Do you know what you really need to do to end the year strong? I think we can all agree that lots of changes occur in a year. Conducting a yearly review for your interior design business can be eye-opening and helpful when making decisions for the future.
Reflecting on your past successes helps you understand what went well. And looking at the things that did not go as planned will help you discover areas for potential growth in the new year. Before starting off the new year, give it a try. Find out what a huge difference an annual review can make in how you operate your business going forward!
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals (and Revisit Them Often!)
Do you set goals for yourself? Before you answer, I want you to make sure you understand what I mean when I say goals. Your goal is only a wish until you write it down and put your commitment behind it.
You should have specific parameters for your goals. Each goal should be aligned with your step-by-step action plan. And your target timeframe for each step of the plan AND the overall goal should be defined.
With that in mind, I will ask again. Do you set goals for yourself — and if so, are they SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely) goals? To truly set yourself up for success, define SMART goals for your business before the new year begins. And review them quarterly to make adjustments as needed.
Rolling into another year without fully understanding what worked and what needs to change is a recipe for disaster. A bit blunt? Perhaps. But to see real change in your business, you must leverage and upscale the most successful initiatives and rethink the unsuccessful ones.
Check out my free resource, the Job Profitability Analyzer for Interior Designers, to help with your planning. And to get started on the right foot, ask yourself these questions before year-end:
- Did I set SMART goals?
- Did I write down my goals?
- What worked?
- What did not work?
- Where do I need to make changes?
- Am I good at holding myself accountable or do I need help?
Review your Finances and Profitability
How often do you review your business finances? I am talking about looking at your total sales for the year, net income, cost of products, expenses, and profit margin.
How about profitability on each project? At the very least, you should be reviewing your finances once a year — ideally, after every job.
For an interior designer, the project post-mortem (evaluating each job after completion) can uncover a ton of learnings. Assessing your service offerings, pricing, and profitability on each project can not only reveal the patterns worth paying attention to but can also unveil factors that are undermining your pricing structure.
Here is a quick example…
During a recent 1:1 consultation with one of my clients, we analyzed her past design jobs and noticed her profit margin was much lower on larger jobs. Digging a little deeper, it became apparent that she unintentionally reduced quotes for bigger projects out of fear that the client would not be willing to pay it, without even giving the client a chance to respond!
As a business coach for interior designers, I see these types of limiting beliefs – the stories we tell ourselves – all the time. Kudos to my client for recognizing it and working on her story and script for presenting the larger price tags.
If you recognize yourself in this story, you are not alone. Check out my Job Profitability Analyzer that allows you to quickly see how profitable each design job is and where you can make adjustments to increase your profits. You can also access the analyzer as a member of The Confident Interior Designer Membership Site!
Evaluate your Marketing Strategy
When it comes to marketing your business, if you are marketing without a set strategy, you might as well throw spaghetti at the wall and see which pieces stick. Strategy is the essential element that determines and connects all of your promotional activities, helping you increase your brand awareness, build an audience, and grow your pipeline.
But here is the thing. Marketing is not a one-and-done thing. It is a long-term commitment. For marketing to truly work, it needs a strategy that clearly articulates who you serve, what pain points you address, how you address them, and why you and not anyone else.
How has your marketing performed so far this year? I get it, marketing can be hard. If you feel like you have been driving blind at times, hoping to achieve success with ad-hoc marketing initiatives, check out my Magnify Your Marketing Guide for Interior Designers. It will help you find a marketing method to reach your ideal client, and it provides a ton of worksheets to help you execute your plan.
Ask yourself these questions before the year-end:
- Do I have a marketing strategy?
- Was I consistent with my marketing or gave up after a few tries?
- Which initiatives resulted in higher engagement, sales, brand exposure, visibility?
- Which initiatives failed to deliver any results or performed poorly?
- What should I do more of and what should I do less of?
- Which initiatives will get me closer to my business goals?
- Which initiatives resonate best with my ideal client?
- What changes do I need to make to get the desired results?
Ready to end the year strong and set yourself up for success in the upcoming year? Great! Set SMART goals and revisit them quarterly. Review your finances and profitability on each design job. Evaluate what marketing initiatives were most effective this year. Then you are well-positioned to decide what to focus on in the year ahead.
Sometimes you are too close to your business and need a little outside perspective to gain clarity on what worked and what did not and to hold you accountable for achieving your goals. If that is the case for you, sign up for a business strategy call and I will help you make the right decisions for this year and next.
Hop into one of my private FB groups, the Interior Design Business Forum (for Interior Designers) or The Coaching Hot Spot (for online Coaches and Consultants ) to get my daily inspiration, lessons, and thoughts. Let these communities help you become an actionable entrepreneur!!