12 Quotes for Startups from IDEO Partner, Tom Kelley

Tom Kelley Startup QuotesTom Kelley is one of those behind-the-scene creatives whom you may not have heard of, but you’ve almost certainly seen his work. As the General Manager at IDEO, he has worked with innovative teams on numerous design projects: a portable defibrillator, a new shopping cart, a bike/walker combination for seniors called the Trikka, the PillPack designed to change the way people take pharmaceuticals, and an innovative store design for Walgreen’s, among hundreds of other unique inventions.

Mr. Kelley is the author of three books on creativity and innovation: The Art of Innovation (a behind the scenes look at IDEO’s processes), Creative Confidence (about how anyone can be a “creative”), and The Ten Faces of Innovation (a profile of the different personalities who promote creativity). He has spoken at TED and is an Executive Fellow at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley and the University of Tokyo.

As one of the world’s experts on creativity and design thinking, Mr. Kelley has had a lot to say about innovation and creating new opportunities. Here are a few things he’s written or said that we think will inspire entrepreneurs and small business owners in your startup:

“I used to think that to make something happen in a corporation or in the army, you had to be at the higher ranks, to be a general. But you just need to start a movement.”

“Fail often so you can succeed sooner.”

“The key element of the art of innovation is treating life as an experiment—living with the idea that you need to continuously try things as opposed to just sticking to the knitting.”

“Ultimately it comes down to passion. It’s about doing the things you love, because it’s no secret that if you do something you love, you will be better at it.”

“The history of discovery is full of creative serendipity.”

“If you leave out the emotional content, you may have the best specifications in the world but people may not buy your product or service. Does the Apple IPod have better specs, or better data storage per dollar spent than other MP3 players? I don’t think so, but it speaks to emotion.”

“Noticing that something is broken is an essential prerequisite for coming up with a creative solution to fix it.”

“Cool technology alone is not enough. If it were, we’d all be riding Segways and playing with robotic dogs.”

“Good companies embrace a culture of mini-failures.”

“Identify every barrier that keeps people away from your offerings, especially for first-time customers. Then systematically tackle each one, using a combination of simplicity, clear communication, and customer-centered design.”

“…find the silver lining in every cloud. Setbacks aren’t problems, they’re opportunities.”

“Organizations should allow serendipity to happen, because I believe that all of the magic is at the intersection of disciplines now.  You cannot win the game just by having better engineers or better marketers than the people down the street.  You can’t win. Someone is always going to come along who is better.  The magic is at the intersection between anthropology and engineering and marketing or whatever, where you cluster things in a different way, and you say, ‘Hey, here is something people need that they didn’t know they needed.’”

—Tom Kelley, Author and General Manager, IDEO

Want more quotes? Here’s Ed Catmull on creativity and Roger Martin on design thinking.

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Logo Design News This Week (5.13)

Welcome to the last logo design news of the quarter. Believe it or not, we’re 1/4 of the way through 2015 and we’ve covered quite a bit of news over the past few weeks. Here’s all the stuff we saw happening over the past seven days:

Ted Cruz Campaign Logo DesignThe biggest logo news of the week (or at least the most controversial) was the introduction of the logo that accompanied Ted Cruz’s announcement of his presidential campaign. Why was this big news? We’re not sure. But for some reason, everything about Mr. Cruz attracts criticism and complaint from one side of the political spectrum, so why would his logo be different? People accused Cruz of plagiarizing the logo from stock art. Or having a burning flag logo (note to Debbie Millman: that’s not illegal). Or AlJazeera. Or ripping off the flame used by some Christian churches. Or Tinder. Seriously? Can we all just settle down for a minute? This isn’t even close to a stolen logo. It’s simply a flame/flag. It’s going to look a lot like other flame logos. It’s not very original, but it’s not a rip.

The upcoming Fantastic Four movie has a new logo design.

Old Minneapolis Logo DesignWhoops. A few weeks ago we told you that the City of Minneapolis had a new one-sailboat logo. It appears those reports may have been a bit premature. The city council has refused to approve the new logo. So the city is stuck with its old, two-sailboat design for the time being. One of the council members even stated she doesn’t like the sail boats, so who know? Maybe we’ll be writing about a new non-sailboat icon for the city in the future.

We’re willing to be that the State Fair in Tennessee is a big deal. So the new logo for the fairgrounds is also likely to be a big deal.

Meals on Wheels Logo DesignHere’s a logo we don’t much like. Meals of Wheels traded their boring, but very readable logo design for something a little more confusing. The new logo uses a stylized MW symbol combined with dots that are heads or wheels, creating an icon that looks a bit like two people pushing a shopping cart, but not really. Remove the icon and this is a decent logotype. But that icon is way too busy and doesn’t make a lot of sense.

It’s not a new logo, but the Bay Bears logo story is somewhat interesting.

Oxbow Animal Health Logo DesignEvery once in a while we stumble across a logo in a product category that we are completely unfamiliar with. And one of those categories is animal food packaging. We’re not talking Meow Mix here. This is small animal hay food and supplements. And if you’re living in the city and don’t see this much either, the new Oxbow logo design is probably new to you too. It’s a nice mark that uses farm imagery in a nice way to establish trust. We like this logo.

Another logo we like is this one for The Oliver Twist Inn.

Young at Art Logo DesignHow about a last logo that we really like for the week? We saw this new logo design for Young at Art at BrandNew and really like its versatility. Click the link and see how the brand is implimented. I want one of those shirts. Young at Art is a non-profit children’s art company that encourages children to participate in and enjoy the arts. A good cause with a great logo.

And just because we have room, we also saw this new design for the Alliance for the Arts.

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

 

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Start a Business — How to Write Your Business Plan.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve shared our thoughts about how to start a business—everything from how to create your first website to how to figure out if you’ll turn a profit.

For decades, when entrepreneurs started a business, the first step was to write a business plan. But that’s not always true today. With the myriad of online tools available to help startups today, it’s easy to set up a business without going through the process of writing a business plan. But should you?

Make a Business Plan

If you are planning on borrowing money to finance your business, you almost certainly need to have a business plan. The process for applying for an SBA loan requires you to submit profit and loss statements, income and expense projections, information about the owners and management, as well as a business overview and history. That information is what makes up the bulk of a business plan. Many banks go one step farther and require a formal written plan as part of the application process.

But there is another good reason to write out your business plan before launching your startup: the discipline of analyzing the marketplace and potential competitors, of creating a sales and marketing plan, and projecting financials will prepare you more fully for the rigors and surprises that come when starting a business. Creating a pitch deck just doesn’t do the same thing.

So if you’re ready to work on your business plan, here’s what you’ll want to include:

1. Executive Summary
This is a quick, half-page summary of the information in the rest of the plan. You’ll want to include mentions of the business idea, an outline of your marketing plan, and the top line numbers in your financial projections. While this section appears at the beginning of your business plan, you’ll want to write it last.

2. Company Profile
In this section, you’ll introduce your company, products, and services and how those products meet a market need. Who is the target market? What is the market need (or pain point) that your product addresses? What makes you different from your competition? Make sure to provide support for the claims you make.

3. Market Overview
This section details exactly who will purchase your product. You should include basic demographic and psychographic information, the competitive environment (strengths and weaknesses), the size of the market, what similar products cost and their repurchase rate, as well as how much of the market you expect to gain. This is also where you would include information about market trends and your pricing structure, including profit margins and cost of goods. It’s a good idea to include your projections for your growth over the next two years.

4. Marketing Plan
Investors will be interested in how you will market your product and what it will cost to attract new customers. What is your strategy for penetrating the market and growing? What distribution channels will you use? How will you communicate your product’s value proposition to the market? What are your plans for PR, online advertising, and social media? Do you plan to use traditional media (newspaper, radio, TV)? Do you have a referral plan? Will you hire a sales team? Detail anything you plan to do to attract customers in this section.

