Business

Designing Your Design Business – Benefits of Working with a Business Coach

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In a recent article titled Coaching pays off for new managers at BDCNetwork.com, the value of hiring a business coach is revealed, at least as it relates to those who find themselves trying to adjust to a new leadership position. Of course, the value of working with a coach also applies to entrepreneurs and small business owners who may be struggling to lead a team and grow their business – perhaps you and your design business.

The article shares a few quick insights gleaned from a white paper published by the folks at the Fails Management Institute, or FMI, an advisory group “for engineering and construction, infrastructure and the built environment and the industry’s leading organizations”.

In their paper, FMI found that:

  • Some 91% of participants said that coaching increased their readiness for a new leadership role

  • Nearly 88% of participants suggested that coaching increased their overall engagement in their roles

  • About 87% of respondents said that executive coaching has a high return on investment

  • And 77% of survey respondents stated that their coaching experience exceeded their expectations

Whether you’re busy trying to establish your design business, working on developing a new product or service, or developing a growth strategy for your existing operation, the experience and expertise you can gather from a coach can be invaluable for both the short-term and long-term health of your business.

Benefits of Working with a Business Coach

When you choose to work with a business coach, the benefits are likely to exceed the cost involved.

  • Experience and Expertise – A business coaches can offer you expert advice and guidance based on actual experiences in the world of business and business start-ups. Most of them have a load of “Been there, done that” experience to offer, with both successes and failures from which they’ve learned the hard lessons you're about to encounter.

  • Fresh Perspective – Having a sounding board for your ideas, from new products or services to the structure of your business and composition of your team, is a great way to work out any kinks in your thought process. For an emerging entrepreneur for example, it’s to be expected that you’ll get caught up with your ideas to the point of questioning, confusion or second guessing yourself. There may also be areas you’ve never considered that an experienced coach will have top-of-mind.

  • Existing Business Network – With experience comes a network of industry connections – business connections you may not have yet. Not only will your coach help to open doors so you can meet important people, he or she will know which doors to knock on, and which to avoid. The value of an introduction to the influencers in your niche, not to mention the thought leaders in your target market, is something you simply cannot put a price on.

  • Different Skill Set – While you have design expertise to offer, there are areas of your business which will present challenges you may not be able to meet, such as: hiring a team, bookkeeping, taxes, contracts, business structure, just to name a few. Business coaches often have areas of advanced skills, so you can further your technical abilities while gathering big-picture insight.

  • Return on Investment –  Selecting a business coach can be tricky in today's world of self-proclaimed on-line “business building experts”. Your goal is to find someone who has done what you want to do, who is willing to show you how they did it, and see a return greater than your investment for their expertise. A truly committed coach has a single goal – to help you succeed in your business.

Working with a business coach offers an opportunity to realize your business vision far more quickly than you might have otherwise.

When you choose to work with a business coach, the wisdom and experience they offer will provide you with an opportunity to streamline and accelerate the business building process. This will enable you to get where you want to go more efficiently and productively, with fewer “Uh oh!” moments and many more “Ah ha!” moments – helping to pave the way to a much smoother path to the success of your design business.

Looking for more tips on designing your design business, new interior design trends, and new product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Designing Your Design Business – Your Design Studio is a Good Investment

design studioDoes it still make sense to invest your hard-earned revenue in a design studio when online shopping has become so popular? In a word, yes.In a previous post, we shared the importance of designing a strategic business plan for your business. Here, we argue that investing in a design studio should be an integral part of that plan; a comfortable and stylish place to schedule face-to-face meetings with potential clients, as well as a beautiful space that allows you to share your vision with them.The reason for this is simple: despite the popularity of internet shopping, and your concurrent need for a quality website to showcase your talent, potential clients will want to touch and feel samples while also meeting you personally. You also get to know them better and both of you will benefit from engaging in an environment that promotes building a relationship.This is simply impossible to accomplish in the impersonal world of the internet.Brick-and-Mortar Locations Remain Valuable Client Acquisition ToolsIn a recent article at BusinessOfHome.com, editor-at-large Maury Riad makes a compelling case that traditional brick-and-mortar design centers remain important to vendors in the age of internet shopping.If that is true, then investing in a design studio also remains important to interior designers, for some of the same reasons:

