliant poster designs - http://crowdspring.co/10mKCeR 40 Free Creative Handwriting Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/15napex Showcase Of Typography Prints - The Best New Ones - http://crowdspring.co/15natel 25 Most Beautiful Bird Photography examples and Tips for Photographers - http://crowdspring.co/16hfyV0 25 New Free Fonts For Flat Design - http://crowdspring.co/11SKwwF Making it Work: Flat Design and Color Trends | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/13Hha68 25 Creative Corporate Brochure Design examples for your Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/11VeZue 30 Creative Photo manipulations and Photoshop Special Effect Art Works - http://crowdspring.co/16hfuES 15 Beautiful and Awesome Examples of Portfolio Designs | Silky Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15srWSE 23 Best Examples of Creative Photo Manipulation Art - http://crowdspring.co/11Vf0OP Design isn't immune from jargon and bullshit. You can have some fun reading this site - http://crowdspring.co/ZNekwW 47 Top Typography Tools and Resources | Mashable - http://crowdspring.co/10uHsED 50 New High-Quality Free Fonts for Designers | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/15naU8n 30+ free design resources you don't want to miss | Inspired Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/11Vf5lx 40 Unusual and Brilliant Business card designs for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/16hfrJb 32+ Creative Invitation Designs for Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/18YtOih 50 Creative CV/Resume Design Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/16hfLYh 50 Remarkable Typefaces for Professional Design | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/10bjked 35 Free High Resolution Photoshop Fire Textures - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtJBL 40 Beautiful Flat Icons Design - http://crowdspring.co/11SKp4f Creative product packaging - http://crowdspring.co/10qSYAN 45 Creative And Fresh Packaging Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15naMpC Creative product designs #18 | Designskilz - http://crowdspring.co/11SKt3Y Legal Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/1ySfi Legal Contracts for Graphic Designers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/XTLkS Creative Showcase of Green Theme Logo Designs | Dzinepress - http://crowdspring.co/Zh4rE9 How To Redesign a Logo | iBrandStudio - http://crowdspring.co/13Hh6mS Creative Logos For Graphic Design Inspiration | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/13z2VAI 10 Free Calligraphy Fonts to Download - http://crowdspring.co/Zh2h7g 40 Free Creative Handwriting Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/15napex 50 New High-Quality Free Fonts for Designers | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/15naU8n Stunning Big Images in Web Design | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/10PNbfE Tips for Designing a Fabulous Ecommerce Website | Dezine Robotics - http://crowdspring.co/ZN3Mif Collection of Web Design Inspiration Showcase | Design Juices - http://crowdspring.co/10oqTKv Collection of Web Design Inspiration Showcase | Design Juices - http://crowdspring.co/15naSNW 30 Useful jQuery Tutorials – Designers Must Know - http://crowdspring.co/15naYoB 20 Beautiful Design-Heavy Websites | TechnoGerms - http://crowdspring.co/10PNFSO 50 Remarkable Typefaces for Professional Design | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/10bjked 30 New Amazing HTML5 Websites For Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/16hfDrM Showcase of Elegant Flat UI Design | Design District Auction - http://crowdspring.co/15naGOG Making it Work: Flat Design and Color Trends | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/13Hha68 How to Use Large Background Images to Improve User Experience - http://crowdspring.co/11xN4QL 50 Sites with Pastel/Washed-Out Color Schemes - http://crowdspring.co/15naEpZ Beautiful Fullscreen Websites For Your Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10q47TQ 35+ Flat Website Layouts for Design Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10mKkob 40 Beautiful Flat Icons Design - http://crowdspring.co/11SKp4f 11 Imaginative Toggle Switches | Enfuzed - http://crowdspring.co/Zh4lMw Designing Search: Displaying Results | UX Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/10PLDC6 Dashboards Inspiration For Mobile User Interfaces - 34 Examples - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtOFl Showcase of Minimalism in Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/11SKq8h App UI Design Inspirations - http://crowdspring.co/11SKrJB Designing Websites For Mobile Apps - Techniques And Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/18YtBvn "Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity." - http://crowdspring.co/ZCZaKH 30 Motion graphic videos inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/13Hirdl Which are some of the funniest, most clever advertisements? | Quora - http://crowdspring.co/10eHi8u Hospital Prices No Longer Secret As New Data Reveals Bewildering System, Staggering Cost Differences - http://crowdspring.co/18Zgyd6 Character is … http://crowdspring.co/173SMQF A great list of 20 things Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wishes he knew when he was 30 - http://crowdspring.co/15gp76M The Bad Lip-Reading Dead are so much more fun than The Walking Dead - http://crowdspring.co/ZMmvcI An Anti-Abuse Ad With A Secret Message Only Children Can See | TechCrunch - http://crowdspring.co/10mBFlH 15 Inspiring 3D animated TV commercials | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/10os3pa I hope you enjoy these links! Please leave a comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.
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_"The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been." - Henry Kissinger_ _“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker_ _"You have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy." - Steve Jobs_ Strong leadership without strong management can result in chaos and inefficiency. Strong management without strong leadership can result in tunnel vision and paralysis. Here's a wonderful short video in which Steve Jobs talks about managing people and his leadership style.
Related posts: * Leadership Is Not Management (but you need both) * Steve Jobs In His Own Words * Start-Up Tip: Leadership Is Not Management
Spring is here, which means opportunities for fresh air, bike rides, and sunshine will soon abound. The trees will bud and the masses will open their windows. It also means the return of wedding season and flowers popping up in people’s gardens. And nobody knows flowers better than this week’s Small Business Spotlight, Red Poppy Floral Design. Based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Red Poppy Floral Design specializes in wedding and special event floral arrangements. Owner and designer, Tracy, actually studied with Jane Packer Studio in London- they were the ones responsible for all the flowers at the Olympics! She continues to spread the love by teaching flower classes, including one coming up here. All of Tracy’s arrangements are hand-crafted and created in her home studio. Tracy talks a little bit more below about her blooming business: HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO TO SOMEBODY'S GRANDMOTHER? I design wedding and special event flowers in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I love designing bouquets with a twist of elegant, modern and outdoorsy feels. I focus mainly on weddings so I can take plenty of time working with each client to understand the feel they want and carefully designing each piece in the days beforehand. WHAT ARE SOME INDUSTRY SPECIFIC CHALLENGES YOU FACED? Wedding work is always under pressure, but I think that's part of the rush for me. Flowers are perishable and for Michigan summer weddings you have to try to keep them cool, and for winter weddings you have to keep them from freezing – there are a lot of logistics to consider beyond the designing! WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE/EXPERIENCE? The best learning experience has been working with other floral designers in Ann Arbor. When I moved here I wondered how the existing floral designers would feel about a new kid in town. But when I approached the three leading designers, they welcomed me with open arms and we've since created Bloom Florist Collective, where we teach floral design classes and we get together frequently for fun and to support each other in our businesses. I've learned a lot from these ladies – they are generous business owners and have created such a positive environment for creativity! WHAT MADE YOU USE CROWDSPRING? I wanted a logo that was unique and expressed Red Poppy's style and design, and also something that conveyed that our work emphasizes artistry and it's not a standard flower shop. But I didn't have a lot of words to express what I wanted, so the idea of being able to see lots of ideas and refine from there was perfect for me. I also really loved that I could work with so many different designers at once. I dreaded the idea of working with a designer and never really getting to what I wanted and then having to break up after they had worked hard for me. It was much easier to pick a design from a line-up than to pick a designer. I love my logo and I get so many compliments. My designer was incredible to work with - she provided me with many different color options at the end and was always so quick to answer questions or make adjustments to the design. WHAT'S THE CRAZIEST STORY YOU HAVE FROM STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS? This isn't that crazy, but kinda fun… I started in floral design quite by accident - I took a floral design class while living abroad in London, and I got hooked. After every class I would ride home on the bus with my creation and so many people would stop and smile or say hi, and it really brought home to me the joy that flowers bring to people - it created a social event! Fumbling around on the bus with armfuls of flowers was key part of my start in floral design. IF YOU COULD GO BACK, WOULD YOU DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY? IF SO, WHAT AND WHY? No, I don't think so. I'm always learning and changing and grateful for the experience HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR COMPANY GROWING IN THE FUTURE? I'm looking forward to growing some in the coming years, but not too much -- it's a very custom experience and design detail that makes Red Poppy special. SIX WORDS OF ADVICE TO THOSE LOOKING TO START THEIR OWN COMPANY. Work hard, enjoy it, be generous.
