The Print Cafe of LI Website

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Getting Your Design Work in Front of the Right People

Getting Your Design Work in Front of the Right People

Share Your Expertise

Whether you’re targeting individual businesses or agencies that will provide steady work, it’s important to show that you are an expert in your field. Here are a couple of easy ways to get the word out:

Blogging

The simplest way to show that you’ve got the goods is through your blog. The good news is that you don’t have to be an expert writer in order to share what you know. Just writing short, simple posts about topics your target audience cares about will do the trick. If you’re targeting small business, then write about the things you can do to help make their website a success. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship with an agency, focus on the technical and design aspects of your work.
Of course, you’ll want to share your writing through social media channels. If your site was built on WordPress, you can even automate the process of sharing your new posts. Your content doesn’t necessarily have to go viral in order to be of great help. The random person who finds your site may be the one who really needs to hear what you have to say.

Meetups

While web design is a global industry, you’ll often find great opportunities right in your own backyard. A local meetup is a great place to meet people who share an interest in web design or related topics. But it’s not just professionals who attend these events. From my own experience, I’ve met several business owners who want to learn about how things work or what makes for a great site.
These events are usually pretty informal and are really about getting together to share knowledge. Once you’ve been to a few meetings, you might consider volunteering to make a presentation yourself. Again, it’s a low-pressure atmosphere. Just be yourself and share what you know.


Build Your Reputation

This one has absolutely no shortcuts. But it is perhaps the best way to get your name out there. A great reputation will get you everywhere in this business.
The key to building one is really about doing great work and providing clients with a great overall experience. Beyond building beautiful, functional websites, it’s often the little details that make a big difference.
Really, it’s all about the basics of customer service. Responding to requests in a timely manner, for example, affirms that you care about the needs of your clients. Even a simple reply stating that you’ll get back to them shortly projects a positive image.
Being honest and realistic about pricing and deadlines are also traits that clients value. Nobody wants to be told that their project costs much more than the original estimate, nor do they want to wait for days/weeks/months past a promised deadline.
There have been talented designers who have failed because they weren’t responsive to their clients’ needs. Don’t be one of them. Clients who value you and your work will gladly tell others about how great you are. This is how you build your reputation, one project at a time. It’s a process that may take some time, but can really pay off in the long run.

Show Them Who You Are

Here’s a little secret: The “right person” is the one looking at your portfolio, reading your tweets or latest blog post at this very moment. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll become a top client – they may never become a client at all. But they’re the right person in that moment because they’re looking at what you have to offer.
Your goal is to let them know who you are and how you can help them. Accomplish that and you will find the success you’re after.
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Monday, February 26, 2018

Best Practices For Integrating Your Remote Workforce

Best Practices For Integrating Your Remote Workforce
As technology continues to evolve, so do the lives we lead - both personally and professionally. According to one study conducted by Gallup, nearly 43% of employees in the United States spent at least some time working remotely in 2016 - a significant 4% jump from just a few years earlier in 2012. Remote work is such an attractive proposition that it has even begun to play a major role in an employee's decision of whether to work for a particular company - something that poses a number of interesting implications for their employers.

Chief among them is the idea of what a "team" is supposed to be. Your employees are all important individually, but their contributions are supposed to add up to a larger, more critical whole. How is that possible when a large part of your workforce barely sets foot in the office, if they do so at all? In truth, integrating your remote workforce into your in-office one is a lot more straightforward than you might think; you just have to keep a few key things in mind.


Integration Begins With Leadership


The absolute best practice for integrating your remote workforce in with your "live and in-person" employees begins and ends with you: their leader. Never overlook an opportunity, no matter how small, to bring remote employees into the fold and make them feel like they're a part of the greater good. If you start an email chain, for example, don't just include the "in-person" employees.  Make sure that everyone who needs to know is involved, regardless of location.

