Dandyline Designs, Development, Resources, Your Business

Make 2017 your year

February 8, 2017

2017 is in full swing, with a momentum and energy most of us have never experienced. There have been shifts, changes and surprises that have affected most of us in personal and professional ways. Feeling nostalgic, I revisited an article I wrote a couple years ago on making this year, your best business year ever – despite the shifting energy around us. The steps I recommend, are here:

1. CREATE SPACE & TIME

Planning may be more effective away from your usual working space. Try a coffee shop, the beach or simply moving from your desk to your dining room table. The goal is to not feel like you are ‘working’. Choose a location that feels fun and exciting.

Be sure to set aside some time for the planning process. Try to give yourself at least a day (two half days or four quarter-days count, too!). Shut off your phone during this time, including social media, email, etc. Eliminate distractions to help you be truly present and focused on this process.

2. GATHER YOUR TOOLS

Eventually your plan may live on your computer, so you can refer back to it. However, during the initial planning process, the trusty ol’ pen and paper method is more effective – and you will be less likely to hop over to check your social media accounts this way.

Personally, picture planning is most effective and often it’s better visualized with big materials. A white-board, butcher’s paper or just A3 sheets or paper can be really effective in getting everything out without being too constrained. Drag out the old magazines, colored pencils and glue sticks for even more fun.

3. REVIEW YOUR HISTORY

Before you start planning for the upcoming year, it is important to review what happened in your business in 2016. Write down the successes and positive moments you had. What you did you achieve and what projects went really well. These items may include:

  • Fun projects you worked on
  • New clients you really enjoyed working with
  • Nice things that people have said about your business

I know that not everything goes well, and 2016 was a little rough – that is okay. Next, write out the things that were challenging in the past year, possibly:

  • Things you wanted to, but didn’t, get done
  • Projects that didn’t go as planned
  • Any hurdles you were surprised to discover about your business

4. NOW, THE FUN PART…

Think about what your big and exciting goals are for 2017.

These goals should be realistic to achieve, with a bit of action on your part. Think SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-measured). They might be things like launching a new product, speaking at a seminar, starting a blog or getting your website revamped.

Having a combination of short and long term goals insures that your business is always moving forward. There is no magic number to how many goals you should have. I generally 1 very large goal, 2-3 medium goals and 3-5 fun, simple goals. And example of a large goal is to increase your profit by 50%. Medium goals may include sign 1 new contract a quarter, or update your website two times a month. Smaller, fun goals can be to grab coffee with a colleague once a month, or send a greeting card to two potential clients each quarter.

5. ACTION!

Once you’ve worked out your goals, it’s time to work out what steps you need to take to get them done and set action dates. Go through each goal on your list and work out the very-next-thing that needs to be done. If your goal is to start a blog, that might be ‘add WordPress to my website by February 31, 2017’.

If you don’t set aside time to work on your special projects and goals, they will not get done. You can use an online calendar, or paper-based. I strongly recommend choosing one. Both can become complicated and may cause you to miss important commitments. Mark out any dates you need to work towards and schedule time to work on your projects and goals.

6. CONGRATULATIONS! REWARD YOURSELF

All this planning stuff is hard. When you’re a business owner, you basically do everything in your business – from the bookkeeping, to marketing, sales and fulfillment, and client management. And that’s not including the actual work you do. You deserve to celebrate everything you do for your business. So once you’ve finished your business planning, take yourself out for a nice meal. Or buy yourself a treat. I’ll be headed to our local sushi joint!

Now that you’ve planned ahead, you can look forward to another year as a small business owner. Congratulations on making it this far and I wish you a successful year ahead!

____________________

· Cory Yniguez-Pironti is the owner of Dandyline Designs. She works with small businesses to create effective marketing pieces that are a celebration of their uniqueness. She is also designer for the Pacific Coast Business Times – serving Santa Barbara, Ventura and San Luis Obispo Counties.

Dandyline Designs, Studio News

Loads of “newness”…

July 23, 2015
Dandyline Designs® is now at the Bell Arts Factory

Welcome to the new website for Dandyline Designs. Along with the new website, I am excited to announce a new studio location at the Bell Arts Factory. I hope to combine my education and passion of fine arts into play with the digital world of design and brand image consulting.

