Singapore 5th May 2011
Doing fee proposals is obviously a key part of running our business as without fee proposals you don’t have any outlook on potential work. But there is a whole world out there before you can actually do fee proposals. Some people call it business development, some call it project acquisition and some call it marketing…For the development of long term relationships it often means socialising, having drinks or going out together, playing golf, etc.
When you start up your company you more or less do everything yourself; marketing, admin, design, production, installation, office management, you name it. As you grow the company you gradually get more staff and start to have dedicated staff doing dedicated work or assignments within the company organisation. But in lighting design our practices are generally small little studio’s maybe 10-15 people, sometimes smaller, sometimes bigger but comparatively small. This means that we all multi task and help each other out. At least that is how we operate, we are a small tightly nit little family.
But business development is an art by itself as it requires some human and social skills that not everyone has readily available in the right proportions and quality :). I am lucky to have been in this business for more than 30 years now and have over time build a treasure trove of contacts and relationships on top of having established myself as a recognised expert and successful lighting designer in the field. That means that many projects come to us by word of mouth and referral, through people I know, people who know me or have heard of me and my company. Right now I would say that figure is about 70-80%. But that still leaves a considerable percentage open for business development, new projects and clients.
As KLD is still in the process of establishing itself as a premium lighting design practice, business development was on my agenda today; analysing potential clients, potential markets and tapping on our existing relationships.
In Light Watch today I also would like to commend the efforts by some of the major lighting manufacturers in building their relationship with lighting designers. For some of them it goes beyond creating a personal relationship, it goes towards forging a lifelong bond. One of these companies, who visited us today, is WEEF that provides you hands-on training and experience with their products in their head office in Thailand.
Light Watch 84: The WEEF training facilities in Thailand (pictures courtesy WEEF Lux Urbium book)