Ledger5. Financial Projections
At the very least, your business plan should include historical information if you have it, and income and expense projections for the next two years. Investors are almost certain to think your projections are too rosy (they probably are), so make sure you can back up any assumptions you make. You should also detail your startup costs, cash and assets you have on hand, as well as any pre-existing loans you have (including credit cards). If you are using your business plan to raise money, you should also include a funding request in this section—exactly how much money do you need to get up and running?

6. Company Organization and Key Personnel
More important than your idea or your marketing plan are the people who will execute on your idea. This section should include the names and positions of the key players in your business. Detail any relevant experience they have, track records, the percent of ownership they have, and what they will be doing to grow the business. This section can also detail your business’s legal structure and the experience of your advisors or board of directors.

A few things to consider as you write:

1. Don’t exaggerate or make assumptions you can’t back up. Let’s say you are opening a men’s tie store in Chicago. Don’t assume that your potential target market is 1.5 million men living in Chicago. It’s not. You can’t possibly reach all of them. And only a portion of them regularly wear ties. And only a small portion of those will buy a tie from you. Can you reach enough of these people to run a profitable business?

2. Write for your audience. Your business plan is designed to help you raise money, so the audience is your banker (or investor). That means you need to keep it professional. Proofread. Spell check. Make sure it’s well written before you send it out. It may be worth hiring a professional writer to help polish your plan.

3. Don’t be vague. Your plan should be as specific as possible. When someone reads your plan, they should understand exactly what you will sell, how much you can make, and what you’ll do to make it happen. This isn’t the place to be secretive about your plans.

4. Do your research. The more you understand about your competitors and the market as it stands today, the better. Don’t claim there’s no competition—if that’s what you think, you need to do more research. Don’t assume there are no risks—there are always risks to entering a market with a new product or service.

Need help writing your business plan. Email us (support@logomaker.com) and we’ll put you in touch with a writer who can work with you to get the job done. Or check out the SBA’s tutorial.

Good luck with your plan and your new business!

 

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16 Quotes to Inspire Startups and Small Business from Ed Catmull, Co-founder of Pixar

Ed Catmull Creativity QuotesAlthough Steve Jobs is often credited with the success of Pixar (it was his money that kept the company afloat for years), he wasn’t there at the beginning. That was Ed Catmull, who joined George Lucus‘ startup called The Graphics Group in 1979. Under Catmull’s guidance, the company created pioneering animation programs and systems that changed 2D and 3D animation forever.

By 1986, Lucas had given up on the company and Jobs stepped in. The company was renamed Pixar and Mr. Catmull was made CTO. He was the guy behind the scenes that made sure the company operated in a way that helped its creative teams do their best work. His best-selling book, Creativity, Inc. shares many of his experiences and how he helped make Pixar the amazing success that it became. It’s well worth reading.

Catmull has been honored in numerous ways—in 2013 he was named a Museum Fellow at the Computer History Museum “for his pioneering work in computer graphics, animation, and filmmaking.” He has also won five academy awards and the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for a lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics in the motion picture industry. Today he is the President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.

Here we’ve posted few of the best things he shared in his book—the stuff we think most entrepreneurs and small business owners will find most inspirational. Check them out:

“Being on the lookout for problems, I realized, was not the same as seeing problems.”

“When faced with a challenge, get smarter.”

“You are not your idea, and if you identify too closely with your ideas, you will take offense when they are challenged.”

“People need to be wrong as fast as they can. In a battle, if you’re faced with two hills and you’re unsure which one to attack, the right course of action is to hurry up and choose. If you find out it’s the wrong hill, turn around and attack the other one.”