Established in 2009, Dandyline Designs has worked with businesses in all sizes and phases – from start ups to thriving. As an artist, integrating unique illustrations, artwork and lettering into each of these design projects has been rewarding and challenging. Continuing to work with businesses to help reach their goals in brand development through meaningful designs, while being an active participant in the community as an artist, means the future is sure to be exciting.

Take a look around the new site and let me know what you think! I am excited for what’s to come, and am grateful for your support that has helped bring me to this point.

Cory Pironti, Owner - Signature

Marketing, News, Resources, Solutions, Technology, Your Business

Simple brand image design with Dandyline Designs

April 6, 2015
Dandyline Designs - 7 Steps to simple brand image design

“Brand image design” is commonly misused in our industry to sound like a fancy, often overpriced, logo design. At Dandyline Designs, our brand image design process results in far more than just a logo design. We work with our clients to help them be 100% clear about what their business stands for, their values, intentions and who their target market is. From there we work together to build an entire brand image. Yes, a logo is a small part of the result, but the value is in having a true understanding for the brand as a whole. Marketing pieces, website messages, sales calls, etc. are all made much easier when the brand is already clear on what they stand for.

We’ve put together a little outline of 7 basic pieces/steps to a simple brand image design process. Our hope it that this list provides clarity to some of the areas involved in building a brand image design.

1. Focus

Take some time to get some clear perspective by eliminating distractions in a quiet place. We will be focusing on answers to questions like: What makes yous business unique? What do you want to be known for? Why did you choose this business venture? This quiet space of reflection helps ensure the next six steps are true to you and your business.

2. Values

Your personal values in addition to the values of your business will be explored here. Once you have figured out from the focus step, what you want to be known for, you can think about how that ties into your business values. Why will people choose you over your competition? Often times people start their business from a source of passion. That passion is often tied into something that is important to a value. Is this true for your business? Let’s explore that here…

3. Personality

When you think of brands you relate to, you may find they have characteristics that stand out to you. Their personalities may be fun, quirky or confident. What characters traits does your business and your clients have that help create success? What words would describe this personality of your business? What kind of ‘mood’ does your brand image have? We often ask our clients to work with us on a ‘mood board’ to build a foundation for their brand image design project – we love this part of the process!

4. Color

Colors invoke an emotional connection (often subconsciously) in relation to your business. We’ll share our knowledge on using the appropriate color for your brand image. This is when we reference your brand values to make sure we are connecting your brand image with the values you have, in a positive way.

5. Fonts

Like color, choosing the right font choice for your brand image can enhance the connection your target market makes with your business. Client engagement may be related to the font you choose for your brand image design. With thousands of fonts available, we will work together to find the perfect option. We may even get to build a custom font, just for you!

6. Dimension

Texture and patterns can bring another level of connection to your clients. This aspect may not be as timeless as your logo design, however, it can be a great way to feel “irresistible” to your target market. Regardless of how contemporary or timeless your pattern is, it will always be true to your overall brand image.

7. Communication

We talked about “Being Remarkable” in an older blog post (HERE). Your final brand image design will help your brand image start off as “remarkable.” Your communications to the world, moving forward with your new brand image, should be engaging and compelling. You will have a beautiful brand image, it will be up to you to ensure your business lives up to the reputation.

 


If you want more information on working with us to build a brand image design for your venture, contact us here. We are booking slots for Summer 2015 and would love to work with you to build something amazing!

Dandyline Studio, Resources, Solutions, Your Business

Planning ahead – 2015 and your business

December 11, 2014

Dandyline Designs - Planning for your small business in 2015

We love the start of a new year. It is a beautiful symbol of starting off fresh and renewed. It is also a great time to look back at the past year and figure out what worked and what didn’t work in your business. For 2015, we created a quick list of steps to start you headed in the right direction. Enjoy!

CREATE SPACE & TIME

Planning may be more effective away from your usual working space. Try a coffee shop, the beach or simply moving from your desk to your dining room table. The goal is to not feel like you are ‘working’. This experience should be fun and exciting. You also want to set aside some time for the planning process.

Try to give yourself at least a day (two half days or four quarter-days count, too!). Shut off your phone, email and social media during this time. You want to allow yourself to focus on the process, without getting distracted.

GATHER YOUR TOOLS

Eventually your plan may live on your computer, so you can refer back to it. However, during the initial planning process, the trusty ol’ pen and paper method is more effective – and you will be less likely to hop over to check your social media accounts this way.

