The Business of Design
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The Business of Design

How to Start Your Own Design Company
4.5 (21 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,189 students enrolled
Created by Jennifer Markas
Last updated 10/2016
Price: Free
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 10 Articles
  • 9 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Develop a business plan for their own business.
  • Analyze your company by completing an industry profile, customer profile, and SWOT analysis.
  • Determine what type of legal entity best suits your business.
  • Choose the right intellectual property protections for their own business.
  • Outline a marketing strategy using the 4 P's of marketing.
  • Calculate the break-even analysis and cash requirements for your business.
View Curriculum
  • Although not required, it helps if you already have a product or service you are interested in selling in mind.

The Business of Design has been specifically designed for Creatives interested in starting their own business. After completing the Business of Design course, you will have a completed business plan, using a provided template, to help you get your business up and running. To help you complete your business plan you will explore four sections. In the first section, we will complete an industry profile, customer profile, and SWOT analysis. You will be able to determine what type of legal entity best suits your business and we will look at how to choose the right intellectual property protections for your own business after the second section. And in the third and fourth section, we will explore marketing strategies and take you through step-by-step videos on the financial aspects of starting your business.

The course content should take you about three hours to review and then some additional hours as you take time between lectures to fill in your business plan template. You will find a number of templates, worksheets, and examples as you work through the course. There will also be a knowledge check at the beginning and end of the course to see what you know before you get started and after you finish. 

You should take this course if you are interested in taking your talents to the next level by starting your own business.

Who is the target audience?
  • This business course is meant for Creatives who are interested in starting their own business. No prior business knowledge is required. Although most of the guidance is specific to Creatives in the design industry, there is information about starting a business. This course is probably not for you if you have a well established business.
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Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
Getting Started with the Business of Design
1 Lecture 02:18

Welcome to the Business of Design! I'm excited to help you learn about how to write a business plan. Watch this short video on what to expect in this course. Then download the Business Plan Template in the resources area. Fill in the template as you work through the course.

Welcome to the Business of Design

Go through this short quiz to see what you already know about creating a business as a Creative.

Test Your Knowledge
12 questions
The Market
3 Lectures 13:17

What do you know about the industry you are entering and who are your competitors? After this lecture, you will learn how to do research in your industry and of your competitors. 

Once you are done with your research, start filling the Business Plan Template that is available in the Resources area.

Industry Profile

You probably have an idea of who will buy your product. In this lecture, you will find a list of questions to help you think about your customer with a different lens. 

Customer Profile

Your SWOT analysis will lead to a business strategy that will guide your vision and help you navigate your market and industry. Learn about a SWOT analysis while also being introduced to Lucille and Desi, Inc. Lucille and Desi, Inc., is a wig company just getting ready to open their business. We will follow Lucille and Desi throughout the course to see what steps they take in building their business.

Find a downloadable SWOT worksheet in the Resources area. Use the worksheet to analyze your business while we walk through each step of SWOT in the video.

Business Organization & Structure
9 Lectures 25:55
Introduction to Legal Entity

Are you going it alone? Well then maybe a sole proprietorship is for you. In this lecture you will find some pros and cons of running a sole proprietorship.

Sole Proprietorship

There are two types of corporations, S and C. Briefly learn about both types in this lecture.


Maybe you are starting a business with someone else, or at least you are thinking about it. You will find the pros and cons of starting a partnership.


The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is the final type of entity we will discuss. Find out what it means to have an LLC and then wrap up learning about legal entities with a few final thoughts.

Limited Liability Company

Start thinking about protecting your business now. In this section, you will find information about a few basic legal forms like an operating agreement, non-disclosure agreement, a purchase agreement, and your employee manual.  

Legal Protections

In the creative world, copyrights are a form of intellectual property law that is very important to protecting certain types of work. Watch this lecture to learn about if a copyright is something you need to protect your business.

Visit to learn more and to get the correct application documents. Also, review the basics of copyrights at:


Everyday you run into trademarks. They are those words, names, and symbols with the ® logo. Take a few minutes to watch this lecture to find out if a trademark is right for you.

