Risks at the start of creative business
Features of opening a design studio
The rapid growth in the number of architectural and design studios in Vladivostok is associated, firstly, with the advent of more and more real estate objects (from apartments to shopping centers), and secondly, with a low entry threshold to the market (investments are minimal, most importantly - professionalism of employees). Market participants themselves are confident that they will have more and more competitors every year. So how do you open a design studio?
Do you need it?
A smaller number of people, starting to repair, do without design projects that are beginning to order even for one-room apartments. It turns out that creating room design is becoming more and more attractive. Where to start an investor?
Alexander Danilov, Commercial Director of Five LLC
(e-mail: ): “It is worth stopping and thinking well - do you really need it? Of course, you can do a lot, but for design activities you must either understand it well or have a reliable partner artist (architect, designer). It’s difficult with a partner - creative people tend to get stuck in flocks of their own kind, and if you do not own the subject at all, sooner or later you’ll be left with nothing. Well, in order to open, you need technical equipment and a legal entity, new or existing.
The technology requirements are tough. The designer needs a special computer - a graphic station. The features of such a machine are a large amount of RAM, a powerful processor, a large supply of hard drive capacity, a reliable video card, various input-output devices and a special monitor. For a graphic designer, the monitor is especially important. Today, the best models are the top-end LCD monitors Apple Cinema Display, LaCie, EIZO. They cost $ 1–4 thousand. Add the system unit for $ 1.5–3 thousand here. A good designer can draw with his hands. We buy a graphic tablet in A4 format. For example, an Intuos3 A4 tablet costs about $ 700. An A3 photo printer and scanner can now be bought inexpensively, for $ 1-1.5 thousand per set. Ordinary black and white laser printer for office use - $ 200-300. For reliable and fast communication, you need a dedicated line on the Internet. This is the basis, although there are many more different equipment. "
Galina Zhanuzakova, designer:
“Opening a design studio, you need to determine what goals are being pursued: the earliest possible maximization of profits, creative growth, satisfaction of personal ambitions? What exactly will you do, who is your potential customer?
You need to accurately imagine the resource that you have at the moment. This is not necessarily money. Suppose you already have a team of designers with, in your opinion, good work. Or your acquaintances can help in obtaining profitable orders. But in any case, you need to understand the subject and specifics of this business. Let's say you want to make a profit at the lowest cost. Here it is enough to simply register a company that will act as an agent. Low prices, the use of students as a workforce will allow you to stay at a certain level of profitability. With this approach, the only costs would be advertising costs and employee fees for the project. The downside of this approach is that there is no growth ceiling.
Employees are free people, there is no certainty that they will not let you down at the most crucial moment. Failure to meet deadlines. Small customers, for whom the price is above all, will turn a blind eye to this. But large ones will react to such a turn of things in a completely different way. Another approach is the gradual conquest of the market, the formation of a positive image of the company. This is a lengthy process. ”
Own design studio: Office
Vladivostok design studio owners are advised to choose an office in an easily accessible location in the city center. Recommended area - 30-40 square meters. m (rent - $ 1 thousand per month). An area for negotiations with customers should be provided. Do not immediately invest a lot of money in repairs and expensive furniture. The most important thing is ease of use.
Natalia Gorenko, Founder and Director of Design Bureau Natalie Line LLC:
“The requirements for the design office premises are functionality, ergonomics, a design solution and decoration highlights. The product must be shown face. The designer cannot sit in the barn! ”
Own design studio: Personnel
Typically, young people with minimal experience with the appropriate programs tend to consider themselves designers. However, in addition to education (it would be nice to have it) for a real specialist, the most important thing is real experience.
Galina Zhanuzakova: “At the beginning there will not be many clients, at this stage it is enough to have a director, a secretary with the functions of a manager, a leading designer who should lead the projects, and one or two designers in your company. Accounting and other functions can still be entrusted to third-party companies - at first it is more profitable. When selecting employees, pay attention to experience, quality of work performed. It is very important that the person you take understands that the most intensive work falls on the initial stage. ”
Natalia Gorenko: “The optimal number of employees depends on the amount of work. For example, our optimum is 3-5 people, among whom there are no separately architects, estimators, designers or decorators. Everyone is doing everything! We are looking for employees on the basis of newspaper advertisements and recommendations. The main thing when hiring is the psychological compatibility of the candidate with the rest of the team. Will it be a student or a skilled specialist - it does not matter, earnings entirely depend on the quality and volume of work performed.
Earnings on the side do not welcome. Of course, everyone can help friends or relatives. But just not to the detriment of the main work, i.e. without wasting time and resources of our company on an external project. And if a person is ripening for independent work, there is nothing to stop him. Such is life — all the chicks someday grow up and leave the nest. ”
Own design studio: No customers. What to do?
Alexander Danilov: “Organize sales. The design studio in this respect is similar to a security agency - if there are no objects for work, it incurs losses. No one will come to you on the sole ground that you have invested in this new business for you. The customer needs to be sought. The main thing in the design business is to have a customer. But you need to have him so that he doesn’t “fuck” you later, i.e. contractual relationships, draft approvals, meeting minutes, and documented changes to projects are very important.
Many failures in this matter lie in the lack of understanding by creative people that design is the same business as selling cosmetics or gasoline. All relations between the customer and the client should be reflected on paper. And if you made a project without a contract, you gave it to the customer honestly, that is, a chance not to see the money at all. ”
It remains to add that in Vladivostok, there are a lot of competitors who want to invest in this seemingly easy business. Every year, universities graduate new specialists - artists, architects, designers. There are still crash courses and self-taught amateur. They all want money, and many dump, poorly imagining what costs any enterprise incurs. In order to return the funds invested in the creation of the company and earn, good orders are needed. Many, having invested $ 20-40 thousand in the hope of making money in this area, eventually come to small-scale production of tablets and seals. It’s safer to just buy a guest room and rent it out!
Galina Zhanuzakova: “The problem is that the client wants to see the finished work, but the young company does not have it yet. In this case, I recommend doing several projects “for myself”. Also, at first it makes sense to work with already well-known companies on certain partnership conditions. For example, we started working with the Real Estate Fund. We are developing interior options for apartments in the houses under construction of this company, and they recommend us to their customers. As a result, your customers should recommend your company to their friends. ”
Natalia Gorenko: “At present, this business feeds, but the profit is small, to increase it takes time and patience. And by and large, it’s not a business in the full sense of the word - it’s a paid job. ”
Many companies starting in the field of graphic design, cease to exist in the first year of life. This is due to the fact that most beginners in this field are professional designers who are not ready for a large amount of creative work - administrative, organizational, accounting.
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