For us, big picture planning is better visualized with big materials. A white-board, butcher’s paper or just A3 sheets or paper can be really effective in getting everything out without being too constrained. If you’re super visual, you may also want to grab some colored markers, post-its and stickers.

REVIEW YOUR HISTORY

Before you start planning for the upcoming year, it is important to review what happened in your business in last year. First, write down the successes and positive moments you had. What you did you achieve and what projects went really well. These items may include:

  • Fun projects you worked on
  • New clients you really enjoyed working with
  • Nice things that people have said about your business
  • New things you were surprised to discover about your business (in a good way)

We know that not everything goes well – and that is okay. Next, write out the things that were challenging in the past year, possibly:

  • Things you wanted to, but didn’t, get done
  • Projects that didn’t go as planned
  • New things you were surprised to discover about your business (not necessarily in a good way)

NOW, THE FUN PART…

Think about what your big and exciting goals are for the next one, two and five years.

One-year goals are things that you want to get done by December of 2015. They should be realistic to achieve, with a bit of action on your part. Think SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-measured). They might be things like launching a new product, speaking at a seminar, starting a blog or getting your website revamped.

Two-year goals need a bit more time and effort to complete (and possibly a financial investment). They could be goals like doubling (or tripling) your income, opening a brick-and-mortar location, or expanding your team.

Five-year goals are going to be much bigger and scarier. You want them to be a little bit crazy, because that way you know you’re going outside your comfort zone.

Having a combination of short and long term goals insures that your business is always moving forward. How many goals you come up with is really up to you and how much time you have to work on your business. We generally set up with ten to twelve short-term goals, five medium goals, and just one or two longer-term goals.

At this stage, you may also want to update your business plan. If you don’t have a business plan, look into your local small business development centers (check out score.org). In the Ventura & Santa Barbara County area’s, we have a great organization called WEV (wevonline.org) that can be a great resource.

ACTION!

Once you’ve worked out your goals, it’s time to work out what steps you need to take to get them done and set action dates. Go through each goal on your list and work out the very-next-thing that needs to be done. If your goal is to start a blog, that might be ‘add WordPress to my website by February 1, 2015’. If you don’t know what the next step is, then it may be you need to do some research – online, visit the library or call a mentor.

If you don’t set aside time to work on your special projects and goals, they will not get done. You can use an online calendar, or paper-based (or a combo if you can keep track of it all). Mark out any dates you need to work towards and schedule time to work on your projects and goals.

REWARD YOURSELF

All this planning stuff is hard. When you’re a small business owner, you basically do everything in your business – from the bookkeeping, to marketing, sales and fulfillment, and client management. And that’s not including the actual work you do.

You deserve to celebrate everything you do for your business. So once you’ve finished your business planning, take yourself out for a nice meal. Or buy yourself a treat. We’ll be headed to our local sushi joint!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Now that you’ve planned ahead, you can look forward to another year as a small business owner. Congratulations on making it this far and we wish you a successful year ahead!

 

{ images :: beach tent :: pencils :: cupcake :: calendar :: 2015 :: failure quote }


Dandyline Designs is a graphic and web development studio located in Ventura, California. We specialize in brand development and consulting for businesses looking to stand out above the rest.

Dandyline Studio, Frontpage Article, Marketing, News, Resources, Solutions, Technology, Your Business

Considering launching an e-commerce site?

September 19, 2014
Dandyline Designs - E-Commerce: Want to Sell Online?

We’ve recently received many requests for developing e-commerce websites for our clients. While they seem like an easy way to sit back and make money with online sales, without planning, that will remain a fairy tale. We compiled a list of questions for our clients to ask themselves before they get started.

Take a look at the questions below and answer them to the best of your knowledge. Once you’ve gone through them, you will be confident moving forward with selling online, or understand you need to get a few more details in place before you begin.

