I remember before my wife and I started our own graphic design business we asked ourselves – what kind of graphic design business do we want to be? If we were going to take this risk of starting our own business then we should paint a picture of what our preferred business future should look like.
The dictionary defines vision as:
Here are 5 questions to answer that will help you discover what kind of graphic design business you want to be:
1. What stage of life are you at?
The stage of life you are at can influence the type of business you are want to be. We were just about to have children so we wanted the business to fit around the needs of a young family. That meant we wanted to work from home which gave us flexibility for working hours. Our stage of life also helped us to work out that we didn’t in the short term want to hire any staff, that if we had more work than we needed we would hire freelancers.
2. What kind of work do you want to do?
We have experience in the corporate world. We had experience in advertising, designing corporate identities, branding, annual reports and websites. Our industry sectors covered everything from superannuation (private pensions) to bio-technology. Just like us the best kind of work you could start in is the area of graphic design you have the most experience in. You should have a folio ready to show your future clients what you are capable of.
In the future if you want to enter into a market or business sector you have no experience in having an existing client will provide you with the financial security while you enter this new market.
3. Who are your main competitors in that market?
Knowing who your main competitors will influence you in several ways:
- What your billing rate should be
- How you need to position yourself from a branding perspective
- It can also help you create a list of potential clients to call as most graphic designers have a folio page (shhhhhshhh that’s a $100,000 sales secret I just gave you)
4. Where do you see yourself five years time personally and professionally?
Do where you see yourself in five years personally line up with where you want to be professionally? You may want to be a mum but want to have a graphic design empire. That may be possible, but you need to put strategies in place to manage the personal side of life so the business doesn’t suffer and vice-versa. You may see yourself moving from the city to the country. If so, how will you bring your clients with you? What strategies can you put in place to enable your working relationship to continue.
5. What kind of income do you expect?
What kind of income do you need? Do you want to be rich beyond your wildest dreams? Then work out what size business will help you do that. Think about how many staff do you need to drive the amount of income you would be looking for. Or you may be looking to supplement your shoe fetish because your partner earns a gazillion dollars already. What will it take to become the Imelda Marcos of your neighbourhood?
Answering these questions will help you develop your vision for your business. You may of already been running your graphic design business for a few years and not even have a vision, it’s not too late. These aren’t the only questions you could ask.