Related posts: * Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Stinglight Photography * Small Business Spotlight of the Week: D.I.Y. Wholesale Flowers * Small Business Spotlight of the Week: TripBucket
Back in 2011, we announced a monthly cS Award to honor quality work by designers and writers in the crowdSPRING community. THE MAY CS AWARD We're pretty excited for the May cS award. It's our first foray into video! So dust off your reel, brush up on your AfterEffects skills, and let's get ready to render. We're asking for :30 to :60 second clips from a favorite, existing motion design, visual effect or animation project. The submissions can be brand spanking new and created especially for this award or they can be a favorite existing clips for which you own the rights. Show us the fun, creative work you're most proud of. Show us WHY your clients love you. When you submit your clip, please include a small statement along with your submission that talks about what you like about the clip you chose and why it's special to you. We'll invite the world to vote on our favorite clips and the winner will get $1,000. So upload your best and favorite clip here. And please tell your friends! We're all looking forward to seeing your directorial debuts! AND NOW…. THE APRIL CS AWARD FINALISTS…. The April cS award offered 3 awards to Creatives that uploaded at least 5 new entries to their cS portfolio during the month of April. There are three awards for this little baby, but we were really blown away by all the participation and each and every one of the entries. We've made our top 5 picks below and now it's your turn to leave comments, votes, and endorsements in the comment section of this blog post. We will take all remarks into account and choose winners in the next few days. And now a quick overview of our finalists (presented in no particular order): The First finalist is satyagumilang. Satya comes to us from Indonesia and has over 14 years of IT and website development experience. They like to focus on excellency and great experience. We're happy to have you on board! The second finalist is BlackCatDesign. Black Cat Design is based in Athens, Greece and actually teaches graphic design, typography, and multimedia design. Three cheers for shaping the youth of this world! You can find our third finalist bildix's portfolio here. Bildix is based in the United States and has a whopping 50 winning entries! Congrats on being a finalist for the May cS award! PixelWhipped is our fourth finalist. PixelWhipped has been on crowdSRPING since 2011. They specialize in logo design and naming projects. And finally, our fifth finalist is ag16design. Check out their portfolio here. Ag16design is none other than Andrea Gondi who comes to us from Serbia with a background as a freelance graphic designer. She's been a member since 2011 and has been awarded 9 projects. Thank you to everyone who participated in the April cS awards. We appreciated all your hard work and wonderful entries. Now, please help us figure out who has the best portfolio, among the five finalists. Who do you think most deserves the award and why? What do you love about their portfolio? Leave a comment in response to this post and let us know.
Related posts: * The April cS Award and the March cS Award Winners! * The May cS Award and the April cS Award Winner * The April cS Award and the March cS Award Winner
It has been some time since I last discussed business plans in these blog pages and I thought it might be time for an update. When Ross and I were developing the idea for crowdSPRING we wrote an extensive business plan – over 80 pages of detailed description, research, tables, charts, models, and projections. The very process of writing the plan was an integral part of developing the business: we were building ideas and analyzing the research we had been collecting for months and we were synthesizing it into a single document to be shared with investors and advisors; it was a roadmap for a new concept and a new business. When I look back at that time, I question whether writing that plan was really the best approach for us. Not that the process itself didn't actually help us to get the business of the ground and not that the document lacked value. Rather, I question whether we made the best use of time (around 2 months) and capacity (literally hundreds of hours between the two of us)? If I were to have a do-over, I would approach the process differently. Don't get me wrong, I would have still completed the extensive research on the market that we did, but instead of running endless projections and building incredibly detailed financial models, I would devote that time to prototyping the product. Instead of creating an 80 page document, I would create a 20-slide presentation. Instead of a detailed marketing plan, I would start with a list of 10 tactics to experiment with in small batches. And instead of creating (on paper) a fairly complex product, I would have pushed to launch with a very simple version to build on going forward. Business _planning_ is critical: you can not develop a new business or a new product without a deep understanding of the demand, the competition, and the overall market, but it can be done with a leaner approach that emphasizes small batch experimentation, fast iterative cycles, and modest funding rounds to arrive at a plan for your business that can get to market quickly and with fewer resources. The message to your investors? Let's take a great idea and start learning how it works "in the wild" instead of spending weeks or months writing about it and talking about it. _Photo by: Ryan Hyde_
Related posts: * 10 thoughts for small businesses and startups: how to write a great business plan * Business plans for entrepreneurs: the three 'Rs' - Part I * Lean Marketing tips: not-for-profit edition
Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week! The image above shows how different colors impact people's emotions. There's a science to marketing, and colors play a big role in helping to persuade. For the full post, look in the Social Media & Marketing section below. Small Business Marketing Guide: Types of Traditional and Online Marketing - http://crowdspring.co/10VnaeI Five Branding Mistakes That Will Cripple Your Small Business (and how to avoid making them) - http://crowdspring.co/11CaeWD How Customer Service Impacts The Success Of Your Business - http://crowdspring.co/10uNO6J How To Attract Customers And Not Waste Your Marketing Budget - http://crowdspring.co/15RhuD5 Why is Facebook blue? The science of colors in marketing | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15WzlbY Empower Your Small Business: Small Business Marketing Guide, Branding Mistakes, Not Wasting Your Marketing Budget - http://crowdspring.co/11CYHpA Can you put a dollar value on a Facebook fan? Should you? | by Gene Marks - http://crowdspring.co/11qVvgP As Pay-Per-Click Ad Costs Rise, Small Businesses Search for Alternatives | NYT - http://crowdspring.co/11DfAR6 Attract Customers Who Want to Buy: 7 Ways - http://crowdspring.co/ZpBTvH 10 mistakes startups make when talking to users - http://crowdspring.co/10m2LIs Steve Jobs was hyper-curious and willing to fail. Here's what you can learn from him - http://crowdspring.co/11qUrtd Avoiding Burnout | by Andrew Dumont - http://crowdspring.co/10WvdrD How Customer Service Impacts The Success Of Your Business - http://crowdspring.co/10uNO6J 3 Actions That Will Make You a Terrible Leader - http://crowdspring.co/11qUzZR How to Raise Money When You’re Not in a Major VC Market | by Mark Suster - http://crowdspring.co/ZcAkxq The Best Business Ideas Come When You Least Expect It | WSJ by Brad Keywell - http://crowdspring.co/11DfOaL How To Attract Customers And Not Waste Your Marketing Budget - http://crowdspring.co/15RhuD5 Meet 31 year old Ashish Thakkar – Africa’s Youngest Billionaire - http://crowdspring.co/11qVlWE Hunger Beats Complacency. Almost Every Time. | Technori by Melissa Joykong - http://crowdspring.co/10S91ix "Many VCs don’t understand which founders to fund, and they don’t really understand consumer-facing ecommerce." - http://crowdspring.co/ZIj9IN 10 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From High School Seniors - http://crowdspring.co/11xBEwN Risk Aversion Is More Common In Entrepreneurs Than You Think | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/ZAx3eW Well, He's Not Going to Get Very Far - http://crowdspring.co/13Nplhl Peter Thiel: Twitter will outlast the New York Times - http://crowdspring.co/ZAvApa What a stupid idea - http://crowdspring.co/ZSTKfA 10 mistakes startups make when talking to users - http://crowdspring.co/10m2LIs 3 Start-ups out to Change the Publishing Industry - http://crowdspring.co/13Ke4y7 Specialization Provides Online And Offline Growth Opportunities | Forbes - http://crowdspring.co/10SEZLp Mailbox’s Gentry Underwood: What Hackers Should Know