The 5 Things All Studios are Afraid of, and How We Remedy Them.

Giving out pricing

We’ve toyed for a very long time with opening up our pricing system. To be quite honest, we can nail down the exact cost of many jobs through a fairly formulaic process. It would take a day or two to apply programming to this to make it give you exact numbers. We could even assign a percentage multiplier to account for how busy we are at any given time adjusting rates accordingly.

We haven’t done it for one reason. To assign direct pricing to our services commoditizes them. We sell our creativity by the hour; nothing less, nothing more. We empathize quite directly with our potential clients who desire a starting place in regards to pricing, but it just can’t be done while staying true to the original intent of our business.

Still, our pricing is not a closely guarded secret. If you’re a competitor, call us today. We’ll quite directly tell you what we charge for various services. We’re not concerned at all with our competitors knowing our pricing, we’re only concerned with making our creativity, angst, smarts, love, ideas, and history into another item on the shelf at WalMart.

Losing a big client

The 80/20 rule applies to most things in business. 80% of your profit comes from 20% of your clients. If you’re in the unfortunate position to have a high percentage of your profit coming from a single client, it can be scary.

The best advice we think you can take is to just ride it out, knowing that it might stop. We’ve been through that cycle several times, and it seems things always eventually equalize themselves. You should look for those brief windows of opportunity to make the profit that is according to the risk.

If you make a substantial amount of profit during a brief ride on a big client, it will help sustain you through the inevitable turn to a more sustainable ratio of earnings.

Not finding great employees

Terrifying right? You have several rock stars in your company, and you’ll never find another one, right? Maybe…

Good employees are incredibly hard to find. We get 3-5 resumes a week on average. But we still fire clients, turn down work, and have a staff of 7. We often give test projects, review portfolios, and correspond with potential new hires. If someone calls, we say “yes, we’re hiring!” but we very rarely hire anyone.

Right now, we would love to hire a great identity designer, a great programmer, and maybe a new AE. But we just haven’t found the right match yet for any of the positions. (oh yeah, and our intern went back to KU, so that would be nice, too.)

Are we worried we’ll never find another rock star? Not really. We’ll keep talking to people, looking at portfolios, and giving test projects. Eventually, maybe we’ll find another great person to fill a position. When we do, we might take on a bit more work, but until then, we can keep our throttle, and our pricing set to our current capacity.

Giving employees too much power

Each employee you trust with vital company info is an opportunity to get burnt. Each time you get burnt, you’re more likely to trust less. We know of several studios who got their start based off of their former employers benevolence, and ignorance. It’s business. You win, or you lose.

We really like this quote from the Tao as it pertains to trust:
“If you don’t trust the people, you make the people untrustworthy.”

We’ve been burnt. We’ve heard rumors about us. We’ve lost clients to former employees and partners. It doesn’t matter…

We’ve never lost a thing that we wouldn’t have willingly given if we had been honestly asked. The people who work at Entermotion right now are shining best friends. If something goes afoul later, so be it. The important thing is that we don’t stand in the way of each other doing the most amazingly gratifying, and good work we can do right now. Deceit and paranoia are crippling and foolish things to keep in a creative environment.

Losing quality

First off, please do fear this. Don’t ever stop fearing it. Quality is the one thing that you have to offer. Almost anybody can crap out a digital file these days. There are so many software crutches on the shelves that you could buttress all the businesses with poor taste up for a hundred years with just one shelf at a Best Buy.

We’re designers, programmers, copy writers. It’s a proud devout industry based on consistency, craft, excellence, and expertise. There’s simply no better profession in the modern workplace than to be involved in the design of identity, collateral, text, programming, or graphics.

But as you accept the tenets of our profession, you have to make one simple, and unwavering covenant with your conscience. You absolutely must compromise once in a while. You work diligently to hone your tastes and quality control to an explicit edge better than your peers, but it’s the client who pays the bills. Never compromise your basic principles on a big picture item, but you must gain perspective on how to lose an occasional battle and still win the war.


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