Here's the first in our series of Guest Posts on the recession. Good sensible advice for designers.
Adam Whittaker is one of the founders of Reardon Smith Whittaker (commonly referred to as RSW) a new business agency in London. Here's what he's got to say.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I worked at a branding and design firm during the last recession and set up RSW as a result of my experiences there. So here is my advice …
Get rid of as many non-fee earners (suits) as possible and find your optimum size. You could well find that you could be twice as profitable if you were half the size.
If necessary take out a long-term loan to buy your way out of an expensive lease and move into smaller offices more appropriate for your new, leaner, meaner, size.
It may hurt a little, but cut back on the perks. Personal as well as staff. Do you really need the pool table or the foosbol table? They take up 100 square feet each. And reception; how often do your clients visit you? Is it important for them that you have a swanky reception area?
Get mean with your new business team. If they’re not winning enough, get rid of them and don’t immediately replace them; give it a try yourself. Nothing sells as well as a hungry business owner.
IF YOU’RE A REALLY GOOD SALESMAN then use a new business agency to get you some face time with new prospects. Your time should NOT be spent on the phone, but on the road!
Ditch the PowerPoint. Talk to people (that’s all they are, people, like you an me) about the things you’ve done and show them examples, preferably real-life, if not, then real photographs. You want them engaging with YOU, not a computer screen.
Swallow your God damn pride. Win without pitching? More like fail without trying!! Pitching DOES NOT cost money if you’re paying the wages of the designers anyway and you don’t need to invest in research or photography. Make a commercial decision for each individual opportunity based upon your situation at the time.
Ask for 50% of the fees up front. Sure, they won’t always agree, but if you’ve made them like you enough, you’d be surprised just how many agree.