Educate + Explore

After doing what we do for a couple decades now, we've amassed quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to design, marketing, and doing better business. The purpose of the JVM blog is to share this knowledge with small business owners and entrepreneurs. If you have a request for a particular topic or would like to be a guest author, please get in contact.

Latest Posts

Why does professional web design vary in cost?

I recently received a request for a quote from a prospective client. There were about 3 lines of text which simply explained that they were starting a new business, needed a website, and needed an online reservation system with a way to pay. They also mentioned they were on a "tight budget". When I responded, my initial question was concerning the budget. I needed to know what they were working with in order to determine if we could help them at all. From there, a dialog would normally begin where I could learn a little bit more about their business, their goals, and most importantly, the functionality of their website.

A Professional Perspective on Design Contests

In the past week, via Facebook, I happened to spot 3 different companies advertising for design contests. These contests ranged from a design to be printed on a book bag, to a full website. I should also note that some of these did not have cash "prizes". These types of contests are nothing like the type of design contest that seeks to award designers for outstanding work on a particular project (think: Webby Awards, Davey Awards, AIGA contests, etc.). While many people think these type of design contests are perfectly okay and a positive thing, professional designers like myself have a different perspective.

The real ROI on paying for professional web development.

We've written a number of articles on the pitfalls of believing that you can cut costs by doing your design and marketing on your own, but we haven't written an article specifically discussing what the actual return on investment (ROI) for professional design and web development is. Read on as we explain what may be currently holding you back, why professional design is an investment (and not just an expense), and of course, what the return on that investment is.

Naming Your Business is No Joke

T. S Eliot was right in saying that naming a cat isn't a holiday game. Neither is naming your business. The worst thing you can do is to grab the first name that comes to mind. You need to take it slowly, research if fully, and ask for advice. If you don't, and you make a mistake, you might be stuck with a name that will do more harm than good.

Doing e-commerce? Are you PCI Compliant?

Back on January 1st, 2011 the credit card industry rolled out mandatory PCI Compliance for both e-commerce and traditional brick and mortar merchants who accept credit cards. Here we are 2 years later and many business owners delving into doing business online and obtaining a merchant account are still unaware of what steps they need to take in order to be PCI Compliant and avoid monthly penalty fees (or worse).

Online Shopping Carts: Know What You’re Getting Into

Let's be honest. You're not Etsy. You're not Macy's. You're a small business. A custom programmed site, like theirs, with all the bells and whistles, is going to cost several hundred thousand dollars. It would also require a full IT department running 24/7 to keep it working.

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