There is a common thread which comes up when I talk to creatives about their businesses. They produce work for clients on time, on budget and turn up for meetings. They have a thoroughly professional attitude towards their clients. However, along the way, they often forget their most important client - their own business.
Marketing, accounts, research, etc., can get pushed down the list in favour of all the things they prefer doing instead and then they find themselves having to do all the other stuff in a mad rush, or it just not getting down at all.
I will happily admit that I used to be guilty of this myself. I would have long lists of all the things I needed to do to which just kept getting longer. Then I would feel guilty about not getting things done which would put my into a bad mood. I got to the stage where I was fed up with my own behaviour and found a neat, simple trick which has proved very successful for me and which I have passed on to clients.
I make appointments to have meetings with my own business. On the first of the month, I have a regular hour long meeting with the ‘accounts’ department where I sort out my monthly receipts, update my cashflow and budgets, etc. Once or twice a month, I meet with the ‘marketing‘ department. And every 2 months, I have a planning day. The key is that I put the meetings in the diary in advance, make sure I have prepared for them and only cancel them if I have actual paid work which can’t be done at another time.
The advantages of this are several:
• it makes sure that I am keeping track of the important aspects of keeping my business running
• it makes sure that I am taking my business seriously
• by seeing the business as a separate entity to myself, it allows me to be a little more objective about it
• when I was starting out, it sounded a lot better to say “I can’t do that day, I have a meeting with a client” rather than “I can do anytime you want”!
So, when is your next meeting with your most important client?