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Put a Stop to Endless Design Revisions for Clients: A Guide for Agency Owners

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It’s been well over a decade since I first presented a design to a client, and in that time I have learned a lot. Experience and trials have taught me how to deal with revision requests and how to guide the client towards the best result.

If you’ve also been in this business for a while, you have probably come across a client (or more) “from hell”—as someone so eloquently put it once. Revision requests can become the bane of any agency designer, and being caught up in a never-ending cycle of “change this” and “try that” is anyone’s worst nightmare. This is especially true if you, as an agency owner, are outsourcing the design work.

I’m not saying that revision requests are bad; on the contrary, in a good work relationship they can be a sign of trust, respect, and a way to strive for the best outcome. But when the revisions just keep coming, they’re a strain on the client, the agency, and the designer alike.

Design revisions as standard business practice

As far as the client is concerned, we can assume that the revision requests are just their way of trying to communicate their intention of getting the design they aim for. But we must keep in mind that the client usually can’t explain the intuitive aesthetics perception with words. Sometimes when asking for changes and corrections, the client is just doing their best to communicate their ideal.

An outsourced designer, on the other hand, works with the “data at hand.” They can only interpret the information they receive from the agency, and create a design based on that. And this can become a problem. If the agency is interpreting and filtering the client’s ideas, they can nudge the designer into their own desired direction. But this isn’t always a correct interpretation, and the game of revisions and design versions begins.

So what you can do about it? There’s no way to eliminate the need for revisions, but there are ways to significantly reduce the number of revisions. The more you understand what a client wants and the goals they’re aiming for, the more likely you’ll be able to provide your designer with the information necessary to create the design your client wants from the start.

diagram illustrating Difference Between Panic and Peace of Mind in the design process

Select the right designer for your project

The first question is, who should you outsource to? In recent years the number of companies offering cheap design work with unlimited revisions has grown considerably. They are a response to the need of agencies to keep their costs down. For certain types of projects, this works perfectly well.

A company offering “unlimited revisions” is only doing so because they are not the “crème de la crème” on the market—and they know that. Hence, they counterbalance it by offering to do as many revisions as needed. “Unlimited rounds of revisions” either says a client can’t make up their mind, a client is unprepared, or a graphic designer can’t get things right.

But the goal of a design project should not be about wandering in the land of revisions. Design professionals aim to complete their work in a reasonable amount of time and with as few rounds of revisions as possible. There are plenty of white label design agencies and freelancers who are more than capable of delivering good results. Outsourcing to a mid-tier designer should be where you start.

Get as much information as you can from the client

Selecting the designer can be either your first step or your last step. Regardless, your first task should be to collect as much information as you can from your client. You have to make sure that you truly understand what the client is expecting from you.

Your client is not an expert—this is why they hired you in the first place. If you can, have a conversation with the designer before telling your client that you have everything you need from them. Find out whether your designer has any additional question or requires further explanations on certain aspects of the project.

Manage your client’s expectations during the design process

Explain to the client exactly what the deliverables will be, what programs will be used to create the design, what types of files you’ll provide, and how many revisions are included in your quote. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the situation where you deliver a design done in Photoshop and your client asks you for a Word version instead (which might almost double the time that your designer will spend on the project). Or you get more revision requests than you accounted for when you calculated your investment for the project.

A client may not know exactly what constitutes a “round of revision”—it can be a vague term for someone not familiar with design jargon. You should explain what constitutes a round of revisions, which is certainly not a complete redesign.

In your proposal, clearly specify number of rounds of revisions included in your proposal, or a fixed amount of time that you believe will be needed for revisions. Mention the surcharge which will be applied for additional time spent on revisions.

Make sure you work with decision-makers

The worst thing that can happen is working with a large company with multiple contacts—and I’m talking from experience. In situations like this, things tend to go two ways: you either rock the design and there is a consensus of WOW (fat chance of that happening), or your “contacts” are (usually) lower-ranked employees who overnight have become art critics—and that spells disaster. These critics will all have their own vision on how the design should look like, and they will all want to impress the boss. If you end up in a situation like this, there are two reasonable solutions:

  1. Convince the boss to select one person to be the only point of contact besides the boss, and they both should attend your meetings.
  2. You reject the project out of hand. If you don’t, you risk an endless mess of contradictory feedback, revision requests, and will probably end up losing the client—or your mind.

