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What makes for a successful design consultancy firm?

 Chapter 1: Introduction

To create a successful design consultancy firm is never an easy task – particularly in the turbulent business environment as we are facing now. However, a successful design consultancy firm can be profitable and sustainable, as the lifestyles of the modern people are increasingly focusing on arts and beauty. It is observed that relatively few articles are dealing with the subject on how to create a successful design consultancy firm. Thus, a research on the critical success factors that enable a design consultancy firm to become highly successful is beneficial for people who have the intentions to set up a successful design consultancy firm.

This writing will investigate the critical success factors of a design consultancy firm. To achieve this purpose, a total of four famous design consultancy firms will be discussed, investigated and researched. For each of the design consultancy firm, the critical success factors contributing to the success of the company will be identified.

The writing will be structured as follow. Firstly, we will review and research the operations, key success factors and performance of four design consultancy firm, namely, SPROUT, JEDCO, AGHA and West London Carpentry Co. From there, a critical discussion on how design consultancy firms had achieved success will be offered. It is then at the final part that the key lessons learnt from this research will be synthesized and summarized.

 

Chapter 2: The Critical Success Factors of SPROUT

Introduction to SPROUT

SPROUT is one of the famous industrial design consultancies that have the mission to integrate the concepts of sustainable design and inclusive design into a mainstream design practice. By utilizing both of the concepts, SPROUT is constantly innovating new products or services that are environmentally friendly and beneficial to as many people as possible. All the industrial designers in the company are inspired by the company design philosophy which is to add value to raw materials and to use sustainable design and inclusive design to achieve such a mission.

 

Products and Services Offered by SPROUT

The company is established to provide a comprehensive range of design services to other design companies in supporting their design activities and operations. Some of the design services provided by SPROUT include 3D visualization, design analysis and training in the areas of inclusive design and sustainable design.

 

Critical Success Factors of the Company

An in-depth study of SPROUT reveals much critical information about the company. There are various factors leading to the success of the company in a competitive industry today. After some investigation on the factors leading to success for the company, it is discovered that the company is successful because it is able to (a) deliver true benefits to the customers, (b) able to produce innovative and cutting-edge design, (c) practicing continuous improvement and proactive in its execution, and (d) achieving a high flying brand name by obtaining several awards in the industry.

            Delivering true benefits to the customers. One of the critical success factors of SPROUT is that the company is delivering real value and significant benefits to its customers. As per the corporate website provided by the company, the many benefits delivered by the company to the customers include a reduction of customers’ manufacturing costs, the strengthening and protection of the customers’ brand name, enhanced innovation for the customers, and to maximize the customers’ products’ markets. In fact, the company explicitly separates the different benefits that can be enjoyed by the customers through the concept of sustainable design and inclusive design.

For example, the sustainable design approach practiced by sustainable design can assist the customers in reducing its costs. This is made possible by reducing the amount of resources used in manufacturing, to use the raw materials more efficiently, and to reduce the amount of waste produced by the design and production processes. SPROUT make this possible by improving the functionality and appeal of the product while at the similar time to reduce the complexity and resources used in making the products. Not only is that, the designs provided by SPROUT are also able to strengthen the customers’ brand name. This is because the products designed by SPROUT is often cutting edge and environmentally friendly – thus demand high respect from the marketplace and society.

Apart from that, the inclusive design philosophy in the company able to maximize the size of the market of the customers. This is made possible as SPROUT can assist the customers to design mainstream products and services so that as many people as possible can use them. The company is highly successful in this area because improvements to functionality that are made in the process of inclusive design can benefit all of the customers. Not only that, the inclusive design philosophy can also assist the customer to innovate and staying ahead of the game. This is made possible by SPROUT by understanding the problems people are facing after observing them seriously through video ethnography. Last but not least, the designs produced by SPROUT are also supporting the customers in terms of their Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

Innovative and cutting edge design and products. The products designed by SPROUT are highly innovative. For example, the company has unveiled a revolutionary recycled chair, which diverts a remarkable 2.3 kg of virgin plastic from landfill for every single chair. Not only is that product environmentally friendly, it is also stylish, it is also designed for ergonomic, stacking capability to reduce space, and being designed with components that are easily replaceable. Another example of innovative products being designed by the company is the ballet pointe shoes. In the design, SPROUT is modernizing the pointe shoe. With such an innovative project, Dancers no longer have to endure sustained pain and suffer injuries due to the pressure when a dancer is dancing on pointe causes. In short, the new design is more comfortable, and significantly reduces the pains faced by a dancer.

