Jun 08 10 Tips Before You Start Your Own Design Company
After working with the best design firms, under various people, if one fine day you decide to begin your own venture, there are many facets of business you will need to invest your time and efforts on.
Being your own boss is not as hunky-dory as it sounds. There’s a lot of homework to do before you begin. For a design business idea which is still in the womb, here are 10 tips to its smooth launch.
1. Determine your purpose behind starting a design business
Is it passion, or simply a ludicrous business idea? Whatever it may, be upfront about it. Your purpose – not necessarily be a social cause but something that originates from a genuine interest in your craft. Word your purpose to articulation. This will help you identify whether to revisit your purpose or go with it. This definition will not just help you in business decisions but even while developing your website. If your business aims at making money, project your offers and schemes to fight the competition, but if your purpose revolves around exquisite design development – showcase your design expertise.
2. Gather finances to invest
Most startup ideas end up being drawing room discussions for dearth of finances. Once you have setup your venture ample finance opportunities open up, but finding lenders in the phase when you are still planning is difficult. So what all options are you left with at that time – borrowing loans from friends and family, borrowing loan against your assets, finding an angel investor, going to Small Business Development Centers and maybe a few more.
3. Build Reputation
For a new setup, it’s impossible to have a repute of its own, unless you are a well-known figure. To pre-launch yourself before actually launching your business, speak and make sure you are heard. Blog your ideas, showcase your designs on popular design websites like Behance, Dribble Etsy, SmugMug, etc. People should be able to recognize you or your work to acknowledge your venture.
Build a social media business account and engage in discussions that bring up your name. Don’t just blog anything but things relevant to your design business. If you aim to cater a broader portion, focus on a particular design area that builds your identity.
4. Make wise purchase decisions
As gathering funds is one of the major hurdles for any new startup, handling it effectively is equally essential. Investment takes place at multiple places in different phases, from purchasing website hosting package to procuring design software – you need to make purchase decisions at each phase. Make sure your decisions fetch the right value for money. Employ the best-in-market technology that fits your budget. Keep in touch with the times before you nod on anything, the idea which made you start this entire venture might be obsolete now, don’t stick with it. Whether it is designing a website in limited budget or outsourcing the design job to local firms – contemplate all the pros and cons before calling any shot.
5. Hone your tools well before using them
Different industries require different skills. It’s important to identify what essential skills your business requires you to develop. There are many design programs that offer field specialization. You can also go for a business related training to prepare you in business management. Undertake trainings (self or paid) to prepare yourself for sailing your boat in the market sea.
6. Create your design portfolio
A portfolio is important to show your skills. It works on the maxim of ‘Seeing is believing’. To judge your potential the buyers will require evidence of your work. A prospective client may have many design offers, and he might be looking for your area of specialization to assign you the job. A handy collection of your work will do the talking here.
Collect honest opinions for your work, this will keep you updated with your skillset and notify you of your area of improvement.
7. Find out words that describe your business
You don’t need a wordsmith to describe your business. It can be the simplest bunch of words, but it should come from the person who best knows your business – who else than you. These words can be inspired by your core values or your key offerings or the effect it generates, for instance the famous– ‘i m lovin it’ tagline belongs to a prominent burger brand McDonalds. The tagline accentuates the customer satisfaction it generates on consumption.
On the other side the mobile device manufacturer Nokia’s tagline – ‘Connecting people’ describes its core values. You can draw attention to any area of your business by a careful selection of words.
8. Determine your pricing strategy
You are starting a new business and you have not done this before. You are too conscious to quote a price that never brings customers to your door, but neither do you want to increase your debt by under quoting. If you don’t want to fix a price decide a cost strategy. You can either consider design complexity as a pricing device or hourly wages according to the time required in developing it.
You can follow an established model as a pricing strategy or go by your own, choose a plan what suits your business and situation the most. Also consider the impact your product will have on your client’s business, for a FMCG firm a logo design is its face to the people, hence the value of our offerings increases immensely. Whereas a non-profit organization just needs to portray its work, hence design bears limited significance compared to the purpose, and hence the price should be worked on accordingly.
9. Build a social media presence before you set off
You can create an audience before launching your businesses on grounds. As people take interest in knowing the values that drive your business, it’s wise to convey the founder’s thoughts to people before entering the market. Keep in touch with people in your community, so that when someone comes asking for a good design job they refer you. Who knows, tomorrow your friends, coworkers or neighbors might turn out to be your clients or fetch you clients.
Start blogging if you haven’t till now, this will familiarize you with the regular onliners. If you don’t have a dedicated blog, guest post on renowned blogs for visibility. To demand you, they should know you.
10. Jot down the nitty-gritties of your deals before hand
A business contract is a legal document binding two or more parties in context of
service or product according to the terms and conditions agreed upon. While running a business you may need to engage in many agreements from a partnership contract to a sale and purchase agreement.
Note down the essential elements of the contract – On what conditions will the contract be rendered invalid, the termination period for the contract, date of commencement, payment amount and methods, renewal terms if applicable etc.
While starting a business is not a child’s play, pre-planning can alleviate you of many obstacles and un-accounted time in managing things. This will prepare you for the big game giving you an on-hand speculative plan.