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The Top 7 Myths of Creative Firm Profitability

Posted: April 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Articles, Business | Tags: | No Comments »
Avoid these 7 surprising “critical” firm killers and success for you will be just around the corner.

1. Thinking that just being a “great designer” alone is going to make your design business successful

The biggest misconception is that being a “great designer” is enough. What is critically more important is marketing and your relationships to those you market to. You could have a bunch of dead-beat clients who are “one and done” who do nothing but penny-pinch and are never seen or heard from again (unless it’s the next “emergency”).

These are the clients you do NOT want. What you do want are the steady, high-value, repeat clients who are willing (and pre-disposed) to referring others to you and who know the value of design and are WILLING to pay for it.

To accomplish this you need to have a “system” in place to attract new clients and a system to continue an ongoing relationship with them (via a newsletter, fax updates, tele-seminars, etc) The good news is once you HAVE a PROVEN system in place you can get be free to create “great design”

2. Believing all you need to do is “get your name out there”

What does that mean exactly, “Get your name out there?” Well, I know it means paying a lot of dough to have “brand advertising” or “brand awareness” Of course when you are in the design business that is all you see – it is everywhere. But it rarely works for the freelancer and small design studio owner. It just sits there likely a moldy blanket gathering dust and moth balls.

So allow me to suggest direct marketing. I know this is “taboo” in the design world but I KNOW it works. With DM you receive instant feedback on your campaign as to whether your marketing is working or not because it DIRECTLY asks for the user to take action through creative offers, guarantees, attention-getting headlines, emotional copy, multiple bonuses and more. With DM you ONLY pay for direct RESULTS.

Bottom line is we want our hard-earned marketing dollars to be efficient and effective.

3. The “Marketing Incest” Death Trap

You maybe wondering what this is . . . Well, Designer Joe gets an idea to freelance or start a small business. Takes out a huge loan, sets up a studio and quickly realizes he needs to market and advertise to get clients.

So what does he do? He looks at the local competition (who “appear” to have a successful firms), perhaps checks out the yellow pages, the newspapers and business monthlies and notices “Design Firm X” has ads, listing his services with a large logo in the ad.

So, Designer Joe goes out and does the same thing. Little does he know that the advertising and marketing that “Design Firm X” is doing DOES NOT work, hasn’t worked and never will work. So now you have two design firms doing more or less of the same useless thing plus or minus 10%. It’s called “Marketing Incest” because if you look at 99% of design marketing, it’s all the same. And the same way doesn’t work.

4. Ignoring the #1 Hidden Gold lying dormant in your design studio

Between inactive clients, current clients not being up-sold and a lack of referrals I bet we could see an increase of 20-50% in six months!

The problem is: if you never (or seldom) communicate something interesting to your clients with a postcard, newsletter or email there is NO relationship. And when there is no relationship there are very few referrals, low retention and a “serious black hole” lying within your firm that you need to attend to or your studio will always be on pins and needles. Only a month or two from doing a serious nosedive.

However, if you can see this now BEFORE it is a reality you will experience the opposite: A thriving firm with loyal customers who are happy and gladly referring and would never think about leaving your firm because you have a “bonded” relationship with them.

5. Thinking that working harder in your business is going to make the difference

I have seen this again and again (Including me!) that working longer and harder only leads to burnout quicker and it WILL – it’s just a matter of time.

The key again is a PROVEN marketing system and Profit Explosion Plan which allows you to attract the types of clients you are looking for thereby increasing the amount your produce per client.

All you really have to do is implement (ie; start!) a PLAN that will allow you to put your system on auto pilot where you can worry about other “fun” stuff (like raising prices, firing “problem” clients, increasing productivity, creating inventive and innovative marketing pieces/campaigns)

The key is NOT working harder and longer. The key is building a DEMAND for you and your design firm! The key is putting a SYSTEM in place that delivers a consistent stream of customers for you.

6. Thinking that you need to work your way through the ranks and become successful slowly (including financially)

Said who? According to what? This is just a belief so beware of it. Who said you cannot become amazingly successful quickly and easily?

Robert Ringer, best selling author of Action!: Nothing Happens Until Something Moves, Winning Through Intimidation and Million Dollar Habits, created what he called the “Leap Frog Theory” to success.

The Leap Frog theory said:

“No one has an obligation – moral or otherwise – to ‘work his way up through the ranks.’ Every human being possesses an inalienable right to make a unilateral decision to redirect his career and begin operating on a higher level at any time he believes he is prepared to do so.”

When I meet new clients, they seem conditioned to think they need to take a step-by-step, incremental path to success. They are immediately transformed to find out you don’t have to wait for approval or permission to be successful or ‘believe” you are going to have success.

You want to go to put yourself at the top? Then just GO THERE! You’ll find there is less competition, less anxiety and less stress when you’re at the mountain top.

7. Seeking new clients and referrals rather than automatically “attracting” and generating them!

Financial freedom and real wealth comes from truly understanding the “attraction versus. Pursuit Principle”

Here’s what I mean. . .

Do you remember the best-looking girl in high school? Of course you do! The one everyone wanted to date.

And guess who dated her? yup . . . The guy who seemed like he could care less.

The guys who were shot down were the ones who were actively “pursuing” her while the one she was most “attracted” to was the one who seemed most in control and less NEEDY.

This is true with Marketing and Sales. Clients can smell “need” and “fear”. They can sense stress from a mile away and they will retreat at the first sign of lack of confidence and desperation.

However, the opposite is also true as well. When you are flooded with new clients, they see it, feel relaxed and comfortable and want to be part of it.

Well, what are you waiting for? Let’s start putting some of these ideas to the test!

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