Continuous improvement and proactive planning and execution. The company is proactive in delivering value to the clients as well as the society. For example, SPROUT is constantly researching the field to keep the company ahead of the industry. The company in fact believes that when it can keep their customers ahead of the game by providing the customers with forward-looking designs. By keeping the customers ahead of the game, the company is in turn keeping itself competitive and ahead of the game as well.

Having several award winning designs. The design produced by SPROUT is of high quality, and more importantly, many of these designs are award-winning. For example, according to the corporate website, the company is being awarded the DBA’s 24 hour Inclusive Design challenge. The award is about to develop a product, service or environment that can enhance the mobility for elderly or disabled users in a time limit of 24 hours. In such a competition, SPROUT has two champion products that are designed for the visually impaired people. Not only that, two of the SPROUT products is also being nominated for the Index Awards. This is not an easy achievement, as the Index Awards is the world’s biggest design awards on the context of Design to Improve Life. Two of the successful products being awarded the Index Awards are: Binvention (i.e., a stylish home recycling organizer) and the Toginon Kitchen Knives.

 

Lessons Learned from SPROUT

Success leave clues – and that is the case for SPROUT. However, success is never easy, and it is by fulfilling certain critical criteria that the company is able to achieve success in the competitive marketplace. As we have discussed above, it is discovered that SPROUT is successful because the company is able to (a) deliver true benefits to the customers, (b) able to produce innovative and cutting-edge design, (c) practicing continuous improvement and proactive in its execution, and (d) achieving a high flying brand name by obtaining several awards in the industry. It is discovered that for every company that wishes to achieve success in the marketplace, the company must be able to deliver significant value to the customers as well as the society. This is reasonable and easily understood because the customers must firstly benefited from the products or services provided by a company before the customers become a satisfied and loyal customer. When the services or products provided by a company exceed the expectations of the customers, then the customers will keep on spending on the products and services offered by the value delivering company. Thus, any successful companies are those companies that able to deliver true benefits to the end users. Apart from that, any company that seeks success in the increasingly competitive business landscape must also practice innovation and creativity. This is because for any company to stay ahead of the competition, the company must innovate and deliver cutting edge value to the customers so that the company is not being caught up by the many competitors. In the fast moving world, any companies that intend to achieve sustainable competitive advantages in the respective industry must constantly innovate to beat the competitors. By proactively innovating the value offering, the business will then be able to enhance the value delivery process to the customers. Thirdly, it is also observed that any companies that achieve high success are also practicing continuous improvement in all areas of the businesses. This is very important as in any businesses, there are bound to have many areas that can be further improved. A philosophy of continuous improvement will enable a company to growth in a fast pace as people can sense that the company is serious and passionate about the business. Besides, a continuous improvement philosophy will improve the various areas of the company, from marketing, finance, operation to human resources management. For the case of a design consultancy firm, continuous improvement can make huge differences as the business is ultimately about branding and images of a particular business. Thus, when an organization such as SPROUT able to achieve significant success in all areas of the business due to continuous improvement philosophy, the customers as well as the marketplace will sense it, and soon will acknowledge SPROUT for the strong corporate culture in improvement. Apart from that, continuous improvement is also one of the crucial methods to stay ahead of the competitive marketplace. Staying passive without any improvement will not enable any company to staying competitive in the challenging business environment. In fact, by not evolving and constantly improve a particular business in such a fast pace environment, any business will sooner or later suffer lost of market share or financial disaster. Last but not least, SPROUT is successful because the company has strong brand name in the industry. This is made possible by obtaining several highly popular awards. In a design related industry, the brand name of any company is a highly critical one, where the perceptions of customers as well as the end users will make huge differences and impacts to the financial performance and growth of any firm.

