12 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from Evernote’s Phil Libin

Phil Libin QuotesPhil Libin is a two-time startup entrepreneur, having founded Engine 5 and CoreStreet. He also worked with Advise.me and today is the CEO of Evernote, the available-everywhere software that makes note taking and archiving easy—the app is a bit like having a “memory palace” where you can store the stuff you need access from anywhere, from photos to webpages and more. The company has more than 100 million users and is valued at more than $1 billion. (Note: I love and use Evernote almost every day.)

Libin was born in Russia and emigrated with his musician parents at the age of eight. He studied computer science at Boston College before leaving to found his first company. One thing about Libin that stands out immediately is his wicked sense of humor. When asked about the challenges of being a CEO, he replied (tongue firmly in cheek): “Being a CEO is tough and lonely and it’s often difficult to find people who understand our problems. For example, I find that the air conditioning in my Gulfstream G550 jet sometimes dries out the handmade Tuscan lip balm I have brought in by courier twice a week. Is there anything worse than brushing off the press in Davos with chapped lips? Sometimes I wonder why I even bother leaving my hyperbaric oxygen rejuvenation tent in the morning.”

As one might expect, Libin’s success and sense of humor has made him a popular go-to interviewee for advice on starting and running a business. Here are a few things he’s had to say about his journey that will inspire other startup owners:

“How much confidence did my co-founders and I have when starting our first business? Not very much. How certain were we that we should do it anyway? 100%. We were ready to fail. Are you?”

“There’s lots of bad reasons to start a company. But there’s only one good, legitimate reason, and I think you know what it is: it’s to change the world.”

“If you have a great product, that’s all you have to do.”

“As your company grows, you’ll progress through the three phases of Internet customer feedback: 1. Not enough; 2. Just the right amount; 3. Way, way too much. I’m joking of course. There is no phase two.”

“Everything in the world can be made better, and everything in the world therefore should be made better. It deserves to be made better. It’s a moral obligation to try to improve things a little bit at a time.”

“Everyone who reports to me has to be much better at doing his or her job than I could ever be… this means the CEO is the dumbest person at Evernote. Please don’t tell my board.”

“When you learn a new skill, you learn new patterns. And then you start seeing these patterns interwoven into the familiar world. The impenetrable becomes less so. Things you always knew, you now know better.”

“Is Evernote really worth [$100 billion]? …let me answer personally, and from the heart: not today. But if we work hard, keep making an excellent product that millions of users will fall in love with, and continue to build the business on the same trajectory we’ve been on for the past four years, I think we will eventually be worth much more.”

“I don’t think I can overstate this: Building, and keeping, a great team is the most important thing you do as CEO.”

“The most important thing to know about hiring people is how to fire people. This is unpleasant, but it’s true. Don’t hire anyone unless you’re confident that you’ll be able to fire them… You will never, no matter how good you get at interviewing, be able to identify every wrong person before they get a job. Therefore, the only way to be confident when hiring people is being confident that you can fire them. Hopefully, you won’t have to do it often. But you will have to do it.”

“Complaints are great; the more detailed, the better. They tell us where our product or overall experience is failing. Plus, they are the easiest form of feedback to get. No training or solicitation required. People are naturally good at complaining. The problem with complaints is that they can be quite demoralizing to people who are inexperienced with being criticized.”

“I think it’s important to have an identity mug. That’s a coffee cup that you always carry around the office so that it becomes associated with you. It shouldn’t be too crazy. You have to think really hard about this before you come up with the perfect mug that represents you. Now here’s the trick: as soon as you find one, buy a bunch of them and hide all but one. That way, if you misplace it, you’ve got several backups. It’d be a shame to spend eighteen months building up an identity mug only to lose it and have to start from scratch. Classic amateur mistake, that.”

—Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

Photocredit: USAToday.

