Tips for Working with Creatives

What’s a creative professional? A creative professional is a writer, web developer/designer, graphic designer, or anyone else who does a creative job. But really, the definition of a creative is someone who thinks he or she is creative.

In business, you may have occasion to hire one of these people for a job, task or project. Here are some top tips for working with creative professionals.

Top Tips for Working with Creative Professionals

  1. Have a clear timeline. When you start a project with a creative team, have a deadline for the final product in mind and be clear about how much time will be required for review and approval.
  2. Know your budget. Talk about dollars upfront so your creative team knows how far they can realistically go. Your budget needs to cover the creative process as well as production, media, and any required “maintenance.” It’s a good idea to think of dollars spent in “phases” or “categories” versus a lump sum for an entire project. Breaking your project into priority elements of phases makes it easier to either trim or expand a project’s budget.
  3. Provide comprehensive input. Your creative team needs to know about your business and your project before they can get to work. Start with: who you are, who your competitors are, who your customers are and your business goals. Share what you’ve already tried in terms of marketing and promotion. What’s worked? What’s failed? Also consider what other aspects of your business – and your industry – are important for your creative team to know about. Concise and comprehensive information contributes to targeted, effective solutions.
  4. Assign an internal team to work with the creative professional. The team should be able to focus on the project/work and be available to work with the creative team and answer any questions. Inform your creative team if you will be out of pocket or can’t be reached.
  5. Share your preferred style of communication. We all have different communication preferences — email, phone calls, face-to-face meetings — so let your creative team know what works best for you, particularly regarding important, time-sensitive issues.
  6. Be open-minded. Trust your creative team to have your best interests in mind. Be open to ideas you may not have imagined or visualized.
  7. Address “issues” when they arise. Come to the table right away if any problems occur, or confusion and miscommunication arises. Small problems can become big issues if they are not addressed openly and early on.
  8. Know that changes can cost extra. Recognize that something, which appears small to you, could have a major impact on the project and cause it to go over budget. Don’t expect every request to be covered under the original budget.
  9. Provide honest feedback. Successful creative is collaborative. Creative professionals are always prepared to hear your opinion – in fact they want and need your opinion in order to do a great job for you. As the client it’s incumbent upon you to provide honest, specific and constructive input.

Have more tips? Let me know and I’ll compile another list.

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