About Design Thinking | Co.Labs - http://crowdspring.co/ZdnkHZ Why More Is Not Always Better - http://crowdspring.co/10M6u9D Well written Google Glass review from Engadget - http://crowdspring.co/ZkLpwq "The absence of candor is the single largest roadblock keeping companies from being effective." - http://crowdspring.co/ZHXtwm A Guide for VC's When Talking to Women Entrepreneurs | Huffington Post - http://crowdspring.co/10lNQ0R "Google Glass is designed by engineers who clearly don't understand interpersonal interactions" http://crowdspring.co/10m2DIW Attract Customers Who Want to Buy: 7 Ways - http://crowdspring.co/ZpBTvH What Would Ashton Do—and Does It Matter? | HBR - http://crowdspring.co/ZWYxMY Why is Facebook blue? The science of colors in marketing | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15WzlbY The Louis C.K. Guide to Online Marketing | Digiday by Jack Marshall - http://crowdspring.co/ZxYiXH The Complete Guide to Reconversion | SEOmoz - http://crowdspring.co/ZAxiqt Eight Silly Data Things Marketing People Believe That Get Them Fired - http://crowdspring.co/10q384y Attract Customers Who Want to Buy: 7 Ways - http://crowdspring.co/ZpBTvH Six Ways to Separate Lies From Statistics | Bloomberg - http://crowdspring.co/1028oBl People who make lots of money from click based advertising are trying to play down the value of clicks - http://crowdspring.co/10Wv1J0 Lady Gaga’s Manager Troy Carter Says Celebrities Can’t Add Rocket Fuel To A Bad Product | TechCrunch - http://crowdspring.co/13KdVuF Small Business Marketing Guide: Types of Traditional and Online Marketing - http://crowdspring.co/10VnaeI Creative Advertising Campaigns | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/13Hg0aG Marketers are learning how to interrupt us everywhere. Not cool - http://crowdspring.co/13JhFfT 10 Little-Known Apps That Entrepreneurs Can’t Live Without | Fast Company by
@LEOWID - http://crowdspring.co/13QqynZ
What Would Ashton Do—and Does It Matter? | HBR - http://crowdspring.co/ZWYxMY
Bing: More Than 50% Of Searchers Click The First Result; 75% Click On Deep Links Result - http://crowdspring.co/Zh1YJM
"The absence of candor is the single largest roadblock keeping companies from being effective." - http://crowdspring.co/ZHXtwm
No wonder Brands have a tough time making social work for them. Too many have fake followers, not real customers - http://crowdspring.co/ZTcshy
Why is Facebook blue? The science of colors in marketing | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/15WzlbY
25+ Fresh Adobe in Desgin tutorials | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/15zXTao
15+ Useful Photoshop CS6 Tutorials for Designers - http://crowdspring.co/10OayGa
30+ Photoshop CS6 Tutorials For Designers | TechnoGerms - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtIh5
40 Free Creative Handwriting Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtJ4H
A Showcase of Creative Album Artwork | GraphicMania - http://crowdspring.co/10nlZ06
20+ Essential Design Tutorials for Professional Designers | StyleBizz - http://crowdspring.co/Zh4nEh
10 brilliant poster designs - http://crowdspring.co/11xM4fn
12 Questions: Meet Moisés Ferreira (Brazil) - http://crowdspring.co/10Wlf9W
30 Useful jQuery Tutorials – Designers Must Know – http://crowdspring.co/Zh2lnD
28 Fresh Free Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/Zwt4Ah
Flat UI Design – Rejuvenating the Look of Electronic Devices–Articles | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/Zh2mYS
30 Gorgeous iPhone App Interfaces - http://crowdspring.co/Zh48Jm
The 2013 Creative Employment Snapshot - http://crowdspring.co/10oqsjb
Creative Advertising Campaigns | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/13Hg0aG
25 Fresh Vector and Illustrator Tutorials | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/11xNHtx
50 New High-Quality Free Fonts for Designers | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/ZwsHpb
80 Inspirational Design Portfolios to Bump Up Your Creativity - http://crowdspring.co/ZwszGo
The Importance Of Good Business Card Design With Examples - http://crowdspring.co/Zwt0jR
How To Maintain Hierarchy Through Content Choreography | Smashing Magazine - http://crowdspring.co/Zh2kA4
Improve Your Typography: Over 100 Tips from 12 Top Resources - http://crowdspring.co/11wC6Lg
20 High-Quality Grid Textures - http://crowdspring.co/11wBXaW
30+ Fresh and free fonts for designers | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/10PNJlF
Extraordinary photography inspiration | Designskilz - http://crowdspring.co/13Hgei9
35 Fresh Brand Identity Business Card Designs - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtSVO
Creative Product Designs that are sure to win appreciation | DezineGuide - http://crowdspring.co/15zXNQ5
17 Beautiful Product Designs | Designskilz - http://crowdspring.co/10PNuaj
An excellent collection of web tools for writers! - http://bit.ly/Yb4JyT
Top 50 Animation Movie Character Designs of All Time - http://crowdspring.co/10PNzL3
20 Beautiful 3D Short films TV Commercials and Motion Graphics videos - http://crowdspring.co/10PMkLI
Legal Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/1ySfi
Legal Contracts for Graphic Designers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/XTLkS
30+ Fresh and free fonts for designers | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/10PNJlF
20 great sports logos for inspiration | Design Reviver - http://crowdspring.co/Zh1L9p
50 New High-Quality Free Fonts for Designers | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/ZwsHpb
12 Examples of Construction Logo Designs - http://crowdspring.co/10or3Bt
28 Fresh Free Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/Zwt4Ah
40 Creative Eye Logo Design examples for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/ZN3J61
50+ Excellent Examples Of Circular Logos-Inspiration | TechnoGerms - http://crowdspring.co/ZN2JyR
40 Free Creative Handwriting Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtJ4H
30 Outstanding Web Designs with Big Background Photos | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/YFWqrS
Tools and Resources to Speed up your Web Design Workflow - http://crowdspring.co/11wBW6S
User Experience (UX) Principles and Best Practices | InstantShift - http://crowdspring.co/10nlX8F
Retina Web Design - Info, Tools And Techniques - http://crowdspring.co/13HgiOO
20 Most Beautiful Pink Colored Websites of All Time - http://crowdspring.co/10PNO91
21 Examples of Pricing Pages in Web Design - http://crowdspring.co/ZwtQNu
30 Useful CSS Tutorials – Designers Need to Know - http://crowdspring.co/Zh46Bl
How to create a great ‘about’ page | Webdesigner Depot - http://crowdspring.co/10PNsiu
35 Website Layouts using Flat Design Techniques | SpyreStudios - http://crowdspring.co/Zwt43e
35 Website Layouts using Flat Design Techniques | SpyreStudios - http://crowdspring.co/10os2Sl
20 Beautiful Login Page/Form Designs Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/10PNN4M
30 Useful jQuery Tutorials – Designers Must Know – http://crowdspring.co/Zh2lnD
20 Best Wireframing Tools for Web Designers and Developers - http://crowdspring.co/Zh49x5
35+ Examples Of Typography In Web Design | TechnoGerms - http://crowdspring.co/ZN2Nyt
20+ typographically engaging websites with large type - http://crowdspring.co/10PMgMa
Large Photo Background in Web Design – 45 Beautiful Examples - http://crowdspring.co/10PNAi9
25 Free and Best Android SDK Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/10OavtW
30 Gorgeous iPhone App Interfaces - http://crowdspring.co/Zh48Jm
Retina Web Design - Info, Tools And Techniques - http://crowdspring.co/13HgiOO
The secrets of body language: why you should never cross your arms again | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/Zxavex
Want To Be More Productive? Don’t Use Your Alarm Clock’s Snooze Button | crowdSPRING Blog - http://crowdspring.co/11Eo36U
"Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity." - http://crowdspring.co/ZCZaKD
"Around the world almost 300m 15- to 24-year-olds are not working." | The Economist - http://crowdspring.co/ZHTLTB
Reputation and Community | crowdSPRING Blog - http://crowdspring.co/ZvQ3LF
Eat your spoon with your meal! Such a great idea to solve so many problems at the same time - http://crowdspring.co/ZXsJSt
A 75-Year Harvard Study Finds What It Takes To Live A Happy Life - http://crowdspring.co/ZXsqay
Cultural differences in how you talk and look at your baby - http://crowdspring.co/18fpxJI
6 Interesting Facebook Tricks You Might Not Know | Search Engine Journal - http://crowdspring.co/102aq4n
10 Little Habits that Steal Your Happiness - http://crowdspring.co/15GZOKF
10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/11C7MAw
Want to Be Happier? Stop Doing These 10 Things Right Now - http://crowdspring.co/11H75F4
I hope you enjoy these links! Please leave a comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.
