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Ultimate productivity hacks to grow your designing business in 2022



Growing any business in the era of COVID can be daunting. Not only is the management getting more challenging in these volatile times, but the constantly evolving market situation also makes it difficult for businesses to come up with effective strategies.

Ultimate productivity hacks to grow your designing business in 2022

Whether we talk about a website or graphic design, we are essentially talking about a billion-dollar industry that is growing with every passing day. One of the most effective ways to ensure that your team is performing at its best is by giving them the right environment, adequate process documentation, and tools to thrive.

The design services industry was valued at $153.2 billion in 2018. In 2022, the industry is estimated to be valued at $253.4 billion with a CAGR of 13% from the previous year.

Even though designing businesses continue to flourish owing to highly effective tools and software that help designers create stunning visuals. Equipped with such tools, there is no limit to the possibilities that designers can explore in terms of their designs and outputs.

Even then, one of the most persistent challenges that plague the designing industry today is a lack of productivity. Before delving deeper into how these productivity challenges can be resolved, let us start by understanding the root causes of these challenges.

Productivity challenges for designing businesses

If you have a designing business, you have undoubtedly faced several challenges and roadblocks on the way. But the spirit of weathering them would be of little use if you are still battling a productivity crisis after setting up. Now, most businesses can sustain these kinds of obstacles, but when you are a growing designing business, they can slow down your hard-earned momentum.

Let us look at some of the primary challenges that affect the designing industry today:

Unending Feedback Loop

Try as you may, to keep your internal and external communications on track, managing feedback can get challenging. Obviously, every business needs to give importance to their client's expectations. 

Designers strive to constantly innovate and create unique and impressive work, which is an essential part of your designing business. In this regard, Feedback loops can be instrumental in establishing a steady flow for your internal and external quality processes. But then, getting stuck in a constant to and fro with your client can be counterproductive. 

This unending feedback loop needs to be avoided so that designers can have their creative freedom and generate consistently great work. By making communication channels stronger and more optimised, businesses can effectively increase their productivity and creativity.

Overload of Communication

How many times have you found yourself or your employees encumbered with a pile of different communication lines? Surely, more often than you would like to admit.

A communication overload tends to paralyse employees and teams, and if it happens across the organisation, even your entire business. Effective communication is not just an advantage, but an actual requirement for businesses to run smoothly. Without that, your designing business can often suffer the brunt of problematic communication cycles.

Let’s be honest: communication overload is not a challenge specific to designing businesses, but they surely find themselves plagued by it. If left unattended, it can slow down your growth, and restrict your overall business output.

Inefficient Office Environment

An efficient office environment can act as a catalyst, and enhance your team’s capabilities. The smallest things such as the lighting, the air conditioning and noise can impact your team’s output. This is true, especially for designing businesses that heavily rely on creative energies.

More than 85% of employees admit to being disengaged or distracted at work which can lead to severe loss in productivity.

Ensuring employees' well-being and performance can impact their productivity in designing businesses, or any business for that matter. Boosting employees’ moods and psychological state of mind.

Ultimate Productivity Hacks to Grow Your Designing Business

Now that we have discussed the primary productivity challenges that designing businesses face, here are a few hacks that can help.

Encourage Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcuts are not always as bad as they are promoted to be. When used right, they can relieve you of unnecessary redundancies and smoothen the flow of your processes. In that spirit, give keyboard shortcuts a chance, maybe?

If you have been a designer for a long time, this should not come to you as a surprise. Designing businesses thrive on producing a maximum number of designs in a short period of time. In fact, your volume can be the differentiating factor that puts you ahead or behind your competition.

With that kind of time-crunch, every stroke and click that you can reduce to boost productivity can improve your daily workflow. Encourage learning and using keyboard shortcuts in your team so that every member can save valuable seconds that they would otherwise spend on scouting for specific options.

Invest in Powerful Workstations

Again, if you are a thriving and growing designing business, there is no excuse for having your teamwork on mediocre workstations. Remember, your team is only as powerful as the computers they use. You need to have computers that are rich in features and help your designers accomplish things more efficiently.

The right computer that tailors to your specific requirements can make all the difference in terms of your output volume. For designers, it can significantly raise the number of effective designs they are able to produce.

As a growing designing business, you must ensure to have computers that have higher processing powers, so that your designers can get more done in less time. Better workstations will help designers be more productive and have faster turnaround times. Win-win for your business, right?

Automate Repeated Tasks

When you have a designing business that produces consistent designs over a period of time, you are bound to have tasks that get repeated across such projects. It would bode well for designing businesses to find a way to automate such repetitive tasks. It would save you a lot of time, and in some cases, even costs.

