Diversifying Your Business

Photo Credit: DesiLu

How is your business positioned for the cycles that the economy will go through? Your financial advisor has probably talked to you about the value of diversifying your investments – to better protect those investments. But have you thought about the importance of diversifying your business – for the same reason? Does it make sense to only have one type of client, knowing that the economy is cyclical?

Again, it comes back to your “ideal client” and the value of identifying more than one type of ideal client – particularly in the type of design work you might offer.

For example, your ideal client profile may specify “full design services” but what if you thought about expanding your “ideal clients” to include those interested in consultation. The benefit of this is that you have no ordering, arrangements for delivery, etc. It can be a quick in and out job or you may take consultations that extend over a period of time. You might charge a flat fee for a minimum number of hours or even a charge for a day. There are people getting ready to downsize and want guidance deciding what to take, what will best fit into their new location, etc.

The consultation client option can also extend to helping someone who may want to shop retail and you may set up a system for this type of client. It might be that they are making a move, want you to identify what of their existing items will go with them and then you would research and specify items of furniture and accessories that they would purchase – and if you choose to, take them to see the items once you have identified the pieces. Then, they do all the ordering, deal with delivery, etc. but using a spreadsheet you put together for them. You may charge per type of job (with specifics identified) or possibly with a daily rate.

You also might offer a menu from which that specific ideal client can choose what services they would like.

Other areas for varying your ideal client might include specializing in kitchen and bath remodels – or lighting design. It depends on your areas of expertise and you don’t want to try to be an expert in everything but identify areas where you can diversify and expand your ideal clients.

Another area to think about is the design specialty of “design for all ages”. How can you help clients adjust their home to allow for various physical or mental challenges as they age. Or to allow for a child with physical or mental challenges – or to allow all friends and family members to visit no matter what their limitations might be – and no matter whether they are permanent or temporary.

So plan for economic cycles and realize that it offers you the ability to be creative in identifying a variety of areas of expertise – and an expanded ideal client profiles.

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Drue Lawlor

Pearl Collective Coach Drue Lawlor is a long time Pearl Collective coach. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the Strategic Business Transformation Coaching program. The program led the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Drue is also a regular contributor to the Pearl Collective Resources library of interior designer business articles. Outside of Pearl Collective she is the co-founder of Boomers with a Plan B. She is driven to help clients create a safer and healthier homes. You’ll find her in Senior Magazine and a contributor to the following books: Design for Aging: Post Occupancy Evaluations and Interior Graphic Standards, second edition.

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