How do you balance top-notch work with tight deadlines?

How do you balance top-notch work with tight deadlines?

It’s understandable that clients want everything in place before the launch of a new business, product, or service. Designers and marketers also have expectations and standards that they expect to meet as well. In order to deliver quality work in a short amount of time, you must be confident in your skills, and know your process. You may have to make some concessions along the way. Understanding this upfront will help you focus on the bigger picture items in a project. By setting aside planning time to refine your scope and allocate your time to what matters most, you can accomplish more in less time. 

The key to delivering quality work in a short time frame is refining the project goals and scope, prioritizing tasks, and working with an established team.

The Situation

Sometimes big business decisions require owners to seize an opportunity before it vanishes. For Cooper Mechanical Services, an established HVAC, Refrigeration, and Electrical contractor in Myrtle Beach, the opportunity was whether or not to expand with a subsidiary business that focuses exclusively on generator and backup power solutions.

The Cooper team decided to go for it, creating Cooper Electrical Services, hiring a small team, and securing a lease on a commercial space to house it all. The next step was to create all the web and marketing materials needed to publically launch this new venture and get the word out: a brand identity and logo, new website, social media and Google Business accounts, truck and van signage, business cards, press releases, marketing content for SEO, and the list goes on.

The team has started work, so the deadline: ASAP. Overwhelmed? Yeah, me too. Sometimes a little stress is the best thing for revving one’s creativity and drive, and the Design Cypher team thrived under the conditions. Here’s how we did it:

Intensive Planning and Reasonable Goal Setting

The first thing our team did was to determine a hierarchy of importance when staring down our list of deliverables. The brand identity and website were the top priorities. Social media, SEO and even signage, would be based off of the brand idea and the design of the site. They remained on our list but were designated less critical. Some elements, like the SEO, would be carried out over time and really aren’t suited for tight deadlines. Knowing this, and conveying it to Cooper, helped us and them understand what was most essential right now.

To keep the project on task, we gathered as much information from our client and conducted some key research and market analysis before beginning. The chain of follow-up calls and emails during this phase can get long and is time consuming, so we made sure we asked plenty of questions about not only their business goals and audience, but about the industry and ways they hoped to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Having some longer one-on-one conversations upfront and sitting in on business meetings was extremely helpful.

Prioritizing and Delegating Tasks

Brand identity and website is large enough, and to accomplish this before the deadline we broke down things into discrete tasks that play to each of our skill sets.

Using shared folders and documents, we created a series of tasks to work on simultaneously. After agreeing on site structure and content areas, we each worked independently on design elements, back-end site building, and content creation. Staying in communication on a daily basis through group messaging kept the team up-to-speed. There are plenty of tools available for collaboration, but we got by with Google Drive and iMessage for the most part.

By prioritizing and delegating tasks, we were also able to assist each other on some of the more time-consuming elements of the project. For example, while waiting on photography or identity feedback from the client before proceeding to the next task, it was possible for one member to help out with using market research in content writing. 

Working with an Established Team

Team dynamics are always important, but especially so when working on a tight deadline. Having worked on other projects together, we have developed trust in the team’s abilities. Established teams are known to have better quality and productivity. Knowing each other well allowed us to adapt on the fly and understand how the whole project is more important than a specific element. 

In the end we were able to accomplish our project goals and then some. The Cooper Electrical Services site is up, social and Google Business accounts claimed, and signage, cards, and other materials are completed or near completion. 

What’s Next for Design Cypher and Cooper Electrical Services

Now that the business is up and running with a clear identity and web presence, we can continue to refine and extend some of our work. Next up is improving the site for SEO with tools like Moz Pro and creating monthly marketing campaigns and goals.

It was awesome to help the Cooper team on this exciting new venture, and learn a lot about the generator industry, and working under tight deadlines.

Take a look at the Cooper Electrical Services website: www.coopergeneratorservices.com and contact us to get your project started!