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Ring in the new: Resolutions that could change your business for the better next year

It’s nearly that time of year again when we’ll all make promises to better ourselves; to shed the love handles, lay off the wine, join a gym… breaking bad habits and starting good ones is what New Year’s resolutions are about, after all.

But what about our business habits? Is it time to make a resolution to weed out a bad habit or to ring in a new, healthier one? If you were to make a commitment to do one thing differently next year, what should it be?

Our Wise Men and Women of the DBA Experts Register make some suggestions: 

Seek criticism not praise

pexels-photo-355952Asking clients the right questions is an important tool for business improvement – ‘How can we do better next time?’ ‘If you could give us one piece of advice what would it be?’ ‘If you could choose one area of your business that you’d like us to know more about, what would it be?’ – And never take ‘You came a close second’ at face value. 

Jonathan Kirk, Up to the Light

Reign in your ego

Take time to be aware of yourself and the needs and feelings of your staff, your clients, yourself! Be aware when you’re tempted to respond to situations with your reactive mind and don’t let your ego take-over. Notice when your mind creates a scenario that may not be reality!

Gary Baxter, Lightbox Consulting


Small steps, big leaps

Commit to doing something every day, however small, to deliver on your new business and marketing plan. Polish up your LinkedIn profile, update your CRM, ask for a testimonial, research a business you’d like to work for, arrange a coffee with an ex-client, delegate a case study write up, or ask someone to help fix that thing on your website. Happy Christmas!

Lucy Mann, Gunpowder Consulting

Get on a plane!

slava-bowman-161206Whilst many of us bemoan Brexit it has led to opportunities. The weaker pound means our creative work is up to 20% cheaper outside the UK than it was pre-Brexit (depending on the country you are selling in). We have a strong reputation in many markets for our creativity so take advantage.

Adrian Day, Adrian Day Advisers 

Be impeccable with your word

I keep seeing the same core values churned out time and again which are more marketing speak than values – ambitious, creative, passionate, loyal etc. I would urge founders to dig deeper for their true values or beliefs. Try this one in 2018: “Be impeccable with your word”. This means speaking with integrity, saying only what you mean, not gossiping, being positive and not speaking ill of others.

True values are promoted only by the founder living them, rather than putting them in a slide presentation.

Ian Cochrane, Tice Group


Fall (back?) in love with the hard sell

I don’t mean half-nelsons, assumptive closes, or any of that double glazing salesman stuff. I mean work hard at selling: identifying real problems, and defining real, unique solutions. People buy people, but there are lots of great people in our industry. Clients won’t buy what they don’t need. On that note, it’s pretty cold outside. Can I interest you in some double-glazing?

Jeremy Davies, Little Train BD

Don't throw sense out the window

john-mark-kuznietsov-264945Commit to not getting carried away when a new client wishes to commission work, but rather consider carefully the terms of the contract upon which the studio is to be engaged. When a prospective client waves a nice bit of work in front of a studio subject to their terms of purchase, then good business sense often goes out the window. Always stand back and check the terms that are being offered or better still ask your solicitor to look at them!

Darrell Stuart-Smith, Humphries Kirk LLP


Master your “Now” and “Next” in 2018 for focused growth

The “Now” is about improving business as usual by a deeper understanding of what clients need, what you do best, where you add most value and where you have the greatest right to win. The “Next” being a deliberate and parallel programme of ‘self-disruption’ – your Project You – to pioneer your future business-as-unusual business model, brand proposition, culture, services, methodologies and those ‘winning arguments’ that will transform and grow your business for the future.

Ralph Ardill, Ralph Ardill Ltd

Value soft skills

Invest in training your staff in those soft skills that so often get overlooked. Knowing how to sell creative in the right way, to speak with greater presence and gravitas and to demonstrate genuine passion and authenticity can make all the difference to winning more business. In addition, agencies that ensure adequate investment in training and development are far more attractive to investors.

Surely that’s a commercial point worth serious consideration?

Catherine Allison, Master the Art

Give it your all

david-paschke-72432Agree to do your best at everything that you do. This is a clear signal that you want to succeed and as long as you have given it your all you won’t go too far wrong.

Rod Petrie, Coach


Target practice: make sure it hits the spot

With GDPR coming into effect on 25 May 2018, content is now more important than ever in business development. To encourage new business prospects from not opting out from any communications from you, content has to be highly targeted and relevant to their job titles, remit, brands, companies as well as their issues/challenges. Highly relevant and targeted content also further positions you as a leading authority on the subject.

Andre Young, Angsana

Think, plan, dream..... and set a reminder!

New Year is a time to think, plan and dream about the year ahead – don’t set yourself up for failure by starting with a short-term target that can all too easily be lost in the ether of the back-to-work fug.

Think longer term – Write yourself a list of 5 things that you want to achieve in 2018, and set a calendar reminder for each quarter so you can see progress.

Jeremy Paterson, IF Media Consultancy

Get up close and personal

glenn-carstens-peters-203007When there are pressures in an agency to perform, especially for new business, or when growing / nurturing an existing client, it is easy to sideline face-to-face contact and to rely on email and calls.

Take the time to meet with clients and prospects, you will get far more in return. There is no substitute for dedicated, regular contact in the form of meetings or workshops or events where you are in a room together.

Natasha Ellard-Shoefield, The Hand



Forgotten something?

Now then, let’s see what you’ve prepared for your business going into the year ahead. Vision? Tick. Finances sorted? Check. Marketing strategy and plan? Yup. Client relationships programme? Done. Team recruitment and motivation? Certainly. Active development of your core offer: design thinking, creativity and delivery? Um… well, maybe not that one so much. Make 2018 the year you remember why you went into design in the first place.

Shan Preddy, PREDDY&CO

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 on and discover our Experts.

Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters | Unsplash

Image credit: Slava Bowman | Unsplash

Image credit: David Paschke | Unsplash

Image credit: Mark Rodel Dela Rosa | Dreamstime



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