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Christmas crackers

A cracking set of suggestions from DBA Experts to round-off your year. Cherry-pick some for your business to get a head start for 2019.

Five gold rings

yifei-chen-275412-unsplashWho are your top five advocates? Give them a ring and arrange to meet up in the new year (your existing network is always the fastest route to new revenue). Got this covered? Who in your network are to be your next five advocates? Now give them a ring.


Lucy Mann, Gunpowder Consulting 

Find the fun

scott-webb-81745-unsplash-copyBest advice for the rest of 2018? Breathe, relax, smile, laugh, have fun. And for 2019? Exactly the same. Yes, it will be an unsettling year ahead politically, but if you don’t actively put enjoyment into life, your work will suffer and so will your business. Make time for it.


Shan Preddy, Preddy & Co

Harness the magic power of good stories

nong-vang-577609-unsplash-copyNot only will well-crafted storytelling open new avenues to market communications, it’s also one of the most effective means of building strong and committed teams. Encourage staff members to share their best – or worst – experience of the week when you meet over Friday afternoon beers and carry it on into 2019. It really works…


Steinar Valade-Amland, Three Point Zero

Get ready to say 'no' 

melissa-askew-29034-unsplash-copyWinning the new business you want next year is also about clearing out the clients /projects that take up too much resource for too little reward. Have a team discussion about what work conflicts with your future aspirations. Resolve to act in the new year: close them out, let them go, create space for what you want to do instead. 


Lynne Elvins, Design Rally

Marginal gains: think ‘small’ before Christmas! 

jungwoo-hong-100345-unsplash-copySmall improvements over the whole of a business can lead to increased margins, often with no increase in cost. Whether it be charging for that extra half hour of project management time on every project or renegotiating the utility bills, draw up a list of small improvements you could make in 2019 to impact your bottom line. 


Chris Lang, Flash Accounts 

Tell me what you want, what you really, really want...

samuel-holt-490207-unsplash-copyAs the year ends, ask your employees what they are longing to learn in 2019. Then, make a commitment to support them achieving their goal. Helping others better themselves is the most precious gift you can give; better than a salary increase or title. They will be forever grateful.


Roberta Ronsivalle-Pearce, Namah & Partners 

How about a ‘What people think’ Christmas tree? 

mel-poole-690019-unsplash-copyAsk your clients to write down three things they like most about the consultancy and three things they’d change on Christmas tags. Hang the tags on the tree for all to see. As well as a talking point, you have the start point for your New Year’s resolutions.


Adrian Day, Day Advisers 

Assess success

sutirta-budiman-557700-unsplashSpend half a day prior to your Christmas party to assess the successes you’ve had through the year – your wins and traction. Devise and plan a new ‘test and learn’ campaign to drive momentum in the new year. Boost off 2019 with an approach that deeply connects with your audience(s).


Natasha Ellard-Shoefield, The Hand

Take a moment to ponder this and look forward:

This the season of good cheer

but what of your plans for next year?


Brands are facing one helluva storm,

packs on the shelf no longer the norm.


How to help them?

How to attract?


An architect once said..

“it’s not possible to go forward,

 whilst looking back”


Nick Gray, Mr Gray Branding

This will take thirty minutes but could change your life forever.

ria-puskas-652970-unsplash-copyMake a commitment to read a book a week in 2019. Spend 30 minutes before Christmas to compile a book list for quarter one. Learn about the world beyond your day to day, as well as reading books that directly relate to your day to day. As your brain fills, be stimulated into action and apply the learnings and contexts into your working life.  


Jeremy Paterson, IF Media Consultancy 

Rebuild bridges

denys-nevozhai-154974-unsplash-copyIn the season of peace and goodwill to all, it’s still too easy to only contact this year’s successful clients. How about contacting the ones who didn’t award you work, or did but it didn’t run smoothly? Rebuild a bridge with them, elicit some candid feedback and see how that can inform your strategy for next year.


Andy Cripps, Andy Cripps Design Management  

It's the simple things that mean the most

transformGetting your team to switch off from work and enjoy some quality time with their friends and family can’t be underestimated. Thanking your team for all their hard work and giving them a glimpse at what’s in store for 2019 will also improve motivation and give them a sense of purpose for the new year.


Aliya Vigor-Robertson, JourneyHR

If not in place already, commit to making this happen in January:

Work out your vision for 2025…. It’s the magnet that pulls you.

Brain storm your core values:

Focus on your core skills.

Work out your three-year plan.

Break it down into 90 day markers.

Get very clear on your: people, processes, issue resolution, data analysis


Gary Baxter, Lightbox Consulting 

Celebrate more with your staff – and do it tax efficiently!

photo-1512075135822-67cdd9dd7314You may already know that you can spend £150 pa (inc Vat) per employee on a staff party without reporting this to HMRC. But did you know you can also give staff £50 of tax-free gifts under the Trivial Benefits scheme? A voucher or a bottle of drink could apply, but remember it can’t be linked to the employee’s performance.


Julian Davies, Redfin Management 

Tighten up on paperwork

robert-zunikoff-53898-unsplashNow is time to reflect on what was good and bad in 2018. Did your standard contract paperwork do its job? If it did keep it, but if it did not review it and change or start again. Merry Christmas!


Darrell Stuart-Smith, Humphries Kirk

Three lists you need to write

elena-koycheva-799745-unsplash-copyCompile three lists of contacts – current clients, ex-clients, people you know. These people are your greatest new business asset so make a real commitment to cherishing this asset in 2019. Communicate with them regularly, share relevant knowledge, make them feel valued. Do this consistently and your asset will bear fruit.


Jonathan Kirk, Up to the Light 

Every day counts

caleb-woods-302677-unsplash-copyFirstly, celebrate all the wins, big or small, that you’ve achieved as an agency over the past year. Then commit to celebrating small achievements every day in 2019. Doing this can enhance motivation, boost confidence and guide your agency towards greater success. 


Catherine Allison, Master the Art 

DBA Experts

If you have a particular business challenge or are looking to move your agency to the next level, we’ll work closely with you to connect you to an expert, whatever the issue. We’ve identified expert consultants with sustained and relevant experience in supporting the design industry, so you can rest assured that we can introduce you to the right one to meet your needs. 


Read about all of the DBA Experts.


Image credits: 

MARIA-MEKHT on Unsplash

YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

Scott Webb on Unsplash

YIFEI CHEN on Unsplash

Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash

Samuel Holt on Unsplash

Mel Poole on Unsplash

Ria Puskas on Unsplash

Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Yutacar on Unsplash

Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Elena Koycheva on Unsplash

Caleb Woods on Unsplash


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