Small businesses in Australia continue to push the boundaries of our ‘glocal’ economy. The ShortPress Small Talk series profiles a diverse range of small businesses to find out what they do and what makes them tick.
Takt is a Melbourne-based branding and digital design studio run by Creative Director, Tait Oosthuizen. After launching in 2009, Takt has delivered its brand strategy, brand identity, creative and digital solutions to a far-reaching stable of clients spanning ABC Radio, ANZ, Cardia Bioplastics, Consumer Action Law Centre, Deloitte, KPMG, PRIA, Santos and Victorian Essential Service Commission among others. ShortPress sat down with Oosthuizen to talk shop about what fuels his creative process and what challenges he faces as a small business owner.
ShortPress: Describe your small business in less than 50 words.
Tait Oosthuizen: Takt is a brand-driven creative studio that focuses on combining business objectives with emotionally engaging ideas. We use design as a tool to build brand value. Our small team applies this approach across brand strategy, print and digital platforms to create seamless brand communications.
SP: What inspires you as a small business owner and what inspires your ideas?
TO: The freedom you have running a small business is really great. Being able to create a business and income stream on what works for you, your skills, and your life [inspires me].
I also find it inspiring to see how many startups [are] reinventing traditional business models. It’s fascinating to see the diversity in their approach to solving similar businesses problems.
Creatively, it’s a cliche, but true – I find our clients inspiring. Ninety per cent of the time we work directly with business owners, and get to see their passion for their business which inspires us to really get behind them [to] develop their brands. Especially our engineering clients where they are incredibly passionate about the smallest detail, that no one else would realise makes such a difference to the outcome.
SP: What have your biggest challenges been and how have you overcome them?
TO: Realising that managing clients is a large portion of the job has been a big learning curve. When you first start, it’s all about the producing the work, but as we’ve grown and taken on larger projects, the level of management has increased.
Some days I’ll spend the whole day on the phone and writing emails, which is [a] big shift from when I started out. So now I dedicate set blocks of time to management throughout the day, which means I’m more focused on the tasks and don’t get up from my desk until the inbox is clear.
SP: What about your biggest learnings?
You can’t be everything to everyone. There are some clients that you just won’t see eye-to-eye with. You need to focus on the clients you want to work with and put your energy in to delivering for them. Because we’re small, our clients play a large part in making work enjoyable. It's important to make sure you work with nice people who respect your work.
Because we’re small, our clients play a large part in making work enjoyable. It's important to make sure you work with nice people who respect your work.
SP: What advice would you give to budding small business owners?
TO: It’s hard work, but if you’re passionate about what you do, it can be highly rewarding. Keep reviewing your approach and never stop assessing what you’re doing and how you’re adding value to customers or clients.
SP: Name the business leaders you look up to and why.
TO: There are a few prominent people in the creative industry who I look up too. People like Geoff Suvalko, who approaches design and the relationship with businesses in a way that I believe will be the future of the design industry over the next 10 years.
SP: Where to now for Takt?
We’re going through a shift at the moment, reflecting and refocusing our key areas of service. As we work closely with clients on their brand strategy we’re finding we get pulled into broader discussions about their businesses and we’re working through ways to provide this service to clients in a more structure environment. This is primarily with our B2B clients.
We’re also producing more social media campaigns, as clients are shifting their attention to platforms such as Instagram.
All images courtesy of Takt Studio.