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Logo Design News this Week (5.18)

Another week has flown by and if you’re anything like us, you can’t wait to get out and enjoy some spring weather. But before you pull on the hiking boots or bike helmet, take a minute to look back at all the news from the world of logo design this week:

Canada 150 Logo DesignTwo of our favorite logos profiled in our weekly round up this year came from Canada. And this week we add a third. The official logo for Canada’s 150th anniversary was unveiled this week. It’s a maple leaf made up of diamonds of differing shapes and colors, representing the provinces and peoples that formed the confederation in 1867. The design has come under criticism because it was the result of a contest in which more than 300 entries were submitted. Many designers don’t like design contests. The logo pays homage to the country’s centennial logo designed by Stuart Ash. The kerning on the logotype (not shown here) is a little off, but we like it despite what designers say about the process of creating it.

The University of Kentucky tweaked their logo (fixing some weird negative space between the U and the K) on their basketball court. According to Executive Associate Athletics Director Jason Schlafer, the new mark is a result of more than a year of research, feedback and work. Seems like a change this small ought to take less than a year of research.

New LU Logo DesignLoughborough University updated their logo and a lot of people don’t like the new look. And while logo updates are easy to criticize, in this case they are right. The school traded the shield icon (cut to show an L and U) and scholarly looking typeface for a purple stop sign and a lightweight, DIN Rounded typeface that simply doesn’t carry the academic chops of the old logo. Click here to see them side by side. Those that dislike the new design call it “rubbish” and “tacky”. Not the descriptors you want to hear when describing a logo. And after 12,000 people signed a petition, the university put the roll out on hold. And just up the road in Warwick something very similar is happening with a logo that is just as bad.

Hillary Clinton’s logo is still in the news. We like this execution a bit better than the red and blue arrow H. But it’s still not great. This idea would have been better.

Nbn Logo DesignAustralia’s National Broadcasting Network which has been known as NBN Co. has simplified its name to just NBN and to celebrate they spent AU$700,000 on a new logo. The new logo is a modern take on radio waves or broadband emanating from a source (or at least that’s what we think it looks like). The logo isn’t bad (and this is one place where a rounded typeface doesn’t look all that bad, though the color palette doesn’t feel quite right. What we really object to is the price. We hope NBN got more than a logo for all that cash (especially as we know a very affordable place to get logo design).

If you eat jerky, you might notice a new Jack Link’s logo on grocery store shelves soon.

New Generals Logo DesignWe saw another new minor league baseball logo this week, this time for the Petersburg Generals. The new logo replaces a baseball in a star with a design with a lot more character. Although the new design appears to have an unneeded star in the white stripe under the team name and the eagle’s beak on the banner is a little kludgy, this mark is a big step forward for the team. It has a “Civil War” feel appropriate to the area’s history. And, of course, we always like a good baseball logo design.

Gamers may notice a new tiger-eye logo design for Daybreak Game in the near future.

Penny Black Google LogoWe often wrap up with the latest Google logo design. And while it is May Day (or Labor Day in many countries), we didn’t get a May Day logo here in the states. So instead, we’re showing you Google’s design celebrating the 175th issue of the Penny Black stamp which is appearing in several British Commonwealth countries. The Penny Black is the first stamp used by any postal service around the world.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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Start a Business — When to Worry About Design.

Colored PencilsThis year we’ve written many times about the various parts of starting a business—finding an idea for your startup, figuring out if you can earn enough money with your idea, how to write a business plan, whether you need a business license, and much more.

If you’ve been through all that, you might be wondering, when do I need to think about design? Do I need to hire a designer? Will paying for design now payoff?

Those are all great questions. And, as with so many other questions entrepreneurs deal with when they start a business, the answers depend a lot on what you are doing. Here are our suggestions for when you need to pay attention to design:

Your startup is an online or work-from-home business.
If your new business is a consultancy, freelance designer, copywriter, or similar idea where you primarily work from home or a small office, but meet with your clients at their office or online, you probably shouldn’t worry too much about design. You can easily get away with a simple logo design, a nice business card, and a basic 3-5 page website.

