Tag Archives: small business

Happy Friday everyone!

20 Jul

It’s been a busy month.  Launched some new apps this month, and saw the release of a few of the apps I worked on at Microsoft.  I feel very accomplished.  🙂  Have quite a few other apps (both mobile and tablet) in the works as well.  Some very exciting stuff!

Apps I’ve designed/developed and/or contributed to in the last 3 years:

1. Microsoft Tag for iPhone

2. Microsoft Tag for Android

3. Microsoft Tag for Windows Phone

4. Fresh Paint for windows 8 Tablet

5.  Bonus Apps for WinPhone

6.  Wi-Fi Calling App for WinPhone

7.  An IP Communications app soon to be released for iPhone

8.  An IP Communications app soon to be released for Android

9.  Same app but for WinPhone

Love designing for the tablets – you can do much richer interactions and really push innovation in new ways.  Metro and the new Windows design paradigms are a blast to create for as well.

Well – would love to hear what you all are working on these days.  What have you accomplished in the last month?

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Business Cards : The good, the bad, and the ugly

24 Jan

businesscards

I’ve attended many local trade show for homeowners. I enjoy collecting business cards when I’m there – not necessarily because I’m going to use these companies for their services, but because they can make great inspiration as to what works and what doesn’t with a business card.  I think i’ve got over 2000 that i’ve collected over the years that stood out to me, and have used them in presentations and seminars to show some real life examples of what makes a successful card.  Looking through them, I notice that the majority of them weren’t the greatest cards. So many people have a hard time selling their products or their services to people. Why on earth would you short change yourself by having poorly made or outdated cards to hand out? Give yourself the added confidence when representing your business by making sure that you don’t commit any business card design
[keep reading »]
faux pas.

1. you’re at the end of a stack and you’ve changed your phone number or address… so you cross out the old information and write over the top. (see bottom left)… no no no…. bad idea. I know it’s quick and simple for you… but later, this comes across as sloppy, unprepared and unprofessional. If something changes, so should your card. Period.

2. Overfilling your card(see top left)… ok yea, name, address, phone, website, email address… those are certainly important. But stick with ONE logo and make sure you don’t overfill your card with either information or graphics that are unnecessary. The point of a card is to give information in a clear, clean, short but sweet message.

3. Colors (see top right) – colors are great, but be careful. Not only will you up the printing costs, but if you clash as well as these guys, you’re not doing yourself or your profits any favors. Stick to two, maybe 3 colors when printing… unless you include a well thought out photo (do not stretch, do not pixelate). Also keep in mind that by adding color, you’re giving your card a better chance at being noticed.

4. Cost – going for the cheapest you can find. Yea when you’re starting a business, you try to keep costs down. But this is something you’re giving to a client. It is a direct extension of who you are and what you’re business can do for them. If you give out a flimsy card with a poor design, what are you saying about your business? Paper quality, gloss, even specialty cuts are the added things that will cost money, but are definitely worth it. They help your card stick out among the others.

A business card is your business’s identity… if it’s bland, boring, or poorly designed you end up losing the appeal and therefore losing a sale. A business has a personality, a feel to it, and your identity should reflect that.

Now does that mean to go and make the snazziest best design EVER?!  no – not exactly – you can certainly overdo it.  And an overly designed card can backfire just as bad as a poorly designed one.  Keep your audience in mind – what will attract THEM?

How to establish Business Credit

5 Jan
How to Establish Business Credit

How to Establish Business Credit

Establishing Business Credit

Establishing business credit is tough, especially for a new business. But remember: It CAN be done, and it’s easier than you think. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to an excellent credit profile.

Here is what I have learned:

~Set up a Corp business. Smart to protect yourself and the only type of business that allows you to keep your business credit and personal credit seperate. LLCs and Sole are okay for contract work or property investment, but you still should get a Corp to manage them.

~Once you get your EIN, through registrastion, set up your business phone. You will need to make sure it is at an address not the same as your home (because it is not looked upon favorably by the lending world) and the phone will need to be registered in the 411 directory. Quite a few have had success with calling the local phone company and getting a call forwarding number. It is a business number that automatically forwards to any desired phone. Make sure it will list with 411 before signing up however.

~After receiving your first phone bill, go to http://www.staples.com and fax in copy of application along with copy of phone bill to apply for business credit. Use professional letterhead for coversheet. You should receive the standard $750 credit line with no personal guarentee (herein referred to as “PG”).

