3 thoughts on 6 months in business

Today is our half-birthday. Yup, we are 6-months-old. Back in April when we made this thing official, we had great ideas, but had yet to get down to the business of business. So, now with these 183 days under our belts, we’d like to take a moment to breathe and see what comes to mind.

Here are our 3 thoughts on 6 months in business:

  1. We knew when we started our company that we couldn’t be all things to all people. We needed to focus on what we do best, and partner with those that were the best at what they do. We also knew we needed to come to terms with the fact that some things are simply not what we could, or should do. When dealing with our skills and services, it’s usually pretty easy to determine how to apply that rule. However, it’s not always easy when you apply this to your clients. As a young company, trying to find your footing, you’re willing to work for anyone who will hire you. You never want to say no. You are so anxious just to be busy. Doing work means getting more work,right? Well, not exactly. Doing good work begets good work. It has to be good work. And good work is not only a product of the designer’s skill, the designer’s inspiration and the designer’s labor. Good work comes from good clients. The most important ingredient can often be the good client. So what makes a good client? Well, there isn’t some proof positive test. Good clients are determined by the synergy the designer has with them. It’s all about the relationship. Some relationships are good, some are tolerable and some were just never meant to be. The good one’ are what make every day worthwhile, and the bad, well, we don’t need to discuss that. It doesn’t mean that either party is to blame or someone is wrong. It just means that it wasn’t a good match. This is what you learn: not every client is going to be a good match. And that’s okay. Recognize it and focus your energies in a more positive direction.
  2. Before we incorporated 3thought, we did a lot planning. We planned how we would approach our work, we planned how we would reach out to clients, we planned how we would set up our schedule, we planned our budget to cover all our expenses. We worked with the lawyers, with the accountants, with the mentors. We planned. We planned. We planned.But what we couldn’t plan for were the surprises. Shocker there, huh? But it’s the surprises that shape you more than anything you can plan. Sometimes those surprises have been like finding a $20 you didn’t know about in your coat pocket. Others have been more of the land mine variety. But all of them have led to an amazing journey.So thank you to all the serendipity that has brought certain people into our path. And thank you for all the invaluable lessons we have learned. We look forward to what the future holds, though we’re sure we can’t plan for most of that either.
  3. So, just what might some of that planning include? Well, we sat down and did a good ol’ fashioned SWOT analysis. Painful, but insightful. We took another look at the big picture and made a list of things to focus on in our next 6 months.
    • Join AIGA and the Plymouth Chamber. Love both, been meaning to do both, but start up capital was slim. Now is the time to really take advantage of what these organizations have to offer.
    • Have a consultation with an SBA advisor. Just want a little check up on the health of our business. Things seem to be in good shape, but it never hurts to take a little peek under the hood.
    • Expand and diversify our client roster. We think we got off to a good start, but there is still work to be done. Know anybody who might like to help us out with this one? 😉
    • Strengthen and build upon our current relationships and look to expand through their networks. This relates to the previous point.
    • Explore new avenues for revenue. We’ve started building the consulting side of our business and want to expand it further via our social media channels and possibly starting a podcast.
    • Continue to build our reputation through GOOD work, networking, our website and social media.
    • Limit our pro-bono work. We’ve built some really good relationships with some great organizations, and we’ve enjoyed helping out. But the health of our business comes first. We will continue to support our partner organizations but will not be able to give away additional work until the mortgage companies accept karma as a form of payment.
    • Lastly and probably most important to the sanity and happiness of the two of us: Do more work we enjoy. Renew our commitment to helping companies find a visual point of view. Actively seek new clients looking for brand identities and systems that work better. We are going to produce work built on sound strategy. Going to get all those 3thought muscles working. You in?
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