One of the biggest threats to your profitability is over delivery. Spending more time delivering a project than you’re actually getting paid for is a sure-fire way to decimate your bottom line. 

When quoting, plenty of companies will rightly take the time to think through the number of days or hours needed to complete the project. But all that hard work at the bid stage can be for nothing if it’s completely ignored once the project starts. 

This happens all too often (trust us, we see it all the time), but the good news is it’s incredibly easy to fix. 

Back in her Studio Manager days, our Chief People Officer garnered a stellar reputation for making design studios full of designers deliver projects profitably. The way she did that, was to get her people into the habit of asking one simple question: 

"How long have I got?"

The reason this is especially important in a creative field is it helps your designers, architects, or developers reign in their wilder flights of fancy, and instead focus on delivering something mind-blowing within the boundaries set by the budget. 

However, it’s important to draw a distinction between how long your team has got in terms of budget versus how long they’ve got in terms of deadline. It could well be a month before the project’s due, but if you’ve only quoted for 5 days you don’t want people spending the entire month working on it. 

It’s important to set those parameters early on too. Us creative types like to stretch our imaginations at the slightest invitation. Tell us there’s an exciting new project to be delivered and our minds will immediately start cooking up all sorts of wonderfully elaborate creations. 

Getting people into the habit of clarifying the time restrictions beforehand though, will mean those creative juices will start flowing in an appropriate direction, and at an appropriate rate. 

At the end of the day, a successful creative is one who can think both creatively and commercially. Get your team into the habit of asking “how long have I got?” and you’ll be off to a great start. If they can then marshal their creativity accordingly, you’ll be rocking and rolling in no time at all. 

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