Ann Arbor business owner named Forbes ‘Subsequent 1,000’ list

Forbes has named Danielle Milner, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Ann Arbor-based brand design agency DO: BETTER, as one of the next 1,000 for 2021. The list highlights inspiring and resilient small business owners, self-funded businesses, and startups with less than $ 10 million in revenue or funding.

“I was really excited and delighted when I found out because you always wonder if the work you do makes a difference,” says Milner. “It’s a great endorsement for all the effort I’ve put in.”

The next 1,000 candidates either apply themselves or are nominated. The selection process consisted of a series of rounds in which a group of business people and specialists evaluated nomination material and questionnaire responses over a period of eight weeks.

Milner founded DO: BETTER together with Jon Eslinger in 2017 and specializes in logo and identity design for companies of all sizes and types. Since then, they have looked after over 80 customers at home and abroad.

“We help them communicate their real purpose and what they really stand for, and we help them bring that to life through branding,” says Milner.

She says that last year the DO: BETTER team started growing the company to support longer-term relationships. While they did more project work in the past, they increasingly supported their clients with website design and content development.

“This really helps stakeholders invest more in and engage with brands than what marketing could lead them to,” says Milner. “Marketing is really a transaction between a brand and its customers, while the branding and communication work we do is really about investment and commitment to a common purpose and effect.”

Milner adds that DO: BETTER isn’t so much focused on money as it is impact and relevance, and that’s maybe what got hold of Forbes.

“For us, it’s never about the price of a project and a relationship. We really care about just thinking about making the most impact for the customer every time we go to work, ”she says. “It’s what makes me excited about going to work every day.”

Milner is very happy about the nomination to the Next 1,000, but emphasizes that she not only shares the award with Eslinger, but also with the team of freelancers and contractors from DO: BETTER.

“So many people have worked with us over the years to make us great. This is truly an honor that recognizes our entire company and the community that have supported us and moved us forward, ”she says.

Jaishree Drepaul’s brother is a freelance writer and editor and currently resides in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at [email protected].

Photo courtesy Danielle Milner.

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