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Graphic Design Business Plan

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The Metolius Agency

Executive summary executive summary is a brief introduction to your business plan. it describes your business, the problem that it solves, your target market, and financial highlights.">.

The Metolius Agency is a Eugene, Ore. based graphic design and visual communications firm.  Metolius will be concentrating on corporate identity of established companies.  The targeted customer is a small- to medium-size company that has been established for five to 15 years.  The company has done well with the business so far, but they are in need of a new corporate identity to allow them to move to the next level.

Metolius will operate out of a small office in the downtown area.  For months one through seven, Kiev Lartiste will be the sole employee.  By month seven, Kiev will be hiring an assistant to help with design work as well as administrative details.

Metolius will offer companies a fresh perspective regarding corporate identity and visual communication.  Kiev has a unique background where he has business skills and creative skills.  Most firms come solely from creative backgrounds.  While this is useful for the crafting of logos and other devices of visual communication, it lacks the intuitive business mindset that Kiev brings to the firm.  This competitive edge allows Kiev to bring both an aesthetic design focus as well as a practical, quantitative mindset that adds value to the service offerings by creating solutions that have both creative elements combined with rational, business ideas.  This is useful since the clients are more business oriented.

Metolius will grow their customer base by providing clients with well-priced projects due to reasonably low overhead, creative, practical designs that add more value than competing graphical art firms, and superior customer attention.  The Metolius Agency will reach profitability by month nine and generate $27,347 in profits by year three. 

Graphic design business plan, executive summary chart image

1.1 Objectives

The objectives for the first three years of operation include:

  • To develop a start-up graphics agency that will grow to profitability within year two.
  • To create a company whose primary goal is to exceed customer’s expectations.
  • To create a firm that provides the target customers with valuable services and provides the owner with a flexible, creative, fun, and profitable business opportunity.

1.2 Mission

The Metolius Agency’s mission is to provide the customer with creative and practical graphic design work and visual communication services.  We exist to attract and maintain customers.  When we adhere to this maxim, everything else will fall into place.  Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.

1.3 Keys to Success

The keys to success are:

  • Professionalism
  • Practical insight
  • Enjoyment of the experience

Company Summary company overview ) is an overview of the most important points about your company—your history, management team, location, mission statement and legal structure.">

The Metolius Agency is a start-up graphics firm that serves small- to medium-sized companies.  The firm will be based in Eugene, Ore. and will operate from a small, downtown office.

2.1 Company Ownership

The Metolius Agency is a sole proprietorship owned and operated by Kiev Lartiste.

2.2 Start-up Summary

The Metolius Agency will incur the following start-up costs:

  • Assorted office furniture including two filing cabinets, two work desks, a couch and two chairs for the waiting area, a round table with chairs, and assorted fixtures for the office.
  • Two computers, each with 21″ monitors, graphic tablet, black and white laser printer, inkjet color printer, scanner, CD-RW, and the following software: Illustrator, Freehand, Quark, Photoshop, Font Management Utilities, Traffic Office Manager (a scheduling and billing software), and Microsoft Project.
  • Development of the website which will include design time by Kiev and implementation from a University of Oregon computer science graduate student.
  • A current library of requisite magazines and journals.
  • A DSL connection.
  • Assorted office supplies.
  • Stationary and brochures.
  • Legal fees regarding business formation, creation of standard client contracts, and other general advice.

Please note that the following items which are considered assets to be used for more than a year will be labeled long-term assets and will be depreciated using G.A.A.P. approved straight-line depreciation method.

Graphic design business plan, company summary chart image

Start-up Funding
Start-up Expenses to Fund $1,000
Start-up Assets to Fund $42,000
Total Funding Required $43,000
Assets
Non-cash Assets from Start-up $19,800
Cash Requirements from Start-up $22,200
Additional Cash Raised $0
Cash Balance on Starting Date $22,200
Total Assets $42,000
Liabilities and Capital
Liabilities
Current Borrowing $0
Long-term Liabilities $0
Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills) $0
Other Current Liabilities (interest-free) $0
Total Liabilities $0
Capital
Planned Investment
Kiev $43,000
Investor 2 $0
Other $0
Additional Investment Requirement $0
Total Planned Investment $43,000
Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses) ($1,000)
Total Capital $42,000
Total Capital and Liabilities $42,000
Total Funding $43,000
Start-up
Requirements
Start-up Expenses
Legal $500
Stationery etc. $250
Brochures $250
Other $0
Total Start-up Expenses $1,000
Start-up Assets
Cash Required $22,200
Other Current Assets $0
Long-term Assets $19,800
Total Assets $42,000
Total Requirements $43,000

The Metolius Agency provides graphic design and visual communication services to established, primarily Eugene-based, companies.  Some of the services offered are corporate identity, marquees, logos, branding, and packaging. 

The pricing of the projects are typically estimated as a project-based cost.  The project cost will be estimated by the approximate number of hours needed to complete the project.  Generally, Kiev will be charging $75 an hour for his services.

The majority of services will be provided at The Metolius Agency’s office space.  This office will be modern, practical, and sleek.  This is very important because the office of a graphic designer is to a large degree a piece of their portfolio and reflects their work product.  Therefore, a decent amount of money will be used to develop a proper appearing business office.

Market Analysis Summary how to do a market analysis for your business plan.">

The Metolius Agency will be targeting small- to medium-sized companies.  What these companies have in common is they have started as a small company with a good idea and have grown into a larger, more mature company that must now decide if they are going to maintain the current business strategy, or reinvigorate the company, employ professional service providers, and move to the next level.

4.1 Market Segmentation

The Metolius Agency has two distinct customer groups which they will concentrate on:

  • Small-size companies: typically five to 15 employees
  • Medium-size companies: 15 to 40 employees

These companies started with a valuable concept and leveraged their original grassroots visual communication elements. Now that they have matured into a larger company, they can no longer rely on the original grassroots corporate identity. These companies are in need of a professional firm like The Metolius Agency to expand their identify and take them to that same level as their competitors and be able to compete.

Graphic design business plan, market analysis summary chart image

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Small companies 8% 234 253 273 295 319 8.05%
Medium companies 7% 145 155 166 178 190 6.99%
Total 7.65% 379 408 439 473 509 7.65%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

The market segments will be targeted in a number of different ways.  It must be noted that graphics firms generate visibility and sales not through advertising, but through networking and client referrals.  The methods used for the target market segment strategy will be:

  • Networking. The networking will be based on leveraging Kiev’s personal and professional relationships that he has developed after spending years in the industry.  Ways of networking include sending out notecards to all acquaintances announcing the opening of The Metolius Agency, periodically meeting with people to catch up–as well to continue to network which means to find out who this person knows within the target companies that Metolius will try to turn into customers. 
  • Client referral. A lot of business is derived through referrals.  Some of the referrals will come through the Chamber of Commerce, some of the referrals will come from customers.  Recognizing that referrals will be a good source of new customers, Kiev will be in constant contact with the Chamber.  In addition to being in contact with them, Kiev will investigate the possibility of doing a small project pro bono for the Chamber.  This will be done to let the Chamber view an example of The Metolius Agency’s work.  It will also provide a reason for the Chamber to recommend The Metolius Agency.  Kiev will work very hard to satisfy all of his customers.  By making sure that he exceeds their expectations, he will increase the likelihood that he will receive referrals from satisfied customers.
  • Targeted customer acquisition. This is the researching and strategic formulation to attract a chosen company to become a customer.  Kiev will put together a list of 20-30 companies that would be excellent customers.  Once these companies have been identified, Kiev will devise a strategy to target these companies as customers by initially determining what value Metolius can offer them. Eventually, the goal is to be able to meet with the decision maker of the company and present them with a portfolio of Kiev’s past work as well as the proposed value Kiev can offer them.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

Pro Tip:

Within the last seven to 10 years, there has been a trend in the industry for the general advertising agencies, that previously only worked with advertising, to act as a full-service agency that not only prepares advertisements, but also does a lot of the creative work in-house instead of outsourcing it.  This trend toward full-service agencies has continued.  To a large degree it is occurring due to higher profit margins for the service providers.  The Metolius Agency will be bucking this trend and concentrating on their specific skill set.

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

The following are examples of the different types of competitors:

  • Large advertising agencies: over the years these firms have increased their number of service offerings from selling media forms of advertising, to a full-service company that develops creative work in-house, working with companies to develop corporate identity, etc.
  • Freelance designers: these competitors are similar to Kiev because they are typically a one-man operation, often operating out of their own home.  Often the freelance designers are just getting into the business and are trying to get experience, or they have left a firm in search of a more flexible lifestyle.  Some freelance designers are well experienced and can offer the same professional level of quality the large agencies offer.
  • Kinko’s: while Kinko’s is not a true competitor, it is a substitute competitor that should be mentioned. Kinko’s stores do not have a true creative department, but for some of the larger accounts, it offers free creative services as a value-added feature to the larger customer.  These services are typically provided by an employee who has introductory or intermediate skills using graphic design software such as Quark or Freehand, and in a small amount of time can generate creative images for the client.  These services are typically not billed but used as a value-added benefit.  While the price is quite good, the customer must recognize the fact that these services are not on par with a professional agency.

Strategy and Implementation Summary

The Metolius Agency’s marketing and sales strategy will utilize networking and referrals to develop visibility for the company.  Prospective customers will be turned into qualified sales through a professional showing that displays Kiev’s portfolio of past work.  The portfolio is key for making a positive impression regarding Kiev which illustrates his skill set and capacity as a creative designer.

5.1 Marketing Strategy

As noted previously in the target market segment strategy, The Metolius Agency will rely on three activities in their marketing efforts.  These include:

  • Networking: leveraging relationships to build more relationships within Eugene’s relatively intimate community.
  • Client referral: by providing outstanding customer attention, current customers are more likely to become a long-term customer and are more likely to refer their friends.
  • Targeted customer acquisition: the first step of this process is to target who the ideal customer is, determine how Metolius can offer them value, and then network to come into contact with the decision maker at that company.

5.2 Sales Strategy

The sales strategy will be to utilize Kiev’s portfolio of past work to qualify a sales lead.  Using a portfolio is very common within the industry to show past examples of work.  Kiev’s strategy will be the development of several different portfolios, each one customized to a specific type of work.  By having different portfolios, Kiev is able to better illustrate his proficiency with that specific skill set.  In addition to the use of the portfolio, Kiev will do research on the prospective company and their industry so that he has specific knowledge of the needs the company may have and solutions that he can offer.

5.2.1 Sales Forecast

The first month of operation will be used to get the office set up and ready for business.  Some of the time will be working with the interior designers to create a modern looking office space.

Months two through four will be somewhat slow as Kiev is developing clients. He is forecasted to take on some smaller projects.  By month five Metolius will have developed larger projects and will continue to grow steadily.

Graphic design business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales
Small companies $29,339 $50,697 $58,849
Medium companies $40,058 $74,554 $86,543
Total Sales $69,397 $125,251 $145,392
Direct Cost of Sales Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Small companies $880 $1,521 $1,765
Medium companies $1,202 $2,237 $2,596
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $2,082 $3,758 $4,362

5.3 Milestones

The Metolius Agency will have several milestones early on:

  • Business plan completion
  • Office set up
  • Establishment of the first major account
  • Profitability

Graphic design business plan, strategy and implementation summary chart image

Milestones
Milestone Start Date End Date Budget Manager Department
Business plan completion 1/1/2001 2/1/2001 $0 ABC Marketing
Office set up 1/1/2001 2/1/2001 $0 ABC Department
Establishment of the first major account 1/1/2001 5/15/2001 $0 ABC Department
Profitability 1/1/2001 9/31/01 $0 ABC Department
Totals $0

5.4 Competitive Edge

The Metolius Agency’s competitive edge is based on Kiev’s diverse background of business and creativity.  Typically, most creative agencies are staffed by right-brain creative types.  These people are extremely aesthetically oriented.  While this is certainly an asset in the field of graphic design, it can be limiting because while their work might be extremely creative, it might not “hit home” with non-creative types which make up a large portion in the business world.

Kiev’s background is based both in aesthetics and business.  While Kiev always had a creative streak that he would use, his education was business oriented. This competitive edge allows The Metolius Agency to offer similar creative services other firms can offer, but also provide a unique business perspective.

Web Plan Summary

The website will be used as a way to disseminate information regarding the firm, show past examples of work, provide the interested party will several ways of contacting The Metolius Agency.  In today’s day and age, a website is almost a given, a standard source of information regarding the company.

6.1 Website Marketing Strategy

The marketing strategy for the website will be based on inclusion of the Internet address in all materials that The Metolius Agency releases, as well as submission to popular websites.  Submission to search engines is an art in itself as different search engines work in different ways so a customized submission is most effective.

6.2 Development Requirements

A graduate student from the University of Oregon’s computer science department will be used for the development (writing the code, Kiev will be responsible for the creative work) of the website as well as the periodic maintenance of the site.  A graduate student will be used because of their expertise and typical below market rate.

Management Summary management summary will include information about who's on your team and why they're the right people for the job, as well as your future hiring plans.">

Upon graduation, Kiev went to work for Wieden & Kennedy in Portland.  This was a wonderful experience as Kiev was surrounded by very bright, creative people.  Kiev was given small projects, usually components of larger projects.  While this was a good experience, he was unable to leverage his business skills under these circumstances.

After three years Kiev moved to Eugene and took a position with (name omitted), a large full-service advertising agency.  The firm gave Kiev more management responsibility for his projects. After the third year, Kiev felt confident enough to entertain the idea of going out on his own and opening his own firm.  After market research and writing a business plan, Kiev gave notice and opened up The Metolius Agency.

7.1 Personnel Plan

Kiev will be the sole employee through month seven at which time he will hire an assistant to help out with design execution, as well as some of the administrative details.

Personnel Plan
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Kiev $42,000 $42,000 $42,000
Assistant $17,280 $34,560 $34,560
Total People 2 2 2
Total Payroll $59,280 $76,560 $76,560

Financial Plan investor-ready personnel plan .">

The following sections will outline important financial information.

8.1 Important Assumptions

The following table details important financial assumptions.

General Assumptions
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Plan Month 1 2 3
Current Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Long-term Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Tax Rate 30.00% 30.00% 30.00%
Other 0 0 0

8.2 Break-even Analysis

The Break-even Analysis indicates that approximately $7,000 will be needed in monthly revenue to reach the break-even point.

Graphic design business plan, financial plan chart image

Break-even Analysis
Monthly Revenue Break-even $7,053
Assumptions:
Average Percent Variable Cost 3%
Estimated Monthly Fixed Cost $6,841

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

The following table will indicate projected profit and loss.

Graphic design business plan, financial plan chart image

Pro Forma Profit and Loss
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales $69,397 $125,251 $145,392
Direct Cost of Sales $2,082 $3,758 $4,362
Other Production Expenses $0 $0 $0
Total Cost of Sales $2,082 $3,758 $4,362
Gross Margin $67,316 $121,493 $141,030
Gross Margin % 97.00% 97.00% 97.00%
Expenses
Payroll $59,280 $76,560 $76,560
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses $2,820 $2,820 $2,820
Depreciation $2,400 $2,400 $2,400
Website maintenance $600 $600 $600
Insurance $900 $900 $900
Rent $7,200 $7,200 $7,200
Payroll Taxes $8,892 $11,484 $11,484
Other $0 $0 $0
Total Operating Expenses $82,092 $101,964 $101,964
Profit Before Interest and Taxes ($14,776) $19,529 $39,066
EBITDA ($12,376) $21,929 $41,466
Interest Expense $0 $0 $0
Taxes Incurred $0 $5,859 $11,720
Net Profit ($14,776) $13,670 $27,347
Net Profit/Sales -21.29% 10.91% 18.81%

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

The following chart and table will indicate projected cash flow.