“In a fear-based, failure-averse culture, people will consciously or unconsciously avoid risk. They will seek instead to repeat something safe that’s been good enough in the past. Their work will be derivative, not innovative. But if you can foster a positive understanding of failure, the opposite will happen.”

“It’s folly to think you can avoid change, no matter how much you might want to. But also, to my mind, you shouldn’t want to. There is no growth or success without change.”

“How, as managers, do we differentiate between sticking with the tried-and-true and reaching for some unknown that might—or might not—be better?”

“To think you can control or prevent random problems by making an example of someone is naive and wrongheaded.”

“‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure’ is a maxim that is taught and believed by many in both the business and education sectors. But in fact, the phrase is ridiculous—something said by people who are unaware of how much is hidden. A large portion of what we manage can’t be measured, and not realizing this has unintended consequences.”

“Disney employees attempted to keep his spirit alive by constantly asking themselves, ‘What would Walt do?’ Perhaps they thought that if they asked that questions they would come up with something original, that they would remain true to Walt’s pioneering spirit. In fact, this kind of thinking only accomplished the opposite. Because it looked backward, not forward, it tethered the place to the status quo.”

“Companies, like individuals, do not become exceptional by believing they are exceptional but by understanding the ways in which they aren’t exceptional.”

“There is nothing quite as effective, when it comes to shutting down alternative viewpoints, as being convinced you are right.”

“If we think data alone provide answers, then we have misapplied the tool.”

“Trust doesn’t mean that you trust that someone won’t screw up—it means you trust them even when they do screw up.”

“It is difficult sometimes to tell the difference between what is impossible and what is possible (but requires a big reach). At a creative company, mistaking one for the other can be fatal—but getting it right always elevates.”

“The past should be our teacher, not our master.”

—Ed Catmull, Pixar Co-founder and Author of Creativity, Inc.

Click here for even more inspirational quotes from Creativity, Inc.

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Logo Design News This Week (5.12)

It’s Friday and the Spring Equinox. And March Madness. Normally it doesn’t get better than that, but add in a dose of logo design news from the last seven days and it’s like adding a cherry and chocolate sauce to that bowl of ice cream. Here’s all the logo-related stuff we saw this week:

Swim Canada Logo DesignCanada has been on a tear rebranding its sports associations. A we saw few weeks ago, we saw a new logo for Canadian Curling. This week we got a new design for Swimming Canada. The logo is an evolution of the previous couple of marks and features the red maple leaf crowning an Olympic-looking swimmer icon. In fact, the swimmer icon pays tribute to the 1908 Olympic Games in London when Canada first participated in international swimming. The logo is relatively versatile and can be easily incorporated into other uses, many of which are shown at the link above. Nice work.

In other sports logo news, the Flint Firebirds are a new team with a new logo (they’ll be playing in the Ontario Hockey League). This design isn’t great.

Portland Streetcar Logo DesignNext fall, Portland Streetcar is set to open the full central loop which will connect the east and west sides of Portland. And to prepare for the upcoming new route, they released a new, much improved logo. The old logo was boxy and dark. The new one has a pretty cool icon with “tracks” cutting through the S icon.

This is a very busy, very colorful logo. From a design standpoint, it’s not good. It’s the kind of logo we generally hate. But for some reason, we kind of like it.

New Autotrader Logo DesignAutotrader, which claims to have invented the online automotive marketplace, unveiled a new logo—a definite improvement over the previous version which has been in use since its .com days. They’ve dropped the very dated .com button. The new icon is supposed to be an intertwined A and T symbolizing the road ahead for the company. We don’t see it. It’s just an A to us. It does have an appropriate car monogram feel. Not a bad design overall.

Speaking of cars, Camaro has a new look logo design.

Crimea Logo DesignMaybe getting annexed by Russia isn’t all bad, after all, the process apparently includes a new logo design. We’re not experts in what passes for great design in Russia, but if this is the best they have to offer, maybe Crimea was better off in the Ukraine. The color applications at the link are better than the standard design shown here. This new logo was created at the request of Crimea’s tourism minister who wants to use it for products made in the region, infrastructure, and tourism.

