Ibrahim Harun: An Entrepreneur Profile

For Global Entrepreneurship Week, we decided to celebrate by creating a profile on our own fearless leader, Ibrahim Huran. Take a look!

Years in this Position: 14 Years

Education: UW-Madison (Undergraduate), Madison College Graphic Design Program

Hometown: Madison, WI

Greatest Strength: Attention to Detail

Background/Career



From an educational perspective, what studies and skills do you believe launched your career?

My studies in Graphic Design and computer-oriented fine arts definitely set me up for success. But beyond the technical skills acquired, I believe my positive attitude can be accredited to my major achievements. I am constantly learning from mentors as well as my team. Skill is not enough to be successful, you must also have the work ethic and determination to solve the problems that accumulate as a business owner.

Why did you decide to start IH Concepts?

I launched IH Concepts out of a need to take charge of business culture. I wanted to establish an environment where both my employees and clientele are treated well and have the freedom to take the lead in their aspirations.

Impacts in the Community



What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?

Madison Urban Ministry, now released six years ago, was the first project that defined our direction as a company. Their website launch was the first IH site to incorporate our proprietary IH5 Principles, concepts now at the core of how we conduct our projects. Madison Urban Ministry’s donations went up 800% and their engagement revealed similar statistics. This project completely revolutionized the trajectory of our company.

How does your work with IH Concepts impact the Madison Area?

More recently, after our acceptance of Dane Buy Local’s Outstanding Innovator Award, we are more confident of our impact in Madison. We are proud to give the small business community a voice. With the aid of the SBER Grant, we foster relationships with business owners and the city to give them the chance to rise above financial struggles and run with the giants. We cannot take full credit, there are many leaders in the community, but I am excited about our newfound emphasis on uplifting Madison’s “Buy Local” ecosystem.

Small Business



What are the advantages and disadvantages of running a small business in relation to a large corporation?

In running a small business, there are many added challenges that large corporations avoid. Many small businesses don’t have deep pockets or an abundance of resources at quick disposal. Above all, as CEO, I take sole responsibility for the actions of the office, working long hours to ensure success. We have to fight a little harder, but our wins are definitely appreciated. On the contrary, the small business culture allows me to wear many hats, having control over daily performance and delegating company focus. But most importantly, I can see firsthand the impact of our endeavors within the community.

How has your outlook on small business changed as you have grown in leadership?

It has definitely been a learning curve. I thought I was going to be able to go home and sleep in my pajamas every night, but I have learned that sacrifices need to be made to achieve success. However, in a positive light, this has made me appreciate the strength and dedication of like-minded small business owners. Above all, running IH Concepts has given me a perspective I hope to pass on to my family and other emerging professionals.

What’s Next For IH Concepts?

Growth. Not necessarily externally, but internally. In order to stay in touch with employees and clients, we don’t want to become too big. Instead, now that we are in our groove after 14 years of operation, the focus shifts to efficiency. Personally, I hope to offer a better work-life balance for the office as well as establish a focus on social responsibility. I hope to position IH Concepts to be an example for other businesses. This entails not only giving back to our community, but inspiring the next generation of business leaders.

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Before & After Website Edition: Highlighting Small Changes that Made a Big Improvement for Our Clients

Over the years, IH Concepts has had the honor to work on websites with many great companies and organizations. When a new client steps forward they typically know their message and the services they want to provide to their customers, however, there can sometimes be a barrier to fully convey that message so the customer gets the proper information in a clean way. Whether the wording needs to be adjusted or a visual change to the layout needs to be made, these small changes often can lead to a big improvement. In this month’s blog, we’d like to highlight some before and after adjustments for our clients, to show the great results a small adjustment can make.

Caspian Grill- Making it More Appealing

One of the most critical parts of marketing a restaurant is to have clean, close-up images of the mouth watering food to draw customers in. The Caspian Grill brings an amazing array of Middle Eastern Cuisine to the Madison area, and we knew that these dishes needed to be featured with some great images and a welcoming format.

Before IH Concepts began working with Caspian Grill, they had an ecommerce platform that wasn’t suitable for a restaurant website that would require high resolution images and the ability to order online. Because of this, some of the images were irregular in size and unfortunately didn’t do the amazing food justice. IH Concepts took this in stride however, and made some small but critical adjustments to improve the overall flow of their website.

After IH Concepts moved the Caspian Grill website to an ecommerce platform more suitable to their needs, the overall layout was also tweaked to make it more inviting and consistent throughout. Through the website, the full story of Caspian Grill was able to be highlighted to best resonate with customers, and the clean images of the restaurant’s food made it very clear that this was a restaurant worth personally trying.

