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Plans & Communication

Client Relationships, Insight, Content, Structure

GDE 730 Week 4

Research Analysis

Objectives for this week:

1.  Research & analyse client/practitioner relationships & service they provide

2.  Research and analyse the format and structure of a business plan.



The key to any successful relationship is good communication.  It is therefore logical to ensure lines of communication between client and practitioner are clear, effective & open.  There are a variety of methods of communication that designers use when working with clients; meetings (face to face or remote), emails, telephone calls or digital document sharing platforms such as google drive.  During the discussion about their collaborative project, Build&Become book series, Stuart Tolley, Emma Harverson & Lucy Warbuton discussed ways of communicating and more importantly how often updates are shared with the client.  Emma Harverson elaborated that most communication is through telephone or email, with calls being used for more urgent or difficult matters to discuss, she said "we keep people as up-to-date as we can with what we know".

In the publishing industry they refer to the requirement to pitch an initial concept at an acquisitions meeting with the company sales team.  The aim of this strategic meeting in to test the viability of the idea in the market.  Financial projection documents have to be compiled at this stage to demonstrate the financial stability of the proposal.  During this meeting they will also look at potential risk, the proposed lifetime of the model and the potential for global market roll out.   To be taken seriously at this stage, the proposer must have done their research.

Emma Harverson also expands on the point of effective communication, she clarifies that one message will be sent through to the client with a number of practitioners input.  This cuts down the to-ing and fro-ing of individual notes, which could become misconstrued or render communications complex and confusing for all concerned.   A very important point when multiple creatives are involved in the process.   Furthermore having a schedule of feedback/communication points is a good idea to let every stakeholder know when to expect that email or call.  Being flexible with these dates once a project is underway is also important, with all parties understanding the business demands and uncertainties that can arise over a period of time.

Effective communication can be fostered through building a network of trusted suppliers, freelancers, or producers.  You begin to intuitively understand each others communication preferences very quickly and this gives you confidence in meeting the schedule and delivery set out.  Using communication platforms like Trello or Slack can also support efficient feedback with providers outside of your organisation. 



Completing a business plan requires a strategic analysis of your proposal or idea.  It should be rigorously researched and include potential pitfalls alongside promising enterprise.  Any person reviewing your business plan, whether for financing or partnership reasons, will be looking for a truly honest proposal with statements based on sound rationale.  You must consider the target audience and adapt your writing to suit their requirements, for example, cut back on design industry language if the reader does not hail from this background, keep your writing punchy and succinct.  

The content of a business plan can vary in breakdown and categories across global markets, however in many instances a format will be given to you to complete, particularly if you are applying for financial backing.   Business insurers, Simply Business, provide an example business plan on their website.  Sam Bromley who wrote the article entitled, 'How to write a business plan: step-by-step and business plan template download' described a business plan as the "bible" for running your business and although there is variety in presentation, most plans have the same "core sections".  His top tips for writing a plan include:

  • Know your audience

  • Keep it concise

  • Keep is simple

  • Don't forget presentation

The core areas Bromley refers to are as follows:

  • About You - Personal Info, name, address, business address etc

  • Executive Summary - Complete this last, after establishing the following:

    • Your Business (Products/services, problem it solves & how? structure, history/experience)​

    • Your customers (Market research results, quantitative & qualitative, where they shop, how to target them, existing customers?)

    • The Market (Trends, competition, opinion of competitors & your product/service)

    • Competitor analysis (strengths, weaknesses, pricing)

    • SWOT analyse your business (Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses, Threats)

    • Your USP

    • Marketing strategy (benefit to customer, promoting product/service, cost)

    • Operations (creation of product/service, delivery, suppliers, equipment & cost, premises, transport/logistics, legal requirements, insurance)

    • Your team (sole, employees?, management structure, business help)

    • Financials  (Costs & pricing strategy, sales & costs forecast, cashflow, budget, balance sheet)


Ideas wall contributions related to the format & structure of a business plan.

How do you write a client facing strategic document for the purpose of a new business challenge?

Create a format and structure for a new business plan. You have considered company philosophy, leadership, budgeting, IP, and now we want you to create a 3,000-word business plan that presents your proposal to your client. This plan will be used to write a client facing project, or as an outline for a potential studio launch or entrepreneurial idea or artefact. This is very much a speculative exercise that will grow and evolve as you move through the rest of the course.

My proposal has been designed to be presented to a silent partner.  The aim is to pitch the idea and request permission to use my partners existing business as a working model to test the concept.  My partner will also be my first client.  The silent partner will have no operational input to the business but will provide business guidance, operational premises and some funding whilst establishing the idea.  The partner has already indicated potential clients within his industry.

Workshop Challenge
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Publishing Acquisitions Meeting Requirements
Example Project Schedule
Slack Communication Platform
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