Don't hold those weekly meetings on-site and then send remote workers a summary after the fact. Embrace the benefits of teleconferencing and allow them to dial-in live and in person. If you're hosting a company get-together or are taking employees out for a well-deserved meal, make sure that you extend the invitation to those outside the office. This is especially important if they work from home (or elsewhere) 100% of the time. These are small moves, but they're also meaningful ones that help remind people that wherever they are, they are equally valued in your eyes.


Encouragement and Communication


Another critical step to take to integrate your remote workforce better involves slightly adjusting the way your in-person teams communicate. Make it a priority to embrace instant messaging or collaboration platforms like Slack to keep team members connected together. Not only will this make in-person employees feel a bit like they're a part of the "remote" world, but the reverse will also be true. Your remote workers will feel more connected to your office as well.

Always remember the one factor that matters the most: encouragement. If someone does a terrific job or blows your expectations away, acknowledge them on the most prominent stage even if they work remotely. Just because someone isn't regularly in the office or the other employees don't see them every day doesn't mean that they don't deserve their fair share of recognition. Any move that you would make to reward an in-person employee should be extended to your remote workforce. Not only will this help make them feel like they're equal contributors, but it will also go a long way towards bringing your teams together to form the cohesive whole that you need them to be. 

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

From Survival to Full Bloom

From Survival to Full Bloom
Eliza Blank was tired of the gloomy atmosphere in her cramped New York apartment. Eliza began dabbling with houseplants, and her passion quickly bloomed into a budding small business. In 2012, Blank launched The Sill to bring color and hope to stale Manhattan apartments, equipping new parents by transforming certified plant killers into botanical aficionados. The Sill works to match the right plant to the right space, offering hands-on coaching that helps aspiring green thumbs (and potential customers) feel at ease.
 

The Sill operates both on and offline, recently opening its second brick-and-mortar shop in New York's Upper West Side. Last year, sales topped $2 million, and a website redesign doubled online traffic and newsletter subscriptions. But the Sill had a few obstacles along the way. In the first year, the company's co-founder bailed as Blank hustled to handle marketing, orders, and deliveries. It was me, a desk, and a computer  I was writing the product descriptions, potting the plants, delivering the plants, and doing everything myself . . . I (sometimes) joke that  the CEO, but also the janitor, Blank says. I'm still straddling those two roles. 
                                             
While Blank credits several factors to her success, education as a service was a key component. Since prospects were often daunted by caring for a living product, the company organized sales around blogging, coaching, and newsletters. Not everyone who comes to the website is there to shop. We believe it serves us to serve prospective customers through helpful content, Blank says. As clients gained confidence, sales exploded. Even if blog readers don't come to buy, Blank believes valuable content is a catalyst, because when the time comes to purchase the trust is already there.
Perhaps you've toyed with the idea of business blogging yourself, but you've been hesitant to try. With so much to do, why bother with something that doesn't yield immediate, obvious benefits? Content and social media can be a cost-effective way to not only complement your print marketing but also to promote your company, grow revenue, and enhance your reputation as a trustworthy resource. Check out these tips from  coach Gary to make your business blogging easier:

* Research competitors blogs to learn what works or to strengthen your own unique voice.
Identify your target demographic and blog specifically to this audience.


* Publish in-depth resources that answer questions, offer step-by-step guides, and solve specific problems. Promote your content through social media, direct mail, e-mail, or asking core customers to re-post.


* Involve everyone on your team to contribute topic ideas, design concepts, or content submissions of their own. Work to humanize the company in a way that's enjoyable and fun!


* Consider using guest bloggers to put your content in front of new audiences and give you greater influence and credibility.


Drive People Online with Direct Mail Marketing


Want to drive people online to your growing content? One of the best tools to increase website traffic is direct mail. A Direct Marketing Association study revealed that 78% of people react to direct mail immediately, with 44% visiting the brands website and 34% searching online for additional product information. Recent research shows that very active smartphone users are reading more print materials than any other target demographic!

