Leadership Articles

Pivoting Your Interior Design Business

Pivoting Your Interior Design Business

LinkedIn describes pivoting your business model as “changing the way you create and deliver value to your customers, based on new insights, opportunities, or challenges.” As an entrepreneur and the CEO of your firm you are used to being in control. You have the discipline to remain focused on your goals but is that tight focus keeping you from seeing the opportunities for continued growth. How do you identify when it’s time to start pivoting your interior design business? How do you recognize opportunities for change? Let’s dive in!

Recognize the signals that it’s time to pivot your business

  • Your business has stalled
  • Your business is not growing and may be slowing down, including your profits
  • You are losing projects to competitors
  • Multiple ideal clients have chosen to work with other design firms instead
  • Not all areas of your business are generating profits
  • You have a retail showroom but it’s not profitable.
  • You are working long hours but not being well compensated
  • The industry has changed
  • You find that many prospective clients are shopping your fees or products

How to recognize opportunities for change?

Problem-solving is what you do

Interior designers are problem solvers, but are you applying those problem-solving skills to your own business and journey through pivoting? Recognize challenges as opportunities to use your creative skills.

Releasing total control creates opportunities for growth

As an entrepreneur you have built your business from the ground up and often managed every detail. Recognize when it’s time to release complete control in order to keep growing your business. When you can stand back a bit you may realize that your current business model may not be as effective as it once was. 

Two heads are better than one

Pay attention to client feedback, trends in the industry, who is the competition and what they are doing. Listen and stay current. Evaluate what you observe. Learn from those observations and weigh them against your current business model, your current ideal clients, your financials and your value proposition. It can be a powerful way to adapt to changing markets, customer needs, or competitive threats, and to find new sources of growth and innovation. Be willing and flexible enough to make positive changes that will help your business continue to grow.

Trust your team and encourage them to be open to challenges that might be turned into opportunities. Pay attention to the advice of C.S. Lewis: “Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction.” Be willing to brainstorm and listen to them. Be willing to release a focus on total control so that you don’t ignore great ideas that might be shared by others. And, of course, two or more heads will expand the possibility of creative ideas.

Making the pivot

Strategize how you will pivot

Change for the sake of change is not effective. Be strategic about what kind of pivot you plan to make and how it will affect your business. Is it related to ideal client pivot, value proposition pivot, or team size pivot? Or maybe it is cost structure pivot, or expansion of your geographic region pivot. View challenges as opportunities to grow and welcome necessary changes. Stay informed about opportunities that will benefit your company and focus on changes in those areas.

Organize and test your new ideas and measure the results

Before you pivot your interior design business and make major changes in your business, design ways to try out these changes in a “trial run” in your business. At the same time create an assessment tool to evaluate your new model against your old model. Then make any necessary adjustments and iterate again.

Put your pivot into operation

After assessing your test results above, be sure your team is completely on board with all that pivoting your interior design business includes. Clearly communicate the pivot with them. Work with your team to develop clear communication of your firm’s pivot to share with clients, industry partners, referral partners, and others. When they are clear as to your pivot, they can more easily support your vision. In addition, be sure to evaluate and allocate resources that will be necessary. Remember that resources include not only financial but also time and human resources. There will be an adjustment period as old tasks wind down and new ones begin. Also be prepared for the need to deal with possible challenges as you pivot. Again, remember that challenges can be opportunities!

Continue to learn and remain open to seeing challenges as opportunities

Continue to evaluate and assess the changes you made. Evaluate what is working and remain flexible enough to adapt as needed. Continue to stay current on the competition, the design profession, and who are your ideal clients. Remain open to listening to and asking for input from your team, clients, industry partners and others whom you respect.

Keep in mind the advice of Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”

Never forget the excitement that you felt when you first started your business. Embrace growth and possible future challenges and how pivoting your interior design business could be a wise investment for future success.

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