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How to Start My Own Graphic Design Business
Promoting your firm is an ongoing task.
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Graphic designers use communication skills, industry knowledge and computer design expertise to create advertisements for media ranging from newspapers to online platforms. Graphic design businesses wee projected to enjoy a 13 percent increase in business during the period from 2008 to 2018, notes the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth is due to constantly increasing demand for Internet and other interactive media advertising such as mobile phone applications. Graphic designers with strong animation and website design skills face the best prospects.
1. Establish your graphic design business. Select a business structure with assistance from a certified public accountant familiar with small service businesses. Common business structures include a sole proprietorship, limited liability company and Subchapter S corporation. Meet with a commercial insurance agent with liability experience. Visit your city or county clerk s office for a business license. Contact your state department of revenue about a sales tax license for your service business (See Resources).
2. Lease a convenient business location. Find a small office near main highways and with no significant noise issues. Look for a site near other businesses that may represent potential customers. Consider an office park or retail environment. Ensure that your office is pre-wired for high-speed Internet service.
3. List your graphic design competition. Identify local and regional businesses that provide graphic design services. Competitors include firms that focus solely on graphic design products for individual clients, as well as full-service advertising agencies with varied business customers. Agencies create ads for print and interactive media that include newspapers, magazines, websites and mobile applications (See Resources). Obtain a brochure and services list from each design firm and advertising agency.
4. Purchase your graphics software and equipment. Browse a graphics design and production resource that reviews graphic design software. Evaluate each program s capabilities, including the software s ability to create and modify web and animated advertisements. Note system hardware requirements (See Resources). Purchase graphic design software from a computer specialty store or online retailer. Buy a new computer system if your current hardware will not support your design software. Consider a high-quality color printer, scanner and fax.
5. Market your graphic design business. Send professional work samples to advertising agencies, smaller magazines and product manufacturers. Reach these prospects through trade publication ads as well, recommends Entrepreneur magazine. Join your Chamber of Commerce, and network with members at chamber events. Visit each owner with a sample ad, and discuss advertising opportunities. Welcome new businesses with a free consultation. Locate your chamber through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (See Resources).
- Business structure documentation
- Insurance documentation
- Business license
- Sales tax license (if applicable)
- Written information on competition
- Graphic design software
- New computer system (if applicable)
- Fax machine
- Ad rates and copy for trade publications
- Work samples for potential clients
- Chamber membership list
- Sample ads for chamber member businesses
- If you plan to locate your graphic design business in a home office, obtain written zoning department approval before proceeding with your business plans.