Keep promises to your clients

Running a business involves making many promises. Therefore, the first step towards sustaining any business is keeping those promises.

Running a business involves making many promises. Therefore, the first step towards sustaining any business is keeping those promises.

Keeping your promises is even more important when you are running a graphic design business, since many clients will rely on you to meet their deadlines.

You must always make sure that the promises you make are measurable as you will be expected to keep them no matter what it takes.

Failing to keep your promises can kill your business because news travel fast when you fail to meet your obligations. Failing to meet your obligations will dent the image of your business. A good reputation is very important if your business is to survive and you must try by all means to protect it.

A good strategic plan is also needed to differentiate your business from those of competitors. Your strategic plan should include capitalising on recent industry trends and developments, technology and your personal strengths. You must look at your strengths and turn them into a strong marketing message.

You must value your current clients. They can be a good lead to new business. It is important to nurture the relationship and treat each one of them as your big client. You must make each one of them feel important, including the smallest ones.

This will make them open up with information about other business opportunities. Don't be shy to ask current clients what other projects they are working on or are in the pipeline.

It helps to be proactive rather than waiting for opportunities to come to yo. They hardly do.

Research indicates that many small businesses and start-ups fail as a result of poor cash management. You must not let this happen to your business. Always keep an eye on the money that comes in and goes out of the business. Also make sure that money keeps coming in.

Clearly state in your payment terms and contracts that payment must be made within 30 days after delivery. In addition, you must always keep the debtors book up to date. See to it that no invoice goes unpaid for more than 30 days. You must call your debtors and find out what might be causing the delay and when is payment going to be made.

Never under-charge for your services. Not even at start-up stage. Under-charging might affect the way you will charge in future.

Charging low fees may cost you profit and you might even find yourself confined to charging low fees even when you have a big job. You must value your talent and skills, and charge accordingly from the beginning.

When subcontracting or outsourcing for services you can't provide, like printing and prepress, shop around for the best price in the market.

While a good price can be ideal for you to pay less for the service, always make sure that the quality of the final product is not compromised. The final product must be worth the price or your clients might see a substandard product and will desert your business.

Another trick that many business people do to sustain their businesses is getting a business partner. You must be strategic when choosing a business partner. Get someone who is interested in your business. This will reduce the workload but at the same time maintain the standard. Make sure that the particular person has something to contribute to the business rather than copy what you are already doing.