10 Mar Before you speed up, slow down a little
Eight projects on the go. Five more in backlog. Two in a completely new market. A talented staff of a dozen designers to lean on. Revenue in the millions. Business is good, right?
Leaders of creative practices are dealing with unprecedented levels of complexity; the market is changing rapidly, and clients can be increasingly demanding. You may be experiencing doubt about the future and concerned that the ship you’re steering may not be going in the right direction. You’re not exactly sure how to get it back on course.
We want to assure you that these are completely normal business concerns. Every organization has a life cycle which it moves through, progressing through each stage at different speeds. You begin in the start-up phase and as your sales increase over time, you enter the growth phase before plateauing as a mature business. There is a fourth stage, decline, but many companies avoid or delay this phase by re-inventing their business.
Now that’s not a simple task and it requires a fair amount of preparation before getting close to that stage. To optimize your level of preparedness, we recommend conducting an organizational assessment. This provides you with a holistic view of your business to give you an understanding of your people and your processes to plan ways to adapt to potential market opportunities and competitive forces.
Take a moment to step back and think about where you have been, where you are, and consider where you want to go. It’s important to perform regular health checks both on your progress as a creative and as a businessperson. One such method of an organizational assessment is what’s known as a SWOT analysis. This will tell you what your firm’s Strengths and Weaknesses are, and how they measure up against potential Opportunities or Threats in your environment.
Most crucial is to do this assessment from an objective point of view. Step outside of your own shoes to get a helicopter view of your business. Sometimes leaders spend so much time with their head down in the weeds, they forget to look up and see what the rest of the world sees.
You will quickly recognize what you are great at and where you can improve. You will also begin to discover the need for making business decisions that are important, urgent, or both. Sometimes this assessment validates what you already knew about your firm and other times it uncovers challenges you didn’t know you had or will have. Regardless, you will benefit from both added confidence and added knowledge.