3 Myths that are hurting your business whenever you ditch a discovery phase.

A discovery phase is always wanted but mainly forgotten. For many businesses, it will make or break their goals and thousands of dollars are spent when it is not part of the process.

As I began my work in Design and Digital Marketing, I quickly began to notice two types of end products. The first ones were the ones that looked okay but seem to be following the famous ‘2015’, ,2016’….trends, hence the product’s look and brand’s feeling changed often. The second set has a look that just seems to fit right in as if it were always there.  This was also the case for website design and online experiences.

I am sure if you type into Google the phrase ‘website design trends for 2018’ you will find over 100 pages talking about it. They will show you what is right for 2018 and what is bad to have on your website. All without knowing who your customers are and what your product or service does.

I am sure by now you are seeing what is wrong with that.

The goal of this article is to help you understand the needs and value of having a strategy or a discovery phase. No matter how small or big your project is, you need one to help you achieve the goals you want.


This post is intended for:

  • Business Owners looking to understand what is this ‘Strategy’ term you are hearing about and why you need it
  • Marketing Managers who are looking to clarify their ideas
  • Freelancers or Agencies looking to understand how to increase their value and be of better service to their customers

Myth 1: Why do I need a discovery phase if I already know what I want or need?

This one is something that takes place almost every day. Businesses look for designers or studios and pretty much tell them what they want, what it needs to look like, when they need it for and sometimes even how much they think it should cost.

The reality is that this happens because many designers or studies are not willing to a discovery phase and immediately agree with their customers to proceed with the project.

If you decide to go ahead with this, there are a few outcomes you will expect:

  • The designer will need a lot of time for design directions
  • The project will most likely go about 2 – 3 months longer than expected
  • The project will most likely have to go into a redesign project within six months.

How can you fix this from happening:

Start with something as a small as a discovery meeting. You should keep it to a max of 1 hr, where you will be discussing your ideas, the look and feel you want.

How would I fix this:

I will ask you ‘Why? Why? Why?’ to anything they say, I will ask a Why. This helps me to understand why they really need this project.  The key here is to try to dive into the clients thought to understand what the real end goals are. Once I have accomplished this, I will re-say it all the customer with the same words they used to see if I can get any more insights into what they need.  From here I will invite you to a discovery phase to really understand what you need.

Myth 2: I do not need a discovery phase, show me a few mockups and we will take it from there.

Whenever I am coaching Freelancers, I noticed some of them spend hours/days or even months working on a design that the client continues to say no to. And for the client, I completely understand you, the result they are giving you is not what you thought it will look like.

The reason why this happens is that there is not a consistent mindset between you and the designer. When you say squares, they are thinking about a triangle. When you say blue, they are thinking baby blue.

This method will give you the following results:

  • Over 10 Revisions
  • A lot of ‘No, do it again’
  • Not too sure if we really need this anymore

How can you fix this:

You need to outline ideas with the design team clearly. Use words that are powerful in meaning and be very specific with the meaning of these words. If you choose a color, have it available to be seen. If you choose a type of images, have them available. Furthermore, you can also have images of websites or brands you would like yours to feel or look like.

How would I fix this:

I would work with you to do a strategy and discovery phase. Here I will work towards understanding your brand’s attributes, X-Factors, and customers. This will give us both, words and phrases that can easily be turned into a quick sketch. We will also work towards creating a love or hate table, where we will work towards finding elements we think can work for your brand and those that you really do not like. This process will ensure we are all in the same mindset when we wrap up this meeting.

Myth 3: The project will generate results no matter what.

If you ask around, you will see many businesses will give their brand’s and user experience to websites like Fiverr.com. My question to you is, What are the risks involved in this project? How much value are you going to create for your business if this website or brand’s identity is aligned towards your goals? I bet it is a lot!

This is the main reason why a discovery phase is needed. It helps you outline the real issues, the goals you are looking to achieve and the best solution to do this.

If you do not take a discovery phase, the results you may achieve are:

  • A brand or website that looks okay, but has not really increased the value of your business
  • Need to redesign the end product as time has passed by, yet there are no  results
  • Customers have a hard time understanding your value

How can you fix this:

Start by defining end goals. For example, if you need a website designed or redesigned for your business, ask yourself why do you need this website. From here, you will start to see the smaller goals you need to achieve to get the end goals. What you will notice, is that your website is just part of it and there are many other parts of the puzzle to align with it.

How would I fix this:

Once you have joined me for a discovery phase, we will spend a few hours outlining ‘Real business goals’. We will work towards understanding why you need your website, as per the example above, and look into the future to understand what it will be like if everything you wanted to achieve went 100% your way. This will help us understand better how to align your brand, identity, experiences and marketing efforts.

These are just three myths about ditching a discovery phase, the reality is that it may not seem like a must, but it really can help you improve your business achievements.

During the consulting part of Pirela Consultancy, I will strongly advise you to do the following whenever you have an idea or need work done for your brand.

  • Create End Goals that you need to achieve. This can be done by asking yourself  ‘If this X———(Website, brand, marketing campaign) is done 100% correct what will the business look like in 2 – 3 years from now?
  • What do I want to achieve with this Website/ brand / Logo?
  • Who will be using it and what will they use it for?
  • What is the value that having this work done successfully will bring to my business?
  • How much of this value am I willing to use to ensure this is done right?

If you have any questions about a discovery phase or a project you have in mind, feel free to let me know by commenting on the comments section. I hope you found this useful and helped you have a better understanding of where to go next when working on a new project for your business.