 

Chapter 3: The Critical Success Factors of JEDCO

Introduction to JEDCO

Jedco is one of the popular design-related companies led by the famous John Elson. In fact, Jedco is a company consists of a compact team of industrial designers led by John Elson. Jedco is a successful firm with long track record. The company was established in 1984, and is currently having more than thirty years of experience in design. According to the corporate website, Jedco help to create successful products for the customers by providing all the necessary back-up skills and knowledge in delivering thoroughly researched and engineered products to the end users. The company is famous for its ability to work hand-in-hand with their clients to ensure the clients able to achieve increased market performance through the competitive and advanced design provided by Jedco. To achieve this, Jedco is famous for providing designs that are competitive, cost-effective, and valuable and quality products.

 

Critical Success Factors of JEDCO

Jedco is a successful design firm. There are many reasons for this. Success comes with a price, or perhaps, more accurately, reasons. In the following paragraphs, the reasons contributing to the success of Jedco are being analyzed and presented. The various critical success factors that are to be discussed include: (a) able to provide guarantee to the customers, (b) having highly talented people in the team, (c) attain accreditation status, (d) having technical competency in the designs produced by the company, (e) able to understand the true needs and wants of the customers, (f) having a wide range of products and designs, and, (g) have attractive and interacting web portal.

Able to provide guarantee to the customers. Jedco is a company that is confidence with its ability to provide valuable services and design to the clients. This is observed from the fact that the company able to provide a statement of professional indemnity to the customers. In fact, as per the corporate website, the company is being insured to cover any losses that might arise from their negligence or inaccurate advice provided to the clients. The insurance amount on this matter is set to be at GBP 2.5 million per claim. However, Jedco has a strong record on this matter, where not any claims occurred before in the long history of 20 years – since the company started the business. Not many businesses have such a confidence and are proactively taking initiative to provide such guarantee of safeguarding measures for the clients. Thus, it is reasonable to believe that the ability to provide guarantee to customers by Jedco enable the company to  secure more sales from the customers as the customers will tend to have more confident in Jedco.

The company consists of a team of high performing designers. Human capital matters. In the competitive business environment, it is company that has superior talents in the company that can win over the competition. This is because it is human that build a company – it is human that provide excellent services to the customers, designing superior products for the customers, leading a strong and powerful corporate culture, producing an innovative and creative corporation as well as to adapt to the constantly changing business environment. In fact, according to the corporate website, Jedco is a superior company in terms of design creativity because each and every member in the team is chosen for their commitment, passion in the business, creativity, innovativeness, and ability to solve problems. Such a highly talented team of superior designers enable the company to meet tight schedule with good quality designs and works.

Accreditation. Accreditation will definitely enhance or increase the reputation of a design firm such as Jedco. For this, Jedco is a registered accreditated design consultancy firm with the British Accreditation Bureau as well as the Department of Trade and Industry – Business Link Scheme. Not only that, Jedco is also an elected Fellow of the Chartered Society of Designers and has a Master Degree in Design from the Royal College of Art.

Technical competence in design. Having both technical competence and superior and outstanding design talents is not something common. In fact, it is very hard to find people that have both technical competence and outstanding talents in design. This is primarily due to the fact that people usually are expert in only one of the area, either in technical competency or having outstanding talents in art or design. This make the team of designers with both technical competent and strong talents in design a highly valuable assets to the company.

Jedco understand the true needs and wants of the customers. Many of the products designed by Jedco are convenient to use and solve the customers’ problem. This can then ensure the customers’ satisfaction on the products designed by Jedco is being maintained at a high level. With the ability to understand the true needs and wants of the customers, Jedco can established itself as a business that truly take care and concern about the demand or requirements from the customers as well as end users. All these ensure that Jedco is able to gain strong reputation and brand name in the marketplace for the past 30 years.

