It is becoming more and more apparent that any startup needs to have designers on board to be successful. Irrespective of what the startup is about or which domain it concerns, the design perspective of empathy helps them focus, differentiate, and build a transparent business model. Besides designing the product and service, professional designers offer many other benefits.
And what happens when designers themselves are establishing a startup? They very often forget that startups need more than just design inputs. Design is what excites us more, and we do land up giving disproportionate attention to it. If you are a designer and starting a business, here are a few things worth keeping in mind:
Business Model: Before you detail your product/ service/ your marketing pitch, your workspace, or other design details, build a business model on paper. Do some research on the net on how to make one. Work out how much profit you will make, at what cost, how much time it will take, and why you will make that profit. Work this out with a few alternative scenarios and with people who are not designers (preferably CAs, or accounts and accounts finance professionals). Spend enough time on this to see if you will be making any profit in a few years…or if it still excites you enough to spend your time on it.
Paper Organization: Build an organizational chart to as much detail as possible, and link it to milestones or timelines. Add profiles of people and even names of people who fit those roles (even if they are working somewhere else and you know they will never join you). Put a cost to them and the tools they would need, and feed it back to your business model.
Find Mentors and Listening Boards: At this stage, present your business plan and organization to your peers, family, and friends. Share it with some hardcore business people as well… listen to their advice, take feedback, ask what you are missing and what more you need to do.
Get Confident: Now, work on your product/service/space and design them. Remember, for a design startup, design should be the last thing you should work on or spend more time on.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief