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The most recent Creative Business newsletters are available as downloadable PDFs.

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July/August 2017 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Our recent creative firm survey on employee benefits, 2) ten steps to qualify for Federal Government projects, 3) translating business-speak into reality, and 4) understanding three hidden client strategies. Advice on: saving an account, transferring files, travel expenses, interviewing employees, font usage, finding a rep, providing extras, charitable donations, presentation follow up, and combating late input. Management Benchmark on: checking your firm's current ratio. Supplementary downloads: client compliance letter.

$15.00

March/April 2017 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) client wants versus needs, 2) employee freelancing guidelines, 3) addressing relationships that are too comfortable, 4) twenty client influencers. Advice on: new business targeting, clients gifted to you, a very slow employee, honoraria, kill fees, missing credit lines, ex-employee taking too much credit, and protocol for sending client press releases. Management tip: multiplier (markup) when billing outside help. Downloads: five supplementary articles and forms.

$15.00

May/June 2017 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) what makes a creative business long-term successful?, 2) how rewards can increase client diversity, 3) avoiding the second concept giveaway. Subscriber advice on: employee selling, invoicing a deceased client, LLC and S Corp pros and cons. firing an employee, copyright compliance, creative/media formulas, handling a budget problem, wasted presentations, revealing your sources, and showing others samples. Management norm: the crucial period of business development. Supplementary material: a downloadable article on retainers.

$15.00

April 2017 (special) issue: Hooking up with the right partner.
12 pages. Ever wonder if things would be better if you had a business partner? This issue explains partnering options, the good and not-so-good reasons, assessing partner compatibility, protecting your interests, making it work, and how to avoid why so many fail.

$15.00

January/February 2017 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) exploring an outlet for your other talents, 2) recognizing the importance of nonverbal body language, and 3) updating operating agreements and bylaws, Management Benchmark on: how many employees per supervisor. Subscriber advice provided on: avoiding copyright infringement, handling typo mistakes, employee time sheets, rush approval protection, charging for planning, setting up an LLC or corporation, avoiding home tax depreciation payback.

$15.00

December 2016 (special) issue--Updating Promotional Options
12-pages. Today's promotional options range from traditional mailings to social media. But which are more likely to produce new business? To find out, CB surveyed thousands of principals of both single-and multi-person creative firms in October 2016. This special issue reports on the results, and the conclusions that can be drawn.

$15.00

November/December 2016 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) when and how to follow-up presentations and proposals, 2) a year's end look at how well you're doing, and 3) guidelines for seasonal greetings and gifts. Advice on: time sheet requests, open purchase orders, design reping, better estimating, low-ball pricing, client delays, concept spec, and web development protection. Management norm on: paying finder's fees.

$15.00

September/October 2016 issue
16 pages. Feature articles on: 1) Employing content marketing, 2) traffic manager responsibilities, 3) preparing for a business disruption, and 4) guidelines for billing travel expenses. Advice to subscribers on: how pushing back can pay off, missing photo releases, cost of project delays, effects of client enabling, risk of consequential damages, showing a rejected logo, and withdrawing concepts. Management Benchmark: How long an estimate should be valid. Supplementary downloads: two content marketing examples, traffic manager job description, emergency planning form, indemnification letter.

$15.00

August 2016 special issue--Four Learning Experiences
12 pages. Four case studies in overcoming business challenges: 1) avoiding the need for a start-up to later play pricing catch up; 2) how a poor arrangement can threaten a successful partnership; 3) what can happen when neglecting to watch a business's metrics; 4) getting caught in the "gorilla client" trap.

$15.00

July/August 2016 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) ways to improve your e-mail promotions, 2) a branding satire, 3) the when and how of employee profit-sharing plans, and 4) combating the overcommitment syndrome. Advice on: file ownership, inactive clients, quick cash, invoice separation, regaining a client, $ updating, dumb requests, and special client treatments. Management Benchmark on: after-hours time when calculating billable efficiency. Supplementary downloads: profitability metrics, buying in and selling out of a creative business, burnout test, estimating worksheet, and solicitation letter.

$15.00

March/April 2016 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) financing your business, 2) twenty examples of good management, and 3) what solopreneurs need to know before hiring their first employee. Advice on: a client's profit, your metrics, moving worries, misplaced billing, a corporate mandate follow-up, agency commissions, and client promises. Management tip: running accounts receivable and work-in-progress aging reports.

$15.00

April 2016 special issue: Your Location and Facilities Options
12 pages. Where your business is located has multiple effects--overhead, clients, productivity, and personal satisfaction--to name just a few. This special issue explores the two major considerations when making where-to-work decisions, and looks at what's involved in each through several different lenses.

$15.00

January/February 2016 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) results of CB's December 2015 pricing and billing rates survey, 2) working with a new contact at a long-time client, 3) how to say "sorry, but I can't" to some client requests. There's a Management Benchmark on setting your profitability aim point. Subscriber advice is provided on: 1) punishing suppliers, clients "going direct," exclusivity pricing, retainer copy, corporate mandates, themeing, tax deductibility, and holiday swag.

