Growth with Stability
Life at a boutique design studio is constant chaos, or so I thought. It took me 10 years to realise it can be different, that was seven years ago.
The chaos of identifying leads, creating endless pitches that answered every question, running operations, advertising, interviewing and recruiting people that “fitted in”, working on the finance, HR issues, setting up, kitting out and changing the office, making sure there’s tea and coffee and toilet roll – and then there’s the most important part dealing with and listening to clients. The studio was a continual vortex of change and chaos – fun for a while but not great for me, employees or clients.
Running your own business you get a lot of people offering you advice. From Mum telling you to be careful and get your priorities right “you’re working too hard”, to the kids asking why you work all the time and can’t take them to swimming or to rugby today, to your mates; “what you need to do is focus on your profit”; “work hard and the success will follow”; “get the finance under control or you’ve lost grip on your purpose”; we’ve heard it all. But the one group I’ve always listened to is my clients. Why? Because they are in the same industry, with similar goals and I trust them.
So it was seven years ago when chatting to a client about how we are perceived that he said “chaotic”. It hit me like a hammer. I knew we were chaotic but thought we were seen like the swan – gliding on the surface but paddling like a steam ship below the waters.
Something had to change. I needed stability but where do you find the stabilizers in a creative industry.
We’ll just like in real life you find it by sharing the load and finding strong corner stones to bear some of the weight. And that’s when we evolved from Craig Jones Design to Jones & Partners. I’ve found trusted, industry professionals, with some similar rounded shoulders to share the load, bear some of the weight as we now continue our growth. And it has worked.
Phidias came in seven years ago and we haven’t looked back. There are now more projects going out on time to the right standard of quality but with a similar head count as before. We have clarified our process which allows us to pool and use our collective creativity more effectively. More control of the design process means greater complexity and diversity of projects but with deeper thinking than before. The team is happier than before, happier balance personally, and happier family.
We are now able to create more strategic partnerships and deliver more complex and challenging projects than before. Most importantly, happier clients. As we continue to evolve we still have moments of chaos but it’s structured, scheduled and planned. Growth punctuated by small periods of urgency, not chaos punctuated by the spiked growth of seven years ago.