Finish 2020 Strong

As we reach the end of the year, the unforeseen challenges you faced in 2020 may have made your goals more difficult to obtain and you may have had to readjust and shuffle some objectives around. But before you allow the setbacks of 2020 to infect your thoughts with negativity, whether you lead a “team” of one — or have other members on your team, react as a leader and evaluate the positives created over the past year.

Going through times of crisis can teach leaders valuable skills – even if you are the only one on your team. Actually design businesses do not operate alone so you do have a team, even if it is an external one made up of your resources, workrooms, bookkeeper, and of course your clients.

Review your 2020 goals and identify what you were able to accomplish. You may be surprised that even in the midst of a year that was anything but normal, you still accomplished a great deal. Leaders are decision makers and are also flexible. You probably had to make adjustments in how you did business and as you review the past year you will probably find a number of examples of having to make quick decisions and to be flexible in operating your business and possibly adjusting your goals.

Communication is one of the most important skills of a leader and is the key to building strong teams and also relationships with vendors, clients, and others. It became even more important in 2020 and you may have found that you needed to communicate more often and in different ways. Communicating early and often is a valuable leadership skill – be sure you continue to do so, and get creative about how you communicate. Speaking about communication – talk to other designers and brainstorm new approaches and ways to communicate.

Establishing clarity through organization with effective processes and procedures is a valuable leadership skill. 2020 may have “encouraged” you to focus more on your current processes and procedures. Maybe you and/or your team developed some new ones and clarified others so that your business will operate even more effectively and efficiently going forward. Use this time as we come to the end of the year to evaluate your current processes and procedures and identify what you feel could continue to be improved and implemented in 2021.

It’s up to you to set the tone – be upfront and keep everyone informed but also keep a positive attitude. If you are not positive about your business and its future then how can you expect others on your team, including your clients, to be?

Finally, before 2020 comes to an end, review and evaluate your marketing plan. What adjustments did you make this past year and how effective were they? Again, talk to other designers and small businesses and exchange ideas as to what new ideas were implemented and what were the successes.

Remember that interior design is a creative business – and 2020 was definitely a year for you to practice your creativity!

Check out our Creative Genius Podcast Series…we have some amazing interviews that will inspire you.

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Drue Lawlor

Director of Coaching Drue leads our coaching and consulting. As a NCIDQ certified designer she and Gail co-developed the 12-month Strategic Business Transformation Group Coaching. The program leads the way in teaching designers how to build or redesign their businesses for profit and success. Outside of Gail Doby Coaching and Consulting 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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