What all creative businesses could be doing now following the vote to leave the EU
Twenty of Bristol & Bath's design agencies gathered at the studios of integrated design consultancy Kinneir Dufort last night to hear a Vision keynote from Business Consultant and Training Provider Shan Preddy of Preddy & Co, looking at the 10 things design firms could be doing right now in the face of the Brexit vote.
Shan started by saying that she is not an economist, or a forecaster, or a doom merchant although she does believe the UK is in for a rough ride over the coming years. She also believes that there are opportunities to be had at this time of uncertainty. She also said she is not a pessimist, but a realist, and that one thing is for sure; economic uncertainty is never good for business.
Many of those in the room have international clients across all European member states; many were concerned about the future of key team members from Europe who offer valuable language skills for their international clients. All were concerned about the impact that leaving the EU might have on their business.
Here are ten things Shan believes design businesses should be doing now to future proof their businesses in this time of uncertainty.
Shan's Top Ten Tips
1. Turn up the heat on your current client relationships - they are your best source of income and every agency should be offering unrivalled client service.
2. Get in touch with recent but dormant clients; find a reason to get back in touch because they're your next best source of income.
3. Stop talking about marketing and business development and sales, and get on and do it. Update your marketing plan every month and your marketing strategy every year. Forget about USP, find your MSP - your meaningful sales proposition.
4. Look for work outside the UK while sterling is weak but without increasing overheads.
5. Brush up on your team's presentation, sales, negotiation and networking skills. Make every encounter count. Don't cut back on staff or on their training. You need to retain them or they will leave to work elsewhere or set up on their own and that will be expensive.
6. Invest in staff at all levels of seniority. Recruit the best of the best where you can. Retain, educate and motivate and remember you are only as strong as your weakest point.
7. Use downtime constructively to think hard. Make sure your business is still true to your Vision, Values and Goals.
8. Be honest about your product - does the market still want it? If you see a gap in the market, is there a reason? If you are asked to fill a gap, don't be afraid to say no if it isn't right for your business.
9. Review, tighten up and future proof your operations. There will be huge changes in Finance, Legal, HR and IT.
10. Don't give your work away for free, except to charity or a good cause.
Finally, be ship shape and Bristol fashion. If we are in for rough seas, take the time now to maintain your lifeboat and you will be in a position to make the most of the opportunities and challenges that are coming our way.