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What Is Your Brand’s Visual Identity and Why Does It Matter?

What is a brand’s visual identity? Thinking about your business brand as a person can help you get a grip on its visual identity. If your business brand were a person, your visual identity would be its personal style. For instance, consider the following three very different visual identities: A buttoned-up banker in a custom-tailored suit, with every hair in place and an expensive briefcase A bearded hipster with a passion for craft beer, a nose ring and a full sleeve of tattoos A man with average-length mousy brown hair, khaki pants and a polo shirt As you can see from the three examples above, every brand has a visual identify—it’s just that some make a stronger impression and are more memorable than others. Key elements of your brand’s visual identity What makes up a brand’s visual identity? Here are some of the key elements: Color: From bright, vibrant colors to tasteful neutrals or high-end metallics, color says a lot about your brand. Between 62%-90% of a person’s assessment of a product is based on color alone, according to one study. Xerox Metallic Dry Inks add sparkle to your print marketing materials more affordably than using metallic paper or foil stamping. (Learn more about the various emotions that different colors can evoke in your customers and how to choose the right colors for your marketing materials.) Add a new dimension to the page, and to your print business with specialty dry ink. Fonts/typography: The style of fonts you use helps to convey your business brand. A reliable provider of business services might use a traditional serif font to convey stability; a craft brewery might choose a rugged font to convey its handmade character; a beauty brand might choose a delicate, feminine handwritten font. Logo: Your business logo should work in tandem with your business name. A logo can be based on a recognizable image (like a car or a hamburger), an abstract shape (like a triangle or spiral) or text-based (such as putting your business name in a circle). Use the logo consistently throughout your marketing materials and hopefully, it…

Freelance On Your Own Time

Sometimes you run across the image of an organ grinder and his monkey online and you think to yourself “I bet I could come up with a cartoon about that.” And then you sit and think for a while. And then you think some more. And then you take a shower hoping that will help. Then you sit and think some place else. Then you run some errands. Then you come home and sit and think back in the place you were thinking previously. And you think “I’m never going to crack this organ grinder cartoon!” And you think and think and think and think … And then you go to bed and the idea just appears to you and you think “oh thank God!” and go to sleep. This article, “Freelance On Your Own Time” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Get More Done Without Hiring More Employees

For most businesses, productivity is synonymous with return on investment (ROI). For example, the cost of an employee versus the value that they generate for the business (a difficult number to calculate in any circumstance). But what happens when the business is thriving, with new clients and new projects coming in, but the hiring budget hasn’t caught up with the workflow? Small businesses and startups face this challenge often, as the work required for growth often outstrips the personnel on hand to handle it. Handing over additional responsibilities to already busy and productive employees is a great way to find yourself with even fewer employees than you started with, as overwork is one of the most common causes of turnover. It leads to employees feeling undervalued, disrupts work-life balance, and is just generally terrible for employee morale. So, how can businesses improve productivity without hiring more employees – or overworking the ones they have? 1. Minimize Meetings and Emails Meetings and emails have the same end goal: communicate important information to multiple people as efficiently as possible. So why aren’t they more efficient? And why do we dread them so? It’s true that your business can’t do without them entirely, but there are ways to run better meetings and have fewer of them. Reducing the number of emails you grapple with daily may seem trickier, but it’s not impossible. Start from the top down. Research has shown that when leadership sends fewer emails, their employees are likely to do the same. Encourage your staff to use email efficiently (succinct, to the point copy, clear requests or assignations), and to minimize unnecessary replies. Streamline collaboration. Storing information on a shared system can reduce the need to send emails about things like project updates, problems and contingencies, or documents and files related to a project/client. Consider storing files in a central repository, like the Cloud, and enabling collaboration tools to reduce the need for individual emails. 2. Get More From Your Space Factors as simple as your office layout can have a significant impact on productivity, collaboration, and even employee satisfaction. It’s an…

If You Charge Hourly as a Freelancer, Don’t Get Cheated

Whether or not to charge per hour for freelance services is a hotly debated topic in the freelance community. I lean towards charging a flat fee instead of hourly per assignment because of how I work creatively. I don’t sit down to do a task all at once. Instead, I brainstorm, write, research, edit, and tweak a piece of work continuously throughout the week. It’s hard for me to track working hours during a process where there are many stops and starts. With that said, charging hourly works for some freelancers specifically virtual assistants and other freelancers who do administrative tasks. If you do decide to charge hourly, it’s critical that you’re charging appropriately for your efforts. How to Charge by Hour Here’s how to use the hourly model without getting taking advantage of: Set a Rate Taking Into Account Operating Expenses and Taxes One of the biggest mistakes freelancers can make is charging too little per hour. It’s fairly common to do this when transitioning from full-time work to self-employment. You’re used to seeing certain hourly rates offered to employees by companies. Hourly rates set by employers are calculated taking into consideration the additional benefits you receive for being on staff. You don’t get the same employee benefits when working for yourself. You need to bump up your hourly rate to cover your out-of-pocket expenses like operating expenses, taxes, health insurance, and more. Freelancers feel the pinch when setting prices that are too low. Don’t set yourself up for financial struggle. Get a Proper Time Tracking Software Tracking time precisely can be another challenge of charging hourly. Think about it — do you know how long, down to the minute, it takes you to do a task for your business? Probably not. It was rather cumbersome for me to keep track of working hours when I did attempt the hourly model. Tacking systems, if you use them religiously, are a way to make sure you’re keeping track of your working hours. There are quite a few free time tracking apps on the market you can use to track time.…

Is a Restaurant Liable for a Customer Choking on Food?