As you grow your online AND offline presence, we're here to help! As your local printing connection, we're more than just a contracted vendor; were an invested partner, committed to efficiency, precise brand matching, and to the customer care you deserve. Contact us today at 516-561-1468, email: theprintcafe2@verizon.net, or visit our website at;www.printcafeli.com
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Send Me All the Shoes You've Got!
A growing shoe company sought to stretch their global influence, sending their first salesman to Asia to set up shop. After several days, he sent this dire message: “Bring me back immediately, you’ve made a terrible mistake. People in this village never wear shoes.” Months later, an enthusiastic associate asked for the opportunity to lead an international sales effort, offering to move anywhere. He packed his things and moved to the Asian outpost. After no immediate feedback, the boss began to wonder if they’d made another costly mistake. Soon, an overseas message rang through with joy: “Send me all the shoes you’ve got. I’ve never seen so many prospects!”

They say delayed hope can make the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life. Wouldn’t you like to experience more of the latter? New dreams can enliven enthusiasm and bring fresh joy for the days to come. But often the drudgery of life keeps our backs bent and our steps heavy. We are slaves to the checklist, struggling to lift our eyes above the tyranny of the urgent to see strategic breaks that might be right before us. Do you notice opportunities that others don’t? Do you have a vision for something that is bigger than the status quo? Would you like to?

Opportunity Isn’t Knocking; It’s Passing


Often opportunity isn’t knocking; it is passing. Many days opportunity doesn’t come looking for us; instead, we need to aggressively seek new ideas and perspectives, banging on the door until we finally crash through. Creativity may come in bursts, but often it is something that happens through our ironclad commitment to grow and evolve. How can you grow in resourcefulness or notice opportunities you are currently overlooking?

Team perspective can motivate enormous momentum. Surround yourself with good people, especially those with gifts and experience different than yours. What may seem daunting to you may be an exhilarating challenge for others! If you work alone, consider contracting a consultant to grow your skill set. Or network with a private coach for problem-solving, brainstorming, and peer advising. Often when you are pigeon-holed in one industry, it is harder to see broad-level solutions.

Extreme Differentiation Turns Obstacles into Opportunity

In stretching perspective, don’t just think outside the box, think contrary to the box itself. This strategy, called extreme differentiation, helps you uncover opportunities hiding in plain sight as you note the current gaps in your industry and brainstorm options that are dramatically different than your competitors.  Extreme differentiation pushes you to address problems that your competitors aren't even considering.

Commit yourself to being someone who tries to see potential in every person and every situation. When it seems you have reached a dead end, take a hope-filled breath and view it as an opportunity to build something better. Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group, gave this example:

Thomas Edison knew a thing or two about turning an obstacle into an opportunity. When he was in his late sixties, his huge West Orange New Jersey laboratory burnt to the ground. Rather than cursing his luck and panicking, he gathered family and friends to marvel at the fire and immediately began planning for the future. Edison started plans for a much-improved lab, seeing the potential for improvement the disaster had presented. He said: "You can always make capital out of disaster. We've just cleared out a bunch of old rubbish! We'll build bigger and better on these ruins."

Find the good in whatever situation you're presented with and you'll be on your way to finding those hidden opportunities.http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html

Friday, February 16, 2018

Be a better designer in 2018

Be a better designer in 2018

Make 2018 the year you take your design skills to the next level with these tutorials and tips.

For designers, the start of a new year sees us setting fresh goals and pledging to experiment with a new piece of software, master a tool or technique, brush up on creative theories and knowledge, and look to land new clients. 

So to help you to up your design game, we're lending you a helping hand with this round-up of the best design skills, theories, and practical tips to ensure that you become a better designer in 2018.
All of our guides and tutorials have been broken down into easy to navigate sections, so whether you want to improve your software skills, master a new design theory, or even start that side project you've been sitting on for ages, you'll find something here to help you on your way.


