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How to get your house in order

~ by Candice R

Creative businesses by their very nature don't quite fit a military-like approach to operational efficiencies, which makes for a challenge in itself. The creative process does however work well when operating within some sort of framework to avoid derailing and going down a rabbit hole of creativity which compromises profitability and commercial purpose.

Set up your creative business for efficiency and effective practice by considering the following strategic mechanisms that foster both efficiency and creativity:

  • Adopt the ‘15 min meeting’ mentality

To achieve this efficient and productive way of work, it is essential to get the right meeting with the right people on the right content. Meetings should be to discuss action points and specified outcomes (both prepared beforehand). The meeting then becomes focussed on highlighting action points - the three most important tasks to complete, and what's next. Use a task/ project management app and have an internal communication tool to take the prep, implementation and discussion out of the meeting. Never make decisions or try to solve problems during meetings - this deserves its own time allocation. Project specific meetings are "workshop/ think tank” sessions and not seen as meetings. Even meetings with clients should be based on this concept.

  • Separate project steering from project execution

Do not duplicate efforts by using leadership to execute work too. They play a vital role in steering the business and the moment they drop their heads down into execute, the business suffers: profitability is reduced, mentorship and on the job training and growth ceases, client relationship suffer as they are left aside, ideation and creativity is diluted as the bigger picture thinking gets lost, and the list goes on. Leadership exercising advisory and steering is an art all should master.

  • Develop a ‘playbook’

By getting your businesses toolkit in order, your employees and collaborators become equipped to use the right artefacts to communicate and take clients, partners, and the wider team through their process to solution. When this is easily accessible and compiled correctly, it aids the creative process. When done incorrectly, it has the opposite effect (overwhelmed executors feeling lost and producing a plethora of artefacts unnecessarily).

  • Consider a matrix management structure

A flat, expertise based structure can equip the business to respond accurately and efficiently to projects/client requests reducing waste (people hanging around when they aren't doing much/required), and reducing the risk attached to a mismatch in skills (using the available person for the job at hand). It starts with understanding your people by skill, expertise and experience. Using a matrix structure so that you can pull in the specified skills across projects/client requests to give your clients the best expertise, at the right time, on the right project.

  • Don’t give your ideas away for free

Refrain from overinvesting in the sales process, it wastes precious resources when misused. If you have developed niche positioning, you will have less competition, this means you have more power than the client who has fewer options and more importantly, sees the value in what you can only offer. And if some form of problem understanding is required presale, this is actually diagnostic work and should be charged for because the output, i.e. the prescription of how to solve the problem, is valuable and can be done either by the client themselves, other businesses, or yourself as a lead on phase of work.

Try some of these methods when gearing up for a fresh start in the new year, leave old habits behind and create new ones.

Work with Candice R

“Solving niche challenges founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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