In order to get a good understanding of what it takes to run a web design company, Karla Brink
decided to hit the books.
She completed web design, graphic design and business management courses part-time while she was working in the corporate field. She now runs her own business, Simply Graphic, which has grown significantly since it was launched a year and a half ago.
“I knew what I wanted to do and the skills I needed to learn, so the three courses were the best option,” says Brink. She had always had an interest in design, often taking on small projects for her friends and family as a hobby. She soon noticed that there was a demand for the service, particularly web design. The course helped Brink to understand the concepts of design and to translate her clients’ briefs into visual art.
Her desire to be an entrepreneur and not just someone providing the design service was what led her to study business management. “I knew I wanted to expand, that I would eventually employ people to do the design and development, and that I needed sound business management to separate myself from the masses offering the same service.” Brink adds: “I knew I was good at business management and wanted to fine-tune these skills.”
She believes that had she not done the course, the many facets of running a business would be overwhelming and intimidating. Studying business management has helped her navigate and expect obstacles like managing cash flow, which she says is the hardest for any emerging business.
For Brink the most useful aspect of the course was the accounting, as this is where her weaknesses are. Simply Graphic started out with a single laptop in Brink’s lounge. She now has four staff members and a great deal of repeat clientele.
This entrepreneur focused on learning to run the business, along with the skills she would need to provide the service. This is crucial. Too many entrepreneurs focus exclusively on product development and related skills and then are unable to manage the tough situations and make the hard decisions that are needed to run a new business.
Having started well she must continue – entrepreneur learning should be a life-time activity. As the business grows she will need different skills, and without ongoing learning to develop these she risks getting stuck in a comfort zone and limiting her company’s development. – Ed Hatton