Good Business

We’ve had a number of e-mails recently about how creatives are making wise use of project resources and otherwise strategically staying ahead in this rough-but-improving economy. Here’s some smart business thinking:

Mary-Lynn Bellamy-Willms, CEO of Suburbia Advertising and FunctionFox in Vancouver, BC, shared a few insights on how creative firms can improve their bottom lines right now, including:
1) Fire the bad clients–the ones that cost you money. Just do it.
2) Don’t sell yourself cheap–By low-balling a budget just to win a new client, your company will forever be branded as a cheap supplier. Even now, the more you cost, the more clients will value you.
3) Never work for free, even for a good cause–Bellamy-Willms suggests that you ask to get paid your full rate and donate back the profit–15-20%–at the end of the year. Get more business resources from the company here.

Larry Melnick of Hunter Business Development (who’s speaking at this year’s Mind Your Own Business Conference) tells us that B2B marketers expect their budget crunches to end later this year and into 2010. Which means work will start flowing again. What can design firms do to position themselves for this uptick in business? Larry advises:
* Reach out consistently to engage the right new prospects in a quality way
* Articulate your value through powerful case histories
* Regularly share your knowledge so you become a trusted advisor
* Cultivate relationships by staying in front of prospects

Finally, a recent survey of 300 creative professionals by Shutterstock found that, not surprisingly, designers are dealing with tighter project budgets right now. According to the report:
* 40% of art directors polled cite budget decreases vs. a year ago
* 22% are doing more work for less profit vs. a year ago
* two-thirds are doing more in-house production as a cost-saving measure
* 51% are using online royalty-free stock and 21% are using stock-image subscription services–all with the aim of saving money