New projects are awesome. They mean more sales revenue, connections, and a bigger portfolio. That doesn’t mean you should take every project though! It’s important to focus on the ones that are a great fit for your business, and ignore the ones that may be more trouble than they’re worth. You should always ask the following three questions before undertaking a new project:
Does this project fall into the same scope of work I’ve done before for previous clients?
This is a really important question to think about. Do you already have the skills/experience needed to provide an excellent finished product? Will you have to learn anything new to complete the project objectives? You should make a rubric or checklist so that you can easily ascertain how good of a fit a project will be for your business. The point is, you always want to be able to guarantee high quality work, with little to no delays. If there is an aspect of this project that you can tell could create problems, you should either consult with the client, or move on to another project. You don’t want to have any party frustrated/dissatisfied during the design process.
Can this client pay for your work in a timely fashion?
The only way to maintain a profitable business is by guaranteeing steady cash flow. The best way to do that is to minimize your accounts receivable, and taking clients that you know can pay for your time. If you are having any doubts, go over this with the client before starting work, or move on. Your design business isn’t non-profit after all.
Is this a one-time project, or can this client be retained for ongoing work and future business?
Any client that can be retained for long-term design work is extremely valuable. Besides minimizing cash flow volatility, ongoing work can create a relationship. You can leverage this to get more projects with your client’s connections. Word of mouth is a powerful thing! That being said, don’t forgo a one-time project for an ongoing one if it’s a huge contract, or with a great corporation to add to your portfolio. Always do a cost-benefit analysis so you can make an informed decision!