Issue 3: September 2020
The weeks have flown by since I was last putting together the Designers in Business newsletter. It’s been a bumper month for relevant new content, making this issue particularly tricky to finalise.
I’ve introduced some new content categories in this edition, including training options. I’d love to hear from any subscribers who have completed an online course, webinar, or committed to a more extensive design MBA to improve their business acumen.
If you’d like to recommend any training to your fellow subscribers, please get in touch.
Lastly, I’m starting to put together a neater way to revisit the content from these newsletters through the Designers in Business website. I should have something ready to share by the next issue.
See you then!
Curator of Designers in Business | Follow me @tomprior
BUSINESS METRICS DEMYSTIFIED
The ultimate guide to calculating, understanding, and improving Customer Acquisition Cost
Long read on Hubspot by Sophia Bernazzani (Product Marketing at Owl Labs).
Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC is one of the most important metrics for a business to track. CAC is a calculation of the financial resources needed for a company to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
In this detailed breakdown from Hubspot, Sophia Bernazzani covers what CAC is, how to calculate it, and how investment in the right areas can reduce the cost of bringing new customers to your service or product.
How to write a value proposition for content
Article for Gather Content by Lauren Pope (Content Strategist and Digital Transformation Consultant).
Practical frameworks for demonstrating the value of design are becoming a frequent (and popular) feature of these newsletters. This month is no different, with an excellent piece from the talented Lauren Pope on how to write a value proposition for content.
Lauren believes a value proposition for content is particularly useful if “other teams don’t ‘get’ content”, or “senior stakeholders can’t see the value”. Familiar challenges regardless of your design discipline.
The Tiny MBA
Book by Alex Hillman (Author and Founder).
The title of this inspiring little book from Alex Hillman is deceiving. As the book’s forward says, this collection of business wisdoms is more of an anti-MBA (Master of Business Administration).
Alex ditches the usual models and frameworks in favour of a series of thought-provoking quotes, questions, and propositions about how we start, fund, run and market businesses built for the long term.
I’m a fan of bite-sized books when first starting to learn about a subject. Tiny MBA only takes a few hours to read, but you’ll feel like you spent that time with a friendly business mentor.
Article by Hardik Pandya (Senior Designer and a Product Leader at Google).
It can be hard to know where to start with building your influence as a designer in large organisations. In this fantastic essay, Hardik Pandya breaks down the various practical steps he’s taken to build leverage during his career.
This generous collection is a must-read for anyone looking to demonstrate their value as a designer in pursuit of greater influence and trust.
What Is Strategy (and Why Should You Care)?
Article by Kristina Halvorson (CEO & Founder, Brain Traffic).
Designers are often told we need to think more strategically to be taken seriously in the business world. But, what is strategy anyway?
In this evergreen article from 2017, content strategist Kristina Halvorson does a fantastic job of demystifying strategy in the context of business planning.
Three Myths About Calculating the ROI of UX
Article for Nielsen Norman Group by Kate Moran (Senior UX Specialist at Nielsen Norman Group).
We’ve covered ways to calculate the ROI (Return On Investment) of design work in this newsletter before. In this piece from Nielsen Norman Group, Kate Moran warns that many design teams overthink these ROI calculations and should be treating them as estimates rather than sophisticated financial forecasts.
The weekend MBA: The essentials of business success taught by world-leading academics
Masterclass by The Guardian
Committing to a full MBA isn’t yet a viable option for many designers, but there are a number of more accessible training options popping up which may fit the bill if you’re looking to upskill.
This affordable event from The Guardian covers business fundamentals in a weekend through a mix of lectures and hands-on workshops.
Thank you to Peter Winchester for suggesting this for inclusion.
The End of Navel Gazing
Talk by Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom. Recorded at UX London 2018.
UX, content and digital product design are still relatively new fields compared to established business functions.
Design is finding its place while the discipline grows rapidly. We’re still maturing, establishing our processes and language. This can bring with it frustrations about how quickly our colleagues understand what we do and the value it can bring.
In this candid talk, Paul Adams tackles the frustration head on, sharing some uncomfortable truths about how design can alienate those we need to build better relationships with.
Building a winning product strategy from the Kano model
Talk by Jared Spool, Maker of Awesomeness at Center Centre | UIE. Recorded at Mind the Product 2015.
If you’re looking for a simple to grasp framework for conducting business analysis (perhaps for the first time), I’m a personal fan of the Kano Model. It’s particularly well aligned for those with a user-focused mindset, using customer satisfaction for its mapping categories.
There are a plethora of Kano Model explainers out there, but I come back to this enthusiastic talk by Jared Spool time after time.
THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS
Building a Startup That Will Last
Article by Hemant Taneja and Ken Chenault for Harvard Business Review
Growth has been the metric of startup success for some time. Obsession with size and disruption has reshaped the modern business world, but often appears to negate the long-term thinking which allowed so many businesses to endure in the pre-tech era.
In this excellent HBR piece, Hemant Taneja and veteran businessman Ken Chenault reflect on the need for startups to demonstrate their ability to execute second and third acts that look beyond growth and profitability alone.
Citing research conducted into successful companies who had endured for 50 years or more, they note that organisations with “society-first principles, adaptable long-term strategies, and scalable leadership” were the visionary businesses who stood the test of time.