Not all clients are a good fit

It’s important to have a system that will filter out clients who are not a good fit. Most marketing agencies do a qualification call just for this purpose. I’m sure most of you already have a list of red flags, but here are a few that we often encounter:

  • Lack of respect from clients who repeatedly fail to show up at meetings.
  • Micromanaging the process.
  • Looking to cut costs and belittling your expertise by saying things like, “This shouldn’t take more than ‘X’ hours; my son could probably do it in a couple of hours if he put his mind to it;” or “I could do it myself, I just don’t have the time.”
  • Clients who come to you with a design that’s partially done but just want “a few improvements.” Most of the time, those little improvements will take just as much time as a complete redesign (if not more) and the client will expect to pay less than they would for a brand-new design
  • Clients saying things like, “I want to be blown away when I see the design;” “I want the WOW factor;” “I want to be impressed;” etc. This usually suggests unreasonable expectations which are not focused on coming up with an effective design that would be suitable for the company’s target audience, but rather appealing to the client’s personal preferences or their desire to impress friends and family, which is highly subjective and will most likely have a negative impact on their efforts to generate leads for their business.
  • Clients collecting proposals from many other companies or requesting “free samples” to help them decide whether they want to work with you or not.
  • Clients who have tried several other agencies before. This can definitely happen, but it’s also possible that the problem was the client, not the service provider, so you should find out why the client was unhappy with their previous service providers before deciding to take them on.

How to successfully present a design to your client

Ideally, when it’s time to present a design, you will have developed a solid, trust-based relationship with the client, and you’ve collected relevant information about their business and their expectations and goals. This allows for a delicate, but more candid conversation.

Here are some of the steps we’ve implemented through the years as far as design presentation goes:

  • The best way to present the design to the client is in a meeting, not through email. You can send the design to the client via email shortly before the meeting begins, but don’t give him/her days to evaluate it before the presentation.
  • Make sure you understand the logic behind all the design choices that have been made. Have the designer provide you with explanations you can refer to when you present the design to the client. Understanding what impact each design choice has on the user experience, on conversions, and on project goals will not only minimize revision requests, but will also be proof of your professionalism which will fortify your relationship with your client.
  • Encourage the client to NOT consult their friends and family about the design, but instead try and look at the design from their target audience’s point of view. An effective conversion-focused design will appeal to the target audience. Trying to please everyone is not only impossible, but can have a negative impact on conversions.
  • Never offer multiple concepts to choose from (unless we’re talking about a logo design). Instead, show the client one design that you consider to be the best solution for their business. Presenting more than one option is practically forcing them to become art directors or marketing specialists, and having to figure out what they’re paying you to figure out. In many cases, clients will ask for a combination of the designs that you provide, which could end up being the worst possible design choice, since combining completely different designs can have a disastrous effect on both the visual aspect and the user experience.
  • If the client has any objections to the design presented, you can either explain your design choices, explain how those changes will affect conversion, or ask your designer to come up with a compromise which will both please the client and avoid having a negative impact on the effectiveness of the design.

Mood boards: To do or not to do

Many marketing agency owners choose to present one or more mood boards (a collection of ideas) to their clients prior to doing the actual design. The majority of clients, however, don’t understand the purpose of mood boards, and aren’t qualified to decide on a design style or direction after seeing a mood board. Also, if the client is not qualified to decide what the best design approach should be, their choice can have a negative impact on conversions and marketing if they choose a design style that’s not the best option for their target audience.

Mood boards are best used when working with an outsourced white label design services provider and your creative director wants to make sure that the designer fully understands the design approach that your company is looking to get. A professional designer is able to interpret a mood board, and having one can save time and minimize the amount of changes if your designer knows exactly what they’re expected to deliver.

