Author Archives: Ted Leonhardt

How to Negotiate Your First Salary

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt explains how to negotiate your first salary through planning. He shares 11 tips that will help any designer with a salary discussion. Negotiating your first salary presents a major challenge. You have not been trained in the art of negotiation, face strong competition, have a deep emotional connection to...

Taking Control When You’re Feeling Weak

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt explains how and why to take control in situations where you may not feel confident. Fred is the owner of a small design firm. His work has recently become recognized for using design thinking to build brands through social media. A result of the media attention is an invitation...

Five Design Business Mistakes Agencies Should Never Make

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt shares the 5 major mistakes that most creative agencies make and how to avoid them. Over the last few years as a consultant to design firms I’ve run into a series of problems that are all too human, but could have easily been avoided. Never take on a major...

Never Dangle A Deal You Can’t Make Good On

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt explains why firm owners should never promise future rewards to partners and employees that they can’t deliver. Never dangle a deal that you can’t or won’t make good on. I’d just left a meeting with two clients who were attempting to renegotiate their partnership agreement when I made my...

Best of the Blog 2012: 3 Keys To Increasing Your Design Fees

Design firms routinely underprice their work. It seems as though they don’t trust their own value, thinking, “If I can do it, it must be easy.” Therefore “I don’t dare ask for…” whatever. It’s no wonder that the vast majority of design firms in the US, UK and EU have fewer than 10 employees. They’re...

Take Several And Call Me In The Morning

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt shares New Year’s Resolutions for creative firm owners. Over the last year I’ve worked with eleven clients. It’s been a great pleasure and privilege to be invited into their business lives and to help them deal with challenges and opportunities. Together we’ve negotiated new business deals, hired, fired, trained...

Should You Lower Your Design Fee?

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt shares a story about being contacted by  a corporate procurement person after he thought the project was signed off on. Being asked to lower the firm’s fees could have derailed the entire project, but Leonhardt explains how he handled this tricky situation.   We won the assignment in a...

How to stay in control of client meetings

The Power Play: How To Stay In Control of Client Meetings

Design business consultant Ted Leonhardt shares a story about a client meeting gone wrong and offers tips about how to stay in control from the beginning to prevent such disasters. Julia’s firm had worked intensely in preparation for this meeting with the VP. He was new and hadn’t been involved in the project up...

The Virtuous Cycle – When Negotiations Are Not Required

It was a beautiful morning. I’d just finished my morning round of client calls when ‘he’ called with the news. It was one of those calls that I live for. I’ve worked with Carson for several years. He has a small design firm focused exclusively on wine and spirits. He’d just won a rebranding...