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  • #967007
    TDGDESIGN
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    • Total posts: 29
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    Hi Everyone,

    I am in a position where I want to expand my graphic design business. Currently, I am a sole operator and work from a home office. I have been successful to date (last 14 years) but all my work has come from word of mouth. The last few years have seen a few of my good contacts retiring or getting close.
    I think I need to get a Business Development person (or partner) with fresh contacts but can’t afford to put on a salaried position at this stage. I advertised on seek last year for a commission only position but got absolutely no response.

    I am happy to consider a full partnership with the right person. My other option is to consider doing a merger with someone.

    My field of expertise is professional services (Accountants, Lawyers etc) and corporate design but I will basically do any type of design work.

    I would appreciate any comments or advice.

    Thanks.

    #1022608
    mitchcrowle
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    • Total posts: 24
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    Hey,

    I would recommend looking around for someone who is willing to work part-time, at least at the beginning (they may be a freelancer, already work part-time or have their own business interests). A previous employer of mine expanded from a sole trader to include me and a project manager/co-ordinator, and in the beginning we were both brought on only 2 days a week. This meant that there wasn’t as much pressure on our employer, and both I and the co-ordinator could continue to work on our other interests… Hope this helps!

    #1022609
    Jake@EmroyPrint
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    • Total posts: 1,117
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    Have you considered doing some advertising? Perhaps some cold calling or letterbox dropping?

    Both of those work pretty effectively for me, I’m in Print & Design.

    Regards,

    Jake

    #1022610
    Jack
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    • Total posts: 12
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    Hey!

    A good way to to attract good Business Development Mangers is to offer them commissions that are very rewarding. Then if you find that they are doing a good job you could offer them a partnership with your company to help you develop your business further.

    hope this helps.

    #1022611
    CruzAccountant
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    • Total posts: 195
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    If you have contacts in a particular market, focus advertising on that market. So, if your expertise and experience is within those professions, try and target your advertising (ie flyers, ads, etc) to places relevant to those professions.

    It would also be good to get a reference from existing clients, and also use your designs in those professions on your website or marketing collateral.

    #1022612
    TDGDESIGN
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    • Total posts: 29
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    Thanks everyone. for your comments and advice. I have tried a lot of direct mail over the years with negligible success. I think my preferred target market is driven by peer referral rather than cold calling or mailers. I just need to work harder I guess.

    However, I have not investigated the online venture Richard suggests.

    Can you give me some more details Richard?

    #1022613
    Anonymous
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    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi TDG,
    Apologies for any confusion. The post(s) made by Richard appeared to be spam and have been deleted.

    For my own two cents worth, if you’re instinct is that your business is largely driven by referral, perhaps its time to scale up your networking activities?

    Good luck with everything,
    Jayne

    #1022614
    TDGDESIGN
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    • Total posts: 29
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    Thanks Jayne.

    That puts me back to the Business Development person.

    I am not very good at networking myself. Every time I try I tend to end up talking to other designers or printers. I joined the local Chamber of Commerce and was impressed by my skills when the first person I talked to wanted to set up a business meeting the next day. However I was less impressed when the business they wanted to discuss turned out to be an certain US based distributor of household products (we all know the one).

    Oh well…

    #1022615
    Astrid
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    • Total posts: 459
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    hi there

    Isn’t there any other online platform where you could meet these people who might be interested in a merger or in collaboration (I’m just thinking loud)?
    Chamber of Commerce is not too bad for a start, is there a BEC out there where you live? Any other associations?
    What about LinkedIn? Could you post something there?

    #1022616
    TDGDESIGN
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    • Total posts: 29
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    Astrid, post: 26788 wrote:
    hi there

    Isn’t there any other online platform where you could meet these people who might be interested in a merger or in collaboration (I’m just thinking loud)?
    Chamber of Commerce is not too bad for a start, is there a BEC out there where you live? Any other associations?
    What about LinkedIn? Could you post something there?

    Thanks Astrid,

    I am on Linkedin. I am going to join AGDA but I need to redo my website first. I will look into groups as well. I thought I would try this forum first.

    #1022617
    akagrp
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    • Total posts: 315
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    Hello Barb

    It is always difficult keeping the business fresh after so many years. I know as it it something I too have always needed to do as referrals are great but they tend to be out of left field if not a formal referral system in place.

    I would suggest joining networks such as Australian Businesswomen as it not only gives you an outlet to promote your services but a great tool of learning from the members. I am a Mentor with ABN but have to say I learn so much from my Mentorees an its great to see how they support each other in the sessions, it becomes like a mastermind group.

    Try writing articles on the benefits of great design and branding and post to different sites that your target market is drawn to.

    Market yourself around Australia as a design house you could be anywhere and still be able to service the client. Invest in an online meeting program, I personally use gotomeeting cheap and allows me to service my clients around australia and overseas.

    All the best with it

    #1022618
    Astrid
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    • Total posts: 459
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    Re: AGDA, I’m not sure that you’ll find someone there to join forces, but at least you have the chance to talk to colleagues and put up an online profile.

    I think you need to find marketing people, not just business developers. Rather strategists who are looking for someone in design and advertising to compliment their services.

    #1022619
    adiaccounting
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    • Total posts: 2
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    Merging is a good idea but I advice you to first do some projects with the person with whom you want merge your business.

    Another thing which will be very awkward and interesting to you is to hire any freelancer’s services. This is probably an unconventional way but many newbie try this way and its easy to find over the internet.

    Hope my advice will be helpful to you. Please ask me if you want to know more about this option.

    Have a great day :)

    #1022620
    wordmistress
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    • Total posts: 504
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    TDGDESIGN, post: 26782 wrote:
    I am not very good at networking myself.

    Hi there. Your name is Craig, right? I’m only guessing because I looked up your website but one of the most fundamental things about networking is to get your name out there!! Who do we talk about if we mention you? How do we address you?

    Another thing is, whilst you’ve done a good thing by starting to use the Flying Solo forums for feedback and advice, you’re not making the most of every single opportunity to network.

    1. Use your name.
    2. Create a signature including your web address or a hyperlinked key phrase.
    3. Consider adding a photo of yourself as an avatar so we can ‘see’ who we’re communicating with.
    4. Don’t make it difficult for others to find you or know who you are.

    I’d love to help if you need any copywriting assistance. There is very little text on your website and your page titles don’t change with each page. Even a small amount of content can help with being found when someone searches for what you do, if it’s written appropriately. I can also help with press releases and Google Adwords campaigns.

    You need to start flying above the radar!! :)

    #1022621
    TDGDESIGN
    Member
    • Total posts: 29
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    Astrid, post: 26851 wrote:
    Re: AGDA, I’m not sure that you’ll find someone there to join forces, but at least you have the chance to talk to colleagues and put up an online profile.

    I think you need to find marketing people, not just business developers. Rather strategists who are looking for someone in design and advertising to compliment their services.

    Hi Astrid,
    Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been frantic for a few days.

    Thanks for your advice. I work with a few marketing people already but even though I am happy to do work for them, getting them to work on my business is another matter. I have done everything myself for such a long time I find it hard to delegate (I am a bit of a control freak). But I have finally decided that even though you may be able to do everything, doing it all well is another matter.
    I am redoing my website and I will join AGDA. I think you are right about it but as you said, at least it gives me another professional profile.

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