The Palo Alto Players have been around for 85 years. So it was about time for a new logo.

First Day of Spring Google Logo DesignDays are getting longer. Temperatures are starting to warm up. And winter is over. Google celebrated the first day of spring with this animated garden logo, which you’ll see at their home page all day today. The page also includes a link to International Day of Happiness which is apparently today as well.

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

 

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Slim Down Jupiter needed a logo design. Logomaker had the solution.

Slim Down Jupiter LogoWhen Dr. Don Pearsall opened up his new weight loss clinic, Slim Down Jupiter, he knew he needed a professional logo design to help attract potential customers. He knew exactly what he wanted and even sketched it out.

Then it was time to find a graphic designer to help create the files. He searched several logo designers online, interviewing several in his area. The process was frustratingly time consuming. Then the designer he chose quoted a price he thought far too high (after all, he already had a design sketched out).

So Dr. Pearsall turned to Logomaker’s logo design software. Since anyone can try it for free, why not give it a shot?

And what he found there surprised him—within two minutes he saw an icon that was almost exactly what he had sketched out. It only took a few more minutes to add his business name and save a logo that was right for his business. In the process, he saved hours of back and forth with a designer and hundreds of dollars.

Here’s how Dr. Pearsall described the experience:

“The cost was very reasonable, and the time saved was spectacular. I have already posted my new logo [on my website], and my printers are going to work. Thanks for helping me create a logo that Slim Down Jupiter can be very proud of.”

And what would Dr. Pearsall say to someone else who is looking for a new logo?

“Have a concept in mind before you start. What are you trying to highlight about yourself and your business? Make sketches even if you’re not artistic so you can see it. It only took a couple of tries with Logomaker to say ‘that’s it!’”

Ready to try to create your own logo? Check out Logomaker for details.

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12 Quotes to Inspire Startups from Harry’s Co-founder, Jeff Raider

Jeff Raider Startup QuotesStarting a shaving company called Harry’s takes some cheek. But then so does starting a shaving company to compete against established billion dollar corporations when you have no industry experience. Or starting a discount, fashion eye glass company without any experience. And Jeff Raider has done them all.

Mr. Raider was one of the four co-founders of Warby Parker, but when Andy Katz-Mayfield (his Harry’s co-founder) told him about his bad experience buying razors, they decided this was a market ready for disruption. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. Less than a year after launching their company, Harry’s, they spent $100 million to buy a 100-year old German razor manufacturer to engineer their products line. Then they opened a traditional barber shop in Soho (for product development), where they sell razors, shave creams, and more. Today they have more than 100,000 customers, 90% of whom reorder regularly. And they’ve raised more than $200 million in venture funding—that’s an amazing amount for a company barely two years old.

As a successful, two-time entrepreneur, Jeff has been a popular subject for interviews where he is often asked for advice on starting a new business. Here are a few of the things he has suggested might be important to other startups:

“Making sure that what we give our customers every day is the most amazing possible thing. Making sure that we have a team that loves our customers and cares about their experience. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters: really happy customers.”

“Deliver [to] people exceptionally high quality products, do it at a great price, and make them like the purchase experience.”

“We saw a situation in which people were paying lots of money and they didn’t have to—sometimes the cost of making something is quite detached from the cost of purchasing that thing. I think about disruption as being a way to innovate and so blatantly change things for the better that you become an industry standard. That’s what we’re after.”

“…when you start a company, you care so much about it: the brand, the product, the customers. Then there are these tremendous highs when things go exactly as planned or go really well. And it can also lead to tough days when things don’t go exactly as you wanted every time.”

“Never compromise on the product. Make sure that it’s amazing and that you care about every single detail.”