Graphic design business plan, financial plan chart image

Pro Forma Cash Flow
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales $69,397 $125,251 $145,392
Subtotal Cash from Operations $69,397 $125,251 $145,392
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received $0 $0 $0
New Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0
New Other Liabilities (interest-free) $0 $0 $0
New Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Sales of Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0
Sales of Long-term Assets $0 $0 $0
New Investment Received $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Received $69,397 $125,251 $145,392
Expenditures Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending $59,280 $76,560 $76,560
Bill Payments $20,322 $32,111 $38,554
Subtotal Spent on Operations $79,602 $108,671 $115,114
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out $0 $0 $0
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0
Purchase Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0
Purchase Long-term Assets $0 $0 $0
Dividends $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Spent $79,602 $108,671 $115,114
Net Cash Flow ($10,205) $16,580 $30,278
Cash Balance $11,995 $28,575 $58,853

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

The following table will indicate the projected balance sheet.

Pro Forma Balance Sheet
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Assets
Current Assets
Cash $11,995 $28,575 $58,853
Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0
Total Current Assets $11,995 $28,575 $58,853
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets $19,800 $19,800 $19,800
Accumulated Depreciation $2,400 $4,800 $7,200
Total Long-term Assets $17,400 $15,000 $12,600
Total Assets $29,395 $43,575 $71,453
Liabilities and Capital Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable $2,172 $2,681 $3,213
Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0
Other Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Current Liabilities $2,172 $2,681 $3,213
Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Total Liabilities $2,172 $2,681 $3,213
Paid-in Capital $43,000 $43,000 $43,000
Retained Earnings ($1,000) ($15,776) ($2,106)
Earnings ($14,776) $13,670 $27,347
Total Capital $27,224 $40,894 $68,240
Total Liabilities and Capital $29,395 $43,575 $71,453
Net Worth $27,224 $40,894 $68,240

8.6 Business Ratios

The following table compares standard business ratios with the Standard Industry Code #7336, Graphic Design Services.

Ratio Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Industry Profile
Sales Growth 0.00% 80.48% 16.08% 9.02%
Percent of Total Assets
Other Current Assets 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 52.57%
Total Current Assets 40.81% 65.58% 82.37% 76.45%
Long-term Assets 59.19% 34.42% 17.63% 23.55%
Total Assets 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Current Liabilities 7.39% 6.15% 4.50% 34.45%
Long-term Liabilities 0.00% 0.00% 0.00% 23.62%
Total Liabilities 7.39% 6.15% 4.50% 58.07%
Net Worth 92.61% 93.85% 95.50% 41.93%
Percent of Sales
Sales 100.00% 100.00% 100.00% 100.00%
Gross Margin 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 100.00%
Selling, General & Administrative Expenses 118.29% 86.09% 78.19% 77.05%
Advertising Expenses 1.47% 0.81% 0.70% 1.42%
Profit Before Interest and Taxes -21.29% 15.59% 26.87% 0.83%
Main Ratios
Current 5.52 10.66 18.32 1.51
Quick 5.52 10.66 18.32 1.13
Total Debt to Total Assets 7.39% 6.15% 4.50% 66.33%
Pre-tax Return on Net Worth -54.28% 47.76% 57.25% 2.06%
Pre-tax Return on Assets -50.27% 44.82% 54.67% 6.12%
Additional Ratios Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Net Profit Margin -21.29% 10.91% 18.81% n.a
Return on Equity -54.28% 33.43% 40.07% n.a
Activity Ratios
Accounts Payable Turnover 10.36 12.17 12.17 n.a
Payment Days 27 27 28 n.a
Total Asset Turnover 2.36 2.87 2.03 n.a
Debt Ratios
Debt to Net Worth 0.08 0.07 0.05 n.a
Current Liab. to Liab. 1.00 1.00 1.00 n.a
Liquidity Ratios
Net Working Capital $9,824 $25,894 $55,640 n.a
Interest Coverage 0.00 0.00 0.00 n.a
Additional Ratios
Assets to Sales 0.42 0.35 0.49 n.a
Current Debt/Total Assets 7% 6% 4% n.a
Acid Test 5.52 10.66 18.32 n.a
Sales/Net Worth 2.55 3.06 2.13 n.a
Dividend Payout 0.00 0.00 0.00 n.a
Sales Forecast
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Sales
Small companies 0% $0 $600 $1,500 $1,360 $1,820 $2,296 $2,811 $3,240 $3,558 $3,769 $3,936 $4,450
Medium companies 0% $0 $0 $0 $2,000 $2,676 $3,376 $4,134 $4,765 $5,232 $5,543 $5,788 $6,544
Total Sales $0 $600 $1,500 $3,360 $4,496 $5,672 $6,945 $8,005 $8,790 $9,312 $9,724 $10,994
Direct Cost of Sales Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Small companies $0 $18 $45 $41 $55 $69 $84 $97 $107 $113 $118 $133
Medium companies $0 $0 $0 $60 $80 $101 $124 $143 $157 $166 $174 $196
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $0 $18 $45 $101 $135 $170 $208 $240 $264 $279 $292 $330
Personnel Plan
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Kiev 0% $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500
Assistant 0% $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $2,880 $2,880 $2,880 $2,880 $2,880 $2,880
Total People 1 1 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2 2
Total Payroll $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380
General Assumptions
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Plan Month 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Current Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Long-term Interest Rate 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00% 10.00%
Tax Rate 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00% 30.00%
Other 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pro Forma Profit and Loss
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Sales $0 $600 $1,500 $3,360 $4,496 $5,672 $6,945 $8,005 $8,790 $9,312 $9,724 $10,994
Direct Cost of Sales $0 $18 $45 $101 $135 $170 $208 $240 $264 $279 $292 $330
Other Production Expenses $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Cost of Sales $0 $18 $45 $101 $135 $170 $208 $240 $264 $279 $292 $330
Gross Margin $0 $582 $1,455 $3,259 $4,361 $5,502 $6,737 $7,765 $8,526 $9,033 $9,432 $10,664
Gross Margin % 0.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00% 97.00%
Expenses
Payroll $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380
Sales and Marketing and Other Expenses $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235 $235
Depreciation $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200 $200
Website maintenance $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50 $50
Insurance $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75 $75
Rent $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600 $600
Payroll Taxes 15% $525 $525 $525 $525 $525 $525 $957 $957 $957 $957 $957 $957
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Operating Expenses $5,185 $5,185 $5,185 $5,185 $5,185 $5,185 $8,497 $8,497 $8,497 $8,497 $8,497 $8,497
Profit Before Interest and Taxes ($5,185) ($4,603) ($3,730) ($1,926) ($824) $317 ($1,760) ($732) $29 $536 $935 $2,167
EBITDA ($4,985) ($4,403) ($3,530) ($1,726) ($624) $517 ($1,560) ($532) $229 $736 $1,135 $2,367
Interest Expense $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Taxes Incurred $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Net Profit ($5,185) ($4,603) ($3,730) ($1,926) ($824) $317 ($1,760) ($732) $29 $536 $935 $2,167
Net Profit/Sales 0.00% -767.17% -248.67% -57.32% -18.33% 5.58% -25.34% -9.14% 0.33% 5.75% 9.62% 19.71%
Pro Forma Cash Flow
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Cash Received
Cash from Operations
Cash Sales $0 $600 $1,500 $3,360 $4,496 $5,672 $6,945 $8,005 $8,790 $9,312 $9,724 $10,994
Subtotal Cash from Operations $0 $600 $1,500 $3,360 $4,496 $5,672 $6,945 $8,005 $8,790 $9,312 $9,724 $10,994
Additional Cash Received
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Received 0.00% $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Other Liabilities (interest-free) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Sales of Long-term Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
New Investment Received $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Received $0 $600 $1,500 $3,360 $4,496 $5,672 $6,945 $8,005 $8,790 $9,312 $9,724 $10,994
Expenditures Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Expenditures from Operations
Cash Spending $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $3,500 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380 $6,380
Bill Payments $50 $1,486 $1,504 $1,532 $1,587 $1,621 $1,671 $2,126 $2,158 $2,181 $2,197 $2,210
Subtotal Spent on Operations $3,550 $4,986 $5,004 $5,032 $5,087 $5,121 $8,051 $8,506 $8,538 $8,561 $8,577 $8,590
Additional Cash Spent
Sales Tax, VAT, HST/GST Paid Out $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Principal Repayment of Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Long-term Liabilities Principal Repayment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Purchase Long-term Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Dividends $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Cash Spent $3,550 $4,986 $5,004 $5,032 $5,087 $5,121 $8,051 $8,506 $8,538 $8,561 $8,577 $8,590
Net Cash Flow ($3,550) ($4,386) ($3,504) ($1,672) ($591) $551 ($1,106) ($501) $252 $751 $1,147 $2,404
Cash Balance $18,651 $14,265 $10,761 $9,089 $8,498 $9,049 $7,943 $7,442 $7,693 $8,444 $9,592 $11,995
Pro Forma Balance Sheet
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Assets Starting Balances
Current Assets
Cash $22,200 $18,651 $14,265 $10,761 $9,089 $8,498 $9,049 $7,943 $7,442 $7,693 $8,444 $9,592 $11,995
Other Current Assets $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Current Assets $22,200 $18,651 $14,265 $10,761 $9,089 $8,498 $9,049 $7,943 $7,442 $7,693 $8,444 $9,592 $11,995
Long-term Assets
Long-term Assets $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800 $19,800
Accumulated Depreciation $0 $200 $400 $600 $800 $1,000 $1,200 $1,400 $1,600 $1,800 $2,000 $2,200 $2,400
Total Long-term Assets $19,800 $19,600 $19,400 $19,200 $19,000 $18,800 $18,600 $18,400 $18,200 $18,000 $17,800 $17,600 $17,400
Total Assets $42,000 $38,251 $33,665 $29,961 $28,089 $27,298 $27,649 $26,343 $25,642 $25,693 $26,244 $27,192 $29,395
Liabilities and Capital Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12
Current Liabilities
Accounts Payable $0 $1,436 $1,453 $1,479 $1,533 $1,566 $1,600 $2,055 $2,085 $2,108 $2,123 $2,135 $2,172
Current Borrowing $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Other Current Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Subtotal Current Liabilities $0 $1,436 $1,453 $1,479 $1,533 $1,566 $1,600 $2,055 $2,085 $2,108 $2,123 $2,135 $2,172
Long-term Liabilities $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total Liabilities $0 $1,436 $1,453 $1,479 $1,533 $1,566 $1,600 $2,055 $2,085 $2,108 $2,123 $2,135 $2,172
Paid-in Capital $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000 $43,000
Retained Earnings ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000) ($1,000)
Earnings $0 ($5,185) ($9,788) ($13,518) ($15,444) ($16,268) ($15,951) ($17,712) ($18,444) ($18,415) ($17,879) ($16,944) ($14,776)
Total Capital $42,000 $36,815 $32,212 $28,482 $26,556 $25,732 $26,049 $24,288 $23,556 $23,585 $24,121 $25,056 $27,224
Total Liabilities and Capital $42,000 $38,251 $33,665 $29,961 $28,089 $27,298 $27,649 $26,343 $25,642 $25,693 $26,244 $27,192 $29,395
Net Worth $42,000 $36,815 $32,212 $28,482 $26,556 $25,732 $26,049 $24,288 $23,556 $23,585 $24,121 $25,056 $27,224

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Graphic Design Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Graphic Design Business Plan

Graphic Design Business Plan

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their graphic design businesses. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a graphic design business plan template step-by-step so you can create your plan today.

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here >

What is a Graphic Design Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your business as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes research to support your business plans.

Why You Need a Business Plan for a Graphic Design Business

If you’re looking to start a graphic design business, or grow your existing graphic design business, you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your graphic design business in order to improve your chances of success. Your business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.

Sources of Funding for Graphic Design Businesses

With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a graphic design business are personal savings, credit cards, bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest. To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable, but they will also want to see a professional plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.

The second most common form of funding for a graphic design business is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding, or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Venture capitalists will not fund a graphic design business. They might consider funding a graphic design business with a national presence, but never an individual location. This is because most venture capitalists are looking for millions of dollars in return when they make an investment, and an individual location could never achieve such results.

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How to write a business plan for a graphic design company.

If you want to start a new graphic design business or expand your current one, you need a business plan in the proper business plan format . Below are links to each section of your graphic design business plan template:

Executive Summary

Your executive summary provides an introduction to your business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your plan.

The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of graphic design business you are operating and the status. For example, are you a startup, do you have a business that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of graphic design businesses.

Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your plan. For example, give a brief overview of the graphic design industry. Discuss the type of graphic design business you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing strategy. Identify the key members of your team. And offer an overview of your financial plan.  

Company Analysis

In your company analysis, you will detail the type of business you are operating.

For example, you might operate one of the following types of graphic design businesses:

  • Publishing graphic design : this type of business creates eye-catching visual materials for books, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Website graphic design : this type of business creates user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing website pages.
  • Product graphic design : this type of graphic design studio creates illustrations and prototypes of various products.

In addition to explaining the type of graphic design business you will operate, the Company Analysis section of your business plan needs to provide background on the business.

Include answers to question such as:

  • When and why did you start the business?
  • What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include the number of client contracts, contract renewals, revenue generated, number of referrals, etc.
  • Your legal structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.

Industry Analysis

In your industry analysis, you need to provide an overview of the graphic design business.

While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.

First, researching the graphic design industry educates you. It helps you understand the market in which you are operating. 

Secondly, research can improve your strategy, particularly if your research identifies market trends.

The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your plan, you achieve just that.

The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your graphic design business plan:

  • How big is the graphic design industry (in dollars)?
  • Is the market declining or increasing?
  • Who are the key competitors in the market?
  • What trends are affecting the industry?
  • What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
  • What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your graphic design business? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.

Customer Analysis

The customer analysis section of your graphic design business plan must detail the customers you serve and/or expect to serve.

The following are examples of customer segments: business owners and entrepreneurs, bloggers, marketing professionals. 

As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of graphic design business you operate. Clearly, entrepreneurs would want different service options and would respond to different marketing promotions than bloggers, for example.

Try to break out your target customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations and income levels of the customers you seek to serve. You can find demographic information for various locations on government websites.

Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and retaining your customers.

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Competitive Analysis

Your competitive analysis should identify the indirect and direct competitors your business faces and then focus on the latter.

Direct competitors are other graphic design businesses. 

Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from that aren’t direct competitors. This includes low-cost freelance platforms and design tools like Canva. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone who needs graphic design will utilize a graphic design company.

With regards to direct competition, you want to describe the other graphic design businesses with which you compete. Most likely, your direct competitors will be graphic design businesses in the same niche.

For each such competitor, provide an overview of their businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:

  • What types of clients do they serve?
  • What types of graphic design services do they offer?
  • What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
  • What are they good at?
  • What are their weaknesses?

With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the customers’ perspective. And don’t be afraid to ask your competitors’ customers what they like most and least about them.

The final part of your competitive analysis section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:

  • Will you provide superior services?
  • Will you provide services that your competitors don’t offer?
  • Will you make it easier or faster for customers to use your services?
  • Will you provide better customer service?
  • Will you offer better pricing?

Think about ways you will outperform your competition and document them in this section of your plan.  

Marketing Plan

Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a graphic design business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:

Product : In the product section, you should reiterate the type of graphic design business that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific products you will be offering. For example, in addition to graphic design, will you provide unlimited revisions, a dedicated project manager, or free mock-ups?

Price : Document the prices you will offer and how they compare to your competitors. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the services you offer and their prices.

Place : Place refers to the location of your graphic design company. Most likely, your graphic design business can be operated remotely, and you can serve several geographic locations at once. Mention how your remote graphic design business offers ample opportunities. 

Promotions : The final part of your graphic design marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s) or website. The following are some promotional methods you might consider:

  • Advertising in local papers and magazines
  • Reaching out to local websites 
  • Social media marketing
  • Local radio advertising

Operations Plan

While the earlier sections of your business plan explained your goals, your operations plan describes how you will meet them. Your operations plan should have two distinct sections as follows.

Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your graphic design business, including project management, sales and outreach, and design work.

Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to work with your 100th client, or when you hope to reach $100,000 in revenue. It could also be when you expect to partner with a major brand or complete your first graphic design case study.  

Management Team

To demonstrate your graphic design business’ ability to succeed, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company. 

Ideally you and/or your team members have direct experience in managing graphic design businesses. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.

If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience in managing graphic design companies or successfully running small businesses.  

Financial Plan

Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statements.

Income Statement : an income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows your revenues and then subtracts your costs to show whether you turned a profit or not.

In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you work with 60 clients per year or 120? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.