  • Brand building – Building your brand, a unique identity within your market, is difficult to do in an environment that is flooded with competitors from around the world (as the internet is). On the other hand, a well-designed retail location puts you right in front of clients and potential clients. Being able to see and speak with you directly will only enhance your brand as one of the few designers willing to make such an effort – and investment.
  • Reputation enhancement – Like building your brand, building your reputation in a highly competitive marketplace is difficult in the extreme. In-person contact with potential clients, and being available to existing and past clients, ensures that you will be seen as a designer who is committed to customer service and satisfaction. And, since interior design is above all things a local business, enhancing your reputation locally offers massive potential for success.
  • Relationship building – Building relationships is critical to your long-term success as a designer. We’ve said it before (here) and will say it again: repeat customers are more valuable than new customers since they are more likely to buy from you and are less costly to engage, offering you a far greater ROI. Your design studio is the perfect place to re-engage with them and build a lasting relationship that can lead to future work for them. It’s a win/win for both of you.
  • Vendor support – Vendors love to support interior designers who feature their furnishings in their design studio. They tend to offer better pricing and larger discounts, sneak previews of new designs, priority shipping, enhanced payment terms, and even cash-back promotions that can help reduce overhead. Such vendor support can be invaluable to your business and you should take advantage of these types of relationships whenever possible.
  • Community involvement – Being seen as an integral part of your community will automatically build brand recognition, enhance your reputation, and leads to great relationships and profitable networking opportunities. It is also fulfilling on both a professional and personal level. Get involved and make your mark in your community, if you hope to have long-term success.

While it may seem to make sense that the expense of maintaining a design studio in the internet age flies in the face of logic, for the reasons listed above, and more, a brick-and-mortar location makes perfect sense for the success of your design business.Looking for more tips on designing your design business, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Designer Marketing Tips – Who is Your Ideal Client (and what do they want from you)?

designer marketing tipsLike any business, there are certain things you need to do to market yourself as an interior designer. One of the most important designer marketing tips we can offer is that you must create an ideal client profile – a not-so-imaginary sketch of the type of client you would most like to work with.It should go without saying that, as a designer, you must identify your audience if you hope to give them what they want. Having said that, many business owners do not invest the time needed to do this. Instead, they hope and pray their products or services will somehow find an audience on their own. This is unrealistic and almost certain to result in disappointing leads and sales results.There is only one way to reach an audience that is open to your message: you need to know exactly who they are and what they want from you. Creating an ideal client profile will enable you to attract, connect with, and convert potential clients into paying clients – and fans of your work.Of course, this is going to take some research but, it should pay off in the long run. Keep in mind, your goal is to figure out who would benefit the most from your design services. This means you need to know what they like and dislike, how they spend their time, and what their other interests are. This will allow you to find them more easily, make deeper connections, and serve their needs better.Who Are You Working For – Creating Your Client ProfileHere is a list of questions to ask yourself about the audience you want to focus on:

  • Where does your ideal client hang out?
    • Are they at offline locations? Does your ideal client hang out at Starbuck’s, chatting with like-minded coffee lovers? Do they hang out at certain clubs or social functions? Do they travel to various business or design conferences?
    • Do they prefer online locations? Is there a “favorite” blog your audience prefers? What about online forums where they swap ideas or critiques of design projects they’ve seen or been a part of? Whose Facebook page is most popular with your potential clients? What other social networks do they love? Whose webinars are they unable to resist?
  • What does your ideal client watch, listen to, read? Those you hope to attract as clients may already be part of an audience for someone or something so, it makes sense to find out who or what they love to watch, listen to, and read. Like most of us, they’ll be happy to share the things they enjoy or learn from. Be open and absorb all they have to say – without judgment.
  • Who are their mentors and other influencers? You're going to find some trends among your potential clients; subjects, designers, and other influencers who will show up regularly in their comments and shares. Who stands out among your audience and why? Once you identify the Big Names in your niche, you’ll be better able to provide insight and value that meets or exceeds what they are offering to your hoped-for audience.
  • What are their other interests? Beyond simple stats (like age, gender, location, ethnic background, education level, and career), your ideal clients will also have interests outside your niche. What else are they passionate about and how do they fulfill that passion? A fully developed client profile has much more value than a simplistic one, enabling you to better serve their needs as their designer of choice.
  • What professional enrichment, trainings or events do they attend? Real fans (of anything) tend to invest their time, energy, and resources in more than their own design projects. Many of them will travel to see and meet their favorites in person. Others may invest in training to learn more about the subjects that matter to them. Attendance at speeches and seminars by well-known interior designers or trainers is an indicator that your future audience will be committed to the interior designer who speaks to their needs. Make that designer be YOU!

