Answer: You are correct, you are passing up some great opportunities for additional profit and business growth. Clients today are looking for convenience, for the all-in-one service provider. They don't have the time to go from store to store or professional to professional to get what they need. They are much happier to hire one person to do it all. The satisfaction that comes from being able to do it all is motivating, but sometimes overwhelming.
At some point, you will need to decide what avenue of expansion you want to pursue. Uncertainty can be one of the biggest fears in expanding your design business. Research should be your first step before you venture into something new. This will cost time and money but the outcome will prove to be far more rewarding because you will have a better understanding of what you need to do and when to make your expansion successful.
The interior designer wears many hats. The secret is to have expertise in all areas such as:
1. Managing a business
2. Working with many types of contractors and sub-contractors
3. Staying on top of deadlines
4. Approaching problems analytically
5. Maintaining constant communication with service providers, suppliers and clients
6. Possessing high organizational skills
7. Keeping on and analyzing a budget
8. Paying attention to detail in all areas
9. Having knowledge in areas such as space planning, programming, building and professional codes, content of materials, installation procedures, the advantages and disadvantages of each product you offer as well as design.
All of these skills and the many others I didn't mention require education. Take a look at the list above, be honest, and decide where you are the weakest. Then look for educational opportunities to help you strengthen these skills. Contact wall covering manufacturers, installers, furniture companies, fabric suppliers and carpet mills to learn how they can work with you to supply the best service and product information. Being prepared will give you not only the information and knowledge, but a greater level of confidence. You will achieve higher levels of success simply because you believe in yourself.
This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson which will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings, as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.
Sharon L. Anderson, Associate Member, Interior Design Educator's Council (IDEC), has more than 14 years experience as a commercial and residential design professional. She has taught numerous courses at colleges and universities throughout Southern California and is a published author and frequent public speaker.