Balance Sheets : Balance sheets show your assets and liabilities. While balance sheets can include much information, try to simplify them to the key items you need to know about. For instance, if you spend $50,000 on building out your graphic design business, this will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $50,000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.

Cash Flow Statement : Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business, and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt. For example, let’s say an advertising agency approached you with a $75,000 contract to provide graphic design services for their clients on an annual basis. Let’s further assume the contract would cost you $75,000 to fulfill in terms of increased staffing costs. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay that $75,000 now for employee salaries, software, image licensing, etc. But let’s say the company didn’t pay you for 180 days. During that 180-day period, you could run out of money.

In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a graphic design business:

  • Business build-out including website design and branding fees, hosting, advanced digital security and encryption, etc.
  • Cost of equipment like design software, high-speed internet, project management platforms, etc
  • Payroll or salaries paid to staff
  • Business insurance
  • Taxes and permits
  • Legal expenses

Attach your full financial projections in the appendix of your plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your trademark or copyright information.  

Graphic Design Business Plan Template PDF

You can download our graphic design business plan PDF to help you get started on your own business plan.  

Putting together your own business plan for a graphic design business is a worthwhile endeavor. If you follow the template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the graphic design industry, your competition, and your customers. You will have developed a marketing strategy and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow your own graphic design business.  

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OR, Let Us Develop Your Plan For You

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success. Growthink’s professional business plan consulting services can create your business plan for you.

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Top 10 Graphic Design Business Plan Templates with Examples and Samples (Editable Word Doc, Excel and PDF Included)

Top 10 Graphic Design Business Plan Templates with Examples and Samples (Editable Word Doc, Excel and PDF Included)

Samradni Pradhan

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In an increasingly visual world, the significance of graphic design transcends mere aesthetics; it has evolved into a powerful medium that influences decisions, conveys messages, and shapes perceptions across various sectors. Graphic design is the unspoken language of branding, marketing, and communication, and its importance cannot be overstated.

Statistics tell a compelling story. A study by Adobe revealed that 38% of consumers will stop website engagement if the content or layout is unattractive. In the world of social media, posts with images garner 650% more engagement than text-only posts. These figures underline the pivotal role graphic design plays in captivating an audience, fostering engagement, and ultimately driving success.

For those considering venturing into the world of graphic design, understanding the essentials of a graphic design business is paramount. This includes mastering design software, building a solid portfolio, and staying tuned to design trends that continually shape the industry. However, equally critical is having the right tools at your disposal.

This is where our graphic design business templates come into play. As an indispensable tool, they provide a foundation for design projects, saving time and effort while maintaining a professional standard. With our business plan ppt templates, you can streamline your creative process, ensuring consistency and quality in your work. These templates are the backbone of efficient, professional, and visually captivating design.

Whether you're an established graphic designer or just starting, the use of our graphic design business templates will help elevate your work and set you on the path to success in this dynamic and ever-evolving field.

Table of contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Industry Analysis
  • Customer Analysis
  • Competitor Landscape
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Porter's Framework
  • Operational Plan
  • Financial Plan

When you download this business plan template, you will get access to a total of 52-page template documents. These are completely editable as per your needs and requirements. However, for the ease of this blog, we will only highlight the top 10 templates from this entire deck. After downloading, you will get the 52-page Doc, PDF, and XLS files.

Also, if you are looking Graphic Design Cover Letter Templates , here's a handy guide with the most popular samples and examples.

1.Executive Summary

The executive summary is the gateway for investors to your graphic design business plan. It condenses the entire plan into a few paragraphs, highlighting key aspects such as your business's mission, financial projections, and market opportunity. This section is vital for investors as it allows them to quickly grasp the potential of your venture, making it easier for them to decide whether to delve deeper into the plan.

In our Executive Summary section, you will get templates for

1.1 The Quick Pitch: In a nutshell, your graphic design business quick pitch emphasizes visually transforming brands and content to captivate audiences and drive success.

1.2 The Entity: Your graphic design business stands as a creative entity specializing in crafting captivating visuals and compelling brand identities, appealing to investors seeking innovation and market presence.

Executive Summary

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2. Company Overview

Investors seek a strong understanding of the company they might invest in. The company overview provides crucial insights into the graphic design business's history, values, and core mission. It is essential for investors as it sets the right tone for the entire plan and helps them assess if the company aligns with their investment goals and values.

In our Company Overview section, you will get templates for

2.1 Mission and Vision: Identify graphic design business that envisions creative branding solutions that inspire trust and captivate audiences.

2.2 Goals and Objectives: Well-defined goals drive growth, client satisfaction, and investor profitability in your graphic design business.

2.3 Start-up Summary: This section offers a financial snapshot, showing your graphic design business's readiness for growth.

2.4 Market Gap and Solution: Identifying gaps and offering innovative design solutions makes your business appealing to investors.

2.5 Product and Services Offered: Your graphic design business excels in a wide range of visual products and services, benefiting clients from various industries; talk about them here.

2.6 Key Success Factors: A talented team, advanced technology, and a client-focused approach highlight your business's potential for excellence, attracting investor interest.

Company Overview

3.Industry Analysis

Investors need to grasp the broader context within which your graphic design business operates. This section paints a detailed picture of the industry, covering market size, growth trends, and critical factors influencing the sector. Investors rely on this analysis to assess the long-term potential and stability of their investment.

In our Industry Analysis section, you will get templates for

3.1 Market Analysis: Comprehensive market analysis guides your business to navigate the visual communication industry effectively.

3.2 Market Trends: Staying updated with market trends ensures your business remains innovative and appealing to clients and investors alike.

3.3 Major Challenges: Addressing industry challenges showcases your adaptability and resilience, bolstering investor confidence.

3.4 Growth Drivers: Recognizing growth drivers highlights the potential for your business to prosper, attracting investors.

3.5 Geographical Analysis: Analyzing different markets enables you to customize services, expanding your clientele and investor appeal.

Industry Analysis

4. Customer Analysis

The customer analysis reveals the demographics, behaviors, and needs of your target audience. Investors need this information to gauge the demand for your design services and the potential for revenue generation.

In our Customer Analysis section, we offer comprehensive templates for:

4.1 Target Market: Your business identifies a diverse target market, offering creative solutions that resonate with a broad array of clients and industries.

4.2 Buyer Persona: Crafting specific buyer personas enables your graphic design business to tailor visual content to the unique needs, preferences, and challenges of ideal clients.

4.3 Market Sizing: By analyzing market sizing, you gain insights into the vast potential of the visual communication industry, showcasing the lucrative opportunities available for investors.

Customer Analysis

5. Competitor Analysis

A comprehensive competitor landscape analysis not only showcases your strengths and uniqueness but also identifies areas where your business can outperform rivals. Investors use this information to gauge your competitive advantage, which directly impacts profitability.

Competitor Analysis

6. SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is an essential section for investors. It provides a balanced view of your graphic design business's internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats. Investors rely on this analysis to assess their preparedness to face challenges and capitalize on opportunities, ensuring the sustainability of their investment.

SWOT Analysis

7. Porter's Framework

Investors value the strategic insights provided by Porter's Framework. This section outlines your strategy for creating a sustainable competitive advantage. It demonstrates to investors how your graphic design business plans to stand out in the market, attract clients, and maintain profitability. Investors use this to evaluate the viability and attractiveness of your business model.

Porter's Framework

8. Marketing Plan

A well-structured marketing plan is essential for attracting clients and generating revenue. Investors pay close attention to this section as it details your strategy for reaching and retaining clients. It provides insights into your customer acquisition and retention methods, which are crucial for evaluating the revenue-generating potential of your graphic design business. Investors are interested in how you plan to scale your business and achieve a return on their investment.

In our Marketing Plan section, we provide templates for:

8.1 Marketing Strategies: Your marketing strategies amplify the visibility of your services, attracting clients with captivating visuals and brand enhancement.

8.2 Sales Strategies: Effective sales strategies ensure that your converts leads into satisfied clients, driving revenue and business growth.

8.3 Pricing Strategies: Strategic pricing methods optimize your offerings, balancing value and profitability while remaining competitive in the market.

8.4 Sales Funnel: Your sales funnel outlines the precise journey through which potential clients become loyal patrons of your services, guiding them from interest to engagement and conversion.

Marketing Plan

9. Operational Plan

An efficient operational plan is paramount in ensuring the smooth execution of graphic design projects. Investors place significant emphasis on this section as it outlines the blueprint for managing design workflows and resources. It provides insights into your capacity to meet project deadlines and maintain quality standards, which are critical for reassuring investors about the dependable execution of design services and, ultimately, the return on their investment.

In our Operational Plan section, we provide templates for:

9.1 Business Model: Your graphic design business model thrives on visual creativity, delivering impactful solutions for clients.

9.2 Milestones: Milestones highlight achievements and growth, offering investors clear markers of progress.

Operational Plan

10. Financial Plan

The financial plan is a pivotal section for investors, particularly in the graphic design industry. It meticulously outlines revenue projections, budget allocation for design tools and software, and an assessment of operating costs. Investors rely on this section to evaluate the financial viability of your graphic design business. They are keen to understand the revenue-generating potential, cost management strategies, and overall profitability outlook, ensuring that their investment aligns with their financial objectives.

In our Financial Plan section, we provide templates for:

10.1 Financial Assumptions: Sound financial assumptions anchor your graphic design business plan, serving as a roadmap for investment decisions.

10.2 Revenue Model and Sales Forecast: Your revenue model reflects the power of creative design in driving sales, with forecasts rooted in industry demand and market potential.

10.3 Break-Even Analysis : The break-even point signals the moment your graphic design business turns profitable, reassuring investors about your financial sustainability.

10.4 Projected Profit and Loss Account: The profit and loss account paints a vivid picture of your financial performance, demonstrating how your design expertise translates into profit.

10.5 Projected Cash Flow Statement: Your cash flow statement showcases the steady influx and outflow of funds, ensuring operational continuity in your graphic design endeavors.

10.6 Projected Balance Sheet: The balance sheet reflects the financial health of your graphic design business, highlighting assets and liabilities and ensuring investors of stability.

10.7 Scenario Analysis: In a dynamic market, scenario analysis equips you to adapt to various conditions, reassuring investors of your preparedness for potential challenges.

10.8 DCF Valuation: Employing discounted cash flow (DCF) valuation underscores the intrinsic value of your graphic design business.

Financial Plan

This is not it!

Having a business plan in place ensures that half of your work is done! This business plan template will act as a guiding tool to make sure that your graphic design business is put in front of the investors in the right way! It will not only come across as something that is attention-grabbing but also looks incredibly professional. Ensuring a positive picture of your brand is painted in the minds of your target audience. If you want a single document that outlines all of the relevant details about your business, you can download the one-pager document directly. Go ahead and paint your graphic design business canvas.

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ProfitableVenture

Graphic Design Business Plan [Sample Template]

By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero

Home » Business Plans » Arts & Craft Sector

Graphic Design Business

Are you about starting a graphic design business ? If YES, here’s a complete sample graphic design business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE to raise money .

Look around you and you will see graphics all around you; from the television, to the internet and then to the books. Truth remains that graphics will continue to get all the attention it gets now because of the creativity involved in the profession.

Those who are in the trade know that one of the things that make one stand out is the level of creativity one is able to bring to the table.

The graphics industry is vastly becoming a saturated one as more and more people are beginning to take to the trade.  This is because of the profitability that it assures. If you are a graphic designer, there is no limit to the amount you can make as a professional- especially if you know how to generate doable business ideas.

The truth is that many talented graphic designers (graphic artist) gets stranded because they lack innovative ideas to transform their talents (skills) into a money making venture.

The fact that you are a graphic designer does not in any way restrict you to a certain way of doing business. First and foremost, you must have mastered the skill, and then you should look outside the box. Looking outside the box could mean that you should also acquire complementary skills like video editing and video coverage skills et al.

The bottom line is that if you want to make more money as a graphic designer, then you should be ready to go out of your way to develop innovative business ideas that is in sync with your skills; ideas that won’t take you too far from your core area of business. This is also  where having a detailed business plan comes in.

A Sample Graphic Design Business Plan Template

1. industry overview.

The graphics design business has really opened up over the years and this can be especially attributed to the advent of the internet. A whole lot of things have really caused the business to really boom and in turn attract people to start the trade as well.

The advent of personal computers no doubt gave leverage to the graphic design industry, it is now easier for graphics designer to carry out their jobs from the comfort of their homes with ease and accuracy in terms of designs specifications and color combinations et al. Graphic design can be categorized under the visual and communication arts industry.

Everyone will quite agree that the graphic design industry has come to stay and of course it is one industry that plays key roles- not only in the business world, but also in nearly all the aspects of what goes around in our world today. For instance; organizations with top notch logos would have hired the services of a graphic artist.

As a matter of fact, the services of graphic artists are needed in branding, print advertisement, the publication industry (books, magazines and newspapers et al), handbills, posters, billboards, websites, product packaging and in other areas.

One of the good things about this business remains the fact that you can start by acquiring a skill in the business and then begin to horn your creativity skills in the industry. There are a thousand and one schools both offline and on line that offers trainings. All that is therefore needed to be done is to be really attentive so that one can get all the rudiments of the art right.

Over the years, the graphic design industry has experienced tremendous growth; from the use of crayons, colors, paints, markers and pencil, to the use of desktop publishing and graphic art software. Beyond every reasonable doubt, a graphic designer cannot be effective and efficient in this dispensation without the use of computers and computer software applications; computer enhanced creative process for graphic artists.

The graphic design industry is undeniably a very large industry and pretty much active in all the parts of the world. Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are 138,035 registered graphic design companies, employing about 172,494 and the industry rakes in about $11bn annually.

The industry is indeed a highly competitive industry, which is why no graphic design company can boast of generating more than 5 percent of the total revenue in the industry.

As a matter of fact, IBIS World has stated that the two biggest graphic design companies have a combined market share of only 5.2 percent. Statistics also has it that 93.2 percent of players in the graphic design industry employ maximum of 10 full – time workers per time.

Over and above, the graphic design industry is very open to aspiring entrepreneurs who have the required skills to start his or her own graphic design business and of course make good money from the industry. As a matter of fact, it was projected that over the next five years, new technology will continue to emerge that will make it easier for more players to come into the industry hence increasing the competition in the industry.

2. Executive Summary

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio Is a U.S based but world class graphics design company. We do not have plans to handle things with levity, which is why we have really made it a point of mandate to do all that we are able to We have been able to lock down a standard and well – positioned office facility in a busy business district in Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland.

We are a graphic design company that is set to compete in the highly competitive graphic design industry not only in the United States market, but also in the global market. Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio will be involved in the all aspect of graphic design services- such as Web Design, Print Media Design, Advertising and Corporate Branding, Graphic and Commercial art services, Corporate Identification design services (logos), Cartoons and Animations.

Our business goal is to become one of the leading graphic design companies in the United States and we will make sure that every graphic design jobs that leaves our studio can favorable compete with the best in the industry.

We believe that having the best of employees also have a ways of helping to boost a business. This is one of the reasons why our workers will be selected from a pool of talented and highly creative graphic artists in and around Baltimore and also from any part of the world as the business grows.

We will make sure that we take all the members of our workforce through the required trainings that will position them to meet the expectation of the company and to compete with leading graphic designers in the United States and throughout the globe.

We have put plans in place to build a state of the art graphics studio in Baltimore – Maryland. Our studio will be well equipped and we will ensure that we follow the trend in the industry. At Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio, our client’s best interest come first, and everything we do will be guided by our values and professional ethics.

We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s needs precisely and completely. We will cultivate a working environment that provides a human, sustainable approach to earning a living, and living in our world, for our partners, employees and for our clients.

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio is founded by Louis Clinton and his friend and business partner for many years Levi Bradford. They have a combine experience in corporate branding and advertising, cartoon and animations, graphic and commercial art services and print media design.

3. Our Products and Services

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio was established with the aim of maximizing profits in the graphic design industry. We want to compete favorably with the leading graphics design companies in the United States, which is why we have but in place a competent quality assurance team that will ensure that all our graphic designs and services meet and even surpass our customers’ expectations.