Related posts: * Twitter Link Roundup #172 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More * Twitter Link Roundup #174 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More * Twitter Link Roundup #176 – Small Business, Startups, Innovation, Social Media, Design, Marketing and More
What your customers and potential customers say publicly about your company's products and services matters a great deal. In a few minutes, we'll give you three good tips on how you can improve your customers' experience when they deal with your customer service team. But first, let's take a quick look at why you should invest in customer service. According to a survey conducted by Dimensional Research and Zendesk, 90 percent of respondents said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions and a nearly identical number - 86 percent - said that their buying decisions were influenced by negative online reviews. Facebook was the leading source for positive reviews (see graph below). Online review sites were the most common source of negative reviews, but also a good source for positive reviews. Does your company show customer reviews on your site? Have customers reviewed your company on other sites? To give you an example, we show crowdSPRING reviews from customers on our own site, but we're also very proud of the reviews crowdSPRING has received from customers on the independent reviews site, ResellerRatings. Here's why you should care about delivering great customer service: CUSTOMER SERVICE RANKS AS THE TOP FACTOR INFLUENCING HOW MUCH A CUSTOMER TRUSTS A COMPANY. When you're nice to your customers - they're nice to you. HERE ARE THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO LEAVE YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH MORE POSITIVE IMPRESSIONS. 1. ONE CUSTOMER SERVICE AGENT SHOULD "OWN" THE CONVERSATION. People are often very frustrated when they are passed from one customer service agent to another. Very quickly, they conclude that nobody will help them. They also become frustrated when they must explain the problem to each new customer service agent. 72% of survey respondents, for example, blamed their bad customer service experience on having to explain their problem to multiple people. It's always best, when possible, to have one agent "own" the conversation with the customer. Involve other people if you must, but allow the lead person to always communicate with the customer. 2. SET EXPECTATIONS AT THE START. Customers get very frustrated when their problem takes too long to resolve. In most cases, the frustration stems from confusion and an expectation that the problem would be resolved quickly. If you know that a particular problem is difficult and cannot be quickly resolved, let the customer know it will take a few days to resolve the problem and that you will update them along the way. And do everything you can to provide a temporary solution for the customer. We ask our team to update customers on a daily basis to let them know about progress on a specific issue (whenever we cannot fix the issue right away). 3. RESOLVE PROBLEMS QUICKLY. 69% of survey respondents attributed their good customer service experience to a quick resolution of their problem. Obviously, you must understand your customer service data to be able to assess how quickly you're answering your customers. Here's a good place to start: Small Business and Startups: Slice & Dice Your Customer Service Data. Do you have other tips on what business owners can do to leave customers with more positive impressions when dealing with customer service teams?
Related posts: * Is The Only Purpose of Customer Service To Change Feelings? * 5 Tips: What Being an Angry Customer Has Taught Me About Great Customer Service * Small Business and Startups: 3 Essentials for Customer Service
Many small business owners and young entrepreneurs are intimidated by marketing. There's a good reason for this: marketing is expensive, can be time-consuming, and can be a waste of time. But marketing, when planned and executed correctly, can also lead to more sales and revenue. Whether you plan and execute traditional and online marketing strategies yourself, or pay consultants or vendors to help you, it's important for you to understand the types of marketing available to you. Today, we take a look at online and traditional marketing. We'll look at relevant metrics to help you assess whether a specific marketing channel could work for you, and also highlight additional resources to help you get a better understanding of that channel. ONLINE MARKETING Online marketing relies on strategies that leverage the Internet and mobile devices. In many cases, the goal of online marketing (especially for small businesses), is to directly increase sales by targeting potential customers using different online channels. SEARCH ENGINE MARKETING Search engine marketing focuses on promotion through search engines (Google, Bing). There are two distinct forms of search engine marketing: organic (search engine optimization or SEO) and paid (pay-per-click or PPC). SEO focuses on optimizing the site to increase the site's ranking in search engine results (SERPs) so that more customers will click on the results and visit the company's site. PPC focuses on buying ads to make a company's link more visible in search enginers (especially when a company doesn't have a very good organic rank). To learn more about SEO and PPC marketing, read 10 Practical Small Business SEO and SEM Marketing Tips. DISPLAY ADS You've probably seen tens of thousands of banner ads and have learned to ignore them. Your customers have also learned to ignore those ads. Studies show that people do not trust display ads. There's a good reason for that: people have short attention spans and do not like to be interrupted. EMAIL MARKETING This type of marketing involves delivering content and promotional offers to customers through email. Effective email marketing requires good design and optimization. It also requires you to pay attention to how people consume email. For example, there are some very good guides on the best times and days to send emails for opens and click-throughs. But the data is not universally applicable to all businesses. Some businesses will find that sending email at times we wouldn't normally consider - such as at night - is better. INBOUND MARKETING Inbound marketing involves the creation of content designed to appeal to your prospective customers and building relationships with those customers (driven initially by great content) to keep them coming back for more. It also involves strategies for converting those potential customers into actual customers. Inbound marketing is multi-channel - it's designed to reach people wherever they want to interact with you and your business. Examples of inbound marketing include blogs, podcasts, ebooks, newsletters, whitepapers, and videos. People's dissatisfaction with advertising helps to explain why inbound marketing is gaining popularity. To learn a bit more about inbound marketing, read 10 Inbound Discoveries That Will Disrupt Marketing Forever. SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Social media marketing attempts to leverage the power of social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and others) to promote a product or service. These efforts can be paid (buying ads on those networks) or free (engaging and sharing great content). Social media marketing can be a great waste of time because it's not for all businesses and requires careful planning and execution. But, small businesses are spending more and more money on social media marketing. There's a good reason - potential customers are more likely to buy a company's products or services if they follow that company on Twitter or are a fan on Facebook. For a good look at tools that can help your social media marketing efforts, read Best Social Media Tools For Your Small Business. CONTENT MARKETING You've probably been hearing a great deal about content marketing. In many ways, content marketing is similar to inbound marketing because both involve the creation of great content. But inbound marketing is a more rounded approach because it also includes the strategies for what companies should do after they share the content. If you're looking for tips on creating compelling, useful content that can help grow your business, I recommend you read How To Grow Your Business With Content Marketing. AFFILIATE MARKETING Affiliate marketing is a type of referral marketing. It leverages others to help promote your company's products and services. For example, we have an affiliate program at crowdSPRING that rewards others for sending business to us. Affiliate marketing is performance based marketing: the affiliates are rewarded for each visitor or customer they bring to a business. MOBILE MARKETING Mobile marketing involves reaching customers through mobile devices. Marketing to mobile devices can include text messages, multimedia messages (MMS), push notifications, in-game marketing, QR codes, and other strategies. Given the widespread adoption of mobile phones, the future of mobile marketing looks very bright. To learn more about mobile marketing, take a look at this slideshare presentation offering 50 stats on the future of mobile marketing. TRADITIONAL MARKETING Traditional marketing relies on offline strategies, including direct sales, direct mail (postcards, brochures, letters, fliers), tradeshows, print advertising (magazines, newspapers, coupon books, billboards), referral (also known as word-of-mouth marketing), radio, and television. In most cases, the goal of traditional marketing is to create brand awareness. Although opinions about traditional marketing vary, a large number of marketers, especially in the B2B (business to business) space don't believe that traditional marketing is effective. For example, in a recent survey, just 4% of respondents rated leads generated from print, radio and TV ads as high quality. DIRECT SALES Direct sales involves the marketing and sale of products and services directly to consumers, but not from a fixed retail location. Often, direct sales are done at the prospective customers homes or at their jobs, but direct sales can also be done over the phone. DIRECT MAIL Direct mail marketing creates awareness of a product or service through postcards, letters, fliers, brochures and other printed pieces sent through the mail. This type of marketing is targeted to a specific group of people. For example, a local flower shop could send postcards to people living within 5 miles of its store. Direct mail marketing can be expensive: a business must pay for the design and printing costs to send the direct mail pieces, as well as the postage. TRADESHOWS Tradeshows continue to be a popular marketing channel for many businesses. For example, in the B2B space, attendees at tradeshows are 34 percent more likely to make a purchase than people who hear about a product through other channels. PRINT Print marketing creates awareness of a product or service through ads in a newspaper, magazine, the Yellow Pages, billboards, etc. Print marketing can be targets (such as a local Yellow Page ad) or can be broad (an ad in a national magazine or newspaper). Print marketing is expensive (see chart below). But while consumers today dislike ads, those who enjoy looking at ads prefer, by a wide margin, ads in print magazines. REFERRAL Referral marketing (also known as word-of-mouth marketing), leverages your existing customers to advocate for your business. It typically costs little to execute (some businesses provide referral payments to customers who bring in other customers). BROADCAST Although few small businesses rely on television and radio advertising to reach their target audience, some try (often without much success). At the tail end of the stock market bubble in 2000, Pets.com, a young startup with a half-baked business model, spent millions of dollars on a Superbowl ad - featuring a sock puppet. The company folded shortly after the ad aired. Do you have any marketing types that you think we should add to this list or a question? We'd love to hear from you in the comments.