Task automation is by far one of the most effective ways to reduce friction and reduce the productivity of processes across industries. In a lot of ways, designing is a flexible field and rarely becomes entrenched in economies of scale. However, you have the option of leveraging multiple task management and project management tools to enable task automation.

Using tools like Asana, Wave and FreshBooks, designing businesses can automate time-consuming tasks such as client follow-ups, and invoice settlements. As a result, your team will have enough time and energy to focus on the core tasks that demand their creative skills.

Balance Tasks and Breaks

All work and no play does make Jack a dull boy. More importantly, when this happens in your team, they might lag behind on tasks and be less productive. Every team and individual works towards finding the right work-life balance. After all, people thrive on well-defined breaks between important tasks.

Contrary to popular belief, businesses should prioritise breaks for employees just as much as tasks. Maintaining a steady balance of tasks and breaks can help design businesses maximize employee productivity and encourage them to perform better.

To make these breaks more effective, encourage your team members to take a break whenever they are feeling less productive. A break from work will help employees switch off and rejuvenate, thus helping them be more active and productive.

Organise Creative Workshops and Sessions

Designers need to be creative and thrive from exercises and tasks which can encourage innovation. One of the best ways to do this is by organising frequent creative workshops and sessions.

You can integrate insights about the industry, and knowledge about the recent trends in such sessions and upgrade the output from your team. These workshops can also allow for an open flow of creative ideas and effective brainstorming that can, in turn, increase the collective productivity of your team.

What’s more, by having such workshops you can also motivate your team members to perform more efficiently, which in turn can make them more productive. Plus, learning new tools and ways to accomplish standard tasks can be quite fruitful and in turn, boost productivity.

Create Standardised Process Documentation

As discussed earlier, every growing design agency or business needs to adopt a standard operating procedure. Needless to say, having the right documentation to support your process is quite crucial.

The best way to control the internal operations and quality of your output is to standardise it as much as possible. With that in mind, the right documentation to support the standardized process will help in sharing knowledge among other things.

Having the right process documentation can also help businesses train their resources effectively in the future, and make processes more friction-free.

Incentivise Efficiency

Teams tend to perform a lot better and be more productive when they are properly encouraged. When you are running a designing business, it helps to have a better understanding of what motivates your employees.

Get acquainted with their pain points and their needs so that you can incentivise their performance in a mutually beneficial way. Your designers should not only be compensated for their efforts but also awarded additional bonuses when they exceed expectations. This would motivate them to deliver consistently high quality and be productive for longer durations.

Businesses today experiment with different kinds of incentives to motivate their employees. Right from gift cards, to fully sponsored vacations or dinners, companies go to great lengths to keep their employees satisfied.

Get Useful Tools and Software

Just like you would need to support your team with the right powerful computers, you would also need to ensure that they have the right tools at their disposal.

It is important for designing businesses to invest in the right tools and software for helping people with their workload. Apart from the conventional design software, equip your team members with task and project management tools that can increase their productivity.

For instance, tools like ProofHub and Adobe Photoshop can be of help in proofing and finalising high-quality and attractive designs for your website as well as clients’ needs. These tools can also make it easier for you to manage multiple design projects effectively.

Get Rid of Clutter

They say one of the most effective ways to ensure that you are productive and efficient is to keep everything clutter-free.  Sure, you may always have multiple design projects to deal with at a time. However, it is always a good idea to take an organised approach towards it.

If you use multiple communication channels and processes to deal with every aspect of your project or task, you may end up experiencing delays. Instead, start with an effective way to manage your projects and make it easier for your team to accomplish individual tasks within those projects.

Doing so will ensure that your employees are more productive and perform more effectively towards delivering qualitative results.

Stand Behind Detailed Briefs

You may think the usual briefs with the basic task details may be enough to deal with your design requirements. But the truth is that without detailed briefs, your team may spend a lot of time looking for more clarity.

Detailed briefs ensure that there is little to no ambiguity or confusion in the requirements so that your employees can translate them into their designs. It can also help your employees understand the exact requirements more effectively, reducing the possibility of extensive edits and ensuring higher productivity.

Key Takeaways

Productivity is a major challenge for many businesses - not just the ones in the designing industry. As businesses continue to look for innovative ways to get rid of this challenge, using small hacks can go a long way in resolving it. With that in mind, designing businesses can take proactive steps such as organising creative workshops, creating standardised process documentation and acquiring relevant tools and software. What’s more, even small but valuable hacks such as using keyboard shortcuts, and maintaining a balance between work and breaks can help you maximise productivity within your team.

Article by Hazel Raoult: DCP Web Design London

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