Sara’s Helping Hands – Making Info Easier to Find

Before IH Concepts began working with Sara’s Helping Hands, it was unclear on their website that they were a personal care home. There wasn’t quite enough information or images to fully showcase the quality care that they provide, so an adjustment needed to be made to show their caring nature and excellent staff.

The website was adjusted to be more inviting as customers visited the website, giving them a clear call to action and places to click so they could navigate the website effectively. The images were clean and clear, showcasing the staff and allowing the viewer to learn a bit more about them. This shift in the layout and presentation on the website is more accurate to the actual organization, showcasing the warm and happy nature of their staff and providing a bond of trust towards them. This has provided a stronger connection between customers and Sara’s Helping Hands, and has increased interest in their services.

ACT Prep – Cleaning Up A Concept

Before IH Concepts began to assist ACT Prep, their concept was a little hard to navigate and disorganized. The slightly messy look wasn’t as appealing as it could be, and could disengage those who might be interested in the service unintentionally. With a little bit of tidying up however, it greatly increased the overall customer experience and ease of use.

IH Concepts reorganized the design and layout so that the website was neat and easier to navigate. With a cleaner layout and defined images, the setup is more inviting for users overall and allows them to move from section to section with ease. The adjusted website also communicates the goals and services of ACT Prep better to those who need them and overall creates a more striking, professional appearance.

Looking Ahead

While we like to take a step back to see the clients we’ve assisted in the past and continue to support, IH Concepts always looks forward to working with new clients to improve their overall layout and message to consumers. The information and design is always right there within reach, and with some small touches and a fresh layout from our creative team, we can help improve any message. We look forward to continuing to serve those in the Madison area for many years to come.

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Let’s Talk About Kerning: The Successes & Mishaps

Businesses do not always consider type when considering a logo. It is often an easy thing to overlook, but it can make the world of difference and set you apart from competitors. When you are considering a logo, think of all the different aspects – type, font, kerning, graphics. Make sure each element has a purpose. There is a psychology to typography – different fonts elicit different feelings. Use your type to say something about your business, your professionalism. Your type can communicate your attention to detail as well as how much care you put into your product or service. An important aspect of the type is Kerning which refers to the spacing between the letters in a type; a detail that needs special attention. When used correctly, kerning can communicate as much to the consumer as the font choice.

150% Off

This sale sign is an example of a kerning mishap. The intention is to advertise to customers that the store is having a sale offering customers half off their second item, but because the spacing between the numbers “1” and “50” are so close, the advertisement can be mistaken for 150% off. In this case, the business needs to consider kerning and adjust the spacing between the characters or start another line and align the “50% off” below “Buy 1, Get 1”. This mistake leaves the business vulnerable to customer service issues. Another way to fix this sign would be to spell out some of the numbers. Generally, it’s good practice to spell out numbers ten and under. Spelling out the ones would also eliminate this issue and prevent any customer misunderstandings.

Yves Saint Laurent

The success of Yves Saint Laurent’s new logo proves that the rules of kerning can be broken, but they must be broken strategically and with intention. Although kerning rules stress adequate spacing between type, this new logo challenges the rule by condensing the spacing. By condensing the spacing between each letter while capitalizing the first letter of each word, the integrity of the name is still upheld. It is also worth noting that Yves Saint Laurent is a luxury brand that is well established and recognizable allowing them to get away with pushing the boundaries of typography and symmetry.

Zara

Breaking the rules doesn’t always work. Retailer Zara debuted a new logo that fell short when it similarly defied the rules of kerning. The wide spacing of the original logo was eliminated leaving the letters over lapping and the logo looking messy. This ultimately made the logo difficult to decipher. German typographer Erik Spiekermann called the logo, “the worst piece of type [he’s] seen in years.” When breaking these rules, it’s important to have a purpose and be tactful in doing so.

Pearle Vision

The redesign for Pearle Vision’s logo is another example of a success. The franchisee who we worked with in 2012 admitted that the company’s system, marketing tactics and logo felt out of date and therefore felt unsupported at the time. The logo featured a font with tight kerning in a dark teal that felt dated and plain – not saying much about the brand. In 2013, Pearle Vision underwent a major rebranding. In addition to updating their logo with a neutral color and a timeless font, the kerning used allows for each letter to stand on its own and be clearly legible. The new logo also gives consumers more information. The date conveys when the business was established, and the graphic further illustrates that the brand operates in the vision and eyewear industry.

