Even though you may love design, you probably don’t love all of the challenges that are a common part of your business. You are not alone and it’s important to remember that you do not have to be an expert at everything. We encourage homeowners to hire a professional interior designer for their expertise and experience in finding solutions and creating beautiful and functional spaces. Yet often designers forget to seek experts to help their own business grow and function more effectively and profitably. A business coach can help you find solutions to some of those challenges that you may have been facing.
Let’s address 5 of the top challenges that a number of our Pearl Collective clients have faced.
How to do what you love AND make a profit
Many designers have the expertise and experience in interior design with the ability to create amazing spaces for their clients. The challenge is that even if they have a degree in interior design they may have only had one business class – if that – during their entire course of study. So they understand the designing aspect and love design, but they may not have the education and experience to run a profitable business. An interior design business coach can not only offer guidance and help in understanding your financials and learning to increase your bottom line, but also offer tools to help remove the fear of facing your financials. After all, when you see your profit increase – and often with fewer hours spent in your work week – suddenly you learn to love your financials!
Keeping a full pipeline – managing effective marketing
A major challenge for a number of designers is managing their marketing effectively so that they have a continuous pipeline of ideal clients. Notice the phrase “ideal clients”. That needs to be a key focus of your marketing or else you will be marketing to everyone and anyone. Do you want “everyone and anyone”? Not if you want to run a successful business and enjoy the process! Sometimes we hear designers state that their business comes just from referrals. That can be great – as long as those referrals are ideal clients, but it still takes work to keep those referrals coming. You need to have a marketing plan and your coach can help you develop and implement that plan. They can also help you enjoy the process and use your creative talents as you develop and personalize your marketing plan.
Communication – Client expectations and misunderstandings
Communication is often at the heart of many challenges – both with clients and vendors and even your own team. The best solutions involve having very clear communication from the beginning, both verbal and in writing. Communicating often is also key. Developing effective strategies will go a long way to provide the tools to avoid or at least deal with communication challenges in a way that is positive for both parties. A business coach can help guide you in developing strategies to streamline the communication process while assuring that both parties are truly hearing what the other is saying. Are you asking the right questions? Are you asking enough questions? Your coach can also help extend that clear communication with your vendors and your team and may offer effective tools for you to incorporate.
Managing Time – Getting the Most out of Your Workday
We so often hear the complaint that there are just not enough hours in the day, and too many designers are working well over 40 hours per week but those hours are not always being well used. Developing time management skills may not be something that excites you, but you’ll be amazed at how much more you can accomplish in a day once you begin to practice these skills. Organizing your calendar for the week and blocking out time for marketing, client meetings, design research, team meetings, etc. makes sure that what is important will get done. Again, a business coach will work with you to develop an effective time management strategy and share various tools and apps that can be used by your entire team. As they help you develop better time management skills, you should be able to work fewer hours but increase your bottom line.
Building workflow automation – processes and procedures
Another challenge faced by designers is a lack of workflow automation. In other words, they lack a system that automates how you approach the various tasks that are part of the operation of your business. Why keep reinventing the various repetitive processes in your business? Just think how much more efficient it would be if you have a clear written process or procedure for onboarding new clients, or onboarding new employees, or for the procurement process for clients. The advantages of developing a system to have in place for these and so many other processes that happen regularly in your business will save you time and money. A business coach will be able to guide you in this endeavor, share tools and help you streamline your workflow to fit the needs of your business.
If you can identify with any of the above challenges, or if you are plagued by other challenges that are stumbling blocks on your path to building a financially successful business, definitely consider bringing on a business coach. You will not only gain from their expertise but also from having someone to hold you accountable. As Tom Landry, former professional football player and coach, so aptly stated: “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you always knew you could be” Are you living up to who you always knew you could be?