$15.00

December 2015 (special) issue--Personnel Policy Standards
12 pages--Are your firm's personnel policies up-to-date? This special issue, part of our business standards series, will help you make sure. Four sections cover what you need to know. 1) Why policies are necessary. 2) What needs should be addressed. 3) Media, distribution, and presentation. 4) Preparing and including job descriptions. Also included are illustrations, and links to access full-size .doc templates with copy.

$15.00

November/December 2015 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) negotiating with clients, 2) the best and worst of business advice and experiences, and 3) educating prospects on getting great work. Advice on: charging for unselected concepts, results-oriented employees, app UI pricing arrangement, print markup, price updating, maternity leave, and divulging profit. Management benchmark on: the market value of clients.

$15.00

September/October 2015 issue
16 pages. Feature articles on: 1) Figuring project profit, 2) responding to clients' concept comments, and 3) using LinkedIn to make cold calling easier. Advice to subscribers on: merger discussions, project managers, why logo design isn't a business anymore, registering tag lines, moving stalled work along, and how many new business presentations every week. Management Benchmark: figuring work-in-progress aging reports.

$15.00

August 2015 special issue -- Pitching & Presentation Standards
16 pages. Lays out five elements for successful new business presentations: 1) ensuring differentiation from competitors; 2) the importance of staging; 3) the elements of a successful portfolio presentation; 4) why a process presentation is better for some prospects; and 5) how to increase your odds by the way you close. (Also available as the booklet "Pitching & Presentation Standards.")

$15.00

July/August 2015 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) how most clients' brains are wired a little differently from creatives', 2) the fast-growth alternative--merging your business with another, and 3) six alternative responses when clients don't give you enough info to prepare an estimate. Advice on: font licenses, applying metrics, production-to-media ratios, guarantee requests, employment contracts, referral etiquette, and home office meetings. Management Benchmark on: repeat to new business ratio.

$15.00

May/June 2015 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) making estimating, invoicing, and cash flow your profitability trio; 2) the risks and rewards of working for client stock; 3) helping clients set outgoing marketing budgets, and 4) how to license your ideas, designs, and projects. Advice on: the future of graphic design, accounting costs, avoiding extra-effort problems, hiring a client layoff, not billing for all of an estimate, divulging your profit, non-billed favors, avoiding a hiring conflict, and client discounts for referrals. Management guideline: not confusing personal and business relationships.

$15.00

April 2015 special issue: Business Size, The Future, & Your Options
12 pages. This special issue is about the crucial relationship between a creative firm's principal, the size of her or his business, and the evolving future of the industry. Details the advantages and disadvantages of different sizes, reports the results of CB's March 2015 survey, "The Future of Graphic Design," and outlines options--keep business size the same?, grow the business?, or shrink the business? 

$15.00

March/April 2015 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) rethinking creative briefs, 2) non-traditional employees, and 3) why clients say goodbye. Advice on: collection agencies, charging for files, copying logos, stock licenses, checking credit, work-for-hire applicability, signing non-disclosures, a guarantee, and showing ex-employee work. Management tip: relating pricing to other services.

$15.00

January/February 2015 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) how practical is having a "virtual" company?, 2) what you need to know when subcontracting for others, 3) what are your alternatives to time-based pricing?, and 4) knowing how to tactfully resign a client's business. There's a Management Benchmark on billing for delayed projects. Subscriber advice is provided on: 1) giving up vector files, transferring copyright ownership. a web template disaster, approval delays, part-time sales compensation, and price negotiation.

$15.00

December 2014 special issue--Building a team environment
12 pages--A team environment is one of the distinguishing factors of successful multi-person creative organizations. But what does it take? This special issue lays out five essentials: a personnel management that's inclusive and mentoring, strong leadership skills, a teaming culture, incentives to grow, and challenging team assignments.

$15.00

November/December 2014 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) evaluating your year's end business results, 2) how to respond to clients who know less than they think, and 3) charging for consulting, planning and project definition. Advice on: copyright damages, sub-contracting issues, releasing a contracted employee, charging for color prints, qualifying a client, and client bankruptcy. Management benchmark on: business use of cellphones.

$15.00

September/October 2014 issue
16 pages. Feature articles on: 1) 2014 Business Conditions Report, 2) working more successfully with not-for-profits, and 3) why every spec request is different and how to respond. Subscriber advice on: what's not tax deductible, enforcing a non-compete, "B Corporations," a retainer pitch, contacting a contact's boss, and recycling concepts. Management Benchmark on: affect of interruptions on creativity.