Software skills
 Since its release, Illustrator CC has become the go-to tool for plenty of designers. Learn how to make the most of this premier graphics design tool with these tutorials – covering the basics, tools and features, text effects, illustration techniques, logo and icon design, advanced techniques and more.

 Photoshop continues to be the design software of choice for millions of designers. We've rounded up the best Photoshop tutorials for everyone from beginners to expert users – covering tools, techniques and effects – so you're bound to learn something new!

 Cinema 4D is one of the most popular 3D animation, modelling and rendering platforms. Master the basics of modelling and animating simple characters with the software and work your way up to advanced animation techniques with these Cinema 4D tutorials.

 Adobe's Creative Cloud 3D motion graphics and animation software, After Effects, is a popular way to bring your work to life. These tutorials will show you how to get started with After Effects and work your way up to creating special effects.

 It's easier than ever to implement responsive web design thanks to a wealth of useful tools. We've rounded up 10 of the best, to help you make your website look amazing on any device.

 Have you always wanted to make an app but not known where to start? It's an increasingly vital skill, so make sure you crack app-making for iPhone, iPad, Android and desktop with the help of this tutorial.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

The No Tears Guide to Letting Someone Go

The No Tears Guide to Letting Someone Go
Having to terminate an employee is never fun. Even if you've had to execute this task hundreds of times over the course of your career, it never gets easier. Everyone understands how devastating and humiliating it can be to lose a job and, as a leader, you must find a way to handle the dismissal in the best way possible.

Come Prepared
Nothing is worse than a manager who is wishy-washy. Go over the employee's track record ahead of time to confirm the employee’s performance merits dismissal. Ideally, you would have met with the employee previously and given them the proper warnings and a chance to rise to your expectations (think: three-strike policy). Regardless, the employee is going to want a clear answer to why he or she is being let go, and you need to provide a compelling reason.

Before the meeting, get all your ducks in a row regarding termination policies. Be prepared to settle the questions whirling in your employee's mind: When will he get his last paycheck? Is she entitled to a severance package? What’s the timeframe for clearing out his desk? Before you draw up a termination contract, double check policies to ensure accuracy.

Set the Scene
It should go without saying, but terminating someone in a public setting is the ultimate faux pas. You’re not making an example of someone; you’re making the rest of your team dislike you. Find a private room in the office and shut the door. Silence the phones and computers. The time of day you call the meeting doesn’t matter. Honestly, there’s no “best” time to dismiss an employee. Ideally, get it done as soon as possible since delaying the inevitable makes an already hard situation worse. Once you start the meeting, cut to the chase. Small talk isn’t going to soften the blow. Aim for a considerate tone, but avoid sounding emotional during the conversation.

The Right Way Versus the Wrong Way
There are two ways most termination conversations can go. If a manager does it the wrong way, you’re likely to have the employee react in one of two ways: tears or yelling. Take the following two scenarios:

Wrong Way
Sylvia is called into a meeting where she has to sit and wait for fifteen minutes while you finish a personal phone call. You try the direct approach and tell her she’s dismissed effective immediately. You don’t give her much feedback on her performance and direct her to HR about her final paycheck and insurance benefits. You usher her out of your office in less than ten minutes.  

What went wrong here? Sylvia is likely to feel humiliated over the abrupt dismissal. She is confused over what went wrong and will have no idea how to plan out her next move.

Right Way
You have had consistent contact with Sylvia prior to the meeting about her performance. You’ve offered guidance on how to help her succeed in her role. After multiple attempts at trying to resolve the situation, you and Sylvia both realize the position and company isn’t the right fit for her. When you call her into a meeting to let her go, she’s not surprised. You give her all of the details about her termination and ask for her to sign a termination contract after she takes the time to look it over.

In this scenario, you have let Sylvia go compassionately and professionally. She can use this experience to excel in her future endeavors. Your reputation as a fair and considerate manager stays well intact.