~Also during this time go to http://www.dnb.com and register your business to receive a D&B number. It will take 30-40 days to receive it in the mail. If you want to establish business credit sooner, you can pay for the credit builder ($399), but it’s not required. After you have at least 5 business accounts reporting, you’ll receive a paydex rating (similiar to FICO for personal credit).

*REMEMBER – a paydex score will only take into account your payment history. Unlike personal credit, this is counted in days. For example, if you pay your invoices 14 days late, it will be reported as such. If you pay your account off before the statement or invoice comes, it will be reported as such. The bottom line: Pay your invoices on time, and you will get a better paydex score.

~Set up the following business accounts, and make at least one purchase, you want to pay this off BEFORE the first statement hits:

*1. UPS – http://www.ups.com

2. FedEx CONTACT Revenue Services Department 1-800-622-1147 press 4 then 1

3. Barnes & Noble CONTACT Purchase order department 1-212-414-6000

4. Quill Corporation 100 So Schelter Lincolnshire, IL 60069 CONTACT Credit Department 1-8…

*5. Viking 8200 East 32nd St No. Wichitas, KS 67226 CONTACT Credit Department 1-8…

6. Rapid Forms 301 Grove Rd Thorofare, NJ 08086 CONTACT Billing Departement 1-80…

*7. Nebs – http://www.nebs.com

*11. Office Depot http://www.officedepot.com Apply online

(*- Really easy to get)

~Need a cell phone? Once you have a EIN and D&B# apply for a business account. Usually T-Mobile is the easiest to get credit with, but I’ve heard that Sprint, cingular, and Verizon are easy to get as well. Nextel? Good phone, but you have to jump through a lot of hoops, and you usually have to put down a deposit.

~If you have at least 30-45 days to use, the following companies automatically report to D&B creating your business file:

-FedEx

-UPS

-Staples

-Viking

-Nebs

-Office Depot

~Once you have a paydex score of 75+, you can apply for Lines of Credit (herein referred to as “LOC”) or business Credit Cards without any sort of PG. The cards/accounts desired are:

Enterprise Rent a Car (Corp. Rental) http://www.enterprise.com

Wells Fargo Bank (Visa/Mastercard) http://www.wellsfargo.com

Bank of America (Visa) http://www.bankofamerica.com

American Express (Green/Gold) http://www.americanexpress.com

Chevron http://www.chevron.com

Mobil http://www.mobil.com

MBNA Bank http://www.mbna.com

Wells Fargo (Line of Credit) http://www.wellsfargo.com

Bank of America (Line of Credit) http://www.bankofamerica.com

Union Bank (Line of Credit) http://www.unionbank.com

Cal Fed http://www.calfed.com

United California Bank http://www.unitedcalbank.com

Most companies will not ask to see financials for loans of 50k or less.

I hope this helps, and I wish the best of luck to you in your pursuit of credit

Best Buy – Status; 1-800-811-7276
Borders (734) 477-1039 – Fax Application (877) 254-9229 – Status Update
BP/Amoco Status Update (800)365-6204
Chevron/Texaco Business Card Status Update (888) 243-8358
Citgo Fleet; (734) 477-1039 – Fax Application (877) 254-9229 – Status Update
Citi AA: 888-662-7759
Citibank Status:800-645-7240, 800-288-4653, 800-750-7453
Conoco – Status Line, automated 1-866-289-5622
Experian Business:888-211-0728
ExxonMobil Business Card(800) 903-9966
HD Commercial800-685-6691
HDMC Sondee 877-969-9030.
Home Depot MC:877-969-9039 (Sondee/Sedonia?)
Key Bank:800-254-2737
Lowes – Status; 1-800-445-6937
Lowes – Underwriter;1-866-232-7443
Lowes Fraud/UW: 800-444-1408
MBNA – 1-800-673-1044
Meijers MC (801) 517-5560
Office Depot – Staus Line, automated 1-800-767-1358
Office Depot;800-767-1358, 800-729-7744 automated line to check status.
Office Max – Status Line, atomated 1-800-283-7674
OFFICEMAX STATUS: (800) 283-7674
Philips 66: 866-289-5630, 800-610-1961
Phillips 801-779-7369
Radio Shack;1-800-442-7221
Sam’s UW:800-301-5546, 866-246-4282
Sears – Status; 1-800-599-9710
Shell Fleet Card Status Update(800) 223-3296
Shell: 800-223-3296, 866-438-7435
Shell; 800-377-5150
Staples – Status Line, automated 1-800-767-1275
Staples: 800-767-1291, 800-282-5316
Sunoco Corporate Card(800) 935-3387,(800) 278-6626
Sunoco: 800-310-4773
Target: 800-440-5317
Tiffany:800-770-0800
VALERO (800)324-8464 ACCOUNT STATUS
Valero;1-877-882-5376
Walmart;800-301-5546, underwriting 877-294-7548
Wright Express; 888-743-3893

