Lynn 1
1 July

Proven Tips to Keep Your Business Running for 25+ Years by Lynn Clarke

Bored of recycled business advice from so-called experts? Read how Lynn has kept her business going for over 25 years.


We want to learn from honest conversations with local entrepreneurs who walk the walk. These are the real professionals who have repeatedly proven their ability to elevate businesses with methods that actually work. The advice they share is practical and actionable, right what you need to make real changes in your business.

What to expect: diverse expertise, a sense of community, and a collaboration mindset. 

oOo


Today's guest is Lynn Clarke, owner of The Design Room, a creative agency based in Aberdeen. Her business is renowned for its innovative branding and design solutions in print and digital marketing. Clarke has built a loyal client base, many of whom have stayed with her for years. This longevity is due to the owner's engaging personality and the exceptional results the team consistently delivers.

Lynn Clarke
Lynn Clarke - The Design Room

Lynn Clarke's extensive experience and sustained success make her uniquely qualified to offer advice on how to stay in business for over 25 years.

1. Support Meaningful Conversations with the Power of Active Listening

Active listening gives you a deeper understanding of your client's needs and enables you to provide solutions that align with their objectives.

Ask the right open-ended questions that encourage detailed responses, such as:

  • Can you tell me more about your current challenges?
  • What are your long-term goals for this project?
  • Why is this particular outcome important to you?
  • Have you tried any other solutions before? What were the results?

Pay attention to more than just their words. Clients may say they are satisfied with a current solution, but their hesitant tone or crossed arms might suggest otherwise. Observe non-verbal cues such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. These can provide additional insights into their true feelings and concerns.

2. Challenge and Add Value

Go beyond the basic requirements and find ways to enhance the final product through more efficient processes, creative solutions, or innovative strategies.

Always look for opportunities to exceed client expectations and deliver exceptional value: 

"I don't just agree with the client and go ahead—I challenge the client's ideas and reasons for needing it done, what they are trying to achieve, and why," teaches Clarke.

This proactive approach helped The Design Room survive market fluctuations and personal battles. Proactivity can help your business, too: it shows that you're not just following orders but actively seeking the best possible outcomes for the client's projects.

If your client wants a specific solution, but you know a different approach could yield better results, don't be afraid to explain your reasoning and present your alternative vision.

3. Nurture a Supportive Group Around You

Lynn Clarke has built a thriving business that has not only survived but flourished through the challenges of a pandemic, battling cancer, and raising her son as a single parent. Her secret? Networking is her ultimate long-term business growth strategy.

"Being a member of a supportive group such as BNI has given me the personal interaction and confidence to continue creating when I was questioning my ability after a year out through illness. Some members have been an absolute rock through hard times, and they continue to refer my business regularly," Clarke says.

The key is always to remember that networking isn't a one-way street. It thrives on mutual support and reciprocal value. Lynn Clarke has turned networking into a powerful tool for her business because she consistently gives as much, if not more than she receives.

"Through BNI, I have an amazing and powerful team. We have mutual trust and admiration for each other's abilities. We work together and recommend each other to our customers whenever we can for projects across all sectors and business sizes," adds Clarke.

4. Build Your Reputation with Ethics

A solid reputation rooted in ethical practices builds long-term success. For Clarke, "doing the right thing by clients" has been the most powerful strategy for staying in business.

" I don't work for clients purely to see how much I can charge but how I can help them. To me, 'that will do' never crosses my mind - it has to be done correctly and to the best of my ability, or I don't sign off to a client," she adds.

Our lesson here is to conduct business fairly and ethically, aligning with your core values. This means avoiding deceptive practices, respecting competitors, and complying with all relevant laws and regulations.

"In an unforgettable collaboration with a fledgling engineering company, I helped shape a nameless, product-less entity into a technology powerhouse in the oil and gas sector. In less than three years, they witnessed 150% growth, rebounded from a £250k loss, and eventually sold in a staggering £40m deal."

Success stories like Clarke's prove that fair business practices will only strengthen your reputation and position you as the go-to expert in your market.

5. Embrace Change and New Technology

Strategies that worked 5, 10, or 25 years ago are no longer effective today. To stay relevant and competitive, you must be willing to adapt to new trends, technologies, and market demands.

Clarke advises entrepreneurs to remain open to change and experiment with new ideas. Being agile in your approach allows you to pivot when necessary, seize new opportunities, and navigate economic fluctuations and industry shifts.

"Over the past 42 years in the same industry, I have witnessed monumental changes. I used to create viewgraphs from hand-drawn images and stencilled text, produce the negative film with a hand-focused camera, and colour with a coloured film on the reverse.  When typesetting machines became available, there was a fear they would take our jobs, but that never happened. Then came Apple Macs. At the company I worked for, we were the first in Aberdeen to have a Mac. It didn't take over my job—I still needed my traditional training—but it made the mundane tasks easier and quicker," explains Clarke.

New technologies will future-proof your business and help you create a forward-thinking organisation that is well-equipped to succeed in the long run.


BONUS: Grow with Collaborative Services

No business can thrive for decades by operating in isolation. Partner with other companies, entrepreneurs, and service providers to expand your offerings, reach new markets, and leverage additional expertise.

Collaboration allows you to pool resources, share risks, and innovate more effectively. Whether through joint ventures, strategic alliances, or simply networking with industry peers, these partnerships can lead to new opportunities and sustained growth.


More about Lynn

With a passion for lending a creative hand to enhance both your company and your brand, Lynn Clarke and her team have been crafting and redefining brands, helping clients stand out. The Design Room is ready to deliver innovative design solutions, specialising in logos, branding, promotional literature, stationery sets, email signatures, Microsoft templates, and events/exhibitions.

Whether you're looking to create a new brand identity, promote a product, service, or event, or develop impactful marketing literature, Lynn's expertise ensures your vision becomes a reality.

And now that you know more about Lynn and The Design Room, feel free to drop her a line at lynn@thedesignroom.uk.com.

Building a Legacy: Proven Tips to Keep Your Business Running for 25+ Years by Lynn Clarke
Building a Legacy: Proven Tips to Keep Your Business Running for 25+ Years by Lynn Clarke


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