While you could pay a freelance designer to help with all of these, easy-to-use tools on the web can do most of the work for you. Start with out do-it-yourself logo design software to create your logo. Choose from nearly 10,000 icons and add your business name. Save the design and download your files.

Next choose a business card maker. We recommend these guys, but there are other online options you can choose, if you prefer. For your website, pick a template—we like Elegant Themes, but you can choose any template provider—just make sure to choose a clean design that looks professional. Setting up your template is easy—to learn how, click here.

That’s about it—a great logo, business cards and a website. If you want to go the extra mile you can add your logo to the footer of your email. But these items will cover 95% of your interactions with customers where you might need a design.

You are starting a business with a retail location.
If your startup idea includes a retail location (for example, a restaurant, cafe or a clothing store), you’ll need to give some additional thought to design. You might be able get away with a do-it-yourself logo and website, but you’ll be better served with a professional designer to help develop a color palette (for wall colors, menus and handouts, and other environmental design elements).

The design of your retail store is critical for your success. A great design will create a powerful brand image and the right ambiance for your customers. Whether you want an eclectic coffee shop look, a colorful cafe, or an edgy skate shop, the feeling your customers will have is almost entirely dependent on a great brand image and environmental graphics.

You likely also have packaging, bags, menus, price tags, posters, counter displays and other elements that will require design. Again, you could do some of these yourself, but trying to save a little money here is probably not worth the effort.

Your startup is venture funded.
While we would love to recommend a do-it-yourself solution to a venture-backed company, this just wouldn’t be good advice. Investors are expecting rocket-ship growth. They want to be sure that your design isn’t holding you back. So while hiring a designer is no guarantee of a great brand image, the type of business you’ve started it requires it.

Your designer should be able to help you create everything from a great logo to a brand standards that will help you use your logo, colors, and other attributes consistently across all the design you need. They’ll help you produce sales sheets, white papers, your website and just about anything else your startup requires to earn the trust and respect of the venture community.

Note: This isn’t to say that if you plan on getting venture funding some day, that you need to hire a designer immediately. If you don’t have money yet, or are just starting to build your product and need to prove your concept, then by all means consider a do-it-yourself logo design as a place holder. Once your product gains traction and starts to make enough money to justify it, you can go back and hire a designer for all the new design projects you’ll have.

Your startup idea is an app that will sell in the App Store.
While you may be working from home and not interfacing with customers, you need to pay attention to the design experience in your app. If resources are tight, you may be able to get away with a simple logo design, but for the design of your app’s interface and pages, you should hire a designer to help. Because you won’t be able to control the store or where you are place within it, your app’s icon needs to be eye-catching and appeal to potential users. A designer can help with that.

But you can likely save money on things like business cards and other small design projects (possibly even use a WordPress template for your website). Invest in design for those things which customers will see when they interact with you.

You are a business professional.
If you are a dentist, doctor, attorney or other business professional, you will probably be best served by a combination of do-it-yourself design work and hiring a professional. Your office space may not need the same kind of design attention that a retail store needs, unless you plan on being a “different kind of lawyer” or a “new kind of doctor”. And a basic business or appointment card may not require the help of a freelance designer. But if you plan to use advertising, one-sheets, or other sales materials, a designer will be a great help.

So do you need a designer, or can you do it yourself?
When it comes down to it, there are a lot of things you can do yourself—even much of your branding. But certain types of businesses have varying expectations for design. Using design wisely as you start and grow, can help you save money and project the kind of brand image your customers are looking for.

Photo credit: Dave Haygarth.

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11 Quotes for Startups from Slack Founder, Stewart Butterfield

Stewart Butterfield QuotesIf there’s a hotter startup than Slack, we haven’t heard of it. Slack works like an online message board and chat room that helps teams communicate. Stewart Butterfield (co-founder of Flickr) launched the company just two years ago and has already raised more than $320 million in venture funding—valuing the company at $2.8 billion dollars. That’s not a typo. Less than two years in, this startup is valued at almost three billion dollars. On the day they launched their beta product, 8,000 people asked for an invite to join. Two weeks later, that number was 15,000. Their growth rate is phenomenal—5% a week—they are on track to reaching two million users this year.