Choking is one of the leading causes of accidental deaths, accounting for over 5,000 deaths in 2016. Unblocking an airway within minutes can be the difference between life, death, and extremely impaired quality of life. When choking occurs, time is of the essence, and it’s a natural human instinct to want to help. If choking occurs in a restaurant, must the staff help, and if it doesn’t, is the restaurant liable? Does Restaurant Staff Owe a Duty of Care to Customers? A restaurant’s duty of care to its customers is established by state law, and therefore will vary from state to state. But generally, businesses are required to provide their customers, who are invitees, with a safe environment, and therefore this would require some level of help to a choking customer. At a baseline, states would require a call to emergency services. Failure to do so would create liability for the restaurant. But does it go any further? Must staff do more than call 911? Is There a Duty to Perform the Heimlich Maneuver? Courts generally do not place such a high duty of care on anyone to the point of creating an undue burden. In the case of choking, most states compare statistics on the number of choking incidents, the number of meals served, and the widespread costs incurred by the food industry on certifying servers in First Aid. Based on these analyses, most courts have held that there is no duty to remove, or attempt to remove, or assist removal of the food from the choking victim’s throat. What If Staff Helps, but Hurts the Customer? Most restaurants try to hire people that have big hearts, as they make for caring, compassionate servers that patrons adore. Unsurprisingly, many of these good-hearted servers might rush to the aid of a choking victim to try to help. It’s quite possible, even for the well-trained medic, that a rib or two gets broken when trying to perform the Heimlich, or perhaps scratch a trachea when attempting to remove food. Under the Good Samaritan Law in most states, including California, a person…

Facebook Accused of Gender-Based Ad Targeting

Facebook’s ad-targeting system has once again landed it squarely in the middle of a Title VII Civil Rights Act claim filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This time, its ad-based targeting technology allowed employers to exclude women and non-binary users from receiving certain job postings, based on the gender with which the user claimed to identify when they registered for Facebook. In a seemingly clear violation of the Civil Rights Act as well as other federal, state, and local laws which forbid discrimination for job opportunities based on sex, Facebook claims it is innocent, and looks forward to defending its practices. Facebook Once Again Discriminating on Its Ad Platform Facebook, the largest advertising agency in the world, allows its advertising customers to select among tens of thousands of distinct niche target markets so as to provide these customers with very targeted advertising opportunities. Facebook, in return, can charge a very high premium for this highly coveted offering. Though Facebook was recently legally required to do some housecleaning to remove 5,000 of these niche market attributes to eliminate discrimination based on race, ethnicity, and religion, due to a federal housing discrimination violation, it did not eliminate gender bias. As a result, Facebook advertising customers were able to place ads that women and non-binary people did not receive. Though publishers are usually not liable for the content of others, in this instance, the ACLU claims that Facebook can be held liable for creating and operating an advertising system that allows and encourages employers to discriminate. North Carolina Police Department Seeks 25 to 35 Year Old Males Near Philadelphia The ads at issue were jobs for tire salesman, mechanic, roofer, police, and security engineer, among others, according to ACLU senior staff attorney Galen Sherwin. One ad cited as discriminatory in the complaint was listed by Greensboro, North Carolina Police Department, and showed a picture of two policemen, with text stating they are hiring year round with a starting salary of $38.222. The ad was targeted to “men ages 25 to 35 who live or…

Top 7 Tools for Digital Marketers Right Now

Marketers always have the need to stay on top of the newest tools and technology that are going to make their jobs easier and also make them effective at what… Read more » The post Top 7 Tools for Digital Marketers Right Now appeared first on

The Legal Lowdown on Small Biz Loans

Most small businesses need a little financial help getting off the ground or out of the garage. And while there are many ways to finance a startup, from angel investors to friends and family, most small biz owners are turning to loans to get their businesses up and running, or get them through a rough patch. While borrowing a large amount of money for your small business may seem daunting, there are government programs and incentives that can help. Here’s some essential legal information you need to know when looking for a small business loan. 1. SBA Loan Process May Soon Be Easier The Small Business Association might be one of the largest lenders to startups and small business entrepreneurs. And over the years, the SBA has worked to make getting a loan for your small business easier by lowering the collateral requirements and expanding the amount and type of projects that are eligible for financing. 2. Crowdfunding vs. Small Business Loan Where the SBA can’t help, perhaps the internet can. More and more startups are turning to online crowdfunding campaigns to ramp up their operations. But how does that change your legal obligations to those providing the financing? 3. Small Business Loans for Women Entrepreneurs In an effort to support female business owners, the SBA and other government grant programs are trying to close the financing gap between women entrepreneurs and their male counterparts. Learn more about those opportunities here. 4. How to Get a Small Business Disaster Loan What happens when your income is interrupted by a flood or wildfire? And what can you do if your small business is swept away entirely by a hurricane? The SBA often steps in to assist local communities and their small businesses after a natural disaster with loans that can restart or rebuild your business. 5. Loan Delinquency During A Business Loan Credit Crunch The scariest part about taking out a loan is not being able to pay it back, and having that destroy your credit and possibly your small biz as well. But not all missed payments necessarily mean defaults.…

3 Things You Can Learn From Expert Traders

Changing your life based on the trading profession is really hard. If you look at experienced traders in the UK, you will find one thing in common. Everyone is very… Read more » The post 3 Things You Can Learn From Expert Traders appeared first on

The Cost of Becoming a Successful Forex Trader

Adults need jobs to support themselves and their family. And for us adults, there are a lot of jobs around the world. But, the most interesting one is in the… Read more » The post The Cost of Becoming a Successful Forex Trader appeared first on

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