Remember, you are not a member of the audience you are looking for and it doesn’t matter what you think of the things they enjoy doing, or how they spend their spare time. This is all about them!By narrowly defining your ideal client profile, by putting together more information about them rather than less, you are much more likely to identify the perfect fan for your design services.Looking for more tips on interior design success, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Business Building Tip - Why Instagram and the #Hashtag Are Your Friends

business building tipIn a previous business building tip post (What your clients don’t know can hurt them – and you!), we actually had the temerity to suggest that lead generation and client acquisition were not the most important piece in your marketing strategy. Instead, we suggested that you focus on keeping current client interested in your design services – for the very simple reason that they are more likely to work with you.A great way to engage with existing clients, beyond face-to-face interaction, is through social media. Two of the most effective social platforms for engagement are Facebook (obviously) and Instagram (perhaps less obviously).Stated simply, Facebook has value because it is by far the most popular social network around; with users willing to engage and share posts on a regular basis. By its very nature, as well as the almost universal appeal to those in your target audience, FB simply cannot be ignored.On another level we have Instagram. With about a billion users worldwide – nearly two-thirds of whom are millennials and over half of whom are women – the image-based platform offers huge potential as a marketing tool. As the platform itself likes to say, Instagram is, “A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family”.Further, while other social networks allow you to post images and videos, Instagram requires a picture or video in every post – and the picture or video you share will be the main focus of your post.In a visual media like interior design, it almost seems as if Instagram was designed for you to use!How to Use Instagram for Your BusinesshashtagAs a marketing tool for your business, Instagram offers massive potential – if you know how to use it to your advantage – and the effective use of the hashtag is a critical element in your Instagram strategy.Beyond this powerful idea for using imagery as the primary tool to engage your audience, a solid Instagram strategy includes the use of hashtags to communicate ideas. Beginning with the basics, and without assuming you already know what they are, here’s what we’re talking about:“A #hashtag (like this) is a type of label or metadata tag used on social network and microblogging services which makes it easier for users to find messages with a specific theme or content.” – WikipediaNow, there are many people out there who hate hashtags, thinking they make real communication impossible while turning the significant into the mundane and trivial. On the contrary, using a hashtag categorizes your social networking posts, leading readers in the direction you wish them to go – toward you and the information you have to share.Here are 4 tips on using hashtags to best effect on Instagram:

  • Branding your business – Create at least one brand hashtag to establish brand recognition, and put them in your images and comments for added branding opportunities.
  • Discover what works – Research the most appropriate industry-related hashtags. Begin by looking at which hashtags work really well for your competitors, then start including them in your own posts.
  • Stay in the pocket – Relevancy is key here; always use relevant keywords that are related to your posts on Instagram. If a keyword phrase does not relate directly to the information you're sharing, you’ll turn people off – and send them running away.
  • Being redundant is a good thing – The consistent use of your best hashtags will be critical to building a following on Instagram, enabling visitors to find you easily and quickly.

A basic principle of effective marketing is to go where your audience already hangs out. Again, the audience on Instagram is relatively young and female, and nearly 60% of Instagram users check their accounts daily, so engagement on Instagram is very high.Have you already begun to incorporate Instagram strategies into your Social Media Marketing Strategy? Are you using hashtags to engage your audience on Instagram? How has that begun to work for you?Looking for more business building tips for your design business, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Designing Your Design Business – Designing a Strategic Business Plan