The Year 2011

Apart from the Green Bay Packers winning the Superbowl, 2011 was special in another way. Due to the nature of spacing in ones, typographers and designers needed to pay particular attention to main body copy, layouts, and words. Certain fonts presented more issues with uneven kerning than others and presented a unique problem in typography. While many had the luxury of the Adobe Creative Suite, our owner and CEO, who writes on the side, found he had to isolate the numbers and adjust the kerning to use the number 2011 in Microsoft Word. During this time, typographers and graph designers had to be more diligent when it came to their attention to detail.

Nike

Nike is an example of improper kerning that worked to make the logo special. They broke the rules of kerning and made it part of the creative process giving the brand character. This was intentional and strategic, and it produced a logo that was bold and recognized by everyone. If Nike had followed kerning standards, this globally identifiable type would not have had the lasting impact we see today. Breaking the rules of kerning also speaks to their tagline – Just Do It.

Final Thoughts

Although there are rules, use them more as helpful guideline. Challenging them is part of the fun and can be successful. Keep it simple and pay attention to the details. The type you choose and the way it is presented can make a big difference – the little things can go a long way.

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What Caspian Grill Taught Us About Restaurant Websites

As we watched the world begin to change, we approached Caspian Grill to encourage a better web presence anticipating the shift of consumer dependence on online resources. After launching the website a few months ago, we have enjoyed watching Caspian Grill thrive.

Put Your Menu Out There

For restaurants, having your menu present on your website is critical to attracting customers. Make sure the menu is easy to locate. Be sure to included pictures and pricing on your menu. Reports found 70% of consumers say they’d rather order directly from a restaurant than a third party. With 60% of U.S. consumers ordering takeout or delivery once a week, the fees charged by third party entities like EatStreet and Grubhub begin to add up. These consumers would rather conduct direct transactions with the restaurant, avoid fees, and support the restaurant instead of third-party entities.

Offer Online Ordering

Having an online point of sale has become expected from restaurant consumers over the past 19 months. Digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014 and orders placed via smartphone and mobile apps have become a $38 billion industry. Further, customers who placed an online order with a restaurant were found to visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t. Customers using their smartphones or mobile apps to place orders make up 11% of sales in quick-service restaurants alone. The number of restaurants actively using Online Ordering increased by 169% from February 2020 to April 2020. Consumers know they have options available with the convenience of online ordering and are more likely to gravitate towards those restaurants. In order to compete with other businesses in your market, online ordering is essential to attracting and keeping customers. Considering that 34% of consumers with spend between $25 and $50 on a single order, online ordering can be a determining factor in the success of your restaurant.

Do It In HTML

Using a PDF menu seems like a simple way to get your menu online, but restaurants miss out on business because they are not showing up in online searches. Having your menu in HTML means that your restaurant is visible to consumers who are using search engines to find area restaurants or searching for a particular cuisine. This use of key words will put your restaurant at the top of the search results increasing visibility and making your website easier to locate. Internet searching only increased during the pandemic. As an easily accessible entity of information, consumers turned to the internet to find restaurants instead of going to them directly which means many customers are looking at menus online before they decide on what they want for dinner.

Talk About Your COVID-19 Safety Protocols

As more and more people are getting vaccinated and the world is starting to reopen in many ways, it is important to continue to address the measure taken to keep customers safe. Be sure to include your business’s COVID-19 safety procedures on your website. This tells your customers that you are making their health and safety a top priority. In turn, they will feel safer choosing to do business with you. Continue to update these measures according to the CDC, FDA, and OSHA addressing the latest guidance concerning dining indoors, updated mask use, employee vaccinations, cleaning and sanitizing, hand washing, policy for ill or exposed employees, and ventilation practices. 692>
Tell Your Story

Your website allows you the opportunity to tell your story. People want to connect more than ever, and food has always allowed people that avenue to connect others and their culture. The recipes that made it to restaurants were cultivated in family heritage, and that rich history is something that your customers want to connect with. Use your website to share this story with our customers.

Final Thoughts

Caspian Grill is an example of how the restaurant industry is permanently pivoting in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The food delivery industry in the United States is estimated to have generated $26,527 million in 2020 and statistics show that 69.9 million people in the US will regularly use ordering platforms by 2024. For a business in an industry that has faced dramatic change recently, these are numbers that cannot be ignored.

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7 Ways to Captivate Your Audience: Giving a Presentation Revisited

Now that the world is shifting back to the office, our presentations are shifting from the zoom room back to the board room. So now seems like a great time to brush up on some fundamentals to keep your presentation interesting and engaging.

