Monday, February 22, 2010

Virtuous Cycle

DEAR TED, You mention a Virtuous Cycle on your site. Can you explain? I don’t get it. CM

DEAR CM, A Virtuous Cycle is a series of events which result in a favorable outcome. A Vicious Circle is a series of events which result in an unfavorable outcome. In business, this can mean the difference between success and failure.

The Virtuous Cycle below describes continuous promotion, using every completed project to spread the word of your expertise, and to generate inbound calls.

When I started my company, the demand for our services was greater than our ability to fill it. When we finished one project, there was usually another waiting. If not, we would start looking for one.

But, as a company grows, or competition increases—as it has in our current economy—the need for a more consistent flow of work is required to meet cash and stability needs.

The solution is to think of the completion of a creative project as half of the job. The other half is using the completed project – your company’s “product” – as a case study to both prove and promote your expertise.

Promotion generates inbound calls. Media coverage and public speaking provide third party endorsements that validate your value. Inbound calls are pre-qualified leads – clients who identify themselves as needing the services your expertise can provide. The fact that they are calling you reinforces the value your services hold for them.

When they hire you to start a project, the Virtuous Cycle begins again.




  • It’s interesting to me how the design discipline mirrors so many other strategic activities in a person’s life. As community activists we have been known to author an article for a trade publication then cite that publication in our own advocacy materials, for example. One can look at how people use, (or misuse), public space to learn valuable lessons about game design. A chance encounter often leads to a lucrative project or powerful epiphany about an existing one.

    The important thingâ??and the thing I like so much about the Virtuous Cycleâ??is that each iteration or stage in the process is an opportunity to amplify the value. By the time the Cycle is complete, the catalyst is nested in layers of powerful ideas.

  • Karen Mason says:

    I agree, the solution, be it a product, service or business model is only 1/2 the story, the other 1/2 is being able to communicate out that success in a compelling memorable way so that people remember it and can repeat your story over and over.

  • Evelyn Clark says:

    Great insight, as always! Seeing a given assignment as only half the job makes the process seamless.

  • Heck, I know all about the Virtuous Cycle! At The Leonhardt Group, I think I did everything to the left of your thumb. (Stuffing 2,000 tubes with the TLG-designed Nutracker poster comes to mind…) But you know what? It works. I saw it there. And I apply it today. Thanks Ted. You’re a virtue-oso.

  • joven orozco says:

    hi ted – i’m a believer of constantly marketing and i know that is the reason why we are thriving in this down economy. we follow an aggressive plan we developed and use a fully integrated marketing strategy involving social media with the traditional methods. it’s true the project is almost the easy part.

  • Good reminder that even the smallest of projects needs some time in the spotlight. We never know what will bring in the next client. Thanks to Nani Paape for sending me here!

  • Thanks so much, Ted, for the reminder of how vital this is to the success of my business. Being a one-woman show, I tend to get so “busy” doing the “work,” leaping from one project to the next, that I forget to celebrate, and capitalize on, the first by sharing the news! And I love the image — can I print it and paste it on my wall?! Invaluable!

  • Love the photo, Ted. I’ve had the same 11X17 diagram of this you gave me quite awhile ago. No one should tuck this away, so I suggest making this photo into a desktop background or screen saver.

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