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Tip-top advice for 2021

In a recent DBA webinar, Sir John Sorrell shared a few of his favourite business tips including Aristotle Onassis’ “Always have a sun tan” and “When starting a business you cannot afford to stay in expensive hotels, but it is important to be seen in them so arrange meetings, have coffee, be seen”.


Coming out of 2020 we could all do with a few helpful pointers to put us in best stead for the year ahead. Who better to share some sound advice, than the DBA Experts


jon-tyson-jy8z4nbiysq-unsplashAsk clients, ‘If you could choose just one area of your business that you’d like us to know more about, what would it be?’ The answers can be extremely revealing about concerns and future plans.


Jonathan Kirk

Director, Up to the Light


alex-ware-g0e7qgvus_4-unsplashAfter a year where sacrifice has been a national duty, let’s re-purpose sacrifice as a guiding light for the future by truly accepting what we don’t do and who we won’t work with. Then give everything we have to the remaining opportunities!


Ralph Ardill

Founder, The Brand Experience Consultancy 

Spring ahead

egor-iskrenkov-aznngqviggg-unsplashJust as seeds are planted in the dark, now is the time for every business to plant seeds for future growth. During dark times, there are always opportunities for imaginative, forward-focused companies to seize, develop and springboard ahead.


Erica Wolfe-Murray

MD, Lola Media


chris-lawton-5ihz5whosqe-unsplashChange the way you think about change. Change is hardest of all when we don’t feel in control, and yet we can always control our attitude towards change. What is yours? How is it evolving?


Michael Thomson

Design Strategist and Facilitator, Design Connect


timj-6bvinn0y7xk-unsplashThree things about presentation equilibrium: 1: Good presentations are conversations not showtime. 2: Design is a knowledge business, not a service industry. 3: Your relationship with clients and prospects is always equal-to-equal, professional-to-professional, expert-to-expert. Think equilibrium. Respect yourself. Have confidence.


Shan Preddy

Partner, PREDDY&CO

Unlock the future

michael-dziedzic-1bjsasjhfke-unsplashOnce “a nice if they can”, sustainability has become a fundamental criterion for agency selection. Subscribe to edie newsletters and pick up books on the subject. Designers hold all the keys to saving our environment.


Paul Foulkes-Arellano
Founder, Circuthon Consulting


yann-allegre-yn0uh0eae04-unsplashThis year has been like no other. Pause, acknowledge and celebrate what you have achieved. Reach out to those you’ve worked with and thank them for their support. Go into next year with a really positive mental attitude.


Natasha Ellard-Shoefield

MD, The Hand


drew-coffman-dzit-ftyv4e-unsplash-copyIt’s been an extraordinary year – don’t underestimate the toll it’s taken on you. Your resilience is key. Take this chance to rest, recalibrate and be ready to approach 2021 with energy and focus.


Lucy Unger

Consultant and Non Executive Director


alev-takil-edmqgybkhiu-unsplashIf you don’t have direct experience in the industries that have thrived this year, demonstrate the fresh perspective your agency could bring by providing insights and advice into their problems. Then turn them into engagements that influence and build authority.


Andre Yong

MD, Angsana



kelly-sikkema-ge4nb83wnpg-unsplashTo avoid getting caught out by the changes occurring from Brexit, block out diary time in the early part of 2021 now to focus on IP, so it doesn’t inadvertently slip down your priority list.  


William Burrell

Senior Associate, Patent Attorney, D Young & Co LLP


possessed-photography-a-hdeuxroku-unsplashFor your team, camaraderie and loyalty have stood with isolation and uncertainty in 2020. Invest in your people – in diversity, training, retention, flexibility and in togetherness. The stronger your team, the more you’ll benefit from the opportunities that lie ahead.


Jeremy Paterson

MD, IF Media Consultancy


devin-avery-xbuendq7flw-unsplashFor a dose of optimism and inspiration visit the fantastic Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum, which is on until the end of March 2021. You’ll find the most innovative designs across fashion, architecture, digital, transport, product and graphic design. 


Adrian Day

Consultant and Non Executive Director


campaign-creators-ikhvolzfcog-unsplashGet your contract terms up-to-date. Cleanse your data base. Keep only personal data for the purpose for which you have permission. Data protection requirements apply to all marketing. Personal data includes a person’s business details!


Martin Varley

Partner, Humphries Kirk LLP



Time management is a challenge for agency owners; getting sucked into client work and firefighting; often putting off the things they don’t like – sales! Embrace it, practice at it, have fun with it. We’re all in sales. It’s just that some of us choose not to believe that.


Adam Graham

Founder, Gray Matters


vinicius-low-a62nyytlz8m-unsplashFocus on employee engagement – strong manager/employee relationships, aligned goals, and empathetic leaders will be key for building a resilient workforce in 2021. Kick-off the year with an engagement survey to truly understand employees’ needs.


Aliya Vigor-Robertson

Founding Partner, JourneyHR


bacila-vlad-wtthc6umwei-unsplashWith virtual presentations and pitches here to stay, we need to work even harder to make this digital connection an authentic human connection. Aim to move from monologue to dialogue, from presentation to conversation. It can make all the difference.


Catherine Allison

Director and Trainer, Master the Art


davide-cantelli-e3uy4k7ooyk-unsplashIt’s currently popular to suggest there may be another ‘Roaring Twenties’ – and look how they turned out. History repeats itself if we do not heed its warnings. That also applies to business development: review every campaign, what worked and what didn’t, and adjust the next one accordingly.


Jeremy Davies

Director, Little Train BD


susan-yin-enx6829gje0-unsplash“Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.” Applies to all aspects of life, every day.


Jack O’Hern

Director, Wright Vigar Chartered Accountants

About the DBA Experts

DBA Experts are here to help you navigate the challenges and decisions you face as you grow your business. Our register of accredited expert consultants have sustained and relevant experience in supporting the design industry, so you can rest assured that you will be getting sound, high-level support.


Our Experts have extensive experience supporting the creative industries and are:

  • DBA approved.
  • Recommended by peers.
  • Reference checked.


Access the DBA Experts Register. 


If you’re interested in becoming a DBA Expert find out more. Alternatively email Adam Fennelow or call 020 7251 9229 for more information.

Image credits: 

Michael Dziedzic | Unsplash

Susan Yin | Unsplash

Kelly Sikkema | Unsplash

Yann Allegre | Unsplash

Egor Iskrenkov | Unsplash

Drew Coffman | Unsplash

Alex Ware | Unsplash

Possessed Photography | Unsplash

Devin Avery | Unsplash

Campaign Creators | Unsplash

Scott Webb | Unsplash

Jon Tyson |Unsplash

Vinicius Lw | Unsplash

Bacila Vlad | Unsplash

Chris Lawton | Unsplash

timJ | Unsplash

Alev Takil | Unsplash

Jim Rhoades | Unsplash



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