Choose A Topic You’re Passionate About, but Make Sure It’s Interesting



When you are choosing your topic or considering the subject to present, it is important to find an angle you are passionate about and make it interesting. But it is also important to consider what your audience will find interesting. Ask yourself, “why is this topic important?” Giving a presentation is like telling a story you need to consider the beginning, middle, and end. Keep your presentations simple by focusing on the core message and building your presentation out from that message. Instead of expanding on the ideas you are offering, work to go deeper into details keeping the message at center stage.

Be Prepared, Practice, practice, practice



Preparation is the key to a successful presentation. Take the time to run through your script. Practice in front of a mirror or a mock audience. If you have the time, rehearse your speech enough so the word become second nature. Reading from a script for your presentation can create a divide between the audience and the speaker who is reading at them instead of presenting to them. If you do not have the time to memorize your speech, concentrate on bullet point and transitions from one point to another. When you are knowledgeable about your topic, you will be confident in your presentation and able to answer questions ultimately acing your presentation.

Dress Accordingly, show your best self



You are as much a part of your presentation as your topic. Your clothing should be professional and appropriate. Pajamas are not a good choice! Wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in because that confidence will shine through in your presentation. Don’t wear anything distracting. You don’t want your audience’s attention to deflect from the presentation. It is also important for you, as the presenter, not to be distracted by your uncomfortable shoes or your tight belt. Choose an outfit you feel and look good wearing. The audience will pick up on that comfort and confidence when you are on the stage presenting. When you dress appropriately, you will feel successful.

Know your audience, connect with them



Connecting with your audience is key to giving a wining presentation. As the presenter, you need to smile and make eye contact with your audience to build rapport and allow the audience to connect with you as well. Taking a moment to connect with members of the audience will also help to calm any nerves because you are taking the time to connect with people individually rather than addressing the larger group immediately. Consider leaving the lights up because of this. Even if you are giving a PowerPoint, the connection between the presenter and the audience member should be maintained as well as the view of the slide you are presenting. Being able to see the audience is also critical to how you respond to them throughout the presentation. If you are seeing confused faces in your audience, you will know you need to regroup, digress, or ask if anyone has any questions. This element is important to maintain engagement. Connection with the audience ensures a successful presentation.

Know your venue



The stage is taking many different forms these days. Your venues will not always be a boards room. Consider informal settings and presentations giving in outdoor locations. What resources do you have for your presentation? Before your presentations, visit the location to check thing out. Where are you going to stand? Where will your audience be seated? Take stock in what you need to bring with you to the venue. If you need your laptop, are there hook-up or adapters to be aware of? By preparing for the venue as well as the presentation, you will be able to deliver the presentation with confidence.

Consider a leave-behind


If your presentation contains media, make sure that media is relevant to your core message. Keep in mind that your presentation is key, and any addition is meant only to enhance your presentation. Choose a media that you are familiar with and comfortable using. Consider handouts that allow the audience to take something with them that lasts long after the presentation. Your leave-behind should be something that stand out from your everyday piece of paper. Make sure it is branded to your company. Consider the paper it is printed on, make it look like something someone would keep. Memorability is want you are going for when it comes to the leave-behind.

Be ready for questions



Expect questions from your audience and pause at appropriate times in your presentation to ask if anyone has any. If you know your subject and are prepared, you will be able to answer whatever questions come your way, but if you are asked a question and do not know the answer, admit that you are not sure of the answer and would be happy to research that more. This will give you an opportunity to follow-up later keeping the presentation relevant in their mind.

Be Confident, you got this!



Giving a presentation can seem like a daunting mountain to climb. However, by sticking to these tips, you will be successful. Choose a topic of interest, be prepared, dress your best, know you audience, know your venue, be prepared for questions, consider a leave-behind, and let your confidence shine on your big day! Last but not least, have fun! This is your opportunity to have your audience get to know you.


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How to Maintain Your Brand Loyalty in COVID and Beyond

A brand often goes beyond messaging, taglines, and visuals. Often times your actions can affect your business now and beyond. Your brand is who you are. One of the biggest questions we are facing right now is how to continuously keep ourselves and those around us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of safety has drastically changed the way businesses must run in order to be successful during these times. The efforts an establishment makes to keep its employees and customers safe says a lot about the business’s brand.

Keep Displaying Protocols


Safety tips on covid-19 pandemic vector by Zubada

A major way to show that you care about your employees and customers is keeping them safe. One way of doing this is having clear safety protocols showcased throughout your establishment. Rules limiting guests, mask mandates, and social distancing guidelines show that you are putting the safety of your customers at the highest priority. This builds a sense of trust between the customers and your business. If they can safely shop and dine at your establishment, they are sure to return. The pandemic has changed how businesses operate. For instance, in restaurants, booths and tables are closed off in an attempt to keep everyone safe and distanced. A lot of establishments have switched to paper menus or QR codes which gets rid of highly touched menus. Hand sanitizer stations and increased cleaning of highly touched areas are also seen in a lot of places. It is important to keep your employees and customers safe by implementing and showcase these protocols.

