10 New Years Resolution for Design Firms

To kickoff the new year I was inspired to develop a list of top 10 resolutions (plus one more for good measure) that I recommend for principals or managers of creative teams:

  1. Take a vacation — you must be happy so that others you work with are.
  2. Track your time — you need to understand how your time is actually spent and learn new ways in which your time can be better leveraged. I have written several blogs on this topic.
  3. Say “no” more often — learn the art of saying “no” and identify opportunities to push back on projects or relationships that are unhealthy or do not leverage the value of your team.
  4. Fire one client each year (or more) — it feels great and frees you up to do more profitable/creative/rewarding new work (remember when you were fired from your first job, it always ended up being a really good thing….).
  5. Do one thing on your business bucket list — whether you’ve been “meaning to” redesign your website or develop a product, just “do it.”
  6. Stop blaming others — during project, staff, or client related “challenges” stop blaming others, instead, look deeply within your own team to uncover learning and improvement opportunities that will fix the situation or prevent it from happening.
  7. Conduct more honest and frequent performance reviews — evaluate your staff and give productive feedback monthly. Give praise and honest feedback more frequently based on real examples that are fresh in everyone’s mind. Do not wait until it is too late!
  8. Proactively build new business — do not wait or rely solely on passive marketing (referrals, inbound requests); take control of where your firm is going by actively pursuing new business. Set a goal to introduce or reconnect  with at least five  new or past clients, connectors,  colleagues, mentors, or collaborators at least once a week.
  9. Read non-fiction — you do not know everything,  embrace new thinking.
  10. Raise your rates — embrace your value, price new clients accordingly.
  11. Evolve your business — check out my new Evolve Symposium

Hopefully, the above list, along with my weekly posts in 2013, will help you and your team be more productive, profitable, creative, and effective! Here is to a great new year!


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