We will work hard to ensure that Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio is not just accepted nationally in the United States of America, but also in other parts of the world. Our products and services are listed below;

  • Print Media Design
  • Advertising and Corporate Branding
  • Graphic and Commercial art services
  • Corporate Identification design services
  • Creating Illustrations
  • Cartoon and Animations (3D et al) Production

4. Our Mission and Vision Statement

  • Our vision is to establish a standard graphic design studio whose services and brand will not only be accepted in the United States of America, but also in other parts of the world.
  • We are poised to solve the graphics problems around town.
  • Our mission is to provide professional and highly creative graphic design and related services that will assist businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations in promoting their brands.
  • We want to build a graphic design company that can favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry.

Our Business Structure

At Louis and Levi, we have structured our business so well so that all and sundry can benefits from Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio. Our business is a graphic design company that intends to   start small in Baltimore, but hope to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading graphic design studios in the industry both in the United States and on a global stage.

We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the picture of the kind of world class business we want to own. This is why we are committed to only hire the best hands within our area of operations.

At Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio, we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, creative, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all the stake holders (the owners, workforce, and customers).

As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, we have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;

  • Chief Executive Officer
  • Creative Director

Human Resources and Admin Manager

  • Sales and Marketing Executive
  • Graphic Artist
  • Cartoon and Animation Specialist

Client Service Executive

5. Job Roles and Responsibilities

Chief Executive Officer – CEO:

  • Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions; providing educational opportunities.
  • Responsible for providing direction for the business
  • Creating, communicating, and implementing the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
  • Responsible for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
  • Evaluates the success of the organization

Creative Director:

  • Serves as project manager of the organization; works directly with employees
  • Responsible for designing concepts for advertisements and other promotional needs for client (s)
  • In charge of copy writing and laying out chronological advertisement plans
  • Develops strategic plan by studying technological and financial opportunities; presenting assumptions; recommending objectives.
  • Accomplishes subsidiary objectives by establishing plans, budgets, and results measurements; allocating resources; reviewing progress; making mid-course corrections.
  • Coordinates efforts by establishing procurement, production, marketing, field, and technical services policies and practices; coordinating actions with corporate staff.
  • Builds company image by collaborating with customers, government, community organizations, and employees; enforcing ethical business practices.
  • Maintains quality service by establishing and enforcing organization standards.
  • Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; benchmarking state-of-the-art practices; participating in professional societies.
  • Make certain that production and development department perform efficiently, coordinate employee efforts, and facilitate communications between management and graphic designer
  • Ensures that the organization work in line with international best practices.
  • Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
  • Defining job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
  • Carries out staff induction for new team members
  • Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
  • Responsible for arranging travel, meetings and appointments
  • Oversee the smooth running of the daily office and factory activities.
  • Makes sure that the smooth and daily cleaning is never compromised.

Sales and Marketing Manager

  • Manage external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
  • Models demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer
  • Identifies development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts; participates in the structuring and financing of projects; assures the completion of development projects.
  • Writes winning proposal documents, negotiate fees and rates in line with organizations’ policy
  • Responsible for handling business research, market surveys and feasibility studies for clients
  • Responsible for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
  • Develops, executes and evaluates new plans for expanding increase sales
  • Creates new markets cum businesses for the organization
  • Empowers and motivates the sales team to meet and surpass agreed targets
  • Attends really warmly to the clients that come to the office.

Accountant / Cashier:

  • Responsible for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
  • Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports; analyzes financial feasibility for the most complex proposed projects; conducts market research to forecast trends and business conditions.
  • Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
  • Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
  • Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
  • Responsible for administering payrolls
  • Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
  • Handles all financial transactions for Pick ‘a’ Brain™ Finishing School
  • Serves as internal auditor for Pick ‘a’ Brain™ Finishing School

Graphic Designers (2)

  • Liaises with clients to determine their requirement and budget
  • Responsible for developing concepts, graphics and layouts for product illustrations, company logos, and websites
  • Responsible for managing client proposals from typesetting through to design, print and production
  • Responsible for reviewing final layout and suggesting improvement if necessary
  • Responsible for working with clients, briefing and advising them with regards to design style, format, print production and timescales et al
  • Determine size and arrangement of illustrative material and copy, and font style and size
  • Responsible for liaising with external printers on a regular basis to ensure deadlines are met and material is printed to the highest quality
  • Responsible for preparing drafts or material based on an agreement brief.
  • Researches and advice the organization on style, genre and other trendy info as it relates to graphic design.

Cartoon and Animator Specialist (2)

  • Responsible for designing models, background, sets, characters, objects and the animation environment
  • Works creatively to produce original and aesthetically pleasing designs and solutions
  • Uses specialist computer software applications such as Maya, Lightwave, Softimage, Cinema 4D, Flash and After Effects
  • Presents designs to customers for evaluation
  • Liaises and working effectively with other design and production staff
  • Welcomes students and visitors by greeting them in person or on the telephone; answering or directing inquiries.
  • Ensures that all contacts with clients (e-mail, walk-In center, SMS or phone) provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
  • Through interaction with students on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
  • Manages administrative duties assigned by the school coordinator in an effective and timely manner
  • Consistently stays abreast of any new information on the schools’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information is supplied to students when they make enquiries

6. SWOT Analysis

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio engaged the services of a core professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist our organization in building a well – structured graphic design business that can favorably compete in the highly competitive graphic design industry in the United States and the world at large.

Part of what the team of business consultant did was to work with the management of our organization in conducting a SWOT analysis for Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio. We believe it was really expedient to have only professionals handle this aspect and so we got the best of results.

Here is a summary from the result of the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio;

Our core strength lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient graphic designers, a team with excellent qualifications and experience various niche areas in the graphic design industry.

Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected graphic artists our designs and services will be guided by best practices in the industry. We know that with a solid area of strength, we will be able to attract loads of people, who will patronize us.

As a new graphic design company in Baltimore – Maryland, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and gain acceptance especially from top profile clients in the already saturated and highly competitive graphic design industry; that is perhaps our major weakness. Another weakness is that we may not have the required cash to promote our business the way we would want to.

  • Opportunities:

No doubt, the opportunities in the graphic design industry is massive considering the number of individuals and corporate organizations whose businesses depends on the services of graphic artist. As a graphic design company, we are ready to take advantage of any opportunity that is available in the industry.

Therefore, for us to harness what we have, we have to be all hard working so that at the end of the day after putting our best, we will get what we deserve.

Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face is economic downturn. It is a fact that economic downturn affects purchasing / spending power. Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new graphic design company in same location where our target market exist and who may want to adopt same Business model like us.

7. MARKET ANALYSIS

  • Market Trends

The trend in the graphic design industry is that the target market keeps expanding, people and organizations are now seeing the need for them to engage the services of graphic designers either in branding or packaging their products and services or in helping them create animations that will help them communicate their brand to a wide range of clients.

For example; politicians no longer rely on graphic artists to design and produce colorful campaign handbills, posters, billboards and other print related campaign materials but also to help them produce animations and cartoons that will help them effectively communicate their message.

Another common trend in the graphic design industry is that, most graphic design firms no longer settle for clients within the location where there physical office is located but also from any part of the world. The truth is that with the advent of the internet, it is now easier for a graphic design company or a graphic designer to work for clients in any part of the world.

A graphic design company can be located in the United States of America and have their biggest client in United Arab Emirates. Many thanks to the power of the internet. Lastly, the graphic design industry will continue to evolve due to the advancement of computer technology and software applications designs et al.

8. Our Target Market

Before starting our graphic design business, we are certain that there is a wide range of both corporate and individual clients who cannot successfully run their businesses without the services of graphic designers. As a matter of fact, without graphic designers branding, publications and animation industry will struggle.

In view of that, we have created strategies that will enable us reach out to various corporate organizations and individual who we know can’t afford to do without our services.

We have conducted our market research and survey and we will ensure that all our graphic design services is well accepted in the marketplace. Below is a list of the people and organizations that we have specifically market our products and services to;

  • Banks, Insurance Companies and other related Financial Institutions
  • Blue Chips Companies
  • Corporate Organizations
  • Manufacturers and Distributors
  • Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors
  • Research and Development Companies
  • The Government (Public Sector)
  • Schools (High Schools, Colleges and Universities)
  • Sport Organizations
  • Religious Organizations
  • Political Parties
  • Television Stations
  • Printing Press (Publishing Houses) and Authors
  • Branding and Advertising agencies
  • Entrepreneurs and Start – Ups

Our Competitive Advantage

No doubt the competition in the graphic design industry is getting stiffer by the day, you have to be highly creative and come up with appealing designs and concepts in order to survive in the industry. The graphic design industry is indeed a very prolific and at the same time a highly competitive industry.

Clients will only hire your services if they know that they can get nothing but the best from you. We are quite aware that to be highly competitive in the graphic design industry means that you are not only expected to be able to deliver consistent and highly creative designs, but you must be able to meet set targets.

No one would want to continue to hire your services if don’t always meet up with the target date of completion of projects.

Our competitive advantage lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative and highly proficient graphic designers, a team with excellent qualifications and experience various niche areas in the graphic design industry.

Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected graphic artists our designs and services will be guided by best practices in the industry.

Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category (startups graphic design businesses in the United States) in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.

9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY

Sources of Income

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the graphic design industry and we are going to go all the way to ensure that we do all it takes to meet and surpass the expectations of all our clients.

This is why one of the things that we have done is to identify the areas that we will source out startup funds from. Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio will generate income by offering the following graphic design related services;

10. Sales Forecast

Having good sales is one of the driving forces of our graphics designing business. This is why we are always taking time to do a proper forecast. We know that constantly doing this will help us sit up in the aspects where we may be found wanting.

One thing is certain; there would always be corporate organization and individual who would need the services of graphic design firms.

We are well positioned to take on the available market in graphic design industry and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough income / profits from the first six month of operations and grow our graphic design company to enviable heights.

We have been able to critically examine the graphic design market and we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. The sales projection is based on information gathered on the field and some assumptions that are peculiar to similar startups in Baltimore – Maryland.

Below is the sales projection for Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio, it is based on the location of our business and of course the wide range of our services and target market;

  • First Year-: $100,000
  • Second Year-: $300,000
  • Third Year-: $7500, 000

N.B: This projection is done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same graphic services as we do within same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.

  • Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy

We are mindful of the fact that there is stiffer competition in the graphic design industry; hence we have been able to hire some of the best marketing experts to handle our sales and marketing.

Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experiences in the graphic design industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their targets and the overall business goal of Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio.

Our goal is to grow Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio and to become one of the top 10 graphic design studios in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out strategy that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in the United States of America but also in other parts of the world.

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio are set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients;

  • Introduce our graphic design company by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to corporate organizations, religious organizations and key stake holders.
  • Promptness in bidding for graphic design contracts from the government and other cooperate organizations
  • Advertise our business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, TV stations, and radio station.
  • List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Attend relevant international and local expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
  • Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still deliver excellent design and services
  • Leverage on the internet to promote our business
  • Engage direct marketing approach
  • Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients
  • Offer Probono services to people who need graphics designing services.
  • Hold free graphics training for people who might   want to learn.

11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy

We have been able to work with our in house brand and publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market.

We are set to become the number one choice for both corporate clients and individual clients in the whole of the United States and beyond which is why we have made provisions for effective publicity and advertisement of our graphic design company. Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events / programs
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook , twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our services
  • Install our BillBoards on strategic locations all around Baltimore – Maryland.
  • Engage in road show from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
  • Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact corporate organizations by calling them up and informing them of Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio and the services we offer
  • List our graphic design company in local directories / yellow pages
  • Advertise our graphic design company in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
  • Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles are well branded with our company logo et al.

12. Our Pricing Strategy

At Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio we will keep the prices of our services below the average market rate for all of our customers by keeping our overhead low and by collecting payment in advance from corporate organizations who would hire our services. In addition, we will also offer special discounted rates to all our customers at regular intervals.

It is vital we do this so that we do not scare people away with our pricing. We are aware that there are some one-off jobs or government contracts which are always lucrative; we will ensure that we abide by the pricing model that is expected from contractors or organizations that bid for such contracts.

  • Payment Options

At Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio, our payment policy will be all inclusive because we are quite aware that different people prefer different payment options as it suits them. Here are the payment options that we will make available to our clients;

  • Payment by via bank transfer
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via bank draft
  • Payment via mobile money
  • Payment with cash

In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will help us achieve our plans with little or no itches.

13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)

In setting up any business, the amount or cost will depend on the approach and scale you want to undertake. If you intend to go big by renting a place, then you would need a good amount of capital as you would need to ensure that your employees are well taken care of, and that your facility is conducive enough for workers to be creative and productive.

This means that the start-up can either be low or high depending on your goals, vision and aspirations for your business. The materials and equipment that will be used are nearly the same cost everywhere, and any difference in prices would be minimal and can be overlooked.

As for the detailed cost analysis for starting a graphic design company; it might differ in other countries due to the value of their money. However, this is what it would cost us to setup Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio in the United of America;

  • Business incorporation fees in the United States of America will cost – $750.
  • The budget for Liability insurance, permits and license will cost – $3,500
  • Acquiring an office space or warehouse that will accommodate the number of employees for at least 6 months (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive to fit into the design of our graphic studio) will cost – $150,000.
  • Equipping the office (computers, printers, projectors, markers, servers / internet facility, furniture, telephones, filing cabinets, and electronics) will cost – $10,000
  • Amount required to purchase the needed software applications – $ 3,500
  • Launching an official Website will cost – $500
  • Amount need to pay bills and staff members for at least 2 to 3 months – $70,000
  • Additional Expenditure such as Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions will cost – $5,000

Going by the report from the market research and feasibility studies conducted, we will need about two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) U.S. dollars to successfully set – up a medium scale but standard graphic design company firm in the United States of America.

Generating Funding / Startup Capital for Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio

Louis & Levi Graphic Design Studio is a business that will be owned by Louis Clinton and his friend and business partner for many years Levi Bradford. They are the sole financial of the business which is why they decided to restrict the sourcing of the start – up capital for the business to just three major sources. These are the areas we intend generating our start – up capital;

  • Generate part of the start – up capital from personal savings and sale of his stocks
  • Generate part of the start – up capital from friends and other extended family members
  • Generate a larger chunk of the startup capital from the bank (loan facility).

N.B: We have been able to generate about $100,000 (Personal savings $85,000 and soft loan from family members $15,000) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $150,000 from our bank. All the papers and document has been duly signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited.

14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy

It is easier for businesses to survive when they have steady flow of business deals / customers patronizing their products and services. We are aware of this which is why we have decided to develop a various mobile apps for different clients and for different purposes.

We will also work with corporate clients to help them develop customized mobile apps for their business. We know that if we continue to come up with highly creative and unique graphic designs and excellent job delivery for both businesses and individual, there will be steady flow of income for the organization.

Our key sustainability and expansion strategy is to ensure that we only hire creative, competent and selfless graphic artists and cartoon and animation specialist, create a conducive working environment and employee benefits for our staff members.

In the nearest future, we will give our most dedicated and prolific employees the opportunity to be part owner of the business. We know that if we implement our business strategies, we will achieve our business goals and objectives in record time.

Check List / Milestone

  • Business Name Availability Check:>Completed
  • Business Incorporation: Completed
  • Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts various banks in the United States: Completed
  • Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
  • Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
  • Securing a standard office facility for our studio: Completed
  • Application for business license and permit: Completed
  • Purchase of All form of Insurance for the Business: Completed
  • Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
  • Generating part of the start – up capital from the founders: Completed
  • Writing of Business Plan: Completed
  • Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
  • Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
  • Design of Logo for the business: Completed
  • Secure trademark for our products: In Progress
  • Graphic Designs and Printing of Packaging Marketing / Promotional Materials: Completed
  • Recruitment of employees: In Progress
  • Purchase of the Needed furniture, office equipment, software applications, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
  • Creating Official Website for the business: In Progress
  • Creating Awareness for the business: In Progress
  • Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
  • Establishing business relationship with vendors and key players in various industries: In Progress

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GRAPHIC DESIGN BUSINESS PLAN: 2023 Template & Easy Detailed Guide

  • by Kenechukwu Muoghalu
  • August 13, 2023
  • No comments
  • 8 minute read

graphic design business plan

Table of Contents Hide

What is a business plan in graphic design, what is the importance of a graphic design business plan, how do you write a business plan example, #1. executive summary, #2. company overview, #3. market analysis, #4. competitive analysis, #5. sales and marketing strategy, #6. operational plan, #7. management team, #8. financial plan, #9. appendix, how do i start a graphic design business, how much do i need to start a graphic design business, what type of business is graphic design, what equipment do you need to start a graphic design business, a graphic design business plan template for your company , how do graphic designers find clients, is graphic design profitable, how much should a graphic designer charge, what are the 7 types of graphic design, do you wish to finish your graphic design business plan in 1 day, where is a good place to start when starting a graphic design business, what are some legal aspects to keep in mind when starting your own design business, what skills should i have as a graphic designer.