$15.00

August 2013 special issue--Three steps to hiring the right talent
12 pages. Do you occasionally need to hire a new employee? Might you someday? This special issue walks you through the three steps used by large companies to make sure they do it right--justifying, interviewing, and integrating. It provides metrics to tell you when is the right time  how to interview to find the right person  and making sure the new hire is well integrated into your team. Also includes links for downloading items ranging from applications, to job descriptions, to policies and procedures, to employee welcome letters. Complements December 2013 special issue.

$15.00

August 2014 special issue -- Understanding Cient Marketing
12 pages. Most of what you do likely involves helping clients market their ideas and products. So how much do you really know about marketing? Can you speak the same language your clients speak? Can you impress them with how much you know? This special issue will make sure you can hold your own. It will ensure that you can pass the marketing credibility test with all but the most sophisticated of clients.

$15.00

July/August 2014 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) fighting off the risks of stress, fatigue, & burnout; 2) building a nest egg for your future; 3) are non-competes legal?; and 4 responding to clients who want to unbundle your services. Advice on: web prices. hiring non-residents, marking up sub-contractors, hiding billing rates, trademarking your name, losing a social media client, turning over files, and slow-business discounts. Management metric: how many new business presentations to make?

$15.00

May/June 2014 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Guidelines for using testimonials and endorsements, 2) handling rejection of your ideas and concepts, and 3) adding peer reviews to your employee evaluations. Advice on: credit card billing, outsourcing, e-mail approvals, charitable donations, paying for reprinting, contracts, billable efficiency, web files, indemnity, and sharing prices with employees. Management guideline: avoiding growth problems.

$15.00

April 2014 special issue: Rating Your Business Talent
12 pages. Ever questioned how well suited you are to being a self-employed creative? CB's Self-Employment Aptitude Test (SEAT) will tell you. Based on the experiences of thousands of freelances and firm principals, this issue provides ways to measure ten specific business skills critical to financial and personal business success.

$15.00

March/April 2014 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) competing against multiple bids, 2) using collaboration software, 3) strengthening relationships with your best clients, and 4) the what, why, and when of change orders. Advice on: showing samples, hiring help, sales compensation, trademarking work, a misleading client, references for a laid off employee, and proof-of-concept pricing. Management tip: knowing clients' payment schedules.

$15.00

January/February 2014 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) Approvals management (aka proofing), and the responsibilities and techniques of mistake avoidance; 2) arbitration & mediation, and why they can sometimes be better ways to resolve client disputes: and 3) raising your prices without also risking losing good clients. There's a Management Benchmark on the fastest way to get new clients. Subscriber advice is provided on: cutting client ties,  consulting arrangements, handling a rip-off, shutting off a deadbeat client, taxing part-timers, purchasing order changes after an estimate,  reproduction rights, and avoiding a copyright problem.

$15.00

November/December 2013 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) the new health care law, and how it will affect the businesses of American creatives, 2) how you can wring more income and profit from your projects, 3) a way to become a more valuable marketing resource to clients, and 4) common self-destructive business cliches to avoid. Advice on: brain picking, first-time estimates, misappropriated specs, part-time sales, publicity's value, moving & leaving clients, and internet filtering. Management benchmark on: how long to keep business records.

$15.00

December 2013 special issue--Three essentials for productive employees
12 pages--This special issue outlines the three steps used by large companies to increase employee happiness and productivity. It covers internal and external motivating factors, informal and formal employee reviews, and how to figure salary rewards. Also includes links for downloading editable job descriptions, productivity forms, performance evaluation forms, and salary adjustment compilations. Complements August 2013 special issue.

$15.00

September/October 2013 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) what does crowdsourcing mean to the future of creative services?, 2) increasing your bottom line by plugging leaks in billable income, and 3) figuring bonuses to yourself and employees. Subscriber advice on: using fictitious samples, copyright infringement, delayed projects, employee $ AGI, check endorsements, client budgets, doing spec, and avoiding spec. Management Benchmark on: percent of income from one or two clients.

$15.00

July/August 2013 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) how to increase your odds of getting your concepts approved. 2) ways to figure automobile tax deductions, and 3) knowing how to respond when a client hits you with an indemnification request. Advice on: a bad business model, lowering an animation price, a survey conflict, who owns interview notes, partnering problems, and studio language. Management metric: ratio of creative to administrative labor.

$15.00

May/June 2013 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) CB's 2013 survey of gender equality in creative services. 2) How much can you show and say about what you've done? 3) What's a conflict of interest, what's not, and how to handle it. Advice on: copy fees, client expectations, taking credit cards, delayed payments, agency audits, RFQ financial data, billing for travel, and client mismanagement. Management metric: employee performance reviews.

$15.00

April 2013 special issue: Project Proposals and Presentation
12 pages. This one-topic issue is all about pre-project paperwork--estimates, proposals, contracts, and RFQs. It tells you what's appropriate and when, how much time to spend on preparation, how to cover pricing and presentation concerns, and what your success ratio should probably be. Included are links to download six editable, full-length proposals of different types.