  1.  How easy is it for customers to make a buying decision based on only text and images where they can’t touch, taste or smell your products?
  2.  Will customers really buy your product online? (Seriously, you must realistically consider the implications of trying to sell an item which people will buy before seeing it in person)
  3.  Can you handle customer complaints and returns?
  4.  Do you have staff to answer customer questions in real time?
  5.  How many products are you considering to sell on the website?
  6.  Do the products that you sell fit into categories? If so please indicate the amount of categories that will be required to cater for the whole product range. (ex. Shirts, Shoes, Jewelry, etc.)
  7.  Do the categories also contain Sub Categories of products? Do these lead to Sub-Sub categories? (ex. Men –>Shirts –> Tank-Tops)
  8.  Can products sit in more than one category? (ex. a unisex t-shirt may appear in “Men” & “Women” categories)
  9.  Do the products have different variations? (ex. size, colors, weight, etc.)
  10.  Do you have an idea for the required sections of the website? For example:
    •  Homepage
    •  About Us
    •  Products
    •  Special Offers
    •  How To Find Us
    •  Contact Us
    •  Terms and Conditions
  11.  What offers would you like to see on the website? Please indicate if any of the following are relevant:
    •  Special Offer: % Discount for selected products
    •  Buy one get one free for selected products
    •  Discount codes to allow promotional codes for % discount offer
    •  Other
  12.  Is the e-commerce website going to be integrated with an existing accounting application for billing or stock management? If so, please supply details.
  13.  Is content management required for maintaining the products on the website.
  14.  Are you aware of the product fields that are currently required? For example:
    •  Product title
    •  Short description
    •  Long description
    •  How-to / directions
    •  Specification
    •  Video(s)
    •  Multiple images
    •  Email a friend/Share on Social Media
    •  Other
  15.  Who will supply photography and content creating (copy writing) for each item? 16. Do products require related product relationships?
  16.  Does the website need to include customer reviews?
  17.  Does the website require a search function?
  18.  Does the website need to include online chat for customer support?
  19.  Is content management required for the following items:
    •  Adding new categories, sub categories
    •  Managing discounts
  20.  Will you need Dandyline Designs to populate the new website with the new products in the future?
  21.  Would you require the collection of email addresses for a mailing list?
  22.  Have you considered how you want the orders to be managed? Are there any specific details you can provide?
  23.  Are you using a 3rd party to fulfill your orders or is this being carried out in-house? Additional shipping/fulfillment questions to consider:
    •  Have you considered the weight and cost of shipping?
    •  Can you ship using standard sized packaging?
    •  Are your products perishable?
  24.  Do you require an email alert to let customers know that an order has been delivered? Will an order have status level update system for customers (ex. your order has been processed –> shipped –> delivered)?
  25.  Do you have a preference to where the website is being hosted?
  26.  Are you selling outside of the US? If so, please state the countries that you wish to supply to. Also, have you considered:
    •  Currency conversion?
    •  Import/export regulations?
    •  Additional shipping costs or complex shipping rules?
  27.  Does the website require multiple currencies?
  28.  Do you need to deliver to multiple addresses other than the cardholder address?
  29.  Does the website require a gift-wrapping service?
  30.  Do you know the delivery calculation for the shopping cart? For example; $5 delivery for purchases under $10.
  31.  Do you require a customer account feature? If yes, please indicate what features are required. Here are some suggestions:
    •  Order history
    •  Change password
    •  Change delivery address
    •  Other
  32.  Do you require reporting in the content management system admin area? If so, please state what reports you are interested in.
  33.  Does the website require different admin levels for the content management system?
  34.  In addition to the content managed products do you need the additional functionality to manage and amend products via a CSV upload?
  35.  Do you have a preferred Merchant Account?
  36.  Do you already own a secure certificate (SSL) with your hosting company?
  37.  Does the new website require a blog?
  38.  Is this new website replacing an existing website? If so, have you considered the existing search engine optimization is not trasferable?
  39.  If this is replacing an existing e-commerce store, do you require Dandyline Designs to import any existing data from the previous website? (ex. customer records, products, etc.)
  40.  Are there any specific feeds you are currently using/require such as Amazon?
  41.  How you will promote your online store / how will customers find out about you?
  42.  Do you have a budget range for search engine optimization, link building and Google AdWords?
Dandyline Studio, Development, Marketing, News, Resources, SEO, Solutions, Technology, Video, Your Business

Valuable Presentations to Help Grow Your Business

April 2, 2014

One of the most exciting (and intimidating) things about our industry is that it is always changing. Technology changes, trends come and go. Keeping ahead of the curve requires constant education and experimentation. One of our most consistent resources is SCORE’s Online Workshops. We’ve shared them as a resource before and thought they would tie in perfectly here to our “presentations” portion of our series.

