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PivotPath Tips Recession Proof Your Business

3 Ways to Recession Proof Your Small Business

In today’s economic environment, taking necessary steps to ensure your business survives a possible economic downturn is a vital part of forecasting. Doing so puts your start up at an advantage and better positioning for deft and adaptation in case of a recession.

While financial planning can help your business survive the tough times, it’s also good practice to recession proof your business starting now. Here are some ways to start being smart about your business.  

Focus on your Finances  

Recession proof your business

No matter what size your business is, it is wise to revolve your business decisions and strategies around your financial health, or your bottom line. Being financially-centered is a mark of business stability- and it all starts by setting up a financial dashboard. 

This allows you to run numbers and show significant key performance indicators to show current or historical financial health. By having this quick macro view of your financial performance, you are able to make sound and timely business decisions along the way, without so much digging into tons of files or paperwork. 

Another way to recession-proof your finances, is to track your cash flow. Of course, many business owners would say they do – but it’s important to look beyond the normal tracking cycle and put due diligence to work. 

Setting up a cash flow planner is one way of being able to track cash flow to show projected income and expenses for the quarter. This allows you to pinpoint the critical stages. This also allows you to plan your expenses carefully, and create other products and/or services to increase the cash-flow over time. 

If you are seeing a healthy influx of income vs expenses though, don’t get too excited and splurge. As a startup, running a tight ship on expenses should be the practice, and unplanned expenses or investments should be justified. As always, saving for a rainy day will help you weather the storm just in case. 

Maximize Your Marketing  

Marketing Strategy in Business

Let’s imagine you are nearing the end of the second quarter, and you already have reached your client quota for the year. Or you manage to land a big business with a client much earlier than forecasted. Sounds like you have all your financial goals achieved in such a short time so you feel you are all set. 

While that sounds like an ideal scenario, having achieved your targets at an early stage of the cycle means that you get to have more opportunities to uncover. Now is not the time to rest on your laurels; instead, continue to do capture sales and launch marketing campaigns –  as you can never tell what lies ahead with your existing client list.  

A consistent and strategic marketing plan in place will surely fill your sales pipeline with prospects to convert to qualified sales. Optimizing your marketing campaigns will also help capturing projected sales – so always keep it going and growing.  

In addition, continuing to increase your customer base by networking and actively engaging with your audience, offering promotions and deals on slow moving products and services, and expanding to unexplored markets are just other strategies to maximize your marketing budget. Remember, every dollar counts.

Innovate and Inspire 

Innovation in business

Startup businesses flourish when producing a premium product or service with value pricing. Think of edgy ways to market your niche, and help you stand apart from the competition. 

Whether it’s innovating a new product line, re-branding a product or a service to a potential market segment, or perform A/B testing on marketing campaigns, innovative measures can definitely help you uncover missed or potential opportunities.

Be in the know of the latest trends in your industry, attend webinars, keep a close watch on your competitors and always connect with the significant people in your network. Being inspired does not always mean coming up with the best and brightest ideas; it also means knowing where you stand in your industry, so that you can always stay one step ahead. 

Be bold, yet exercise prudence when necessary to prepare for those unforeseen seasons like a recession in entrepreneurship. No matter what the state of the economy is at any point, being financially-centered should always be the goal. 

How PivotPath can Maximize your Tourism Bureau Website

Are you currently on the quest for ways to boost your city, county, state, or nations’ tourism site? If you feel that you have exhausted all your marketing campaigns, look no further.

Being a city manager or clerk requires you to wear different hats everyday. Part of your job entails you perform sales and marketing as well as all the other tasks. With the help of PivotPath, you won’t have to miss time from important tasks or deals in the pipeline and can focus on more important matters.  Let’s get you one step closer to your goals of maximizing your tourism bureau website.

Here are the 4 things we can do for you: 

Branding Strategy

Creating a strategic plan for your tourism website increases your chances of success because it allows you to develop a step-by-step guide for your business initiatives. Most brilliant marketing plans go awry when it is not put into writing, so it is important to have a branding strategy document to use as a guide and update as your strategy evolves. 