And while you might expect someone like Butterfield, with the success of Flickr on his resume to succeed at this next thing, that’s not what happened. After selling Flickr to Yahoo, Butterfield started a company called Tiny Speck which built a quirky online game called Glitch. Despite decent funding and some interesting game play, the game didn’t grow as fast as the team thought it should. It was a failure so they shut it down. The idea for Slack was born from how the Glitch team worked as they built the game.

Given his success, it’s no surprise that Butterfield has been named one of Businessweek’s “Top 50” Leaders and was listed on MIT’s list of top 35 innovators in the world under 35 (in 2005). His recent success hint that other recognition is sure to follow. Here are a few of the things Mr. Butterfield has said that might encourage and inspire other startup entrepreneurs:

“Life is too short to do mediocre work and it is definitely too short to build shitty things.”

“For most companies, the hard thing is making the product work well enough to convince a single person at a time to switch to it. We have to convince a team, and no two teams are alike.”

“Ensuring that the pieces all come together is not someone else’s job. It is your job, no matter what your title is and no matter what role you play. The pursuit of that purpose should permeate everything we do.”

“I think there’s a deep impulse in most humans to do creative stuff, whether that’s music or art, photography or writing. Most people at some point in their life say they want to do something creative… Enabling and empowering that is a very powerful force in human nature and I think it’s always been there.”

“We’d [like to] do something that we are really proud of, that we can pound our chest and say, ‘We made this.’”

“Be opportunistic. Be open, really listen and assess what kind of response the product gets and evolve in a way that makes sense.”

“Just as much as our job is to build something genuinely useful, something which really does make people’s working lives simpler, more pleasant and more productive, our job is also to understand what people think they want and then translate the value of [the product] into their terms.”

“Once the product fits the market, a company is able to step on the gas, spending to promote a product that will actually sell. The things you need to do before are very different from the things you need to do after (generally test and iterate versus scale and optimize).”

“We are setting out to define a new market. And that means we can’t limit ourselves to tweaking the product; we need to tweak the market too.”

“The best—maybe the only?—real, direct measure of ‘innovation’ is change in human behaviour.”

“All products are asking things of their customers: to do things in a certain way, to think of themselves in a certain way—and usually that means changing what one does or how one does it; it often means changing how one thinks of oneself.”

—Stewart Butterfield, Founder of Flickr and Slack

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Logo Design News This Week (5.17)

As usual, every Friday at Logomaker HQ we take a look back at the logo design news from the previous week. Here’s what caught our attention over the last seven days:

Lincoln Chafee Presidential LogoThe big news this week was a continuation of the news last week that Hillary Clinton had unveiled a new campaign logo (to go along with her official campaign). The Internet was filled with criticism and praise for the logo. But this wasn’t the only campaign logo news this week, which also saw an updated logo for Donald Trump (who hasn’t officially announced that he is running) in support of his quadrennial vanity project. And Lincoln Chafee has a logo touting his fresh ideas with a very stale design. Here’s a collection of all of the candidate logos that we’ve seen so far.

The Libertarian Party is holding a design contest to create their new logo. Here are the designs in the running so far—some really bad options and maybe two decent ones.

New LA Clippers Logo DesignLast week we showed you the cool new wizardless mark that the Washington Wizards unveiled. This week it looks like the L.A. Clippers are doing their own rebranding. And the reviews have been less than positive. Critics have noted that the new icon looks a lot like Microsoft’s Clippy, the icon used in their Office software to explain features and guide users. It’s not that bad, but it lacks the coolness of most of the new sports logos we’ve seen lately. But then, the clippers mascot is a sailboat. It’s not exactly the kind of mascot that strikes fear in the hearts of opposing players.

$50,000 for a new logo? That seems a little high when you can get a good logo for less than $50.

