The Designer’s Coach

The Six Fatal Mistakes of a Typical Design Business.

In my study of the decorating and design business, I have discovered that there are six main reasons that will prevent your ultimate success. If your company is skilled in a few of these six areas, but not all, you could prevent your business from reaching its potential. Therefore, to attain the status of a world-class organization, you must strive to understand and overcome the six fatal mistakes that could potentially destroy your dreams.

1) No Strategic Vision

Does your business operate without a vision of where you want to be in 5 years? Do you function day to day by making decisions that have no strategic basis? As the leader do you measure your own leadership competencies? Are you not willing to make behavioral changes in yourself in order to better the organization. Do you have the qualities to lead and make your team better?

2) Uncooperative Teamwork

Whether your company is a one-person operation or has dozens of people on the payroll, your business must operate as a team. Does your team distrust each another and act to protect one’s own interest? Is there constant fighting and name calling? Do your plans and ideas go unfulfilled? Are there individuals who look out for number one and not the team? It is a serious problem when the team works in an unharmonious state.

3) Haphazard Marketing

Many times I have seen money thrown at advertising as if it would magically encourage appointments. This is an ineffective attempt to generate leads through misappropriation of resources. What ends up happening is paying an extraordinary amount for a lead. Additionally, the most valued type of lead, the referral, is basically ignored or taken for granted.

4) Amateur Selling

Selling without a plan or system leaves the designer working in a confused state. At times you may be selling on price, and sometimes on value. The design team has not established a position in the mind of the consumer, and projects no clear value-message. There is also the problem where the sales team is not properly trained, and appears unprofessional.

5) Faulty Client Fulfillment

Once the deposit is received and the order process is underway, so begins the task of fulfilling your promises. This is the critical area where most businesses fail. There is very little room for error in meeting the expectations of your clients. This is because, if the perceived value is not achieved, the client will consider that her expectations have not been met, and then the consequences could be severe.

6) Lack of Pricing Strategy

It all comes down to this, the bottom line. The final measure of success will depend on your margins. This is a complex business, and unless you understand that your business must work on certain margins, you will not succeed. Most businesses will price each job as to the urgency of the cash-flow status and not understand the detrimental effects of a price cut. Additionally, there must be an effective accounting system to track all costs and measure profitability.

Whether you are starting an interior design business, or you have been in the decorating business for many years, you can improve many important aspects of operating and growing your company.

There are 6 coaching modules, each one dedicated to important aspects of creating a successful value based business as well as address the six fatal flaws described above. They are Leadership, Management, Marketing, Selling, Delivery, and Pricing. Within these areas you will find the necessary tools to succeed in a very challenging business.

The Leadership Coach

This is the first area of business development, all about you. You are the leader, and you must look within and become self aware as to the type of leader you will need to be. In this module, the work we will do will depend solely on you, your attitude, believes, your actions. We will examine your leadership competencies, and your leadership profile. How will you take your strengths and implement your vision for your organization? What will be your Strategic Vision for the future of your company?

The Team Coach

All businesses from a one person company to a larger organization, needs to work within a “team” concept. How will you manage, coach and lead your team? How can you become an effective leader, even if you are a one person operation? In this module you will learn how to create a team-chart, position agreements and how to employ the strategic Steps-to-Success (STS).

The Marketing Coach

The life blood of any business is to generate leads. We must develop a way to have a constant flow of new leads or we cannot survive. In this module we will examine the current state of your lead generation. Through careful analysis you will determine who your target market is. All successful businesses of your type, relies upon referrals. You will create a Referral Marketing Steps-to-Success (STS), and we will analyze your web marketing program.

The Sales Coach

The conversion of a lead to a sale is a strategic part of your business that requires the utmost attention. How do you sell your designs? Have you implemented a selling system? Are you delivering the intended message to your target market? We will develop a Client Management Steps-to-Success (STS) to keep in contact with your clients.

The Satisfaction Coach

Keeping your promise is the best way to grow your business and to encourage referrals. A flawless Client Fulfillment Steps-to-Success (STS) is critical to delivering on your promise to your clients. We will examine how you get things done, and encourage setting up the various STS. Along with this, we will work on making sure that you are exceeding your client’s expectations each and every time, with a Client Expectation STS.

The Negotiation Coach

Here we will develop a pricing strategy and estimating strategy. Are you basing what you charge on value you create or costs you incur? Also, in this module you will learn an effective “negotiation defense” against price shoppers and a strategy for developing effective contracts and agreements. Do you have a system to track all costs for each job? Are you communicating your “value-message” that will maintain the margins you need to stay in business?

