Small Business Spotlight of the Week: Swiftrank

With summer finally here I have one thing and one thing only on my mind… vacation. So, naturally, when I saw a project titled “ New Logo” I was drawn to it. I can hear the slot machines calling my name…

Okay, back to reality, sorry! I was intrigued to find a well-established website for a city like Las Vegas up for a logo re-design on crowdSPRING so I emailed Sue Heilbronner, the CMO of Swiftrank Global and President of Swiftrank North America, the buyer for the project. Swiftrank, the largest online global travel network, has recently acquired and is in the process of reinventing it.

Swiftrank manages more than 12,000 optimized travel websites across the globe. With Swiftrank’s headquarters in Singapore, and offices in the US and the UK, this company sure is cultured!

I was shocked to find out that Sue has actually used crowdSPRING for projects before for her sig other’s company, a website where you can set up automatic delivery for air filters straight to your home with free shipping to keep your house greener and cleaner.

For someone with so much experience in business and on cS I would be a fool not to ask Sue to give some advice to anyone looking to start a business so here you guys go!

1.  How did you get things designed before crowdSPRING?

I’ve used crowdSPRING at two different companies over the last couple years, including my current project for the new, reinvigorated My company, Swiftrank recently acquired the site, and we’re making it a centerpiece of what we think is the largest online global travel network.  I have used it selectively as a strategic complement to my small “bench” of outside creative talent in cases where my go-to people just were’t quite nailing it.  I continue to tap a range of resources, but crowdSPRING more often comes to mind with challenging or really wide open design challenges that benefit from completely new approaches to problems or opportunities.

2.  Why in the world did you decide to use crowdSPRING?!

I first used crowdSPRING to drive the creative direction for the side business my sig other and I started, On Time Air Filters.  We were bootstrapping this home delivery air filter business, and we felt crowdSPRING would provide a cost-effective, peak creative approach to logo design, and then our website design. We were thrilled with the results, all of which still live on the site today. I have sinced used it in my full-time roles at larger companies, and my colleagues have seen the value quickly.  I think crowdSPRING provides the most value on projects where the creative brief is scant because you are looking to the creative community to help you provide solutions to your business opportunity, but you lack a preconceived notion of what that actually “looks” like.  crowdSPRING is crowdsourced brainstorming, and by actively participating in the linear thinking (as shown in submissions to my projects), the results and submissions have improved every day and helped me frame the direction through the process.  How cool is that?

3.  What’s the single best small biz resource that you’ve found (magazine, website, blog, etc.)?

Well, my mom is a great barometer of what will work. After her, I’m pretty grateful for Mashable and Techcrunch, both of which help me think through marketing trends and the new murmurs that warrant my attention.

4.  If your best friend told you they were going to start a business, what’s the ONE piece of advice you’d give them?

In the five years before they started their company, I would tell them to be the kind of person who gives advice generously and makes contacts as a favor to others. Be the kind of person who sets aside a couple hours on a Saturday to review a friend’s business plan, creative direction, new proposed joint venture agreement, and don’t charge your friend for this highly valuable time. Make your reputation one of cultivating relationships by your actions, not by the number of drinks you buy at “networking” events.  Then, when your time comes, know that the value you’ve given without an express quid pro quo, almost always returns. And when those friends lend value to your new venture and do it for nothing, compensate them generously when things go great because you’re that kind of person.