You have been daydreaming for months now about your new business and you have probably been thinking hard about your image or brand. You have spent the time searching for inspiration, checked out what your competitors are doing and browsed tons of web template sites. Now it's time to make it happen, but how do work with the person designing it for you?
Create a Scrapbook
Pull together everything that you have found that you like, or even don't like. It can even be a digital scrapbook of a folder with screenshots snagged from the web. Anything to portray this to your designer. Remember, "A picture is worth a thousand words.". Use them to get your vision across.
If you have a vision or a really good idea in your mind, share it right away; Take the time to even over-describe it. It's better to have this come out earlier in the process than come out later, where it trumps any work already "completed".
Allow Some Artistic Freedom
A person got into web or print design, so they can make original and appealing "art". However, most of the time, the designer becomes the mouse managed by the client through emails, meetings and phone conversations. This means the designer gets very little creative or artistic freedom. This can be really restraining, but most good designers understand that this is a part of the job. Keep in mind though, that you hired a designer because they are good at what they do. Sometimes you might have to step out of your comfort zone and trust them.
Utilize the Expertise
On the same topic as allowing some artistic freedom, is the utilization of your designers web expertise. Many do ongoing professional development to understand the latest technologies, trends and standards. So, if your web developer recommends that a 10" dancing cat on your homepage might throw your users off a bit, you might want to hear them out.
Most of us web peeps are chock full of information and love to help out. Ask questions if you don't know or understand, and try to be reasonable in the amount of questions you ask.
Make Revisions Early
Most designs, print or web, usually have a process for revisions. There is usually a lot of back and forth before it's "right". Remember, that it is a process and most likely will require several iterations. If something is not right, inform your designer early on. There is nothing worse than getting through a few revisions, only to to scrap something that was originally "acceptable".