Lessons from a year in business.
We at Orikami Lab just completed our first year and as most young agencies would say, it was something close to a rollercoaster ride. I’ve tried to put in most of the major points we have learned, felt or stumbled into.
1) A Unified Voice:
Communication is the word. We figured out early on that it’s great to have a bold vision, deep purpose or a great team (might be a bit biased here) but if you are unable to communicate to the world it does not matter much. Like most startups, the role of conversations is played by every team member within their community of friends and when out and about. It tends to hurt the overall business image if we’re unable to clarify the who, what, how or why. It’s even more important for us since our approach to is unconventional and so needs a bit more understanding.
2) There’s Design, and there is the Business of Design
This is a big one for those in the creative industries. In this day and age, there are multiple reasons to why a client will decide to partner with you. For many in the design world, It is easy to rely solely on your portfolio and creative skill set but much easier to forget the steps that need to be taken to build trust with your client. We learned that our operation and how we manage our projects are important areas to develop. At the end of the day, you are in touch with another person who is going through a parallel experience with how it is working with you and every step matters.
3) Relationships Matter:
It matters so so much. As one of core principles, we knew that we needed to speak to our clients, vendors, and partners like we would with friends. Through personal experience in other industries, it seemed normal to continue with the bland corporate communication or cold call a 100 leads with a service that they might or might not need. We learned that is probably the worst way to market yourself and it’s the opposite of what a human-centered agency would be doing. Listening very carefully and understanding who our partners really are helped us see that if we can relate to one another as people, why can’t we as businesses?
4) Clouds & Dirt
I give credit to Gary Vaynerchuk on this lesson. If clouds are the vision then dirt is the work to reach your goals, in the middle is where you need to be. You can’t go 100% on execution and have no vision as that will take the business to a place where you did not want it to go. You shouldn’t have a strong vision and not put in the work because that’s just a hopeless dream. Any individual and organization must follow two golden rules to play ball, an honest vision, and a dedication to achieving it.
6) Educate without purpose
When having conversations or speaking to prospective clients, it’s easy to sell hard and forget if they need what we offer. Another scenario is the fact that due to our unique positioning in helping businesses bringing creative value, they tend to find it hard to see a reason to need it. Educating without purpose is the idea that no matter conversation we have, we do it to give value and allow others to see what we do without cornering them for a project.
The Creative mindset:
It’s easy to believe in value if you’re the one creating it, but if you do not take the ones you are providing the value to in mind it can be pointless. Our approach to creating effective design solutions rides on our ability as a team and our willingness to learn and build on a daily business. Without it, we are essentially removing creativity out of the equation.