Graphic design covers a wide range of functions, which include branding, making posters, print advertisements, publications, handbills, or billboards. This description alone will highlight the workload to expect as a graphic designer. Now, to curb these many responsibilities in your company, you will need a graphic design business plan. This article has provided all the necessary information you need to know about a graphic design business plan and how you can create one for your company using our unique template. 

We also have a pre-made graphic design business plan. In any case, you wish to get a business plan today. 

A graphic design business plan is a document that provides a snapshot of your company as it stands and also lays out your future growth plan. This same business plan can help you achieve those mapped-out goals over a given period. As a graphic designer, a business plan will serve as an organizer and companion to help you keep track of every business activity and also stay updated. 

The work of a business plan is to carefully analyze your business goals and strategies while showing you how you can attain them. Even as a startup business, you might need some means of financial assistance to help the growth of your company, and for you to achieve that aim, you will also need a business plan. 

Most times, entrepreneurs fail to embrace the importance of a business plan, but it is almost impossible for you to overlook the essence of a graphic design business plan in any company. Now that you understand the basics and importance of a graphic design business plan for your company, you will learn how to write one using this brief template below. 

To write your graphic design business plan, you can follow the easy-step template that we have provided below. With that template, you can come up with a compelling business plan that your readers will love. If you have trouble composing one, you can choose our pre-made business plan to get your company running.

How to Write a Business Plan for a Graphic Design Company

Writing a business plan does not just come from inspiration. To write a business plan, you will need to follow some processes in order to achieve a professional business plan. These steps include

Your executive summary , being the first section your readers will see, should provide an introduction to your business. The main goal of this section is to engage your reader by explaining the kind of services you offer and how you offer them. You should also include a brief summary of all the sections that will appear in your business plan. Talk about your competitors, marketing, management team, and target market. 

This is where you will give an in-depth explanation of the business. Tell your readers about your company’s history and how you started your graphic design business. You should also specify the type of graphic design business you offer. Is it a publishing graphic design, a website graphic design, a product graphic design, or all? 

Before writing the market analysis of your graphic design business plan, you should research thoroughly on your market. Any information that you provide here should be clear and accurate. It should show your readers how well you understand your market and how you can take advantage of that to make your business grow. You can also include a little information about your customer here and how you intend to serve them well.

Your competitive analysis is also another piece of research that needs to be carried out in your industry. Every business has a competitor, and to get ahead of them, you need to research them to know what they do best. You should also know their strengths and weaknesses. Also, discover how well they serve customers and then include the full details here. Lastly, tell your readers what makes your business unique and special compared to theirs.

A proper marketing plan should cover your product, price, place, and promotion. The essence of formulating a marketing plan is to increase sales with your potential clients and also create awareness for your company. In this section, you will need to tell your readers how you intend to attract customers and what your marketing plan entails. 

Every business has a goal and objective that they need to achieve over a given period of time. This section of your graphic design business plan should cover how you intend to achieve those goals and the basic operations you would follow to make it happen, either as a short-term goal or a long-term goal. 

To show your readers your graphic design business’s ability to succeed, you will need a strong management team. In this section, you will highlight your key players’ backgrounds and also mention their skills and experience in their mode of work. You can indirectly tell your readers how your team has the ability to grow a company. 

This is also a crucial part of any business plan, especially when seeking financial support from lenders or investors. It is essential that you include an income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement in this section of your plan. This information should clearly analyze your financial projections and how you intend to make profits over a given period. 

Lastly, this section should contain supporting documents that will make your plan more valid and compelling to me to add any license, certification, or qualifications to this section of your business plan. 

You need to put in your all-in commitment to your work to start your graphic design business in 2023. There is also a need to have a clear understanding of the market and any potential competitors you might encounter in your industry. You will also need to pay special attention to your target market. If you maintain a strong online presence and promote your website through digital marketing, then you will scale up your business in no time. The road to success is clear; you only need to follow the right route. 

It can cost approximately £18,000 to £23,000 to start a graphic design business in the UK. However, this cost can also differ depending on how advanced you want your business to be. If it is a more detailed start-up then it would cost you more. 

Graphic design can be classified on a freelance basis and can create materials for corporate clients, advertising agencies, public relations firms, and publishers, inclusive. They can also work as full-timers that provide visual solutions to a particular problem a company might be facing. 

When starting up as a designer, there are some important tools you need to show off your abilities efficiently. You will need a laptop, a high-resolution monitor, a portable hard drive, a graphics tablet, and some color swatches for extra creativity and practicality. As you expand more in your business, you might also discover more handling equipment you might need. 

Aside from following the above steps to create a compelling graphic design business plan for your company, you also need to make use of a template checklist. The essence of a checklist is to help you keep track of all the necessary processes you need to achieve while starting your new business. 

  • Understand your skill
  • Develop your skills.
  • Identify your potential clients.
  • Carry out a competitive analysis
  • Set your price.
  • Get your legal certification.
  • Get a workspace 
  • Design your marketing plan.

Before you think about finding a client, you must do some basic research to identify who your target audience really is. They can be large and medium corporate companies or even small local businesses. Once you have this information, then you will need to develop a marketing strategy that will enable you to find and attract your potential clients. 

Aside from the work and difficulty that are involved with being a graphic designer, it has also proven to be a highly reputable job in the UK that can earn you good cash. An average UK graphic designer earns a total of £31,000 a year and £12.37 per hour. 

If you are not a new designer, it is advisable to charge your services based on your portfolio or previous clients. However, if you are starting new in the industry and have had no clients in the past, it is best to charge according to other graphic designers in the industry. You can engage in market research to discover how much to charge, and from this, you will get an idea of how you want to charge your clients.  

The seven types of graphic design can be said to be product design, animation design, branding design, website design, print design, publishing design, and environmental design. With these options, a graphic designer will then choose a specific niche to work on.

Creating a business plan from scratch is a daunting task, especially when it is your first time, so you are not alone. It is understandable if you got hooked on a particular section of your plan, all you need is a little help, and I’ve got just the right idea. 

Have you tried using a professional pre-made graphic design business plan made by us? At Businessyield Consult, we specialize in helping entrepreneurs like you compose a professional business plan that works! We have helped multiple businesses and are looking forward to helping more. Grab a copy here and get your business on the go .

Once you have gotten hold of your graphic design business plan, it does not just end with having a plan. If you want your graphic design business to grow, you will need to constantly make adjustments to every little update and information about your business. When you make those changes, you can then measure if you are making progress or not. 

A graphic design business does not need a large space and location to start. As a graphic designer, all you need is a desk, table, and a laptop set-up or study space and you are good to go. If you are working with a large group of people, then you should consider getting an affordable co-working space for a start. 

A graphic design business does not need many requirements to start up. You only need to register your business with the government and get insurance for your company. You will also need copyrighting, trademarking, licensing, tax requirements, and some legal policies just to keep your business valid. 

As a graphic designer, there are some skills that can help you scale more. brand strategy, logo designing, social media branding, animation, typography, web designing, creating brochures, infographics, and some poster design skills. You can register for some courses that can help you acquire these skills if you lack any. 

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Kenechukwu Muoghalu

Kenny, an accomplished business writer with a decade of experience, excels in translating intricate industry insights into engaging articles. Her passion revolves around distilling the latest trends, offering actionable advice, and nurturing a comprehensive understanding of the business landscape. With a proven track record of delivering insightful content, Kenny is dedicated to empowering her readers with the knowledge needed to thrive in the dynamic and ever-evolving world of business.

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Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers

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In the fast-paced world of graphic design, standing out from the competition is essential. But how do you create a clear path to success in such a creative and dynamic industry? That's where ClickUp's Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers comes in handy!

With our ready-made template, freelance graphic designers and design agencies can:

  • Define their business goals and objectives to stay focused and motivated
  • Develop effective strategies for attracting and retaining clients
  • Create detailed financial projections to ensure profitability
  • Craft targeted marketing plans to reach a wider audience

Whether you're a seasoned designer looking to level up your business or a new agency aiming to make a splash, our Business Plan Template will help you navigate the design world with confidence. Start planning your success today!

Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers Benefits

A business plan template for graphic designers is an essential tool for success in the competitive design industry. Here are some benefits of using this template:

  • Provides a clear roadmap for achieving business goals and objectives
  • Helps identify target clients and develop effective marketing strategies
  • Enables accurate financial projections and budgeting for optimal resource allocation
  • Guides the development of a compelling brand identity and unique selling proposition
  • Facilitates effective communication with clients and stakeholders
  • Ensures a professional and organized approach to running a graphic design business.

Main Elements of Graphic Designers Business Plan Template

ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers is the perfect tool to help freelance graphic designers or graphic design agencies stay organized and focused on their business goals. Here are the main elements of this template:

Custom Statuses: Keep track of your progress with statuses such as Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do, allowing you to easily see which tasks need your attention and which are already completed.

Custom Fields: Utilize custom fields like Reference, Approved, and Section to add important information to each task, such as reference materials or approval status, ensuring all necessary details are easily accessible within the template.

Custom Views: Access five different views, including Topics, Status, Timeline, Business Plan, and Getting Started Guide, to visualize your business plan from different perspectives. Whether you want to focus on specific topics, track task statuses, or view a timeline of your plan, ClickUp has you covered.

Project Management: Take advantage of ClickUp's project management features, such as task dependencies, time tracking, and collaboration tools, to ensure efficient workflow and successful execution of your business plan.

With ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers, you can streamline your planning process and achieve your business goals with ease.

How To Use Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers

If you're a graphic designer looking to create a solid business plan, you're in the right place. By using the Business Plan Template in ClickUp and following the steps outlined below, you'll be well on your way to establishing a successful graphic design business.

1. Define your vision and mission

Start by clearly defining the vision and mission of your graphic design business. What do you hope to achieve? Who is your target audience? Having a clear vision and mission statement will guide your business decisions and help you stay focused on your goals.

Use a Doc in ClickUp to brainstorm and articulate your vision and mission.

2. Identify your target market

Next, identify your target market. Who are the clients you want to work with? What industries do you specialize in? Understanding your target market will help you tailor your services and marketing efforts to attract the right clients.

Create tasks in ClickUp to research and identify your target market segments.

3. Define your services and pricing

Outline the services you offer as a graphic designer and determine your pricing structure. Be sure to consider factors such as your level of expertise, the complexity of the project, and the value you provide to clients. Setting clear and competitive pricing will help you attract clients and ensure you're compensated fairly for your work.

Create custom fields in ClickUp to track your services and pricing options.

4. Develop a marketing strategy

To attract clients and grow your graphic design business, you'll need an effective marketing strategy. Consider tactics such as creating a portfolio website, leveraging social media platforms, attending industry events, and networking with potential clients. Determine which marketing channels are most relevant to your target market and develop a plan to reach them.

Use the Calendar view in ClickUp to schedule and track your marketing activities.

5. Establish financial goals and projections

Setting financial goals and projections is crucial for the success of your business. Determine how much revenue you want to generate, as well as your desired profit margin. Consider factors such as operating expenses, taxes, and any investments you'll need to make in equipment or software. Creating a financial plan will help you stay on track and make informed business decisions.

Use Dashboards in ClickUp to monitor your financial goals and track your progress.

6. Monitor and adjust

Once your business plan is in place, it's important to regularly monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. Keep an eye on your financial performance, marketing efforts, and client feedback. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to pivot and try a new approach. Remember, flexibility is key to building a successful graphic design business.

Set recurring tasks in ClickUp to regularly review and update your business plan based on your evolving needs and goals.

Get Started with ClickUp’s Business Plan Template for Graphic Designers

Graphic designers can use the Business Plan Template in ClickUp to create a comprehensive and organized roadmap for their design business.

First, hit "Add Template" to sign up for ClickUp and add the template to your Workspace. Make sure you designate which Space or location in your Workspace you’d like this template applied.

Next, invite relevant members or guests to your Workspace to start collaborating.

Now you can take advantage of the full potential of this template to create a successful graphic design business:

  • Use the Topics View to outline and organize different sections of your business plan, such as goals, target audience, services, and marketing strategies.
  • The Status View will help you track the progress of each section of your business plan, with statuses like Complete, In Progress, Needs Revision, and To Do.
  • The Timeline View will allow you to set deadlines and visualize the timeline for completing different aspects of your business plan.
  • The Business Plan View provides an overview of your entire business plan, allowing you to easily navigate and access each section.
  • The Getting Started Guide View offers step-by-step instructions and tips to help you fill out each section of your business plan.
  • Utilize the custom fields, such as Reference, Approved, and Section, to add additional information and categorize different elements of your business plan.
  • Update statuses and custom fields as you make progress and receive feedback on your business plan.
  • Monitor and analyze your business plan to ensure it aligns with your goals and objectives.
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Table of contents, the ultimate graphic design business plan template.

  • 25 May, 2024

graphic design business plan template

Starting Your Business

Before diving into the world of graphic design, it’s essential to lay a solid foundation for your business. This involves defining your niche and creating a comprehensive business plan. These steps will help guide your journey and set you up for success in the competitive graphic design industry.

Defining Your Niche

Defining your niche is a crucial first step when starting a graphic design business. It involves identifying the specific area of graphic design in which you excel and enjoy working. By specializing in a particular niche, you can differentiate yourself from competitors and attract clients who are seeking your unique expertise.

Consider your passions, skills, and interests within the graphic design field. Are you particularly skilled in logo design, web design, or packaging design? Perhaps you have a passion for working with nonprofits or startups. By focusing on a specific niche, you can tailor your services, marketing efforts, and portfolio to attract clients who value your specialized skills and experience.

Creating a Business Plan

A well-crafted business plan is an essential tool for any graphic design entrepreneur. It serves as a roadmap for your business, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. A business plan provides a snapshot of your graphic design business as it stands today and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It also includes research to support your business plans ( Growthink ).

When creating your business plan, consider including the following key components:

Executive Summary: This section provides an overview of your business, including your mission statement, target market, and competitive advantage.

Market Analysis: Conduct thorough research on the graphic design industry, your target audience, and your competitors. Identify trends, opportunities, and potential challenges.

Services and Pricing: Clearly define the services you offer and establish competitive pricing structures. Consider offering different packages or pricing tiers to cater to various client needs.

Marketing and Sales Strategy: Outline your marketing strategies for attracting clients and promoting your services. Consider utilizing online platforms, social media, and professional networking to reach your target audience. For more ideas, check out our article on marketing strategies for a graphic design business .

Financial Projections: Estimate your startup costs, including expenses such as office rent, equipment, software licenses, and operational costs ( Upmetrics ). Develop a revenue model that outlines how income will be generated and how financial objectives will be reached ( Upmetrics ).

Remember, a business plan is a living document that should be updated regularly as your company grows and changes. It not only serves as a roadmap for your business but can also be used to attract funding and demonstrate your commitment to success.

By defining your niche and creating a comprehensive business plan, you are setting yourself up for success as you embark on your graphic design business journey. These steps provide a solid foundation for establishing your brand, attracting clients, and achieving your business goals.

Marketing Strategy

A well-crafted marketing strategy is essential for the success of any graphic design business. It helps attract clients, build lasting relationships, and stand out in a crowded market. Two key components of a marketing strategy for a graphic design business are identifying the target audience and crafting compelling messages that highlight the unique benefits of the design services.

Identifying Target Audience

Identifying the target audience is a crucial first step in developing a successful marketing strategy for a graphic design business. Understanding the specific needs, preferences, and pain points of the target audience allows for more effective marketing efforts. By tailoring marketing messages to resonate with the target audience, graphic designers can increase their chances of attracting ideal clients.