New Salt Dog Logo DesignA couple of other sports logos popped up in our news feed this week, including this one for the Lincoln Saltdogs who are celebrating their 15th anniversary. The new design is more aggressive but it doesn’t replace the team’s original mark which will remain the team’s official logo design. And while this isn’t a brand new logo, Sportslogos has a nice write up of the story behind the Buffalo Bisons, a triple-A baseball team affiliates with the Toronto Bluejays.

The delightfully named Mayor Butt thinks his city’s logo is ugly. And he’s right.

Pudgies Naked Chicken LogoEarlier this year a particular chicken logo (dirty bird) made the rounds as one of the worst logos ever designed. At the time we chose not to profile it because it was, as the critics claimed, provocative and offensive. This week we saw a chicken logo done right. We really like the look and feel of this rebrand. Pudgie’s Famous Chicken is now Pudgie’s Naked Chicken Company—a name that lends itself to offensive designs, but the brand didn’t go there. And check out how the brand is used in the pocket of the shirt at this link. Really nice design.

How many of these religious symbols can you name (not just recognize)?

Loch Ness Google LogoGoogle’s new logo this week celebrates Scotland’s Loch Ness Monster. Eighty-one years ago this week, the London Daily Mail published the famous (and fraudulent) photo featuring the monster peaking out of the water’s surface. The logo playfully suggests that there is more to the story than we knew at the time. Funny.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.


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12 Quotes for Startups from Behance Founder Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky Startup QuotesScott Belsky is a celebrated entrepreneur and writer. He founded his startup, the creative portfolio site, Behance in 2006. The site allows designers to personalize custom websites to share their work with the world—and was purchased by Adobe in 2012 for more than $150 million. The site hosts over 30 million images and popular with creative companies looking for talent.

Today he is the Vice President of Creative Community at Adobe and an active advisor to other fast-growing startups like Pinterest and Uber. He’s been included in Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”.

He is the author of Making Ideas Happen, about the creative habits of productive people and how to make ideas happen. He’s had a lot to say on the subject that will inspire other small businesses and entrepreneurs. Check out some of our favorites:

“Among idealists and visionaries, there is no shortage of good intent, but there’s often a shortage of discipline.”

“I don’t want to spend my time trying to get people to do something. Ideas never get made unless everyone makes it their business to do so.”

“While many of use spend too much energy searching for the next great idea, my research shows that we would be better served by developing the capacity to make ideas happen—a capacity that endures over time.”

“While the tendency to generate ideas is rather natural, the path to making them happen is tumultuous.”

“To envision what will be, you must remove yourself from the constant concern for what already is.”

“All great inventions emerge from a long sequence of small sparks; the first idea often isn’t all that good, but thanks to collaboration it later sparks another idea, or it’s reinterpreted in an unexpected way. Collaboration brings small sparks together to generate breakthrough innovation.”

“Everything in life should be approached as a project. Every project can be broken down into just three things: Action Steps, Backburner Items, and References.”

“Most ideas are born and lost in isolation.”

“You can’t rely on others—especially your managers and clients—to engage your strengths. In an ideal world, managers would constantly be thinking about how to best utilize their people—and clients would always unearth your greatest potential. Unfortunately, the reality is that bosses and clients are as worried about their own careers as you are about your own. You must take the task of marketing your strengths into your own hands.”

“Constant motion is the key to execution.”

“You cannot ignore or completely escape the deeply ingrained short-term reward system within you. But you can become aware of what really motivates you and then tweak your incentives to sustain your long-term pursuits.”

“Nothing extraordinary is achieved through ordinary means.”

—Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance

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Logo Design News This Week (5.16) The Hillary for President Edition

We’ve reached the end of another week which means it’s time to take a look back at all the news from the world of logo design and share the stuff that caught our attention. Here’s the biggest news from the past seven days:

Hillary 2016 Logo DesignThe biggest news by far was the unveiling of Hillary Clinton’s campaign logo as part of her announcement that she is running for president. It’s not that the design announcement is really big news. It’s that everyone made such a big deal out of it. The logo was designed by Pentagram. It’s not a bad logo, but given some of the campaign logos we’ve seen recently (which have been pretty good), it’s not exactly great. A red arrow pointing to the right? Those are the signals she wants to send? It feels harsh and jagged—not the kind of feelings this candidate wants to evoke. Though our guess is that if you like Hillary, you probably like her logo. And if you don’t like her, you probably don’t like the logo. After all, logos are more about the associations people have with the brand, not what the symbol actually is. It is, great for parody, however. Then there’s this. Vice President Biden of course is all about the parody.

