As I search through various Web sites, I quickly become overwhelmed by all of the technical data, different sites provided by search engines and areas of interest given to me by the click of a button. What do I do with all of it and how much of it is legitimate information?
I also am in need of some great Web sites to visit related to my new business venture in the field of interior design. I will specialize in both contract and residential design incorporating a special concentration on window treatments. Is there someplace where I can get a list of Web sites that will provide me information on fabric, wall coverings, contract furniture, etc.? I also hope you can help me with a few pointers on filing and organizing the information I gather for my interior design business.
SOLUTION: Information technology can be overwhelming at times. The information we now have access to with the click of a mouse is astounding. The goal is to gather information you need, file it and be able to access it when needed. The mounds and mounds of paper files originating from information we automatically print off the computer probably is laying dormant in hundreds of files somewhere. Don't you agree?
There are strategies you can implement to make information you have found at various Web sites easier to find and access. To begin with, have a specific goal in mind for each search. While doing the search, ask your self the following:
• Why do I need this specific information?
• Do I understand the information I have found or printed?
• Do I have a certain project in mind?
• Is the information I am searching for relevant to my immediate project?
• How will the information I have found assist me in reaching my business or design goals?
• Will this information be outdated shortly?
• Have I gotten sidetracked while searching for this information?
• Can I use this information sometime in the future?
• Will I receive quicker service through my sales representative?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself when gathering information via the Internet. When you have found a great Web site, place it in either your Favorite Places or Bookmark file, or put it in a special folder with a specific title such as "Window Treatment Ideas" or "Furniture Manufacturers." You can change the name of these files and where they are located in your folder depending on the program you are using.
A host of legitimate Web sites in this industry can be found easily. To begin with, you might want to check out the companies that sponsor or buy banners on the D&WC site. Also, each month in the printed magazine, a Web site directory is provided that is divided into product categories. Be sure also to check the links page of any site you find helpful. There you will find a list of related links that can lead to more helpful sites!
Remember, information gathering is irrelevant if it does not fill a specific need. Valuable time can be taken away from your business by searching through mounds of data that are irrelevant to your specific goals.
Sharon L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience as a professional interior designer in both commercial and residential design. She has taught at numerous colleges throughout California and currently is an educator at Moorpark college in southern California. She is a published author and frequent public speaker.
Editor's note: This is a continuing series of articles written by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions Anderson has encountered in her own business.