Having a design business is both fun and challenging. It is fun because you surely enjoy making some designs for it is your passion. Yet it is also challenging for you always need to make a design with top quality in order to make sure that clients will still return to you and even recommend you to others.
A design business is actually not merely about designing and dealing with clients. It is more of a personal treasure since you have given everything to make it successful. And looking at it on the business side is even more challenging than the design task itself. There are lots of important things that you wouldn’t like to overlook to make sure your design business is flourishing. Here are some things you need to consider to have a successful design business.
1. Make sure you always get paid.
No one would like to work on something for free. So be sure that you always get the payment you deserve. Always ask for a down payment in all your business transactions. That gives you the assurance that the client will continue working with you or if the transaction will not pursue, at least, you already have something for whatever work you have started. Make a schedule of payment as to how many percent the client needs to pay for a particular work finished. Remember -do not give the final files unless the client hasn’t given you the full payment. That way, you’ll always get paid.
2. Give the right price.
There are clients who will ask you to lower your price. That is okay but do not make it too low. Make sure that the price you have given can cover all your expenses. It is not just time and creativity that you use here. You are also using office supplies and even electricity. So, do not be tempted to make a super low price. It won’t do you any good.
3. Make matters clear.
Have a meeting with your client. Talk about everything regarding the project and make everything clear. Explain the design process, make a timeline and discuss the specifications. You also need to agree on the deadline of the project and the schedule of payments. All the details of the project should be clear. Even if the client doesn’t ask you about something, just tell him. It is important that everything is laid out well before the start of the project.
4. Put everything in black and white.
Always have a contract. Write there the things that you have discussed during the meeting. Both of you should sign the contract which manifests that you have agreed to whatever is written in it and will follow everything. When problems arise, show him the contract. No one can get away with that. Also, save the emails that you have sent to the client and those that he has sent you. At least you have everything intact when there are problems.
5. Do not forget professionalism.
Image: Eduard Titov
When you deal with clients, always be professional. You should always sound friendly and accommodating. Be honest all the time and help the client when he needs it. Always make sure that the client is happy working with you. For sure, if you were able to build a good business relationship with your client, he will still work with you and might even refer you to other people as well.
6. Be neat and organized.
Image: Chiot's Run
It is important that all your files are organized. A good business has good organized files for it makes things a lot easier. It would be easy for you to look for files that you need and you won’t be spending a lot of time on it. Good project management is one key for a successful business. Aside from having organized files, you need to make your workplace clean. A clean environment makes one perform better. Being organized and neat lessens stress.
7. Do not forget to backup files.
Since you are into design business, never ever forget to back up all your files. You wouldn’t want to be in trouble with a client when things go wrong just because your computer had problems and you do not have other copies of the file. You should always be prepared for the worst thing that might happen. Have a back up file in a CD or DVD or in an external hard drive. Do that for all of your projects. You’ll still be able to use it in the future.
8. Continue networking.
As your business grows, continue meeting new people especially those from your field. Network with other designers, programmers and other people who could give you professional advices. You can do this by attending seminars and events pertaining to design. You can also meet new friends online through Twitter and Facebook. This will allow you to outsource your work and be known by others, too.
9. Continue marketing.
Even if you have tons of work to finish now, you still have to continue marketing. You’ll never know when a dry spell will come for your business. So, keep on marketing. Promote your business all the time through social networking sites, networking with other people and many other ways. It is smart and it is best to always do marketing. Do not worry about tons of work to do. That will keep your business rolling.
10. Continue learning.
Image: Joe Thorn
Life is an unending learning process. So, never stop learning. As your business grows, continue to build your a list of resources that will aid you in your work. Keep a list of blogs, websites, books and others where you can constantly get new things and updates. Keep on reading new things from the internet and from books. You can actually learn a lot from friends and colleagues, too.
As you work hard to keep your design business rolling, never forget the above mentioned things for it will help you along the way and could even make your business stronger. Aside from that, do not forget to keep yourself healthy and to avoid being overworked. Learn to manage your time well and be sure to keep that positive attitude no matter what challenges you face. Do you have other tips to share for a successful design business? What do you do with your own business?