How to keep your studio running smoothly

The managing director of a top London studio shares four pro tips for running a tight ship.

Want to keep your studio running like clockwork? Jen Judd, the managing director of London-based animation studio Animade, reveals four skills you should develop to keep things ticking along smoothly:

01. Get clued up on cash flow

"One of the ways we control cash flow is we make sure that for every project we invoice 50 per cent of the budget up-front, and 50 per cent on completion, so that we know what we have coming in and out. Between spreadsheets and trackers, we have a good overview of forecasted amounts, as well as a daily email that tells the directors what's in our bank accounts. We're pretty clued up on what's going on, which is important."

02. Use internal work as a marketing tool

"[Co-founders] Tom and James' initial marketing strategy was to do internal projects – passion projects – that show off what they do best, and put us out into the world by utilising the internet. One of our most significant relationships in the past year has been with Facebook. They came to us referencing Lernz, which is one of the first studio projects Animade did, five years ago. We put things out there that we love and believe in, and it marries up with clients who feel the same way."

03. Create a work-life balance

"One of the things about working with international clients is different time zones. Work-life balance is important at Animade, so if people are asked to work overtime, they're compensated. It's something we need to ensure we manage appropriately as we move forward with these relationships. You have to consider how much you're willing to flex, because shifted hours do impact the whole team dynamic."

04. Stick to your long-term goals

"The biggest challenge for us is making sure we stick to our medium and long-term goals. When you're reacting to projects coming in, it's very easy to become buried in managing them. There can be a tendency to pull someone in from new business to help, when actually we need to make sure we're building our project teams, and that our new business and account management teams have time to nurture client relationships, and find new clients that could be really incredible for Animade."

This article was originally featured in Computer Arts issue 262; buy it here

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