These links will take you to the application page, or a page that has the application link on it.
• Amazon.com – http://www.amazon.com
• Best Buy – http://www.bestbuy.comhttp://www.bestbuybusiness.com
• Citgo Fleet – http://www.citgo.com
• Conoco / Phillips 66 / 76 – http://www.conoco.com
• Dell Computers – http://www.dell.com
• FedEx / Kinkos – http://www.fedexkinkos.com
• Home Depot – http://www.homedepot.com
• HD Expo – http://www.expo.com
• Home Depot Master Card – http://www.homedepot.com
• Lowes Commercial – http://www.lowes.com
• Nebs.com – http://www.nebs.com
• Office Depot – http://www.officedepot.com
• Office Max – http://www.officemax.com
• Quill.com – http://www.quill.com
• Rapid Fuel – http://www.rapidfuel.com
• Shell Fleet – http://www.shell.com
• Staples – http://www.staples.com
• Sunoco Corporate – http://www.sunoco.com
• TechDepot – http://www.tectdepot.com
• TigerDirect – http://www.tigerdirect.com
• Uline – http://www.uline.com
• Wright Express – http://www.wrightexpress.com

Standing on a cliff… sink or swim time

11 Apr

What a week… there’s been the discussion of a LOT of changes. Our “beloved Christopher” the director of operations for JW is joining the military. And while i won’t get into all those details here, let’s just say this means a lot of change for me and JW. 🙂 It’s all good change tho, and i’m looking forward to once again holding the reins so to speak. I got a nice break and I’m getting myself ramped up to take business to the next plateau. While doing that however, I’m also going to be busting through a new door. I’ve been offered a couple of commission comic jobs for a couple of different fun projects. And my debate ended a couple of days ago when I accepted them. 🙂 I’m not entirely sure how i’ll juggle it all, but i’m looking forward to giving it my all. I suppose one thing that is keeping me from stressing about it is that i’ll finally be able to act the way my title describes. I’m the creative director, and for a long time, i’ve also been the sole designer behind the designs for my firm. We’ve used other designers here and there, where i’ve directed as needed. But I’m looking forward to being able to direct the creativity, and letting someone else create it. LOL. Maybe that makes me sound odd.. i don’t know.

I remember when i first started JW. It felt like I was standing on a cliff and I could either dive in or turn away. And once I got in.. it was sink or swim. Now essentially all business is that way all the time, but the newness behind it was scary and intimidating. That’s how I feel right now with the comic industry. Graphic design, web design, heck business… I’m cool and confident. But this industry is a whole new world for me.

I’m also looking forward to finally having the chance to work on Creative Fusion Pro. My baby project that has grown over the last 3 years into something ENORMOUS. And due to it’s size, it’s been on the back burner long enough. It’s exciting.

Well that’s enough from me, i need to go back to work before I go home.. but to all of you who are in the position where you feel like you’re standing on a cliff… i’ve been there, and i’m looking forward to leaping you should too.

J.
http://www.jwdesigncenter.com

A short order…

22 Feb

inbox Had to let someone go today. I hate doing that. It always makes me feel just awful. Luckily i’ve got enough on my plate right now that I can just dig in and forget about it as best as I can. I’m thankful it’s friday. 🙂 I say that a lot. What’s funny is that being friday does not mean the end of my work week. I typically work Saturdays. Sundays too if we’re slammed. I read an article this morning about Entrepeneurs Continue reading

Do you have a “sick” plan?

18 Feb

Sick ManWhen you work in a normal job, you have other people who can cover for you should you take a sick day. But when you’re a business owner in a small business, what do you do? Do you have a backup plan in case of emergencies? Perhaps you need a “substitute”?

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