To identify the target audience, it’s important to consider factors such as industry, demographics, psychographics, and geographic location. Conducting market research, analyzing competitors, and gathering feedback from existing clients can provide valuable insights in this process. By understanding who the target audience is, graphic designers can customize their marketing strategies to reach and engage with them effectively.

Crafting Compelling Messages

Crafting compelling messages is essential to effectively communicate the unique value and benefits that a graphic design business offers. These messages should showcase creativity, highlight expertise, and address the specific needs and pain points of the target audience. By clearly conveying the unique selling points and the value that the design services bring, graphic designers can differentiate themselves from competitors.

When crafting messages, it’s important to consider the tone, language, and visual elements that will resonate with the target audience. Leveraging different marketing channels, such as online portfolios, social media, networking events, and email campaigns, can help reach the target audience and deliver these compelling messages ( Dojo Business ). Utilizing visually compelling content, such as high-quality visuals and engaging storytelling, can also enhance the effectiveness of the marketing messages.

By identifying the target audience and crafting compelling messages, graphic designers can develop a marketing strategy that effectively reaches and engages with potential clients. This strategic approach helps showcase creativity, establish a strong brand presence, and tailor marketing efforts to the specific needs of the target audience. For more information on marketing strategies for graphic design businesses, check out our article on marketing strategies for graphic design business .

Financial Planning

When starting a graphic design business, careful financial planning is essential to ensure the successful launch and long-term sustainability of your venture. This section will focus on two key aspects of financial planning: estimating startup costs and developing a revenue model.

Estimating Startup Costs

Before launching your graphic design business, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the startup costs involved. This includes both one-time expenses and ongoing operational costs. Some common startup costs for a graphic design business may include:

  • Office rent or workspace setup
  • Computers, graphic tablets, and other necessary hardware
  • Software licenses for design tools and applications
  • Legal expenses for trademarks, copyrights, and business registrations
  • Marketing and advertising costs
  • Operational costs such as utilities, insurance, and office supplies

To estimate your startup costs accurately, it’s important to create a detailed list of all the necessary expenses and research their respective costs. This will help you develop a realistic budget and identify potential financing needs. For more insights on estimating startup costs, you can refer to Upmetrics .

Developing a Revenue Model

A strong revenue model is crucial for the financial success of your graphic design business. It outlines how your business will generate income and manage expenses. When developing your revenue model, consider the following:

Graphic Design Fees: The primary source of revenue for a graphic design business comes from charging clients for your design services. Determine your pricing structure, whether it’s hourly rates, project-based fees, or retainer contracts. Be sure to consider factors such as the complexity of the project, your level of expertise, and the market rates in your area.

Product Sales: In addition to client work, you may explore selling digital or physical products related to graphic design. This could include design templates, stock graphics, or merchandise featuring your designs. Diversifying your revenue streams can help maximize profitability.

Online Courses or Workshops: Sharing your expertise through online courses or workshops can be a valuable revenue stream. Consider creating educational content and charging a fee for access. This can not only generate income but also establish you as an authority in the industry.

By identifying multiple revenue streams, you can ensure a more stable and profitable business. For a comprehensive financial plan, it’s important to include your projected income and expenses in your financial statements. These statements should include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements. To learn more about developing a financial plan specific to a graphic design business, refer to Growthink .

As you develop your financial plan, it’s important to regularly review and adjust your revenue model based on industry trends and the needs of your target audience. This will help you adapt to changing market conditions and ensure the financial health of your graphic design business.

Industry Trends

To thrive in the graphic design business, it’s essential to stay updated with the latest industry trends and innovations. Embracing design innovations and utilizing advanced tools can give your business a competitive edge and position you as a leader in the field.

Embracing Design Innovations

The graphic design industry is constantly evolving, driven by emerging trends and consumer demands. Embracing design innovations allows you to create visually captivating and compelling work that resonates with your clients. Some notable design trends include:

Minimalism : Minimalistic design has gained popularity in recent years, focusing on simplicity, clean lines, and a minimalist color palette. This approach allows for clear communication and a visually appealing aesthetic.

Personalized and Custom Graphics : Clients increasingly seek personalized and custom graphics that reflect their unique brand identity. By offering tailored design solutions, you can provide a higher level of value and stand out in a crowded market.

Sustainable Practices : There is a growing push towards sustainable practices and materials in print design. Incorporating eco-friendly principles into your work can attract environmentally conscious clients and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Utilizing Advanced Tools

Advancements in design software and tools have revolutionized the graphic design industry, enabling designers to work more efficiently and produce high-quality work. By leveraging these tools, you can streamline your workflow and deliver exceptional results. Some key tools and technologies to consider include:

Design Software : Utilize industry-standard design software such as Adobe Creative Suite (including Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign) to create professional-grade designs with precision and versatility.

Online Collaboration Platforms : Collaborative tools like Figma, InVision, and Dropbox Paper facilitate seamless communication and collaboration between team members and clients, regardless of geographical location.

Project Management Software : Implementing project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com can help you stay organized, manage deadlines, and track progress on multiple projects simultaneously.

By staying abreast of industry trends and incorporating the latest innovations and tools into your workflow, you can position your graphic design business for success. Remember to adapt and evolve with the changing landscape to meet the ever-evolving needs of your clients.

The graphic design industry is a dynamic and growing market, with a global value of over $45 billion ( Source ). In the United States alone, there are over 250,000 graphic design businesses contributing to an annual revenue of approximately $15 billion for the industry ( Source ). The future economic growth for graphic design businesses remains promising, fueled by the increasing demand for visually appealing content ( Upmetrics ). Keep up with industry trends and leverage advanced tools to capitalize on this growing market.

Competitor Analysis

To successfully establish and grow your graphic design business, it’s crucial to conduct a comprehensive competitor analysis. By identifying key competitors and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, you can gain valuable insights that will inform your business strategy and help you differentiate yourself in the market.

Identifying Key Competitors

When conducting a competitor analysis for your graphic design business, it’s important to identify businesses that operate in the same niche as yours. Direct competitors are other graphic design businesses that offer similar services and target a comparable customer base. Start by researching the local and online market to identify these competitors.

Consider the following factors when identifying key competitors:

  • Location: Look for competitors that operate in the same geographical area as your business.
  • Service Offering: Identify competitors that provide similar graphic design services, such as branding, web design, print design, or multimedia design.
  • Target Market: Evaluate competitors that target the same customer segments as your business. This could include small- to medium-sized companies, startups, or specific industries.

One example of a graphic design and visual communications firm is The Metolius Agency based in Eugene, Oregon. They focus on corporate identity for established companies, targeting small- to medium-sized companies that have been established for five to 15 years ( Bplans ). Analyzing competitors like The Metolius Agency can provide insights into their strategies, strengths, and weaknesses.

Analyzing Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you have identified your key competitors, it’s essential to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This analysis will help you understand the areas where your business can excel and identify opportunities for differentiation. To conduct a thorough analysis, consider the following factors:

  • Service Quality: Assess the quality of the design work produced by your competitors. Look for factors such as creativity, innovation, and attention to detail.
  • Industry Reputation: Evaluate the reputation and credibility of your competitors within the graphic design industry. Consider factors such as awards, client testimonials, and industry recognition.
  • Pricing Structure: Analyze the pricing models and packages offered by your competitors. Determine whether they cater to different budget ranges or target specific customer segments.
  • Customer Experience: Research customer reviews and feedback to understand the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors’ customer service, communication, and overall client experience.
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Identify the unique features or value propositions that set your competitors apart. This could include specialized expertise, a unique design style, or additional services offered.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, you can refine your own business strategy and develop a compelling value proposition that differentiates your graphic design business from the competition.

Remember, the graphic design industry is a dynamic and growing market. According to industry reports, the global graphic design market is valued at over $45 billion, with the United States alone having over 250,000 graphic design businesses contributing to an annual revenue of approximately $15 billion ( Source ). The U.S. graphic design market was valued at $49.7 billion in 2023 and experienced a growth rate of 3.3% in the same year ( Business Plan Template ). Keeping up with industry trends and continuously monitoring your competitors will enable you to adapt and thrive in this competitive landscape.

In the next section, we will explore growth strategies to scale your graphic design business and expand your service offerings.

Growth Strategies

As your graphic design business gains traction and establishes itself in the industry, it’s essential to have growth strategies in place to further expand and succeed. Here are two key strategies to consider: scaling your business and expanding services.

Scaling Your Business

Scaling your graphic design business involves increasing its capacity to handle more clients and projects. This growth strategy allows you to take advantage of the increasing demand for graphic design services and maximize your profitability. To effectively scale your business, consider the following steps:

Streamline Processes: Review your existing workflows and identify areas where you can improve efficiency. Streamlining processes can help you handle a larger volume of work without sacrificing quality. Utilize project management tools and software to enhance collaboration and productivity within your team.

Leverage Technology: Embrace technology advancements to automate repetitive tasks and increase productivity. Invest in graphic design software, project management tools, and collaboration platforms to streamline your operations and reduce manual effort.

Expand Your Team: As your business grows, consider hiring additional graphic designers and support staff to handle the increased workload. Ensure that your team members align with your business values and have the necessary skills to deliver high-quality work.

Build Strong Client Relationships: Nurture your existing client relationships by providing exceptional service and delivering outstanding design solutions. Satisfied clients are more likely to provide referrals and repeat business, contributing to your business’s growth.

Expanding Services

Expanding your range of services is another effective growth strategy for your graphic design business. By diversifying your offerings, you can cater to a broader client base and provide comprehensive design solutions. Consider the following approaches to expanding your services:

Additional Design Specializations: Identify areas within graphic design where you can develop expertise. For example, you could offer specialized services in logo design, packaging design, web design, or social media graphics. This specialization can help you target specific industries or meet the unique needs of different clients.

Digital Marketing Services: Extend your services beyond design and offer digital marketing solutions. This can include website development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media management, and content creation. By providing a comprehensive marketing package, you can become a one-stop-shop for your clients’ design and marketing needs.

Training and Workshops: Share your knowledge and skills with aspiring designers or businesses through training programs, workshops, or online courses. This can be an additional revenue stream and position your business as an industry leader.

Collaborations and Partnerships: Explore collaborations with complementary businesses, such as printing companies, marketing agencies, or web developers. Partnering with these entities can expand your service offerings and help you reach a wider audience.

Remember to assess the market demand and feasibility of expanding your services before implementing any new offerings. Conduct market research and analyze your competitors to identify gaps and opportunities that align with your business goals.

By scaling your business and expanding your service offerings, you can position your graphic design business for further growth and success in the industry. Continuously adapt to industry trends, embrace new technologies, and nurture client relationships to stay ahead of the competition and provide exceptional design solutions.

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How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 10 Steps

How to start a graphic design business - designer at computer

Preston Lee

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Adobe, and many more. Learn more »

Adam Wright

Adam Wright is the Content Manager at Millo, in addition to running his own graphic and web design business, Adam Wright Design. When he's not working on his business, you can find him watching hockey or just about any type of racing. Learn more »

1. Find your first graphic design clients

2. set your pricing, 3. name your graphic design business, 4. build a basic website, 5. develop a simple business plan, 6. communicate with your clients, 7. deliver high-quality projects on-time, 8. write and send professional invoices, 9. collect payments from your design clients, 10. ask for referrals, repeat steps 5-10 regularly in order to grow.

BIG NEWS! We just released The Freelance Files , a collection of professional done-for-you email scripts, contracts, invoices, and more for smarter freelancing. The first 50 customers, save 50% with this link .

Starting a graphic design business can be an exhilarating and exciting adventure whether you’re hoping to work for yourself full-time or just make a little extra money from an on-the-side design business.

And it’s pretty straightforward too if you’re willing to put in the work.

I’ve coached thousands of graphic designers over the last 10+ years through this blog , our podcast , and our mastermind group . So in this article, I’ll take everything I’ve learned after a decade of coaching to help you know exactly what to do to start a graphic design business . I’ve broken the process into 10 steps, which you’ll find below.

  • Always start with finding clients—never anything else.
  • Develop a solid business plan that includes your pricing structure, marketing strategy, and financial projections.
  • Build a strong online presence and create a professional portfolio that showcases your skills and expertise.
  • Establish relationships with other designers, freelancers, and industry professionals to build a strong network and generate referrals.
  • Focus on providing exceptional customer service and building positive relationships with clients to ensure repeat business and ongoing success.

You might find it surprising, but my first step is to secure design clients.

What about crafting your portfolio, deciding on a business name, or obtaining a business license, you might ask?

Indeed, these elements are crucial.

However, I’ve observed many designers get lost in these preliminary tasks and burn out before they even engage with potential clients. Initiating a graphic design venture can become daunting if you start with the minutiae of business operations.

Therefore, we’ll kick off your design business on a positive note by securing your initial design clients. Once you have a few clients ready to compensate you for your work, you’ll be amazed at the surge of excitement, energy, and drive within you.

With this newfound momentum, you’ll find yourself well-equipped to address the remaining tasks.

Therefore, goal #1: find graphic design clients .

Where do you find graphic design clients?

If you’re a beginner at small business, you might be asking yourself: Where can I even begin to find my first design clients?

Lucky for you, finding graphic design clients has literally never been easier. There are hundreds of freelance job sites around the web to help you find exactly the kinds of clients you’re looking for.

For example, sites like Fiverr offer a huge marketplace of entry-level clients that can get you started when learning how to start a graphic design business. These most likely aren’t the kinds of clients you want to work with forever (although some may be), but they’re a great way to get some experience, a few portfolio pieces, some cash, and some confidence.

You can also find some nice entry-level work on sites like Upwork . Upwork is one of the most popular freelance marketplaces in the world and you’ll find access to thousands of graphic design jobs there.

To take action: here are 2 of our favorite sites to find design clients fast:

SolidGigs’ team of fellow freelancers combs through thousands of freelance job boards every weekday and posts the very best leads to your custom inbox.

You can learn more about SolidGigs here .

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Next up is the largest freelance services marketplace in the world (at least I think it is). It’s called Upwork and lots of freelancers have built their own six-figure businesses on the back of this powerful platform, including this guy .

In the beginning, don’t be too picky

When you’re in the early stages, you might encounter seasoned freelancers and “experts” advising you to be choosy about your clientele.

They can afford such selectiveness, can’t they? After all, they’ve been at the helm of their small businesses for years, with client acquisition now a routine matter for them.

But you? You’re in immediate need of graphic design clients.

In the beginning, it’s wise to accept any reasonable graphic design work at a fair price. The potential of these initial projects is often underestimated.

At the very least, they’ll furnish you with confidence, experience, and valuable additions to your portfolio. In the best-case scenario, they might evolve into enduring, profitable business connections or serve as gateways to additional clientele.

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Your client roster can be refined over time. However, for now, avoid being overly selective to the point where your graphic design venture never takes flight. This very trap has led to the downfall of many aspiring designers.

Now, let’s dive into the topic of your pricing structure.

Are you thinking of billing your clients on an hourly basis, per project, or according to the value you provide?

For those just beginning, hourly rates are straightforward and quite prevalent, but you might consider other pricing strategies as you gain more ground.

Figuring out what to charge graphic design clients

Deciding on your rates can be daunting. To assist, we’ve developed a complimentary calculator to help pinpoint your ideal charge.

But let’s be real—if you’re at a complete loss about your rates, just pick a starting point. Should a prospect hesitate at your quote, you might adjust downward slightly. Conversely, if there’s no negotiation from the client’s side, consider increasing your rate for the next project.

You’ll eventually find a sweet spot for your pricing. Make it a habit to reassess your rates regularly. You might be surprised at how much you can command as you progress.

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With a few clients under your belt and the confidence for the long journey ahead, it’s time to establish the foundation of your solid small business, beginning with a thoughtfully chosen business name.

Deciding between using your own name or creating a business name

A common initial query for anyone starting in graphic design might be:

“Should I use my own name, or should I craft a unique business name?”

The straightforward answer is: it’s not overly critical. Choose something that resonates with you. Remember, you can always opt for a change down the line.

Delving deeper, the decision warrants some consideration.

While my suggestion is to select a name and forge ahead (bearing in mind that changes are feasible, albeit not ideal, but certainly manageable), the process of choosing your graphic design business’s name might necessitate more deliberation.

