Discover and Integrate Your Business Mission Statement With Your Interior Design Presentation

Here are a few keys that will be extremely vital to the success of your office, especially in regards to your interior design.

Number One: Proper Discovery This aspect is totally essential to making sure that things turn out as they should. A big part of this process is asking the right questions, in order to get the right answers that contribute to getting the right results. Think of this as if you were Sherlock Holmes.

Proper discovery also answers questions such as:

  1. Where am I right now and what current conditions do I need to deal with?
  2. Where do I want to go and what do I want to project to my clients and customers in terms of my visual interior design presentation?
  3. What kind of ambiance and feeling of the space do I want projected as well as perceived by my clients and customers?
  4. What kind of aesthetic and functional aspects do I need to incorporate in order to reinforce and support my staff and employees?

Number Two: The Mission Statement You want to take the information that’s been extracted from talking about your dreams and what you want (all the things that came from the discovery process), and put them in a paragraph or two that talks about what it is you want to accomplish. We’re talking about the look, the ambience, the feel, and the emotions that you want portrayed in your environment as well as to your clients and customers.

This step is in addition to the functional aspects of a project, but it helps to hone the essence of the final end-result. You want to really refine this in a very descriptive way so that you have a yardstick, level, and plumb-bob, so to speak. It allows you to measure everything that happens from here on out to the end of the design process. So, it is very important that we get this mission statement right. It eliminates the “fluff” and a lot of things that you really don’t need to take up your time, money, or energy.

Number Three: Budget! This is definitely your “vested interest,” because you surely have a vested interest in the amount of money you want to invest in your project, office, or building. The idea is we don’t want to just merely spend your money. We want to invest it with a view toward the maximum return on your investment! And that return can happen in a lot of different ways!

Warning: You must be realistic here! Do not expect a Rolls Royce for the price of a Buick. If you are a “Rolls Royce” business in terms of quality of service and products, then by all means have a “Rolls Royce” quality presentation to your interior design.

You don’t have to do everything all at once. You can space out your investment over a 5 year, 10 year, 15 year, or 20 year span. You can pick any time span you want. This is where a master plan comes into play. It is absolutely necessary for the proper utilization of your resources.

Obviously, some things you will have to do all at once, such as certain construction phases. But, there are some things that can be postponed and added after the fact without causing a lot of disturbance, as long as these things are preplanned and accommodations have been made for them. So, in essence, you are designing incremental additions or advances into your master planning.

Master planning is the exciting part, because once you have a plan and a vision for where you want to go, you will find the money to make it happen. It’s not a prerequisite to have that money in hand right now.

Number Four: Integration The architecture and the interiors function as a hand-and-glove scenario. The interior, which includes all the backgrounds, furniture, furnishings, artwork, etc., functions as a stage setting, so to speak, for the individuals that will inhabit the space. It’s important that these elements put those individuals that are working in your business environment in the very best light. They need to be the gems highlighted against the backdrop of your business. Remember, people are one of your biggest investments. The whole environment should reinforce, support, and enhance everyone working for the company.

Best Business Ideas for Women In the Modern World

It’s no longer a man’s world out there. We live in a world where men and women alike rule the world; where women can be who and what they want to be without prejudice. According to the published report by the Catalyst, a non-profit membership association increasing opportunities for women and business, women make up the 7.6% of the Forbes 500 top earners and 46.7 % of the American workforce. Here are some of the best business ideas for women you should consider when thinking of having your own business.

In our world, men are not the only ones wearing the trousers; women nowadays are actively participating in making decisions for their careers, families, and their lives in general. For most women, starting a business can sometimes be gruelling. It’s hard to choose which idea can be great to start a business and a career. However, the most simple and unlikely ideas can sometimes become one of the best business ideas for women.

Any woman can be successful in any business she ventures into. Most women nowadays, like women who stay at home to watch over the kids, search for business opportunities that won’t compromise their responsibilities at home. For home-staying moms, you can start a home-based business.

Depending on your skills, capabilities, resources, and passion, a home-based business can be a great success. For those who are computer and internet-savvy, starting up a home-based virtual assistant service is one of the best business ideas for women. If you have a background in sales or customer service, you can start a call center facility. If you have superb writing skills, you can create a writing business, creating marketing and promotional write-ups for people and products.

