Doing Business as a Designer: Building Your Business One Day at a Time

Posted on June 30, 2010


This post is especially aimed at you younger voracious designers who are starting up.

Sure, you’d like your design business to attract a lot of clients. And… sure, you’d want your design business to be the best there is, FAST.

The truth is; business is about process. Every bit of a business has sub processes that make your design firm function properly.

Here are the main sub processes that compose of a business:

Sales and Marketing – Attracting and contacting prospects, identifying their needs, negotiate, and close the sale.

Finance and Accounting – Paying invoices, manage receivables, manage debt, and manage the economics of your business.

Administration – Hiring, leadership, and company structure.

Operations – Preproduction, previsualization, concepting, production, rendering, customer service, tech support

Early on, these processes start small. As your company matures, each of these processes will be administered either by you or someone you hire. This is a matter of preference for the founder(s) of the company.

For example, you are the only person running your company. You may be managing all the aspects of your design business all by yourself.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

If you want to grow your business faster, you can choose to focus on sales, marketing, finance, operations, and administration while you hire contractors to handle design work. You are more likely to get more customers but have lower profit margins because you are paying contractors.

If you handle production, you will be neglecting sales and marketing. Therefore far fewer businesses will be coming in. However you will have larger profit margins.

Either way, it’s important to take it a step at a time; otherwise disorganization will infect your business, distraction will cloud your vision, and you will become easily lost.


Small Business Management at