In the third installment of our four-part guide to building a better design business, we’re celebrating at the systems that will truly put you ahead.
The many ups and downs of the past 18 months have been extreme. Home has never been more in demand, yet it’s never been more difficult to deliver a seamless, high-touch client experience. After the initial panic of COVID subsided, the biggest roadblocks have been caused by a snarled supply chain. For designers, it’s been frustrating to do everything right—like checking stock and pricing before presenting—and still have to go back to your client with new options after the last of the yardage was suddenly scooped up. Long lead times, too, can be hard to explain. Even a simple decorating project may stretch months longer than it once would have.
Those aren’t the only forces complicating the landscape. There’s no question that the past year has seen a boom in business for many designers, but a rush of new clients can be a double-edged sword. In the short term, it’s great for a firm’s bottom line, but it’s also putting designers to the test. With business roaring, many are hiring to service the influx of work—and experiencing the growing pains that come with staffing up quickly. Others are choosing to get more selective about their work. That path avoids the complications of rapid growth, but it can lead to some serious soul-searching about which projects align with their mission. Even saying no can be complicated!
There’s one thing that will get you through just about anything: your systems. If you needed a reminder to pause and take a critical look at the gears that make your business run, here it is! In this issue, we’re diving deep into the behind-the-scenes mechanics of bringing your designs to life, from procurement and billing to cultivating winning relationships with contractors and receivers. These may not be the pretty details that your client admires at the end of a job, but they are the ones that will help you deliver on your vision—and that’s what matters most.
Homepage photo: Alabama-based Betsy Brown designed this breezy living room with views of the Atlantic Ocean for a client in West Palm Beach, Florida. In this issue, she explains that she flies in her furniture maker for every install—find out why here. | Nicole Franzen