Perhaps it’s a mom and pop shop t-shirt printing service selling original designs, or maybe it’s a small firm of marketing professionals focused on developing online content. Whatever the enterprise, if it involves creativity on some level it’s going to require managers and owners to recalibrate their strictly business-minded ways of thinking. This is especially true when it comes to managing a team of creative individuals on a day-to-day basis. In short, if you’re going into it envisioning the same atmosphere as a traditional office setting, you’re going to have a bad time.
Here are the most important things to keep in mind when trying to have the best creative team possible for your business:
Give them space but keep them tethered
Just about anyone with a creative streak will tell you they can’t turn it off – they’re inspired in the moment and will stop what they’re doing to let their consciousness soak in the glow of a great idea. Simply put, your team of creative professionals will be making major breakthroughs in the middle of the night or while walking downtown on the weekend. Businesses can better harness this creative flow by opting for project management SaaS – or software as a service – which enables creative personnel to work and collaborate and consult from anywhere. When the inspiration strikes for that next great graphic design concept or content creation campaign, the company will want to make it as easy as possible for employees to plug in their thoughts and ideas in real time.
Provide the right tools
There is where businesses offering creative products or services cannot afford to go cheap. With that said, there’s no reason to overdo it; simply take the time to figure out the right creative tools for the job. For instance, graphic designers need Photoshop and video editors need Final Cut Pro. These both mean the business needs Apple computers. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the business needs the latest state of the art versions of the hardware and software. Find local authorized resellers or one online to score big savings while still ensuring you’re providing your creative workforce with the right tools to get the job done right.
Provide great benefits
There is a prevailing misguided notion that creative-minded people are fortunate enough to have a paycheck, let alone benefits. Thinking artists ought to work for free or for cheap in exchange for exposure is no different than thinking an accountant can be paid less for the privilege of getting to add experience to her resume. But perhaps more importantly from a business point-of-view, providing great benefits packages to a team of creative individuals – such as two-weeks paid vacation starting out – gives these workers a chance to recharge their creative batteries and avoid burnout. This is a tangible benefit to the business, as paying for half a month of time off is better than paying unproductive employees for untold hours annually.
Put on your producer hat
Projects are more like productions when it comes to creativity-intensive products and services. Managers and owners ought to think in terms of getting ready for opening night or the big movie premier – countless tweaks and adjustments will need to be made on the road from paper to realization. Egos will clash, mostly over creative differences. Budgets will appear strained due to eccentric behavior and apparent lack of responsibility. At least one moment where all seems lost is guaranteed. Accept it as part of the business model. In the end, as long as the product arrives as promised and isn’t cost-prohibitive, the means will be justified.
Assembling the right creative team is difficult enough, let alone ensuring they stay at the top of their game. It’s certainly not the same situation managers would find in a typical office setting. With that said, those who make their living through creative concepts and projects are people just like everyone else. Give them the environment and resources needed to thrive and watch them go.