Complete Guide to Graphic Design Business with No Money

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]re you interested in starting a Graphic Design Business?  If YES, in this guide I will sharing with you proven guide to starting a graphic design business with NO money and no experience. We provide actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for graphic design businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a graphic design business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Graphic designers are those who usually make use of communication skills and have computer design skills that are used in creating advertisements that are used on offline and online media platforms. The aim of graphic designers is to plan, design as well as manage the production of visual communication that is intended to convey specific messages. In trying to establish your graphic design business, you would first need to establish the type of legal entity you want.

Guide Designs

Starting a Graphic Design Business at Home With No Money – A Complete Guide

Graphic Design Industry Overview

Graphic designers usually work in studios where they can access drafting tables, computers, as well as the necessary software needed to create their designs. Most graphic designers work independently, while some work as part of a design team in a specialized company or with other independent graphic designers on projects.

Starting a Graphic Design Business at Home – Market Feasibility and Research

Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographic composition of those that require the services of a graphics designer includes;

  • Corporate organizations
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Religious bodies
  • Advertisement agencies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Government agencies
  • Small businesses
  • Fashion industry
  • Photographic industry and so many others like that.


Other opportunities like who would need to sell their brand, those who would like to pass a message and those who would like to create awareness are examples of those that would require the services of a graphics designer.

Tip Off…

I recommend working with freelancers (good ones) to be able to come up with packages that will be attractive to your prospective clients.


Is a Graphic Design Business Worth Starting from Scratch or is Buying a Franchise Better?

Starting a business from scratch offers so many advantages for you as an entrepreneur. One of which is you get to decide on your niche, and the strategies you intend to use to drive your business forward. Also, since this is a business that does not require much equipment or tools before you can start off, any serious minded entrepreneur can start the business from scratch and grow from there to become a brand name.

There are no franchises in this field, especially as this is a creative industry. Graphics designers that do not want to be on their own or freelancers can decide to work for well-known brands so as to hone their skills. Smaller design firms in this industry can decide to partner with other firms to deliver on a project, but there are no franchises in this industry; which means that you either start from scratch or work for another design firm.

# Challenges you likely Will Face When Starting a Graphic Design Business…

Every business faces a challenge or threat no matter what stage of life their business is in. for design start-up firms; you can face the challenge of getting customers, job completion on time especially if you are the only one handling the job, or any such challenge like that. As a serious minded entrepreneur, you should be ready to face any challenge and should have crafted out strategies that will help you overcome the challenges as they come.

Writing a Business Plan for Your Graphic Design Business

As with any business, it is necessary to get a business plan written if you intend to start your graphics design business. Writing a business is the first step towards starting your business as it shows your serious intentions. A business plan offers a clear guide on the business, and will enable you know if you should go ahead with the business or not.

Your business plan is not only your blueprint for success but enables you to look critically at your resources, goals, and working capital, and set a milestone for where you presently are to where you want to be in a specific number of years. Most graphic design business usually grapples to stay afloat during their first few years of operations, and it is situations like this, which your business plan deals with.

There is no traditional number of pages that your business plan should have, and so while some business plan is long, some are short. It all depends on whether your business plan has the key elements that is needed for any investor and stakeholder to see.

Starting a Graphic Designing  Business With No Money – Technical & Manpower Details

Even though other tools that can be used to start this business can be bought at fairly used, it is however important that you do not get your computer system as fairly used. This is because a fairly used system might have certain problems that might arise whilst you are trying to complete a job for a client, so it is better to be on the safe side and get a new system.

Some of the equipment that would be needed for you to start your graphic design business in the Nigeria are:

  • Computers (Desktops and Laptops)
  • Multi-function Printer (Print, Scan, and Fax)
  • Phones
  • Design Software
  • Drafting Table

The graphics design business is a business that can be run from home. This means that if you are starting out and do not want to spend too much in procuring an office facility, and your home is convenient for you to work from, then it would be better for you to work from home. However, if you plan on starting on a large scale and employing staff, then it would be best for you to rent an office facility.

One person can effectively run this business, but if you intend to go medium or large scale then you would need to employ a manager, a cashier, a marketing executive, and several graphic designers. This will be about 5 to 7 people.

