Automating Your Interior Design Business
I know you are probably groaning about this topic, but this is one of the most important steps you can take in your business. We have been working for months on systematizing our business, and there are many good reasons to do it:
1) When you develop systems, it is easier to delegate to others and it allows you to have more consistency in your business.
2) It frees you up to be more creative…I know you don’t believe it now, but once you get past this, your life will be easier and more productive.
3) This gives you a competitive edge. Many designers recreate the wheel over and over, and never run an efficient business. Your clients will be more likely to pay you more money if you are thorough and systematic in your processes. They appreciate and pay for professionalism, not sloppily run businesses.
4) You can hire less expensive resources to do these parts for you so you can enjoy the creative design portion of the business.
5) If you are slow right now, this is the perfect time to tackle this project.
6) I don’t love organizing, but when everything is in its place, it is easier to see the big picture.
7) As soon as you have the systematizing in place, you can start planning for your New Year of Profit! If you have a real plan and a strategy for getting there, you will make more money. It is kind of like going on a trip…if you don’t have a roadmap and a destination in mind, how will you know when you’ve arrived?
We are going through a major change in our technology right now, and it has driven us to map out our business plan for the next five years. We actually use a product called Mind Jet which allows you to create a “picture” of your business.
As we mentioned before, Erin and I locked ourselves in our friend’s conference room with her white board and meticulously mapped out the big picture with the associated milestones for our business. After each large map was created, Erin entered it into our software, and that is what we will use to run our business. It also allows you to share your vision with others, and the more they are involved in creating the business, the more they will be able to help you achieve your goals.
Our new website will be up in early January, and at that time, our new membership site will be fully functional. If you are currently a Gold Summit Member, your membership will continue at no charge until we complete our conversion and notify you.
We are also integrating a new software package called InfusionSoft which allows us to automate many tasks that are repetitive in our business so we can use our time to create new programs and classes for your benefit. We are so excited about this, yet we are working at break-neck speed to get this implemented. Some of the work isn’t very fun, but we know that the sooner we get it done, the sooner we will get to the parts we love the most. I never have been one to eat the frosting first.
Here is the rule of thumb for estimating the cost of implementing new software in your business: 20% is the software cost and the other 80% is the cost of personnel and consulting to help you implement. It often takes months to implement a new software product in your business especially if you aren’t technical, so it is vital that you find people to help you that know the software product and our industry intimately. It is always less expensive to hire the very best! I can’t emphasize this enough.
As Benjamin Franklin said, “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” Speaking from experience, it is true. If I could roll back the clock this year, I would have invested in InfusionSoft earlier. Also, the team I am using to implement really “gets” where we are going as a business, and they have a team of people that are working around the clock to help us implement the system.
We are essentially using “templates” with these products and customizing them to fit our business model. If your webmaster or technical person doesn’t understand your needs and our industry, look for someone else. This is not the place to cut corners.
This is also the perfect time to decide on your future needs to run your business. If you aren’t automated with software such as Studio IT or Quickbooks, you need to do this sooner than later. Doing books the old way is inefficient and inaccurate.
You can actually handle a larger volume of business (make more money) if you have one of these products to run your internal operations. For our Summit Gold Members, if you didn’t listen to the Monthly Mentor Series Webinar with Debbie Green about using Quickbooks and Studio earlier this month, we will let you know when the download of the session is ready for you. This is free for you.
If you aren’t a Gold Member, just let us know and we will send you information so you can purchase access to the class.
It is hard to believe that 2009 is almost here. We are excited, energized and positive about the difference we can make for you and our industry. We want to hear from you if you have questions or suggestions. We’re here to help.
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