$15.00

March/April 2013 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) Learning how to accommodate difficult client personalities, 2) how small firms should charge for billable clerical time, 3) making client and internal meetings more productive, and 4) the advantages of subleasing to or from another creative firm. Advice on: withholding taxes, trademark violation, waiting for payment, plagiarism, taking credit cards, subcontracting problems, and branding direction. Management tip: how soon to invoice after project completion.

$15.00

January/February 2013 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) recognizing and improving the factors that lead to increased profitability, 2) identifying the twelve things that most contribute to non-financial success, 3) properly using the symbols that identify intellectual property, and 4) how to conduct an employee exit interview. Subscriber advice on: charity blackmails, business transitioning, "no charge" billing, pre-billing, handling tiny charges, acquisition trends, addressing many client changes, and consultation fees. Management metric on: how much new business will be required to make up for non-billed time and expenses.

$15.00

December 2012 special issue: Assessing Promotional Options
12 pages. In this special issue you'll find: why promotional activity is almost always a good investment . . . guidelines on what makes promotions effective . . . metrics on how much time and money is appropriate to spend . . . which traditional media are effective and why . . . and which new media are effective and why.

$15.00

November/December 2012 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) a branding case history with a five-page proposal, 2) what we say to clients may not be what we mean, 3) how to decide when bartering makes sense, and 4) doing a year-end billable efficiency check. Subscriber advice on: breaks for contract workers, photo licenses, departing staff, client bankruptcy, conflict of interest?, due diligence, "blind" estimates, ethical conflicts, and 17.65%. Management Metric on: checking business equity.

$15.00

September/October 2012 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) how to work with and sell to companies with in-house creative groups, 2) how to interpret the difference between what clients say and what they sometimes mean, 3) what to do about employees who leave and start using work done in your employ to compete against you, and 4) what a single-person firm has to avoid to have a sustainable, long-term business. Subscriber advice on: art contract, paying for redos, design rip-off, PDF routings, micro billing, teaming arrangement, teaming splits, and photo releases. Management Benchmark on: the continuing efficiency of direct mail promotions.

$15.00

August 2012 special issue--Sales & Sales Staffing Standards
16 pages. This special issue explains how much time and resources a project-based creative firm should devote to sales activity ... the alternatives to sales staffing ... when a firm becomes large enough to employ a dedicated salesperson ... what to look for when hiring ... the ratio of salespersons to creative staff ... the three different ways to compensate salespersons and the advantages and disadvantages of each ... and a principal's ongoing role in sales activity.

$15.00

July/August 2012 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) The results and analysis of our fifth annual survey of business conditions for creative firms. 2) When referral and finder's fees make sense, and how to figure what's appropriate. 3) How larger firms should discuss pricing with clients when competing with smaller firms. Advice on: telling clients and employees about retirement, e-mail follow-ups, the importance of doing small favors, client exclusivity clauses, fielding a pricing objection, stopping work when progress payment is overdue, and the billable efficiency of individual employees. Management metric on: allocating budget overages to a non-reimbursable cost account.

$15.00

May/June 2012 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) How design education is failing by not preparing students for the real world. 2) Ways of working better with large, bureaucratic clients. 3) How (very) small firms should discuss pricing. Advice on: client logo input, RFP language, sales royalty for your work, agency discounts, how much vacation is due to an employee, client feedback, blended or tiered rates?, and compensation for part-time sales help. Management metric: staff compensation for a few extra hours work.

$15.00

April 2012 special issue: Avoiding Legal Problems
12 pages. Every creative firm--single- or multi-person--has to deal with legal concerns occasionally. And few things can be more distracting or potentially costly. This issue provides checklists to help identify a firm's most common legal vulnerabilities, how to reduce exposure to them, and how to work within the legal system when necessary.

$15.00

March/April 2012 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) How to improve your business by taking more time off, 2) voiding Website warranties, 3) not overlooking naming when doing branding, and 4) how to measure and improve client respect. Advice on: working on a future promise, subcontractors taking credit, sell URLs?, figuring pricing, critiquing others, figuring part-time salary, dropping a loving client, long-term subcontractor pricing, and paying offshore artists. Management metric: fee income as a percent of billable payroll.

$15.00

January/February 2012 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) improving your creative approval rate, 2) competitive strategies for a "graying" business, and 3) foiling those who would poach your business. Subscriber advice on: part-time staff, payment discount terms, deceptive parting employees, pitching SEO, PR list ownership, honoring estimates, project deposits, and killing a retainer. Management Metric on: new to repeat business ratio.

$15.00

December 2011 (special) issue: Seven Operating Models
12 pages. This special issue looks at the seven most common operating (organizational) models for multi-person creative services firms--1) partnering, 2) virtual employees, 3) a modular structure, 4) a family orientation, 5) an associate group, 6) a chain-of-command hierarchy, and 7) a coach and team. The pros and cons of each for various type and size firms are discussed.