Having a wide range of products and designs. It is essential for any business in design consultancy to have a wide range of design or product portfolio. As the company has more design portfolio, the customers have more choices. Besides, the design consultancy firm can also have more choices to offer to the end users. Not only that, by having a wide range of design, any company can then increase the reputation as an established firm in the marketplace.

Attractive and interacting website. To leverage on the power of internet is the way to go for any business in the new economy era. Internet is becoming more and more powerful. Jedco is having an interactive and appealing website that can enhance the brand name of the firm. The visitors to the company website will be easily attracted by the performance, designs and the spirit of the company. This will in turn enhance the confidence level of the customers towards the firm.

 

Lessons Learned from JEDCO

Many lessons can be learned from Jedco. As we have discussed above, Jedco is a successful firm because the company (a) able to provide guarantee to the customers, (b) having highly talented people in the team, (c) attain accreditation status, (d) having technical competency in the designs produced by the company, (e) able to understand the true needs and wants of the customers, (f) having a wide range of products and designs, and last but not least, (g) have attractive and interacting web portal.

 

Chapter 4: The Critical Success Factors of AGHA

Introduction to AGHA

Agha is one of the highly famous in the field of interior design consultancy and contemporary bespoke furniture design firm. The company is located in London. Since its inception 30 years ago, the company has been working closely with their clients to actualize the clients’ ideal environments. The company is also offering a wide range of interior design services, including services such as full design and refurbishment to the customers. Today, the firm’s gallery showcases are filled with abundance of evidences of success. In the firm’s furniture gallery, there are a lot of in-house designed and handmade contemporary limited edition furniture, as well as many other products such as lighting and household appliances designed by the firm’s partner artists around the world. Apart from being an interior design consultancy firm, the company also provides bespoke design services. This enables the company to tap into various opportunities to create pieces correspond with specific spaces that are specially tailored and designed to the clients’ respective style preferences and demands.

 

Critical Success Factors of AGHA

There are various factors leading to the success of the company in a competitive industry today. After some investigation on the factors leading to success for Agha, it is discovered that the company is successful because it is able to: (a) provide personalized services and design to each and every customers, (b) having strong collaboration and communication with the customers, (c) capable of building high degree of trust among the customers and the firm, (d) producing quality designs, (e) having excellent testimonials from many of the happy customers, and (f) capable of producing creative and sophisticated designs.

Personalized services to each and every customer. According to the corporate website, Agha is superior in providing bespoke design services. This enables the company to tap into various opportunities to create pieces correspond with specific spaces that are specially tailored and designed to the clients’ respective style preferences and demands. This is a highly successful business strategy, as in the turbulent market and economic environment; design for the mass market may not longer be relevant and profitable. Particularly for small start up firm, it is impossible for them to secure high profit margin in the mass market when they are facing fierce competitions from big competitors that are constantly lowering their pricing to secure more market share. Thus, it is very important for the small market player to find a niche market segment to concentrate on. To provide personalize and customized services and designs to the customers is one of the ways to do so.

Strong collaboration and constant communications with the customers. As it is argued by the company management, collaboration is at the core of the company working philosophy, and in fact, is the key growth driver and expansion of the company. With strong collaboration, the company able to create a fulfilling project experience with the customers by fully achieving the customers’ requirements and demand. Not only that, with a strong collaboration culture in the company, the company also able to adhere to a two way communication ethos  that will ultimately ensure that the customers are at ease when all parties are working in a highly stressful environment. This is not something widely practiced by many of the other companies, although it is not hard to understand that constant communication and collaboration between a firm and its customers is highly important and critical to achieve mutual understanding between both parties. It is through mutual understanding that the firm able to deliver what is truly required by the customers. Otherwise, it is not practical or simply time wasting for a firm to keep guessing what is truly demanded or needed by a customer. Not only that, constant collaboration will also build strong relationships and rapport with the customers. In business strong relationships is definitely an advantage over the competition. A strong business relationship will enhance the trust level between the firm and the customers. This leads us to another critical success factor of Agha in the following paragraph.

A high degree of trust between the firm and the customers. Trust is perhaps the most important element is any business relationships. Particularly in a service or design industry, it is the customers’ trust that can ensure consistent reputation and profit of a firm from the competitive and ever changing marketplace. In fact, it is also one of the key philosophies of Alga to maintain high trust level between the firm and the customers. Through the trust built together with the customers, the designer-clients relationships are being strengthened.

Quality design. It is one of the key philosophies of Alga that quality design is important. In fact, the firm is committed to produce quality designs for the customers. The company understands that in the increasingly competitive business environment, quality is no longer an added advantage, but it is a must to compete in the challenging industry. The company admittedly claims that the trustworthiness of the firm can only be achieve through quality workmanship, a meticulous eye, and professional attitude as well as dedicated services to the customers.

Many evidences of success and excellent testimonials from the happy customers. There are many evidences of happy customers available at the corporate website. For example, one of the customers bought an apartment that require extensive work including new bathrooms, flooring, wiring, joinery, fireplaces and major structural changes. The happy customer was happy with the experienced team of Agha Interiors as the company able to deliver on their commitment, in terms of quality, timing and budget. The customer was happy as the creativity and keen eye for artistic detail produced a brilliant end product that remain a pleasure even after the customer stayed in the same apartment for 5 years. Not only that, there are also customers that praise Agha Interiors as the company brought unparalleled expertise on the project: cutting edge creativity and sophistication when it came to layout, design, materials and space utilization. The customer was particularly happy with the designer team that possesses a “can-do” attitude, good problem solving skills, and excellent craftsmanship.

Creative and sophisticated designs. Having cutting edge design is essential for any design consultancy firm to survive in the every challenging industry. It is too important for any design firm to have cutting edge, quality, innovative and creative designs and services to stand out from the crowd of competition.

 

Lessons Learned from AGHA

Agha is a famous and successful company in the field of design consultancy. The success of the firm is not an accidental event. Instead, well planning and hard works are critical to the success of the firm. In this chapter, we have reviewed many of the key success factors contributing to the success of Agha. The critical success factors identified include: (a) ability to provide personalized services and design to each and every customers, (b) having strong collaboration and communication with the customers, (c) capable of building high degree of trust among the customers and the firm, (d) producing quality designs, (e) having excellent testimonials from many of the happy customers, and (f) capable of producing creative and sophisticated designs.

 

Chapter 5: The Critical Success Factors of West London Carpentry Co.

Introduction to West London Carpentry Co.

West London Carpentry is a company specializing in designing and making contemporary bespoke fitted furniture design as well as providing audio/ visual solution for private and commercial clients throughout London. The company has it studio located in 1 Avenue Road Isleworth TW& 4RS. The company provides and delivers many types of services and designs. For examples, the company provides bespoke fitted furniture, studio visual installation, real wood flooring, kitchen fitting, painting, and decorating as well as full renovation services.

 

Critical Success Factors of West London Carpentry Co.

There are various factors leading to the success of the company in a competitive industry today. After some investigation on the factors leading to success for West London Carpentry Co., it is discovered that the company is successful because it is able to: (a) ability to leverage on internet marketing to promote and sell the company’s designs and products, (b) delivering quality in its services and products, (c) providing impressive and cutting edge designs and products, and (d) having a wide range of products and design portfolio.

Leveraging on internet marketing to promote sales and the company. The company has set up a colorful website to present its products and designs to the potential customers and the public. This is a strategic and smart move because with the contemporary and fantastic designs provided and shown in the corporate website, the customers can sense the high quality, appealing and indeed outstanding designs delivered by the company. Internet marketing is a powerful tool for every company to reach wide audiences in the shortest time possible. By capitalize on the internet, the firm can then save huge amount of marketing costs and expenses, but yet can still reach and demonstrate its contemporary designs to the public.

Quality matters. Quality is a must for any firm to survive in the competitive business environment. In the context of a design consultancy firm such as West London Carpentry, the quality can be referred to the spirit of the company, that have strong attention to details, serious in its designs, outstanding and talented designers as well as innovative and creative designs that can consistently produce satisfied and happy customers.