The name you settle on can influence various aspects of your design business, such as:

  • Your potential to command higher rates for your design work.
  • The ease with which people recall your brand.
  • The type of design projects you’ll attract, including the industry, quality, and magnitude.
  • The likelihood of being recommended by others.
  • Your legal ability to operate without violating copyright or trademark laws.
  • And much more…

My top advice for naming your graphic design business

To keep the process straightforward, here’s my prime piece of advice for naming:

Prioritize simplicity: ensure it’s easy to pronounce, remember, and spell

It’s tempting to get overly intricate, witty, or inventive with your design business’s name. Instead, aim for simplicity. Your business name should be easily articulated, spelled, and recalled by potential clients.

Make sure it’s available on the web

Before you fall in love with any name too much, you should check its availability around the web. Are the social media channels you hope to use (if any) available? Is there a domain that works well for your design company name?

In order to keep your ideas safe from domain squatters use something like Bluehost or Dreamhost  to check domain availability without risking it being parked or squatted.

Ensure you personally love it & it speaks to the vision of your company

While I really don’t want you to get paralyzed by the task of choosing a domain name (see the next point) it’s also critical that you feel good about your name and it speaks to the vision of your graphic design business.

You’re going to have to say the name of your business a lot. You’ll have to type it. You’ll have to speak it out loud. And if you feel silly about it or have to explain the context or feel the need to pronounce it for people, that’s going to get old really fast.

Don’t get paralyzed by decision

The biggest error I see people make in this regard is getting stuck on all the possible graphic design business names that are available.

The ultimate enemy here is indecision. Because while this is an important decision for your business, getting back to the revenue-driving decisions is far more critical at this stage.

For more help, you can also download my business-naming workbook which will walk you through an easy-to-follow process for naming your design business successfully.

The next step is to build a basic website. I say basic because, just like naming your design business, it’s easy to get stuck or paralyzed by the seemingly overwhelming task of building your website. That’s why you can use an AI website generator to speed up the process of designing a website but if not you can use other tools.

Lucky for you, there are loads of very easy-to-use and affordable website builders to build your first portfolio website .

My top beginner website builder recommendations

Here are my personal top picks. None of them requires you to learn to code and they’re all affordable.

  • Wix is an easy-to-use website builder with hundreds of beautifully designed templates to choose from—all with drag-and-drop functionality. They’ve even got quite a few portfolio-centric options to get you started.
  • WordPress may require a little bit more technical know-how (still no coding required) but it definitely gives you more flexibility in the long run. And because it continues to be the most-used website builder on the Internet, there are millions of tutorials to help you if you get stuck.
  • Pixpa is designed specifically for creatives and includes cool add-ons like a client-proofing area or a simple gallery feature.

The “minimum viable” portfolio site

For years, I have preached the importance of what I call a minimum viable portfolio .

As a designer you care very much about how things look, making it far too easy to overdo things, keep adding more and more, editing, adjusting tweaking.

Which often leads to never publishing your portfolio. Which means no clients. And no graphic design business.

The better path (the one I hope you’ll take) is to aim for a “minimum-viable” portfolio.

The term “minimum-viable” answers the question “what is the least I can do to prove my portfolio can generate sales?”

Then start with that. It doesn’t mean, as you grow your business you can’t revisit your site and optimize it for getting more clients ? You can. And you should.

For now, your mission is to learn how to start a graphic design business and get it off the ground. All the fancy stuff can come later once you have revenue coming in.

Once you’ve got a few clients in the door, you’ve named your business, and you’ve got a minimum-viable portfolio site, you can finally start thinking more strategically about how to start a graphic design business the right way.

In my experience, the best next step is to develop a business plan .

Why isn’t that the first step on the list? Because I didn’t want you to get stuck forever in the “planning” stage only to never actually make it to the executing stage. Far too many design businesses (and businesses of all kinds) get lost in the planning stage and never see the light of day.

But not your design business. No. You are going to be different.

You only need a very basic business plan. In fact, it doesn’t need to be more than one page long. You can follow our freelance business plan template here and fill it out in less than 30 minutes.

For an even shorter business plan, grab a piece of paper or a computer and answer the following questions:

  • What services will my design business provide?
  • Who is the ideal client for my graphic design business?
  • How much will my design business charge for the work I do?
  • What are your monthly design business revenue goals?
  • How many clients do I need each month to hit my revenue goals?
  • Where/how will I find new design clients? Or how will I retain current design clients?

Answering these and similar questions will help you maintain traction and gain momentum when getting started.

One thing you’d find out extremely quickly is you have to wear a lot of different hats. Not only are you a graphic designer, but you’re also the bookkeeper, the marketing manager, and the account manager.

Communicating regularly and effectively with your clients is an absolute must. Luckily, you can interact with them in various ways; some examples are phone calls, emails, direct messaging on social media, and webinars.

Make your lines of communication open to nurture leads and clients. You can set up a toll-free number or a business email to make your graphic design business look more professional to prospects. Remember that addressing client concerns outright with a positive approach is key to good customer service.

If you want to exercise good communication, keep in mind that the clients are the people who keep your business afloat. The freelance designers who I see succeed the fastest are the ones that realize their clients aren’t some burden they have to deal with, but an essential and wonderful part of their graphic design business.

If you find yourself overwhelmed with all the client communication, try using a CRM tool to keep track of all client interactions.

If being unprofessional in your communication methods doesn’t kill your business, then failing to deliver on your promises will.

This is another huge fail-point for many designers because they mistakenly think the hardest work is finding design clients when in reality, it can often be more difficult to manage multiple projects and always deliver on time.

Project management tools can help you manage your projects and tasks, keeping you on track and ensuring you give your design clients a positive experience every time.

This can be especially important in the early days of your graphic design business since a few bad reviews or bad word-of-mouth reports around your local city could signify a real setback for you.

Once you’ve delivered your work to your clients and you’re ready to get paid , you’ll want to create and send a professional invoice.

The most basic option is to just write an invoice in Google Docs, Word, or InDesign and send it over via email. But I recommend eventually using a professional invoice tool —where you can create and send invoices quickly and efficiently.

Plus, using tools like these mean your clients can pay directly from the invoice when they open it on their computer. And, if after a while, your client forgets to pay the invoice, many of these apps will remind them for you automatically.

When you’re first learning how to start a graphic design business, the idea of doing work you love every day can be exhilarating.

In fact, depending on how much you hate your day job , you might be hoping this business can be an escape from your cubicle into work you actually care about. But if you get so caught up in the day-to-day creative work that you forget to manage your business properly, you won’t be in business for long.

Indeed, a business that doesn’t generate income essentially remains a hobby, underlining the paramount importance of securing payments.

Easing the Awkwardness of Payment Collection

Requesting payment can feel uncomfortable, particularly for those new to the business world. To mitigate this discomfort, consider two straightforward strategies:

1. Normalize the Payment

It’s essential to recognize that exchanging money for services rendered is a standard business practice, occurring daily across various industries. Launching a graphic design venture is no exception.

Your clients routinely pay for services, whether it’s shipping costs with FedEx, electrical repairs, or even the weekly office donuts. It’s all part of conducting business. By treating payment collection as a routine aspect of your operations, you’ll help normalize the process for both parties.

2. Simplify the Payment Process for Clients

Difficulty in receiving payments might indicate a cumbersome payment process for your clients. Given that people often juggle busy schedules or may procrastinate, simplifying the payment process can significantly benefit both you and your clients.

Employing an online payment tool that facilitates direct bank transfers can streamline transactions. As your business evolves, you might consider setting up recurring invoices or securely storing client credit card details for seamless future payments.

With more experience, you could even prioritize payment collection by requiring it before delivering the final product. This approach can prevent protracted disputes or the hassle of pursuing overdue payments, though it’s advisable to adopt this practice once your business is more established.

No matter how many times I ask business owners what the most common way of getting new business is, I always get the same response:

Word of mouth .

Asking your graphic design clients for referrals can be a really great way to establish yourself. If you’re not sure where to get started, you can download our referral-generating email template .

But asking for referrals for your graphic design business shouldn’t be awkward or difficult. In fact, with a lot of practice you might even get good enough to ask for referrals throughout your process without ever blatantly begging for them .

Remember, part of the challenge of learning how to start a design business is ensuring you have continuous design work every month (not just this month) and referrals are a fantastic way to keep the client pool full.

This brings me to my last (unofficial) step in this process:

If you want your graphic design business to grow, you’ll need to constantly be making adjustments to your pricing, your client communications processes, your invoicing habits, and lots more.

That’s the fun of building a small business.

It’s like any great design project: it takes a lot of brainstorming, tweaking, adjusting, and refining. It’s a lot of hard work.

But you can do it. I know you can. And we’re here to help. Subscribe to our newsletter and join our FB mastermind group for added support and we’ll help you wherever we can along the way.

Keep the conversation going...

Over 10,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!

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Written by Preston Lee

Editor at millo.co.

Preston Lee is the founder of Millo where he and his team have been helping freelancers thrive for over a decade. His advice has been featured by Entrepreneur , Inc , Forbes , Adobe, and many more.

Preston's Articles

Reviewed & edited by Adam Wright , Editor at Millo.

At Millo, we strive to publish only the best, most trustworthy and reliable content for freelancers. You can learn more by reviewing our editorial policy .

Comments from the community

This is a very helpful article. It covers all the questions and doubts every beginner has.

Great Guide Greer!

Starting a new business …it’s not an easy task but you have written what exactly required to start a design business.

All these things are matter but the main thing is to know how the successful business owners like to shape the plans. We should check their footprints and follow –up them.

I think the best business plan is your words….

Keep up the awesome work!!!

Great and helpful blog to everyone. Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing article.

I’ve started freelancing a few months ago and a lot of what you wrote resonates with me. Especially the bit about finding good clients that you work well with.

I was also curious about how you get briefs from your clients. Do you have a template you get them to fill out or do you work with what they give you? I have recently found myself doing a lot of extra work which I feel is not on the initial brief but some how my client feels it is. It’s especially around brand ID stuff. Dose anyone find this difficult as well? Do you have any tips how I can ease my pain? Especially when there are multiple stakeholders in place who all feel like they require sign off, on every aspect of things.

Thanks for this, also i really appreciate those tools you recommended

thank you so much ,it helped me!

Very helpful .Thanks for sharing ☺

Hello April, I found this article very helpful! My question for you is what assets if any should I look forward into investing in, for example should I invest in some sort of printing machine, certain computer programs, scanners, etc.

Fantastic resource!

Structuring your business for taxes

When was this article published?

Great article! I really enjoy read each of sections. I only did a few of these aspects for my business, and i think i would add these steps to my business.

This was extremely helpful. Starting your own business is a daunting task and by breaking it down for viewers in such an organized and insightful manner is inspiring and palatable. I feel so inspired and motivated to begin.

i am totally agree with your all point. For me, one of the hard work is finding a reliable client for design business. I am enthusiast to follow your guidelines. Hope it will working for me to find few more client.

this article is very useful and have inspired me. thanks!

I wish everyone read this post before they startup.

How to make a proper portfolio for design and web firm. It would be great if you can send me some samples/

Very useful article thanks

Thank you for this great article, I like it, it’s very practical.

Great article

To tell about Web Design like producing a two Web pages can be skilled by just about anyone, but to build a self-sustaining work one needs the right tools, planning,training and experience. http://goo.gl/fsRNBT

Some great advice here. I have recently started my own Graphic and Design and Illustration business at http://nylelevi.com.com

Please take a look if you are interested in seeing what I do. You may even pick up some tips on how to present yourself online if you are planning to start your own business soon.

5 star on this one. copy/paste to clip board 😉

good ideas when you have enough capital

Great tips.. They can be applied not only to design business but to other kinds of businesses too.

I want to start my own business doing design

me too. Hope its moving forward for you. Reading this article and comments on my 9 to 5 London commute has made me think hard about next steps. I’d love to set my self up, just need to take the plunge i guess with lots of positive affirmations, 🙂

I started http://2cooldesign.co.za in 2005 and have never looked back, I’m always looking for more work. Want to be inspired, come see my awesome portfolio, Recommend me to your friends, please & thank you for taking a look ! All the best Guy Tasker creator of 2cooldesign.co.za Awesome Graphic design company based in South Africa. Online based Business, I work from home 🙂

Excellent article. Starting any business can be difficult, but if your passionate about what you want to achieve, it’s possible. It’s also advisable to participate in forums , you can learn and network with other professionals within the industry.

I fully agree with Mel on the emphasis upon work and letting it speak for itself. Also, as Kristine puts it, referrals are an essential customer-base but winning them requires a happy client network that will spread your word. Alongside putting up a team of incentive-driven, passionate & like-minded people, is something that greatly helps in the long run. They bring ideas, networks, energy and add a lot of support. Five year vision, six monthly targets, professional advisers, masters of business administration, etc. are sure-shot recipe, I feel, to bog down budding entrepreneurs, but become necessary when external opinions (investors, shareholders etc.) are unavoidable.

Hmmm… Great info!

On a side note, as I have learned from several business owners, clients are important, and so is marketing, but if you are good at what you do you really don’t have to spend as much time and cash on advertising as you think. Referrals help, but can and does give your client the impression you are looking to expand or take the focus away from them. It just needs to be tastefully done.

I’m thinking an infographic on the best ways to ask for a referral??

Otherwise this content is good. It seems a little heavy, as far as getting exposure etc, and simply to make money, but in my experience I’d rather focus on the work then what I’m trying to achieve financially (at least this is how it comes across) because if you’re good at what you do money will come 🙂

From my own experience, for a business the most important thing is Clients and Cash. Enough Cash at hand to keep rolling till Clients start filling in Cash and repeat. While most of your points address the Client angle, none of the points actual talk about Cash, for a new startup business keep the Cash register ringing is equally important 🙂

Great post, John! I would add that, along with the business plan, one should write a marketing plan. This plan should outline how the business owner will make the business plan a reality, from strategizing what to sell and when, to networking and proper utilization of social media. Without this supporting document, even the best business plan is just words.

Ah, #10! Can’t say enough about it….

I’m a believer in preframing for referrals. Each time I land a new account, I say to the Client, “I’m going to make you very happy. Your business will shine, you’ll feel like a rock star, and you will thrilled with the result. And when that happens, would you mind if I asked you to refer your colleagues/associates to me?” Of course, the response is always “I’d be happy to refer you – IF you impress me first!” Once the project is complete, I say to the Client “Remember when I asked you if you wouldn’t mind referring your colleagues/associates to me? What do you think, are you confident enough in my ability to send your friends or family my way?”

It’s a lot easier to ask for a referral when you’ve preframed your Client for it from the start. 95% of my work now is by referral/word of mouth, and I believe this is the reason. I rarely get a new client any other way anymore.

35+ Best Business Plan Templates for Word 2024

Are you writing a business plan for a brand new startup? Or updating an old business plan for an established brand? Then this collection of MS Word business plan templates will definitely come in handy.

The key to making an effective business plan brochure that wins over investors and inspires employees is to use a modern and attractive design.

No one wants to read through a 100-page brochure that looks like a VCR manual from the 1960s. Today, people prefer cleaner brochure layouts with proper paragraph formatting that offer a much smoother reading experience.

Designing such modern business plan documents is not that difficult. In fact, you can easily create them using Word templates.

In this post, we showcase high-quality business plan templates for Word that have been designed by professionals. They feature modern designs and clean layouts that are perfect for all kinds of startups, businesses, and corporate companies. Have a look.

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Letterheads

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Invoices

Bill in Style

eBook Templates

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Readable layouts.

Report Templates

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Planner Layouts

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Explore Word Templates

Education Business Plan Word Template

Education Business Plan Word Template

This Word template is designed for making business plan documents related to educational brands and businesses. However, you can easily customize the design to make business plans for various other industries. The template includes 20 unique page layouts with modern designs.

Business Plan & Proposal Template for Word

Business Plan & Proposal Template for Word

You can use this Word template to make both business proposals and business plans. It has a very flexible page design that you can change to make brochures for startups, agencies, and other businesses. There are 20 pages in this template in A4 size.