“Focus on doing something that you are really incredibly passionate about. For me, I wanted to wake up in the middle of the night and start to think about research, begin writing the business plan. You need that level of passion to be successful, because it is hard work. When you like the work, you know that it’s going to be worth it and you are going to be successful.”

“Know what business you’re in and that will dictate your strategy. For some tech companies, it makes sense to launch products fast and then iterate multiple times. For a consumer brand, that’s not a great strategy. You have to make the product really great at launch because you only have one shot.”

“Have a positive impact beyond the company. Really impact the community in a positive way. With Harry’s, what we do is donate one percent of our team’s time and one percent of our sales to organizations that prepare people for personal and professional success.”

“Starting a business is an emotional roller coaster. There are incredibly high highs and incredibly low lows when they happen. And I think starting a business is really about enjoying that roller coaster.”

“…we sweat every last detail.”

“I think what’s incredibly important with first employees is that they’ve bought into the vision of the founders… I fundamentally believe that culture in a company is set by your first 10 to 15 hires.”

“Naming is a really difficult thing. I think names are important only in that they stand out for what you want your brand to stand for. I don’t think that coming up with an extravagant name just to have an extravagant name is necessary. But if you can infuse that name with real meaning around what you stand for as a company or brand, then it becomes important.”

—Jeff Raider, Co-Founder, Harry’s

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Logo Design News This Week (5.11)

We’re back after a short break last week. And boy did this week go by fast. It’s Friday yet again which means its time to take a look back at the news from the world of logo design. This week we’ll look back a full fortnight and bring you a double portion of the stuff that caught our attention, like:

New Spike TV Logo DesignWe saw a bunch of new TV logos, like this new logo for Spike TV, the US cable station aimed at men. The new logo features a sharp cut through the middle, hinting at the edginess of the station. The new tagline is “Spike: The Ones to Watch”. UK satellite broadcaster service NOWTV also has a new logo this week. We don’t love the rounded design (at least not like we love the Spike design) and don’t see this new mark as an improvement over the old. It may be fresh, but it hurts our eyes. The removal of the play button from the O makes the logo feel unfinished. New ABC Kids Logo DesignLastly, Australian broadcast channel, ABC Kids TV also got a new logo. We like the feel of this mark—the three icons representing the a, b, and c; as well as the youthful font treatment. Well done ABC.

A few years ago Domino’s Pizza updated its logo, dropping the word Pizza. It seems that three years later, there are still stores using the old design (like 4,000 or so). So the company has launched a “logo mission” asking customers to let it know when they see an old logo still in use. The idea, we suppose, is to shame store owners into updating. If you accept this mission, find an old logo, take a photo, and post it in social media with the tag: #logoinformants, you might win a prize.

Funded by the UK Government LogoApparently the British public doesn’t know that new bridges, roads, and public buildings are funded by the Government (really tax payers, but who’s keeping track?). So to fix that, there’s a new logo to be fixed to all public projects, even projects in Scotland where Scottish nationalists think the logo is a silly gimmick.

A good cause with a lousy, new logo.

Dunkin Donuts Liverpool Crest LogoThis is not the way to pay tribute to a much-loved, 123 year-old logo. Dunkin Donuts created a pink and orange, donut-filled version of Liverpool Football Club’s logo, replacing the eternal flames with cups of coffee. Those flames were placed in the Club’s crest in 1993 as a tribute to the fans who died when a stampede killed 96 and injured another 766 people. Whoops. Some traditions shouldn’t be messed with.

Cardiff City FC Logo DesignSpeaking of crest logos, the Dunkin logo isn’t the only one we saw this fortnight. Check out this new logo for Cardiff City FC (they play in the 2nd tier of the English club system). With the new logo, the team is returning to its roots, ditching the dragons for the older and traditional blue bird. We like dragons but this new logo is a smart improvement. But we’re not done. We also saw this new crest for the Granada Football Association which was unveiled last weekend. The linked article breaks down what the colors and icons represent. But no one will get that looking at the logo.

