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Common Business Mistakes for a Graphic Designer: Tips for Avoiding Often Repeated Mistakes by Self-Employed Designers

Being an accomplished Graphic Designer calls for a skill set that is quite different to that of a successful business person. While many Designers may harbour dreams of running their own successful design business, unfortunately many will fail to achieve in the long term because they make common business mistakes.

Obviously there are are a wide range of aspects to running a successful business and so it makes sense for a Graphic Designer who is planning to set up on their own to take advice from various experts who have specialist business knowledge. They can help start-up and established businesses to focus on the important things and fill in knowledge gaps.

There are many common business mistakes and giving careful consideration to these at planning stages should ensure that they are not repeated. Some examples of mistakes that are often repeated by business people are covered here.

Assuming, Not Researching

It’s very easy for anyone in business to make decisions based on personal beliefs and assumptions, but these maybe very different to their customers’. It is essential that a Graphic Designer can empathise with their clients and, indeed, with their clients’ clients.

This won’t always come naturally and so Designers should be prepared to spend time researching and asking clients focused questions to help ensure the creative process reaches a successful conclusion.

Selling Purely on Price

It is a very common business mistake and misconception that price is always the most important thing to clients, whatever the product or service. While this may be true in the case of some commodities, generally customers are focusing on more than just the price. Value is usually a more important factor.

Graphic Designers shouldn’t be scared or ashamed to price their services realistically and should spend time, when offering creative solutions, clarifying why decisions have been made and how these offer the client value. There is a saying ‘speculate to accumulate’ and successful business people understand that spending a little more may lead to exponential returns.

Selling to the Wrong People

While many business people understand value is more important than price, there are plenty out there who do focus on price and there is often no point trying to convert these people to secure a sale. There are plenty of websites where jobs are posted for suppliers to bid on and the prices are often absurdly low. Whilst some Designers can have success churning out low cost and low quality work, time would be wasted preparing a high spec solution for such clients.

Failing to Invest in the Business

Failing to set sensible budgets is a common business mistake and while most may immediately think of businesses spending too much, investing too little can also be a problem. If new software or a more modern computer can improve workflow, they may cover their own cost in little time. Also thought should be given to assigning a budget to advertising and marketing as few Graphic Designers can expect clients to fall into their laps.

Not Taking Time Off

The final and possibly most common business mistake is not taking time away from the business. No-one can focus all of the time on running a business and taking time off to relax and do fun things with family and friends can benefit the business by ensuring a Graphic Designer is refreshed and able to concentrate fully on producing effective and creative solutions.

There are many common business mistakes that seem to be often repeated, but taking some time to plan can ensure a Graphic Designer doesn’t fall into these same traps.

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