Consider Employee Safety



How you take care of your internal customers can say a lot about a brand. As for employees, people want to feel safe when they are coming into work. Before the pandemic, it was typical for employees to go through extensive training. Now, this type of training has changed into implementing safety protocols. Customers can tell when businesses are not taking care of their employees. It says a lot about a business that does not put effort into keeping its employees safe. Going against rules and safety regulations will turn away customers. For instance, an employee at a pizza restaurant in Beloit was not feeling well and the manager made them come in anyways. This careless act caused the employee to put himself and others at major risk. The employee, unfortunately, lost their life. That caused a lot of people to not support a company that does not value its employees. Without your employees, your business cannot run. Take care of them and make an effort to keep them safe.

Think About Your Customers



Switching gears to a customer standpoint, we are now faced with the question of how we can get customers to actually engage with safety protocols. An important part of a brand is considering consumer behavior. Remember your customers want to be safe. For example, if you’re a restaurant, you may want to consider keeping your bathroom open so your customers can wash their hands before eating their food. Also, if a business decides to close its bathroom to the public, customers are unable to wash their hands. Of course, you can put out hand sanitizing stations, but for a restaurant, washing your hands before you eat can prevent someone from getting sick. The issue for businesses is to balance the differing needs of customers with the safety of employees. It is important to understand varying behaviors and how you want to be accommodating and keep your customers safe.

Keep ALL your Customers in Mind



Different customers have different needs. Some customers have different sensory processing that can make wearing a mask overwhelming. Because of these differences, it is important to let those with health problems know they are being accommodated for. According to the CDC, it’s important to have protocols that consider the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind. While these have been unprecedented times, keeping safe is important. It is important to be respectful of differences. Not doing so can be harmful to a brand and create negative public opinion about your business.

Lead by Example



At the end of the day you are still a brand and your actions will define you even beyond the pandemic. All in all, safety is one of the biggest points on both customers’ and businesses’ checklists. Businesses need to lead by example. What we’re seeing is this pendulum of considering customer’s differing needs and keeping employees safe. Instead of closing their bathrooms, some businesses have locked them and have placed signs on the door saying to ask an employee for access. This notifies the employees that someone is using the bathroom and that after the customer leaves, it can be cleaned properly. People not following safety protocols watching other people follow them will most likely get them to start following them. A behavior change normally comes from seeing other people lead by example or learning from their behaviors. Another cordial effort businesses are doing is providing masks for those who enter without one. This effort shows that you value their business while also wanting to keep your employees safe.

Final Thoughts

Now more than ever, we need to look out for each other. Take the steps to evaluate the safety protocols your business wants to implement and make sure they are keeping your employees and customers safe.

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Coworking Success: Must-Haves For Your Website

As more opportunities to travel present themselves, we at IH Concepts have been looking at different coworking spaces in other cities to work in. Now more than ever, people are turning to their digital devices for advice, information, and updates on the availability of coworking spaces. Some of the biggest things we have taken away from this digital transformation are important aspects to include on your website to attract and hold your audience’s attention. Some of these important features are crucial to helping your coworking space to attract more people and revenue.

The Importance of Visuals



To start, visuals. Visuals are important for any website to give viewers a feel for what your business is about. Including visuals not only gives your website a personal touch but also leverages your business into attracting more clients. The visuals you choose to include virtually invites clients into your space without making the physical trip in. Some of the most important pictures to include are pictures of the physical space you are operating in. Having pictures of your business allows clients and guests to safely check out your space amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Falsely portraying your space jeopardizes the relationships you can build with current and potential new clients. We had an experience visiting a coworking space that was completely unlike the pictures we saw online. You need to honestly portray your space with engaging visuals. A quick tip: highlight common spaces. People may be seeking out private spaces to conduct their business, but it is nice to see the space as a whole.

Video Tips and Tricks



Going off of the importance of visuals, if you decide to portray your co-working space using a video, make sure you keep it engaging and short. Viewers often let their minds wander, unless something really grabs our attention. Normally, the 30 second to 2-minute time frame is optimal. Try to craft your videos to be short and get to the point quickly. However, if you have more to say, keep going with it. Longer videos are informative content that is accepted but doesn’t waste viewers’ time. At the start, tell your audience what they should be expecting. This kind of transparency helps viewers trust your brand and will most likely put more time into exploring your content.

