So You're A Brilliant Designer - But Can You Run a Business??
Interior designers are endlessly creative and talented. But when it comes to the practicalities of running a profitable business, have you got what it takes to make your business succeed? Polly Williams, founder of Camberyard, works directly with clients to streamline their interior design business and maximise every opportunity. Polly has some expert advice on using your talent and USP, to make your business stand out in the ever-expanding interior design and soft furnishings market.
Decide how you want your business to run
Designers are so creative, but do not necessarily always understand the need for business and marketing strategy. Or indeed have time for the everyday minutiae of running a business. As with all businesses, whilst you understand the ins and outs of your work, others may not. The pressure of building a marketing strategy including digital, social media and PR, often feels stifling. Similarly networking, prospecting for clients, proposal planning, winning business and invoicing can seem a challenge, but they are necessary and should be managed carefully. This is why you must implement a business strategy from the outset.
Create a brand that everyone wants
Creating a brand, which is unique to the market place in its look and feel, is essential. What do you want to be known for? What unique characteristics do you bring to your business, your life and your clients? Have you developed and refined your USP? These are just some of the questions you should be asking yourself, if you are launching or streamlining an interior design business.
‘The Power of Intention’
Success starts with ambition. This is where a marketing and business action plan can make all the difference. Visualise how you want your business to succeed. How do you intend to be recognised by clients, peers, your friends and family for what you have accomplished so far? What do you aim to accomplish in the future? Potential clients need to share this vision, and you can only convey it by having a clear marketing and business strategy, to lead your brand and develop your USP in the marketplace.
Networking & collaboration at events such as HOUSE
Think ahead – it’s not just what, but who do you need to know?
By taking the time to review your business, where you are and where you want to be, you can focus on the right marketplace for your design products or your interior design practice. Quite often, when launching an interiors business, the client can become consumed by the day-to-day running, without taking time to stop, contemplate, think and plan. When a business grows and becomes successful, you can miss opportunities to connect and collaborate with other brands in the marketplace, which could lead to a rewarding partnership for both parties. As The Designers’ Advisor, we like to join the dots with our clients to help them network within the industry.
Get creative with your budget
Marketing and business strategies are not necessarily about hiring agencies and outsourcing. At Camberyard, we believe running a business can also be an inside job. If you fully understand your USP and your value within your marketplace, you can use this to successfully market yourself. We like to think creatively for our clients – how can we maximise their potential without spending a fortune? This quite often means collaborating with other brands, designers and events. Most businesses are cash poor, but have a wealth of services and time, which they can successfully trade in return for marketing opportunities.
Do you know what you don’t know?
Whilst this is an ambitious statement, it is true in business that negatives can tell you more than positives. We help our clients to review their business and really analyse what they want to achieve and where they are aiming to be. We analyse their brand, USP, website and marketing materials, to see if they are best placed in the market to realise their ambition. We like to work holistically, making sure our clients understand all areas of marketing, from PR and events to networking and collaboration, in order to grow their companies.
Lay the foundations of your design business
It all comes back to being an expert in your field. As a creative designer, do you have the business and marketing knowledge, which will make your company stand out to potential clients? Are you comfortable discussing fees, proposals and contracts? If not, then we at Camberyard can help you build the foundations of your interior design business. We can mentor you through the process of launching your business, branding and marketing it successfully, and running and growing your interior design company to maximise your business potential.
With over 12 years’ of experience advising an interior design studio in London, Polly knows how to launch a design and interior brand and make it a success.
In 2015, Polly founded Camberyard, an advisory firm offering bespoke marketing and business solutions to interior designers, furniture and lighting companies, fabric and flooring providers and bathroom and kitchen specialists.