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Lean growth

~ by Candice R


What does growth mean for the Business-of-One? Growing does not have to mean headcount for your business, profits can grow in leaner ways when mastering collaboration. As honing your craft matures, your Business-of-One becomes more open to collaboration in smart ways to increase profits and increase joy! Joy? Yes, because when done correctly, it means you carve out a way in which you can do more of the work you love and less of the work you don’t like so much.


When your clients have bought into YOU and they know what you deliver and trust your quality, it’s mighty challenging to get them to trust anyone else you bring on board. This is a good thing, never give up being the master of the relationship, but this doesn’t mean you have to physically execute ALL the work. Be smart. Be on the lookout and work hard at developing connections with executors in your design craft area of expertise that you can lean on for the executional work you find no joy in. Exceptional growing executors make fine collaborators for the maturing Business-of-One.


These are your considerations with forming collaborations:


1. Be aware of your weaknesses and dislikes around your craft

If you are terrible at admin and task management or project management, find a fellow Business-of-One who thrives in this area so that they can take this work off your hands. It is likely they can do it in half the time so they can save you money and time and deliver quality results in this area of the business that you are lacking.


2. Invest in finding the right fit

You HAVE to click with the Business-of-One you collaborate with. When you just ‘get’ one another it saves time and effort in getting to a point where you are working efficiently, effectively, and in harmony. We have all worked with people we do not click with, briefing takes long, time wasted with negatively opposing views, communication is draining, etc. When you are a fit, you just naturally work well together, you know what the other person is thinking, and your work shines because of this understanding.


3. Client relationships remain a business asset

The clients you have built up over time should be seen as an investment you have made in your business. Do not give these away for free. Your business is built on these relationships and ownership resides with you. Of course, if these relationships are good, your clients will ensure this is always the case. Clients want to see that you are still responsible and care for their business, and often they couldn’t care who you use in the background to support you, as long as your relationship and associated output remains rock solid.


4. Value lies in the engagement

Price creatively and be streetwise with how you approach this. Your client is paying for the outcome. Whether you or your collaborator of choice produces all or some of the work. The cost remains the same unless you are giving more value (value they asked for not value they don’t even want). So if you charge your client R20,000 for a website, they still will pay R20k for a website which includes all the conceptual thinking behind it. Using a collaborator means you have found someone really good at website design who charges R10k (a great executor who can churn it out in half the time it took you OR a less experienced website designer than takes longer but has a lower rate) which you now brief in and align to the conceptual thinking you have behind it (they are merely executing). You now make R10k for doing less work (because you spend more time on website design execution than conceptual work for the website) and you focus on the work you love (conceptual) which you are really good at and can do in half the time because it comes naturally to you. Suddenly you can produce double the workload for this client and focus on the parts of the work that fulfill you.


Collaborating well means you can actually earn more AND enjoy more of what you do. When we invest in the right collaborator for our business, this relationship becomes as important as our client relationships because we too are responsible for one anothers entrepreneurial happiness and business growth. Getting this right fit can do wonders for your business's future especially when taking on more work is simply impossible for one person or one small business. Consider collaborating before turning business away.


Work with Candice R


"Solving niche challenges founders face”.


Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)

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