Be Transparent



In addition to proper content, listing your rules and protocols for your collaborative spaces is important. How one rents out a collaborative space, time restrictions, procedures for social distancing, and any other rule should be listed. More people are traveling and could be looking for spaces to work. You should prepare to get people from out of town looking to use your space. Because of this, you should list out any procedures your company wants to take when allowing people who just recently traveled into your space. Quarantining, masks, social distancing, health and safety guidelines: all of these should be explicitly stated on your website.

Successfully Marketing your Website



You may be wondering how to successfully market your coworking website. Here are a couple of tips. First, make sure you list your space on Google. You should have all of the usual information on there like hours, website, phone number, email, and definitely photos. This is the first step to gaining an online presence. Another way is to create a membership package and daily passes. This can attract professionals nearby and out of town. When creating these membership packages, you could start by marketing a free trial. This is completely up to you, but this might draw more prospective members and give them a chance to experience your space before committing to a membership package. Being active on social media has its perks. Build up your social presence and utilize our tips on the content stated above. If you chose to offer perks to your members, highlight those. As stated before, it is smart to emphasize the safety protocols your company is taking to keep members safe during the pandemic. Genuinely think about how you are going to enforce social distancing and other health protocols to keep your members safe.

Closing Thoughts

There are a lot of important aspects and features you can incorporate and highlight into your website to help you sell your business. It is important to have honest and professional visuals on your website to allow potential clients to truly see and feel your space before stopping by. Analyze your audience and see what kind of video content, if any, you want on your website. For any content, take the proper steps for it took look professional and inviting. List your protocols and rules for your collaborative workspaces, and especially list off the health and safety protocols your company has committed to taking amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Be transparent with your audience. This builds trust and increases brand awareness. Taking these steps will give your business leverage and keep your audience’s attention. These tips will make your website engaging and help you sell your business.

Sources

https://www.talkingtreecreative.com/blog/video-marketing-2/the-impact-of-video-length-on-engagement/ https://www.coworkingresources.org/blog/8-ways-to-attract-freelancers-to-your-coworking-space

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The Designs-Dos of 2021

It’s 2021 and change keeps on coming! There are so many exciting things to discover in the graphic design world. New trends have shown a lot of promise in 2021. Keep reading to uncover the 9 enticing graphic design trends for 2021.

Nature-Inspired Design

To start, let’s state the obvious: a lot of people spent the majority of 2020 and early months of 2021 being stuck inside. The work-from-home lifestyle is pretty sedentary and does not leave a lot of time to reconnect with nature. Sure, we were able to go on our quarantine walks, but that doesn’t completely satisfy the feeling of being in a green space. In 2021, people will find a greater appreciation for reconnecting with nature. Whether it be the use of a lot of greens, earth tones, or leafy patterns, this trend is one we’ll be seeing in 2021.



Optical Illusions

This kind of trend brings a sense of magic to one’s graphic designs. These patterns catch people’s attention and make them wonder. The idea is to leave a memorable impression on whoever sees your design. Optical illusions are playful. They’re not always individual because both the designer and consumer are engaging with and making sense of the same design. Pops of color and intricate patterns will make your design very memorable.



Monochrome and Duotone

Monochrome and duotone palettes give your design a more mature look and feel. They come off as modern and cool. A popular trend that has emerged over the past year or so is the idea of minimalism. Utilizing monochrome and duotone gradients and palettes adhere to the idea of minimalism while making an impressionable design that is sure to be remembered.



Geometric Shapes

Compared to a lot of designs created last year that used a lot of abstract shapes and flows, this year more and more designers are utilizing the potential of the rigidness of geometric shapes and patterns. These shapes give off a sleek design that can be paired with a variety of color palettes. Geometric shapes and patterns allow for a nice flow and create harmony within the design.



Retro Futurism

This trend’s main element is imagination. For years people have envisioned what the future may hold. This feeling of curiosity and imagination is inspirational. It gives your design the power of optimism when it comes to looking ahead. This trend will have a lot of bright color schemes, curves, and computer-inspired typefaces that will send visualizers into the limitless imagination of the graphic designer.



Authentic Representation

Designers have a powerful voice. 2020 showed us how important our communities are and how we must stand up against inequality and systemic racism. In the last 9 months, there has been a lot of transparency in racial issues. We are hopeful to see the authentic representation of various cultures, skin tones, ages, and identities throughout every industry in 2021, including graphic design. From companies to employees, we hope this graphic design trend fosters real change. Using images that celebrate real people and their characteristics and uniqueness is contributing to a better and more inclusive future that inspires and encourages people of all backgrounds.



