business development services for the creative industry

From resolutions to revolutions

Let’s keep the wheels of new business enterprise turning.

Nearly 85% of Design Week readers believe 2010 will be a better year for design businesses, according to a recent poll at

This sentiment follows a report from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that declared the recession to be officially over. The economy could be stimulated further in 2010 by the build-up to the London Olympics, and the Football World Cup in South Africa, and of course by an incoming Government determined to kick start financial and business enterprise.

Seeking out new clients has never been so important and some innovative thinking will be required to address reduced budgets and clients demanding more for less.

Reducing overheads will always be at the forefront of design owners’ and managers’ thoughts during difficult times. The Hand offers design businesses the opportunity to operate an a la carte marketing resource that can be measured to pay for itself. Well worth considering in this economic climate.

Developing a social media strategy for 2010 – Gemma Went, Red Cube Marketing

The importance of planning is key to any marketing or pr activity. The same is true for social media activities; however there has been a worrying trend of people using these shiny new tools with no strategic thought.

It can be very exciting to churn out blog posts in a bid to get more subscribers and hits. Hell you might even get lots of comments and retweets. Which feels great. Similarly you could be spending all day chatting to people on Twitter, making connections, engaging, watching that follower count slowly rise as more and more people respond to your tweets. But think about what this time is costing you in monetary terms? And in return, what are you gaining from this huge time investment? Do you know? Do you even know why you’re doing it?

Applying the usual goals-objectives-strategies-tactics model to your social media plan will work well, but ahead of that make sure you fully understand your business plan and the top level goals that need to be achieved as these will drive your social media plan. Alongside the goals-objectives-strategies-tactics model you should also add in measurement metrics that allow you to regularly check if your objectives are being reached (and this of course needs to include ROI … the money bit). As a framework, it should look something like this:


To view these in full, click here

The goals should be those that help you to achieve your primary business objectives. There could be a number of objectives that will help you to achieve these goals and, again, a number of strategies to help you achieve each of those objectives. The tactics are the down and dirty ‘actions’ that allow those strategies to happen, which there can be many of. Once you have these, work out the metrics that can be measured to ensure your objectives are being met and put a system in place to measure these. The ROI metric should also be fed into this system to ensure the overall financial objectives are being met.

Ahead of any activity you should also measure the status quo so that you have a baseline to work from. You then need to measure regularly (monthly at least) to ensure you’re fully aware of how things are progressing.

If your current social media activities (tactics) don’t fit with your plan or help you to achieve your objectives, stop doing them. If your metrics show in time that you’re not achieving your objectives, and overall goals, work out what tactics aren’t working, stop doing them and trying something else.

I can’t stress enough how important this is. It’s a bit like shooting arrows into thin air. You may be great at shooting those arrows, but if they don’t hit the target, there’s little point.

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85% of buyers of marketing services state they're more likely to purchase from a provider with whom they've established some kind of personal chemistry.

(Tod Knutson,

I recently read this on Tod’s blog and it registered with me that this point, defines what we, at The Hand, do everyday to help our clients achieve new business success.

We already know that people prefer to do business with people they like and that some of us are natural "people people" who thrive on meeting new people and establishing new relationships. However if you are uncomfortable meeting people for the first time and establishing new business relationships, here are some helpful tips for those who would like to improve their rapport-building abilities.

Five Steps to Connect with Your Prospects

  • Be Yourself - Be Genuine
    You can't maintain a fake persona over time, so don't try to be someone you're not. Most importantly, don't try to be "salesy". Just relax and be yourself.
  • Be Sensitive to Time, But Not Pushy
    You'll never get to know someone if you use your hour talking about your agency. Too many people walk into a meeting, open up their Mac and run through a credentials presentation. Don't. You've got to come across as a real person: if you jump right into business you may create a tense environment. Start by getting to know the other person, and then use your intuition about when to make the switch to business conversation. It’s a fine line as you can’t wait too long as then they will wonder if you're just wasting their time!
  • Balance Asking Questions with Talking/Advising
    If you ask too many questions, or too personal questions too early, your conversation may feel like an interrogation. The trick is to balance smart questions with talking about you, providing real-life examples, or offering suggestions or advice. Your goal is to find a comfortable balance between the two.
  • Active Listening or actually listen
    All of us are guilty of barely listening to the person we're with, while we wait to jump in with what we want to say. The single most important thing you can do to build rapport is to listen. When you're actively listening you will be able to hear opportunities that many others will miss.
    Your goal is to establish a connection with your new potential client, or find out what you have in common. It could be children, music, sports, school, commute to work, etc. Once you have a connection or two, your opportunity is to match the services you provide with a current or potential need.

While being liked may not win you the business, it can certainly tilt the odds in your favour. You will gain a better insight to the company and your prospective client this way which will in turn help them understand you better too!