strategic business planIt occurs to us that we may have erred in our first post in this series about designing your design business. In that post, we took for granted that our audience was already familiar with the idea of designing a strategic business plan that would increase their odds of success. Today, we hope to remedy that error.Regardless of niche, building a successful business requires planning, as well as implementation. Strategic business planning focuses on all areas of your business, with goals for both short- and long-term success. Without this type of planning, you will be forced into a seat-of-the-pants approach to running your business, adding stress, sapping energy and focus and, almost guaranteeing your dreams will not be realized.While it’s not our goal to offer a template for creating an actual business plan, something you might submit to your bank to acquire a business loan for example, we would like to share some ideas for strategic business planing. These are the broad strokes we have found invaluable for successful interior design and furnishing businesses, whether online or brick and mortar.Successful business owners focus on the big picture as well as the day-to-day minutia of running their business. They know the details are important, like paying bills and employees and handling paperwork but, they are also conscious of the larger issues; what the competition is doing, latest market trends, how their clients are being satisfied (or not), and more.Thinking about the Big Stuff and the Small Stuff all the time can be taxing yet, that is what a leader must do.

Designing Your Strategic Business Plan

Here are some things that can make this easier for you:

  • Goal setting – for the moment and the future. Having a Big Goal for your business is great but you can’t focus on end-of-year stats while ignoring daily, weekly or monthly performance. In other words, if you hope to grow sales by 10% for the year, you will need to focus on increasing sales by a bit less than 1% per month. In other words, setting incremental goals will make achieving your larger goals much more likely.
  • Vision and mission – including your dream and purpose. The vision you have for your business can be anything you dream of achieving, while your mission should be about how you plan to get there. It should also be client-focused and benefits-based; that is, how your business goals and philosophy will make a positive impact on the lives of your clients.
  • Focus on relationships – with clients, suppliers, contractors, and subs. In both the short- and long-term, your greatest business asset is the relationships you build. Working with contractors and subs whom you know and trust (and who know and trust you), has value that is almost impossible to quantify. The same is true of existing clients, who are far more likely to work with you than a prospect (see this post for more on the value of current clients).
  • Be realistic and practical – when setting goals. Goals are used to help a business grow and achieve its objectives. You can use them to promote teamwork and help describe what you want to accomplish. However, setting too many goals for the year (or too big a goal) can lead to problems. Too many goals can diffuse your focus and too big a goal may well be impossible to achieve. If you “keep it real” and use incremental steps to get there, you are far more likely to get where you want to be.
  • Stay focused – on your vision, your mission, and your goals. When your business goals are tied to your vision and your mission, along with realistic steps to achieve them, it becomes much easier to stay focused on things that matter and ignore the rest. This reduces stress and helps you maintain the mental and emotional energy you need to run your design business effectively. That’s a big win/win for you as both an interior designer and business owner.

It’s very important to remember that your business plan should be used as you start your business (to obtain funding or direct operations, for example); while your strategic business plan is primarily used for implementing and managing the overall direction of your business.The difference is significant and critical to the long-term success of your design business.Looking for more tips on designing your design business, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Business Building Tip: What your clients don’t know can hurt them – and you!

business building tipSmall business owners of all types spend a great deal of time on lead generation and client acquisition. This makes sense because virtually every “marketing expert” on the planet claims this is the best (or only) way to build a business. But, as an interior designer, you have a valuable business building resource you may be ignoring – your current clients.

In a recent article at MultiBriefs.com, an online source for targeted, industry-specific news briefs, author Fred Berns makes a strong case for the value of building lasting relationships with existing clients. When you realize that satisfied clients have other needs that you can satisfy, the next logical step is to make yourself available to do so.

According to Berns, “Your current clients are your best ones. They’re the ones who know, trust and value you. They’re the ones most likely to refer you. And they’re the ones as interested in forging lasting partnerships as you are. Perhaps more so."

“They’re looking for a professional they know and trust to handle their future challenges. They know it is less time-consuming and expensive to develop a lasting relationship with a single firm. It’s in their best interest, as well as yours, to develop long-term relationships.”

When you think about it even briefly, this makes a great deal of sense. After all, if landing new design clients is difficult for you, imagine how difficult it might be for a homeowner or business owner to find a designer they can trust and whose vision corresponds with theirs.

Keeping Clients Interested in Your Design Services

When it comes to keeping existing clients interested in your interior design services, Berns offers a simple tip: use the “What about…” question. “No question leads to more sales than one with those two words,” he writes.