Muted Color Palettes

Throughout many years of graphic design, the use of bold and bright colors was a major trend. Now, more and more people are interested in seeing relaxed color tones. If you are looking to convey feelings of safety and security through your design, muted color palettes are a great option. More often than not, people tend to correlate light tones with those feelings. Even nostalgic feelings can be brought up when muted colors are present. Muted color palettes are heavily associated with natural and organic feelings.



Simplicity

In relation to muted color palettes, there is something quite interesting about the absence of color in a design. Bright and bold colors are great for getting one’s immediate attention, but the trend of using more muted palettes in 2020 might be taking another step further in 2021. This graphic design trend also brings out a sense of magic and nostalgia. For your next design, think about using the classic black and white effect which creates an enticing atmosphere that allows the other aspects of your design to stand out.



Authentic and Honest

2020 was a very unpredictable and chaotic year. People are looking for more authentic and meaningful graphic designs that really spark inspiration and speak to them. No one wants the added pressure of perfection. Being authentic and showcasing your honest work through graphic design is starting to matter more and more to viewers. It builds a sense of trust, understanding, and community.



2021 is going to be a very unique and progressive year for graphic design. There is so much room for creativity and authenticity for designs. Whether you want to change up your color palette, redo your logo, or update your homepage, you will be successful. There are endless possibilities when diving into one of these trends, and your designs will be memorable.

Sources

11 inspiring graphic design trends for 2021
https://99designs.com/blog/trends/graphic-design-trends/#5

12 graphic design trends for 2021
https://www.zekagraphic.com/12-graphic-design-trends-for-2021/

7 Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2021
https://venngage.com/blog/graphic-design-trends/#Muted-Color-Palettes

Graphic Design Trends in 2021 That Will Cause Revolution
https://graphicmama.com/blog/graphic-design-trends-2021/#colorless-design-trend-2021

These Are The Biggest Graphic Design Trends That Will Dominate 2021
https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2020/11/these-are-biggest-graphic-design-trends.html



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How to Digitally Pivot while Maintaining Your Brand

There is no doubt that there is a growing wedge between small businesses and big corporations. It seems as if the COVID-19 pandemic has been pushing that wedge even further. Small businesses have had to adapt tremendously. One drastic pivot involves the ways to market a business during the pandemic. The ways consumers shop is changing, and small businesses must consider these consumer changes that will be in effect both during and after the pandemic.

What We Know

The pandemic has changed the consumer marketplace in countless ways. People are less likely to go into stores, making curbside pick-up a must-have. Nearly 44% of the top 500 retailers offer curbside pick-up. More contactless ways of conducting business are nearly expected of restaurants and stores. We know that 60% of U.S consumers order delivery or takeout once a week, so it is crucial to make the transaction as safe as possible for both the consumer and the employees. To keep up with the changing marketplace and draw in business, it is important to consider the importance of an online presence and having these forms of consumption available for customers.

The Digital Pivot

If your business didn’t already have an online presence, now is the most crucial time to build one. For example, in restaurants, digital ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. There are numerous places to start when building an online presence. One of which is to create a mobile app or website. Both platforms allow you to market your business online. The creation of an up-to-date website or mobile app gives business credibility which increases consumer trust and ultimately increases sales. In 2021, it is almost a must for a business to have a solid online presence. Even if a business were to have a website, it must be mobile-friendly since we are living in a very smart-phone centric time now more than ever. It is more likely that one will look something up on their phone if they are on the go, rather than a laptop or tablet. In addition to having an up-to-date website and/or mobile app, including an effective ordering system will also boost your business’s credibility. 45% of consumers say that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often, driving the customer to come back again and again.

Making Indoor Spaces Safer

While marketing business strategies to the digital world is important, it is also important to keep in mind how you will market your indoor dining or shopping plan if you choose to have one. During the summer, restaurants were able to serve customers outside on patios or rooftops. Now that it is winter, customers don’t even consider outdoor dining an option. However, some restaurants have had success with tents, heat lamps, and even igloos. These are all ideas to consider if effective COVID-19 safety protocols are met. When providing customers the option to dine or shop inside, it is important to display the COVID-19 safety protocols the business is mandating like requiring masks and temperature checks to ensure the safety of the employees and customers. These protocols are a direct reflection of your brand integrity. It is important to be professional, lead by example, and be socially responsible amidst the pandemic. How you treat your employees and safety concerns are a part of your brand moving forward. These actions dictate business opportunities, and it is important to recognize and take advantage of advantageous opportunities that boost business and increase sales.

