When it comes to finding new clients, there are endless tips on improving your networking skills and social media. For creatives however, most business usually comes from referrals. The benefit of referrals is that they come pre-loaded with a sense of trust from the client and there is no need to spend marketing dollars. A great way to get more referrals and expand the services you offer is to collaborate with other creative teams. Each team have their own way of working so there are some great tips and tools you can use to make any collaboration much smoother.
Celebrate your differences
Join your processes
Celebrate your differences
When looking for a creative partner, try to find teams with skills complimentary to your own. This can be anything from the size of a typical project to the services they offer. There are some obvious matches like a print designer and a copy writer but with a little ingenuity, you can offer your clients a unique service. For example, if you are a web designer who team up with an illustrator, copy writer and marketer, you can offer your clients an experience where they can sit back and have all the content tailor made for them without having to coordinate multiple teams themselves.
Put someone in charge. This does not mean one team or person has to dictate the conditions, but having one team manage the project usually leads to fewer mistakes and less confusion. Make sure everyone involved including the client understands who to turn to for what before you get started.
If a project has a very long time line with different stages, it could be a good idea to assign a manager to each stage. In practice, this might be a strategy team to kick off the project followed by a creative team and finally someone overseeing the implementation.
Join your processes
Chances are, many of the steps in your design process are similar to other teams. However, the time allocated to each stage and the goals associated with each might be very different.
A great way to build a relationship with another team can be to create a joint process in case you work together in the future. This way, you have plenty of time to understand each other and you will be top of mind when they need a collaborator in the future.
What happens if the project gets delayed? Who is sending the invoices and how will you share files? If all parties involved have a contract, this is a great starting point to see where your expectations and strategies might differ. Here are a few things to consider:
Who owns the rights to the work after completion?
Is any of the information in meetings or otherwise confidential?
How many revisions do you allow?
Will you create a join contract for the client to sign?
What happens if one of you want to terminate the project or fall ill?
Financial and timescale expectations are often the most important to decide on before hand. Knowing this will make your relationship much better and help you take on more projects in the future.
There will always be questions, things to approve and progress updates. To make sure this all runs smoothly, it is helpful to use a chat or project management tool. Most options will include alternatives for sharing files, creating to-do lists and syncing with cloud storage so many find their choice comes down to interface preference.
Trello: Based on the Japanese organisational system of Kanban, Trello allows you to create cards for each stage of your process. You then create tasks that start at the very first stage and move from left to right as they complete each stage. Tasks can be assigned to a specific person and there are plenty of options to share files, comment and make subtasks.
Asana: Asana gives you the choice of organising any project as a list or a board. For the paid version, you also get access to Timeline. Even though Asana's pricing is £4.99/user /mo it is important to know that the minimum number of users is 5.
One of Asana's core strengths is dependencies. This means that you can set which tasks have to be done in order for others to start. Dependencies can easily be changed by dragging the connector on your timeline or inside the task control panel.
Slack: Based around channels, Slack makes it easy to organise discussions around each project or team. Notifications are a really helpful tool to make sure you don't miss any important information. The fact that you can use search to find files and comments based on keywords is very helpful and saves a lot of time.
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