I solve creative problems for customer driven companies. UX. Creative Design. Branding and Strategy. Companies rarely find one person that has this experience and skill set. I am that person. With over 20 years in interactive alone, I am able to solve your user experience issues while bringing creative strength, strategy and clean design to the entire process.
Trust the opinion of the designer, don't make it a free for all of feedback from everyone and your mother. Thatis how bad logos happen. Work with them to decide the best one based on your business goals. They will appreciate you asking their professional opinion on the design.
When looking for a high quality UX designer please note that a UX designer is not necessarily a UI designer and vice versa. Some designer are both, like myself, or they might specialize. Dribble has awesome designers but don't always show the UX process that went into the design. Try looking at UX specific sites such as http://uxmag.com/ or LinkedIn groups.
Be sure to ask UX designers about their process and samples, such as user stories, case flows, wireframes, architecture etc. You need more than just a great design, it needs to be structured to meet your business goals and show results.
For example, a client that had a great looking site asked me to review the site UX and find out why their user retention and sales were low. After evaluating the site I discovered that the shopping cart was a one way path and customers had no way to purchase other items or return to the site. Just adding incentives and a clear return path greatly increased their sales.
I have been hired to define the UX and architecture for a site or app, and then pass on, or collaborate with UI designer. I have also just created the UI, working with a client's UX team. But i also do all parts of the process depending on the project. Hope this helps!
Please contact me if you have any other questions.
I agree with Kelly, if you can sell, and are comfortable selling, then see if you can do it alone if not, hiring a great sales/ marketing person to handle that role while you manage the agency, could be the best move. I have benefited before from working with a great sales team that are much better at their craft than i, while as a designer i can concentrate on delivering quality product.
Although this seems like a good idea perhaps for huge companies, i believe that replacing human contact with an app, would not do much to promote employee engagement. as an employee i would value personal interaction with HR and my superiors to feel they really care about my well being and retention. A company interface might have the opposite affect.
Now if you are talking about asking non business related questions, like "what's your favorite coffee flavor?" (if next to the coffee ;) )or "what kind of company event would you like best?" - this gives the employee a friendlier atmosphere and engages them as part of team. make it fun and morale building as well as informative for you.
hope this helps!
I second invision for showing quick online prototypes, but for something more versatile, i use AxureRP (www.axure.com) . The ability to build a sketchy wireframe or a pixel perfect app is amazing. I love it. Great for mobile gestures and animations. Go check it out - they offer a free trial. Contact me if you want more info but they have awesome tutorials on the site. I taught myself everything.
Developers and designers are both sensitive with feedback, ( guilty as charged) as a UX UI designer i make sure i collaborate through out the project with my developer and team. Goes both ways too. I benefit greatly from developer input and has saved me from making decisions i regret if i had not asked if it could be built. I also agree having a project manager or scrum master in a team is a great idea.
As Dan says, ( and he should know) This site is not really for that. You could develop relationships by giving advice on subjects pertaining to your business, but i see that as a byproduct.
Use LinkedIn and other social and business apps to reach out and engage customers.
Experienced people are the first to hire. younger inexperienced employees will benefit more with their mentorship. Your company will benefit from people that know exactly what to do to succeed. why would you put your start-up in the hands of someone who never had the experience? i am not saying don't hire any junior talent but get the right experienced talent to inspire and motivate them.