Best business ideas for women include starting an interior design business, catering service, accessory-making and writing and PR services. A woman who enjoys baking, can start a pastry business; a woman who is passionate about beauty and wellness can start a spa or a beauty salon business. Depending on her skills, a woman who has technical dancing skills in ballet or musical talent like playing the piano, violin, guitar or any musical instrument can start her own dance/music class at home.

The list can go and on but before deciding which business idea to consider, take into account your capabilities, skills, budget, time, and the amount of passion that you can pour into that idea. Starting a business can sometimes be demanding, but with the right attitude and frame of mind, a start-up business can become a successful one.

The HOW of Networking and Interior Design Success

The number one complaint I hear from designers is the lack of quality clients. Most designers I talk to have tried everything to find them from, fancy websites, postcard mailings, and of course networking. I can tell you personally that every fantastic client I have ever met, was through some form of networking. You’ve probably tried networking yourself, and depending on your successes, I have a few new ideas and tips for how to make networking even more productive.

1. Who are you networking with? Don’t forget, networking can mean many things from a friend of a friend, a fellow business owner, or an organized networking group.

2. What are you offering them in exchange? The best way to ensure quality, top notch referrals is from someone who respects and values you already. That means you need to give as much as you receive whether it’s reciprocating with a lead for them, or a complimentary consultation.

3. Where one finds great clients takes a knowledge of who you’re looking for, and a little strategy. Think about it; design clients are people who not only care about where they live, they’re willing to ask for help (and pay for), from a quality professional.

It came to me when I learned where Helen, (my coaching client I was boasting about earlier) had found one of her new dream clients. She was networking on Linked-in with a professional organizer. Brilliant! People who are willing to pay a professional to help them organize their home, will probably need help making their home beautiful. So start brainstorming! Who else can you think of who offers services with the same criteria?

4. When should you be networking? (When shouldn’t you be networking, is a better question.) One of the most profitable relationships I’ve ever made was from a store owner I met at a friend’s birthday party. You really never know where your next great customer will come from. You never know where your next great customer will come from, so pay attention, or a great opportunity might pass you by.

5. How you network is a critical piece of this profitable puzzle. I know how much success I’ve had in my own design business through networking, so I know that it works. I’ve listened to other designers who think they’re mining for great clients, and what I actually witness them doing is scaring away prospects by coming off as pushy or overbearing.

The “How” of networking is simply a form of sales, and we know how much designers love to sell… It may not be your strongest skill, but it’s critical to your success. I recommend you start doing a little research and work on honing the art of sales. You’ll be amazed how simple and fun it can be. Just by knowing a few simple phrases, adjusting your body language (while learning to read others), and understanding client psychology, can fill your design business faster than anything else you’ll try.

Home Interiors – Clients Guide No2 – That First Contact with an Interior Designer – What to Expect!

A floppy haired extrovert prancing around in some outlandish get-up, gesticulating wildly and being highly opinionated in a loud effeminate voice! Now let’s throw all those TV stereotypes of what an Interior Designer is like totally out the window, in all my years in the profession I have never come across any designer that remotely fits this bizarre image… although some may have got pretty close (only joking!). On the whole we are surprising normal.

I am now assuming you have done your research and tracked down some names of Interior Designers or have been given some recommendations by others as who you could contact. It’s now time to hit the phone and talk with someone about the project you have in mind. No need to have loads of numbers to call just two or three to start is more than enough. You should go straight to the top and ask for the Design Director or Owner of the practice.

Start with a very brief background about your property; size, age, location, condition etc, and then go on with what you are considering as a project and what the main priorities you wish to gain from it are i.e. more space, an extra room, up-grading and refurbishment of existing etc. Once you have passed on this general information sit back and wait for questions to be fired back to you. These again are going to be fairly general in nature just to get an overall feel for what you have in mind and also the time scale you are also thinking of working to.

