Hot House // Cecile Barstad

On the last day of term we had our last Hot House talk from none other than our own tutor Cecile! She teaches us third years Professional Practice which is part of the Design Competition Module. The talk was on how to set up our own studio / how to plan your success.  It was a really useful talk on planning and organising and tips and advice on setting up your own business/studio.

The key points and questions she posed were:

  • A Business Plan (Set up a collective)
  • Quick Pitch (Explain the basics of your business)
  • Summary (of what you’re going to sell, who to etc. what service are you providing),
  • Aims (Goals you want to achieve – short term, mid term and long term)
  • Finance (Make budgets and stick to it! What you have in your pocket and what you get/need, first year goal – budget, turn over, what you need to start) Make a cost table for business and for personal
  • Business Name (What does it say about you and your business, how does it influence potential clients? – look at other design agencies, studios names)
  • Strapline (Name, logo, key selling point – short, simple & catchy)
  • Elevator Pitch (A quick ~length of an elevator journey~ spiel to leave an impression – who are you? what do you do? etc)
  • Background (Resume – quick document of creative skills, education, hobbies, experience, jobs etc.)
  • Why (why start your own studio? Be sure!)
  • What do you sell? (Products? Service? Both? Consultancy?)
  • Analyse clients (who is going to buy product/service? is it business to business or to individuals? What factors helps your client use you – location? prompts? etc. ) How much money can you make from the client (hourly?)
  • Market research/ Marketing strategy Who is it you want to work with/for? Where are they? How can you capture interest in your business?
  • Make a plan Make a table/grid with a plan for everything on it
  • Generate word of mouth Business cards, portfolio, newsletters, leaflets, calls. Face-to-face, trade shows, fairs, festivals, exhibitions, websites.
  • USP – Unique selling point – what makes you unique?
  • Monthly strategy for social media post about your work and what you are doing but also share other hobbies, inspirations, heroes, studio culture etc.
  • Competitor Analysis:  Analyse/think about other students/artists/designers. S.W.O.T – Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, Threat. Who are they? Where are they? What do they sell? How much? -list own weaknesses and solve them
  • Rules and regulations, external factors that effect business/industry
  • Operations and logistics, manage cash flow, how/where do you sell goods? VAT  (depends how much you earn)
  • Organising sales, if you aren’t together with your products – close the store, open for limited times, make sure you have stock
  • Back up plan! have at least one, what can you do at the beginning to make sure you get money in? Make your own luck!
  • Collaboration, is the new black – find who’s good at what and utilise them
  • Make sure to do self initiated projects when you don’t have work to do! Keep the work flow in and production of new work
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