At the point when designers set up a business, it’s generally in light of the fact that they need to design, not on the grounds that they need to be businessmen, yet fail to get to grips with things like finances, taxes and client management can colossally influence your bottom line, and potentially your creativity.
At a board at today’s OFFSET meeting in Dublin, we got notification from designers and the individuals who run plans to help creatives develop their business. They presented tips and tricks on the most proficient method to grow on your design business. This is what they needed to say…
01. Treat the business like a client
Not investing energy in the business side of your business is a common trap that it’s very simple to fall into. All things considered, you didn’t begin a plan studio to go through throughout the day sending invoices. In any case, it’s crucial that you don’t disregard this side of your work.
“It’s an issue you need to manage. You truly need to state that you’re more of a business entrepreneur than a designer,” says Freddie Stevens, co-founder of Irish studio Brennan and Stevens.
“Treat the business like a client,” says Colin Byrne of Totem. First and foremost, you’re simply working always and you’re not thinking about the business and how you need to accomplish it, he says. Yet,thats a mistake.
When you do concentrate on the business side of things, you’ll receive the benefits. “You possess more energy for creativity, more time to consider the clients and overall a much more fruitful business,” says Aileen Dempsey, network manager of Design Enterprise Skillnet, a learning system which helps creatives in Ireland develop.
02. invest more time on your strategy
As many creatives will attest, it can once in a while feel that you don’t have the time to actually develop your business once you’re running it, you’re simply focusing on remaining above water. But time might be exactly what you need.
“You can’t simply make a brand overnight, you have to gradually put in steps and arrive,” says Stevens. “It is vital for us to put down the design and invest time to consider what we need and where we need to go.”
“We’re untouched poor, yet on the off chance that you don’t get a handle on this issue and sort it out you’re not going anywhere, you’re not going to develop,” adds Byrne.
03. request for help
There are many schemes out there aimed at helping businesses of all shapes and sizes move forward, but many don’t realise they’re available.
Courses like the Design Enterprise Skillnet – which Brennan & Stevens co-founders attended and benefitted from – can provide the focus many designers need to take their studio to the next level.
There are also local government schemes that can provide mentoring, networking and support. “You can get mentoring from your local enterprise office, or LEO,” says Steven O’Gara, who works for Dublin’s LEO. It’s worth checking if there’s a similar scheme in your area.
“Networking shouldn’t be overlooked either,” continues O’Gara. “Keep an eye on what’s happening in your local community and that will help you develop and network and grow your business.”
04. Remain on top of your finances
“If you don’t have your cash-flow sorted, you won’t have a business,” says Bryne. And sorting out that side of things may mean realizing you need someone else to help. “I always had a part-time bookkeeper as I’m pants at figures. I also have a good accountant,” he says. “It’s the bedrock of any business – getting the finances sorted.”
Clare Brennan – the other half of Brennan & Stevens – agrees. “It’s such a creativity stopper when you’re just worrying about money, that’s the one thing we don’t let slip now. We’re invoicing on time, following up, calling people, and checking all our expenses properly so we’re not paying too much tax. These things we’re just on top of now.”
05. Find your niche – but be flexible
Another conundrum many businesses face is whether to specialise, or whether to do a little bit of everything. Ultimately, this decision will depend on your skillset and circumstances, but it is something you need to consider carefully.
“If you can pick a sector and see that’s gonna last a while, go for it,” says Stevens. But if you’re in a niche that goes out of vogue, especially if there’s a recession, that a problem, he says. “You have to always be thinking about the area that you’re working in, and think about working in different branches of that area.”
Dempsey thinks that finding your niche and sticking to it can work, and be lucrative, providing you’re good at it. “The people who are good at one thing, those people can own a niche and can charge considerably higher prices,” she says. “If you can build your expertise and position yourself as the best as something then it only brings success.”