Where are you and your business? If you are saying, ďI am just trying to survive and make my payroll,Ē you are not alone. I donít think there is a business today that is not making major changes and smart-sizing to keep afloat during these tough and frustrating times.
In the first of a series of webinars Iím presenting on www.DWConline.com, which began in February, I discussed areas such as setting new goals during difficult timesógoals that will keep you a step ahead of the crowd until times are good again.
This isnít my first recession and it wonít be my last. My son said over the holiday, ďMom, how many recessions have you lived through?Ē Well, that didnít feel good, but it made me think I have been through many and have always come through stronger and better. That is why, in my mind, we go through them. It is a weeding out time. We either sink or swim. I donít know about you, but I am not sinking. I am a swimmer.
So how do you keep swimming in rough water? There are several things you can do that will help.
1. Start: I believe in reading as many books, listening to tapes or wonderful music every day to keep my mind in a very positive position. Successful people hang around other successful people. Successful people donít waste time worrying about what the future will bring; they create the future. All of us should act on our situations rather than worrying about what to do about them. Better still, start somewhere and start now.
2. Organize: Color-code your day timer. This is key for me in order to keep myself balanced and focused. Meetings, doctorís appointments, calls that have to be made are in yellow; all money-making situations are in green; personal time is in pink; and travel time is in blue.
I always have the full month or at least a week in front of me and if there is no pink, find some time to set aside just for you. To really see where you are going, you need to have time to yourself. Dream and play time is very creative and will bring new energy back into your life and business.
3. Create: There may not be a lot of green dates in any given month. Donít panic, spend some from your pink time to mind map and create new ways to capture new and old business. Your old clients are your best new clients. Do a mailing and host a special party. Introduce new product linesócould be a new window shading or motorization as an add-on to what clients already have. It doesnít matter; just get them back to you and get them thinking privacy, cozy, light control.
You are the main person they need to reconnect with, work to keep the relationship going.
4. Recapture: One way to recapture your old clients is to go back over their files. See where you left off and create some new ideas for the windows that never did get done. Take digital images of every job you do, with the customerís permission, and put that into a presentation and e-mail that picture along with new ideas that would finish the room. People today are so into themselves that they have forgotten what needs to get done. Help them do it.
5. Learn: That brings me to learning new tricks that will give your business a brand new look. If window treatments are your main business, you should be using programs such as DreamDraper or Studio. Both systems are incredible and a must for every business. Go to their Web sites and try the 30-day free trial. Technology has changed the way we do business; donít fight it. Another new program to the trade that is available online is 3Dream.net. It allows you to do the blueprints, 2-D to 3-D design presentations that put all aspects of design into a prospective. You can get a free month using the code 307-6.
While we have the time, we need to be learning and growing so we can hit the ground running when the economy turns around. There is money out there and people are spending. What new tricks do you have to capture them?
6. Listen: My last tip is: Have you listened to yourself lately? This was an eye-opener for me. I was teaching, running my business and doing three TV shows a week. My son broke his neck while diving into a lake and, to add to it, I was going through a divorce. Not a good time, and very hectic, as we were in a very tough economy, not unlike today. I was burning the candle at both ends and not feeling like I was going anywhere. A few of my students couldnít make it to class and wanted me to tape record itónot a problem, and the best thing I have ever done.
Before I gave the tape to the students, I decided to listen to it. I was shocked at my tone and attitude. I had no patience and talked way too fast. The busier we are and the tighter our pockets get, the ruder we tend to become without even knowing it. Do yourself a favor and tape yourself for a day and really listen to what you sound like.
We all need to slow down, count our blessings and get to work in new and exciting ways. Go back to school, take new classes and grow yourself so that your business will be more exciting than you ever dreamed it could be.
One last thing, we lost our ability to dream in the í90s. We survived. Now it is time we allow ourselves to dream again and create a new beginning. I will talk with you all very soon and I am here for you, e-mail, start a blog and join a webinar. Dr. Margi is going to give you that shot of energy you need to make this year a great one. A new beginning is coming your way and I am proud to be part of it.
For more than 40 years, Margi Kyle has built a business portfolio from the ever-important designerís perspective. A graduate of the New York School of Interior Design, she has contributed to the industry as an interior designer, television host, mentor, keynote speaker, educator and writer. Kyle received her masterís in interior design and is the executive director for We Make Color Easy, the Dewey Color System.