It’s important for you to identify your goals and objectives for your website; as this will be the base of all marketing initiatives as we launch your marketing campaign. Is the goal of your tourism (CVB) site to attract tourists to the new shopping center? Beautiful wedding venues? Neighborhoods to reside?

From your goals, we will help you determine and segment your target audience. In this case, focus on each traveler type and hyper-target the marketing efforts to each. Then identify which marketing channels are most effective to use depending on the segment. This is a crucial step in every marketing campaign as you need to zero in on a target market and position strategic content to capture their attention for engagement

SEO-Optimization  

SEO or Search Engine Optimization requires a lot of time and attention but is essential to the success of your tourism/CVB website. Investing the time in SEO will tremendously help to gain visibility on the search engine results page.

The more website traffic you get, the more Google (and other search engines) remembers that your website has the authority and the relevant content that is worth ranking high in searches.  Not only that, you want repeat visitors on your website, so SEO is an essential part of this process to ensure repeat visits and social media shares. 

While it is necessary, SEO is not for the faint of heart; leave it to the experts. Here at PivotPath, we will optimize your website with an attractive custom theme, stunning photos that capture the audience’s attention, and SEO-optimized content that converts. Our SEO technical expertise can help you make that all happen. 

Content Marketing

Just like SEO, chances are you’ve heard of the quote, “Content is King”. Indeed it is. The key to a higher Google visibility is to ensure your website is more informative, valuable and useful than your competitors. Here at PivotPath, we will create a content strategy for your tourism or CVB website to make sure that you capture the right audience. We also develop a keyword strategy campaign to make your website more searchable and visible on Google or other search engines. 

Along with content, images are also part of content marketing. One crucial ingredient for a tourism website is stunning images of your locale to capture travelers and potential visitors. Since travelers do have quite a number of online travel resources they look to, it’s important that your website belongs to the short-list. Creating stunning videos of your area (city, county, state, etc.) is also another way to optimize content. 

Blog posts are another fun way to do content marketing – don’t have time? We can do that for you too. Blogs are a great way to feature travel spots and destinations and provide detailed descriptions of the place and what to expect, what to do and what not to do. Sharing helpful tips that travelers can use when visiting your place or share a top five must do list when traveling to your destination is a must. 

Social Media Marketing

Always an effective and efficient way to share your content to the world. But it’s not just a matter of posting any type of content on your social media accounts. There must be a strategy behind every successful social campaign. Just like content management, posts and images are planned strategically and set on a timely manner to capture the right audience. 

At PivotPath, we help you share your most unique experiences and events in your city, help you highlight what’s new in your area, especially with holiday posts to keep your visitors in the know about the latest events and the fun things to do when they visit.  Tools like SocialMention also help you in sharing user-generated content in social media. 

Extra Tourism Website Tip:

It is also important to optimize your website on the mobile version since most travelers rely on their phones as a source of information. We will help you optimize your website to be more mobile friendly and accessible. Take note that millenials and Gen-Z spend more time on their phones than any other device, and they do travel more than any generation, so ensure that your website is always on its uptime and accessible anytime. 

Bring your travel website to the next level – start marketing with PivotPath today.   

Government Marketing vs B2B and B2C: Know the Difference

Business-to-Business (B2B), Business-to-Consumer (B2C), and Business-to-Government (B2G). We’ve all read these terms somewhere. What do these terms mean and why should it matter to you as a marketer? Or even as a consumer?

The steady rise of digital marketing is undeniable, and marketing companies have sprouted out of the woodwork as a result. With high technology as a steady partner, brand marketing companies thrive due to these innovations that are developed to support it.

So what do these differences between both marketing types mean to your agency? Is it really worth the effort in procuring the requirements to be a government contractor? 

B2B Marketing

Business-to-Business includes marketing to businesses that conduct business for a profit and to those organizations that have a non-profit charter. B2B  focuses on selling products and services to other businesses rather than to the government or specific consumers.

B2C Marketing

On the flip side, B2C, or business-to-consumer marketing, takes place when a business—such as an online store, manufacturer, online medical information organization—markets their products or services to the public. This involves identifying buyer personas, and engaging with them on the omni-channels such as social media, email marketing campaigns and customer calls. 

