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Scaling Interior Design Business: When to Let Go of Control

Scaling Interior Design Business: When to Let Go of Control

Entrepreneurs are typically people who create new businesses and are actively involved in the operations. They usually assume most of the financial risk and hopefully enjoy most of the business success. Many CEOs or owners of interior design firms started their businesses as entrepreneurs. As that business grows, however, the challenge is, as John Maxwell shares: “One is too small a number to achieve greatness.” The challenge can be identifying when it’s time to let go of control and scaling your interior design business

How to Know When to Let Go of Control

So how do you identify when it is time to let go of control of the day-to-day and start building a team? Consider the following.

Scaling your interior design business while caring for clients

When things begin to fall through the cracks, take an honest look at your interior design business. Are you effectively able to take care of your clients or do you need help? Not every designer wants to build a large design firm, but consider the advantages of having even a small team. As an entrepreneur, you probably enjoy being the visionary of your firm. As the big picture visionary you have a vision, an idea, or a solution to a problem. The challenge is if you are consumed with the day-to-day operations, you may find your passion and momentum slowed.

Do you want to commit to a life sentence of trying to “do it all”?

You may have reached your current success by controlling the entire process. But will that allow for continued growth? Are you working nights and weekends just to “keep up”? A Forbes article reminds us that you will only be able to reach 5-10% of the potential that could be achieved. They also suggest that you could be committing to a life sentence of “doing it all”. Is it really worth it to keep full control if it means not scaling your interior design business?

Letting Go is Hard

Letting go is certainly hard and it’s often limiting beliefs that can keep you as a “prisoner”. You may feel that it’s too much trouble to train someone else or that you can do it better. Or the common view – you just don’t have time to find and train someone else. Designers often forget to put their effective problem-solving abilities toward their own business. In the article “Grow Your Business By Letting Go” the author points out some of the challenges facing entrepreneurs. 

  1. You may grow your business very successfully. But then you reach what he calls an “entrepreneurial plateau”. That is when you run out of time and energy and the business stalls. Be willing to step back and again focus on your vision of your interior design business – the big picture.
  2. As problem solvers, you market the value of letting go and trusting the expertise of a professional interior designer. Use this same view to be willing to let go and trust others to manage your business. As the leader of your firm, consider the advice of Stephen Covey: “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.” You are the leader, the “visionary”. For your business to grow with continued success you need to bring on an “integrator” to effectively manage your business – to carry out your vision.
  3. The Pearl Collective has found that as entrepreneurs, designers usually have great vision. The challenge is that they don’t necessarily have a strong business background. They may lack the financial and marketing training to effectively move that vision forward. That is why The Pearl Collective offers a variety of programs and classes to help give designers more business confidence.

Are You Ready to Start Scaling Your Interior Design Business?

So, are you ready to let go of complete control and be flexible enough to allow your company to evolve? You may have created a successful interior design business on your own but now it may be time to start building a team. Consider the following:

  1. You are a visionary and that should be your focus for your business. Building a team will allow you to pivot away from management and focus on leadership. You can then spend more time on business growth and bringing in more ideal clients. Consider the advice from Peter Drucker: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” 
  2. Manage the voice in your head and allow yourself to be mentally and physically open to letting go. Release the tension that may creep in when you consider releasing some control. You can’t be an expert in everything. Instead, focus on your strengths and the freedom you will have to spend more time as the visionary of your company. Remind yourself of the positive results of starting to build a team of experts to take over management of the company.
  3. Make a list of what you are doing that you don’t like to do. Then identify what you don’t do as well as others could and what you shouldn’t be spending your time doing. Be honest. These are things such as bookkeeping, billing, ordering, etc. that you need to hand off to someone else. 
  4. Then trust the team you build and practice the art of delegation. Change your language from “I have to …” or “I need to…” to “I choose to…” or “I will …”. 

As you think about scaling your interior design business, focus on the value of releasing complete control. To continue growing your company, keep in mind your value to your firm as the visionary. Be open to the value of bringing in an integrator and beginning to build a team. 

Finally, ask yourself – if growing your interior design business involves change, are you open to change? Remind yourself of the advice of John Maxwell: “Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”

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