How to obtain the best results from your designer

The best way to minimize revisions is to make sure your designer fully understands the project requirements. This can be established through a few simple steps:

  1. Provide a clear and concise project brief.
  2. If you do discovery with your clients, you can share with the designer the information gathered from the discovery meetings that is relevant to the design (list of your client’s competitors, ideal customer persona and other information about your client’s business, client’s goals, client’s target audience, examples of designs that the client likes/dislikes).
  3. Don’t be reluctant to answer questions. Many agency owners don’t want to be constantly bothered with questions by their designers; however, it could save time if things are clarified before the work is done, rather than having to spend a lot of time later making adjustments and trying to compensate for things that have been overlooked in the project brief.
  4. Have the copy ready.
  5. If you order the copy after the design is completed, then provide a wireframe, or ask the designer to come up with a wireframe, prior to moving forward with the actual design. This will ensure you’re both on the same page and it’s much faster to revise a wireframe then a finalized design.
  6. Provide clear feedback. Rather than telling the designer exactly what to do, you might want to explain in your own words what the problem is and ask them what they think the best solution should be. You might be surprised to find out there are options that you haven’t considered. When you work with an experienced designer, it’s like going to the doctor: they tell you how to fix the problem and don’t expect you to decide what the best treatment should be.

Successfully manage the client relationship during the design process

Managing client relationships is a delicate matter with many nuances. These strategies have helped us refine our client communications and develop positive relationships that are crucial to our business success.

If you set expectations upfront, keep clients informed every step of the way, and work with a professional outsourced designer, you can stem the flood of revisions by explaining the entire design process and the logic behind your work.

If you stay professional, create a great design piece, and can explain to clients your reasons for doing things a certain way, clients will appreciate all the hard work you’ve put into paving their way for success.

Via AB

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Unveiling the Digital Evolution: Web2 vs. Web3 – Understanding the Shift Towards Decentralization and Blockchain

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Introduction:

The transition from Web2 to Web3 marks a significant paradigm shift in the ever-evolving Internet landscape. Web2, characterized by centralized platforms like Facebook and Google, is giving way to Web3, a new era embracing decentralization and blockchain technology. This article delves into the differences between Web2 and Web3, exploring the implications of this digital evolution on our online experiences and interactions.

Understanding Web2:

Web2, the current internet era, is dominated by centralized platforms that control and shape our online activities. Companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon have established themselves as giants, offering services that rely on centralized servers and databases to function. Users interact with these platforms through interfaces designed and controlled by the companies, giving rise to concerns over data privacy, censorship, and control.

The Rise of Web3:

Web3 represents a departure from the centralized model of Web2, embracing decentralization and blockchain technology. In Web3, users have greater control over their data and digital identities, thanks to decentralized networks that operate without a central authority. Blockchain, the underlying technology powering Web3, enables secure and transparent transactions, smart contracts, and decentralized applications (dApps).

Key Differences Between Web2 and Web3:

Centralization vs. Decentralization:

One of the fundamental distinctions between Web2 and Web3 is the approach to centralization. Web2 relies on centralized servers and platforms controlled by a single entity, while Web3 operates on decentralized networks where power is distributed among participants. This shift towards decentralization in Web3 promotes transparency, security, and user empowerment.

Data Ownership and Privacy:

In Web2, users often surrender their data to centralized platforms, which can lead to privacy concerns and data breaches. Web3, on the other hand, prioritizes data ownership and privacy by leveraging blockchain technology to give users control over their personal information. This shift empowers individuals to manage and monetize their data securely.

Trust and Security:

Centralized platforms in Web2 require users to trust the platform provider with their data and transactions. In Web3, trust is established through decentralized consensus mechanisms, such as blockchain’s immutability and transparency. This enhanced security model in Web3 reduces the risk of fraud, censorship, and manipulation, fostering a more trustworthy digital environment.

Implications of Web3 Adoption:

Decentralized Finance (DeFi):

Web3 has paved the way for decentralized finance (DeFi) applications that offer financial services without intermediaries. DeFi platforms leverage blockchain technology to enable peer-to-peer transactions, lending, borrowing, and trading, revolutionizing the traditional financial sector.