For example:

  • “What about your kitchen?”
  • “What about your vacation home?
  • “What about new furniture for the regional offices, too?”
  • “What about having us redesign all your hotel lobbies?”

While many clients will need additional services beyond a single project, very few will know the full range of design services you have to offer – unless you tell them.

In fact, they may have no idea that there is further work to be done. They are not the expert here, you are. It’s not their responsibility to know what you can do for them, it’s your responsibility to let them know.

According to Berns, current clients are the greatest asset you possess for building your design business and a hugely valuable resource for boosting your bottom line:

“A repeat customer spends an average of 67% more than a new one. The long-term value of each client is over 100 times the value of a single transaction. The cost of retaining an existing client is a mere 20% of what it costs to attract a new one.”

Also, “…the average company has a 1 in 14 chance of doing business with a prospect, but a 1 in 4 chance of working more with a customer.”

With numbers like these, it’s obvious that what your clients don’t about you know can hurt them – and you!

Looking for more business building tips for your design business, new home design trends, designer marketing tips, and product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Interior Designer Marketing Tips – Brand Building for Your Design Business

interior design marketing tipsWhen an entrepreneur or business owner searches the internet for help with online marketing, one of the first things the “experts” mention is building your brand. Of course, this presupposes that everyone understands what that means. It occurs to us that we too may have taken this for granted when we post interior design marketing tips so, let’s clear up a few things about brand building for your design business.MBASkool.com, is a “one-stop management knowledge portal and a B-School community for all MBA students, professionals and MBA institutes”.According to the Marketing Dictionary they offer, “Brand Building is generating awareness, establishing and promoting company using strategies and tactics. In other words brand building is enhancing brand equity using advertising campaigns and promotional strategies. Branding is crucial aspect of company because it is the visual voice of the company. Goal of brand building is creating a unique image about the company.”To put it more simply, brand building involves creating a unique identity for your design business; finding ways to separate yourself from your competition by displaying extraordinary talent, creativity, and knowledge as an interior designer.“Oooh Kaaay”, you may think. “But, just how do I do that?”5 Brand Building Tips for Interior DesignersBrand building can be initiated with a well thought brand identity which can help create a strong brand image which goes a long way in consolidating the brand.Here we offer 5 brand building tips to help:

  • Target a local audience – The first thing to remember is that, to a very large extent, your design business is extremely localized. Relatively few designers are able to appeal to, and reach, a national audience. Your clients and prospects will live and work near you and, should you happen to gain a broader reputation, that is a huge plus. However, for now, keep your focus on building your brand as a local designer.
  • Narrow market focus – It’s virtually impossible to be all things to all people. Needs and tastes vary greatly, from homeowner to homeowner and from business owner to business owner. Building brand awareness among your target audience requires that you fit yourself into a niche that others are not filling, or that you believe you are better at filling. Stick with what you’re best at doing, do what you enjoy doing, and the rest will follow.
  • Use images – Whether you carry a portfolio or use a website to promote your design business, high quality pictures of the work you’ve done has real power as a brand building tool. While smart phone cameras have improved dramatically in recent years, you should carry a good digital camera at all times. Remember – you can never have enough images of your design work!
  • Website copywriting – Clarity and consistency are the keys to creating a message that speaks to the hearts of your target audience. They are also critical to enabling you to overcome the challenge of creating an identity that connects with them on a personal level. Finding ways to overcome the detachment and skepticism of your audience, and prospective clients, may be the greatest challenge faced by designers who choose to market themselves online.

When you create your website copy, or perhaps have it done for you, focus on an approach that personalizes online interactions, allowing you to speak directly to the needs of your audience and prospects, in ways that clearly outline the benefits of working with you.

  • Testimonials and reviews – Back in the day, relying on word of mouth recommendations from satisfied clients was a realistic way to find new business. Today though, as more and more business is done online, you will need to add a Testimonials Page to your website. The key to success here is to ask your clients for a review of your work… And update the page regularly with fresh testimonials.