Bold Business Plan Word Template

Bold Business Plan Word Template

If you want to make a bold business plan with a high-end luxury feel, this Word template will come in handy. It features a dark color theme that will fit in nicely with luxury brands, hotels, corporate agencies, and more. The template has 56 different page layouts. It comes in Word, Apple Pages, and InDesign formats.

Big Business Plan Brochure Template for Word

Big Business Plan Brochure Template for Word

Get started with this Word template to make business plan documents with clean and minimal design. It includes 28 unique pages with easily editable layouts. You can change its colors, fonts, and images with ease. The template is available in multiple formats, including Word, InDesign, Affinity Publisher, and more.

Free Simple Business Plan Word Template

Free Simple Business Plan Word Template

While this free business plan template only has 4 page layouts and a simple design, it’s more than enough for making a basic business plan document for a small business. It comes in Word and Apple Pages formats.

Tropo – Minimalist Business Plan for Word

Tropo - Minimalist Business Plan for Word

Tropo is a minimalist business plan template designed for Microsoft Word. It’s user-friendly, designed with organized files for effortless customization, and is suitable for creating business proposals. Tropo offers 32 editable pages, customizable fonts, and colors, well-organised layers, and is print-ready.

Business Proposal Template for Word

Business Proposal Template for Word

This is a professional-quality business proposal template for Word that offers flexibility and ease of customization. This 20-page template can be easily edited to suit your unique business needs without jeopardizing the layout or the readability. It’s fully customizable, well-layered, and organized.

Business Proposal Template for Word

This is an adaptable template, perfect for showcasing your unique services and business plans to new clients. It’s a user-friendly, customizable template, enabling designers to express their brand and work competence professionally. The pack includes a 20-page InDesign and Microsoft Word templates.

Business Proposal Template for Word & InDesign

Business Proposal Template for Word & InDesign

A versatile business proposal template ideal for constructing thorough business plans or proposals. Compatible with Microsoft Word 2010 and higher, as well as Adobe InDesign CS4 and above, the template offers a comprehensive 16-page document that can adapt for print or digital output.

Business Plan & Project Proposal Template

 Business Plan & Project Proposal Template

This is a comprehensive business proposal template for Word. Boasting 40 pages of editable sections such as company details, project timelines, budget specifics, and more, the template utilizes a structured editorial layout to organize information efficiently.

Multipurpose Business Brochure Word Template

Multipurpose Business Brochure Word Template

This brochure template features multipurpose page layouts. This means you can edit and customize each page to make many different types of documents, including business plans and proposals. It has 20 unique pages in A4 size.

Creative Business Plan Template for Word

Creative Business Plan Template for Word

This is a massive business plan template that comes with more than 60 different page layouts to choose from. It’s especially suitable for agencies and startups for making a high-quality business plan document. The template is available in Word and InDesign formats.

Company Proposal & Business Plan Word Template

Company Proposal & Business Plan Word Template

Whether you want to make a business plan or a proposal document, this Word template can handle both. It features a modern and professional layout for making documents for corporate businesses. The template includes 20 pages in A4 size.

Education School Plan Template for Word

Education School Plan Template for Word

You can use this Word template to make a stylish business plan or educational plan for a school. The template has fully customizable paragraph styles, editable colors, fonts, images, and much more. It has 20 page custom layouts.

Free Agency Business Plan Word Template

Free Agency Business Plan Word Template

This free business plan template includes 5 page layouts with very simple and basic designs. You can use it to make business plan documents for advertising and design agencies. It’s available in Apple Pages format too.

Modern Business Plan Template for Word

Modern Business Plan Template for Word

A business plan document is about presenting your goals, missions, and vision for the company in an appealing way. Having a great-looking design is a must for achieving that task. This Word template will help you create such a business plan document. It includes 20 different page layouts with modern designs. And you can edit it using either MS Word or InDesign.

Clean Business Plan Microsoft Word Template

Clean Business Plan Microsoft Word Template

If you want to make sure your business plan looks more professional, a clean and minimal design is the best choice for your brochure. With this template, you can design a clean and professional-looking business plan to showcase your business goals. It includes 16 page layouts with fully customizable designs. You can also choose from 3 different color schemes to design your document.

Simple Business Plan Template for Word

Simple Business Plan Template for Word

This Word business plan template uses a very simple design. It doesn’t have too many design elements, images, or lots of colors. Instead, the design puts more focus on the contents of the document. This approach makes it a great template for designing a highly effective business plan for many different types of businesses. It includes 12 page layouts as well.

Business Plan Brochure Template for Word

Business Plan Brochure Template for Word

If you want to make an impressive and attractive business plan brochure for a big company or a corporate brand, this Word template will come in handy. It features 48 different page layouts with modern and stylish designs. The template is available in both MS Word and InDesign formats. And, as a bonus, you also get letterhead and business card templates.

One Page Business Plan Template for Word

One Page Business Plan Template for Word

Sometimes a simple one-page document is more than enough to highlight the key points of a business plan. This template is ideal for making such brochures. The template comes with 4 page layouts but you can easily customize it to create one-page or even multi-page documents.

Professional Services Free Business Plan Word Template

Professional Services Free Business Plan Word Template

This free business plan template for Word comes directly from the official MS Office templates directory. It’s free to download and features page layouts with modern designs. It’s ideal for creating a business plan for small agencies.

Free Word Business Plan Template for Freelancers

Free Word Business Plan Template for Freelancers

Another free Word business plan template from the Office directory. This template is designed with freelancers and agencies that specialize in home-based professional services. It includes a fully editable layout as well.

Editable Business Plan Template for Word

Editable Business Plan Template for Word

Every Word template should give you the freedom to edit, customize, and do anything you want with the design. This template lets you do all that and more. It features a fully editable layout that you can customize to your preference. The template also includes 40 page layouts that come in A4 and US Letter sizes.

Minimal Business Plan Word Template

Minimal Business Plan Word Template

Looking for a clean, simple, and minimalist business plan template? Then this Word template is made just for you. It has a very light and simple layout that allows you to showcase all elements of your business plan in a professional way. The template includes 32 page layouts and it’s available in Word and InDesign formats.

Startup Business Plan Word Template

Startup Business Plan Word Template

This Word business plan template is designed specifically for startups and agencies. It features a set of modern page layouts, 20 custom page designs to be exact. You can also customize each page layout by changing colors and fonts. It comes in US Letter and A4 sizes as well.

4-Page Business Plan Template for Word

4-Page Business Plan Template for Word

You can create a powerful four-page business plan using this Word template. It features an effective page design that is ideal for creating a summary of your business plan. The template is fully customizable and it’s available in Word, IDML, and INDD formats.

One Page Simple Business Plan Word Template

One Page Simple Business Plan Word Template

This simple and minimal business plan template is perfect for making a one-page brochure or even a two-page document. The template comes with 2 page layouts that you can use to create a simple double-sided one-page business plan. Or you can print them separately too. It’s very basic but quite effective at the same time.

Free Simple Business Plan Template for Word

Free Simple Business Plan Template for Word

A free business plan template that you can edit and customize in Word. This template has a very basic and blank design that you can use however you like. You can make this template your own by adding a few design elements as well.

Free One-Page Business Plan Template for Word

Free One-Page Business Plan Template for Word

This is a free one-page business plan template that has a minimal layout for making a straightforward business plan brochure. It includes multiple sections for detailing different aspects of your business plan.

Marketing & Sales Plan Word Template

Marketing & Sales Plan Word Template

Marketing and sales plans are also part of a business plan, especially for marketing agencies. With this Word template, you can design an effective sales plan for your business. The template features 32 different page layouts in A4 size. It comes in Word and InDesign versions as well.

Real Estate Business Plan Template for Word

Real Estate Business Plan Template for Word

This Word template features a very clean and visual-centric design that’s ideal for making business plans for real estate and rental property businesses. There are more than 30 unique page layouts in this template with easily editable designs. You can change colors, fonts, and paragraphs however you like to fit your brand.

Basic Microsoft Word Business Plan Template

Basic Microsoft Word Business Plan Template

If you want to make a simple and basic business plan for a small company, this Word template is for you. It features a minimal layout with a basic design for making a small brochure. You can use 4 different page layouts to create your business plan. And it’s fully customizable too.

Simple Word Business Plan Template

Simple Word Business Plan Template

This business plan template also features a simple design. It’s ideal for startups, agencies, and even small businesses for making a business plan to motivate employees and even set goals for your future. The template includes 4 page designs in A4 size.

Creative Business Plan Template for Word

A creative business plan Word template that comes with more than 50 different page designs. With this template, you can make all kinds of business plan brochures for various types of brands. The template also includes editable colors, paragraphs, objects, free fonts, and so much more.

Business Project Plan Template for Word

Business Project Plan Template for Word

A simple business plan template for small brands. This template includes 3 unique page layouts for crafting a basic business plan. It’s ideal even for solopreneurs and freelancers for creating a strategy for your business. It comes in A4 size.

Free Healthcare Business Plan Word Template

Free Healthcare Business Plan Word Template

This free business plan template is made with businesses and companies in the healthcare industry. It features a clean design with several page layouts you can use to craft an effective business plan.

Free Editable Business Plan Template for Word

Free Editable Business Plan Template for Word

Another blank and basic business plan Word template you can download for free. This template has very simple page layouts but they are ideal for creating an effective business plan brochure for small businesses.

Be sure to check out our best Word templates collection for more design inspiration.

How to Write a Business Plan Outline in 9 Steps (Example Included!)

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Starting a business often begins with writing a business plan , especially if you need funding . It acts as a roadmap, guiding you through each stage of launching and managing your company, and it presents a clear, compelling case to potential investors and partners. But here's the thing: not everyone finds this step intuitive. That's where a business plan outline can be incredibly helpful.

Creating a detailed business plan outline helps you organize your thoughts and ensure you cover all the key aspects of your business strategy. Plus, it might be just what you need to overcome that blank page and start typing.

Below, you'll find an easy-to-follow guide on how to craft your business plan outline, and an example to show you what it should look like.

​​ Build your dream business with the help of a high-paying job—browse open jobs on The Muse »

What is an outline of a business plan?

Think of a business plan outline as the skeleton of your entire business plan. It gives a high-level overview of the main sections you'll need to flesh out later. It's not the final document but a crucial step in getting you there.

Simply put, it's like creating a detailed table of contents for your business plan, showing you exactly what information to include and how everything fits together. A well-structured business plan outline also helps you plan things ahead, saving time and effort.

Writing a business plan outline in 9 steps

Follow these steps to build your business plan outline and learn exactly what each section should include.

(Bear in mind that every business plan is unique, tailored to the specific needs and goals of the business. While the structure below is common, the order of sections may vary—only the executive summary will always come first.)

1. Executive summary

Imagine you have just 60 seconds to convince someone to invest in your business. That's the essence of a strong executive summary. Although it appears first on your business plan, this section is often written last because it sums up the entire plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch . This section gives a quick overview of your entire business plan, highlighting key points that grab the reader's attention.

Keep it clear and concise. Start with a brief overview of your business, including its name and what it offers. Summarize your mission statement and objectives, and don’t forget to mention crucial aspects like financial projections and competitive advantages.

2. Company description

Here's where you provide detailed information about your company. Begin with the business name and location. Describe the legal structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation) and ownership. If your business already exists, share a brief history.

For new ventures, explain the business's nature and the problems you aim to solve. Go into more detail about your vision and mission statements, outlining your goals and the principles guiding your business. This section helps potential investors and stakeholders grasp your company’s identity and purpose.

3. Market research and analysis

This section shares insights into your company’s industry. Start with a landscape analysis to give an overview of the market, including its size, growth rate, and key players.

Next, define your target market and customer demographics—age, location, income, and interests—detailing who your ideal customers are. Identify market needs and trends your business will address, and highlight customer pain points your product or service aims to solve.

Consider conducting a SWOT analysis to evaluate your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and gain a strategic view of where your business stands in the competitive landscape.

4. Organization and management

Describe how your business is structured and who runs it. Outline the organizational structure, and if helps, include a chart. Introduce the leadership team and key personnel, highlighting their qualifications and roles. If you have a board of directors, mention them and briefly explain their involvement.

Then, outline your production processes, detailing how your product or service is (or will be) created—from sourcing materials to delivery—to give a comprehensive view of your operational capabilities.

5. Products and services

This section of your business plan outline is crucial for showing potential investors what makes your products and services unique and valuable.

Clearly describe what your business offers, emphasizing your unique selling propositions (USPs) and the benefits and features that set you apart from the competition. Talk about the product life cycle, including any plans for future updates.

If your business holds any intellectual property or proprietary technologies, detail them here to underscore your competitive advantages.

6. Marketing strategy

Having a fantastic product or service is just half the battle. The marketing plan section should outline how you'll reach your target market and convert them into customers.

Begin with market positioning and branding, explaining how you want your brand perceived. Detail your marketing and promotional strategies, including specific tactics to reach your target audience.

Discuss your sales strategy, focusing on how you'll convert leads into customers. Lastly, include your pricing strategy and provide a sales forecast, projecting your expected revenue over a certain period.

7. Operations plan

Here, the goal is to give a detailed overview of the physical and logistical aspects of your company. Start with the business location and facilities, describing where it operates and any significant physical assets. Detail the technology and equipment needed for daily operations.

Briefly describe your supply chain and logistics processes to illustrate how you manage inventory, procurement, and distribution. Finish it by outlining your production process and quality control measures to ensure your products or services consistently meet high standards.

8. Financial plan

Use this section of the business plan to show how your company will succeed financially. Include financial projections like income statements and cash flow statements. Specify how much capital you need and how you plan to use it, discussing funding sources.

Conduct a break-even analysis to estimate when your business will become profitable. Be transparent and address any financial risks and assumptions, outlining how you plan to mitigate them.

9. Appendices and exhibits

In this section, include any additional information that supports your business plan. This might be resumes of key personnel to highlight your team's expertise and experience, or even legal documents and agreements.

Include market research data and surveys to back up your market analysis. Add financial statements for a detailed look at your financial plan. Also, provide detailed product specifications to give a clear understanding of your products and services.

Here's a business plan outline example

Not quite there yet? Take a look at this business plan outline example—it will make everything clear for you.

3.1 Executive Summary

  • Overview of the business
  • Key points of the business plan

3.2 Company Description

  • Business name and location
  • History and nature of the business
  • Legal structure and ownership
  • Vision and mission statement

3.3 Market Research and Analysis

  • Industry analysis
  • Target market and customer demographics
  • Market needs, trends
  • Customer pain points
  • SWOT analysis

3.4 Organization and Management

  • Organizational structure
  • Leadership team and key personnel
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Board of directors (if applicable)
  • Production processes

3.5 Products and Services

  • Description of products or services offered
  • Unique selling propositions, benefits, features
  • Product lifecycle and development plans
  • Intellectual property and proprietary technologies

3.6 Marketing Strategy

  • Market positioning and branding
  • Marketing and promotional strategies
  • Sales strategy and tactics
  • Pricing strategy and sales forecast

3.7 Operations Plan

  • Business location and facilities
  • Technology and equipment
  • Supply chain and logistics
  • Production process and quality control

3.8 Financial Plan

  • Financial projections (income statements, balance sheets, cash flow statements)
  • Funding requirements and sources
  • Break-even analysis
  • Financial risks and assumptions

3.9 Appendices and Exhibits (if applicable)

  • Supporting documents and additional information
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Legal documents and agreements
  • Market research data and surveys
  • Financial Statements
  • Detailed Product Specifications

Bonus tips on how to write a winning business plan

Once you've done your business plan outline, it's time to fill in the gaps and craft a winning business plan. Here are some bonus tips to keep in mind:

  • Tailor it to fit your business : Customize sections to meet industry-specific needs and highlight what makes your business unique.
  • Keep it clear and concise : Use straightforward language and support your points with data to ensure easy understanding and avoid any confusion.
  • Set actionable and realistic goals : Define measurable objectives with clear timelines and milestones to track your progress.
  • Update regularly : Keep your plan dynamic by making regular updates to reflect changes in goals, market conditions, and strategies.
  • Seek feedback : Gain insights from mentors and advisors to refine your plan.

Read this next: How to Start a Business in 8 Steps: A Comprehensive Guide from Concept to Launch

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