New Year’s resolutions

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2022? Here, business coach Katy Stevenson Bretton from Design & Align, shares her 10 business resolutions for interior designers.

We will show up powerfully as ourselves.

  • We understand that blindly copying what our peers are doing is not the path to success. We will take the time to figure out why we are running this business and what we really want from it. We will do away with wasting time, money and emotion following what others are doing, and will commit to focusing our energies on the actions that align with who we are and the life we want to lead. 

We will position ourselves as the best choice for our clients.

  • We recognise that the last thing the world needs is another generalist ‘we do everything’ interior design studio. By failing to figure out our unique combination of skills, qualities and experience we become just one of many design firms that our client could choose.  We will do the work to understand our distinctiveness and demonstrate our expertise and passion for what we do in a way that makes us the only choice for our clients.

We will do away with bland marketing copy.

  • Our clients don’t care that as a child we enjoyed rearranging our bedroom. And they’ve seen it written a thousand times that we are inspired by nature. Clients only care how we can help them. How our creative genius, problem solving abilities, personality and values will give them what they want, need and desire. We will therefore commit to ensuring that every piece of marketing content we produce focuses on our client (not ourselves) and how we can solve their problems. 

We will stop chasing followers.

  • Followers do not equal sales. Of course we all get that little thrill when we see that our marketing efforts have led to new people finding and liking what we do.  But if we ask ourselves honestly what difference this has made to the success of our business, usually the answer will be none.  Instead we resolve to focus our energies on the impact – converting followers into prospects and prospects into profit.

We will seek to better understand our clients.

  • We recognise that our clients don’t buy what we do, they buy what they desire.  During the initial enquiry stage we will seek to uncover our client’s true motivation in asking us for a proposal.  Once we understand their motivation, and the deep-rooted desire behind it – perhaps even better than they do – we will show them that we get it and that we will deliver. 
Katy Stevenson Bretton of Design & Align

We recognise that being visible isn’t enough. We have to sell.

  • We accept that to run a successful interior design business we need to do so much more than just design. And we recognise that even being the most celebrated designer does not mean we’ll have a profitable business. Whilst we welcome recognition and publicity as an important means of gaining visibility, we understand that knowing how to convert those eyeballs into paying clients is a vital skill we must master if we are to succeed.

We will be selective.

  • Instead of chasing new clients we will seek ‘ideal fits’.  People who align with our values. Who love what we do and trust us to deliver. Who are fully ready to invest in our services and don’t need persuading that we are the right choice. We will never over-invest our time and energy in a prospect only to find that they never had the intention or the means to purchase our services. We will say no early and often, politely turning away those that would be better served by others and those that cannot afford us.  This includes those projects that ‘might’ lead to something, or that ‘may’ open doors for us, but have no actual budget to pay us.

We won’t give away our expertise for free.

  • We understand that clients will often seek our expert opinion during the enquiry phase and we will politely but firmly make it clear that we will not part with our thinking or be drawn into solving problems without being financially engaged to do so.  If we demonstrate to our client that we do not value our creativity or ideas, we are teaching our client not to value them either. 

We will charge more and discount less.

  • As our expertise grows so too will our prices. We will proudly acknowledge that last year’s business is not this year’s business and therefore last year’s prices are not this year’s prices. We recognise that when we win work by charging less, price becomes our positioning, rather than our unique skills and experience. We will price our proposals from a place of empowerment, certain of the value we provide. We refuse to let fear lead us into lowballing ourselves.

We will hold our power in client relationships.

  • We will assert our position as respected and appropriately remunerated expert advisors to our clients, rather than desperate, poorly compensated order-takers. When a client approaches us we will remember that the purpose of meeting with prospects is not to convince or persuade, but to determine if we’re a good fit for each other. We will have the courage to discuss our boundaries early on and to stick to them throughout the project, knowing that this means clarity for our clients, ease in our operations, and the cultivation of our energy; which enables us to do our best work. 

You can contact Katy at Design & Align here to find out how she supports interior design professionals to grow their business

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