In everyone’s career they comes a time (or two) to take stock, evaluate where you’ve been and where you are going. I do this on at least on an annual basis, looking back at the past year, looking forward to the next. I make notes and a plan of some kind.
On the white board in my office, written in green marker, is a list of prospective projects/clients—many of the prospects left on the board from last year.
What qualifies as a prospect? Earlier in my career I had the good fortune to work with a well-respected design firm on the East Coast. I was introduced to the sales and growth vocabulary: Suspects, Prospects, and Clients.
· Suspects are those whom I have identified as companies needing the service I offer, and in a business area that interests me.
· Prospects are a subset of the Suspects group. They have confirmed they have a need, and they have requested a proposal.
· Prospects turn into Clients once we have an agreement to work together.
Because quality of my pool of Prospects is completely influenced by my pool of Suspects, I need a list I care about.
Last spring I was sitting in on a typography conference in San Francisco, listening to an inspiring speaker. Whether it was a reaction to something the speaker said or was showing on screen, I couldn’t say, but as my mind wandered from the lecture to my own professional direction, I fixated on a certain type of project I really enjoy—cookbooks and food-related businesses—and another one I have always wanted to work on: cocktails. Basically, I realized that I needed to take more control of my business growth. I call this my Happy Hour moment—an apt title, since I was focused on the work I want to do, my professional happy place. (In addition, I have been known to infuse vodka with my own flavorings, like beets for example.)
So, back to the white board. The list of the projects written there left me in an optimistic state, but very few of them actually became clients. That is not necessarily unusual in my line of work, but it left me looking at the list and thinking about the projects I really want to work on. I thought about the work I have most enjoyed, and I noticed that in many ways they mirror experiences I am passionate about in my personal life.
It’s safe to assume that when a prospect is hiring a designer, they want to work with someone who is passionate about their business, and that should be reflected in the work. This statement is really about what I want in a client, rather than what you might be looking for in a designer. So the Happy Hour project was born. The first installment is Food & Beverages.
If you have a prospective project, and you are interested in my Food & Beverage portfolio, give me a call and I’ll send you over a customized version. (I’ll also send you my Cocktails by Color card, and you’ll be inspired.) You can also see my current portfolio online, which is much broader than Food & Beverages.