Practical advice from experienced practitioners
Want to work with people who successfully ran their own creative business in Australia; who have a track record mentoring and who understand the Australian market, clients and industry?
If so, we're the consultants for you.
We help designers manage their business better
Mentoring is at the heart of everything we do, and flexibility is key.
Those focussed on a long-term goal commit to the structured Chair program. Others access our brainstrust via ad-hoc mentoring while the monthly Roundtables are perfect for creatives wanting regular facilitated meet-ups with other like-minded creatives. And once a month we present a lunchtime learning. It's all about options.
In the past few months I have learnt more from the DBC round tables than I have in the previous year of being in business. Not just from Carol and Greg but from the fellow designers ‘at the table’. It’s a non-competitive, safe environment. I’m definitely re-signing … my only regret is not joining one of their roundtables earlier.
Julie Schroder, Studio Hoopla.
A big thank you to Greg Branson for our chat today! I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how/where my career will lead for the next 20-25 years, and Greg’s advice has been a real clarifying and motivating experience. For anyone working in the design industry here in Australia (creative or account management) and wanting to understand the business side of our industry and take that next step in their career, search him out.
Structured mentoring with objectives and timelines
The Chair program gets results for larger businesses (5-10 staff) because it’s a six month commitment, with set objectives, monthly meetings and set agendas.
We unpack your business, analyse, diagnose then repack, fit for purpose – your purpose. There is no formula, you might need all or just one of our services. It’s all about options.
Some of the activities we’ve recently tackled include
- future planning – adjusting the work:life balance of a business owner
- repositioning – strategies and tactics to target a specific type of new business
- productivity – improving output without lessening creativity
- staffing – building a happy and productive team
- structure – introducing better policies and procedures to cope with significant growth.
And it’s not just for large businesses: it’s just as relevant for solo-preneurs and micro-businesses. Interested? Let’s talk.
I had practiced successfully as a sole trader for the past 20+ years but was keen to grow my business to the next level. Having already accessed a wealth of experience at DBC breakfasts I decided to complete the Chair Program with Carol & Greg.
With their expert knowledge of design business models, they were able to validate that much of what I was doing was working well. However, they were also able to flag areas I could streamline, guide me through better processes, offer invaluable resources, and simply just adjust my focus where needed. Working through the Chair Program has been both reassuring for my practice and worthwhile – it was the confidence boost I needed. I have finally taken on a comfortable studio lease and found the right people to hire when needed. Work life balance and the future is looking bright! I would thoroughly recommend the program, it has been a great investment.
Kate vandeStadt vandeStadt design
Fast track to building business knowledge
This is a three month short course with a difference. Every program is designed fit-for-purpose. We use our knowledge, experience, insights and tools to build design business decision-making skills in creatives.
We use resources including publications, mentoring, workshops, online readings and factsheets/activity worksheets – choosing the best information to build your skills and needs, quickly.
The approach is unique, there’s nothing else like it .
Why we know this program works:
- it’s unique: the learnings stick because all the activities are practical tools and resources. And it’s relevant because they’re based on the needs of your studio or agency.
- it’s practical: you learn at your own pace but you are not alone. We introduce tools and activities, with explanations on how they’ll work specifically in your business. In between sessions we’re on Slack to help if you get stuck.
- and it’s proven: the program is based on industry insights honed from a decade of workshops and mentoring Greg and Carol have done with Australian studios. We know the result will be a better performing, more capable business..
Tap into a talking knowledge bank of the Australian design industry
We understand founding and running an creative business doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes you just need a trusted, experienced practitioner to suggest options, or help make a decision. Sometimes you just need to understand industry benchmarks to manage expectations. And sometimes two partners need another point of view.
We know the Australian industry. We’ve run a design studio and since then we’ve worked with many experienced practitioners, all leading to understanding what works, and what doesn’t.
And we’re flexible. Sometimes the challenge doesn’t need time nor a program, it just needs a discussion with a trusted adviser. This single-issue mentoring is individual, problem-solving mentoring program tailored to your needs.
Let’s talk to identify your challenges and possible solutions. Email Greg.
Roundtables are curated groups of similar but non-competing creative businesses.
They’re not new, we’ve run roundtables for the past 5 years using content and experience based on our one-on-one consulting to creative businesses.
The content and direction are set by, and tailored to, the group. It’s about your goals, needs and challenges. We facilitate using our (over 30 years) experience founding and managing a creative business, and in consulting to hundreds of creative businesses we’ve mentored and coached over the past decade.
Our experience spans business models and structures; roles and responsibilities; processes and systems; marketing and new business; people and culture; profitability and how to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
There are many common issues faced by all creative business owners, but some challenges can be specific to size and/or business maturity. That’s why we run three different roundtables.
The growth group is for solo operators or creative business owners with 1-4 employees. It’s perfect for someone lacking a support crew, or someone who leads a small team where it’s inappropriate to share the struggles and anxieties of business. We focus on clarity of offer, finding your pillars of excellence and tactics for sustainable growth and profitability. More information here.
The entrepreneurial group is for creative business owners with 5-10 employees to manage and multiple client sectors to service. It’s a perfect group for those wanting to expand their service pillars and improve profitability while maintaining a life balance. Leadership at this level is important. Roundtables are the opportunity to discuss challenges develop better, stronger leadership skills, and build better, more robust mental health.
The enterprise group is for creative business owners with more than 10 employees. Contact Greg for more details.
I have just finished my first season of Business Roundtables hosted and mentored by Carol and Greg and joined by a friendly group of fellows from a variety of design businesses.
The zoom sessions were the perfect balance of practical and relevant information delivered in a relaxed and enjoyable style, making the two hours fly by.
Each session provided amazing insights and practical tools that I immediately began implementing in my business, which are now showing positive results. There is so much useful content and sage advice I only wish I had earlier in my business.
Carol and Greg are truly inspiring! They have extensive experience and knowledge of the design industry and the machinations needed for good business. They are passionate and enthusiastic about the design industry and community which showed in how interested and engaged they were with all of us as a group as well as individually.
I was drawn to the Design Business School having felt somewhat swamped from the demands of managing the business side of my creative enterprise.
It helped to share these sessions with others who are dealing with similar demands as well as learning clever systems and solutions to common challenges. The sessions have left me feeling optimistic and empowered and part of a community of delightful people.
Thank you Carol, Greg and fellow Roundtablers!
Kate Knapp, Creator and Director, Twigseeds
Lunchtime learnings are a monthly deep dive into one subject
It’s a one-hour presentation on the last Thursday* of each month then conversation continues in a designated, registrants-only, Slack channel.
Each presentation will be valuable knowledge for for freelancers, solo-preneurs, design studio / agency founders and managers.
*If you can’t make Thursday, don’t worry, the recording will be available to ticket-holders for 30 days post event.
Want more info? Email for the timetable or search DBC in HumanTix.
Thanks again – I think you’ve already helped us out. Sam Wearne Studio ChenChen
Thanks for the webinar – very interesting stuff! Jessica Richings Operations Manager, Block Branding
Thanks Greg, found that really useful – time to up my rates I think! Chris Thomas Creative Director, Founded by Design™
Help is here
Not got the cashflow to access our services at the moment? We get that. Hopefully soon, in the meantime there’s lots of ways to access our research and insights: