GDE730, GDE730 - Week 4

Week 4 : Business Planning

So at the start of this week, the thought of writing 3000 carefully thought out, and planned words seemed like a massive mountain to climb. Of course, we’ve all got these ideas of our ideal future business and our passion is there, but for me, the lack of understanding about financial futures, staffing models, future market trends is feeling like a hindrance.

Of course, this whole module is about learning all of this, picking apart something that i’m passionate about and really getting to the bones of business within design. Having had my tutorial with Richard earlier in the week, it’s given me time to really think about this business plan and the direction I’d want this business to go in the future.

Audience:

I initially wanted to pitch this to the “ideal” client but in all honesty, I don’t actually know right now who that would be, in an ideal future… So I went backwards and thought about how I would pitch this company to a start up loan company. Looking online at local business start ups, the main business support within York comes from MakeItYork – a local company supplying business advice to companies of any size. I’ve come across them a lot as they set up most festivals etc within the city. They’re main start up loan application was from Business Enterprise Fund, and looking at the approximate figures needed it’d be around £20-25,000 required at 6% interest.

Overview

As written in my “elevator pitch”, my company is heavily weighted towards local promotion and mentorship programmes. The main focus is setting up a successful Design Studio, made up of both senior and junior designers – there are SO many freelance designers in York that trying to get a job in the City, as a Junior Designer with perhaps predominantely work experience or internship experience is nigh on impossible. Borne out of my own frustrations, this business would focus on hiring Graduates that need that first step up in the Design world, with fair pay and encourage these ambitious designers to really grow in a supportive environment. There would be a second stage to the business growth model, introducing York’s only open studio space available to rent monthly or weekly, with high quality equipment and workshops.

Main Objectives/Vision

To be the “Only provider of open studio space in York”… It’s absolutely shocking that this isn’t readily available to creatives anywhere in the city. We’d also be the leading provider of mentorship programmes to young or ambitious designers needing that support to move on in their career.

Staffing Size/Model

Ideally, from the start up we’d have 2 Senior Designers and, hopefully with the right amount of advertising, have 2 Junior designers so our team can start with solid foundations. By the end of the first financial year, I’d have expected to hire 2 more Junior Designers and have 1 Middleweight (perhaps an initial Junior promotion etc). Within 3 years, we’d expect to have 1 Creative Director, 3 Senior Designers, 2 Middle Weight and 3 Junior Designers. Of course, all of this is speculative – the Creative Director could end up being predominantly business manager or we could have more middleweight designers for support for junior designers etc.

Market Research

Networking with local creatives over the past year has made me realise there are no open studio spaces in York – the last one closing in 2015. Local creatives need an accessible, appropriately priced space to create their work but also, having the opportunity to display the work is a huge plus for the creatives I’ve spoken to. The local design studios tend to be predominantely Website design based, resulting in agencies that have 3-6 members of staff covering all aspects of design. This has a knock on effect with new designers trying to progress their career in the industry. Additionally, local clients are more and more wanting their business designs to be from independent and local studios – there is a huge independent business community within the city and it’s so important to highlight this within my business plan.

Financial Plan

This is the area I am stuck… Without fully understanding my pricing structures, rent prices, equipment costs, staff payroll, projection of sales etc, I just can’t come up with a future financial plan. My intention over the next few weeks is to make this my side mission – to fully understand the costs of running a studio/business and begin to map out a financial plan. Of course, for pitching to an investor, I need some semblence of financial planning in this document so I will begin to look into initial start up costs and the approximate time to begin making a profit…

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