Creating a unique identity for yourself and your design business can be difficult. The competition in most markets is fairly stiff but, if you can focus you marketing efforts in two areas, you should have success. These two areas are: 1) what matters you as a designer, and 2) what matters to your design clients.When those two things mesh, you have found brand building gold!Looking for more new interior design trends, designer marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Setting Goals for Your Design Business for 2019

goal setting for businessIt’s that time of year again; when setting goals for your design business rears its head, creates stress, and leads to sleepless nights. “What’s the point of goal setting?” you may ask. After all, you’ve been doing setting business goals for years and rarely achieve them so, maybe this year it makes more sense to simply “wing it”.If that is or has been, your default position about your business, it’s well past time for a refresher course in goal setting.Goal setting is not a talent we are born with but, instead, is a skill that must be developed. While goal setting for your business is not complex, it does require vision and focus: a vision for a large goal by the end of the year, with focus on incremental steps to get you there.Incremental Goal Setting: Small Steps Lead to Big ResultsAs an example, a realistic approach to goal setting might look something like this:

  1. Set a Big Goal for the year: Increase Revenue by 40% this year
  2. Set 4 Quarterly Goals for the year: Increase Revenue by 10% each quarter
  3. Set 12 Monthly Goals for the year: Increase Revenue by 3.5% each month
  4. Set 50 Weekly Goals for the year: Increase Revenue by 1% each week

Clearly, aiming for and reaching a Big Goal like increasing your business’ revenue by 40% for the year becomes far easier when you think of it as just one percent per week!That 1% per week quickly becomes more than 3.5% per month, which is more than 10% each quarter, which will easily surpass your 40% increase in revenue for this year’s Big Goal!Easy peasy!How to Get ThereOf course, all of this presupposes your design business is running smoothly and you have no serious issues holding you back. Since that is rarely the case, here are a few areas of your business you might want to look at in a bit more depth.

  • Business website review – While your clients may love the services you provide, if they and new visitors find your business website difficult to navigate, you are losing both current and future business. It’s important to remember that your business website is often the first point of contact with potential clients; a virtual store where first impressions are critical to success.

It’s equally important to remember that you have literally seconds to make that first impression and, if you fail to hold your visitor’s attention and/or pique quickly their interest, your website is not serving its purpose. If your website design is more than 2-3 years old, it’s time for a review – and probably a revamp.

  • Client satisfaction survey – Discover your strengths and weaknesses as an interior designer straight from the “horse’s mouth” (so to speak) – the thoughts and feelings of your clients. We’ve mentioned using a client survey before and it can’t be said enough: your clients are the best source of information about where you need to focus your time and energy to grow your interior design business.
  • Online marketing review – Many entrepreneurs and small business owners spend countless hours trying to learn and implement a modern online marketing strategy. Yet, most of that time is wasted, with little return on investment – and even less return for the time and energy spent (wasted?).

If this sounds familiar, you should seriously consider outsourcing your online marketing efforts to an experienced virtual support team. At the very least, you should contract with one to perform a review of your efforts which will enable you to invest your valuable time more effectively. (BTW… here’s a post about how to create a content plan in 5 minutes!)

  • Self-evaluation and assessment – Taking an honest and dispassionate look at yourself as a business owner (not to mention as a person) can be challenging. It’s very natural for individuals to over-value the things they’re good at and to undervalue areas that need improvement. (For some help, check out this post on self-awareness as a leadership tool.)

But, to grow your business (and to be a good boss if you have a team), it is imperative that you understand your own strengths and weaknesses – and begin working on the areas that need your attention. Otherwise, you will never reach your long-term goal of building the business you dreamed of when you began.Granted, there is more that can be said, and learned, about how to set reachable business goals but, these goal setting tips should at least get you started along the right path.If you're interested in learning more about goal setting for your design business, or the latest design trends and online marketing tips, feel free to get in touch with TD Fall today.

Find Alternative Methods for Financing Remodeling Projects & Close More Design Deals

