Grafik The Right Idea written on a brick wall

CEO Judy Kirpich Interviewed

CEO,  Judy Kirpich was recently interviewed along with 9 additional nationally-known design professionals as part of the AIGA/Aquent Survey of Design Salaries 2009. This group of select design professionals was asked to share advice on how to remain competitive in these challenging economic times. Here’s her advice for staying competitive:

Control only the things you can control

Here’s my advice for staying competitive in tough times:

Always manage your business like you are in a recession. That means putting money away in good times so you can weather the next recession—because there will be a next recession. Resist the temptation to spend profits during fat years because lean years always follow. Remember, cash is king.

“Business” is not a dirty word. Many of us designers look down our noses at the business aspect of our profession, in which creativity reigns supreme. Never forget that if you do not operate your practice like a business, there will be no place for your creativity to live.

You cannot control many things, but you can control your budget. During difficult economic times you can’t control if a business cuts back its marketing budget or Wall Street tanks. But you can control what you spend. A budget can help you understand where your money is flowing and is the best picture into your economic health. Create one yearly; look at it monthly; revise it if necessary.

A “Grub first, then ethics” mentality is shortsighted. If you abandon your professionalism by entertaining spec work, or by severely undercutting your competition, it will come back to bite you.

The health of the economy is not your fault. If your business is not doing as well as you would like, it won’t do any good to beat yourself up about it. There is less work and more competition for accounts and projects. And jobs are often cancelled right after they are awarded! That’s the definition of a recession. Just remember that you are going through tough times due to external circumstances out of your control— not because you are a bad designer or a bad person.

To read the comments of the other luminaries:

Grafik Logo

Related Articles

Beyond the revolving door: Crafting a culture where employees thrive
Every company has at one time, or another, faced the inevitable turnover of employees. This change sends waves through our teams, our processes and even our client relationships. Over our 45-year history, Grafik has not…
Read More
illustration image
Juneteenth 2021
Grafik will be closed Friday, June 18 in observance of Juneteenth. During this annual commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, we are encouraging staff to learn, celebrate and reflect upon how…
Read More
grafik and 2120 logos
Happy 2120
For starters, no, that’s not a typo in the headline—but I’ll get to that in a moment. I’ve traditionally used the holidays to decompress from work and reflect back on the previous year. But this…
Read More
census logo
Grafik Awarded New Expanded Contract with U.S. Census Bureau
Grafik is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a new expanded contract, extending our 15-year engagement with the U.S. Census Bureau. Since 2006, Grafik has led research, strategy, planning and campaign development to…
Read More