NFTs and Digital Ownership:

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have gained popularity in the Web3 space, allowing users to tokenize and trade unique digital assets. From digital art to virtual real estate, NFTs enable creators to establish ownership rights and monetize their creations securely and transparently.

Decentralized Social Networks:

Web3 is fostering the development of decentralized social networks that prioritize user privacy, content ownership, and censorship resistance. These platforms aim to empower users by giving them control over their data and interactions, challenging the centralized model of social media in Web 2.

Conclusion:

The transition from Web2 to Web3 represents a transformative shift in the digital landscape, emphasizing decentralization, blockchain technology, and user empowerment. As we embrace the principles of Web3, we are moving towards a more transparent, secure, and inclusive Internet ecosystem that prioritizes data ownership, privacy, and trust. By understanding the differences between Web2 and Web3, we can navigate this digital evolution with awareness and adaptability, shaping the future of the Internet for generations to come.

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10 Tips to Launch Franchise Business Successfully

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Franchising has become a popular avenue for aspiring entrepreneurs to enter the business world with a proven concept and support system. However, launching a franchise business successfully requires careful planning, strategic execution, and a strong understanding of the franchising landscape. In this article, we’ll explore ten essential tips to help you launch your franchise business on the path to success.

1. Introduction to Franchise Business

Before delving into the tips, it’s crucial to understand the concept of franchising. A franchise is a business model in which an entrepreneur (franchisee) purchases the rights to operate a business under an established company’s brand, systems, and support (franchisor). Franchising offers a balance between independence and guidance, allowing franchisees to leverage the success of a proven business model while receiving ongoing support from the franchisor.

2. Understanding Franchising

What is a franchise?

A franchise is a contractual agreement between the franchisor (the owner of the business concept) and the franchisee (the individual or entity purchasing the rights to operate the business). The franchisee pays an initial fee and ongoing royalties in exchange for the right to use the franchisor’s brand, trademarks, and operating systems.

How does franchising work?

Franchising works by replicating a successful business model across multiple locations through independent entrepreneurs. The franchisor provides the franchisee with training, support, marketing materials, and ongoing guidance to ensure consistency and brand integrity.

3. Research and Analysis

Before diving into franchising, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and analysis. This includes market research to identify potential locations, target demographics, and competitive landscape. Understanding the market demand and consumer preferences will help you choose the right franchise opportunity that aligns with your goals and interests.

4. Choosing the Right Franchise

Assessing personal interests and skills

When selecting a franchise, consider your passions, skills, and experience. Choose a business that resonates with your interests and expertise to increase your chances of long-term success and satisfaction.

Evaluating franchise opportunities

Evaluate franchise opportunities based on various factors such as brand reputation, track record, financial stability, and franchisee support. Look for franchises with a proven concept, strong brand presence, and comprehensive training and support programs.

5. Legal Considerations

Franchise agreements

Review the franchise disclosure document (FDD) and franchise agreement carefully to understand your rights, obligations, and financial commitments. Seek legal counsel to ensure you fully comprehend the terms and conditions outlined in the agreement.

Legal obligations and requirements

Comply with all legal requirements and regulations governing franchising in your jurisdiction. This includes obtaining necessary licenses and permits, adhering to labour laws, and maintaining transparency in your business operations.

6. Financial Planning

Initial investment

Determine the initial investment required to launch your franchise, including franchise fees, equipment, inventory, and marketing expenses. Develop a comprehensive business plan and budget to forecast your financial projections and ensure you have adequate funding to sustain your business until it becomes profitable.

Ongoing costs and expenses

Consider ongoing costs such as royalties, advertising fees, rent, utilities, and employee wages when calculating your expenses. Monitor your financial performance closely and make adjustments as needed to stay within budget and maximize profitability.

7. Marketing and Branding

Developing a marketing strategy

Create a marketing strategy to promote your franchise and attract customers. Utilize a mix of online and offline marketing tactics, including social media, email campaigns, local advertising, and community outreach, to build brand awareness and drive sales.

