Navigating Interior Design Business Development
The FOUNDATION level of the hierarchy of needs is all about setting up the infrastructure and systems that will enable you to incorporate a team, outsourced support and utilize well all manner of resources, into your firm. Without this foundational work, getting your processes and payroll dollar to translate into efficiency and profit will be very difficult. Things will feel disjointed and disorganized. Too much will be in your brain and getting team members to click in, be proactive and experience long periods of high levels of concentration will be unattainable. Setting up a well-conceived foundation enables all the transactions of business to actually be absorbed well and processed effectively.
All growth begins with understanding your starting point and your target. You will want to gauge where you are and what kind of lifestyle and business you are building.
Determine lifestyle goal and how that translates into the type of business you want
Clarify business goals
Determine strengths and deficits in your business as it stands
Determine strengths and deficits in your personal development as a leader
Make sure your business goals facilitate the lifestyle you are building
Make sure the business you envision are authentic and incorporate your values
This section of your foundation is all about establishing the culture of your firm. Know what your brand stands for, what your brand anchors are and be clear about what you do and who you do it for.
Key Characteristics Defined
Company Manifesto & Promise Defined
Ideal Client Defined
Ideal Client’s Intangible Needs Defined
Team Code of Ethics and Guiding Principles Defined
This section is about getting your ducks in a row. Basic documents and standard operating procedures.
Client Contracts, Proposals, PO’s and Transactional Documents
Vendor/Contractor Code of Conduct & Operating Procedures
1099 & Employee Nondisclosure/Confidentiality/Non-Compete Agreements
Operations Manual / Standard Operating Procedures for team – even 1099’s
Think of section 4 as all of the small connections that happen between the big moving parts of the company structure. How do they connect? What are the pass offs? Where are things kept? What are the rules around how things are done? How are they tracked or monitored etc.?
Time Billing Protocol
Mileage & Reimbursables Protocol
Office Equipment Maintenance
Contact List & Maintenance Protocol
Digital File Directory Organization Protocol
Online Properties Information & Maintenance Protocol
You’ve got to be prepared to make and spend a lot of money and do it in a way that is easily administered, tracked and monitored. The system is best if it is integrated with the design process. Make sure to have routine reports and protocols in place that happen automatically, meaning you do not have to ask for them. They should be part of the normal office routine.
As the CEO you should not be searching, and constantly pulling information. This information should be organized in a way that helps you navigate your firm, not just raw numbers. It should be pushed to you automatically at regular intervals, weekly or monthly. If you’re having to continually ask for it, something is wrong.
Time Billing Tracking & Invoicing
Purchase Order Procedures
Monthly/Bi-Monthly Financial Reporting Protocol
Deposits and Banking Protocol
Job Cost Tracking & Reporting Protocol
Monthly CEO Financial Review Protocol
Navigating Time Scheduled into Calendar
CEO Quarterly Meeting with Accountant
Project Management is where the foundational structures begin to engage and click into motion. Moving parts that interact with clients, vendors and the design team have to sync up and engage with each other in anticipated and a predetermined manner. It is your job as the CEO to facilitate smooth operational processes and optimized tools.
Client Presentation Protocol
New Project Workload Scheduling Protocol
New Client Protocol
New Client Set Up Procedure
Design Process Flow Chart
Weekly Team Sync Method
Design Development Method
Office Rhythm Method
Inter-Office Communication Flow Protocol
Installation Checklist & Protocol
Punch List/Project Wrap-up Procedure
Proposal & Ordering Protocol
Scheduling & Project Management Procedures
Centralized Data/Project Management System
Managing Images Protocol
This is the last piece of the foundation of your firm. This is where you prepare specifically for building out your team. You’ll want to provide them with not only the organizational structures of the rest of your foundation, but well-conceived H/R resources and structure around their employment and role.
Updated Team Job Descriptions
90 Day/1 Year Review Schedule
Review Forms & Procedure
Bi-Annual Team Building
New Team Member Orientation Packet
New Team Member Training Checklist & Procedure
And that’s it. Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or thoughts.
Next we’ll dive into the team and the roles each member plays.