B2G Marketing

Government Marketing or B2G (Business to Government) is a derivative of B2B. As a small business, this involves bidding on contracts set by government agencies who are in search for marketing agencies to set up marketing campaigns for any type of industry. Most commonly, landing marketing government contracts are available to industries such as environmental, financial, information technology, logistics and energy.  

Government marketing is certainly a great resource to tap into. But how to get started on this venture requires a few different steps than what you are normally used to within other sectors. 

Here are some helpful steps to get started: 

  1. Do your research: Conduct thorough research on finding government consumers. Check the GSA schedules program or the Federal Procurement Data System database to search for potential markets. Look around for agencies that need your services and make them a priority in your list. 
  2. Register your SAM profile: This is a very essential step when you want to land a federal government contract, so be certain that your profile is optimized. Be very clear about your capabilities as a contractor by sharing your past successes and how they can benefit from your agency. Do extensive research on competitor companies. Remember, you will be bidding against a lot of competition so make sure you stand out in a unique way.

B2G marketing may use the same strategies of B2B, especially for marketing destination conventions and visitor or travel bureaus (CVB). Ensuring a solid marketing strategy for government marketing can help your agency reach new levels of success.

Defining the purpose, focus, and objective of a government agency’s CVB website will help gauge the targeted audience and user experience. Is the agency looking to promote a new shopping mall? Vast variety of wedding venues? Knowing this information will help in developing  SEO-optimized branding (website) and increase the agency’s web traffic. 

Create Engaging Marketing Content

Content marketing is identified as the top five marketing trends over the past years, simply because consumer behavior thrives on content. It’s not only important that your target markets read the content, but that they resonate with the messaging. Having your target consumers read and share your content increases brand credibility and consumer confidence.  

Whether you engage in either of these types of marketing, the most important thing to remember is to always, always know your market. Developing a solid marketing strategy for each different type of industry is made easier by the automated marketing tools available anywhere. And, being in such a competitive race, you have to clearly distinguish yourself from the rest. 

Ready to build or upgrade your CVB site? Contact PivotPath today for a consultation!

3 Tips for a Breakthrough Branding Strategy

You don’t just want a brand, you want a brand that outshines your competition. The purpose of your brand is to make you stand out and catch your audiences’ attention…and hold it. If your brand is not doing this, it needs to be reassessed. Your brand differentiates you from others providing similar services or selling similar products. It should be nurtured and adjusted constantly so it is impactful at all times.

To help you create the perfect brand for your business, here are three major points to build a breakthrough strategy:

Observe Your Competition

Learn from the mistakes and successes of those businesses. If a strategy is working for a similar company, check to see if you can adjust it to suit your business after a thorough competitor analysis. This doesn’t mean your should simply copy what everyone else is doing. Duplicating other’s strategy doesn’t always work because what works for others may not work for you. Also, if every brand is a copy of the other then no company would stand out. Instead, take note of what works and ask yourself, “How can this work for MY company? What can this strategy do for MY company?” Observe the strategies that didn’t work for others and either avoid it or see if you can fix it and use it to your advantage.

Listen To Your Audience

When it comes to branding, you must remember that you are dealing with humans and human psychology. The goal is to appeal to human logic and emotions in a way that benefits and grows your business. Fortunately this is the age of technological interaction. You can use social media to find out what your audience is saying about your product and your brand. At the same time, you can use social media to establish a voice and image for your brand. The connection you make with your audience online will help increase your brand credibility and popularity.

Stay Flexible

The world has changed and will continue to change. The technology we have today was impossible just ten years ago. What people see as normal today was just wishful imagination in the early 2000s. Your brand should be able to keep up with the changes. When using media for your brand, do not stick to only traditional means, make use of modern media too. Humans are an ever-changing species. Your brand has to remain relevant so that your audience does not outgrow it.

Try these tips when building your brand and let me know how they work for you in the comments below.

[Infographic] Branding: The Basics

Your brand is the face of your company. The first image a customer sees: your logo, font, colors, etc. are all a part of your brand. If you’re not sure how or where to start with your brand, we are here to help.

Before you jump right into creating a logo and coming up with a slogan, pause and make a plan. A branding strategy will be the backbone of your branding process. There are a few parts in the planning stages of your brand development.