financing remodeling projectsAs outlined in a previous post, titled Interior Design Tips: Dealing with Client Fear, most design clients list the potential cost of a remodel as their number one fear. As we stated then, what they truly fear is taking a risk or making a blunder, often preventing them from moving forward. And, while this remains true, cost remains an impediment to closing the deal on a remodeling project. Knowing this, a sharp designer will find alternative methods for financing remodeling projects – and, by doing so, will close more deals.In the cost-related post, we offered this advice: Being realistic and honest with your clients is the key to overcoming the fear of cost. Whether the project stays within budget will depend on how thoroughly you’ve thought it through for them. If you have done your research on what things cost, requested quotes from contractors, and truly nailed the scope of the project, you can expect to be within a realistic range that your client can accept.We also offered this potential solution: Plan the project thoroughly, know your parameters and limitations and do your research so that you have a realistic budget to work within.Here, we would like to present you with another solution that may help you overcome the cost objection to your interior design projects:How to Pay for a Home Remodeling ProjectAccording to an article at Houzz.com, the majority of home remodeling projects are paid out-of-hand, with clients using cash or savings. Naturally, the fear of depleting their cash reserves can add to a potential client’s fear of the price you quote them to complete a project. For the savvy interior designer, however, presenting alternative methods for financing a remodeling project will help allay this fear – and may be the key to closing the deal with a client who is on the fence.It may surprise you to know that some 85% of 2017 home remodeling projects were paid for with cash (according to the Houzz survey). However, it may be just as surprising to learn that just 54% of those projects were paid for using only cash as the client’s sole method of payment. This information opens to door to you helping your clients find alternative methods for financing remodeling projects.Below is a graph which outlines the ways in which most design clients pay for home remodeling projects, along with alternatives for financing them.remodel payment graphAlternative Methods for Financing Remodeling Projects

  • Credit cards – The options here are store-specific cards and credit cards not tied to a specific store. The upside of this method is that your client could earn rewards points, but the downside is potentially paying interest. According to the survey, 33% of homeowners used credit cards to pay for home renovations in 2017, though most were combined with the use of cash.
  • Secured loans – With secured financing, your client pledges collateral; an asset that would serve as a default payment in the event they fail to pay off the loan. There are several types that can be used to pay for a home remodel. Again, each of them would come with interest on the principal portion of the loan.
  • Home equity lines of credit – Also known as HELOCs, these are revolving lines of credit that can be taken out against home equity. Essentially, the client borrows against the equity in their home, and the house is used as collateral for the debt. As the loan is repaid, the line of credit is replenished, meaning they can borrow against again, it in the future. Some 7% of homeowners surveyed who renovated in 2017 used HELOCs to pay for their projects.
  • Cash-out refinancing – This is a home mortgage refinance in which the new mortgage is for a larger amount than the existing mortgage, with the difference converted to cash for the homeowner. Some 5% of homeowners surveyed, who renovated in 2017, used cash-out refinancing to pay for their renovations.
  • Home equity loans – A home equity loan is a type of second mortgage that allows your client to borrow against the value of their home. It may be a general loan, a construction loan or a home improvement loan. About 4% percent of homeowners used home equity loans to pay for their renovations last year. (Additionally, since this is a home loan, any interest paid may be tax deductible.)
  • Unsecured loans – These are loans that don’t require collateral. Qualifying for such a loan is based on your client’s credit score and income and, of course, there is interest that must be paid over the life of the loan. Just 2% of homeowners Houzz surveyed paid for 2017 home renovations with unsecured loans.

Since a home remodeling project will often require a significant investment by the homeowner, a clever interior designer will often present prospects with alternative methods for financing remodeling projects. Where possible, the designer may even build a relationship with a local bank or credit union to offer such financing. By researching and offering this information to your prospects and clients, you will surely close more remodeling deals.Looking for more interior designer marketing tips, new design trends, and design product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Design Trends for 2019 – What is the Hot New Color of the Year?

