With my new workshop, Creative Flair, just around the corner I thought it might be fun to explore the impact getting this stuff right can have on your business.
Let’s imagine two scenarios.
The capable model
You’re asked to quote for a new design project with a client you’ve not yet worked with. You’re excited, it’s a big, high profile project. You ask your contact if they’ll meet with you to discuss but there isn’t time. Reluctantly they give you half an hour over the phone. You research, you plan and you put your all into the proposal. It all feels a little uncertain but it looks great, it reads great and you win the work.
You work hard to impress at the project kick off. You’re a little on edge, the team are nervous; you all know how important this is, but the meeting goes well. Big sigh of relief. You start work and whilst you’re utterly committed to this project, something’s missing. And there’s a sense of unease at the back of your mind: can we pull this off? Can we make this client happy?
The first design rounds go well, if not a little frustratingly. The work looks great. It answers the brief. You’re all proud. Yet you feel a little as though you’re being tested in a subject you didn’t particularly sign up for.
The feedback the client is providing isn’t giving you the clarity you need to get this right. They won’t be drawn on the specifics, instead they’re expecting you to fill in the gaps. It’s almost as though they’re not fully on board. But you press on. This is an important project for your business and, you tell yourself, this is what it’s like to run your own company.
Several rounds later and you’re all breathing a sigh of relief. The work is done and you’re all happy to move on. The project looks great. It’s a long way removed from your initial concept, but it works and most of all, you have a sign off and your invoice in the bank.
It’s a big name so you post on social media, but the reception is lukewarm. It’s just not getting the engagement you’d hoped for. In fact, come to mention it, despite following all the advice, your social media just isn’t cutting through. You’re not getting the engagement you feel you deserve and that’s frustrating.
There is another way…
Putting your creative flair front and centre
You arrive at the studio after a couple of days off to discover three initial meetings have been booked into your diary by your Studio Manager. You’ve created a real buzz around what you’re doing right now and your social media is flying. There’s a certain momentum and you are loving your work. Let’s look a little closer at how this might play out.
Your latest client arrives at the studio fresh from a long train journey. It’s a big and exciting project and this particular client has traveled four hours to meet you. There are hugs all round and a sense of excitement and anticipation as you kick off your initial meeting.
The client loves your work, of course they do, they wouldn’t be here if they didn’t. So instead of feeling like you have to justify your existence, you settle into a lovely rapport. You can listen without feeling like you need to sell at every turn. And you’re in a state of true inspiration. You can’t wait to get started.
Of course you win the project. Your client already knew they wanted to work with you and this meeting has just confirmed that. Excited, you begin work that very afternoon. Your inspiration is infectious and before you know it, the ideas are flying around. Your team are on fire and together, your work is just getting better and better.
Safe in the knowledge that you have the full trust and support of your client, you push the boundaries. You challenge yourself and them and you come up with a vision for a design that you know is your best work yet. You present to your client and they love it. A couple of tweaks and you’re there. It’s a sign off. Champagne all round.
The client is thrilled, you’re thrilled and you have a collaboration for life, should you want it.
Now, tell me. Which of those two businesses would you prefer to be running? Which will be most sustainable, fun and inspiring for you? Which will enable you to produce your best work, attract the best team members and feed your ambition?