Start small, think big
As an individual who prides himself on being ‘creative’ (and self-employed), I am always on the look-out for the next big project. That big one to challenge me mentally and creatively. The big project that will pay my mortgage and enable me to retire early to a villa somewhere warm, next to a pool smothered in factor SPA30. And they called me a ‘daydreamer’ at school!
But where do you find these big projects? We’ve been told there is no ‘magic money tree’, is there a magic big project bush? How do you win those projects?
‘One fan at a time, Steve’. These are the words of Dolphus Ramseur; founder of Ramseur artist management and record label in North Carolina. He applies his ideology to everything they do. ‘Make great art, the fans will come’, he told me once. It stuck with me. Listen to your fans. Be flexible. Be prepared to adapt to their needs, likes and dislikes.
In recent years, and particularly after the Brexit result I, like most of you, have had to adapt my approach to business. Winning new work has never easy, why should it be – nothing worth doing is easy? It has become even more challenging in the face of political and economic adversity; Brexit, hung Parliament to name two contributing factors.
But economic adversity is my middle name. Plan-B Studio was born out of the dot-com crash and has survived two recessions and a global financial crisis*.
Adapt, evolve or die
You can’t afford to be complacent in business, never ever, ever, evererer. With information, technology and innovation you have to evolve, reinvent and roll with the punches.
I have a client in the automotive industry that helped me realise what this means in actual layman terms. Three years ago they brought us in for a brief that presented a great challenge. The project was large, spanning eleven new websites, with the necessity for a comprehensive overhaul of their back-office and CMS.
We spent (paid) time interviewing key stakeholders, managers, key workers in all departments, putting together a comprehensive discovery package along with a technical specification. We identified key business inefficiencies that our new product could improve. We put forward a proposal costing more than twice their original budget. To our surprise, they didn’t laugh us out of the room (neither did they sign on the dotted line). The project remained a necessity, the budget commitment required remained a sticking point.
Aside from other projects we were commissioned to do within the business, we maintained the main website project as a discussion point. Two years later with a major new dealership opening, working with the client we all had a lightbulb moment; use the new business as a platform to condense and prove our proposal for one tenth of the proposed cost of eleven new websites.
That new dealership has been open ten months. The website continues to evolve and improve and successfully operate in ways their other websites cannot. Discussions about the other ten websites is now back on the table.
We went in with the big ideas, the big proposal, the big deck (I said deck), the big numbers when really what we should have done is end that big proposal with ‘But here’s how we could start…’
Start small, think big – is identifying a smaller, more manageable, more feasible project to start whilst never losing sight of the big picture that represents the aspirations of the project’s potential.
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Starting smaller reduces the risk and exposure for both the agency and the client. It mitigates the level of commitment for the client. Provides a more comprehensive platform to test theories and ideas. Enables an idea to evolve, adapt or change completely. Allows both agency and client to learn how the other works, and for relationships to blossom with less pressure and stress that can come from a big idea.
Start small, think big requires patience. It requires investment of time, energy, passion and commitment. It doesn’t happen quickly, it won’t make you rich (quickly). It will help galvanise a better, lasting relationship upon which to build more business. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you retire earlier to that villa.
Pass me the suncream.
* Just about!http://openforideas.org/blog/2017/06/09/start-small-think-big/https://i1.wp.com/openforideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/swimmingpool.jpg?fit=1024%2C576https://i1.wp.com/openforideas.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/swimmingpool.jpg?resize=150%2C150Corporate Creativitybig,brexit,business,deck,dick,election,politics,project,small,website