Speaking of football (the other kind) are these the five most dramatic changes in NFL logo history? Probably.

IA Financial Group Logo DesignAnother bad logo, this time for IA Financial Group. So much to dislike. The lower case I paired with a capital A. The differing angles of the letters. The round dot matched with the hard angles of the other letters in the icon. The elephant isn’t awful, but it seems like even that could have been done better. Yuck. If only the elephant icon had been the focus and the letters left off.

This is the week that the glowing Apple logo died.

Roseburg Logo DesignHow about we take a look at a few new local town logos. We haven’t done that in a while. Wilsonville is no longer “serving the community with pride”. Their new logo is “Powered by Purpose.” It is supposed to attract modern day pioneers. We think it will do the opposite. It’s terrible. Worse than that actually. Roseburg’s new logo is supposed to make a splash and attract more people to visit the area. Four manta rays and a heart. That will do it. Actually this is a nice looking logo, we just doubt anyone will visit the area because the symbol on the city’s stationery is nice looking. And then there’s this new logo for Richmond Hill (just around the bend, it would seem). It’s just a bit crowded and what is that in the background? Not a great logo. But Montreal has a nice new look.

We like this new logo for Apologetics.com.

Albuquerque Isotopes Alternative Logo DesignRegular readers know we love minor league baseball logos. Here’s a nice wrap up of the newest logos for baseball this year. We still love the Smokies logo, but the Dayton Torgugas alternate logo isn’t bad. Not included in the wrap up is the new logo for the Albuquerque Isotopes which introduced a new alternate logo—an I with an electron making its rounds. We like it, though it appears a few long-time fans object.

We noticed two new airport logos this week. A nice one for Cork and a terrible one for Lafourche. Click the links to compare.

We also noticed a couple of new college logos this week, one comes with a controversy. The University for the Creative Arts unveiled a new logo design this week. We won’t argue that the new design is an improvement, however, we can’t agree with protesting students that the new logo looks like a swastika. Come on. Rigid and ugly? Yes. Nazi propaganda? Grow up. And then there was this new logo for Southeast Missouri State University.

Momofuku Ando Google LogoHad enough? Yeah, we have too. So let’s wrap up this edition of logo design news with the latest logo from Google celebrating the 105th birthday of Momofuku Ando the guy who invented instant Ramen and fed millions of starving college students in the process.

Did we miss anything (boy, we hope not). If you saw something we missed, tell us about it in the comments.

 

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Start a Business — Our Big List of Free Startup Resources

Free Startup ResourcesEach Wednesday for the past few months, we’ve shared with you our thoughts about how to start a business: things like how to make sure your idea will make money, where to find new business ideas, and how to set up your first website.

But our blog isn’t the only place where you can find awesome resources to help you as you start your new business. So we’ve put together this list of resources that we like. We’ved used some of these services, but not all. Take a look and try the ones you need to take the next step in your startup journey.

1. Business Plans. While many startups skip the process of writing a business plan, others still need one in order to raise money (most banks still require them to get a loan). If you need a business plan, check out Enloop, which makes writing one easy. Free.

2. Logo design. This one is easy. You can design one yourself with Logomaker’s logo design software (Free). Or hire a designer for something more custom at LogoDesign.com.

3. Project Management. Trello makes it easy to create a “board” to manage your projects and to-do lists. You can access it from your phone, tablet, and desktop computer. Free.

4. Stock Photos. You need images for your website, emails, and blog posts. Here are a few places you can look for free photos: PhotoPin, Pixabay, Kaboompics, Magdeleine, and FreeImages. Be sure to give credit where credit is due.

5. See What People Are Saying About You. When customers, friends, and employees talk about you online, you want to know about it. Google Alerts and Mention allow you to track online mentions and respond if appropriate. Free.

 6. User Testing. Want to see how customers interact with your website. Check out Peek which gives you a free 5-minute video of a customer using your site. Get a new video every month. Free.

