An Everyday Guide to Survival
28th February, 2009 by Brita Frost
Australia is only just beginning to feel the bite of the current economic downturn, though it seems like we've been obsessing about it for many months now. So what do we do when the going gets tough? As part of a monthly series on design business at Suite 7, RMIT's Entrepreneur in Residence Marcus Powe took some time to give us his thoughts on the current economic strife and how to survive it. Here's what Marcus had to say:
The current economic "correction" has in many instances presented something unfamiliar to young designers or those new to business. The last decade has seen steady economic growth and many individuals and businesses have never experienced a downturn. A lot of professionals are literally in shock. The emails have either slowed down or stopped, the telephone is silent and in some circumstances the only communications from clients has been to either delay or cancel work.
You can pursue two paths:
Reactive. Literally run around trying to make things happen without any planning or thinking through what it is you want to achieve.
Or proactive. Try to think through the following:
• What can you offer the market place? You may be thinking design obviously, but I would challenge that. Is it the way you design, your particular skills, areas of specialisation? The market should know what “it” is.
• Stand in front of your professional practice. People do business with people not with design. How confident are you in communicating face to face with existing and potential clients?
• How do you conduct your business? How ‘easy’ is it for a client to work with you? After all, the client's experience interacting with you will be remembered long after the design!
• Are there any other groups or segments of potential clients? Are you trying to communicate / advertise with the same group as every other designer in Australia? The question is, can you sell design? Perhaps the reason most people don’t get design is because they do not understand the value of it? Yes you need to educate them!
A small manufacturer of components for the swimming pool industry. A ‘luxury’ purchase in drought conditions.
How could you assist them?
Stay tuned for the next installment.
Marcus is the Entrepreneur in Residence at RMIT University where he works with staff and students to refine and develop their ideas and business opportunities. In 2008, Australia’s Business/Higher Education Round Table recognised Marcus’ contribution with the award for Australia’s Best Entrepreneurial Educator.
The image above was taken at the exhibition "Do Not Crop" at the National Design Centre in Melbourne, July 2008.
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