Connect with us

Business

Strategies and Tools for a Growing a Pandemic-Proof Business

Published

on

founders in masks

For the past year, businesses have been met with unrelenting challenges. Because of this, founders are more careful about where to put their time and funds. Longevity in business is desired, so thinking critically about the strategic principles of business is a must. Growing a pandemic-proof business is possible. But how are you going to make it happen? We took our questions to Facebook groups Tech Ladies and Societygal to ask women in the industry about their input on how to grow a business successfully and efficiently.

1. How important is getting your business assets right? (logo, website, branding guidelines, etc)

When it comes to the creative aspect of building a business, there was a split in what is necessary. Recently, founders and business owners have been turning to creative services like Penji for increased design output. While there are still repercussions from the pandemic, businesses are learning to adapt by discovering these new innovative solutions.

Some of our friends at Tech Ladies and Societygal believe that it is crucial, especially when it comes to setting yourself apart from competition. Others choose to focus on other aspects of the business. Here’s what they had to say:

“Hi. I think that for number 1-It doesn’t really matter. I think what people want is results. Connect with them, and show them what your products or service can do for them. How does it solve the problem that they have.” – Prerika Agarwal, Tech Ladies

“I think that these branding pieces really matter as a way that establishes how your company will move and grow. I’ve seen a lot of small businesses that kind of wing it and I think that especially in terms of social media and web, a cohesive brand can really make a business stand out.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies

“I think it’s less about getting it right and more about being consistent and looking professional. A business that visually appears fractured hurts its own credibility.” Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies

“The first 1-2 years, really not important! I see so many starters get lost in this search for the perfect font-pairing, the perfect logo blah blah – and what they REALLY need to be focusing on is nailing down their product suite and getting good at copy. Most of us leave corporate and can’t write a blog post or sales post for shit because we sound so wooden and stuffy! 😂 You need a website to get your message out – but honestly? Nobody cares about your logo. Would you stop buying Nike/McDonalds/Pepsi tomorrow because they switched up their logo and it sucked? No, you stay because you like the product.” – Alex Sheach, Societygal

What is a common mistake that businesses make when trying to grow?

Growing a business is not easy, especially now. With the increased number of businesses shuttering their doors because of COVID, one can only benefit from avoiding common mistakes.

“I think that one mistake is that businesses don’t take advantage of how research can validate and verify your ideas going forward. There should be a certain level of confidence in what your next steps are and how they’ll fair.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies

“The main pain point of scaling I’ve seen is failure to document and inform. If one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing then you aren’t on the same page and you can’t help each other when things go wrong.” – Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies

“Getting sucked into downloading YET ANOTHER (usually very disappointing freebie) which moves them no closer to their goals. Get your UNSUBSCRIBE vibe switched ON, tune out all that low-level noise and commit to your OWN ideas and vision.” – Alex Sheach, Societygal

What can people take advantage of now that is often overlooked?

Innovation and creative thinking is key to a pandemic-proof business. As we adapt to the current lifestyle of consumers, founders are taking advantage of what is in front of them. Here’s what members suggested.

“What’s overlooked is the human aspect of things not being perfect and just going with inspired action once you have some clarity about your business.” – Prerika Agarwal, Tech Ladies

“With staying at home still being a large part of life, I think people should take advantage of having more people online and the ability to do webinars, virtual networking, and doing research directly with your specific users or customers.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies

“Digital businesses should take this opportunity to rise to the occasion to help their local communities. As a digital business owner I can confirm we spend a lot of time virtually hustling. Show the world around you that you exist and that you care. It pays dividends for both of you.” – Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies

“Not enough people are stepping up to lead with vision. They’re waiting for permission to release, launch & grow. JFDI!” – Alex Sheach, Societygal

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Top 10 Black Friday Deals for Digital Marketers 2020

Published

on

Rejoice, agencies and digital marketers! Black Friday deals aren’t just for flatscreen TVs and doorbusters. This year, you can also get ridiculous discounts and offers for software and services to help take your business to the next level. Here are the top 10 hottest Black Friday deals you can take advantage of right now

Penji

We’re marketers, not designers. And hiring freelancers is a time-consuming process I don’t enjoy. Meet Penji. It’s a graphic design service that lets me work with a vetted designer on as many design jobs as I want – for a flat monthly rate of $399/m.

And if that deal isn’t already good enough, here’s their Black Friday promo code to make it even sweeter.

The deal: 50% off any plan 1st month. Use promo code OMBLK50. Code is limited to the first 100 customers. Valid from now until 11/29/20.

