How to Build a Successful Creative Business in Nigeria
It is relatively easy (especially in the first few years) to kick-start a career as a creative designer; a laptop, power supply and a good internet connection are all you need to begin. However, you will get to a point where there are lots of gigs but little time to execute them.
You begin to experience frequent burn-outs, churning out designs you are not proud of and even totally missing client deadlines. This is a common occurrence to lots of freelance creative designers in Nigeria and if you have decided that the creative industry is for you, then it’s probably time to take your creative business to the next level – making it a profitable and sustainable venture.
We have decided to highlight steps to take as a Nigerian designer in order to make your creative business a successful one on a long term:
Register your business:
This will enable your business to be taken more seriously. You will need to bid for big projects from big companies and even government; they certainly will not do business with an unregistered and unincorporated company! Also in the event of you considering raising investment now or in the future, only a registered company can be legally invested into. You can get more legal advice about that here.
Get out of your room:
You cannot incorporate your creative business and still remain in your room. Guess what! Nobody will entrust your company with a big and serious project if you do not show capacity and seriousness to execute. Getting an office space is easier nowadays especially in the era of shared office spaces. With as low as #240,000 annually, you call one yours and you do not have to worry about power supply, internet access and other business premise costs, as many of the shared office spaces are serviced.
Brand your business:
Create a simple, recognizable and easily remembered brand. Any clients will first look at how you have branded your business first before they can be sure you can do an excellent job with theirs. Also a good brand ensures you are well-priced; you can get good value for your business appearance. The world is ever closer together now, which means your clients can be from anywhere around the world! Get a website, print business cards, and make sure they are the best quality available! It’s not about the quantity but the quality; Remember, “Cheap is expensive”.
Publicize your Business:
If you have the best brand and best skills but no one knows about it, the business is as good as dead! One of the easiest ways to get noticed is to recreate the brand of an existing company in a new, fresh and exciting way, show it to them via social media or physically and they will most likely give you audience.
Also, build a robust portfolio of both paid jobs and free ones, and put them on all social media platforms. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Behance, Tumblr are some of the platforms that your creative business must be represented and active too on a daily basis.
You can promote your portfolio to a wider audience if you have extra budget for marketing on social media. “Seeing is believing”! Take good pictures of your activities with your team and post them constantly.
Form a Dream Team:
You can have a big office space, registered your business and Clients will still no take you seriously if you do not have a team! Plus, your team must have at least one person of the opposite sex and at least one person better than you in other areas (it could be animation, web design or development, Marketing, strategy etc.). Having a mixed team portrays balance emotionally and seriousness.
Your team is everything! As a CEO or Creative lead, your most important duty is to focus on the big picture i.e. to always think of and find ways in which the company will get closer to her set vision and goals. Therefore, you go out, strike the deals, and then allow your “ninja” team to execute them, while you provide direction. Also don’t forget to constantly motivate the team, as a lot of emotional intelligence is needed to lead a team of highly intelligent and creative people.
Keep your books:
I refer to book keeping and accounting in this case. Nowadays, there are accounting firms like Audeo that can keep your accounts for you while you keep them on a retainer fee and focus on running your business. You don’t need to hire an accountant full-time at first. Tax must also be taken seriously, PATE, VAT and income tax should not be over looked, as they will always come back to hunt the business.
Note that the best kind of business is that which can keep running even when you the leader is not around. Make sure that you put systems in place from day one, recruit interns, train them and even retain the good ones; that way, they stay with you longer!
The above list does not cover all things needed but will certainly get you started on your way to sustainability and profitability. Also, the article does not in any way discourage freelancing; it only attempts to guide people who will like to take a step further from freelancing.
Drop your comments below if this Article has been helpful to you. Also do not hesitate to drop your suggestions as well.