Impressive design. Having cutting edge design is essential for any design consultancy firm to survive in the every challenging industry. It is too important for any design firm to have cutting edge, quality, innovative and creative designs and services to stand out from the crowd of competition. A review of the designs and samples provided in the corporate website of West London Carpentry reveal that all of the designs are contemporary, rich in color and inspiring. It is a very different type of design, where the contemporary design successfully differentiates itself from the mainstream design styles.

Having a wide product portfolio and designs. It is essential for any business in design consultancy to have a wide range of design or product portfolio. As the company has more design portfolio, the customers have more choices. Besides, the design consultancy firm can also have more choices to offer to the end users. Not only that, by having a wide range of design, any company can then increase the reputation as an established firm in the marketplace.

 

Lessons Learned from West London Carpentry Co.

Although West London Carpentry is a relatively small company serving only the market in London, the company is nonetheless a highly successful one. In the paragraphs above, we have discovered many factors leading to success for the firm. These factors include: it is discovered that the company is successful because it is able to: (a) ability to leverage on internet marketing to promote and sell the company’s designs and products, (b) delivering quality in its services and products, (c) providing impressive and cutting edge designs and products, and (d) having a wide range of products and design portfolio.

 

Chapter 6: Discussions and Conclusion

In this chapter, the critical success factors of the various design consultancy firm that have been discussed from Chapter 2 to Chapter 5 will be summarized and discussed. From a review of the key success factors of the various design consultancy firms, a general list of important contributing factors leading to the success of a design consultancy firm will be formulated.

 

The Critical Success Factors of a Design Consultancy Firm

There are many factors leading to a success or failure of a firm, and that is true for the case of a successful design consultancy firm. The studies presented in earlier chapters in this writing discussed several successful design consultancy firms, and a review of these firms reveals that these successful firms share similar and common characteristics. A deeper research and investigating on these characteristics reveals to us that these characteristics are indeed the factors leading to the success of these design consultancy firms. These critical success factors identified from a research on the established and successful design consultancy firms are as follow.

Solid, clear and reasonable mission statements and vision statements. Both mission and vision statements are highly important for any firm. The mission statement is important as it is about the things that the company is passionate in doing and delivering to the society. On the other hand, the vision statement is about what the company aspire to become in the future. Both are powerful management tools and serve as the foundation of an organization. A review of the successful design consultancy firm reveals that all of the successful firms have strong, solid, clear and reasonable mission statements. With such a mission and vision statement, the firm can know where it is heading. With a clear direction, then only the people working together in the firm know their roles, responsibilities and importance in the organization.

Appealing to a niche market. All successful design consultancy firms apparently are having stronghold in specific niche market. This is not something hard to be understood, as to compete in the mass and broad market is not something easy or smart. The huge companies are all aggressively lowering their pricing from time to time to secure their market share in the mass market. As a result, only the price leaders win in such a price war situation. In contrast, the small players specializing in unique niche market face lesser of such kind of problem.

Having an inspiring philosophy. All businesses have their respective philosophies in conducting the business activities and operations. In fact, without a strong business philosophy serving as the backbone of an organization, the organization can only achieve mediocre success at best. A review of the four successful design consultancy firms in the previous chapters indicate that all of these firms have their respective philosophies in conducting businesses. The philosophy serve as the images, reputation, brand and the spirit of the firm – and these philosophies will determine how the firm act proactively or responsively to the external world (i.e., top the customers, public as well as the society).

Excellent positioning of the firm in the marketplace. It is said by many business thinkers and practitioners that every successful business must position itself wisely and strategically in the industry so that the company can package its products or services offering to a particular segment of market in an effective manner. It is argued that any firm should concentrate to serve the respective market segment so that the particular firm can deliver customized, concentrated value to the customers in the market segment. A review of the four successful design consultancy firms confirms such an argument. All of the firms serve a distinctive and unique market segment and that can be seen from the positioning of the firms in the marketplace. Each of the firms specializes in different areas, and when the customers in the specific market segment require certain services or designs from the firms.