Determine and Research Your Target Audience

Your brand should not be about you or your products and services, but should revolve around your audience. Because branding is about how your audience views your business, you have to specify your target audience so you do not waste time trying to market your services to everyone.

Remember: the narrower the focus, the higher the conversion.

A few demographics to note when identifying your ideal audience are age, gender, income, education level, and location. You also have to know the interests and pain points of the suspected audience that will have higher interest in your business’ products or services.

For example, if your business appeals primarily to college students who study abroad, then you have to understand their goals, their influencers, their psychology, the types of sites they frequent, and their brand affinities (the types of brands they tend to stick with).

Understanding your target audience will help you focus your marketing efforts and ensure that the right people are viewing your ads and reading your content.

Establish Your Brand Mission

You might be familiar with Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”, but do you know their mission? It reads, “To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world (*If you have a body, you are an athlete).”

This idea relies on the first step: defining your audience. For Nike, the target audience is everyone with a physical body and their goal is to bring inspiration to their audience. You can see the mission in their ads where they feature all kinds of people who use Nike products to be physically healthy and fit. Their slogan also follows the same theme of inspiration as their mission statement. This consistency is important in branding.

With a small business, you want to start small. Focus on your primary audience, state your mission, and then go from there. When your business expands and your brand loyalty increases, you can then increase your market audience and re-brand to fit your expansion.

Research Brands Within Your Industry

Put simply: learn from other’s mistakes. Find other businesses that do what you do, and study their brands. What is their brand loyalty (how many people like and trust the brand)? Why do people like the brand? What are the pros and cons of their brand strategy? In what aspects did their brand fail and in what aspects did it succeed?

As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun. It is most likely that someone somewhere has had the same business idea you have and has implemented it. Find those businesses and study them. If you can’t find anyone doing the same thing you’re doing, find someone doing something similar.

Do not research only businesses doing the exact thing as your business. Branding strategies take into consideration the location of the business and the demographics in that location. Research businesses based in your area of business, those that have the same target audience as your business, and those that have the same mission as your business.

Combining all this research will provide a sturdy foundation, not only for your branding process, but also for your business’ growth.

What Do You Have That The Others Don’t?

Consumers want to know why. Why should I listen to you? Why should I use your services? You have to highlight something that is beneficial to your audience and that they can’t get anywhere else.

Take Starbucks for example, they sell coffee (so does almost every restaurant in America). If Starbucks went with the slogan, “We sell coffee. Come try it.”, they’d probably be just another local coffee shop in Seattle.

Starbucks’ mission is “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” One of their values is “Creating a culture of warmth and belonging, where everyone is welcome.” You can see the mission statement and values reflected in their stores. The ambient lighting, comfortable seating ranging from two-seater tables to tables for large groups, and the variety of music that plays from their overhead speakers. Of course, there’s also free WiFi. Nothing brings people together nowadays like free WiFi.

All the extra benefits that Starbucks offers has made Starbucks a place where you can meet up with friends, work on a group project with classmates, or just chill by yourself. It’s truly a second home.

Like Starbucks, highlight what makes your business a step above the others. It may be customer service, a great quality product at a cheaper price, or an easy-to-use service. Let these benefits show in your marketing and in the way you interact with consumers. Consumers can get coffee anywhere. Make sure they want to come to you for the same thing someone else provides.

Have you started your branding journey? What have you learned along the way? Share with us in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Tips for Creating the Perfect Style Guide

Let’s talk style guides! Now that you’ve got your brand colors, typography, and logo ready, it’s time to put it all together. Chances are – unless you’re a designer yourself – you’re going to hire a professional designer for the final branding process. The designer will put together all your research into your dream brand, but to do that, they need a style guide. A style guide helps them understand your vision for your brand. Launch Marketing defines it as “a document that provides guidelines for the way your brand should be presented from both a graphic and language perspective.”

So what should be in your style guide?

Well, that all depends on you, you’re free to be as specific or as vague as you want. Be warned though, if you are too specific, the designer may not have space to interpret your guidelines freely. If you’re too vague, the designer’s interpretation may end up varying from your vision. Here are some items commonly included in a style guide.

