I read with interest Suzanne Hinchliffe’s article ‘A leap of faith’ (DW 7 May).
As the founder of a product design consultancy that started in 2005, I would like to raise a few other points to those considering going it alone.
Carry out a sanity check.
Not all designers are commercially astute – many lack the fundamentals of running a business. Although you could have creative brilliance, this won’t pay the bills if the business side of things is not managed correctly.
Don’t be tempted to enter the market based on the USP of cost. Any start-up can think this is a good idea and an easy way to gain vital new business.
But this will affect established businesses which have larger overheads. In the longer term it will also affect the start-up business as it grows, under the realisation that the original fees charged cannot be sustained.v Get yourself a mentor or non-executive director. He or she doesn’t need to have design experience, but must possess the business skills that any new venture will need.
It will also give the business commercial respectability, which is a good thing when dealing with new clients and the banks. Another good source of information is The Beermat Entrepreneur by Mike Southon.
If you are using freelance designers in your business, ensure that the intellectual property they create is contractually assigned to your business and/or the client.
There have been cases in recent times where the IP has not been clearly defined and caused all sorts of problems.
Hope this helps, and good luck.
Richard Hall, Managing director, PD-M, by e-mail