The design industry can be unpredictable, even at the best of times. Vague instructions, demanding clients, and an ever-changing workscape can make it a challenge for design companies to organize an effective workflow structure. A poorly implemented business mapping process is one of the main reasons why eight out of ten new businesses fail, including those in the creative sector. Fortunately, most design companies specialize in coming up with innovative solutions to age-old problems. Here, we’ve laid out some of the ways that design companies can make workflow improvements by harnessing their creative side.
Define Roles and Responsibilities
In a one- or two-person operation, it’s easy to clarify who does what within a company. Once the business begins to grow, however, defining an internal hierarchy can be more of a challenge. Without a clear structure, employees won’t know their responsibilities, leading to confusion, and a loss in productivity.
When mapping out roles, there should be as little overlap as possible between employees. This can help to prevent redundancies and duplications, both of which waste time and money. In general, design companies can place workers into three distinct categories:
- Management: As in any company, design companies need a set of experts at the helm to ensure that everything is running smoothly in various departments. Management can include employees ranging from team leaders to the CEO of a company.
- Creatives: In design companies, being able to design creative artworkis a must-have. Creatives are the ones who ensure that a client’s vision comes to life and are the cornerstone of a design company’s image and reputation.
- Administration: These workers oversee daily operations such as financing, scheduling, and client relations. Administrative staff is a crucial part of any business, freeing up other workers to concentrate on the bigger picture.
Switch to Software
These days, it’s rare to see a company that isn’t taking advantage of the incredible advancements in business technology. Software is central to the daily operations of plenty of design industries, from fashion to animation. Going digital makes it easier for companies to stay organized, helping to save time, increase output, and enhance communication. There are several areas where specialized software could help streamline the operations of a design company, including:
- Tracking time in projects to ensure that everything is on schedule for delivery
- Scheduling and remembering appointments
- Talking with clients and coworkers around the world using video conferencing interface
- Assigning distinct tasks to different employees and keeping track of individual progress
- Collaborating on projects anytime, anywhere
- Simplifying the billing process
Design companies can find specialized software and apps that are optimized to suit their industry. While some software requires a simple one-time purchase, subscription services are quickly becoming a popular alternative. Often, subscription software offers useful features such as 24/7 support, off-site server storage, free updates, and more.
Automate Small Tasks
New technology isn't just making it easier to schedule appointments and keep track of projects. Now, it's easier than ever to automate repetitive or administrative tasks instead of assigning them to a worker. Not only does this save time and money, but it can also boost employee morale by allowing creatives to focus on more interesting work. You can set up an automated software program to handle specific responsibilities, or you can hire out a subscription service to automate electronic tasks for you.
Create a Formal Briefing Process
In any design industry, the ultimate key to success is customer satisfaction. It’s important to communicate as clearly as possible with clients to gain a deeper understanding of their wants and needs. It’s a good idea to implement a formal process for client requests using one or multiple forms. Creating a standardized process makes it easier to glean the necessary information from a request and deliver the best possible end product to the client. One of the easiest ways to create a briefing process is by designing an online form with fields for information such as a client’s name, their needs, their expectations, and any special requests that they might have.
Creative Workflow Improvements
While business processing can be difficult for companies within the design sector, having a streamlined workflow can make or break any business. By taking advantage of their creative strengths, design companies can take steps to create workflow improvements. With an improved workflow comes happier employees, more satisfied customers, and a healthier bottom line.
by guest contributor Jennifer Hole