Related posts: * 5 Tips To Get Your Small Business Online * Online marketing for Startups: back to basics - p+p+p+p * The Small Business Content Marketing Paradox
_In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice._ We’re very proud to feature Moisés Ferreira (crowdSPRING username: moisesf ) today. Moisés lives and works in Brazil. 1. PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. Hello friends from all over the world. It is a pleasure to share a little more ab__out me. I'm an artist, interior designer, graphic designer and musician. I live in a very quiet town, but it was not always so. I spent the longest time of my life in a big city called São Paulo, in terms of comparison, we can compare it with New York. I had a busy life and did many things at once. Working as a web designer, artist, designer events and still enjoying myself. One day I was visiting a small town in the state of Parana, called Ponta Grossa, where my parents had moved a little time. I was charmed by the city, the people and the climate. I could walk through it with ease and come and go from one place to another very quickly. I worked twenty-five kilometers from the center of São Paulo and took about two hours to arrive. Now go through my town in ten minutes. I have considered that it could work online and earn a living in a more peaceful place, even earning less. Eleven years ago now that I'm here and do not intend to leave. In the meantime the world of technology has changed a lot and I could relate to people around the world and with great speed, but because of my age, some ports work closed. When a relative of mine who lives in the USA showed me the possibility of working in the cloud, introducing me to crowdSPRING, I signed up immediately. I will not lie, at first it was very difficult. I thought it was going to bulldoze, but actually I have to relearn and change my concepts for introducing me to this world. Designing for the world is different from designing for a particular group. Today caught my initial drawings and see how much I learned. The work in the cloud opened a new world of possibilities and learning, where else could find it all? I found on crowdSPRING. 2. HOW DID YOU BECOME INTERESTED IN DESIGN? I am interested in drawing since my childhood. I had many problems with my teachers, because my books had pictures everywhere. Nevertheless I always had good grades, but my notebooks may not be used .. rssss I got to do cartoon, paint pictures and draw booths for events, with booths for events has to earn well. After this phase started for digital design, I had a shock initially. How can I turn my graphite drawings in digital design? While this was not possible because there were no programs vector in my power, I dedicated myself to programming and web. Only with the release of vector programs I resumed the dream of making digital drawings, which do today. Not only do logos, I also do digital frames, two of them left the sample at this address: http://mfdigitalarte.blogspot.com.br/ 3. WHICH OF YOUR DESIGNS ARE YOUR FAVORITES AND WHY? I have two drawings in my portfolio that pretty much sums up what I like to draw, and I am pleased to show everyone. 1) http://www.crowdspring.com/portfolio/moisesf/logo-design/item/2405039_fruits/ 2) http://www.crowdspring.com/portfolio/moisesf/logo-design/item/2409369_character/ I realized that often make mistakes in interpretation and draw out the concept that is expected by the customer. You may wonder: The design is very good, where I went wrong? I'm pretty sure we err on the concept. Beautiful designs, but for the wrong project. Today I am less anxious when developing and seek a better balance. 4. WHO/WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST INFLUENCES ON YOUR DESIGN WORK? Initially in my teens I was influenced by cartoonists as a large Brazilian named Ziraldo, he does not know me, but I always admired his work. I was a student in arts and admirer of Speltri, a great artist from São Paulo, it is easy to recognize this in my artwork, posted here: http://www.flickriver.com/photos/mfgalery/sets/72157626251844766/ And all this took me to the digital drawing, I'm still adjusting. 5. HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH IDEAS FOR CONCEPTS AFTER YOU READ A BUYER'S CREATIVE BRIEF? After reading the briefing, I have to make sure the product that the company is selling and what the target audience, what impact they may have on the market and what the customer expects, (product, public impact and client). Very, very important is to describe what his art is the context. But what really helps me in my work is the following sentence: "Less is more". I have to concentrate on it, breathe, eat, and think this sentence. Sometimes we sin in creating great works …. 6. MAC OR PC? Use a PC i7 with 700GB HD and 8GB memory. Initially design everything on paper, pencil or pen. After photographing or scanning and do the vectorization work manually. Rarely do directly on your PC. Often when I vetoctorize the idea, it is not as good as on paper, then do it all over again, and this often happens. My favorites softwares are: CorelDraw and Adobe Illustrator. 7. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM DESIGN PROJECT? I don't have a project in particular, but my dream is to be able to meet the demand and the large differences found in the world, such as customs, traditions and language. Why is this so fascinating draw for the world, because all these things have their weight. 8. HOW DO YOU PROMOTE YOUR WORK? I promote my work through my portfolio on crowdSPRING , on my website http://moisesferreira.tk, and social tools. But the biggest promoter is the client himself. That is indisputable. 9. PLEASE DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WORK DAY. I don't wake up early because I have to draw during the night because of the world several times. I spend my afternoon between my garden and my PC, I have attached two photos. I have orange, tangerine, lettuce, cabbage, zucchini, pumpkin, all planted by ourselves. Detail, many, many birds, but what prevails is the thrush. 10. WHAT IS THE DEIGN INDUSTRY LIKE IN BRAZIL? Ninety percent of my work is focused on the outside, because I have faster response and compensation is also higher. Gradually I'm re-entering the market but backstop worth of pay. Sure, we design and passion for blood, but we need to pay the bills. I hope that in the near future before the quality is everything. 11. IF YOU WEREN’T DESIGNING, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING? When I was out of crowdSPRING, was performing my art exhibitions: http://moisesferreira.tk, but it was not helping much, as living art in Brazil is very difficult. Reeducate myself in the drawing area and devote myself to logos, was and is my lifeline. I am looking to learn more and more, to provide a good job. 12. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME? My free time … rsss I spend the whole day with my wife, we work alongside one another, she has a blog: www.petiscoserabiscos.com.br. On my day off I do breads, pizzas, take care of my garden and mainly give attention to my dogs. (See photo.) _____________________________ Obrigado Moisés!
Related posts: * 12 Questions: Meet Catherine Faletanoai (New Zealand) * 12 Questions: Meet Roman Faiman - Northridge, CA (USA) * 12 Questions: Meet Xavier (Spain)
A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about building relationships with your customers that are based on trust, loyalty, transparency, integrity, and honesty. While writing the post, I had in mind a project we have been working on at crowdSPRING for well over a year now. The team is really excited that in the next couple of weeks crowdSPRING will be introducing a new site-wide reputation system and a reputation 'score' for every user on the site. You will see this score on each user's profile as well as in the hover-over window which opens above each username in a project gallery or on out Creative Browse page. We believe that having reputation scores for every user will allow Buyers to quickly identify the very best members of our community and will allow Creatives to better choose which Buyers they wish to work with – in other words, one of the goals of our reputation system is to allow users to differentiate themselves from the crowd. A reputation system is, by its nature, simply a way to rank a website's users; it provides instant and reliable feedback to community members and lets them know how they stack up against others in the community. The crowdSPRING system is not intended to spur competition, but rather is designed to encourage the very best work and the best behavior. We are implementing it to help our Creatives improve as working professionals, but also to influence Buyers to write better briefs and give higher quality feedback in their projects in order to attract the very best participants. The cS reputation system is built on the reams of raw data that a site like ours generates. It takes into account hundreds of data points on every user on the site, with the primary objective of promoting and rewarding high quality creative work, but also to incentivize participation, encourage positive behavior, build loyalty, and nurture community within a diverse group of artists, designers, and writers from around the world. The system is built on a complex formula that looks at everything from how long a user has been on the site, to the number of projects they participate in, to the scores they receive from Buyers on their entries to projects. Any user can improve their score over time by focusing on the broad reputation "categories" we use to assign scores; while we can't share the secret sauce that is the our new reputation algorithm, here are some of the key elements that underly the system and which will directly impact your own reputation score: * QUALITY: the system takes into account data about your entries to projects. What scores did they receive from Buyers? How many projects have they won? How many Tips have they received? Have they been invited to 1-to-1 projects? These are the elements of quality and the Creatives who consistently submit the very best work will be rewarded with high scores in this category. * PARTICIPATION: this is pretty simple really; the more projects that you participate in or, for Buyers, the more projects you post, the more points you will receive in this category. Users who have participated in lots of projects in the past will receive a higher score in this category, and users who currently are participating in many projects will have that reflected in their score, too. * LOYALTY: your reputation score also reflects your dedication to the community – at least as measured by how long you have been registered on cS, how active you are over time, and how often you come to visit the site. This category includes Portfolio data as we also believe that sharing your work with other community members exhibits loyalty to them. * COMMUNITY: speaking of community, the system also takes into account your participation in certain projects and activities as well as how active you are in reporting problems and making suggestions. For instance, active participation in Give Back projects, monthly cS Award projects, and our user Forums will help your reputation score over time. You can also help your acore in this category by reporting problem briefs and helping us keep an eye out for violations of IP policies or other bad behavior. * BEHAVIOR: can be positive or negative and your score will be impacted by how you conduct yourself on the site. For instance, being found guilty of concept-copying or other IP violations will lead to a meaningful loss of reputation points as will frivolously accusing other users of IP violations. But being a kind person, helping out the cS customer service folks, or simply sharing your own expertise with the community will gain you reputation points as well. Every new user on the site will automatically be given a score of 70 reputation points on our scale of 0-100. 70 is a nice, slightly-better-than-average score and new users will see that score rise or fall based on their own work habits, their level of participation, their citizenship, and the quality of their work as they become valuable contributing members of the community. Algorithm animation: _LynX_, _via Wikimedia Commons_
Related posts: * The October cS Award and The September cS Award Winner * Small Business and Startups: Cultivate Trust and Nurture Loyalty * Announcing The Very First cS Award!
