Ann Arbor Business Owner Named to Forbes ‘Next 1000’ List


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

“I was really thrilled and thrilled when I found out, because you always wonder if the work you do makes a difference,” Milner said. “This is a great affirmation for all the effort I have put in.”

The next 1000 candidates apply themselves or are appointed. The selection process consisted of a series of cycles in which a group of professionals and specialists evaluated the application material and questionnaire responses over a period of eight weeks.

Milner co-founded DO: BETTER with Jon Eslinger in 2017, specializing in designing logos and identities for businesses of all sizes and types. Since then, they have served over 80 clients, both locally and across the country.

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

She says that over the past year, the DO: BETTER team has started to grow the business in a way that supports long-term relationships. As they worked more on projects in the past, they increasingly support clients through website design and content development.

“It really helps stakeholders get involved and engage with brands more than what the marketing could lead them to,” Milner said. “Marketing is really a transaction between a brand and its customers, while the branding and communications work we do is really about investing and committing to a shared purpose and impact.”

Milner adds that DO: BETTER isn’t so much about money as it is impact and relevance, and maybe that’s what resonated with Forbes.

“It’s never about the price of a project and a relationship for us. It’s really every time we go to work that we only think about having the greatest impact for the client,” says- she. “That’s what makes me so excited to go to work every day.”

While Milner is thrilled to be named one of the Next 1,000, she points out that she shares this distinction not only with Eslinger, but also with the DO: BETTER team of freelancers and contractors.

“Over the years so many people have worked with us to make us great. It truly is an honor that recognizes all of our business and the community that have supported us and helped us through the process,” she declared.

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at [email protected].

Photo courtesy of Danielle Milner.


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