The production Process in a Graphic Design Business

The production process involved in the graphics design is that which ensures that a pictorial thought or idea becomes visible to others through the use of software and a computer. A graphics designer must understand the requirements of a client, if not the job would come out wrong, leaving an unsatisfied client.

The production processes involved in a graphics design are input, brainstorming, and then output. Other production process involves aesthetics of the final output.

Starting a Graphic Design Business at Home – The Marketing Plan

Marketing ideas and strategies for a graphic design business

Marketing is a very important process of generating revenue for your business. Not only do you generate revenue, you also gain new customers whilst retaining the old ones, and also garner publicity for your business. It is necessary for a business that intends to remain around for a long time, to always ensure that they are out there.

As a start-up, marketing is the only way by which people can be aware of your services, and it is therefore mandatory that you use available conventional and non-conventional sources to engage the awareness of people.

Most start-ups though do not have a large budget set aside for marketing, except start-ups that are on a medium to large scale, and which would have to set aside a huge amount to garner exposure and bring clients to patronize them. If you are starting on a small scale, it does not mean that you break the bank in trying to ensure that your budget matches that of the larger companies. The advent of online sources has made it easier for smaller companies to also break new grounds in marketing.

Listed below are certain marketing ideas and strategies that can be adopted for your graphics design business;

  • Introduce your business by sending a profile of your best works or brochure to prospective clients.
  • Partner up with companies that offer complementary services.
  • Offer related services to your graphics design task, that way you have leverage over competition.
  • Attend graphics design seminars or conventions, and offer to speak on a subject. Also use the opportunity to network with other professionals.
  • Offer incentives to your customers.
  • Apply for design awards whose criteria you meet.
  • Use a car to advertise your business by wrapping it up with a vinyl-wrap.
  • Ask your satisfied customers to refer your business.
  • Pass out flyers and business cards during conventions, and seminars of related fields.
  • Leverage on social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to promote your works.

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing for your Graphic Design Business

There are several factors that can help you get the right pricing for your graphics design business. First off, you can design your packages in such a way that clients get to choose depending on the size of their purse. This means that higher paying clients will get more benefits than those that pay low. However, to be able to achieve this, you have to ensure that your operational cost is reduced to the barest minimum.

Possible Competitive Strategies for Winning Your Competitors in the Graphic Design Industry

Most businesses win their competitors by ensuring that their pricing is cheap and affordable, but the field of graphics design is a peculiar one. Cheap does not always mean the best, and so most times the more expensive a job is, the better it is perceived as that of a high quality. This means that to win your competitors in this industry is not to offer lower prices that will hurt you in the long run, especially if you work is of a high quality.

The best way to win your competitors is to offer unique services and extra packages to your graphics design jobs. You can offer to copy write for your customers, or give them added incentives, perhaps designing their business cards free if they have brought a huge job to your firm, or offering a discount to those that refer other customers to you.

Another way at winning over competitors is if you keep in touch with your clients, during and after you might have finished their jobs; this way your clients are constantly aware of your business.

Possible Ways to Increase Client Retention for your Graphic Design Business

Customers love a business that goes all out to meet and exceed their expectation. Recent studies have found out that it is far easier on the finances of your company for you to retain customers, than acquiring new ones. This means that you should continually draft strategies that will ensure that most of your clients do not leave your business and go over to your competitors.

Clients also love it when they get value for their money, and since graphics design is a service oriented business, the value of a job will depend on the customer’s initial requirement and perceived satisfaction. As an entrepreneur and a creative person, your task is to ensure that you understand exactly what your clients want so that you can comfortably meet those requirements and even exceed them.

Strategies to Boost your Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate identity for your Graphic Design Business

The graphics design business is one that helps businesses build and project their brands to their existing and potential customers. This means that as an entrepreneur your task is in two folds, while you help customers create awareness for their brands, you would have to draft strategies that would create awareness and boost your brands as well, while also creating a corporate identity for your graphics design business.