We’ve taken many of these courses and have enjoyed all of them! We’ve sugested three below that are topics we often get asked questions on. Our clients are often successful business owners and these videos have helped them and can more than likely help you. Even if you get one thing out of them, that’s a success in our mind.

Find Your Target Market - Dandyline Designs

Are you a new business looking to hone in on your target market? Or maybe you are launching a new product or service in your established business and need to revisit this area of your marketing strategy. This is a great presentation on really getting clear on your audience so you can market directly to them and ultimately make more money. WATCH PRESENTATION HERE.

Social Media Demystified - Dandyline Designs

Still lagging on getting your social media page up? Or maybe you are a start up and need help getting started with your business pages? Explore how to create your presence online in a simple presentation. WATCH PRESENTATION HERE.

SEO Explained - Dandyline Designs

This is a subject that comes up very often in our projects. “What is SEO?” and “How can my SEO be improved?” This presentation is how we created our 10 Part Series and we think it is a fabulous investment of your time. Every business should understand the basics of SEO. WATCH PRESENTATION HERE.

Some other great resources that we use include lynda.com, WEVonline.org and skillshare.com. Any video’s, services or presentations you just cannot live without? Please share them in the comments area below.

Dandyline Designs, Making Your Business Remarkable - Presentations

This post is a part of our 10-Week Series Challenge on Making Your Business Remarkable. This article is for Week 9: “Presentations”. Feel free to share any video’s, services or presentations you just cannot live without in the comments area below.

Dandyline Studio, Images, Resources, Your Business

Inspiration Is…

February 28, 2014

Inspiration is all around you....

We are so fortunate to call Southern California our home and main source of inspiration. Beauty surrounds us from the ocean coastline to the rolling hillsides inland. Where do you find your inspiration?

Dandyline Designs, Making Your Business Remarkable - Image Quotes

This post is a part of our 10-Week Series Challenge on Making Your Business Remarkable. This article is for Week 8: “Image Quotes”. Feel free to share in our comments below what inspires you to help grow your business…

Dandyline Studio, Development, Marketing, Resources, SEO, Solutions, Technology, Your Business

8 Small Business Resource Links to Help Grow Your Business

February 21, 2014

Resources for Growing Your Little Business

Technology now gives your small business access to a world economy and new markets far beyond your doorstep. Given the large number of small businesses that will be out of business before their fifth anniversary, you want to arm your business with every advantage you can — right from the start. While there are many helpful resources out there for small businesses, the internet offers some of the best. Here are my pick of the eight best website resources to grow your small business.

  1. SCORE is a nonprofit organization that provides expert business counseling to small business owners. SCORE’s website provides online counseling, and offers great online workshops. From operations to financing and expansion plans, SCORE has a vast database of experts to assist your small business.
  2. Inc. is a great magazine and an even better website. They offer everything you need to start and grow your small business now.
  3. Entrepreneur Magazine provides business ideas and trends on start-up, finance, marketing and franchising tools and tips and they have a great website too. You can also read about the latest news, expert advice and growth strategies for small business owners.
  4. You’re The Boss Blog, New York Times offers an insider’s perspective on small business ownership. It gives business owners a place where they can compare notes, ask questions, get advice and learn from one another’s mistakes.
  5. Huffington Post Small Business America includes blogs, news, and community conversations about small business in America. A great example of the quality content on this site is the article by Faisal Hoque, “Growing a Small Business With 5 Essential Principles
  6. Business on Main is an online destination for small-business leaders and entrepreneurs who are looking for information to take their companies to the next level. They offer engaging original videos, featuring business stories that will inform and inspire you on the road to success
  7. The Self Employed is a website created by Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA Today and bestselling author of The Small Business Bible. It provides lots of great advice for ‘solo-preneurs’ in particular, on start-up, finding clients, insurance and tax issues.
  8. Founded in 2003, Small Business Trends is an award-winning online publication for small business owners, entrepreneurs and the people who interact with them. It is one of the most popular independent small business publications on the web.

Do you have a favorite small business resource to share?

This article was first published under the title 8 Best Resources to Grow Your Small Business at Huffington Post. The photo from our title image was found on Pinterest, and can be traced back to Eva Black (http://evablackdesign.com).

This article is a part of our 10-Week Series Challenge on Making Your Business Remarkable. This article is for Week 7: “List of Links”. Feel free to share in our comments below any one of these resources that have helped grow your business…

Dandyline Designs, Making Your Business Remarkable - Links