A realistic time scale is an important issue for everyone here; you would not believe how many first inquires I get from people thinking that it will only take a matter of a few weeks to design and have built their new extension and kitchen! ” I need it for Christmas” but we are already into October and have not even made a start yet… it’s not going to happen with all the best will in world! It’s worth you talking to a Designer just to get an initial feel as to how long the process from beginning to end is likely to take for your individual project – it’s likely to be much longer than you think!

The subject of Project Budget may also come up in the conversation you have with the Designer, but to be frank this means very little at this stage. However, if asked by you the Designer is going to be pretty reserved above giving any kind of budget figures over the phone about a project he knows very little about. On the other hand if the question about budget is asked by the Designer to you he is just fishing and trying to establish if there is any miss match in expectations on your part. Most potential clients do not have any real idea of a budget for their project (and why should they), and those that do usually have totally underestimated the likely cost against their “wish list” of all that they want from it. We have to put this subject on the back burner for the present and come back to it at the appropriate stage of the project, and that will be after some Conceptual Planning & Design work has been carried out. Trying to put figures without some form of reference on paper can be just a complete waste of time and can just produces a logjam in allowing the project to progress.

What the Designer on the other end of the phone will be trying to evaluate from the conversation with you is; are they realistic in their expectations, is this a valid project, is this person a potential client or just a time waster! Sorry to be so blunt about it but what the Designer would like to offer you next is a free no obligation visit; if they think there is not the remotest chance of this project going ahead they will not make the offer. It’s not that you have to pass some kind of test to qualify but it all boils down to business at the end of the day and how much bread they cast on the water.

Positively moving on – the Designer suggest to you that they really need to visit the property and see it in the flesh and have a much more in-depth discussion with you about your needs and requirement. It will also give them the opportunity to show you some examples of their work and tell you about exactly how they will carry out a project such as yours. Once they have had this meeting the intention will be to confirm back to you their Scope of Work and Fee Proposal (it is extremely unlikely this will be committed to at this first meeting). This should be a total free of charge visit without any obligation to proceed further. If you get a good vibe about this Designer you are likely to say “Yes” and make an appointment for them to come around and met you at your home.

THE FIRST MEETING

This should be a fairly casual and relaxed affair. The Designer will want to sit down with you and tell you about all what they have done for other clients, show you some examples of work and generally demonstrate their talents and experience. It’s all done to put your mind at rest that this person knows what they are talking about, and if you feel this is the case then they have done their job so far. The conversation should now move on to “Your Project”, giving you the opportunity to expand fuller your thoughts, needs and requirements from the project you have in mind. Why I say “in mind” is that it may well be that your ideas could be turned completely up-side down once the Designer has accessed the overall situation, but let’s face it that’s why you are talking to a Designer – fresh ideas and a clean pair of eyes! There have been many times when I have visited clients that think they have a clear idea of what they want and how it is to be done and then I go and throw a curved ball into the conversation. It’s not to be controversial for the sake of it but to get them thinking in a new way about their project which ultimately leads on to a better end solution.

The Designer would have no doubt been given the guided tour of the house by you pointing out all the issues as you walk around. Don’t expect instant solutions to be given by the Designer while you are on your tour, they will be absorbing everything in at a fast pace of knots and making some mental assessments for themselves – this is information gathering! They may pitch-in with some teasers ideas but will keep most under wraps to be pulled out later (after they have been appointed). What they don’t want is you taking all there “free” ideas and then saying “Thank you very much and Good Bye” and never to be heard of again – it happens and Designer are very guarded about this situation. So don’t expect any free design work, but what they will give you is some good free advice.

They will then talk about how they would carry this project out for you, explaining all the various stages that need to be gone through; depending on the individual requirements these will be tailored to suite, but usually breakdown into these four main stages:-

1/ Concept Design & Planning

2/ Design Development

3/ Detailed Design & Specification

4/ Implementation.

The aim for the Designer is to produce for you a document (Fee Proposal) that outlines exactly what they will be doing in each of these stages and what the associated fee’s will be, also an indication of time scale. Hopefully from this you will be able to decide if you wish to proceed. This document is likely to be sent to you a few days following this first meeting.

In my next article I will be talking more in-depth about this Fee Proposal document and Design Fee’s in general; the different kinds of fee structures and how they are arrived at. So look out for the third article in this Home Interior Clients Guide series by Christopher R Page.