The design of products and services offering must be inspiring, interesting and command praises from customers. Being a successful design consultancy firm is never an easy task. It is not hard to observe that to become successful design consultancy firm, the design of products and services offering must be inspiring, attractive and command praises from the customers. For example, a design consultancy firm that receives more testimonials from happy customers will definitely command higher premium on its designs. Not only that, and design-related firms that successfully obtain awards from reputational bodies are more able to build a high flying brand name in the industry.

Creative and innovative – the ability to deliver new and cutting edge value to the society. Having cutting edge design is essential for any design consultancy firm to survive in the every challenging industry. It is too important for any design firm to have cutting edge, quality, innovative and creative designs and services to stand out from the crowd of competition. SPROUT is a highly successful design firm due to this factor. For example, as mentioned in Chapter 2, the company has unveiled a revolutionary recycled chair, which diverts a remarkable 2.3 kg of virgin plastic from landfill for every single chair. Not only is that product environmentally friendly, it is also stylish, it is also designed for ergonomic, stacking capability to reduce space, and being designed with components that are easily replaceable. Another example of innovative products being designed by the company is the ballet pointe shoes. In the design, SPROUT is modernizing the pointe shoe. With such an innovative project, Dancers no longer have to endure sustained pain and suffer injuries due to the pressure when a dancer is dancing on pointe causes.

Having wide network of customers. For any business to thrive and becoming widely known in the marketplace, the company must be able to serve as many people as possible.

Capitalize on internet marketing technologies and methods in promoting the company products and services. The effects of internet towards globalization can be analyzed at the political, economic, social and cultural dimensions. There are benefits as well as drawbacks of such a trend. Specifically, corporations may yield opportunities and advantages or suffer from the trend. Generally speaking, the users of such technologies are the winners while those who try to ignore or neglect the trend will not be able to reap the benefits offered by the opportunities. Internet is simply too crucial in the knowledge or information era, and high performing companies will definitely take serious notice on the issue, for sustainable financial performance and attainment of competitive advantage in the new knowledge era. Successful organizations understand the leverage impacts available and made possible by the various new internet-related technology in the modern days. They understand and able to catch on the trends of internet marketing, on a global scale. Competition is getting more globally-driven and increasingly competitive, and only those who excel in adoption of the technology and capitalize on the various trends offered by the new era in an integrated and holistic manner will be able to achieve competitive advantage over their peers.

Have a wide range of product portfolio. It is essential for any business in design consultancy to have a wide range of design or product portfolio. As the company has more design portfolio, the customers have more choices. Besides, the design consultancy firm can also have more choices to offer to the end users. Not only that, by having a wide range of design, any company can then increase the reputation as an established firm in the marketplace.

Engage the best people in the company – world-class designers produce world-class works and masterpiece. Design and services business is highly dependent on the human capital available to the firm. As such, it is extremely important that any design consultancy firm must have a proper, effective and highly efficient Human Resources Management (HRM) method to attain success in the future. The crucial role of HRM in a company cannot be denied. The success of execution of techniques and tactics for a firm is highly relying on the HRM of that particular organization. This is not surprising; as people are the most basic dimensions to any organization architecture and human talents are the sources of all sorts of competitive advantages. Thus, to achieve success for any firm requires that HRM system be mutually supportive and consistent with the firm’s strategic direction across all workforces at all time. Precisely, it is very common to notice that researchers have discovered strong fit between HRM system and methodologies with the intended or proposed strategy is required for superior profitability and sustainable performance of an organization. In the long term, this is very crucial because the appropriateness and accurate execution of HRM system is the contributor of sustainable and superior productivity as well as competitive advantage in the challenging global economy. Besides, in the following paragraphs, it will also be articulated on the factors affecting the integration of HRM into the corporate strategic direction.

