Which Business Model is Right for You?

Have you taken the time to ask yourself what business model is right for you, for your lifestyle and for the vision you have for your business?  Is your business controlling you or are you in control of your business?  Does it allow you time for other priorities in your life – family, friends, community, health, spiritual, personal time, etc.?

According to Investopedia.com, a business model is “The plan implemented by a company to generate revenue and make a profit from operations. The model includes the components and functions of the business, as well as the revenues it generates and the expenses it incurs.”  So consider the questions above.  Does your current business model allow for those other priorities in your life or do you need to make a change?

Take a serious look at a typical week.  How many hours are you spending on the money-making, client-generating activities vs. the time-consuming activities that you might be able to hire someone else to do?  Imagine if you had more hours each week to spend on the money and client generating activities.  Then you would be on a path to increase your revenue and add to your team – at less than your billable rate to do those things that take you away from revenue-producing activities.   Not only could you find someone who charges less than your billable rate but probably they will do a better job and are more efficient – saving you even more time and money.

Put some serious thought into the vision for your business.  Some may be to create a significantly larger business with 8+ senior designers, various assistant designers, project managers, expeditors, etc. on the team.  With that scenario, you then become the Creative Director but you may be more removed from the design process than you want.

Not all designers want a full-service design firm. They may not want to get involved in purchasing, etc. – sticking just to consultation and design.  Or you may decide you still want to retain control over the items specified, but you turn the purchasing over to a purchasing agent.

There are many other ways you can “design” your business, but even if you decide to remain a small firm, at least think about the advantages of expanding your team beyond that of a sole practitioner.  Just by adding a bookkeeper, a design assistant, and possibly another senior designer, you have generated an opportunity to increase your revenue, allowed for your ability to take vacations with someone still “on duty”, and created a vision of a more professional firm.

You also need to be sure you have the processes and procedures in place so that whatever model you choose, your firm runs as smoothly and professionally as the vision you have created

So identify the priorities in your life, evaluate various types of business models and decide if you need to readjust your current business model so that it operates effectively and efficiently to create the profit you want while also allowing you the lifestyle you want.

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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