Building brand awareness

Leverage the franchisor’s brand recognition and marketing resources to establish your presence in the market. Maintain consistency in branding, messaging, and customer experience across all touchpoints to enhance brand loyalty and credibility.

8. Training and Support

Franchisor support programs

Take advantage of the training and support programs offered by the franchisor to learn the ins and outs of running the business successfully. Attend training sessions, workshops, and conferences to enhance your skills and knowledge in areas such as operations, marketing, and customer service.

Training for franchisees

Invest in training for yourself and your staff to ensure everyone is equipped with the skills and expertise required to deliver exceptional products and services. Continuous learning and development are essential for staying competitive and adapting to changing market trends.

9. Launching Your Franchise

Preparing for the grand opening

Plan a grand opening event to generate excitement and attract customers to your new franchise location. Offer special promotions, discounts, and giveaways to encourage attendance and create a memorable experience for your guests.

Implementing marketing campaigns

Execute targeted marketing campaigns leading up to the grand opening to generate buzz and drive foot traffic. Utilize social media, local advertising, and public relations tactics to reach your target audience and maximize attendance at your event.

10. Maintaining Success

Monitoring performance

Track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as sales, customer satisfaction, and employee productivity to gauge the success of your franchise. Identify areas for improvement and implement strategies to address any challenges or issues that arise.

Adapting to market changes

Stay informed about industry trends, consumer preferences, and competitive developments to adapt your business strategies accordingly. Be flexible and open to change, continuously seeking opportunities for growth and innovation to stay ahead of the curve.

Conclusion

Launching a franchise business can be a rewarding and lucrative venture when done right. By following these ten tips and investing time, effort, and resources into planning, preparation, and execution, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your entrepreneurial goals.

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Unveiling Financial Secrets: The Power of Monitoring Your Tax Code for Maximum Wealth Growth

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Introduction

In the realm of personal finance, one often overlooked yet crucial aspect is ensuring that your tax affairs are in order. Finance expert Laura Pomfret emphasizes the significance of regularly checking your tax code to avoid potential financial discrepancies. In this article, we delve into why it is essential to stay informed about your tax code, the implications of being on the wrong code, and practical tips to maximize your earnings before the tax year-end deadline on 5th April.

Why Checking Your Tax Code Matters

Understanding the Basics:
Your tax code is a unique combination of numbers and letters used by employers and pension providers to calculate how much income tax should be deducted from your pay or pension. It determines your personal allowance and any additional factors that affect your tax liability.

Detecting Errors and Overpayments:
Errors in your tax code can lead to overpayments or underpayments of tax. Being on the wrong tax code can result in you paying more tax than necessary, leading to financial losses. Regularly reviewing your tax code can help identify any discrepancies and rectify them promptly.

The Impact of an Incorrect Tax Code

Financial Losses:
Being on an incorrect tax code can result in overpaying or underpaying taxes, impacting your disposable income. Overpaying taxes means you are losing money that could have been utilized elsewhere, while underpaying can lead to unexpected bills and penalties.

Legal Implications:
Failure to rectify errors in your tax code can have legal consequences. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may impose fines or interest charges for underpayment of taxes due to incorrect coding. Staying proactive in monitoring your tax affairs can prevent such issues.

Maximizing Your Earnings Before the Deadline

Best Time to Contact HMRC:
Laura Pomfret suggests calling HMRC early in the morning or late in the afternoon for quicker assistance with any tax code-related queries. Avoid peak times when call volumes are high to receive more efficient support.

Utilizing Tax-Efficient Strategies:
Before the end of the tax year on 5th April, consider utilizing tax-efficient strategies such as maximizing contributions to pensions or ISAs, claiming eligible expenses, and reviewing investment portfolios for potential gains.

Conclusion

In conclusion, checking your tax code is a fundamental aspect of managing your finances effectively. By staying vigilant and proactive in monitoring your tax affairs, you can avoid financial losses, and legal implications, and maximize your earnings within the current tax year. Take control of your financial well-being by regularly reviewing your tax code and seeking guidance from experts like Laura Pomfret to ensure you are making the most out of your money.

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