GET THIS DEAL

SEMRush

All the SEO tools you’ll ever need under one roof. SEMRush’s comprehensive toolbox lets you manage your SEO performance, track daily rankings, analyze your competitors, research backlinks, and much more. They’re rated one of the most reliable and robust SEO tool on the market right now. Prices are usually more expensive than other software, but they’re well worth the investment.

The deal: Get 30% off on the annual SEMrush Competitive Research bundle. Valid between 11/25/20 – 12/15/20. For new users only.

GET THIS DEAL

Timecamp

Want a time + activity tracking software your team will actually want to use? Then meet Timecamp. Timecamp has just what you’re looking for. The SaaS software allows you to monitor activities and track your team’s attendance. In addition to tracking, there are over 100+ integrations to the software you’re already using.

The deal: Get 4 Months of TimeCamp for Free! Use this code at checkout: BFDEAL2020. Offer starts 11/23/20 and ends on 12/1/20.

GET THIS DEAL

SE Ranking

Marketing agencies and digital marketers are probably already familiar with keyword and competition monitoring software. You’ve probably already heard of SE Ranking for that matter. SE Ranking is a densely packed SEO tool with features such as competitor monitoring, rank/keyword tracking, keyword research tools and backlink analysis.

It even has auditing tools to show you what you need to fix on your website to rank better. We actually use this ourselves and love it.

The deal: Get 30% off ANY plans. There’s also a small chance your membership benefits will double if you’re one of 3 lucky winners after their drawing. Use code BLACKFRIDAY2020 at Checkout.

GET THIS DEAL

Email List Validation

Email marketing is great…when the emails actually deliver. Solve your email deliverability issue with Email List Validation. The software lets you verify and clean your email database to ensure you’re only sending it to working emails.

The deal: Get 25% off all plans. No code needed, just visit link below.

GET THIS DEAL

OptinMonster

Remember when everyone keeps saying email is going to go away? Yea…here we are 20 years later. And OptinMonster is proving that email marketing is here to stay. OptinMonster helps you convert and monetize your website’s traffic. Get your visitor’s attention with event-triggered popups and capture their interests with exit-intent forms.

The deal: Get 60% off all plans.

GET THIS DEAL

SocialPilot

This one is for agencies and marketers managing multiple client’s social media accounts. Put all of your client’s social media accounts on SocialPilot and leave it on Auto-pilot (bad pun I know…) SocialPilot lets you create, manage, schedule, and even finetune all your posts in one place.

The deal: Get 20% off discount on all lifetime plans. No promo codes needed. Just check out link below.

GET THIS DEAL

LongTailPro

LongTailPro is for marketers, bloggers, and digital marketing agencies looking for an effective tool to help research and track long-tail keywords. In addition to its robust search feature, you can also track rankings for all your keywords on major search engines.

The deal: Get 30% off all plans with BONUS access to competitor research and SERP analysis tools.

GET THIS DEAL

Mangools

Mangools is more than just a keyword research tool. It’s actually 5 tools combined into one platform, making it an amazing deal for marketers. You get the Keyword explorer, SERP checker, SiteProfiler, SERP watcher, and Linkminer all for the price of one.

The deal: Get 25% off

GET THIS DEAL

For Black Friday, Mangools gives a 25% discount on its SEO tools, including KWFinder, SERP Analysis, Backlink Analysis, and Rank Tracking. The offer data starts on November 29th.

HelpCrunch

HelpCrunch is a marketer’s wet dream come true. Create chat automations and popups to guide and convert visitors. Have live chat to provide instant assistance to browsing prospects. Create a knowledge base for your customers to find answers themselves. And the list of feature goes on.

The deal: 20% off any plan

GET THIS DEAL

Continue Reading

Business

2020 Cyber Week Deals for Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Published

on

Are you looking for the best deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday? We understand 2020 has been quite the rollercoaster. So, we compiled a list of Cyber Week deals specifically for growing your business. Here is the ultimate list of marketing, sales, lead gen, and SaaS tools you don’t want to miss.

*Bookmark and revisit this page for updated Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions.