And speaking of political logo news, Native Americans are protesting the Cleveland Indians’s Chief Wahoo logo.

Marco Rubio Logo DesignHillary wasn’t the only candidate to announce a new logo this week. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, unveiled a campaign logo. And like his democratic opponent, it came under the same criticism as Hillary. The guys at Vox criticized the kerning, saying it wasn’t kerned. But to us it looks like the r and c are a bit over-kerned, making the rest of the logo look unlearned.

Bit.ly has a new logo.

New Milwaukee Bucks Logo DesignAs we hinted a few weeks ago, The Milwaukee Bucks introduced a new logo design this week. The logo updates the buck to look substantially more fierce (a trend in sports logos over the past few years) and very cleverly hides a basketball in the buck’s antlers. It also changes the triangular enclosure to a circle. And while the new icon is an improvement, the changes to the font are a step backward. According to the guys at Emblemetric, the Bucks join most of the rest of the NBA in adding a basketball to the logo—something that 73% of teams now have, compared to just 43% of Major League Baseball teams and only 13% of NFL teams with a ball in their identity.

Another sports logo of note: Army West Point got a new name and new logo this week. Some say its a little too close to Michigan State’s logo.

Washington Wizards Logo DesignThe Bucks aren’t the only NBA team with a new brand this week. The Washington Wizards introduced a new logo this week as well—giving up the wizard icon for, what else?, a basketball. Critics say the logo has lost its magic, and now looks like all the other logos. The wizard may be gone, but the new design features the Washington monument and the team’s striping from their current uniforms. Some have suggested that this is the first (next?) step in changing the team’s name. We think this is a really nice mark, very well designed. Unless you’re somewhat crazy and obsessed with hidden messages.

Scrapbook.com has a new logo. There’s an evolution of the mark at this link.

HP Enterprise Logo DesignHewlett Packard announced last year that they would be splitting the company into two pieces—one would stick with the computer and printer business the company is best known for and the other would take everything else. The second part is known as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and as of today, they have a new logo. It’s a green box. Actually we like this design, but we’re not sure it “expresses our renewed commitment to focus and simplicity”.

We really like this new bean-shaped logo for Green Mountain Coffee. The typeface is especially nice.

Baltimore Logo DesignLet’s finish up with a few new logos for municipalities, starting with this new mark for Baltimore which cleverly (or maybe a little too obviously) places the word “more” in the large B icon. From a design standpoint, it’s a big improvement over the last design, but it loses all of the oddity that helped the old logo represent the city in a unique way. The village of Penick has a new logo with a heart and date hidden in the roots of the tree. And the rebranding of the La Plazas in El Paso has begun.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.

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Start a Business — What Licenses Do I Need?

Business LicenseAs you plan the start of your new business, at some point you’ll need to think about which business licenses you’ll need. Depending on what kind of business you are going to launch, you may need to acquire a federal, state, or local license—or possible one or more of each.

You need a federal license if you start a business doing any of these:

• transport animals, animal products, plants, or biotechnology across state borders
• make, import, or sell alcoholic beverages at a retail location
• operate an aircraft or provide aircraft parts and maintenance
• manufacture, import, or sell fire arms or ammunition or explosives
• conduct a business engaged in wildlife activity (including import/export)
• operate a commercial fishery
• transport goods or cargo by sea
• mining or drilling for natural gas, oil, or other natural resources on federal lands
• produce nuclear energy, fuel or dispose of these
• broadcast by radio, television, wire, satellite, or cable
• transport goods across state lines in an oversize or overweight vehicle

The SBA maintains a list of activities that require a federal license complete with links where you can apply. Click here if your business is involved in one of the activities above.

