Business mentoring for designers

Learning a new skill can be hard, especially when you’re working at the same time.
That’s when mentoring is valuable.

We’ve built our mentoring offer around maximum flexibility.
We offer by-the-hour or within structured programs.
Either way, it’s tailored specifically to help designers build business knowledge and confidence.


The Business of Design short course

Vision: Build robust management skills to deliver sustainable creative businesses

Market: Design studio owners/agency owners with a challenge to solve

Resources: Online readings, PDF factsheets/activity worksheets, The Business of Design publication, Zoom/email mentoring, industry contacts.

Commitment: Flexible, 3 x 2 hour meetings with conversation between usually over 12 weeks.

This is a 3-month short course to help designers build business knowledge and confidence.

Got a goal in mind?
A challenge you want to conquer?
Business knowledge you want to de-mystify?
Numbers you want to unravel?

The Business of Design management short course is the one for you. It’s a program written to help designers build business knowledge and confidence. We know it works – designers with business knowledge have more confidence in their business decisions. We also know that confidence makes it easier to grasp opportunities and back your instincts.

We start by unpacking and analysing where you are — what’s working and what’s not. That’s the start to a 3 month plan to work out why.

We meet each month face to face or by zoom, and talk inbetween on Slack. We use our knowledge, our experience and our vast library of resources to give you the tools, tips and resources needed to build your business knowledge.


Ask-us-anything mentoring

Vision: Help designers build robust, sustainable creative businesses

Market: Designers needing to discuss an issue with a trusted, experienced practitioner

Resources: zoom

Commitment: Flexible, bookings by the hour

Not sure where to get started but hungry to learn? We can help, we’ve successfully run our own studio and since then have a track record mentoring and working alongside Australian graphic designers to help them build confidence in their business knowledge.

We offer flexible ‘ask-us’anything’ mentoring by-the-hour.

Sometimes you just need a trusted, experienced practitioner with whom to share a business problem, to help recruit or just suggest options. Other times understanding industry benchmarks can help alleviate pressure and manage expectations.

We know the Australian industry. We’ve run a design studio and since then we’ve worked with many experienced practitioners, all leading to understanding what works, and what doesn’t.

And we’re flexible. Sometimes the challenge doesn’t need time nor a program, it just needs a discussion with a trusted adviser. This single-issue mentoring is individual, problem-solving mentoring program tailored to your needs.

Let’s talk to identify your challenges and possible solutions. Email Greg.

A business course for designers

A 3-month commitment focusing on your business.

It’s for designers wanting to improve their business management knowledge.
Or agency directors wanting to understand industry financial benchmarks.
It works for a management team analysing salary packages and job descriptions.
And it’s perfect for solo studio owners who want to grow their business.


A program customised to your needs

This is a shortcourse built around business knowledge but we understand not everyone needs to same information. Everyone doing the short course has free access to our resources including publications, mentoring, workshops, online readings and factsheets/activity worksheets. We use these resources to build a bespoke program specific to your skills and needs. And if we don’t have something you need, we’ll find it.

Content might include:

  • discussion around the pros and cons of different business models
  • industry intel about financial benchmarks
  • identifying the right salary packages for your team
  • writing practical, relevant job descriptions
  • analysing pricing structures and budgets
  • setting profitability and productivity targets
  • investigating pricing and costing
  • setting pillars of excellence to attract the right new business
  • finding ‘onlyness’ to identify your competitive advantage

Contact Greg to learn more about the program.



The business of design shortcourse is built for needs and your specific business challenges.

I had practiced successfully as a sole trader for the past 20+ years but was keen to grow my business to the next level. Having already accessed a wealth of experience at DBC breakfasts I decided to complete the Chair Program with Carol & Greg.

With their expert knowledge of design business models, they were able to validate that much of what I was doing was working well. However, they were also able to flag areas I could streamline, guide me through better processes, offer invaluable resources, and simply just adjust my focus where needed.

Working through the Chair Program has been both reassuring for my practice and worthwhile – it was the confidence boost I needed.