Analytics

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
HowukuLifetime DealLifetimeHeatmap toolDIGITALTHINK
WebsignalsLifetime DealLifetimeSocial mention, listening & media monitoring tool.DIGITALTHINK
Wincher90% OFF3 MonthsSEO rank trackerBLACKFRIDAY2020
Two Minute ReportsLifetime DealLifetimeCreate a complete report in 2 minutes. CLICK TO ACTIVATE
Capturly$99LifetimeOptimize your websiteCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Pulno30% OffMonthlySEO Audit and Website AnalysisBLACKFRIDAY19

Business Development

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
HR Partner50% OFFLifetimeEmployee records managementBLACKFRIDAY2020
nila.tech5% OFFLifetimeChatbox BuilderNILA5
Fesh80% OFFAnnualShopify Alternativefriday2020
CallHippo20% OffMonthly or AnnuallyVoIPBFCM2020
TimeCamp25% OffAnnualTracking app for projects and tasksCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Apploye25% OffLifetimeAll-in-one time tracking, employee monitoring, scheduling, and payroll management softwareCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Design

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
Penji50% Off3 MonthsOn-demand graphic design subscriptionCYBER2020
Glorify93% OffLifetimeEcomm Designing ToolCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Email

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
SalesHandyUp to 50% OffAnnualEmail Automation ToolCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Timetoreply40% Off6 MonthsEmail analytics tooloAspJ1Vq
SendX40% OffAnnualEmail Marketing SoftwareCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Constant Contact20% Off6 MonthsEmail MarketingCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Finance

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
InvoiceBerry50% OFF 6 MonthsOnline invoicing software CLICK TO ACTIVATE

Marketing and Social Media

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
LinkHelp17% OFFLifetimeLinkedIn AutomationLH17
Vyper50% Off VYPER + Free Instagram Growth CourseMonthlyBuild giveaways and referral programsCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Klenty25% OffAnnualSales Engagement PlatformCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Project Management

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
nTask30% OffMonthlyProject Management SoftwareBF2020
Infinity86% OffLifetimeProject ManagementCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Web Development

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
One Word Domain$10-50 OffLifetimeDomains DatabaseCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Brizy$299LifetimeWebsite BuilderCLICK TO ACTIVATE
WP User Frontend Pro20-30% Off1 Site to 15 LicenseRegistration & Profile BuilderCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Dokan20 to 30% Off1 Site to 10 LicenseMulti-vendor MarketplaceCLICK TO ACTIVATE
BlogVault40% OffAnnualWordPress backup, staging, migration & securityCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Cloudways40% Off3 MonthsManaged cloud hosting platformCLICK TO ACTIVATE

Continue Reading

Business

We Used 99designs For Logos: Here’s Our Review

Published

on

What is it like to use 99designs? We’re going to go through the process of creating a design contest from start to finish to show you what the entire experience is like, so you can decide for yourself if 99designs is for you. For this 99designs review, we’re going to follow all instructions given and document each step of our journey for you to see below.

For this test project, we’re going to submit a contest for Owner’s Mag logo to see if 99designs can interpret a better logo for us. Chances of me getting this approved and having the CEO change the logo is practically 0, but this will be a fun project that everyone in our office can contribute feedback to.

1. Creating our design project

We went ahead and searched “Logo” and went through the process of creating the logo project. When selecting the business category, surprisingly there’s nothing related to digital publication, news, or publisher there. We went ahead and chose “Internet” as our category.

2. Choosing a name

Now it’s time to name our project. We’re going to call this one “Owner’s Mag Logo Design”. Not sure if I’ll ever get the approval to change the logo, but it’ll be a fun project that everyone at the office can give inputs on.

3. Types of logo

Logos come in all different shapes, themes, and types. They can be just a word logo, icons, abstract, or something unique with a mascot. Here’s where you can tell the 99designers what type of logo you want.

4. Choosing a style

I like this section a lot. Sometimes it’s difficult to actually describe what you want. Here, you can browse through a long list of logo designs that cover a wide spectrum of styling. Select the ones that best fit your taste and it’ll give the 99designers a better idea of what you want.

I went ahead and chose a few text-focused logo, since Owner’s Mag is a text-only logo. The selected examples in the screenshot above aren’t the ones I chose.

5. Brand Style Meter

I’ll be honest, this section is a bit weird for me. On this page, 99design asked me to explain the style I want using different sliding scales. There’s more than the 3 listed in the image above. I personally had a hard time deciding if Owner’s mag logo should be “Classic” or “Modern”, “Mature” or “Youthful”. Femine vs Masculine I can work with. But the other categories aren’t intuitive for me.

6. Choosing Colors

Now it’s time to pick our color preferences. I stuck with “Reds”.

7. Writing project brief

Filling out the project brief didn’t take too long. The questions were straight forward and all makes sense. It is odd that the project brief itself is this far down the process.

