This Thursday’s Webinar is Free!

June 23rd, 2011   •   No Comments   

Join us this Thursday, June 23rd, at 1:00 pst for a free webinar:

‘Build Your Marketing Plan of Attack!’
We’ll dive deep into issues such as how to: Read more

In Need of Modern Design Inspiration?

June 2nd, 2011   •   No Comments   

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time doing business development and strategic planning, but I’m starved for design inspiration. As I’ve said before, I look at a lot of websites. Read more

Project Collaborations

April 16th, 2011   •   No Comments   

-I look at a lot of designer’s and contractor’s websites. It’s an addiction, really. Just the other day I noticed a designer was promoting the process of competitive bidding  Read more

How to Make a Living as a Design Professional

April 4th, 2011   •   No Comments   

(I’ll use my residential landscape design experience here as an example, but this information applies to any solo designer or small creative business owner.)

OK, it’s true. Most of us didn’t become designers because we thought we’d become rich or famous, however we truly do ourselves and our industry a disservice when we Read more

Anatomy of a Bad Project

March 29th, 2011   •   No Comments   

I have a $500,000 dollar landscape project I’ve never photographed. It’s true. I told myself I would wait a year or two for the plants to mature, but in reality, I didn’t go back because of the way the project ended. Yes, I got paid. Yes, I was proud of the work. Yes, it’s decent design, at a beautiful house, etc. But in the end, the client yelled at me because Read more

Anatomy of a Bad Client

March 29th, 2011   •   No Comments   

I once worked for a designer who was very proud to tell me that, within the very first week of working for him, he had over $225K in accounts receivable. This conversation started because I had asked about a chair in his office that was over-flowing with what appeared to be relatively new job folders. He explained that those were projects that were ready to invoice. When I asked why they hadn’t been invoiced he said that they had been so busy producing work they hadn’t had time. So again I asked, (I just couldn’t leave this one alone) ‘Don’t you need the money?’ And to that he said, Read more

Tight Times Call For Tight Terms

March 21st, 2011   •   No Comments   

If you haven’t revisited your contracts, terms, or operating procedures in the last six months, it may be time to do so. As a business owner, it can truly be counterproductive to spend valuable time collecting on past due accounts and in small claims court. Here are a couple of thoughts that might help you eliminate this unnecessary task from your To-Do list: Read more

What’s Your Verbal Brand?

March 17th, 2011   •   No Comments   

First of all, let’s define a brand. Let’s just say it’s a promise to the consumer about a product or service. So, a verbal brand could be simply defined as what you say about your brand. Since you’re presumably a designer or contractor, and what you bring to a project is a ‘value’ (interpretation + experience + education) and a value is the perception of the consumer, wouldn’t it make sense that how you talk about your service is critical to your success? Read more

Tired of Being an Apple?

March 16th, 2011   •   No Comments   

How many times have you been asked to give a proposal to a client for an apples-to-apples comparison; when, in your heart, you know you’re a pomegranate?

I recently re-read Blair Enns’ ‘The Win Without Pitching Manifesto‘. It is a BRILLIANT business mind-set book [the word ‘strategy’ here doesn’t adequately describe his message] that every business owner should read. Read this if you are tired of:

  • Submitting proposals to clients who don’t have the decency to call you back,
  • Clients who almost always pick the low bid; even though you know the other contractor’s/designer’s work is CRAP!, or
  • Being hired as the low bid, and still find yourself negotiating the fee to get the contract signed.

Read more

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