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Interior design is a very competitive market that many small business owners find hard to break into. Below, you will find some tips and tricks on how to grow your business successfully.

Value Your Network:

Networking has always been key to being successful in interior design. You need to put yourself out there to grow your clientele. It’s important to not view networking as merely transactional, but as a way of building strong connections and future opportunities. Start from day one! Foster good relationships with your interior design classmates and instructors, as they could turn out to be your biggest advocates. Interior design is a business that heavily relies on word of mouth references. As style is so individual, people hire designers who come recommended to them by people they know and trust. 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family over anyone else.1 

This is also why you should never underestimate the importance of your previous clients. As with any business, having a loyal client base is the foundation of interior design. Satisfied customers will come back when it’s time for their next remodel – and they will probably recommend you to their friends and relatives!

Another great growth resource are your vendors – workrooms, tile shops, fabric stores – make sure to get to know them, foster a good working relationship and they will recommend you to their customers.

Specialize:

Many graduates of the American Institute of Interior Design have gone on to specialize and benefit as the go-to designers for specific styles and locales. For instance, when clients hire an interior designer for a bathroom remodel, they will most likely prefer someone with other, similar projects in their portfolios. A report by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) in 2019 found that interior designers who specialized in commercial design made 14k USD more than those who practiced general residential design.2 With a specialization, you’re able to carve out a niche in a specific area of design, and your name comes up when potential clients are looking for that style – your name becomes closely associated with your specialization.

Outsource Project Management:

Implementing interior design project management software allows you to spend less time on administrative tasks and focus instead on other parts of your business, such as growing your network. One of the best project management software currently on the market is Ivy.3 It’s a platform that takes multiple tools and combines them into one; whether it’s product sourcing, proposals, invoices or even time and expense tracking. One of the biggest benefits of Ivy is it allows for Quickbooks integration, which eliminates double entry on all purchase orders, invoices and proposals.4 This comes in especially handy around tax season!

Design a great day!

1 https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2012/global-trust-in-advertising-and-brand-messages-2/

2 https://www.asid.org/resources/research/interior-design-salaries-and-benefits-report-2019

3 https://www.ivy.co/designers/magazine/industry/ivys-award-winning-webinars-for-the-interior-design-community/

4 https://quickbooks.intuit.com/franchise/new-to-ivy/qbo/