Steve Jobs once said, “You’ve got to start with the customer’s experience and then work back toward the technology. Not the other way around”.
This statement majorly applies to UX designers and companies that focus on User Experience. These individuals begin the work by imagining the user at the end of the supply chain and then start with technology.
Similarly, when you think about setting up a UX design studio, you will realize that it takes a village to serve these technical requirements. All UX agencies are required to staff several people to provide creative services to an even bigger crowd.
How to Start?
Before you begin, the first step should be going through the kind of work that you will be doing to hire the right people, choose the right strategy, etc. Once you have a basic plan mapped out, the work gets easier. If you are not a UI or UX designer, we suggest you gain some knowledge in the area to know exactly what kind of work you will be overlooking.
Step 1 – Pick a Niche
It is always better to start in a small area and branch out gradually. Not only does this will save you from marketing everywhere, but will also make your hiring process much quicker and simpler. For example, if your niche is into beauty and cosmetic products, the word will spread into the market and similar companies will want to hire you. Clients usually go through two or three rounds of tests and interviews to land an agency, having a niche gives you the upper hand. The only point to consider before you pick a niche is to make sure there is enough demand in the market for UX designers.
Step 2 – Know who you’re up against
Ever heard of the saying, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”? Here is why you need to do thorough Competitor research.
– In the process of knowing your competitors you will also end up understanding the market and ongoing trends.
– You will try to figure out how they sell themselves and what it is that attracts clients.
– Plan the future by taking notes on how other successful agencies made it to the top.
Step 3 – Give it a Name and Place
This goes without saying that you need to have a great name for your agency. There is a difference between a design agency and a UI/UX design agency. The work is different and that is why the name should make the work very clear. Think big, because this name is going to stick throughout a long journey, something that will tempt a client just by hearing its name.
The sooner you have a name, the sooner you can get your license and begin establishing your agency in an office space.
Step 4 – Digital Representation
Since you are going to be a UX design agency, you cannot afford to face any issues with a website. Your website is like your first portfolio that the client will see. If they are impressed by that, nothing is going to stop them from contacting you. A clean, crisp and professional appearance is what you should be looking for. Make sure to put up your accomplishments, testimonials from previous clients, work samples, etc.
Step 5- Build the UI/UX portfolio
UI and UX go hand in hand, one cannot do without the other. When you’re building your portfolio, stick to the niche that you’ve chosen. Once your work increases you can keep adding it to the file, however till then, you can create work, especially for the portfolio. Making your portfolio is an art, understand what it is that the client is going to see and add exactly that. Keep it neat, and yet creative.
Step 6 – Make use of Social Media
Social Media is a blessing for our generation as it has made life for new businesses and start-ups much easier to be known and established. It creates organic leads and gives you the platform to communicate with your clients directly. Giving your brand identity on social media can open a gateway of business for your agency from this source alone. Many UX design studios have a great and unique way of representing themselves on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and it has worked well in their favour.
Step 7 – Build your Army
Start this step by making a list of roles and requirements your company has. If you’re starting small, then you need to make sure you don’t overhire and have to pay salaries for people you don’t even need. Imagine a typical workday and think about the talent you need to run the business. It should also match the capital that you’re starting with so you don’t end up with extra expenses and loans at the end.
An organized chart will be enough. Make a protocol and a chain of command so you know who is reporting to whom and you don’t have to babysit everyone.
Step 8 – Decide your fees
The three options that you have here are Per-project, hourly and retainer basis. You probably understand the first two there, as they are the most popular and quite obvious. However, for a UI/UX agency, a retainer contract could do wonders. The client will continue to pay you for maintenance even after the main job is done and this way your revenue will continue to grow.
Step 9 – Begin the Hunt
The last and final step is here, to start pitching yourself. At first, you might end up even feeding on grass because your hunger to work might be that high, but you must consider every client very carefully. In an ideal world, you will be handed the perfect clients on a silver platter, but that comes later. The beginning is all about putting yourself out there and doing the grunt work first.
After reading this you might be having second thoughts about starting a UI/UX agency, and we’ll be honest, it is no piece of cake. It might take you a while to settle in and start enjoying the work truly, but eventually, if you stick to your plan, it could be the best decision for you. Share this with anyone you know who is looking for some guidance for a head start.