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

Handle With Care: Mixing Business and Religion

I grew up in a time when the old rule "never mention religion and politics in polite conversation" still held. The line "attend the church or synagogue of your choice" was about as close as you got. Friends or family could fight it out till the cows came home, but outside the church and the home, reticence and neutrality were the order of the day. As society becomes more varied and open to different beliefs, we might want to consider bringing back that attitude.

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.

Top Ways a Custom Designed Website Will Help Your Small Business

In this article, I discuss some things to avoid and how a custom, professional website can help your business succeed.

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.

Don’t Badmouth Your Own Business

"It's hard to get by." "The economy is so bad." "We really need to bring in more sales." "If things don't pick up......." It's easy to understand a business owner saying any of that. Cash flow problems and local economic conditions can seem like insurmountable obstacles sometimes. There's a problem, though. Within the past few years, I've heard all of those statements from business owners and staff, within fifteen minutes of walking through their door for the first time. I realize I'm expected to cluck in sympathy and join the pity party, but what I really want to say is, "What the hell are you thinking?"

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