There’s more to marketing and design than creativity—it takes a strong business sense, too. To borrow from marketing agency consultant David C. Baker—marketing agencies don’t go out of business for lack of creativity; they go out of business for being poorly-run businesses.
Design entrepreneur and BLDG25 co-founder Raven Manocchio recently shared some important lessons about the business of design and marketing to a packed house at 18 Seaboard, during AIGA Raleigh’s Homegrown lunch & learn series.
1) Recognize that Entrepreneurship Isn’t Linear Any More
In the past, being an entrepreneur often involved writing a binder-sized business plan up front. A business plan is still important if you’re seeking venture capital or other funding, but most entrepreneurs are better served by designing, testing, and adapting.
Raven shared the new stages of entrepreneurship–working more like a Lean Startup:
2) Accept the Nature of Day-to-Day Entrepreneurship
On a day-to-day basis, being an entrepreneur is less exciting than your friends, clients, or grandmother think it is. Raven (right) acknowledged:
“Yes, it’s boring, because it’s hard work. Hard work isn’t sexy.”
Of course, as someone who loves the operations side of marketing firms, I enjoy working magic with spreadsheets, pre-screening job candidates for interviews, and other things Raven might think of as more mundane.
3) Acknowledge that Change Happens
There’s a strong benefit to following the design-test-iterate approach. As Raven, noted:
In business and elsewhere in life, change happens. Will you be leading or following?
4) Observe Design-Trained Entrepreneurs
In promoting the importance of including good design in any new business, Raven shared a slide with logos of companies (or brands now acquired by larger companies) that were founded or co-founded by people with design training:
Of course, they couldn’t have gotten where they are today without developers and business people, too!
5) Understand Your Limitations
During the Q&A, an audience member asked for advice on how to find a good designer to help him improve his startup’s SaaS product. As a non-designer, he observed:
“We realized a business guy and a programmer with Photoshop create really ugly designs!”
In response to a question about how soon a startup should involve a design, Raven said, “in the beginning.” That answer might vary by business, but poorly-designed products and services need a lot to counterbalance the poor design.
6) Learn More at AIGA Raleigh
Question: Can you think of a product or service that succeeded in spite of being poorly designed? You can leave a comment by clicking here.