What is Your Creative Strategy Really Costing You?

The internet is exploding (not literally, mom!) with DIY design tools and discount logo builders right now. I’m probably noticing this more than the average human, given my specialty and browsing history. I’m also curious as a cat, so I’ve clicked through to some of these tools and given them a try for myself.

Their intentions are honorable. Tools and services such as Canva or Fiverr are working to bring simple design within reach of anyone with a dream, both in terms of learning curve and budget.

Industry-standard design programs are costly to use and require time and keen focus to learn. Professional designers take projects like identity design seriously, injecting years of training and experience into the finished product, and the investment often reflects that.

As an entrepreneur or marketing leader, it’s up to you to guide the business vision. That big picture focus can sometimes lead us to overlook the creative aspect of our marketing strategy in favor of items that seem to have a more immediate and measurable effect on our bottom line.

Here are two reasons you should consider making a real investment in your creative strategy.

The guy you hired on Fiverr doesn’t care about your business.

You’ll probably have something you can use as your Facebook profile image at the end of this process, but that’s all you’ll have.

You’ve missed the valuable experience of partnering with a creative expert, communicating your business’s value proposition, exploring your target markets, and researching how others are communicating in your space. This process can be incredibly worthwhile in identifying new markets, unique messages, and fresh strategies.

He's laughing at you, not with you.
He’s laughing at you, not with you.

A creative partner jumps into the process with you, helping to navigate you towards an identity, not just a logo. The road to an identity involves valuable discussions about your goals, strategies, unique value proposition and more.

From that identity, you’re better prepared to build communications and identify touch points that fit your business and resonate with your audience. Best of all, you’ve essentially test-driven a critical partner in making those things a reality. A partner you’ll need since…

You have enough on your plate.

To illustrate my point here (though I suspect little illustration is needed!), I’ll tell a story about an entrepreneur named Shelly. Shelly has always been full of ideas, and this spirit has been a driving force in directing her towards a career of entrepreneurship, start-ups, and successful-enough businesses.

Shelly loves learning, trying new things, and having a hand in all of the different areas that help her businesses succeed. She has a running list of courses, tools, and new skills that she’s eager to dive into and learn. Ask her about anything, and she’s probably tried it. Her career has never been boring, but her to-do list is always full, bordering on overwhelming.

Recently, Shelly has experienced tension over feeling like her business isn’t seeing its potential. Specifically, her desire to learn and do all the things herself might be limiting her business’ growth.

Here’s what I’d suggest Shelly do:

  • Prioritize – Examine her overflowing plate. What are the business processes she absolutely needs to manage? What does she need to influence but could allow a trusted partner to manage successfully? And what does she need to let go of completely?
  • Clarify – Shelly needs to identify her core business, and her role in that business. What is the one thing she wants to be known for? Taking this step not only helps Shelly focus her time on the things that help make that one thing even better, but it also helps simplify her marketing messages, making identifying and communicating with her target audience easier.
  • Find. Help. – Now. The hard (but worth it!) part. Shelly needs to find trustworthy help for the business processes she’s decided to step back from.

Like I alluded to above, I think almost anyone can relate to Shelly. Many of us feel out of balance, overloaded, and overwhelmed, and our most important goals suffer because of it. And whether we know it or not, we are prioritizing our time each day – but often it’s not aligned with what’s best for our business or our career.

Finding a creative partner to handle the always-growing, never-ending load of marketing, design, web development – whatever your particular need is – helps you be you. You’re able to focus on the unique talents, knowledge, and perspective you bring to your business, yet you still get to participate in and lend valuable feedback to the creative process.

Finding a creative partner helps you be you. Share on X

What’s next for your business?

From our perspective, there’s nothing wrong with going the DIY or discount route, when it suits you and your particular stage of business growth. Many micro and small businesses are benefiting from these types of services. Sometimes, they are the quickest way to get a small task checked off your list.

But real growth comes when we step back from our to-do lists, pull ourselves out of the day-to-day, and truly contemplate a wider perspective. If unlocking growth, uncovering new potential, and exploring new strategies is what’s next for your business, consider finding the right creative partner – in addition to the right ideas – to help you get there.