Every day on the crowdSPRING Twitter account and on my own Twitter account, I post links to posts or videos I enjoyed reading or viewing. These posts and videos are about logo design, web design, startups, entrepreneurship, small business, leadership, social media, marketing, and more! Here are some of the links that I’ve liked and shared this past week! The image above shows a creative social awareness print ad (encouraging people to give up smoking). More social awareness print ads in the Social Media & Marketing section below. How To Attract Customers And Not Waste Your Marketing Budget - http://crowdspring.co/ZQRD6f The Growing Power of Women in Business | by Daniel Burrus - http://crowdspring.co/15GZxrl Five Branding Mistakes That Will Cripple Your Small Business (and how to avoid making them) - http://crowdspring.co/11CaeWD Empower Your Small Business: trust & loyalty, marketing insight, lean business - http://crowdspring.co/ZofxK9 Always use data, not feelings, to make business decisions - http://crowdspring.co/17mxpaO 3 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing a Cofounder - http://crowdspring.co/1783TFH "When you focus on a smaller, more connected group, it's far easier to make an impact." - http://crowdspring.co/11H5NKc Does Does Your Brand Have Digital Laryngitis? Don’t Lose Your Brand’s Voice in the Online World - http://crowdspring.co/15JPbqy Don't Use Social to Generate Sales; Make Selling Social | Advertising Age - http://crowdspring.co/ZJlbmt What is the best time to send email campaigns? Great data - http://crowdspring.co/ZiEc4B The secrets of body language: why you should never cross your arms again | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/Zxavex How To Attract Customers And Not Waste Your Marketing Budget - http://crowdspring.co/ZQRD6f If there's one video 1st time founders should watch to understand VC financing it's this one - http://crowdspring.co/14QjL2j 3 Biggest Mistakes When Choosing a Cofounder - http://crowdspring.co/1783TFH Five Branding Mistakes That Will Cripple Your Small Business (and how to avoid making them) - http://crowdspring.co/11CaeWD Activity Based Pricing: When Is It The Right Choice for Your Startup? - http://crowdspring.co/YSpqwN 5 Hiring Mistakes That Can Crush Your Company's Culture - http://crowdspring.co/ZlEpmv A Rake Too Far: Optimal Platform Pricing Strategy - http://crowdspring.co/Z9JH4A "So many folks in the venture capital business are sheep that just want to follow the herd. " | by Fred Wilson - http://crowdspring.co/15JP5iJ Does Does Your Brand Have Digital Laryngitis? Don’t Lose Your Brand’s Voice in the Online World - http://crowdspring.co/15JPbqy Lessons Learned from Connected | by Sachin Rekhi - http://crowdspring.co/11Fl8w2 Don't Use Social to Generate Sales; Make Selling Social | Advertising Age - http://crowdspring.co/ZJlbmt What is the best time to send email campaigns? Great data - http://crowdspring.co/ZiEc4B Always use data, not feelings, to make business decisions - http://crowdspring.co/17mxpaO "First Be Inspired" -http://buff.ly/15CQvvg The Growing Power of Women in Business | by Daniel Burrus - http://crowdspring.co/15GZxrl The Only Thing Apple Really Sells | Gizmodo - http://crowdspring.co/YLhGfW 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2013 | MIT Technology Review - http://crowdspring.co/14N7U4U Why developers are leaving the Facebook platform | by Andrew Chen - http://crowdspring.co/ZgKosQ Things I Learned About Life and Entrepreneurship While Learning How to Shoot with a Bow - http://crowdspring.co/14P3men An Interview with Marc Andreessen - http://buff.ly/15EH2mW Job Titles Aren't That Important | Matt Ferguson-Harvard Business Review - http://crowdspring.co/14StDIJ "Merely giving the people what they want is a shortcut to banality, mediocrity and invisibility." - http://crowdspring.co/Ziq624 Don’t let Silicon Valley fool you—millenials are the least entrepreneurial generation | Quartz - http://crowdspring.co/15AKqiA Downfalls of Distributed Startups - http://crowdspring.co/Zgz6om Q1 Venture Capital Spending & Number Of Deals Down, M&A Activity Drops 44 Percent And Pre-Money Valuations Plummet - http://crowdspring.co/Z8BQUE 10 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn From High School Seniors - http://crowdspring.co/11xBEwN "sometimes you have the right product but the wrong business model." - http://crowdspring.co/11CtzYN How to build great products - http://crowdspring.co/Z9I1I4 Why Brands Are Not Your Friend | PSFK - http://crowdspring.co/ZxiF6A "When you focus on a smaller, more connected group, it's far easier to make an impact." - http://crowdspring.co/11H5NKc Why Video Discovery Startups All Fail - http://crowdspring.co/ZxdCmL The secrets of body language: why you should never cross your arms again | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/Zxavex 11 Things I Wish I Knew About Django Development Before I Started My Company - http://crowdspring.co/178c0lC Don't Use Social to Generate Sales; Make Selling Social | Advertising Age - http://crowdspring.co/ZJlbmt Why Brands Are Not Your Friend | PSFK - http://crowdspring.co/ZxiF6A Does Does Your Brand Have Digital Laryngitis? Don’t Lose Your Brand’s Voice in the Online World - http://crowdspring.co/15JPbqy 10 Marketing Tricks from Neil Patel, Co-Founder of KISSmetrics | Technori - http://crowdspring.co/11EpZw3 What is the best time to send email campaigns? Great data - http://crowdspring.co/ZiEc4B "Amazon is not a retailer anymore, it is the largest behavioral marketing company in the world." | Reuters - http://crowdspring.co/ZPzgyC Why Every Ad Agency Should Have A Customer Experience Unit | Co.Create - http://crowdspring.co/ZloeWk Why BYOA Is Killing Your Social Media Efforts - http://huff.to/11ijGho NYT video paywall is history - http://crowdspring.co/12Gdx1g "If you're using frequency as a tactic to make up for the fact you're being ignored, you can certainly do better. " - http://crowdspring.co/Zxja0o Eight brands that crowdsourced marketing and product ideas | Econsultancy - http://crowdspring.co/Ze5FCH Eye-Catching Social Awareness Print Advertisements | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/15zY1GZ 15 Creative Washroom Advertising | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/15BxEkl 70 Awesome Illustrator Tutorials That Every Designer Should See | Designrfix - http://crowdspring.co/16Y52Q3 25+ Fresh Adobe in Desgin tutorials | web3mantra - http://crowdspring.co/15zXTao 50 Remarkable Photoshop Text Effects Tutorials - http://crowdspring.co/15zXUv7 40 Cool And Creative Graphic T-Shirt Designs | Artatm - http://crowdspring.co/ZgcTH7 Infographic design from a dozen different countries - http://crowdspring.co/11hbLC2 Eye-Catching Social Awareness Print Advertisements | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/15zY1GZ Business Cards Design – 35 Fresh Examples | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/Y9cFTt Creative Food Packaging Design Ideas | GraphicMania - http://crowdspring.co/15zY6uj 20 Best Collection of Free Downloadable Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/Zga0Gl 40+ Cool Icon Designs - http://crowdspring.co/15zZRaX 15 Creative Washroom Advertising | Desizn World - http://crowdspring.co/15BxEkl 35 Creative Typography Design Master pieces for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/11hbdME 9 Typography Mistakes to Avoid - http://crowdspring.co/15Byyxl The Ultimate Guide to Paper Stock - http://crowdspring.co/15zXHrE Creative Packaging Design for Inspiration | youandsaturation - http://crowdspring.co/13zuYzB 50 High-Quality Free Wood Textures - http://crowdspring.co/ZJpGxi Creative Product Designs that are sure to win appreciation | DezineGuide - http://crowdspring.co/15zXNQ5 Stunning and Creative House Interior