Mission Statement

Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it? What do you hope to do? Your brand is a projection of your company so, appropriately, you should start your style guide defining what your company is and why your company exists. Your mission statement influences your brand. Start your guide with it so that your designer can understand what your company is about and use that understanding to build your brand.

Audience Description

An audience description, also known as consumer persona, is your ideal consumer. It could include details like your ideal audience’s age, occupation, gender, and challenges related to your product (i.e. you could include reasons why this person would want to use your product or list possible problems they might have that can be solved with your product/services.)

Color Palette

Your brand colors should be included in this section. For this it would be best if you include a sample of the colors then include the RGB code, the CMYK codes, and the name (hex code), if applicable, below it. Here is the color section of a sample style guide I made:

Color Palette for Style Guide

I drew small boxes in a word document and filled them with my chosen colors. The first line below each of the colors is the CMYK value. The line after that is the RGB values of the colors. The last line is the hexadecimal code of the colors. It is important to include the CMYK, RGB, and hexadecimal values because depending on the medium (print, digital, web, etc) CMYK and RGB values of the same color may render differently.

Check out Netflix’s guidelines for the use of color in its logo:

You can view the rest of the Netflix style guide here.

Typography

Here you should not only include the typefaces you have selected for your brand, but you should also include how you want the text to appear on various mediums. You can specify the preferred hierarchy of text (i.e. the sizes and weight of parts of the text such as the body text, heading text, etc.); an area you want the text to be e.g. if you prefer the text on your flyers to be at the bottom left of the page; or the positioning of imagery.

Try listing the typefaces like this:

Type the names of the typefaces in the fonts you’ve chosen e.g. type “Time New Roman Bold” in Times New Roman Bold font and so on. Also if you choose a font family, type out each of the fonts included i.e. Arial Bold, Arial Light, etc.

Tone of Voice

This refers to what your brand sounds like. Describe your brand’s ‘voice’ whether playful, shy, bold, etc. This will give designers deeper insight into your brand and enable them to make successful suggestions for improvement of your brand.

It is important to remember that your style guide should not be too rigid or too vague. It should be an outline for a designer who will then fill in the rest. You can add whatever you feel would help whoever is reading it better understand your vision for your brand.

Also, your style guide can also help copywriters create a great ad copy for your business, help with website design, creating a slogan, and so on. Having a sense of what you want to use your style guide for will help you know what to include in it. You can easily create a style guide in Microsoft Word and there are various templates available online to use.

Let PivotPath help you create a style guide for your brand and maximize your presence. Contact us for a consultation today!

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

[Infographic] Branding 101: Colors and Logo

Green mermaid and coffee. Yellow arches. White checkmark. If you thought of Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Nike while reading that, you already know the impact a brand’s logo and colors can have on a consumer. One thing these brands have in common is that you don’t need to see their names to know what they represent. Starbucks took its name off its logo in 2011, but that didn’t stop anyone from recognizing it. It takes a while to get to a point where your brand is recognizable without the company name, but that journey starts with choosing the right colors and creating the right logo for your brand.

Logo

For your logo, you can choose to go with a simple monogram of your company name or with a graphic that portrays the story behind your brand. Whatever choice you make, it is important to ensure it is the right choice for your brand because your logo is the face of your brand and your company. When people see your logo you want them to automatically affiliate it with your company. Your logo should be memorable and easily identifiable. Most importantly, it should follow the personality of your brand. Is it playful but reliable? Bold and independent? Your logo should convey whatever message you want consumers to remember about your brand.

Designing or Choosing Logo Graphics

Let’s use a fictional company, ‘Lion,’ for this example. It might be easy to just use the image of a lion for the logo. If another company offering completely different goods/services, maybe even with a different name, decides to also use the image of a lion for its logo, you lose your uniqueness. No one is going to associate the lion exclusively with your company.

Instead of going with the obvious, try word association. Think of all the things you associate with your company name. Using Lion:

Lion → King → Jungle → Roar → Lion King → Strength → Mane

When you brainstorm, the idea is to let everything that comes to mind out.

If you can integrate the services your company does into your logo, even better. For example, Lion is a barber and grooming store. Its logo consists of a suited lion admiring his mane in a mirror.

