A graphic design company is something you can run full-time, as a side hustle, or in conjunction with another venture. It’s also a business that can be run out of your home or a traditional office. This sort of flexibility makes it highly attractive. But if you’re going to launch a graphic design venture, you need to be diligent about building a strong foundation and getting off to the right start.
4 Tidbits of Wisdom for Starting a Graphic Design Business
The graphic design industry features extremely low barriers to entry. While this may be “bad” for competition, it’s advantageous for an entrepreneur like yourself who is looking for a way to get started. But in order to be successful, you’ll need a plan. Here are some specific tips that will increase your chances of being successful.
- Start an LLC
If you’re serious about running a graphic design business, you’ll want to be disciplined in how you set up the company. Not only will this help you out from a tax perspective, but it could also provide much-needed legal protection in case something bad happens. Especially in the case of entering a partnership, there are some important things to do like writing an LLC operating agreement.
While there are numerous types of business structures, an LLC is probably your best bet at this stage of the game. Despite offering significant protection, they tend to be extremely light on rules, which gives you some flexibility in how you run your graphic design business.
Every state is different, but take Texas as an example. With a Texas LLC, you can complete all paperwork online, and there’s no need for annual meetings or a board of directors. You can also make simple changes with very little bureaucracy involved.
- Establish a Brand Identity
As mentioned, graphic design is a highly competitive field. In order to find success, your business has to stand out. One way to do this is by establishing a unique, recognizable brand identity.
Most people assume that a brand identity is defined by its logo, color palette, and slogan – but these are merely elements of the big picture.
“When we begin a branding project, we approach each phase from a philosophical and highly critical standpoint,” says Nate Butler of Column Five Media. “We want to inspect, poke, and prod until we get to the core of a brand. Then we get down to business.”
In Butler’s opinion, a good brand identity is well thought out. As you hone your own brand, try to make it distinct, memorable, scalable, cohesive, and easy to apply.
- Start With Your Expertise
While most graphic design businesses eventually expand to include a variety of services, your best bet is to start by focusing on the one or two types of design that you’re best at. Others may disagree with this strategy, but the point is this: When you start with your best, you make an impression – it gets your foot in the door. You can then parlay your talents into bigger projects and clients.
- Seek Out Referrals
Getting your first few clients is the most difficult part of growing a business. Offer to do some pro-bono work for non-profits or small businesses in your area and try to wow them with your work. You can then set up a referral strategy for bringing in paying clients through word of mouth marketing.
Success is in the Details
When you drive by a nice house, your eyes immediately gravitate to the landscaping, architecture, and aesthetics like siding, windows, and doors. And while it’s easy to get swept away by what you see, the truth is that the home’s quality is determined by what you can’t see – the foundation that’s underground, the framing that’s hidden by drywall, and the plumbing and electrical components that are discreetly tucked behind cabinets and underneath floors. If any of these elements are compromised, the house will cease to be safe or functional.
Whether you’re launching a graphic design company or a non-profit healthcare firm, the future success of your business depends on the integrity of the foundational elements. If you don’t get these building blocks right, everything else will suffer as a result.
Hopefully this article has provided you with a few keen insights on how you can lay the groundwork for a successful and thriving graphic design business. While there’s no single formula for success, smart choices made today will produce positive results tomorrow.