April is Business Strategy Month!

By Clive Roux

I know that you are busy, I hear it from the whole profession, but let’s face it: That is the new normal. When times are good and business is strong, it’s easy to put aside the need to think ahead. However, if you think about it, this is the perfect moment to stop and analyze what you are doing and where you want to go next.

On the up and down slope of the economic cycle you must focus on operations — either growing or downsizing. At the bottom of the economic cycle, there is no time for anything but new business development. We’re at the top of the cycle right now defying gravity and that means it’s the right time to think long term about your business while the going is good!

Experiential Graphic Design is going through a period of changes from price competitiveness to design/build to the increasing requirement for digital in projects. Digital installations bring complexity your team is not prepared for. Changing circumstances require a re-evaluation of your business strategy. Is your existing strategy still right for the changed circumstances?

A strong business strategy lays out your plan to compete for business and hire the best designers within a given set of circumstances. If your circumstances change (the economy tanks, you expand to double your size, the market shifts and, for instance, clients are asking for more digital work, competition gets much tougher or price competitive), you need to revise your business strategy to create a new plan to address these circumstances.

Without a strong strategy in place, you could be — as Bob Dylan sings — blowin' in the wind! Many things can happen depending on how well your old plan aligns with the changing circumstances. It’s better to consciously check that then let it roll over you without careful consideration on your part as to how you would like to react.

Regularly revisiting your plan is important to remain relevant and competitive.

At the SEGD Business of Design eventin Portland later this month, firm leaders will have the opportunity to hear from a speaker from outside of the design community who will provide key elements of building a strong strategy.

Thomas Hudgin has a different perspective as an expert who has spent most of his time creating and thinking about strategy. He can show you new tools and techniques as well as ways of approaching and thinking about strategy. That’s valuable input that is hard to get from your peers who are less experienced and less willing to share knowledge that could provide you with a competitive advantage!

The SEGD Business of Design event only comes along once every two years, so don’t wait! Join me in Portland, April 27–28. Register now— space is filling up quickly!

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