What about state business licenses. Do I need one of those?
HQ License
This question is a little trickier. Most states require licenses for some occupations, but it’s not consistent from state to state. Barbers and nail technicians, for example, are licensed in all 50 states. But massage therapists and plumbers aren’t (yet). Here’s a partial list of the kinds of businesses that may require a license from your state:

• accountants
• architects or interior design
• attorneys
• auto dealership
• banking and lending
• barbershop or beauty salon
• child care
• condominiums, timeshares, or coops
• construction contractor (or related business)
• debt collection
• electrician
• gambling
• home health care
• insurance agents
• massage therapist
• nurses
• plumber
• restaurant and eateries (includes food trucks)
• real estate broker or appraiser
• taxi, limosine, or other car service

Don’t see your business on the list? That doesn’t mean your free and clear. Every state is different. Some regulate certain tradesmen and professions, while others choose not to (though as more states see the potential for raising additional fee revenue, more businesses are being regulated). The SBA maintains a list of links to state licensing agencies here. Click the link to your state and check to see if your business requires a license. The requirements and fees associated with these licenses varies by state and occupation. Some licenses require several hundred dollars and as many as 2000 hours of supervised training before a license will be granted.

Don’t forget. You may need a local license too.
Many cities and counties require a license to open an office or retail location within their boundaries. This is usually a general business license that accompanies a visit from the fire marshal to ensure that your business meets minimum safety requirements. The cost of a local business license is usually quite low—$100-500 depending on the size of your business.

I’m starting a virtual company. What licenses do I need?
If you business is conducted entirely online and you don’t have a physical location, you may not need a business license. The same may be true if you are running a freelance design or writing business from your home. But be careful. If you run a business from your home and invite partners, customers, or others there for meetings or other events, your local government may determine that you are using your home as a business location (which may not be legal depending on your local zoning laws). So check with your local authority before deciding not to get a license.

What paperwork do I need to do—no matter what?
If you are serious about your business, you need to get a tax payer id for it—it’s called an EIN and it’s like a social security number for your business. You get this from the IRS. And you will definitely want to register your business with your state’s incorporation division. This will pay dividends when it’s time to file your taxes and insure your business against loss.
Photo credits: Tax plate 1941 and Supreme HQ Europe via photopin (license).

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10 Quotes for Startups and Small Business from John Huntsman Sr.

John M Huntsman Sr QuotesToday he’s a billionaire. And given his humble beginnings, John M. Huntsman certainly wasn’t a sure bet to become a successful entrepreneur—let alone a philanthropist who has single handedly funded one of the premier cancer hospitals in the world, a new home for the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and a substantial endowment for Utah State University’s School of Business.

His father was an abusive school teacher in Idaho, where according to Huntsman, everyone was poor, his family included. Yet, he has always given back. When he was in the Navy, he donated $50 from his $320 monthly check to Navy Relief to help veteran’s families. That was on top of the $32 he tithed to his church. He says “the time to give away money is when you make it.” As his income grew, so did his giving.

In the early 1970s, his first startup was the Huntsman Container Company, where he invented the styrofoam clamshell boxes used to package eggs and McDonald’s Big Macs. After he sold that business, he started Huntsman Chemical, mortgaging his house and borrowing nearly $50 million to purchase a polystyrene plant. Over the next two decades, he acquired 36 more companies doing business in chemicals, natural gas, textiles, and carbon fiber. The company has annual revenues well north of $10 billion.

According to Forbes, of the more than 1,200 billionaires alive today, Huntsman is one of only 19 who have donated at least $1 billion to charity. So, while he has said a lot about business over the past 40 years, he says even more about our responsibility to make a difference in the lives of others. Stuff like this:

“Neither business nor philanthropy are for the faint of heart. You can’t be a wimp. Everybody seems to work against you. You’re fighting bureaucracy right and left, but you just keep pushing. I never take no for an answer. Every day, it feels like you have to fight. But you know what? It always works out fine.”

