There’s a lot to prepare when starting an interior design business. Aside from a degree from an accredited university, designers should also have a natural penchant for revamping functional spaces.
But passion and a degree are not the only measurements of success in business. There’s much more to take into consideration, such as defining the right audience, building your brand, and preparing an actual business plan.
Learn actionable steps to launching an interior design business that sails smoothly and reaps profit.
Define Your Brand
Creating a brand is a crucial first step for every business. A brand defines who the business is and what it stands for—and it’s one way of connecting with the right audience. In fact, 89 percent of shoppers develop loyalty to a brand that shares their values.
Branding is a whole other concept, but here are some steps to kick off your interior design brand.
- Finding a niche. Every interior design business is known for something, whether a particular style or a room. Whatever it is, it’s important to figure out where your expertise lies.
- Setting a target audience. When you have a certain demographic in mind, it’s easier to create and market your services.
- Creating a brand name, logo, and website. These help create a solid brand identity that customers can easily recognize and connect with.
Get Some Experience
It can be hard to get clients when a designer has no case studies to show off. Most customers will want images and other proof of a business’s quality of work before hiring them.
Everyone starts from somewhere. The solution to this is to simply get some experience before going hard on marketing.
In the meantime, an interior design business can take on smaller projects for an affordable rate. There’s also the option of offering services for free to personal acquaintances or family members. This will help the business collect experiences and some really great portfolio cases.
Prepare a Business Plan
Here’s where it gets technical: creating a business plan. It’s a road map that will help a brand turn a valuable idea into a profitable business. These essential steps will help interior designers put together a winning plan.
Defining Your Services
Interior design has become a vast industry. There’s a variety of options a business can offer to clients, such as traditional or online interior design, home staging, product staging, and renters’ room styling. Once designers get to know their niche, it’ll be easier to turn it into services.
Interior designers can even branch out to e-commerce. They can sell things online—like beautifully curated home decors and antique furniture—as an extension of their brand. This doesn’t only add a source of income but also serves as a marketing opportunity.
Marketing Your Business
Now that you’ve read about knowing your target audience and branding your business, the next step is creating a marketing plan around them.
List down well-defined goals and how they can be achieved. For example, the goal is to get one homeowner client per month. If this is the case, then a business may turn to social media and target ads to the homeowner demographic.
Finding Suppliers and Resources
The interior design industry is all about connections. A good business forms relationships with manufacturers whom they trust and connect with in terms of style and work ethic.
Local suppliers are not the only ones interior designers can turn to when looking for great deals. They can tap into manufacturers in online stores. After all, e-commerce stores are a treasure trove for unique materials for interior design.
Set Your Pricing
Pricing strategies can vary among interior design businesses. There are options to offer an hourly rate, a flat fee for the entire project, the cost plus method, or retail pricing.
The most common approach is a hybrid of hourly and retail pricing. This ensures payment for the time spent on the project and for every cost added from subcontractors.
No matter which approach a business takes, it’s important to make sure all expenses are covered to ensure a good ROI.
Find Your First Real Client
Finding the first client may be difficult for some and easy for others. If interior designers find themselves in the former, they need to take action to overcome the slump.
A good place to start when looking for clients is referrals from friends and families. Social media is a great platform a business can use to share their website and pitch their services to personal connections. It won’t be long until inquiries start coming in.
Every interior design business doesn’t gain success overnight—and that’s OK. The trick is in learning how to be patient and fully trusting the process. If a business is on the right track, it’ll start reaping profits soon.