By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO and Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting
Photo Credit: @bakerbroductions
We’ve all had the experience of working with a prospective client whose not really sure what they want. It takes some time and patience to probe and prompt in order to eventually get them to give you some specific details about what they like and don’t like, what’s working for them and what’s not. Once the programming is finally done, it may take several more iterations before they finally agree to a design and a budget.
Prospects may be vague or wishy-washy, but you know you can’t deliver a successful project without a clear idea of what the end result will be and without an implementation plan. Yet, when it comes to their businesses, many designers are like that indecisive prospect. They haven’t taken the time to really think through what their specific business goals are or what steps and resources they will need to accomplish them.
Having a crystal clear idea of where your business is headed and where it needs to go is essential for success. Without it, you can’t make meaningful decisions about such fundamental choices as what kinds of clients and projects to take on, where and how to market your services, who you need on your team, and how you will measure your progress. Otherwise, you are only guessing at whether your business is improving or not.
Once you have clarity of vision, you need a detailed plan of what actions you must take and what resources you must have to achieve it. If the thought of creating a business plan puts you off, then think of it as a project plan for your business. You can make it as visual and colorful as you need. The important thing is that you do it, that it be specific and detailed, and that you set out the process for how you are going to get from your present situation to your desired future situation.
Just as getting commitment from a client allows you to know exactly what you must do to accomplish the project, having a clear vision and plan of action helps everyone on your team to have better focus and accountability, and to contribute more effectively to achieving the firm’s business goals. You’ll make more progress with less effort.