When you are ready to apply for a trademark, visit to apply online. You will want to determine if the word, name, or symbol is distinctive. The best way to figure this out is by visiting the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS): In TESS you will find not only registered marks but also marks that are in the application process.  


Patents are another way to protect your work. Learn a bit more about this final type of intellectual property protection in this brief video lecture.

7 Lectures 42:34

The marketing strategy portion of your business plan will most likely be the largest section. It will include your marketing plan and sales strategy. In this lecture, you will find out what is included in a marketing plan and sales strategy description. Use your SWOT analysis, industry profile, and customer profile to develop your marketing strategies.

Marketing Strategy

Product, price, place, and promotion, or the 4 P's, help you learn more about your product and your business. In the first lecture of the 4 P's, which is product, you will deep dive into your product and its description. Time to learn about what you are really selling.

After watching the video, write your product or service description in the business template.

The 4 P's: Product

What is the value of your product or service? Answering this question will help you determine the second of the 4 P's, price. You'll also see how Lucille and Desi, Inc. determined their price.

Use the Pricing Template in the Resources area and follow along while you determine the price of your product or service.

The 4 P's: Price

Still thinking about your price. Use the pricing template in this section of the course to help you determine the price of your product or service.

Use the Pricing Template under Resources to help you determine the cost of your product and the retail margin.

Determining the Price

Now that you know more about your product and price, think about where will your product or service be purchased. It's more than just putting it on a shelf in a store. Learn all the pieces of the third P, place, in this lecture.

The 4 P's: Place

Closing out the 4 P's with promotion, you will find out how promotion is a part of the marketing strategy and the different media channels you may use to promote your product or service.

The 4 P's: Promotion

In this lecture, you will get a brief look at the importance of the merchandise plan. Your merchandise plan will hinge on your financials. So be sure to read this lecture before moving forward.

Merchandise Plan
The Financial Plan
5 Lectures 45:54

Sales projections are the basis for all other parts of the financial plan. Learn why and how to predict sales projections. 

Follow along and use the Sales Projections Template. The template also allows you to interact with the Lucy and Desi sales projections example. 

Sales Projections

A break-even analysis is needed to determine how much money your business needs make in order to cover your costs. In this lecture, learn about how do figure out that sweet spot so you can see at what point you start making a profit.

Break-Even Point

Now you have all the information you need to track your revenue, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Once this is possible, you can now show if you are making a profit. Learn how track your income statement while following Lucille and Desi, Inc. on their journey.

Use the downloadable Income Statement Template to follow along and to start creating your own. One tab has a blank template for your use and the other tab has Lucy and Desi's income statement. 

Income Statements

Is your company healthy? Not sure? Well a balance sheet can tell you. In this lecture, you will learn the ALOE formula to figure out your assets.

Balance Sheet

The final portion of the financial plan is the cash flow statement. With the help of your income statement and balance sheet, this lecture will help you determine the cash flow. 

Use the downloadable Cash Flow Statement Template to finish up Lucy and Desi's financial journey. Then use the template tab to start creating your own.

Cash Flow
Putting It All Together
3 Lectures 12:02

You are almost done with your business plan. In this video you will learn about a few pieces you can add to enhance your business plan for the reader.

Business Plan Appendix

There are multiple ways to finance your business. Watch this lecture to learn about different options like angel investing. 


Although your business plan starts with the executive summary, this is the last part you should write. You will learn why and what to add to your executive summary by the end of this lecture.

Executive Summary

You have worked through the entire course and completed your business plan. Test Your Knowledge to make sure you leave the course understanding all the major aspects of a starting your own business.

Final Test Your Knowledge
12 questions
About the Instructor
Jennifer Markas
4.5 Average rating
21 Reviews
2,189 Students
1 Course

Jennifer Markas is an ideator, connector and dynamic thinker who has worked in both non-profit and for-profit creative organizations including her time with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She built Damsels in Design in 2010, an organization dedicated to training creative women how to launch their own businesses, and is the founder of Designers Education League, a non-profit that places underserved student populations in paid apprenticeship rotations at leading design companies. Jennifer is a graduate from Boston University's School of Management and holds a master's degree from Parsons School of Design in the History of Decorative Arts & Design. She was recently nominated for New York Business Journal's 2016 Women of Influence Award.