Whatever logo you choose, be sure to make it perfectly suited to your company. Ask the people around you for their opinions. Other people may have a perspective you haven’t considered.

Color

Your company colors are going to be on everything that relates to your company. From your packaging to the labeling of your logo, your colors will be on everything your customers see. When it comes to color, you should stick to a few guidelines.

  • Your colors should match your brand identity.

If the theme of your company is sturdy and loyal, pick colors that convey that, like green and blue. If your company’s image is classy and vintage, use a classic color like black. Although the way a color is perceived differs from person to person, researching the general meanings of colors can be helpful when deciding what colors to use. A simple google search on the meanings of colors will produce multiple articles.

  • Your colors should complement each other.

Mix and match the colors on your list and see what goes together. It is important to play around with the colors so you can see what it would look like on your logo or how it makes the company name look.

Your colors should also complement your company name and logo. Red and yellow might be a good match for a restaurant because together they invoke a hungry response in viewers (e.g. McDonald’s). They are not a good match for a barbershop though.

  • Your colors should be flexible.

Some colors do not do as well on print as they do on the web and vice-versa. You can pick colors that will deliver the same saturation (the intensity of a color, expressed as the degree it differs from white) on plain paper, a billboard, or a website. The color should be easy to recreate as you will use it on different mediums. If the color doesn’t recreate well on paper, look for a color that is similar enough.

Pro Tip: Instead of picking multiple different colors, try to make a new one from a color you already have.

A shade is a darker version of a color made by mixing the color with black. A tint is a lighter shade of a color made by mixing the color with white. This gives the illusion of a brighter color. Try making various shades and tints of a color. Shades and tints complement each other well because they are of the same color family.

Also, if you need help making a color palette, try Adobe Color. It is a free website where you can create your own color palette. You could select a base color on the color wheel and receive suggestions for a palette. The suggestions can be adjusted according to a preset color theme like shades or can be custom adjusted to your liking. Another cool thing about the website is that you can upload a picture or graphic you like and a palette will be made from the colors in the picture. The colors in the palette can also be adjusted. When you are satisfied with your creation, you can download it as an Adobe color file or as a JPG file.

How are your color and logo journeys? Share any hits, misses, and advice with us in the comments below.

Need a custom logo? Contact us for a consultation today!

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication production major at the University of Florida and an avid storyteller. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Branding 101: Typography

Have you ever looked at a piece of text and just felt like there was something wrong? The words may have been constructed appropriately but something visually seemed odd? Many times people use typeface on a whim.

pivotpath typography

Without considering how typography affects the message they are trying to pass across, they end up with graphics that may make for a good laugh but do not make for good business. Understanding the significance of text in your brand is important to your brand identity.

It is important to note that there are professionals who can help you work out the technicalities of typography (PivotPath plug!) . All you need to do is share your vision for your brand with them. For busy business owners, delegating the job is a great way to save time but the fees can add up. If you prefer to do work it out yourself, I have some tips that will help. First, let’s define some technical terms.

Type: printed characters or letters.

Typography: the style or appearance of type.

Typeface: a particular design of type (e.g Times New Roman, Arial).

Font: a particular style, weight, and size of typeface.

Font family: a group of fonts with similar design characteristics (For example, the Times Roman font family will include Times Roman Bold, Times Roman Italic, Times Roman Bold Italic, etc. These fonts are all of the same ‘family’ but are slightly different).

Medium: a means by which something is communicated or expressed. (In this case, digital or print such as websites, flyers, etc.)

Weight: the thickness of a type in relation to its height.

Tip 1 – Don’t Go Overboard

When you start your research, it is easy to get a little distracted. You may find a thousand fonts that would make your company name stand out visually, but you’ll have to narrow it down to about 5-10 fonts. Of those, 2-3 will be used to establish your visual hierarchy, or main/most important fonts where you want a readers’ eye to catch most.

However, try not to use more than 3 when combining fonts as readers will become very distracted (see?). These are the fonts that can be used across different platforms like your website, product packaging, flyers, etc. If you keep this in mind, you won’t waste time on what you don’t need.