$15.00

November/December 2011 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) social media--underutilized or overhyped?, 2) what to consider when an old friend becomes a client, 3) working with collaborators selected by the client, and 4) using SWOT analyses to improve your business. Subscriber advice on: sharing space, should a subcontractor pay for a mistake?, copy markup %, charge for meeting time?, office costs, provide video sample?, acknowledge markup %?, and employee exit interviewing. Management Metric on: payroll costs as % of income.

$15.00

September/October 2011 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) results of CB's 2011 Hourly Billing Rate Survey, 2) ten principles for managing yourself, employees, and clients, and 3) the creative psyche and its marketing downside. Subscriber advice on: logo pricing, trust accounts, what's billable, staff pay, tax write-offs, typeface trademark registration, winning a concept presentation, and information-gathering meetings. Management Metric on: cancellation (kill) fees.

$15.00

August 2011 special issue: Making The Case For Professional Services
12 pages. This issue provides seven scripts to use to persuade clients to use professional creative services. Scripts include: 1) Recognizing Professional Distinctiveness, 2) Staying Competitive in Economic Downturns, 3) Defining Value-Oriented Design, 4) Why Professional Copy is Worth the Cost, 5) Using Illustration for Impact, 6) What Makes Internet Marketing Different, and 7) Responding to Client FAQs. All scripts are available for downloading.

$15.00

July/August 2011 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) The process of thinking about and redirecting your future, 2) how to tactfully say goodbye to toxic clients, 3) guidelines for marking up printing invoices. Business advice on: ex-employee misrepresentation, relocating before retirement, what clients value, clients doing end-runs to vendors, answering client ROI requests, student employee pay, time breakdowns on estimates, business education, and what's included in media commissions? A management metric on: fee income per employee.

$15.00

May/June 2011 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Spring business conditions survey report, 2) employee overtime and work break requirements, and 3) the rationale for requesting progress payments. Advice on: tax deductibility for labor, getting paid in client equity, insurance policy downsizing, new business pitch travel expenses, having a "screw-up" account, providing a rate sheet, getting technical advice from CB, deciding between clients, and returning pre-payments. Management tip: billable efficiency for individual employees.

$15.00

April 2011 special issue: Valuation and Sale Standards
12 pages. Ever wonder how saleable your business is? Or what it might be worth? Or how to go about finding a buyer for it? Helping you answer these questions is the subject of CB's fourth business standards booklet that's inside this issue. (Note: content is the same as the booklet, "Valuation and Sales Standards" available separately at http://www.creativebusiness.com/books.lasso.)

$15.00

March/April 2011 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) The practice and psychology of good client relationships, 2) contractual paperwork for handling process type work, and 3) what you need to know about client purchase orders. Advice on: tax deductibility of donated time, charges for franchising clients, subcontracting protection, cutting off client web service, responsibility for errors, and client estimating expectations. Management metric: percent of project time to spend on information gathering.

$15.00

January/February 2011 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) ways to neutralize unfriendly and hostile presentations, 2) how to use and win in Small Claims Court, and 3) protecting yourself against employee lawsuits. Advice on: referral gifts?, getting sign-offs, process presentations, employees freelancing, unbillable time, trademark registration guarantee?, avoiding trademark violation. Management Metric: when to require more than one signature on checks.

$15.00

December 2010 (special) issue: Teaming, Partnering, and Subcontracting
12 pages. One of the telling skills of successful firms, whether single- or multi-person, is how well they handle teaming, partnering, and subcontracting with others. This special issue examines proven ways to make relationships with other creatives more productive and mutually beneficial.

$15.00

November/December 2010 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) The many considerations in providing good estimates, 2) using the Internet to survey client satisfaction, and 3) abusive stock photography settlement demand letters. Business advice on: sales commission draws, transferring clients, declining work, boards of advisors, concept recycling, non-competes for part-time employees, and changing another's concepts. A management benchmark on: avoiding perceptions of conflict of interest.

$15.00

September/October 2010 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) Risky situations and how to avoid them, 2) how to get your concepts and ideas accepted, and 3) insight into how clients arrive at their budgets. Business advice on: client prepayments, unearned employee vacations, recession branding, media ratings, stock photography pricing,and pressure from a money-losing account. A management benchmark on: the right percentage of expenses for facilities.

$15.00

August 2010 special issue: Managing Creative Quality
12 pages. As with any business, the quality of the product that goes out the door is more important than just about anything else. But how to apply management to something as subjective as creativity? Is creative quality control an oxymoron? This issue explains why a process is both desirable and achievable, and introduces four steps to make it routine.

$15.00

July/August 2010 issue
16 pages. Features articles on: 1) The results of our latest (June) business conditions survey, 2) how well are you keeping your firm's books?, and 3) how should you respond to unsolicited inquiries? Business advice on: profit calculations, $ credits to an unhappy client, dualing contracts, estimate breakdowns, invoice collection responsibility, and vacation day norms. A management benchmark on: current business inflation index.

