Get more from every client $

We spend a lot of time talking about value add pricing but how much thought goes into getting more from our client $ within the studio. Improve our workplace practices and we get more from every client $.

This is a topic we cover in our Spilling our guts on pricing Lunchtime Learning presentation. We point out you can’t do value add pricing without looking after the people doing the work.

People should come first and it shouldn’t just be about how much they can add to your bottom line. Ultimately the people we employ in our studios create our reputation. It’s no longer good enough to have good designers. They must also be good communicators, They have to be your brand advocates.

Every business can add value through its people. It can also lose a lot of value through its people. Poor engagement leads to poor productivity – poor communication can lose clients.

How valuable are our teams?

PwC, the global management company, conducted some research that shows how good work practices can add value. The Sustaining value through people report shows that improving the people side of the business will improve business performance.

The research showed that companies with a documented workplace strategy have 35% higher revenues per employee, 12% lower absenteeism and more efficient performance management and reward systems. Three-quarters of those firms with a documented workplace strategy also feel their performance management systems are “very effective”.

Companies with lower absenteeism also have higher profits per employee.

Higher revenues per designer, lower absenteeism and good reward systems in a design studio convert to a value add within the business without raising charge out rates.

Professional development

Bilmes, Strueven and Wetzker in their book Development for high performance gave the results of their people scorecard (based on a Balance Scorecard approach), a set of quantifiable criteria including the number of training days provided and the type of training to measure how well companies manage their employees.

Companies that ranked highest on the people scorecard earned higher total shareholder returns than lower scoring companies. Top scoring companies had an average return of 27% whereas those at the bottom earned just 8%.

The PWC research also stated that employee engagement is positively correlated with training, performance related pay and individual responsibilities.

The research showed:

  • the Royal Bank of Scotland identified clear links between increasing levels of employee engagement and increased retention and business productivity as well as reducing employee turnover. If a bank can do it!
  • Firms with the best equal opportunity policies had a five year annualised return of 18.3% while those firms with the poorest records had returns of 7.9%.

Take away

This seems to be positive proof you can add value by developing a workplace policy that covers everything from defining studio tasks to hiring practices, job descriptions and professional development plans for each team member. This applies if you are a sole operator or a large team it changes in complexity.

Speaking of workplace practices; there’s a heap of work with the HR department in many organisations. That’s a topic for further discussion.

Want to know how. Check out our Lunchtime learning on Spilling our guts on pricing.

Want more?

Here’s more information on how design creates value:
1 Measuring design impact
2 Proving Return on design investment will allow you to gain higher fees
3 Value pricing is about adding value.

We help designers build a more profitable design business

We do that by
• supporting creatives to learn management skills
• helping identify and target better clients
• increasing your studio’s productivity, and
• focusing on a sustainable work/life balance.
We share our knowledge in a library of free resources, workshops, group and one-on-one mentoring.

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Greg Branson

Design Business Council
Greg’s passion is the research and development of methods that improve design management and the role of design in business.
Greg has developed a series of processes and tools to help designers manage their business better along with a series of workshops that show designers how to use these tools.

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