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DBA Members’ Forum | November Summary

In our November Members’ Forum, we explored how to practically apply the findings in this year’s DBA Annual Survey Report to your business. Here’s a summary of the conversation.

  • Lucy Mann shared some top tips around how to build relationships with existing contacts and get them to recommend you to further expand your network. You can listen to Lucy talking about marginal gains here
  • A member shared that they’ve found that people really love to recommend their business – if you’re feeling like you need an injection of fresh prospects into your pipeline, who could do this for you? Make a list of all your advocates and plan how you will interact with them through the coming year to help them help you.
  • Adrian Day explored the confidence mindset and how important it is to think beyond the deliverables and focus instead on the outcomes and the value you’re creating when it comes to conversations on fees. And this was suggested by Esther Carder in the webinar launch of the Report too, one to catch up on if you missed us live.
  • Shifting conversations from costs to value was echoed by a few people on the call – with some great suggestions on how to practically boost your confidence, and your fees, like if a new opportunity comes your way, add 40% to your rate card and see what happens. If it feels a bit ‘cheeky’ maybe that’s the right amount. 
  • One member shared that getting a new senior starter in who had experience from elsewhere enabled them to almost double their rates based on the value of the work they knew they were delivering. This started a discussion on how valuable an external perspective on your business can be (and how well suited many of the DBA Experts are for this).
  • Sim Thirunesan reminded us to keep an eye on break even-figures, but also to be aware of that safety net of cash in the bank to keep everyone paid.
  • This was echoed by Chris Lang who highlighted the importance of a cashflow forecast too and keeping an eye on any sticky points coming up. 
  • When it comes to payment terms – lots of different options to consider but Chris suggested this is somewhere to negotiate with clients. If they suggest lowering fees you could suggest longer payment terms instead. Chris also suggested agencies should make sure staged payments are linked to a timeline, not to specific deliverables – if deliverables are delayed, or they need to be approved by the client, this could slow down your payment.
  • General sentiment on the call mirrored the results in the survey with regards to business confidence with new business, clients slowing down their decision making and recruitment of talent being the top challenges facing the sector now and in the future. 
  • The DBA’s Twenty/Twenty mentoring programme is currently open for applications. If you’d like to find out more about how having a design industry pioneer by your side in 2024 to give you the confidence in your own decision making, you can find out more here

There was much, much more covered in the hour – you really had to be there. Do make sure you join us in our next DBA Members’ Forum on Monday 4 December at 4pm GMT, look out for an email from me in a few weeks with more details. If you would like to attend, get in touch here


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