$15.00

May/June 2010 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) The coming of age for electronic marketing, 2) who owns copyright and production files?, and 3) profiting from freelance and temporary help. Advice on: special meeting rates?, retainer overtime, employee commission after leaving?, a valid signoff?, forced collaboration with others, inquiring about falling account billings, rationale for no-spec, and showing prominent trademarks. Management tip: maximum time qualified employees can go without a raise.

$15.00

April 2010 special issue: A bootcamp for managing creative firms
12 pages. Running a creative business successfully requires specific, often unusual, management skills. This special issue looks at ten crucial management areas--time, quality, efficiency, productivity, metrics, profitability, clients, size, burnout, and longevity--and provides ways to check on whether one's skills in each area are up to snuff.

$15.00

March/April 2010 issue
16 pages. Features articles on:1) A survey of management software, 2) how to put confidence into client budget discussions, and 3) nine ways to shift a client's focus from price to value. Advice on: whether to post rates on websites, exposure pricing for packaging?, layoff considerations, a design firm of record?, branding materials ownership, nonprofit branding, and file ownership. Financial Tip: early pay discounts.

$15.00

January/February 2010 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Putting differentiation into your presentations, 2) ensuring clients provide image clearances, 3) understanding long- vs. short-term marketing strategies, 4) protecting your firm against client bankruptcies. Advice on: print commissions, licensing terms, promotional gifts, info-gathering meetings, presenting your own work, contest rules, creative bake-offs, pricing for providing concept only. Financial Tip: knowing client payment schedules.

$15.00

December 2009 (special) issue: Vintage Business Advice
12 pages. Summarizes business advice provided free to Creative Business subscribers over twenty years. Ten areas of common concern are covered: marketing, sales, pricing, ownership, client relationships, conflicts of interest, collection problems, personnel polices, industry metrics, and business valuation.

$15.00

November/December 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on 1) responding to client concerns about originality and indemnification, 2) results from CBs latest poll on business conditions, and 3) commission versus fee-for-service billing. Advice on: fee increases for stalled jobs, employee pay multiplier, client job changes, royalties, appropriate employee dress, file ownership, idea protection, foreign work, and presentation closing ratio. Management benchmark: how much dependence should a firm have on a few clients?

$15.00

September/October 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) computing the real $ value of being self-employed, 2) understanding how creative firms evolve and how to take advantage of it, and 3) how much to charge when projects are cancelled. Advice on: logo ownership, employee work hours, freelancer estimates, charge for proposals?, whose samples are they?, getting less-than-full payment, and the $ value of your clients to others. Management benchmark: guidelines for establishing a minimum fee policy.

$15.00

July/August 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Non-cash invoicing alternatives, 2) using freelances and temps versus full-time employees, 3) important considerations when working alongside a "significant other." Subscriber advice on: answering RFP questions, collecting past-due invoices, marketing%?, 1099 workers, choosing between clients, invoicing discount terms, AGI %, divulging bids, copyright notices. Management Benchmark: uncollected billing average.

$15.00

June 2009 Special Issue: Improving Your New Business Pitches
12 pages. The ability to make a persuasive presentation is as important in landing new business as a firm's capabilities. However well suited a firm might be, there's no sale until the prospect is convinced. This issue covers it all--from preparation, to stage presence, to closing. It can serve as a primer for those less experienced, or as a refresher for seasoned pros.

$15.00

May/June 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Spring business conditions survey results, 2) how to respond to client questions about their return on investment (ROI), and 3) pitching in-house creative groups. Advice on: portal sales strategy, billing stalled jobs, contract details, charging for prints, charging for software updates, consultant finder's fee, vacation coverage, correction charges, copy cost per word. Management Benchmark: how much overcommitment is reasonable.

$15.00

March/April 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) looking more closely at the effects of productivity, 2) how to figure account profitability, 3) guidelines for accepting pro bono work, 4) responding to the "Wal-Mart Effect" on pricing. Advice on: employee training $, "dead client walking," charge for training meetings?, showing samples that aren't 100% yours, is this plagiarism?, archiving charges, year-end gifts, and responding to an hourly rate request. Management Benchmark: the right range for accounts receivable.

$15.00

February 2009 Special Issue: Conducting Audits
12 pages. Communications (or visual or branding) audits help ensure that client materials are consistent and effective. Audits are also good business for creative firms of all sizes. This special issue shows how to propose, prepare, and price audits. Includes samples and URLs to download two editable proposal letters, two auditing forms, and an eight-page audit report. (Note: content is the same as "Selling and Conducting Communications Audits" listed under marketing articles.)

$20.00

January/February 2009 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Proactive responses to a business downturn, 2) maintaining marketing in a recession, 3) avoiding errors & omissions and their consequences, and 4) having a minimum fee & what it should be. Advice on: salary obligations, employee sick time, fees for reuse, value of contact lists, home office meetings, ownership of web files, rush fees, price cuttting, client interference, and "Chapter 11." Management Tip: average profitability of repeat work.

