How do you ensure you have happy clients - so vital to a successful business?
Happy clients result in recommendations and return business. It is important to manage expectations, be honest, and keep clients up to date before they 'ask' or 'chase' you. Impressing them with your design work goes without saying, being proactive and positive is key and remember it is as much about the process as the end result. The mantra 'under promise and over deliver' is always a good guide. Most of all, happy clients provide the motivation for doing fantastic work!
If you could only do one piece of marketing for your business, what would it be and why?
The best marketing is word of mouth, so doing a good job is your starting point for good marketing. No amount of marketing will help if you can't deliver. Personally, the next step for Interior Style Studio is to enter in some awards.
What role does (or has) a mentor play(ed) in your professional life?
A mentor has been invaluable for setting goals, creating focus and building momentum. Having an objective listener who understands the business has been a great support and I've found it a motivating process. Being mentored by Polly has opened up other conversations within the industry which in itself has been very motivating. It's good to get out of your work bubble and seek out other professional insights - we can all learn from each other.
Why, if ever, have you turned clients down?
Turning down a client is not easy, but it can be empowering. Know your boundaries and know when a project does not inspire you. If the brief is not the right fit or the chemistry with the client isn't right, chances are the project will be challenging, and not in a positive way. It's ok to say no - and in cases like that, it is important to do so. I've turned down a high-profile client as I did not have the capacity at that time to deliver the project and the brief was not suited to our design approach.
How did you find your USP - was it immediately obvious or did you have to develop your niche?
I didn't go out to find a USP or specifically develop a niche as it's something that has evolved naturally. It is now a case of defining what I've achieved to date and reflecting on how to develop the business going forward. Getting clarity and defining your USP is something I'd recommend you do with a mentor or branding expert - another professional perspective is key.
What's your top piece of advice for running a business?
Surround yourself with a supportive professional network (e.g. accountant and mentor) get all the necessary industry accreditations and know how to keep yourself motivated. Know your financials, streamline your time management and take time to consider the 'business', not just the 'projects'. Most of all, focus on enjoying a positive and productive day, and the rest will follow.
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