Tip 2 – Narrowing It Down

Now, you know you will need only a maximum of 10 fonts, but how do you choose only 10 from the 100 you like? There a few questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is it flexible? Step back for a minute and look at the big picture. You may need typefaces for your website, packaging, posters, signs, etc. Rather than picking a typeface for each medium you might use, having one that can run easily on multiple platforms is better. Try the typeface you are considering out on your website, then print it out and see what it looks like on paper. Is it legible when the font is small? Does it look odd when you increase its size?
  • Is it expansive? Your business is bound to grow over time. Can the font you choose grow with it? Does it support multiple characters? Can it support other languages in the situation that you expand abroad? Is it available in various sizes and weights?
  • Is it legible? Are the character’s distinctive? Using a cursive typeface for a large body of text will not end well. Do some of the characters link together in odd ways (like f & i) or are some of the characters spaced together oddly (like e and r)? You do not want to end up with a sign like this one:
Doesn’t sound very relaxing…

Lettering artist Jessica Hische invented the “Il1” test. Type a capital I, a lowercase L, and a number 1 next to each other.

If you cannot tell the difference between the characters you might have trouble with them later on.

Tip 3 – Know Your Medium

On digital media, serifs don’t always do well. That is because the display resolution on a digital device is much less than that of a printed book. In a book, serifs look clear and defined but on a digital device, serifs tend to look blurry and are harder to read, especially in large bodies of text.

The serifs on the characters blur and make the text look like one big blob.

So while serifs might do well in a printed work, on the other hand, the minimal clean-cut sans-serif does well on digital devices but becomes harder to read in large quantities on a print medium.

Note: This can change depending on the type of serif or sans-serif you use. In the end, the choices you make concerning your typography come down to your perception. If you are in doubt, ask someone else what they think. Others may be able to make a clearer decision.

Tip 4 – What’s Your Personality Type?

Your brand has an image and that image is what you are trying to show your audience.  It might be modern, simple, shy, friendly, vintage, tough, etc. Besides actual graphics, typography can also help convey your company’s personality. Serifs are considered vintage, more formal, and classical. So you may see a serif font on the cover of a book about the civil war.

Sans-serifs are simpler and modern so you may find them in the logos of technology companies who want to convey a simple and trendy image like Apple and Microsoft

Display fonts (those with a lot of personality, also called script fonts) should be used sparingly and only for heading or accents. They may be fun but they’re not always very legible. Keep your company’s image in mind as you choose your typefaces.

pivotpath personality image typography tip
Typography Mistake: It says Harley-Davidson but I’m getting a girl scouts vibe.

Tip 5 – Use Your Fonts Wisely

Do not use more than two typefaces in one piece. If you really need to, stick to a maximum of three. Having up to four or five different fonts on one flyer or poster is distracting for the audience and makes your work, whether it’s an ad or a website, seem disconcerting.

The fonts you use together should complement each other. If you are pressed for time and you just need some fonts, you can pair a serif and a sans-serif from your shortlist. The contrasting fonts usually pair well.

A great source to find font pairs is FontPair. On the website, you can edit font pairs and see how well they fit the text you want to use them for. You can also find examples of pieces where the pairs have been used before.

Consistency is another thing you should consider when using your fonts.

The fonts you use on one page of your website shouldn’t differ from the ones you use on another page. Because the font is part of your brand identity, a consistent font choice will tie your brand together across platforms and cement your brand identity in the minds of your consumers.

Tip 6 – Hierarchy

Imagine this article filled with fonts of the same size, weight, and color. It would look like one large, endless blob of text and you wouldn’t really want to read it, right? Hierarchy helps determine what is important for the viewer in text. With proper hierarchy, a reader will be able to skim through a text and pick out the main points easily. 

A header should be the largest thing on the page. It should be in thick large font because its job is to grab the attention of the viewer.

A subtitle should be clearly smaller than the header text. You could italicize it to make it stand out more.

The body text should be the smallest text on the page. It should be easy to read (consider the medium to be used) and it shouldn’t have too many font styles vying for attention i.e. there shouldn’t be words in bold or underlined words all over the body text. It is okay to underline some words within the body text or put some of the words in bold but if you overdo it, your text will end up looking uncoordinated.

Although these tips are a great starting point, there is so much more to know about typography especially if you are a beginner. Choosing the right typography for your brand is a long process.

