Gong Corner

The $$VALUE of a Professional Image  By Sandra Salas, A.K.A. Ms. Creative Genius.

I recently attended a wonderful women's conference where I did some networking and met various business women. We discussed their services and mine as well. When it came to graphic design services, most commented on how they prefer to assign design and company image and marketing in-house instead of hiring a professional designer. Usually the receptionist or an assistant is assigned to that work.

At the conference, one of the sponsors was offering massages, nails and facial treatments so I signed on to get my nails done. I got my nails done and was relaxing with other women. We were handed a list of services for this spa. I looked through the list and here is a sample of their pricing.

Nails $45

Pedicure $50

Haircut $125

Massage $150

Face treatment $75

Products:

Different lotions $35-$75 each

Shampoos $55

Hand soaps $25

... and the list goes on.

I was amazed how the same women who refuse to pay over $100 for a logo, without questioning, scheduled to get their hair done for more than that on a monthly basis. Suppose the average business woman gets their nails, pedi, and a haircut every month, she would spend $220 per month adding up to $2,640 a year. That is just basic package, it doesn't include massages, business attire, accessories, etc. I wondered, so I asked a few of them why anyone would spend that kind of money on their personal image. Why not just do it yourself at home? Why pay a professional? Their response, image matters. First impressions are important in business and so investing in their image is a priority and thus a professional is the best option.

I went back to the office thinking that yes, there is a need to invest in one's image... and what about a company's image? The logo, marketing materials, website, social platforms and even cards are what potential customers will see first before they buy a service or product. Company image and graphics provide a company with first impressions. At Creative Gong, we understand the power an effective design/brand can have on people's perception.

So my questions to you today are: Why would business owners see the value in investing on their personal image but not see the value in investing on their business' image? How valuable is your company's image? Do you see value in creating and maintaining a professional image for your company?

Please contact us, we would love to meet with you and see how we can collaborate. 

Sandra@creativegong.com • 915-564-9960.

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WHY CREATIVE GONG? 

By Sandra Salas, A.K.A. Ms. Creative Genius.

I've been thinking about how much I love to design. Someone asked me why I called my design studio, "Creative Gong."

I thought I'd share the origin of the name with you:
In 2007, I decided to make the jump and open the biz. When it came to naming it, I didn't know. So I sat down and thought of names, you know, the super original options like "Sandrita's Design, Design Salas, etc." but no... then I began thinking about my creative process. 

You see, designers, we communicate, we sell a product, service, or idea. Design is not art, it is not making things look pretty.  The way I see it, design is problem-solving... and for any given problem, there is an infinite number of solutions. My job is to find the best (most creative) solution, for that particular problem, in that particular time, targeting that particular audience, with that particular budget.

Finding that solution takes time, research, planning and creativity. I usually come up with various options. I work them, eliminate some, develop the others and that moment... you know that moment... when you just know that you've found the best solution for that problem, it is as if all this energy just hits me... and I know.

The only way I can describe this experience is similar to striking a gong. When hitting a gong, it makes a sound and it vibrates. The vibrations can be felt by the person who is holding the gong as well as by the person who hits it. The vibrations can be felt all over the body. It feels exactly as when I find the solution. 

... and that is why I called it, "Creative Gong."

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"THE ONE" 
By Sandra Salas, A.K.A. Ms. Creative Genius.

Relationships... that is one messy subject. Finding "THE ONE" can be quite difficult, but not impossible. We've all heard the stories, the drama of when things go completely wrong. They don't understand you, they don't even listen, I mean, do they even care? Ah, but when things go right, a long-lasting relationship can flourish. They listen, they are attentive, they get to know you and about your needs. They return your calls, emails and texts. You can trust them... with your business.

That's right, once you find "THE ONE graphic designer you can trust," it will be like walking on clouds. Ok, maybe not to that degree, but it will definitely make things better for you and your business.

SO HOW DO YOU FIND "THE ONE?"
When looking for a graphic designer to work with your business, keep these tips in mind.
1. Is the designer accredited? Do they have training, a degree? 
2. Does the designer have experience? Ask them about their business history.
3. Does the designer have a portfolio? Ask to see samples of previous work, both hard copies and a website/portfolio.
4. What is their creative process? Ask them how they develop ideas, what is their process? How long does it take to create their services?
5. Are they accessible?  Are they a team player? What are their hours, do they work weekends?
6. When meeting with them for the first time, do they seem to be interested in your business? In your competition?
7. Do they work or design for other businesses in your industry? Would you mind if your designer works with your competition?
8. Are they punctual? You need a designer who will meet deadlines.
9. What are their prices? If the price seems too good to be true, just remember, you get what you pay for.
10. Do they smile? You need a designer who is happy to design, happy to work and happy to serve you and your business. 

At Creative Gong, we take pride in serving our customers, in building long-lasting relationships with our clients and to become part of their team. We would love to be "THE ONE."

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CHANGE IS GOOD. 

I've heard it many times... "Change is scary, change is hard." I suppose that applies to business as well.  How many businesses have  been in the position where change is necessary but entrepreneurs resist it? It can apply to anything from changing their company brand, their strategies, employees, size, location or even their business model. So what is a business owner or manager to do in these situations?  At Creative Gong, we recently experienced it. We were at our 10 year anniversary and as the owner, I felt we needed to change direction. The question was, "in what direction?" As I mentioned earlier, it can be quite scary. We proceeded to surround ourselves with experts, our support team, attorney, accountant, real estate agent, financial advisor amongst others. We assessed the situation and created a new plan. Part of this plan included moving to a new location and we did. I realize that while change may seem scary, when done right, surrounding yourself with experts and listening to them with an open mind, the fear walks out the door.  As I write this message in my new studio, I feel invigorated and ready to begin a new cycle for Creative Gong. We hope you can continue to be part of the Creative Gong team. Our new address is 1317 Montana Ave. Suite 2A. You are welcome to stop by anytime and say hello.  

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FEELING LUCKY?

Are you allowing LUCK to decide the fate of your business?

I read an article in Forbes magazine that said 90% of startups fail. I wondered what separated the 90% that fail from the 10% that succeed. Could it be luck? Hmmm, I then wondered, what "LUCK" is. Luck Definition A: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions. Luck Definition B: luck is where opportunity meets preparation. Most businesses begin with a dream, a vision. Many of us quit our jobs to pursue the dream and become an entrepreneur. We sacrifice and work hard but how many of us allow "LUCK Definition A" to decide the fate of our business?    I prefer Luck Definition B. How can you be prepared when opportunity knocks on your door? Here are some tips. • Have a Great Product or Service" So you have an awesome product or service. Are you sure? Have you tested the product or service? Can it be improved? Will it evolve? How does it compare to your competitors? • The Market: Do your research. Do a market analysis. Is the market in need for your product or service? Who is your ideal customer? • Define Your Brand. What is your mission? How would you like to be perceived by your ideal customer? • Develop a Marketing Plan. You already know who your target market (ideal customer) is. Develop a plan, how are you going to reach them and convert them into loyal customers? Act on it! • Surround Yourself with the Fab Five. You cannot do everything yourself so look for people who understand and will support you. I recommend to build strong relationships with 5 key people: an attorney, banker, CPA, IT expert & a graphic designer. This core team can advise and guide you so that you can focus on your business.

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