Basic strategies that you can use to boost the brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your graphic design business:

  • Take advantage of social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to reach to your existing and potential clients
  • Blog about your graphics design business, and also ensure that most of your jobs are available on display on your blog
  • Use your official website to heavily promote your business, and also employ the use of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tool to ensure that your business remains visible to internet users.
  • Be consistent with the use of your logo.
  • Help sponsor shows by designing their banners on a heavily discounted price or for free.
  • Distribute your handbills and flyers in your target areas.
  • Ensure that you promote your business online via directories and offline via yellow pages.
  • Creating a Suppliers/Distribution Network for your Graphic Design Business
  • The graphics design business is dependent on the continuous supply of great software as well as hardware that will ensure that the business runs smoothly. Every graphic designer has to be sure of the software and hardware they use, and need to get it from trusted vendors so as to be able to make enquiries and get updates on new software and hardware.
  • To be in a good relationship with your suppliers might enable you to give positive reviews on the software or hardware used, this way your concerns whenever a problem comes up can be attended to, with ways suggested on how you can get the best from your device and software.

Tips for Running a Graphic Design Business Successfully

This is a creative business that provides visual images for clients, and even though most creative people find it hard to be great at business, it takes an extraordinary creative entrepreneur to ensure that not only is the business running but it is running successfully. As a creative business person that intends to run his or her graphic design business successfully, you should be able to make decisions on the go.

Another bid at being successful is in anticipating and then understanding the design your clients have in mind and then ensuring that the final job meets and even surpass their expectations. This way you get satisfied clients that will prefer to use your services all the time.

As a graphics designer cum business person, you do not know it all. There is constantly new software coming out aimed at making the job of a graphics designer easier and better. This means that you would need to constantly update your knowledge and skills and even that of your staff so that your client will not only get the benefit but your business will benefit as well by having a healthy bottom line.

You can update on your skills and knowledge by attending courses online or offline, and also by networking with graphics designers in your niche, who might pass along trends in the industry.


key elements that your graphic designer business plan should contain;

Your business description which gives details on the history of your business, describes the services you intend to offer, and how different or unique you are from your competitors.

You should also lay out your marketing strategies for attracting clients and within a set period, and if you intend to focus on a particular niche.

Sales & branding strategy

Your SWOT analysis and management plan are the other things that should feature in your business plan.

Finally, your financials is very important as this is the part that interests an investor the most. This includes your projected cash flow statements, income statements, and balance sheets for three to five years. This is usually a complicated part of the business plan, and you could seek the services of an accountant to help you with this part; or a business plan writer to help you with the whole business plan. There are also websites that offer business plan templates dependent on the field, and you can download the templates from such websites.

Ways to Financing Your Graphic Design Business

One of the main decision options when starting out one’s business is finance. If you were working as a graphic designer in a major firm, or had your clients prior to starting, then their jobs might form part of where you will likely get you’re financing from. However, if you are a pure greenhorn with no experience whatsoever, and starting out on your own, then you will need to look at various financing options for your new business.

Which is why the business plan is very important, a well written business plan will get investors to listen to what you have to say, and possibly invest in your business. However, before you write your business plan, you must have thoroughly researched on the niche you intend to go into and your target customers. This will help you and your investors know if you are going into a viable field.

There are several available finance options available for a graphics design start-up business and some of the options are;

  • Raising money from personal savings
  • Raising money from business partners
  • Approaching investors
  • Approaching the bank for a loan
  • Raising soft loan from family and friends
  • Approaching a lending facility
  • Online funding/crowdfunding sites

Choosing a Suitable Location for your Graphic Design Business

Choosing a suitable location for your graphics design business is important because even if you choose an area with a high amount of traffic, your office would need to be carefully insulated from noise, as noise can be distracting in carrying out your job efficiently. Also, your office should be located close to your target market.

Another thing that can determine your location is your finances. If you are starting on a low budget, you might need to work from home at first, which will help in reducing your overhead expenses. However, if your budget is the type that can enable you go for an office facility then you should get one, so as to attract more professional clients and also be able to bid for jobs. However, if your home is in the ghetto area, then it would be advisable for you to rent an office facility close to town, where you are able to invite clients to.

One good thing with getting a facility for the graphics design business is that you do not need to get a large facility, as a graphics designer, you can work in small facility. Just ensure that your facility has all you need to enable you work efficiently, as you would need to have it pre-wired for high speed internet service. Also, ensure that the facility will be convenient for clients to access.

If you intend to get a large facility for your graphics design business, it should be because you intend to start on a medium or large scale, and would need to employ more hands that will help you in running the place.

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