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?