Shorter work week = increased profits

Hard to believe?
Reduce the number of working hours in your studio and increase profit?
Counter intuitive isn’t it… but it is possible.

In a design studio, salaries are by far the largest part of overheads. Profitability, and that means sustainability, is directly related to salaries. That means profitability relies on the amount charged for a designers output. And output relies on the productivity of the designer.

The basis of profitability is: the amount of a designers day that can be billed to a client.

Time is a limited resource

The legalities of employment mean a full time designer is available for 1840 working hours each year.

Realistically most designers are only billing 70% of their working hours. There are many possible reasons:

  • there’s not enough work for them to bill more hours
  • the work is not matched to their skill
  • projects are poorly managed
  • the designer is not motivated/interested/engaged
  • the studio process/system lacks the sophistication to help manage projects.

Reduce hours to increase profits?

The answer is in the issues above but the solution varies from one studio to another.

Designer’s working preferences and personal goals; their skills; and what clients they work best with, are unique to each studio.

Our special power is the ability to analyse productivity blockers and improving billing hours without increasing stress. We do that with careful analysis of studio P+L’s, staff skills and client segments to develop strategies to increase productivity, reduce working hours and introduce higher value design services.

The Chair program

The DBC Chair program is more than mentoring for design studio owners. It’s based on a board of management model common in other professional businesses – a group of industry specialists that meet regularly to work on a business quite separately to those that work in the business. Boards are managed by a Chair.

Problem is, creative studios aren’t like other professional businesses. Research shows a majority have less than three employees. That’s a micro-business able to run lean and agile with little management structure. But it also means leaders are often lonely and without support.

Sustaining a business in our competitive landscape needs management knowledge and expertise. It needs someone taking a ‘helicopter view’ while others are on the ground, dealing with the day to day dramas. Problem is, there’s not usually enough headspace, let alone cashflow to employ that expertise.

The answer is the DBC Chair program – a six-month commitment involving monthly meetings to discuss your business and your challenges.

Meetings are scheduled, have an agenda tailored to your needs and your studio, and minutes– accountability delivers results. Part of each meeting is to set (and review) measurement goals to monitor improvements. Between meetings, Greg and/or Carol are available for phone, skype or email support as needed.

It’s access to two, design management knowledge banks to help you manage your studio, plan growth and even negotiate with staff.


Greg Branson

Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.

Greg has developed The Design Business School to help owners manage their business better along with showing designers how to get more involved in the studio and develop their career path. Contact Greg.