Exercising and incorporating corporate social responsibilities related actions in its products and services offerings, business process and company philosophy. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has emerged as a crucial topic of public policy, in many nations as well as in the international context. Considered by many experts to be “the business issue for the twenty-first century”, CSR is being focused increasingly under the discussions on the topic of globalization and sustainable organizational development. It is noticed that successful design consultancy firms are practicing significant efforts in CSR to enhance the brand name of the organization.

A strong focus and expertise in branding of the firm. It is not hard to observe that many of the successful firms are aggressively participating in various events to enhance the brand name as well as to increase the popularity of the firm. In the competitive business environment, branding is a crucial and represents a highly vital management idea and strategy to be applied and studied by both academicians and practitioners. Overall, a brand can be defined as the image of a product or the service in the marketplace. A well crafted brand name will create its relevant and respective brand experience. For this, brand experience is defined as the consumer’s experiential dimensions of a firm’s product or service. From another view point, the word brand image is often defined as the psychological as well as symbolic elements crafted or produced within the perceptions of the consumers. Thus, a brand image comprises of all the information, experiences and expectations associated to a certain product or service. In the business environment, the branding can bring different advantages for both the purchasers and the sellers involved in the value exchange processes. Theoretically speaking, branding makes it easier to buy and to sell a product as well as it is important to communicate relevant information to the end users.

            Engage in continuous improvement. It is also observed that any companies that achieve high success are also practicing continuous improvement in all areas of the businesses. This is very important as in any businesses, there are bound to have many areas that can be further improved. A philosophy of continuous improvement will enable a company to growth in a fast pace as people can sense that the company is serious and passionate about the business. Besides, a continuous improvement philosophy will improve the various areas of the company, from marketing, finance, operation to human resources management. For the case of a design consultancy firm, continuous improvement can make huge differences as the business is ultimately about branding and images of a particular business. Thus, when an organization such as SPROUT able to achieve significant success in all areas of the business due to continuous improvement philosophy, the customers as well as the marketplace will sense it, and soon will acknowledge SPROUT for the strong corporate culture in improvement. Apart from that, continuous improvement is also one of the crucial methods to stay ahead of the competitive marketplace. Staying passive without any improvement will not enable any company to staying competitive in the challenging business environment. In fact, by not evolving and constantly improve a particular business in such a fast pace environment, any business will sooner or later suffer lost of market share or financial disaster.

 

Conclusion

Form the research findings obtained from the previous chapters, it is not hard to identify that there are some common factors that lead to the success of a design consultancy firm. The various factors are summarized as follow:

  1. Solid, clear and reasonable mission statements and vision statements.
  2. Targeting a niche market.
  3. Having an inspiring philosophy.
  4. Excellent positioning of the firm in the marketplace.
  5. The design of products and services offering must be inspiring, interesting and command praises from customers.
  6. Creative and innovative – the ability to deliver new and cutting edge value to the society.
  7. Having wide network of customers.
  8. Capitalize on internet marketing technologies and methods in promoting the company products and services.
  9. Have a wide range of product portfolio.
  10. Engage the best people in the company – world-class designers produce world-class works and masterpiece.
  11. Exercising and incorporating corporate social responsibilities related actions in its products and services offerings, business process and company philosophy.
  12. A strong focus and expertise in branding of the firm.
  13. Participate in various events to enhance the brand name as well as to increase the popularity of the firm.
  14. Engage in Continuous improvement.
  15. Contemporary and unique design different from the mainstream design.

 

As a conclusion, to build a successful design consultancy firm is never an easy task, but this research has successfully identified several factors that may leads to the growth and success of a design consultancy firm. Four design consultancy firms have been reviewed, namely SPROUT, AGHA, JEDCO and West London Carpentry Co. A total of fifteen factors contributing to the success of the firms are also discovered. The list of critical success factors are discussed and presented in the paragraph above. It is critical for any business owners thinking to start a new design consultancy firm to refer to the lists above and plan the relevant strategies in order to achieve greater success for the new start-up design consultancy firm.

 

References

 

http://www.sproutdesign.co.uk/

 

http://www.jedco.co.uk/

 

http://agha-interiors.com/

 

http://www.westlondoncarpentry.com/

 

 

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