I have finally taken on a comfortable studio lease and found the right people to hire when needed. Work life balance and the future is looking bright!

I would thoroughly recommend the program, it has been a great investment.” 

Kate vandeStadt, vandeStadt design

Business of design shortcourse FAQs

Because there is no agenda and the content is customised there is no ‘right’ answer but the aim is brevity.

We aim for a 3 month program, meeting for 2 hours online x 3 times and continuing the conversation online inbetween. We’ve had studio’s with the resources and time complete the program in 6 weeks, but generally it’s over 12 weeks. It’s really what suits you.

We’ll discuss your needs so we can set an agenda before starting the program.

Contact Greg to learn more about the program.

We have no set agenda. Because this is customised there is no set curriculum – we’ll build a program bespoke for your needs.

We’ll have an initial discussion about your business and your needs, and then build a 3 month program to suit.

The types of things we may cover include:

» understanding the financial benchmarks

»  benchmarking salaries

»  benchmarking pricing and costing

»  setting a pricing structure

» setting a profitability target

»  understanding and selling design value

»  targeting the right new business

»  finding your ‘onlyness’ for competitive advantage

»  employing and building a design team

Contact Greg to learn more about the program.

It’s not academic at all. The shortcourse content is aimed at sharing practical resources, tools and tips you can take back to your studio and implement immediately.

This shortcourse is unique. The learnings stick because all the activities use practical tools and resources. And they’re relevant because they’re based on the needs of your studio or agency.

The information we share is practical. You learn at your own pace but you are not alone. We introduce tools and activities, with explanations of how they’ll work specifically in your business. In between sessions we’re on Slack to help if you get stuck.

And we know it works: it’s proven: This program is based on industry insights honed from a decade of workshops and mentoring Greg and Carol have done with Australian studios. We know the result will be a better performing, more capable business.

Contact Greg to learn more about the program.

The Design Business School is an initiative of Greg Branson and Carol Mackay, co-founders of the Design Business Council.

You can read more about us on the Founders page, on LinkedIn or follow DBC on instagram.

The content is based on the experience gained by Greg Branson and Carol Mackay of the Design Business Council in the workshops and mentoring of design business owners.

It’s Australian based insights with a global perspective.

Absolutely. There is no reason why our programs can’t involve the whole team. Both the Business of Design shortcourse and the Design studio management program have sections the design team could do together. The result would be a management team with a shared vision and culture at that inturn improves business performance.

It’s Australian based insights with a global perspective.

The mentoring component is delivered in two hour sessions online or face-to-face. We can meet every fortnight for six weeks or every month for three months. To implement the work from each session you will need to commit 3-4 hours per week. The learnings will be based on your business and will lead to direct improvements.

How it works:

  1. initial discussion to determine your needs.
  2. three two-hour sessions to discuss issues, workshop the solutions and share materials.
  3. constant mentoring via a dedicated slack channel between sessions to check in and keep you on track.

Core requisites: You must be a design business owner.

Cost: $3,600 plus GST payable fully in advance.

Contact Greg to start the discussion



The business of design shortcourse gave me confidence in what I was doing, helped me define a direction for the studio, improved efficiency in operations and put in the ground work to ensure the business is on a solid footing for the future.

Thanks to you both!

Dean Gordon, Creative Director Studio Baton


Solo-operators planning to grow the business and hire a design team

Business owners questioning the relevance of their business model

Owners of mature studios feeling like they’re stagnating and wanting to refresh their offer

Studio owners trying to balance their business needs, their design team and clients

Creatives wanting to improve their knowledge of business and profitability models

Recent design graduates wanting to more from a start-up and build a robust studio

Non designers wanting a career-shift, looking for industry knowledge

Does that sound like you? Let’s talk

Thank you for a great session. There were a number of valuable insights that have triggered an immediate review of our selling and NBD processes. It's great to take time from working in the business to working on the business.
I love the work you guys are doing for our industry. I strongly encourage anyone wanting to build their creative business and improve their bottom line to take advantage of the workshops and consulting services provided by DBC.
Mike Beck, Fluid

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