Tag Archives: design

Use Your Intuition Every Day for Business Success

When I work on a client’s materials, I am both consciously and unconsciously melding a lot of data… Consciously, I remember the things the client has told me, how I perceive their personality and energy in relationship to what they want to create. I know what goals they are trying to achieve and/or what the various impressions are that they can make on their target market and how that might relate to their ideal work/clients/ROI. I may just be making a logo, but living in the back of my mind are many pathways for all their other materials, whether or not I ever get to design them, because no element exists in a vacuum.

Unconsciously I am also reading the energy of the business and the bond between the person and their business. There are probably also personality cues I pick up on that I don’t even register.

All this blends in my process, and it’s so fun to see it play out so differently from client to client as I intuitively narrow down and hone in on options, rule out directions, and juggle my working process to fit the person I am working with. Sometimes I just know a color is wrong for the person… I feel energy on letters and their unique combinations in various fonts and can see them almost like a new outfit on a person, and can “see” how it is right or wrong for the business and its aims.  In the back of my mind I am also registering design trends to some degree, and ruling things out just for the mere fact that they “feel” dated.

These are things that designers do all the time, and it amazes me how much of an influence time has on our process and instinctive skills. I can concentrate several hours of work into one or two simply by trusting my gut, and leaning into all the study I’ve done over the years. Following my intuition has been the best business skill I’ve learned for keeping myself and clients happy. I think it especially takes my client satisfaction up several notches, because my work is focused — not on maintaining my own ego — but on really paying attention and finding the ingredients that really fit the client.

Delivering something beautiful doesn’t matter if it doesn’t actually fit the purpose, need, or doesn’t “wear well” on the client.

I pride myself on being an intuitive designer, but I won’t deny a goodly amount of it is just part of the artistic/creative experience… The other half is being good with people and learning how to adjust your methods for the sake of collaboration, something essential in a service-based business.

How have your own processes, internal monologue, and methods evolved in your work? Do you ever stop and notice just how much you have to internalize and then refine to do your work? Can you see your years of experience or intuition at play? Do you trust in it, and when you do, do you find that it carries you further than you could have imagined? How does it help you in making your customers happy, and keeping them knocking on your door?

New Year, New Marketing

It’s a trend I’ve noticed… New year, new marketing. Right around the holidays, or at the jump start of January, the clients come a-callin’. They are ready to start that new website or are finally ready to build that product that’s been lurking in the back of their minds since last summer. With the Christmas gifts paid off and an enthusiastic eye toward the new year, they are ready to embark upon that next step project that will elevate them further in their business.

But maybe you aren’t feeling so certain about where to go with your marketing in 2012.

What do you do when you’re frozen, and you don’t know what to tackle next? Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the number of materials you think you need to get properly started with your business, to have a professional image. Or finances might just be feeling a little too tight after that big Christmas splurge.

Here are a few things to consider when you are asking yourself, “What’s next for my marketing?”

  • Think of marketing materials as profitability tools. What items would help increase your bottom line in an obvious or even unusual way? Can you answer more questions on your web site to save you or your assistants some bandwidth in phone calls? Have you considered adding affiliate marketing for products you love to your quarterly newsletter? Perhaps a pile of business cards in the hands of just the right referring client can get you some incredible results?
  • Go with the biggest bang for your buck. Maybe for you having a kickass illustrated logo isn’t as important as having a baseline website out there so people can start finding you. Or perhaps your industry is better served by placing a few strategic listings on websites like Citysearch and Yelp than starting right away with a full-blown web site. Be strategic in how you use your cash, especially if it’s tight. Get some outside advice from various sources on where you should start first, and work your way outward. Sometimes it’s okay to take it one step at a time.
  • Make do with something simple, if money is tight. Often we want to put out the best image we can for our business, and there are times when getting a slick image together from the get go is extremely important. But maybe you can start out with less than you think. You might want the perfect web site pronto, but while you’re gathering the cash and seeing the project through, you might be missing some important opportunities because no one can find you yet. If you are building a blog, for instance, getting your content out there and building traffic is more important than having the most beautiful blog site west of the Mississippi. Building a blog audience takes time and committed content generation, and the longer you are out there, the more friends you will find.
  • Do it yourself. There are lots of resources out there that can get you started. And who knows, maybe the rudimentary site you build on SquareSpace.com will be the baseline structure and content for YourSite 2.0. At least what you create will make the next revision that much easier. You can hire a designer or web developer and give them a running start with the site you’ve built yourself. And you will feel empowered by knowing a bit more about what they are going to need from you over the course of a project.

Don’t get me wrong… There’s no replacement for sound advice from colleagues or consultants, and there is nothing like having the right designer or developer there to build you the masterpiece you need to stand out. But trust your gut when it nudges you in the direction of your next step. If you are just starting out, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need an identity system, web site, and business cards first and foremost, “Because that’s what you are supposed to do.” The internet marketing landscape is more complex than that, and you have a business with unique needs. Either start with small, bite-sized tasks or build outward from a relevant and strong need. After all, your business is also evolving in its needs, vision, and voice and taking a more subtle approach to building your marketing will support you organically and help you save money and frustration over the long term.

Make your new year’s resolution for your business be to take your marketing further… One manageable step at a time.