designhope 2016

 

Back in 2009, I first heard the name Jonathan Longnecker. (What kind of name is “Longnecker” anyway?) A web design shop called FortySeven Media was doing DesignHope, a giveaway for a logo and website.

I decided to submit what is still, to date, my least promising business idea: I was going to host a series of Open Mic nights called “Make Me Cringe” where people share their most embarrassing stories, AND—wait for it—I was going to sell t-shirts. Impressive, right? Surefire, Cinderella story stuff of business legend right there.

Jon and Nate Croft, his business partner at the time, were kind enough to thank me for my submission. And though my business idea didn’t win, Jon remembered my writing style.

He reached out later about a web content project, and over the past seven years, we’ve collaborated on a couple dozen projects. Nate, Jon, and I even launched Kicktastic together.

When Jon came to SPACE Retreat 001 back in January, he and I kicked around the idea of a second DesignHope. We only needed an hour to diagnose the problems with the original DesignHope and started planning a reboot.

He started out making websites. I started out writing content and strategy. Both of us have since transitioned into business consulting while continuing to practice our crafts.

The time has come to launch it, and I’m stoked to be partnering with Jon on a business tune-up for an underdog brand.

Today is the day.

We have launched DesignHope. Here’s how it is going down:

  1. You can only nominate a small business or organization doing work that you’re passionate about. You can’t nominate yourself. So take some time right now to think about a worthwhile brand that could use a business tune-up.
  2. We will choose a winner after a rigorous selection process involving a blindfold and a pair of miniature Dachshunds.
  3. The first thing we’ll do is dig into the business. This will help us identify and address any cashflow, strategy, people, or execution issues that might otherwise sabotage the project.
  4. Then we will redesign their brand.
  5. Then we will rebuild their website.
  6. Then we create and implement a long-term marketing strategy.
  7. Each phase of the project will follow a very strict timetable. We aren’t going to do two dozen iterations or overanalyze tiny choices. We’re going to move very quickly.
  8. Of course we’ll document all of this along the way so you can see the progress.

There’s more to it, but for now, check out the fancy new DesignHope site that Jon built: http://designhope.org.

Be sure to watch the video. It’s hard to quantify just how much better on video he is than I am. Yet again, I must lean on awkward humor.

[audible sigh]

How can you help?

Please nominate your favorite underdog brand for a business tune-up and help us spread the word.

Everyone who nominates a brand will be entered to win one of three $1000 consulting sessions.

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
– Anne Frank