Designs | Artatm - http://crowdspring.co/Y9d6Nu 30 Best and Mind Blowing Motion Blur Photographs for your Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/Y9cUxL 20 Free Inspirational Famous Fonts | iBrandStudio - http://crowdspring.co/Zgd9py 23 Flat Design iPhone Apps - http://crowdspring.co/YG0J6B Photoshop CS6 Cheat Sheet | Web Design Ledger - http://crowdspring.co/16Y5AFJ 50 Excellent Photoshop Photo Effect Tutorials | Hongkiat - http://crowdspring.co/16Y5az8 60 Beautiful iOS App Icon Designs for your Inspiration | Graphic Design Junction - http://crowdspring.co/11hdPtZ Legal Contracts for Software Developers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/1ySfi Legal Contracts for Graphic Designers Who Hate Contracts (w/free contract template to use today) - http://bit.ly/XTLkS Examples of Furniture Logo Design - http://crowdspring.co/YG1cFR 20 Best Collection of Free Downloadable Fonts - http://crowdspring.co/Zga0Gl 20 Free Inspirational Famous Fonts | iBrandStudio - http://crowdspring.co/Zgd9py 40 Majestic Lion Logo Design examples for your inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/ZJqOkx Creative Logo Design - 90+ Excellent Logos Examples - http://crowdspring.co/12t1WBy 50 Excellent Circular Logos for Inspiration - http://crowdspring.co/YG2AIy 43 Charming Logos With a Feminine Touch - http://crowdspring.co/11veNDf Designing A Website: 15 Web Design Related Photoshop Tutorials | DesignSphere - http://crowdspring.co/Zl6xFE 30 Outstanding Web Designs with Big Background Photos | Vandelay Design Blog - http://crowdspring.co/YFWqrS Best Tools And Tutorials for HTML5 Designers and Developers - http://crowdspring.co/YG1ooE Beautiful Examples of Flat Icons Design | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/15zZXiT 13 Resources And Tools For Web Developers - http://crowdspring.co/ZJq4fi 15 Useful jQuery Tutorials for Web Developers | TechnoGerms - http://crowdspring.co/ZgdRDh 21 Intriguing Back to Top Buttons - http://crowdspring.co/YG1897 Typography in Mobile Design: Important Aspects and Examples | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/13zv4qX 30 Creative Examples Of 404 Error Pages - http://crowdspring.co/15ByIEX Website Showcase Of Modern Design - 39 Examples - http://crowdspring.co/14jJBLt 25 Best Examples of Flat UI Design Websites - http://crowdspring.co/15ByGwI 30 Beautiful Designs with Monochromatic website Designs - http://crowdspring.co/ZgdLvf Use of Huge Sliders in Website Design: Best Practice | Designmodo - http://crowdspring.co/ZzrNJG 45 Most Innovative UI Designs by the Most Talented Designers - http://crowdspring.co/ZJq5jg 25 Useful HTML5 and CSS3 Tutorials, Techniques and Examples - http://crowdspring.co/ZT0LaB Web Design: Awesome Responsive Websites | Abduzeedo - http://crowdspring.co/Zga88E 50 Useful Android Apps for Designers and Developers - http://crowdspring.co/12sZCKV 30 Gorgeous Examples of Trendsetting Web Designs - http://crowdspring.co/ZJpJcv Want to Be Happier? Stop Doing These 10 Things Right Now - http://crowdspring.co/11H75F0 10 Little Habits that Steal Your Happiness - http://crowdspring.co/15GZOKF Want To Be More Productive? Don’t Use Your Alarm Clock’s Snooze Button - http://crowdspring.co/YPEUBv 10 of the most controversial productivity tips that actually work | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/11C7MAw Crowdsourced music video. See the ghost of a thousand other cursors - http://crowdspring.co/12jmEnz "New research reinforces the idea that intelligence is not fixed - and therefore can be strengthened" - http://crowdspring.co/155TUCw The secrets of body language: why you should never cross your arms again | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/Zxavex 7 Simple productivity tips you can apply today, backed by science | The Buffer Blog - http://crowdspring.co/17vtHga Dove Campaign Parody: Men, Less Beautiful Than They Think - http://crowdspring.co/117LWDh I hope you enjoy these links! Please leave a comment and let me know what you liked/didn’t like.
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Should you invest your marketing time and budgets in social media, inbound marketing, content marketing, banner ads, pay-per-click advertising or customer service? Investing in the wrong marketing channels will do little to help your business grow but can quickly challenge your team and waste your marketing dollars. A new digital marketing report from Forrester surveying more than 64,000 online consumers in the North America and 21,000 in Europe reveals interesting data about consumer reactions to different marketing channels. THE BIGGEST TAKE-AWAY FOR BUSINESSES AND MARKETERS: CONSUMERS TRUST SELF-SELECTED CONTENT MUCH MORE THAN PUSH COMMUNICATIONS FROM BRANDS. Not surprisingly, word-of-mouth marketing is the most successful way for businesses to reach customers. Seventy percent of U.S. consumers (61% in Europe) trust brand recommendations from friends and family (see chart below). MOST ALARMING FOR BUSINESSES: only 10% of consumers trust advertising. Nearly 90% of consumers DON'T TRUST posts by companies or brands on social networks. Text messages from brands come in last - only 9% of U.S. consumers (8% in Europe) trust text messages from companies or brands. Banner ads are also at the bottom of the list. This shouldn't surprise most people - banner ads have been ineffective for quite some time now and continue to lose relevance for most businesses. People have very short attention spans and have learned to ignore online advertising. Our own research and experience at crowdSPRING mirrors the results reported by Forrester. Our best performing marketing channel - by far - is word-of-mouth. 96% of our customers recommend crowdSPRING to others. As you can see from the graph above, there's a good reason we're proud of this fact: it's one of the most effective ways to reach new customers. We're also very proud of consumer-written online reviews for crowdSPRING. As you can see in the chart, nearly half of all consumers trust such reviews. Like many businesses, we also publish crowdSPRING reviews on our own site, but in our experience, independent reviews carry much more weight than reviews you publish on your site (and the Forrester data confirms this). What does your business do to promote and improve word-of-mouth marketing? We'd love to hear your stories - and questions - in the comments below.
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Assuming on the average that a person lives for 80 years, the typical person spends more than 26 years sleeping. Wow! When we don't get enough sleep, our reactions times slow down, our blood pressure rises, we increase the chances that we will develop obesity and diabetes, and we become less productive. Recently, Leo Widrich from Buffer wrote a helpful post on sleep and productivity, looking at what happens when you don't get enough sleep during a day, and what you can do to develop better sleep habits. Leo writes:
In the following image you can see [that] as you lose focus and your attention is drifting, the yellow bits show how people with enough sleep activate parts in their brain to refocus at the task at hand. Sleep deprived people will have barely any activity in that area (the amygdala reactivity) and will struggle to regain focus.After reading Leo's post, I wondered whether my alarm's snooze button helped or hurt my productivity. On some days, I get up as soon as the alarm rings. But there are days when the snooze button and I become close friends. Here's a wonderful short video explaining why you should avoid using your snooze button - and why it's important, if you want to stay productive, for you to get out of bed as soon as your alarm rings. Do you agree? Does your alarm's snooze button help or hurt your productivity?