pantone color of the year 2019As an interior designer or furnishing supplier, you are surely curious about design trends for the new year. Like many, you are likely curious to know: What’s the hot new color of the year for 2019? As with so many things in the design and furnishings business, the answer to this question will depend on whom you ask.While the Pantone Color Institute has led the way in describing and promoting their “Color of the Year” for the past 20 years, they are certainly not the only company known for offering guidance in color trends. While they may be the best known for doing so, many others who specialize in the manufacturing of colored paint, fabrics, and plastics are also eager to share their insights into color trends.2019 Color of the YearPantone Color of the Year 2019 – Originally founded as the printing arm of an East Coast advertising firm, it is perhaps odd that Pantone has become a true trendsetter for color in the interior design and home furnishings business. Yet, thanks to their development of the Pantone Matching System (PMS), as well as the extensive research they devote to finding and following trending colors, their prominence among designers may not be surprising at all.Behr color of the yearFor 2019, Pantone has determined that Living Coral, a color which represents “playful expression,” and our “innate need for optimism”, will be the hot the color for the next 12 months.BEHR Color Trends 2019 – Behr Paint Company manufactures interior house paints, exterior house paints, decorative finishes, primers, stains, and surface preparation products (retailed exclusively at The Home Depot). Founded in 1947 when Otho Behr, Jr. sold linseed oil wood stains to paint stores from the back of his station wagon, BEHR has become one of the most recognized paint brands in North America.For 2019, the company has presented a monochromatic theme, founded in shades of blue, for their hot color trend. The foundation of this theme is known as Blueprint, with a full range of blue, teal, and gray as the key direction for their 2019 Color Trends. This enables a creative designer to layer light and dark blues on walls, cabinets, furniture, and décor items for results that make an impact.Further, ColorSmart by BEHR® is an online app which allows you, and your clients, to preview colors in uploaded sample images or photos.

Benjamin Moore color of the year

Benjamin Moore Color Trends 2019 – Founded in 1883 by Benjamin Moore, and based in New Jersey, the company remains in the top 25 of North American coatings manufacturers. Dedicated to the vision of their founder, their stated goal is to produce the highest-quality paints and finishes in the industry, and to deliver them directly to their customers through a nationwide network of knowledgeable, customer-friendly, independent retail locations.Described as “calm, composed, and effortlessly sophisticated”, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2019 has been labeled Metropolitan, and “exudes glamour, beauty, and balance”. Their color of the year for 2019 is supported by Color Trends 2019, a coordinating palette of 15 harmonious hues.“Metropolitan AF-690 emanates nuance, harmony, and extravagant ease. Always adaptable, it softens to matte or shimmers with sheen. It's neutral. It's understated. It just is. This is color, off-duty." – Ellen O'Neill, Benjamin Moore & Co.Sherwin williams color of the yearSherwin Williams 2019 Color of the Year – Established in 1866 by founders Henry Sherwin and Edward Williams, the company has firmly established itself as one of the top five coatings manufacturers in the US. Now a Fortune 500 company, they are best known for the development and marketing of the Valspar, Weatherbeater, and Dutch Boy brand paint lines.Not to be outdone by the competition, the 2019 color of the year from Sherwin Williams is known as Cavern Clay, “A warm terracotta color with ancient, elemental roots. Cavern Clay is a nod to midcentury modern style, but with the soul of the American Southwest, which together creates a desert modern aesthetic.”As described on their website: “This warm, earthy hue is both casual and refined. It can be the backdrop of a playful, welcoming dining room or kitchen when paired with bright tiles, warm stone, and sculptural greenery. Complementary materials include leather, simple woodgrains, and indigenous cacti in contemporary, sleek gardening planters.”Pittsburgh Paints (PPG) Color of the Year 2019 – Of course, no such list would be complete without the #1 paint company in the world, PPG Industries, the owner of Pittsburgh Paints. Originally founded as the Pittsburgh Glass Company in 1833, and with headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, PPG operates in more than 70 countries around the globe and is the largest coatings company in the world.

Kravet color of the year

For 2019, PPG invites you to “Experience the transformative power of paint with PPG’s 2019 Color Trends, and their 2019 Color of the Year – Night Watch – a rich, luxurious, and classic shade of green allowing spaces to emulate the feeling of lush greenery and the healing power of nature. Night Watch’s versatility allows the paint color to be used in a variety of rooms and design segments – from healthcare to commercial and residential design.”Kravet Color of the Year 2019 – We would be remiss if we did not share with you the color of the year from Kravet Inc, which owns Kravet, Lee Jofa, Groundworks, GP & J Baker, and Brunschwig & Fils – all of which are high-end fabric houses that specialize in style, luxury, and exceptional design.Taking their lead from Pantone, Kravet is fully on board with Living Coral as a featured color in the fabrics they offer for the coming year. From draperies to wallcoverings and from upholstery to trim, the Kravet designers have dedicated themselves to presenting designers and furnishing suppliers with a full palette of selections from which to choose – all of them using the Pantone color of the year.ppg color of the yearKravet colorsLooking for more interior design trends and marketing tips, and design product ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.