$15.00

November/December 2008 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) the results of the Fall 2008 business conditions survey conducted by Creative Business, 2) thirteen metrics for tracking business and personal progress, 3) how to deal with very opinionated clients. Advice on: addressing employee attitudes, time-wasting client requests, salary privacy and leaks, ensuring recommendation objectivity, billing for stalled projects, getting an ad "make-good," trademark validity, and salary computation for agency account executives. Management Tip: using Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) to monitor accounts receivable.

$15.00

October 2008 (special) issue: Business Planning. How Necessary, How Detailed?
12 pages. Describes why business planning should be a priority for creative firms, and how the process can be simple and enjoyable. Shows a basic one-page informal plan for an individual, a six-page internal plan for a small firm, and a nine-page plan for use externally when seeking financing. Provides a link to download editable .doc versions of the three plans. (Note: the content of this issue and the article "Business Planning, The Exasperating Made Simple" are the same.)

$20.00

September/October 2008 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Inevitable things that happen to all creative businesses; 2) how to handle a client's creative suggestions; 3) the importance of small-talk skills; 4) developing an employee flextime and telecommuting policy. Advice on: employees freelancing, others showing your work, offer a guarantee?, a risky client, employment contracts, your copyright or the client's?, and covering employee auto expenses. Financial benchmark: average invoice collection.

$15.00

July/August 2008 issue
16 Pages. Articles on: 1) 1) The pipeline analogy for organizing workflow, 2) calculating the value of "award-winning," 3) why it is better when a creative firm arranges for everything, 4) should employees to asked to sell? Subscriber advice on: draw accounts, ask for more work from existing clients when you lose one?, disability insurance difficulties, employee billable efficiency, employees abusing perks, tax write-offs, client breaking up a team, target multipliers, web site content. Management Benchmark: allocating estimate reductions.

$15.00

June 2008 Special Issue: Applying the Q (Questions) Strategy
12 pages. It's no secret among experienced firms. Yet even they sometimes forget. And it often comes as a surprise to those with less experience--what you ask when working with clients is usually more important than what you say or show. This is the "Q-strategy." How to use it in both presentation (pre-proposal) and production (post-proposal) stages is covered in this issue.

$15.00

May/June 2008 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) how to compete against lower prices by selling value, 2) tips and cautions when hiring interns, 3) responding to the "we can't use it, so we won't pay" problem, and 4) the importance of disability insurance. Advice on: assessing rush or up charges, client penalty clauses, pro bono ownership, weighted sales forecasts, photo infringement suit, pay by sales percentage?, finder's fee, and when to move to an outside office. Management Benchmark: how long to keep business records.

$15.00

March/April 2008 issue
FREE SAMPLE ISSUE. 16 pages. Articles on: 1) how much should you be making?, 2) responding to client requests for discounts, 3) working around project delays. Advice on: stock markups, unacknowledged credit, give employee a "piece of the action?", promote photo as well as design?, get E&O insurance?, voluntary spec work, acknowledging layoffs, solicit feedback? and archiving obligations. Management Benchmark: how much new income is needed to offset unbilled time and expenses.

$0.00

February 2008 Special Issue: Pricing & Billing Standards
12 pages. This issue updates CB's "Pricing & Billing Standards. " These guidelines, first published in 1990, provide the basics of establishing a pricing system for both single- and multi-person creative firms. Covered are: hourly rates, pricing by value, use-based pricing, commission pricing, ownership, practices to avoid, what to charge for, estimating pitfalls, what to put on paper, client payment procedures, and invoicing. (Note: the content of this issue is the same as the "Pricing & Billing Standards" booklet offered separately.)

$15.00

January/February 2008 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) the benefits and hazards of critiquing creative work, 2) when and how to get helpful feedback from clients, and 3) protecting your firm against fraud. Advice on: replacing an employee benefit with pay, standards for employee comp time, price justification to clients, portfolio drop offs, clients denying promotion permission, indemnification against site hackers, how fast to raise rates, labeling your business, finessing business size to clients, attempting to retain a departing client. Management Tip: frequency as a function of promotional response.

$15.00

November/December 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) battling marketplace commoditization, 2) the importance of sticking to time estimates and how to make sure it happens, 3) how many concepts and changes are clients entitled to?, 4) thoughts about acquiring new business. Advice on: charging for out-of-town pitches, show price ranges on web site?, invoicing accuracy, client ownership of all ideas?, avoiding in-house work, and collecting a cancellation fee. Management Tip: avoiding "but" when talking to clients or employees.

$15.00

October 2007 Special Issue: When and How to Hire Employees
12 pages. Nothing is more important to a creative firm's future than finding the right talent. This issue explains how the process should be broken into two distinct sections, and provides tips, techniques, and standards for each: 1) evaluating necessity and affordability, and 2) doing the interviewing and hiring.