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I am fortunate to meet thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners every year. Many ask how they can improve their small business brand. This is not surprising - successful businesses avoid making branding mistakes that cripple other businesses. If your branding is confusing, inconsistent, generic, or otherwise sub-par, you can easily undermine your business's credibility and ruin your chance for success. Let's look at five branding mistakes that will cripple your business (with tips on how to avoid them): MISTAKE 1: BAD COMPANY NAME A strong brand is easily recognizable by your customers and potential customers. Recognition starts with your business name. The name will appear on your business cards, letterhead, website, marketing materials, social networks, products, and everywhere else - in print and online - to identify your company and your company’s products and services. Naming your company can be challenging and time consuming. Getting an available URL for your company's name can present an even greater challenge because even when you find a great name, the URL might not be available. Your company's name should be simple, easy to pronounce, spell and write, and memorable. If you want useful tips on naming your business, there's good insight in 10 tips for startups and small business on naming your company. MISTAKE 2: POOR DESIGN It’s not enough to have a good, recognizable name. People also associate brands with a logo. As you think about your logo design, keep your audience and products/services in mind because you want your logo to reflect the products and services your company sells. A good logo builds trust and a strong logo will help to pull your brand together. Think about the logos of some of the world’s most admired brands (Apple, Google, Amazon). How do you feel (emotionally) when you see their logos? Now look at your own company's logo. Have you ever asked your customers how THEY feel when they see your company's logo? If you want useful tips on getting a great logo, read 10 logo design tips for buyers. Great design doesn't stop with the logo. It should not surprise you to learn that consumers prefer better looking websites. Take a look at your company's website. Does it look professional? Is it regularly updated? Does it have the relevant information your customers need? How do customers feel when they visit the site? If you want useful best practices and tips on successful small business web design, I recommend you read Small Business Marketing: Web Design Best Practices and Tips. MISTAKE 3: INCONSISTENT VOICE A brand is the sum total of the experiences your customers and potential customers have with your company. A strong brand communicates what your company does, how it does it, and also establishes trust and credibility. Your brand is your story. Your company's brand lives in everyday interactions with your customers and potential customers, the images you share, the messages you post on your website, the videos you create, the content of your marketing materials, and in your posts on social networks. What you say is important, but don’t overlook how you say it. Your company’s “voice” is the language and personality you and your employees will use to deliver your branding message and reach your customers. Successful brands speak with a unique voice. Think about the brands you admire – what makes them unique? How do they communicate with you and other customers? What do you like about their voice? Why should you care about brand consistency? You should care because brand consistency leads to familiarity, and familiarity leads to trust. Customers buy from brands they trust. _image credit: Cayusa_ MISTAKE 4: NOT KEEPING YOUR PROMISES Businesses succeed or die by the promises they make. When you tell your customers you offer outstanding customer support - they will expect you to deliver on that promise. Every time. If you consistently deliver (and over-deliver) on your promises, you will create more loyal customers who will become zealous advocates for your business. Although this is common sense, you’d be surprised how many small businesses tarnish relationships with their customers by failing to keep their promises. Happy customers who feel good about your business are your best source of referrals. For example, Zappos has built great trust and credibility with customers by promising quick delivery (2-5 business days) but Zappos goes even further and upgrades most customers to free overnight shipping. As a result, Zappos has very loyal and zealous customers. _image credit: discoodoni_ MISTAKE 5: NO VISION Do you have a vision for your business? How do you want customers to remember you? Think about brands you love. Those brands commonly stand for something (or against something) and connect with their customers emotionally. After all, marketing is about values. One of my favorite companies, 37signals, develops software to help people collaborate. 37signals believes that most software is bloated and difficult to use. They don’t compete on features – they compete on usability. They have developed a reputation as a company that stands for easy to use software. What's your vision for your business? _image credit: jjjohn_
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I have written before about things entrepreneurs can learn from people who come from various walks of life. From athletes we can learn the value focus and training, from comics we learn about of risk-taking, from chefs we learn how to stay creativity under great stress, and from musicians we learn the importance of working in synch with the rest of the team. Today I want to talk about what entrepreneurs can learn from another group of people. At this time of year, hundreds of thousands of high school seniors are making their way through the waning days of an important and critically developmental part of their lives: the last year of high school is marked by hard work, a growing emphasis on organizational skills, a bloom of self-awareness, and a maturation of personality over 10 short months. My younger son is among the graduating horde who in a few short weeks will find themselves transitioning out of childhood, so I am fortunate (for the second – and last – time) to be intimate witness to the passage into the early stages of adult pursuits. On a daily basis I am inspired by Cody and his friends as they make their preparations to leave home, start careers, go to college, and grow into the adults they will become. These are people who are experiencing one of the most dynamic periods in their lives and I am in awe of their decisiveness, their focus, and their excitement about and faith in their futures. 1. SENIORS GET ORGANIZED. College applications, coursework, social schedules, SAT tests, studying, studying, and more studying. The workload in the final year of high school gets intense and these kids must develop very high-level executive functioning skills to juggle it all. And don't forget their social lives, now more important then ever before. Entrepreneurs can look to seniors when we wonder how we can possibly manage everything that's on our own plates personally and professionally. 2. SENIORS LEAN FORWARD. The end of high school marks one of the most profound personal transitions we undertake in life. Seniors spend the entire year preparing for this leap and entrepreneurs can learn much from their example. Many entrepreneurs start their business having never worked for themselves, having never been responsible to so many stakeholders, and having never managed the kind of workload they are about to shoulder. It is critical that a new entrepreneur face the task with eyes open to the reality of what their new life will entail, the sacrifices that must be made, and the focus necessary to execute successfully. 3. SENIORS LEAVE THINGS BEHIND. The final year of high school is a time when students look around and realize that their own journey will take them away from the comfortable existence they have known for the past 4 years and prepare to plunge into the unknown.Entrepreneurs too take the plunge when they launch their business and must be prepared not just for the things gained, but for those that are lost as well. When we start our business we give up the financial security that our old jobs may have brought, we give up time to pursue things we may have valued, and we often leave behind people who have been with us along the way. 4. SENIORS EVOLVE. Part of the transition from high school to work or college is gaining the understanding that you will never ever be the same person again that you were in high school. Same with entrepreneurship – once a person has undertaken the launch of a brand new venture, they can never look at the world in quite the same way again. We become different people with different priorities and a different outlook on life. Seniors are launching themselves into adulthood; new entrepreneurs are launching themselves into a new life. 5. SENIORS FOCUS ON FUN. Party may be the single most important noun and the driving verb for most if not all seniors. I mentioned how seniors develop amazing organizational skills in the final year of high school, but I didn't mention what I believe is the key driver. You see, most high school seniors understand that they have got to get and stay organized in order to make sure they have time for a social life. A _robust_ social life. Entrepreneurs too need to make sure that they too organize their lives in a manner that still leaves time to enjoy their families, their interests, and the people around them. Sometimes it can be as simple as taking the team out for a beer on Friday ot making sure that a monthly date night with your spouse is prioritized and protected. 6. SENIORS FIND MENTORS. A funny thing happens to 17 and 18 year olds – they start to realize that some of the adults around them are pretty cool people. High school seniors often discover a teacher or two who inspire them and guide them in ways that they will value and remember for the rest of their lives. In business it is equally important to find the person or people who can teach you, guide you, and help show you the way. 7. SENIORS PERFORM THE RITUALS. College applications, financial aid forms, yearbook photos, AP tests, prom, and finally the graduation ceremony itself. These are the ritual elements of senior year and everyone who graduates understands what these mean and how they are the markers on the road. Ritual is equally important in the world of startups and small businesses; have a schedule and stick to it, use regular meetings to keep projects and people on track, have a weekly ping-pong tournament that the team participates in, post a weekly article to your blog. These little acts and ceremonies can add a sense of regularity and momentum to the daily tasks of entrepreneurial life. 8. SENIORS MAKE TOUGH DECISIONS. Choosing a college is probably the most important decision that a young person can make and for most graduating seniors it represents a meaningful transition to early adulthood. Entrepreneurs too must make touch decisions about their product, their employees, and their company. Just like a high school senior needs to collect and analyze the data and the facts about each of the schools they are considering, entrepreneurs also have to look at the data, consider the facts, and use their own subjective judgement to arrive at a final decision whether about filing a key position, taking on additional funding, setting prices, or choosing office space. Take the time, do the homework, weigh the options and choose the best one. 9. SENIORS HAVE TO BATTLE THROUGH IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING. The Urban Dictionary has a great definition for a disease common to many high school seniors during the waning days of their final year: Senioritis is a "_crippling disease that strikes high school seniors. Symptoms include: laziness, an over-excessive wearing of track pants, old athletic shirts, sweatpants, athletic shorts, and sweatshirts. Also features a lack of studying, repeated absences, and a generally dismissive attitude. The only known cure is a phenomenon known as Graduation." _Entrepreneurs have their own version of senioritis, particularly common with businesses that have been around for a few years. It is critical that we keep it interesting and refuse to spiral down into boredom or ennui; undertake a new project, research best practices, do a thorough analysis of your competition - whatever it takes to stay engaged with your business. 10. SENIORS GRADUATE. They move forward in life usually with great relief that they are starting a brand new something and leaving something else behind. As adults we recognize that life has its phases, and graduating seniors come to recognize that one is coming to a close and another is just beginning. Entrepreneurs can learn from this too, but in the context of business: the phases that we go through are distinct, each demanding us to develop and use certain skills, each requiring us to shift our focus according to the context and to the events surrounding it. We have to recognize the end of one hase in our businesses and the beginning of the next in order to perform well and be effective. _Illustration: Wikipedia_
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