Monthly meetings where designers talk business.

Get up. Get out of your studio and talk business with others.
Analyse things that are broken.
Explore solutions.
Talk to other designers.

We’ve run a breakfast session for designers for the past two years. A session where problems are tabled and solved, all over toast and tea. Or bagels and coffee. Or fruit and juice. The foods are just as different as the challenges we face.

The breakfasts are great; enjoyed by all. We’re going to build on that success.
Next year we’re ramping it up. We’re launching the Business of Design roundtables: a series of monthly meetings where designers meet to talk business.

Actually, it’s not so much of a launch, it’s a resurrection of something tried and tested but more about that later.

The 2019 Business of Design round tables will be a series of sessions facilitated by Greg and I.

How does it work?

The roundtables will be limited to ten designers (and we already have four), specifically chosen to avoid direct competitors.

We’ll meet for three hours – from 9am to midday on the last Wednesday of February, March, April and May. Recess for June and July, and reconvene for August, September, October and November.

What will we talk about?

From our last survey we’ve a listing of the most common challenges to all studios, so that’s our start, but really, we’re going to talk about what you want to discuss. The first hour will be set aside to discuss a topic we’ve voted on the month before. The last two hours will be the opportunity to raise issues, challenges, opportunities.

Sample topics we’re often asked about:

The topics may include:

  • Finding new clients and getting more work from existing clients
  • Future-proofing your business to make it sustainable or saleable
  • Job estimating and quoting / setting budgets
  • Methods to smooth the cashflow humps and troughs of a year
  • Writing the perfect submission / grant application / tender doc.
  • Managing staff
  • Ways to explain design value to clients
  • Improving productivity: working smarter, not harder.
  • Preparing the perfect job descriptions and why they’re valuable
  • Hiring and firing – knowing when you are ready to hire
  • Adding services to your offer: like customer journey maps and the design business model canvas.

Is there more?

We’ve got some guest speakers lined up, and we’ve a host of business tools we’ll share to help you manage your business better.
During the month there’ll be online support via a facilitated Slack group.

And the cost?

The cost is $500 per month, paid in two instalments. $2000 in February, and again in August.

Name three reasons why I should sign up…

  1. Because you need to get out of your bubble. It’s the opportunity to stand back and look at your business from the outside in, instead of the inside out. Look at your business through the eyes of peers.
  2. Because we’d be surprised if your $500 investment isn’t returned through productivity improvements within days of the first meeting.
  3. Because it’s a designated time to talk and work on your business. We know, without a deadline, it just won’t be done.

Where do I sign up?

Email an expression of interest. First in, first served. We’re limiting the participants to ten to ensure everyone gets what they need from the discussion. We’ll run as many as needed, in any state, as long as we get 10 interested studios.

It’s time to get out of the studio and take a seat at the table.


Carol Mackay

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2018 is a big year for Carol. Thirty-three years after founding Mackay Branson design, she transitioned from client-focused projects to use her skills with the Design Business Council, and The Design Business School. Her skill has always been using design to translate difficult to understand or complex messages into bite-size chunks of information, more palatable and easier to digest. She did to do that for government organisations, ombudsman schemes and the judicial and finance sectors. Now Carol uses the same skills to translate business concepts into practical tools, resources and skills designers can use everyday.

Carol has just written a new program for the The Design Business School. The Design Studio Management Program is aimed at designers, design graduates and existing design studio managers to help them develop skills to fast track their career path. Contact Carol for more information.

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