Wired and Wonderful – The Web Site Advantage

We live in a wired world. Thanks to cell phones and Wi-Fi, all of the information on the Internet is never more than a click away. That’s precisely why having a web site is more important than ever before-even for creative, artistic professionals like interior designers.

Those of us who pride ourselves on our ability to create and nurture relationships to build business may cringe at the impersonal nature of the web. But look again. What may seem impersonal at first glance is actually the most revolutionary tool to connect conversations, ideas and solution providers in the history of the world-and you don’t want to miss out on it.

Here are five ways you can make the most of a web site for your company:

1. Expand on your portfolio without high printing costs. In a visual business, creating marketing materials that show your work to its best advantage can be very expensive. Full-color brochures on heavy stock paper with quality binding have a high cost per piece. They’re too expensive to mail out to all but the most qualified prospects. A web site can show your work in full color without the expense of printing and distribution, and it’s very inexpensive to add new photos or even a video tour of your latest show house or designer room.

2. Make a personal statement with audio, video and motion. Your web site isn’t limited to just words. The best web sites are interactive. Let your personality shine through by utilizing easy-to-play audio recordings, video clips from speeches, maybe even a video testimonial from a satisfied client. The web is perfect for a visually-focused profession like design, and with the new options for audio and video, your prospects can really get a sense for your individuality as well as your work.

3. Become more than just a pretty room. Brochures can’t tell your story as well as you can. Yet to keep your business running smoothly, you can’t spend all of your time meeting with prospects. Your web site can fill in the gap by sharing your design perspective, your style philosophy and your unique impression of trends via click-and-play audio and video. Prospects know that you’ll be a good fit for them before they ever pick up the phone to schedule a meeting. That saves time for you and increases the odds that your new client meeting will be a success.

4. Stand out as a thought leader. Today’s editors and reporters do their research online. When they are looking for someone to quote on trends for a given industry, they turn to the web to find experts. They decide which experts to contact based on what they can learn about that person’s point of view and credibility-and that is often determined by the expert’s web site and online articles. How many interviews have you missed because reporters couldn’t find you online?

5. Offer options and added benefits to your clients. With a web site, you can make it easier for customers to do business with your company. You can offer online payment, provide automatic email notification when special-ordered materials ship, and even sell related books or signature products that you have created. Let your current and past clients know about your recent awards, speeches and show houses-it might just spark a call for a new project! You can offer online quizzes and downloadable articles and encourage current clients to purchase additional services by educating them about trends or helping them understand the full scope of what you provide.

The best thing about harnessing the power of the Internet is that you don’t have to do it by yourself. It’s more affordable than ever before to work with a qualified web designer and create a site that is not only a great sales tool, but a magnificent showcase for your work. There’s really no excuse in today’s competitive business environment not to have a web site. Add a web site to your marketing and expand your outreach overnight.

Web Development Strategy For Making The Website Of An Interior Decorator

The website of an interior designer should look professional and the web developers making the website should stress on the visual aspect. Such a website should have a pleasant interface that will woo the visitors. The background color chosen for the website should not be too loud and using many colors is not recommended either. The text should have a different color than the background and irrespective of the type chosen, legibility should be there. In the website the developers should maintain a balance between the text and graphics used.

A web design and development company making the website for an interior designer needs to use web optimized and high quality images in it. It would be a good idea to use a portfolio of the professional consisting of high resolution image so his design in a slideshow format. This will go a long way in convincing the clients of the designer. Similarly, the website can also have a testimonial section containing the remark of the satisfied clients of the designer. Flash can be used for developing these sections and adding some amount of interactivity. However, the developers should not go overboard with Flash design. Flash design is not really conductive for SEO. It also creates issues for the mobile internet browsers.

The content in the website should be of high quality. There is no denying the fact that premium content attracts the web users more than anything else. The professional web development firms have their content writing wings for client requirements. The content should appear convincing to the web users. The visitors should get the impression that the designer would offer them the best value for their money. If the designer offers various types of packages for the clients, that should be clarified in the site content. The language used in the website should be simple and lucid. The distinguishing features of his service should be mentioned in the content as well.

Without SEO no business can succeed in the competitive market. It is also applicable for the website of an interior designer. The web developers making the website should use proper keywords along with other required SEO measures. It would be a suitable idea to implement social networking integration. These days lots of companies are resorting to websites like Facebook for effective promotion of products and services online. A huge number of people access the web through their mobile devices these days and hence the developers making the website of an interior designer should make a mobile specific version.