$15.00

September/October 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Hourly billing rates. What's the current range?;2) specialization: the arguments for and against; 3) reconciling your work with client sensibilities; 4) a glossary of unfamiliar business terms. Advice on: file ownership when a client merges, non-compete protocols, tact when using insider contacts, illustrator cold calling, slow employees, and should everyone fill in time sheets? Financial benchmark: effect of inflation on a firm's profits.

$15.00

July/August 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) What should principals' responsibilities be?; 2) examining the effects of salary multipliers; 3) markups--why, when, where, and how much; 4) checking bylaws and operating agreements; and 5) four ways to lose a client's business. Subscriber advice on: client conflicts, not-for-profit marketing budgets, home office taxes, rush job paperwork, PowerPoint presentations, and client press releases. Management Tip: Marketing-to-production staff ratios.

$15.00

June 2007 special issue: Staff Reductions & Employee Terminations
12 pages. The subjects of this issue are among the most difficult issues that creative firm principals have to deal with. Nonetheless, there is no escaping that staff reductions are occasionally necessary for financial viability, and that some employees are incompatible or disruptive. This issue covers how to handle these situations--layoff or fire employees--ethically and with dignity.

$20.00

May/June 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on 1) the promises and perils of educating clients, 2) learning how to read and use body language, 3) understanding a firm's financial statements, and 4) the relationship of business and creative focuses. Advice on: should employees know job costs?, charging for overages that are your fault, use of client's fonts, billing for extended travel, dealing with excessive critiques, tax status for late night employee meals. Management Benchmark: pricing consistency.

$15.00

April 2007 special issue: Making Sure Partnering Works
12 pages. Around half of all multi-person creative firms have multiple, on-premises owners. That is, two or more individuals share responsibilities and profits. The focus of this special issue is how to avoid the conflicts that inevitably arise; how to set up and work within a partnering arrangement that increases the odds of personal satisfaction and business success.

$15.00

March/April 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) avoiding costly scheduling miscues, 2) going after work you've never done before, 3) charging for more than one concept, 4) reasons freelancers don't make more money. Advice on: LLC reasons, personal use of company computers, credit lines on web pages, charging for travel time, should all employees be salespeople?, reasons for a client capability brochure, and a proposal disclaimer regarding originality. Management Benchmark: how often to evaluate billable efficiency (labor utilization rate).

$15.00

January/February 2007 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) money psychology and how it affects business, 2) buying and using medical illustration, 3) making over client relationships, 4) concept/copy starters. Advice on: sales help commissions, conflict of interest?, charge for replacement font?, charging for Web overage, unethical client behavior, and paying referral fees. Management Benchmark: norms for turning down work.

$15.00

December 2006 Special Issue: Exit Strategies and Succession Planning
12 pages. One of the following ultimately happens to every creative business: It will be sold, or it will transition, or it will disband. This issue covers how to best prepare by 1) laying the foundation, 2) assessing a firm's attractiveness and value, and 3) evaluating each of several possible options.

$15.00

November/December 2006 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) charging for creative when there's no production, 2) resisting the perfectionist impulse, 3) what they say might not be what they mean, 4) tips for getting government business. Advice on: getting project info late, tradename parody cautions, changes in client loyalty?, showing unaccepted logos, need for photo releases, and how common are progress payments? Management Benchmark: guidelines for a firm's "current ratio."

$15.00

October 2006 Special Issue: Seven Marketing Sins to Avoid
12 pages. Explains the seven mistakes commonly made by creative firms--both multiperson and freelance--and how to address them: 1) having no plan, 2) relying on referrals, 3) lack of continuity, 4) unrealistic expectations, 5) disliking selling, 6) presenting poorly, and 7) avoiding closing.

$15.00

September/October 2006 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Working on your negotiating skills; 2) the productivity, price, and profit relationship; 3) going after naming projects; 4) self-insuring against unforseeable costs; 5) profiting from value shifting. Advice on: idle-time billing, hiring design reps, employees meeting estimates, budget qualifying, and pushing for a decision. Management benchmark: number of employees reporting to one supervisor.

$15.00

July/August 2006 issue
16 pages. Articles on: 1) Responding to unexpected pricing challenges; 2) some lessons from open book managment (OBM); 3) building confidence in your work; 4) dissecting the fear of telephone prospecting. Subscriber advice on: travel and miscellaneous billing, copyright on client provided art, cost percentages, gifts and gift cards to referring clients, and bad client work. Management Tip: How long estimates and proposals are good for.

$15.00

June 2006 special issue: Personnel Policy Standards
12 pages. Sets standards for developing employee policies and procedures for both small and mid-size creative firms. Describes what's required, what should be covered from a firm's standpoint, and what employees care about. Includes samples for a 3-page "employee information" document, and an 11-page "employee handbook." Links to full-size templates, including employee job descriptions, are also included. (Note: this issue is the same as the booklet "Personnel Policy Standards For Graphic Design & Creative Services Companies.")

$15.00