Clear-Instructions-to-VendorsOne of the biggest problems that occurs between a small business and a freelancer is that instructions were not made clear enough from the onset – and what was eventually delivered (called deliverables) were not what the business expected or needed. As a small business owner you know what you want – but you may not have been clear enough with the freelancer regarding specifically what you need from them in the first place.

One of our virtual office clients decided it was time to re-brand and hired a graphic artist to come up with a number of design concepts. The look and feel of the concepts were great, but the final deliverable files were not useful to them because the format was wrong. While the designer was wrong to give unusable files, the client had not given them the specifications and format requirements when they gave the designer the job.

A professional logo designer should know that logos need to be designed and delivered in a vector format, rather than a rastor or bitmat format, because vectors can be scaled and bitmat images pixilate (break up) when enlarged. You do not want to end up with a logo that has limited usages because you cannot scale them.

As a small business owner, you are not expected to know the technical aspects behind everything in your business. That is why you hire experts and have people who do specific jobs for you. When you bring in a branding expert to design a new logo or other marketing materials, be sure to consult with the people who will be using them. Find out what type of deliverables they will require to work on your image. This means asking them what specifications and file formats they need. Also discuss what the final product will be used for – a letterhead, flyer, website, large POP (Point of Purchase) display or even billboard.

When hiring a consultant, freelancer or a vendor of any sort, be sure that you know what it is that you really need from them and that your instructions are crystal clear. Even if you are ordering green hats for a promotion, be sure to know the name of the shade of green you want. You do not want to buy 1,000 green St. Patrick’s day hats, only to get them all in mint green instead of dark green.

Basically, the more details you provide to a freelancer or vendor from the beginning, the less likely for potential problems or misunderstandings. Dealing with problems before they become issues will make for a smother transaction and give your small business less stress. Thinking ahead of what could go wrong with an order might sound like micro-managing, but it is more about making sure you get exactly what you ordered.