7. Search Engine Optimization. There are a lot of free SEO tools, but a couple of our favorites are Moz bar (which lets you see SEO metrics for virtually any site you visit), Google Analytics (a code you put in your webpage footer that gives you all kinds of great data about you site), SEOQuake (like Moz bar, a tool bar that gives you lots of data) and OpenSiteExplorer (gives you information about your backlinks and those of your competitors). Want a free analysis of your entire site? Check out Quick Sprout.

8. Cloud storage. More and more startups are moving their storage off-site and into the cloud. Services like DropBox make it easy to access your information wherever you are and from any device. And you can get more storage space by referring other customers.

9. Email. If you’re just starting out, you don’t need an expensive email system. MailChimp offers a free plan that will work fine until your list is big enough to justify paying for something more robust.

10. Invoices. Once you do work, you need to get paid. Here’s a free invoice generator that will help you get the job done. Or check out Slimvoice for something more simple.

11. Business names. Looking for the right name for your business or product. Check out Namium which will suggest hundreds of variations on a word you input. Impossibility does something similar while checking to see if the domain is available.

12. Writing topics. Stuck for something to write about on your blog. There are several free services that can help with that. Enter your subject into Portent or the Hubspot Blog Post Generator and they’ll suggest several ideas that you can then write and post.

Looking for more tools? Check out the list out Startup Stash. Not all of the tools and apps there are free, but the list is pretty comprehensive—though they are missing the best logo maker tool—something we hope they correct soon.

Did we miss a free tool that you use for your startup? Tell us about it in the comments.

 

Photo credit: Bradley Stabler.

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8 Quotes to Inspire Startups and Small Businesses from Jimmy John Liautaud

Jimmy John Liautaud Startup QuotesKnown for their “freaky fast service,” Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches didn’t startup with freaky fast growth. Rather, 19-year-old Jimmy John Liautaud borrowed $25,000 from his dad to start a hot dog stand. When he learned the equipment would cost more than what he had borrowed, he switched his startup idea to making sandwiches and opened his first store in what had been a failed pizza shop in 1983. He added a delivery service because the store was so remote, customers didn’t come in droves.

Thanks in part to the delivery service and a generous program of offering free samples, the store turned a profit in its first year. But to make it work, Liautaud paid a high price, working seven days a week, seventeen hours a day. Two friends who had started with him quit within three weeks (because, initially, he gave them the worst shifts). Liautaud didn’t open a second store until three years later, and a third year after that. Several years later he began to sell franchises (which initially didn’t perform well). By age 30, he was making millions selling sandwiches. Since 2007, the Liautaud’s startup has grown, as they say, freaky fast to more than 2,000 stores in 43 states.

Jimmy John is one of those 30-years-in-the-making overnight sensations. When it comes to building a small business into a success, he knows his stuff. Here are a few things he has said that we think will inspire other entrepreneurs:

“Tenacity will beat brains seven days a week. Go in on Saturday. Stay ’till 6:30 on Fridays. Somebody will notice, and reward you for it.”

“When my father told me to keep my business checkbook balanced every day and to pay COD, that was my MBA.”

“I think I’m in the service business. I mean, our sandwiches are pretty good; I don’t know if they’re extraordinary. But our service is.”

“You have to live in reality, not in what might happen, but what is happening.”

“We’re reaping the rewards of a discipline we started almost a decade ago. We’re doing things right, and with the right people.”

“I wanted all my stores to be the same, to offer the same customer experience, whether I was there or not. Customer loyalty comes from consistent experience. They learn to count on you. When you screw it up, you fire your customers.”

“I was 19 years old. I was three months into it and there I was, all alone in a sweatbox. It was a hallelujah moment.”

His advice for other entrepreneurs today: “Listen to your customers, outwork your competition. End of story.”

—Jimmy John Liautaud, Founder of Jimmy John’s

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