Customer Safety in Mind

Operating a business during the pandemic calls for adaptation. We have a social responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe during this time. Having hand sanitizer handy in high traffic areas is essential. Some other tips we suggest are investing in air purifiers. The EPA states that when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a confined space. In addition to that, investing money into new disinfectant technological advances or simply increasing your budget for disinfecting products and/or services. Consumers expect tables, counters, and highly touched surfaces to be disinfected regularly, so having these products on hand at all times is essential for safety. Lastly, let your customers know you care about not only their health and safety but the health and safety of others as well. This not only builds brand credibility but increases the trust between you and your customers.

Moving Forward

Having a good customer retention rate is a very important factor that contributes to the success of a business. If you increase your digital presence, your business will build credibility and awareness. Whether a customer decides to buy online, stop in, dine-in, or carry out, ensuring the safety of oneself and others will not only increase trust but will be remembered and respected by the customer as well.

Sources

https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus/will-air-cleaner-or-air-purifier-help-protect-me-and-my-family-covid-19-my-home#:~:text=When%20used%20properly%2C%20air,from%20COVID%2D19.

https://upserve.com/restaurant-insider/online-ordering-statistics/

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/27/coronavirus-curbside-pickup-at-retail-stores-surges-208percent.html


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Immunize Your Restaurant with a New Online Marketing Strategy

COVID-19 has shifted the world as we know it, and restaurants need to adapt with it in order to keep thriving. While dine-in options have been greatly limited due to COVID -19, the restaurant industry still has a large number of customers who would rather order out than make food at home. As we enter 2021 with the pandemic still in full swing, now is the perfect time to accommodate these customers and revamp your restaurant’s online marketing strategies with IH Concepts.

What We Know

The pandemic has dealt a critical blow to the restaurant industry over the last year. It’s predicted that 33% of restaurants in Wisconsin could close due to COVID. Of the restaurants that will stay open, it’s predicted that 68% of them will fail to return to pre-pandemic sales. To keep moving forward and boosting sales, we think it’s important to provide what customers want: easy online ordering and simple delivery / pickup options.

Online Ordering & Delivery is the Future

While dining-in at restaurants may be declining due to the pandemic, delivery and pickup food options are still readily available for customers. The shift towards more delivery options in the restaurant industry is nothing new; even before the pandemic we found that digital ordering and delivery had grown 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014. Delivery is an incredibly convenient option for people who don’t have the time to cook, and to keep these customers coming back for more, ordering should be as easy as 1-2-3. That’s where an easy-to-use website comes in.

While there are plenty of 3rd party businesses that will deliver food from all restaurants (Eat Street, Door Dash, etc), 70% of consumers say they’d rather order directly from a restaurant, so all of the money goes to the business. Of these consumers, 45% said that offering mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more often. Repeat customers keep restaurants thriving, so it is important to listen to what these customers want: online ordering. We found that customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.

Benefits of an Effective Website

To set-up easy online ordering for customers, you’ll need an effective and mobile friendly website. While the main draw of a website for a restaurant is online ordering, there added perks as well. Effective websites are able to retain and draw in new customers. This can be with various promotions or deals on the website, along with the history of your business as well. Effective websites can also be linked to social media, so customers can easily find you and follow your social media pages. Once they have you on social media, it will be easier for customers to connect with you, and they will see the posts you create. With your website, you can also provide customers with updated COVID -19 information and business hours. As the situation is changing every day with the pandemic, having a space to update customers with business hours and updated safety precautions you are taking will keep them in the loop. Even after the pandemic has finished, all of these benefits from a carefully crafted website will be essential to boosting your business.

Show Your Safety Precautions

While we are all looking forward to being done with the pandemic, at the moment we need to focus on making sure that we keep everyone safe, staff and customers included. To make sure customers know you are doing everything you can to keep them safe, we recommend showing your safety precautions. Whether this be with signs at your business, or a post on your website showing what you are doing to prevent the spread of COVID -19, this goes a long way to making sure your customers feel safe.

Some examples of safety precautions include making face masks mandatory at your business and having hand sanitizer readily available in the building. Some other ideas are: completing temperature checks on all employees as they come in for the day, using antimicrobial treatment on heavily touched surfaces, and using an air scrubber in your restaurant to help keep the area clean. As you decide on the best precautions to keep everyone safe, keep your customer and staff members in mind. For example, you might give employees the choice of frequently applying hand sanitizer or frequently washing their hands with soap and water for 30 seconds.

Moving Forward

Keeping customers coming back is essential to making a restaurant thrive. If you create an easy-to-use and mobile friendly website, your restaurant will streamline the ordering process and make ordering convenient for your customers. While running a business in a pandemic has its challenges, a responsive website will help level the playing field.

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