Inform the Masses
Avoid causing a workplace-wide panic by being transparent with the rest of your staff. You don’t have to give your team all the details about the dismissal but offer reassurance that the termination wasn’t the first in a string of firings.

Firing an employee is hands down the hardest part of being in a leadership position. At the end of the day, reassure yourself that the termination is necessary to avoid ultimately hurting the company.
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Understanding Intent versus Impact in the World of Marketing


It is essential to understand as much about your audience as possible, especially the differences between "intent" and "impact" in the world of marketing. Intent is something that you have total control over - it's what every font selection, every color choice, every turn of phrase and every piece of collateral is ultimately building towards. Impact, on the other hand, is something else entirely. Making an effort to understand the difference between these two concepts is the key to maximum success moving forward.


It All Comes Down to Perspective

The major difference between intent and impact ultimately comes down to a matter of perspective, or an acknowledgment that sometimes a statement (or in this case, a marketing message) isn't necessarily as "black and white" as you may have thought it was. In addition to knowing who the people you're marketing to actually are, it's important to understand as much as you can about the way they think.


Before you send any marketing message out into the world, there are a few key questions you need to ask yourself:


How will this message play in different regions of the country? Are there certain terms that are used one way on the coasts and another way in middle America? What difference does that make, if any, in terms of how that message would be received?


How do pain points differ based on audience? Is a very specific problem that one portion of your audience has not an issue at all to others? How does something like economic status play into how a particular message might be received?


How will the culture change the way the impact of a message varies when compared to the original intent? Even if you're not a global company, think about things from that perspective. You would probably have to make some adjustments to your messaging when marketing to customers in Europe versus those in the United States as you're talking about two totally different cultures with different norms and taboos. Are there any cultural implications that might adjust the impact of your message in a way you're unprepared for?

This approach will help give you as much insight as possible into the various perspectives of the people you're trying to reach, which can not only make campaigns resonate more but it can also help avoid sticky issues like this one at the same time.


At the end of the day, the difference between intent and impact in the world of marketing can be summarized like this. "Intent" is the thing that you were trying to do - the message you were trying to convey or the goal you were trying to accomplish. "Impact" is what you actually did, which itself is influenced by a wide array of different factors. Sometimes a message that you had complete confidence in is received in a way that you could never have predicted and these are the types of moments you need to be ready for.
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Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Blockhead Digital Character Shows 4 Ways to Do Marketing Right

A Blockhead Digital Character Shows 4 Ways to Do Marketing Right

 

Stampy Longnose.
It's not the kind of name that immediately translates visions of millionaire status or successful CEO personas leading fast-moving, highly successful companies. However, this moniker represents one of the most prolific and successful YouTube operations based on the concept of entertaining kids with Minecraft stories and humor all while generating real-time dollars in advertising income monthly. The marketing approach is one of the most effective used online today.

Simple Equals Incredible


Stampy Longnose, otherwise known as Joseph Garrett of Portsmouth, U.K., in real life is a young fellow in England at the ripe age of 23 years. He currently brings in a respectable gross income of 200,000 British pounds a month creating cartoons of his video game adventures in the world of Minecraft. The game itself is extremely simple to play, like an electronic world of toy building blocks, and the tools used to make the videos don't require rocket science either. However, Mr. Garrett has managed to generate an incredible following online which in turn has created a viable advertising channel that he then monetizes for access to Mr. Garrett's audience.
The marketing approach is grassroots and simplistic as well and can be broken down into four steps.
1) Have a recognizable and distinct voice that people remember.
Mr. Garrett's online voice as he moves across the screen with his character is so different from his normal conversation that he easily translates into a memory-sticking character that then makes it easy to attach a brand to. Mental stickiness is a key factor in customer reception of brand development.

2) Have lots of content and be a good storyteller.


