Thursday, February 21, 2008

What Business Owners Must Know When Hiring a Designer

Every so often I run into a business client who is truly a business partner. They understand their role well, and understand my role well.

These people are usually business owners and leaders who know what their expertise is, where they need to add to that expertise, and where they need someone else to fill in the gaps. This understanding comes from either their business plan or a clear sense of mission and vision based on strategy. Business owners who do not have a business plan usually struggle in this area, allowing mission creep to takeover their duties to the exclusion of their core business.

These business owners—whom are good clients for me—know that when they seek outside services for their accounting, graphic design, or even delivery service they must use their business- and self-understanding to select the right type of help—not just anybody. They select help based on their own business needs and plans, not just likes, dislikes, and wants. These business owners also understand the advantages of allowing these services to do what they do best, because the business owner knows she must focus on her core business.

The advantage for me working with these types of owners is that they intuitively know what I need and don't need. They hire me based on my ability and understanding, so that I will help them in a specific way. They want me to use my creativity to arrive at visual solutions. Following, they don't desire to art direct, because that is not their core business. They don't come to me with solutions to implement, because they know it will only limit the final outcome. Instead they come to me with business problems to solve. And they come with solid knowledge of their own business. When I ask about their intended audience or target market, they never say, "the world!" Instead they have a well-thought out plan that needs a specific solution that they can't solve on their own. They see our relationship as a partnership. I need their expertise about their own business, and they need my expertise in the specific area of visual communication. And in this manner we both can arrive at solutions that are innovative, and effective.

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