“There are very, very few entrepreneurs; most people give it a shot for a year or two, and then go to work for somebody else and say, ‘I’m an entrepreneur who didn’t make it.’ They are really not entrepreneurs. True entrepreneurs have to really forego almost everything; they have to put it all on the line. They have to go through tremendous downswings and still come back fighting and swinging. They have to know what it means to come out of the valley of death and still be successful and keep a positive attitude.”

“Always make your team around you feel like you are succeeding, even though you know way down deep, it’s a long shot. You have to be the fighter and the leader and the one who instills energy and hope in others.”

“Life isn’t fair, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be fair. And as we go through life, I think we have to take an accountability of ourself and see, you know, who are we? What are our real values? What do we believe in?”

“Humans seldom have created anything of lasting value unless they were tired or hurting.”

“There are a tremendous number of people who want to work for a company where there is fairness and upward mobility, where employees are heard, and where people look out for one another.”

“Engaging in activities devoid of difficulty, lounging in risk-free zones, is life without great meaning.”

“Wealth isn’t always measured in dollar signs. We each have time, talent and creativity, all of which can be powerful forces for positive change. Share your blessings in whatever form they come and to whatever level you have been blessed.”

“Too many people think that they have to die with their bank full of money. I tend to think the other way. If I die poor, it’s humanity that will have benefited. Of course, it’s not just how much you give away. It’s ultimately how many people you helped, particularly how many who couldn’t otherwise make it without you.”

“America is a charitable country, but we need to be more gracious. We haven’t yet begun to do what we have the capacity to do.”

—John M. Huntsman, Philanthropist & Founder, Huntsman Corp.


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Logo Design News This Week (5.15) The College Logo Edition

As always, Friday here on Logomaker’s Small Business blog means we take a quick look back at the logo design news from the previous week. Here’s what caught our attention:

Bike New York Logo DesignLet’s start with a new logo we really like—Bike New York, a non-profit that promoted bike education throughout the city. The new design is a nice step forward for the brand. The icon is a not-so-subtle bike crafted from the letters NY. And the typography underneath is very nice. Pentagram, who designed the logo, borrowed the color scheme from New York’s green bike lanes and gray streets. The only shame is that the shape of the letters have the bike facing backwards, rather than forward. A lovely logo.

Can you draw Apple’s logo? Most college students can’t.

Radford University Logo DesignEvery once in a while we come across a category that has two or three new logos in a single week. Television stations and minor league baseball teams are the two we see most often. Colleges too. And this week, we set a new high-water mark for logos for a single category in a week—six new designs for colleges and universities. Let’s start with this mark for Radford University. The old logo used to feature a sort-of icon abbreviation of RU. The new logo is just a simple (and nice) type treatment. Cincinnati Christian University LogoCanadian University College has changed its name to Burman University and got a new logo in the deal. Hawkeye Community College has a new chair-looking logo. Brand New give a positive review to this new logo for Cincinnati Christian University (though the kerning is a bit messed up). And while we mentioned this logo for Southeast Missouri State University last month, it’s set to roll out starting next week. Lastly, we may have missed this earlier this year, but The University of Tennessee Chattanooga also has a new brand.

When it comes to the rings, the Olympics doesn’t mess around.

Lexmark LogoLexmark, the printer company, released a brand new logo design this week. Gone is the red diamond that the company has used for years. In is a new green shutter design. The new mark feels a bit more friendly, though we prefer the previous type treatment, which is bolder and stands out better. Moving it out of the word mark and making it a free-standing icon, makes the logo weaker—a feeling which matches the new flimsier font. According to the brand team, the new icon suggests “opening and expanding possibilities”.

Condors Logo DesignAmerican Hockey League team, The Bakersfield Condors, has a new logo. Actually, it’s pretty much the old logo with a new color scheme. Which is a shame because the team missed a great opportunity to simplify and modernize the complex lines on the icon. The team has plans to announce a secondary mark later this year.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments.



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