Organizing For Growth
Last month, the team wrote to you about acceleration and how autumn is the time for ramping up brand development. In the long run, brand development translates to business growth, and at the end of the day, the work we do here, be it design or printing, is all about growing your business. This month, however, we want to talk to you about something that we think is essential to both growing your business and maintaining the momentum that you gain: organization. For some people, getting organized is easy, even natural, but for others, it’s a headache. Not everyone is systems oriented, and not everyone is wired to get excited about creating their own systems. Most people aren’t, really. To help you out, we’ve come up with some quick tips that any person or organization can adopt.
Create A Structure For Your Day
In our monthly newsletter, we talked about our morning “board meetings.” Every day at Markon we gather around a whiteboard in our office. Our whiteboard is the visual map of everything we are working on. We created a vinyl overlay for our whiteboard a long time ago that organizes the space into a chart. We look at five days - and only five days - at a time. Each day has categories that let us track projects. By tracking projects visually in an accessible space anyone can quickly determine where someone left off. We know when a project requires design work, whether it’s in a feedback round, or whether it’s queued up for production.
The whiteboard is both a tool for organization and a great organizational habit. Although what happens for the rest of the day can sometimes be at the whim of our clients, it gives our days consistency and provides a communication and tracking tool that anyone can use.
Learn To Track Your Work Flow
The whiteboard is so successful because we devised a production flow a long, long time ago. No matter what we are doing for our clients, whether we are designing a website, or branding a new storefront, or printing annual reports, the flow of work is largely similar for every project. We identified the key phases of a project at Markon and marked them on the board. We also know what kind of project milestones indicate that a project has moved from one phase to another. When we talk about tracking the project, we are talking about moving them through each phase on the whiteboard, as if we are moving pieces on a map.
Doing this provides two immediate benefits. To start, it gives your team a uniform idea of how projects work within your organization. This allows everyone to get on the same page when discussing projects, which allows your team to converse constructively about how to move projects along, or improve the whole process. Second: this improves communication with clients, suppliers, or whomever. How? By making the information easy to digest and uniformly understood within your organization, you’ll improve the rate of time, confidence, and consistency by which team communicates with the outside world.
Organize Human Talent
This one’s pretty simple, but we think it’s worth mentioning. Some people are meant to provide tech support, some people are meant to build new tech, some people are meant to be in the middle, selling it, testing it, writing about, and so on. Assign the right people to the right tasks. Evaluate new talent’s skills when you hire them. Evaluate current employees. Ask employees to talk about the projects they want to be working on. Even if you’re a small company, where everyone wears many hats, you can make sure that your employees spend the right amount of time with the hat that makes sense for them.
Get Your Brand Together
We’ve written many times about the value of a brand style guide. It’s important to capture the details around your brand in one place so that everyone on your team has a resource to refer to when they have an opportunity to use your logo or create a document on behalf of your company. Create an accessible place online for your team to access both the guide and all of the elements of your brand: logo and submark files, color codes, fonts, etc.
Organizing, and therefore streamlining your workflow will benefit your brand. The truth is, the easier that it is for you and your team to do their jobs, the better your work will be, which translates to better experiences, products, and services for your customers. Nothing builds brand loyalty more or helps to encourage people to share their awareness of your brand, than a positive experience.