Author Archives: Alex Gibbons

Fall Back on These Time Saving Apps

Fall is here, which means it’s almost time to turn back those clocks for Daylight Savings Time on the 2nd of November! Even with the extra hour, productivity should be top priority for business owners at this time, since there are fewer hours of sunlight and more to get done as we approach the holiday season. There are a number of apps and programs that I recommend, which make it easier to get work done quickly and efficiently.


Project Management: Microsoft OneNote

OneNote is an excellent tool for taking notes and setting up task lists or tables for yourself and your business. All of your information can be easily organized into notebooks to separate the different aspects of your business. OneNote flawlessly syncs across all of your computers and devices in real time, allowing for immediate access wherever you are. As creatives at Ashalla Design Shop, we’re always collaborating and sharing details on our projects. Using a general email for OneNote across all office computers, we’re able to update project information with everyone in just a click. It’s that fast and simple!

  • Requires Opening a Free Microsoft Account
  • Cost: Free


File Sharing: Google Calendar / Google Drive

These two Google services provide businesses with simple solutions for sharing files and information throughout the office. Google calendars can be created as needed and shared to keep your office up-to-date on meetings and important deadlines. Google Drive gives you 15 GB of free storage to utilize and allows you to share only the files or folders you want. Additionally, it can all be accessed from any web browser or via desktop and mobile apps.

  • Requires All Users to Open a Free Gmail Account
  • Cost: Free (with option to pay if more storage space is needed)


Money Management: Wave Accounting

Wave Accounting features a collection of tools integrated into easy-to-use money management software specifically designed for small businesses. Wave is an online tool, allowing you to manage your business finances from anywhere in the world with a simple login. Wave features include accounting, invoicing, payroll and allows you to accept credit card payments, making transactions a lot easier. You can also view business financial reports to keep track of your growth and success.

  • Cost: Free (with additional paid services)


Social Media Updates: Word Swag


Fast and easy social media updates are great for getting information about your business to customers and followers. Word Swag for iPhone allows you to quickly edit any image you want to share through social media. You can add text in various fonts, as well as a number of filters to customize your images, for a more personalized message. For Android users, we recommend PicLab as a great alternative with similar features, and the same amazing results as Word Swag.

  • Cost: Free




These great apps will allow entrepeneurs and business owners to maximize their time this upcoming holiday season. Happy Time Saving!

6 Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Brand

As a small business owner, your business may not widely known or recognized. Developing a brand makes it a lot easier to promote your business to potential customers or other businesses that you may come across. Having a brand will clarify what your company is all about and gives your business a professional structure that can strengthen over time. Here are 6 good reasons why you should brand your small business.

1) Establishes Your Identity

Your small business needs a strong brand in order to be successful. It will allow you to confidently showcase your business in a professional manner that will draw in customers and other business opportunities. Your business will have a consistently group of visual cues that allow you to set an impression of your company. Your brand is a way for your business to make a statement that others will remember.

2) Builds Trust in Your Business

Branding Strategies imageIn order for your small business to continue receiving customers, they have to have some level of trust in you. A recognizable brand, that is consistent in it’s personality, quality, and messaging builds trust amongst clients and potential clients who hear and see your company has a solid foundation. A cohesive brand that can sustain a level of positive recognition will make customers confident in your business and its services.

3) Expresses Your Goals

Your brand is the primary medium for relaying your company’s message and goals. A clear brand gives customers a complete understanding of what services they can expect from your business. Branding is an opportunity to define and distinctly convey what your business aims to provide to its customers or even any external goals it aims to achieve along the way.

4) Saves Time, Energy, and Money

Your brand style guide will save you time and money on designing as well as printing costs. Instead of pulling from various sources every time you set out a new marketing campaign, you draw from the company brand style guide. This guide offers logo, color palette, font use, etc. in which is specifically and uniquely designed for your business.

Custom Branding for Integrity of Self MovementArts


*FIGURE 1: Case Study (click to enlarge)
Custom Branding for Integrity of Self MovementArts.

Take note of  the compilation of logo, color scheme, cover page of website, font use, mood images, and illustrations into a style guide that is used for Integrity of Self MovementArts.

5) Develops a Niche

Your business has a particular customer base, whether broad or specific. A good brand will define (and appeal to) your intended niche, allowing your business to target customers more effectively. It will also make finding and networking with similar or complementary businesses a simplified process. This in turn will allow you to find out reliable information on the needs and wants of your customers in order to cater to them.

6) Builds Your Online Presence

In a world where everyone is connected to the internet, it is necessary for your business to establish a strong online presence. Having a uniform brand that can be presented on various social media platforms allows for access to new customers and connections. An online presence also allows for fast and personal communication between your business and its followers.

A strong brand is necessary for any small business. It allows you to set the tone and goals of your business, and simplify it into a particular image, phrase, or color scheme. A brand is made to grow, and as a business owner this is exactly what you want. Over time, your business will become well known not only for its products and services, but also for its image and message.