8. Choose your package

So far, we haven’t paid 99designs anything. Now it’s time for us to pick a tier for our plan. Although the Logo starts at $299, that’s actually for the Bronze tier. The higher tier you go, the more submissions and higher quality the work will be. Or at least that’s what 99designs promise.

For this, we chose the Silver $499 plan. We’ll be expecting about 60 designs to be submitted with this package.

9. Add-ons

In addition to the $499 we’re paying for the Silver tier, 99designs will upsell us for a few things. Some of these I think makes sense, others I felt should be included in the price I’m paying.

Personal Creative Consultant ($129) actually looks like customer support to me. I’m not a designer, of course I will need some help through this process. I felt like this should’ve already been included in the price instead of being a $129 add-on.

Guaranteed doesn’t cost anything. But it will null your money-back guarantee. This ensures the designer WILL get paid if they make it to the final round. Because of 99designs’ pay structure, this makes your project much more appealing to designers and more will likely submit drafts if you opt out of their guarantee.

Private ($59), this came as a shocker. I didn’t know this would even be public. Why my project is even open to the public in the first place is beyond me. This doesn’t feel right. Paying $59 just so 99designs keep my designs private seems like a scare tactic for me to cough up more money. Not a fan.

Duration lets you pay a bit more for faster delivery. For this, I feel the prices are fair and it’s typical to pay more for expedited work anyway. You can pay $39 for 3 day instead of 4 day delivery, $59 for 2 days, and $79 for 1 day.

9. Complete! Now we wait…

I opted to not purchase any add-ons for this review. Once paid, we’re redirected to 99designs’ dashboard where we can see the estimated timeline for the project. From today, it’ll take about 4 days for all of the designs to be submitted. Each day some designers will submit their work and on the final day, the round will be closed and we have 4 days to pick finalists.

The Designs Are In!

First off, very disappointed that we only received 17 designs instead of the promised 60. I contacted 99designs support about the issue and they claim that they don’t guarantee “60”, even though their pricing tiers clearly listed “Expect ~60 designs”.

Maybe the 17 designs we received are good? I’ll let you be the judge of that before we give our verdict.

Here are the 17 designs that 99designers submitted to us after 4 days.

What does our office think?

We passed the designs around our office to get some initial thoughts. Most thought the designs were random and not aligned with any of the directions given. Some look templated. Others look like they just slap a random icon in front of the text and call it a logo.

Overall, none of us were impressed by the results thus far. We eventually picked #6 to give feedback just to move the process along, not because we love the design. We felt let down that only 17 versions were submitted since 99designs promised we’d get around 60 designs to choose from.

We submitted our revisions and now wait for our designer to spin something back to us.

4 days later…

We received new versions of logo #6 within about 3-4 days. Personally I wasn’t happy with the new versions, but I shared the new designs with the office. You can probably guess how we all felt about the new drafts. Results…were disappointing and not what we had suggested. At this point, we didn’t feel compelled to give any further instructions or move the project to the final round.

We’re not happy

We decided not to continue the project given we’re not happy with any of the drafts so far. Even revisions were still so far off what we would even accept. I understand graphic design is subjective, and that sometimes you just have a difficult client. I assure you, we’re not that difficult and was looking for a very simple logo.

It was hard for us to justify even moving to the final round given the designers barely followed our directions. We specifically asked them to design the logo using our RED, and some of them ignored it completely. We asked them to NOT use any icons and just keep it text-based, yet there were logos with random icons.

Getting a Refund

Our experience could be a unique case and your experience could be much more pleasant. We eventually asked for a refund and was met with another obstacle. You can’t get a refund on the website, they request a call to speak to you to “verify” your identity before releasing your refund.

This is an annoying step clearly put in place just to discourage refunds. I oblige and got on a call with a representative. The rep was understanding and didn’t try too hard to sell me, which I appreciated. Our refund was promptly processed afterward.

Final Verdict

Our experience with 99designs has been mixed. I like how intuitive the website is and how easy it was to get your logo project started. The biggest let down were the number of submissions we received (17 instead of the promised 60) and the quality of each design. You can judge for yourself. Looking at the logos submitted, I didn’t feel like we got even intermediate level designers. These just felt rushed, patched together, and overall unpolished work.

Giving revision was difficult because most of the designs were so far off base. I didn’t know where to start, except tell the designer to re-read my project brief and start over.

Overall, it wasn’t the best experience for us. We would’ve gladly paid an agency or a freelancer the same amount and get more dedicated care and attention to produce 2-3 good logos instead of 17 poorly design random logos.

Continue Reading

Trending