My advice is that you don’t do it alone.

Share the workload with someone. That way you will be able to exchange ideas and you won’t be alone through the journey.

As time-consuming as the process is, it is certainly very rewarding to see your hard work fall in place as your brand comes to life. Share your typography hits and misses with me in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the university of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

Resources for Small Businesses

Hacks for your business.

If you have ideas but don’t know where to start, this guide is for you. As a small business owner, or someone interested in starting a small business, you probably know that the right resources are vital to your business. Some resources are easy to find while some require you to dig a little deeper. Here is a basic business startup resource guide.

Legal Know-How

At Incorporate.com, you can incorporate your business (i.e turn your business into a company formally recognized by the State it is incorporated in). They also offer a free guide to LLCs and corporations with an easy application process.

Another resource is Rocket Lawyer. They offer an easy application for incorporation. You can sign documents online, chat with lawyers by phone or email and get a 7-day free trial when you sign up to be a member.

Websites and Magazines

A community is important when starting a business. With online journals and magazines, you can find a community of startup owners like you and also find answers to the questions you have.

Forbes is a popular magazine but there are others like The Wall Street Journal: Small Business and the less popular, Startup Nation. Utilizing various sites and magazines will help you find different perspectives for your business.

Entrepreneur.com is tailored for small business owners and small business starters. It offers business plan guidelines, templates, interactive business planning tools, and online workshops and podcasts.

Government Resources

The Small Business Association’s (SBA) website is a must know when starting a business. It offers a lot of free guides and planning guidelines including a section that guides you on drafting your own business plan.

SCORE is an SBA resource partner. It offers one-on-one counseling, business tools and training programs to small business starters.

Hiring Personnel

According to an Entrepreneur article, community colleges are a great place to find the talent for your business. Besides just community colleges I believe any college would be a great place to find people to hire. Colleges are filled with people eager for experience in the work field. Colleges also offer certificate courses which can help your workers if they need some extra training. Whether it’s interns, part-time, or full-time workers, don’t forget to check out your local college.

Do you know of any resources that help small businesses? Share them in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the University of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.

The Community and Your Business

How to engage the community and further your business

Small businesses may be the center of their communities but the communities are the lifeline for small businesses. The saying “Charity begins at home” applies especially to small businesses. Engaging your immediate community can help your business grow.

Here are four ways you can become involved in your community:

Volunteer

As a small business owner, you probably have a lot on your plate already. That being said, whenever you have the time, volunteering in the community is a choice you will never regret. If you can’t make it personally, encourage your employees to volunteer. Choosing one work day where the entire organization goes out to volunteer is an even better idea. Your act of volunteerism supports good causes in the community, cultivates relationships and increases your brand awareness. It’s a win all-round!

Sponsorship

Local school teams, booster clubs, and organizations welcome sponsorship from businesses. For example, your business can sponsor a D.I.Y event for a local craft organization. Communities have a personal connection with business owners who actively participate in community events such as football, county fairs, the local YMCA, the local cheerleading club, etc. The support you offer to the community can position your business as a good corporate entity, thereby enhancing your public image.

Community Online Communication Connection Concept

Working with other local business owners

Collaborating with other business owners in the community provides a way to form strong relationships and enlarge your market. A local bakery, for example, supplying baked goods to a local cafe provides a way to increase market audience while forming a partnership in the community.

Reward loyal locals

Giveaways, special deals, and hosting events for the community are other ways to engage the community and promote the exposure of your business brand. You could give a free book to customers that purchase a certain number of items from your bookstore, host a giveaway in honor of a local holiday, or give a free donut with every purchase on National Donut Day. All these are ways you can leave an impact on your community.

These strategies on community engagement increase brand exposure, help build a good reputation in the community and help to cultivate relationships that will strengthen your business. Local businesses and communities thrive when they work together.

In what other ways can local businesses impact their community? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Lois Olowoyo is a telecommunication-production major at the university of Florida and an avid story lover. When she’s not writing a story of her own or acting one out, she can be found listening to, watching, or reading someone else’s story. You can learn more about her and view her work at loisolowoyo.wordpress.com. Check out her LinkedIn profile here.