If you can't tell good stories, find someone who can. Particularly for online marketing, a library of content is a must. Viewers don't stop with one video; they want to consume and consume a lot. In fact, many of Mr. Garrett's young viewers are so enamored with his Minecraft stories, they would rather watch his videos than play the game (shocking!).

3) Don't go it alone.


As soon as the Stampy Longnose idea became a hit, Garrett built a solid team of helpers who provided additional characters to work with as well as give hands-on support with production. It's not easy to write a 20-minute humor dialog that will appeal to a 9-year-old, but that's the goal and to do it 100 times or more each month.

4) Don't stop with a good thing; diversify! 


The various characters of Stampy Longnose have also included Stampy the Cat, Stampy, Stampylonghead and so on. Each one of them is now fertile ground for additional merchandising for Mr. Garrett. The production potential is so big, he has now branched across the pond and set up shop in Los Angeles to partner with additional revenue ideas based on the original online Minecraft characters Garrett created. Subscribing to the maxim that good ideas don't stay good or unique for long, Mr. Garrett is actively seeking new venues for his entertainment product and audiences not yet familiar with his funny way that makes kids laugh.

What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up?


So, when you ask your young child tonight what they want to be when they grow up, don't be surprised if he or she says a YouTuber instead of an astronaut or scientist. Given Mr. Garrett's example above, more up and coming business owners should be looking at what worked for the online star and why they aren't doing the same things to achieve marketing success with their customers.
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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

4 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes Destroying Your Business

4 Common Entrepreneurial Mistakes Destroying Your Business

With the end of 2017, you may look at the stock market and think businesses can do no wrong right now. That's because the S&P 500 is up 20 percent on the year, and similar numbers have been recorded for major stock markets in both Europe and Asia.
But, don't be fooled. Everything goes in cycles and if you're in this for the long haul you must iron out the mistakes undermining all your hard work.
Here are my four of the most common entrepreneurial mistakes destroying your business, and what you can do about them.

1. You Haven't Learned the Needed Skills.
Nobody should do business without truly knowing what they're doing. Take former day trader and mass murderer Mark Barton as an example. In 1999 in Atlanta he lost his life savings and inheritance through day trading. His lack of skills sent him over the edge and he would go on to kill 12 people, including his wife and children.

An extreme example, yes, but it's just one of the many examples of failed businesspeople who tried to take on something they weren't qualified for.
That's why I coach; to help novices learn their craft. I never advocate just jumping in and picking it up as you go

2. You Mistake Having Goals for Having a Strategy.

Now I know what you're thinking. You have a strategy, so you don't need to worry. But, the truth is that a lot of business strategies aren't strategies.
Let's say you decide that you want to expand into Europe from North America. That's a goal, not a strategy. It doesn't tell you how you're going to do anything or offer a roadmap for how to get there.

Take British toy company Hornby Railways as an example. They created a strategy to avert bankruptcy through creating scale models of trains that appealed to nostalgic adults and serious collectors. It was successful because it was clear, direct, and told them how they were going to achieve their goal.
Remember, a strategy shouldn't just reveal your goals it should tell you how to get there.

3. You Aren't Doing Your Research.

You may have read in the Tim Ferris book 4-Hour Work Week that he gathers knowledge through relying on others to do the hard work

To an extent, this is possible. However, I always advocate doing your own research. In the business arena if you just copy everyone else you're reliant on their success or failure to succeed. Forge your own destiny by researching things yourself.

4.You Ignore Your Instincts.

I've lost count of the amount of times my gut instincts have saved me from making a big mistake. I like to think of my gut as my subconscious. It knows things I can't recall right now. It's tapping into that knowledge deep inside my mind.

Sometimes thinking obsessively can lead us to making the wrong decisions because we paralyze ourselves. Obey your gut and if you really feel as if something about your business isn't right make a change.

These four mistakes are also my four principles for doing business right. Read back over them before you move on and see if you can apply them to your business. For more of our informative blogs go to:http://store.printcafeli.com/blog/Print_Cafe_Blog.html