Home' Border Enterprise : Summer-Autumn 2011-2012 Contents enterprise
Vol 5. Summer/Autumn
NO matter how new or small your
enterprise, your top priority must
be to get noticed by potential
customers - and then to convince
them that what you offer beats
any competition hands down.
While it is a challenge to define and craft the
right profile and message, you should avoid
Some business owners try to economise by
doing their own designing, copywriting, etc.
But without the required specialist skills, those
amateur efforts only project a business image
that is, well, amateurish.
Eventually, that kitchen table logo and copy
will have to be changed, so why not project an
impressive image right from the start?
Put simply, a professional result begins with a
If you have little experience in dealing
with 'creatives' (such as a graphic designer,
copywriter, photographer or web designer)
consider these tips.
It all starts with the right brief
Before talking to any creative contractor, write
down exactly what you want to achieve, so that
no uncertainty or ambiguity is passed on.
Explain the project's objective, its key
message, the various components, delivery
deadlines and budgetary limits.
Provide any relevant samples that show the
sort of result you want - and any design and
typography guidelines and other references.
Choosing the right people
Creative skills and experience vary from person
to person. For example, a writer may be great at
direct mail copy, but less proficient in crafting PR
editorial. So, select the talent that best matches
your needs from these options:
1. An agency or creative 'hot-shop' studio with
various skills and resources under one roof.
Usually, they can project-manage everything
for a single, all-up costing.
2. A cheaper option (usually) is to deal directly
with solo specialists who can call upon other
Locate them through web searches,
directories or advertisements - or, better still, talk
to those experienced in using creative services.
When you meet your selected creative person
ask for work samples relevant to your project -
and for client reference contact details.
Agreeing on the ground rules
To avoid any later misunderstandings, write
down everyone's agreed tasks, commitments
and requirements, detailing:
• What you want
• What the creative(s) have to supply
• How and when
• Points of contact
• The approval process
• Permitted number of variations
• Agreed payment options (all-up cost or hourly
charge? Single payment or phased payments?
Firm quote or estimate?)
• Ownership of completed materials
• In some cases, insurance and indemnity details
• Contingency arrangements
For your part, confirm that you have
understood the processes and terms outlined in
the submission or quotation you receive.
Everyone involved should be at the same briefing,
including, for example, the writer, designer,
photographer and printer - and your own people
(especially the nominated point of contact).
In this way everyone hears the same brief, has
an equal opportunity to ask questions, identify
problems and pool ideas. Most importantly, they
can negotiate and coordinate various individual
After that, things should follow a sequence
• Cost submissions (frm or estimated)
• Draft copy/art layout/proofs, etc.
• Selections, alterations and re-submissions
• Final approval/sign-off
• Production, delivery to client and fnal payment
When quoting, many creatives allow for
a limited number of client corrections and
changes. It is understood that these will be kept
to a sensible limit and will be at appropriate
stages: a copy rewrite when previously-
approved artwork is already with the printer will,
quite reasonably, be billed as a cost extra.
Playing your role
A collaborative, rather than adversarial,
approach can make all the difference to the
outcome. To encourage an open and productive
• Deliver promised information on time
• Keep to commitments (meetings, approval
• Resist constant fddling and last-minute
changes of mind
• Foster a clear, two-way dialogue
• Be open to ideas and suggestions.
Along the way, be sure to give positive
feedback where it is merited - and look out for
opportunities to refer other business to your
Thus inspired by your commitment to a
long-term working relationship, they will regard
themselves as valued members of your team
and have every incentive to help you build your
business. Importantly, you will be treasured as
an ideal client.
Rank amateur: how to project
a professional image
It's important to
project a professional
image right from the
start, writes business
specialist and writer
on business topics,
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