There's no doubt about it; the interior design industry can be a demanding one. Whether you're running your own design firm or are a consultant or bookkeeper trying to improve a design firm's business efficiency, there's always a multitude of challenges to overcome. From finding clients, working with vendors, and selecting suppliers to supporting staff, managing projects, and deep-diving into your firm's financials, you never really know what each day will bring.
Fortunately, however, many of these pressure points can be alleviated with the right business management software. Because when workflows are streamlined and systems are automated, everything smoothly flows from one project stage to the next. You end up with more time to focus on growing the business, flexing those creative muscles, or just doing more of the things that you love (like designing!). So read on, as we uncover 7 problems most interior designers face and how DesignDocs can help.
1. Time Management
In any part of our business or personal lives, all of us have to learn how to master the art of time management. But the job as an interior designer certainly adds some levels of difficulty as time management and organizational skills are regularly tested. Turnaround times can be tight, so it's essential to keep track of change requests and project updates as efficiently and fastidiously as possible.
But with DesignDocs intuitive workflows, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Make an update to an item, and you'll see it automatically updated across all aspects of that project – meaning there's no need to do work twice. DesignDocs helps you by minimizing the amount of time spent on doing those tedious admin tasks. It allows you the freedom to prioritize your time for the important things, like ensuring projects stay on schedule and deadlines are met.
2. Selling a Service
Interior design is a service, and it can be more difficult to sell a service than it can be to sell a physical product. The way we conduct business and how we engage with clients, new and old, has changed. Zoom meetings have become a way of life and online catalogues have never been looked at more. Being able to convey the value a design firm can add via a computer screen or PDF proposal is more important now than ever before.
With DesignDocs' client winning tools, clients are able to understand your ideas with beautifully presented and accurate proposals. Item images and descriptions work together to help convey the design vision. Likewise, project summaries and reports look professional while clearly outlining to the client the necessary budget details, instilling confidence and trust in your design firm and its processes.
3. The Cost of Running a Business
Running a business can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it can also be costly. From rising labor and material prices, to mounting office rental costs, and insurances, it can easily feel as though your business expenses might be spiralling out of control. Inefficiencies in your business workflow are costly in terms of time and money. Just think about when you're researching and sourcing; with so many brands and suppliers out there to choose from, it can be hard to find the perfect fit.
However, if you utilize a system with a centralized database of your pre-vetted vendors, it can save you a multitude of time, money and frustration. Enter DesignDocs! DesignDocs helps narrow your search for the most suitable vendor with vendor tags. Simply tag vendors to indicate their price category so you can quickly find the one that matches with the client's price range – it's that easy.
4. Managing the expectations of clients
We mentioned before how interior design is a service industry, and managing client expectations can sometimes be like walking a tightrope. For example, your client might be desperately in love with one of the latest design trends. But you want to make sure you create a timeless look for them that will last. Or maybe they want to be kept in the loop with everything as it unfolds. As the interior design professional, you want to shield them from all the nitty-gritty and just share with them the beautiful and breathtaking.
With DesignDocs helping you to simplify your project management and financial processes, you'll be able to free up valuable time. This means you can focus on managing your client expectations like a pro and delivering a more personal customer service.
5. Working On the Go
Long gone are the days of the nine to five. When you’re juggling multiple projects, you need the right tools at hand that enable you to manage business functions from anywhere, and at any time. With DesignDocs all-in-one cloud-based platform, everyone in your firm can easily access all project information and documents no matter where they are. From proposals and invoices to purchase orders and tracking, project-level reports, company financial reports, tax reporting, and more. Once logged into your account it's all there for you and your team, right at your fingertips.
6. Staffing, Training and Supporting Your Team
Employees will always come and go from any business. Ensuring the transitions are as seamless as possible is vital for business continuity and client satisfaction. Recruiting the right people with the same work ethic, passion, and values can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Not to mention getting them up to speed with all of the software and programs your design firm uses.
At DesignDocs, we get that, which is why we include continuous online support with all our subscriptions. Every new member receives a complimentary personal coaching session during their first month, and our orientation videos are designed to help new members learn the basics quickly. Plus, there is a dedicated library of how-to materials and videos, the option of 1:1 or group training sessions with a DesignDocs specialist, regular online free support sessions, a members-only Facebook group, and more.
7. Being Able to Take a Break
When business is going well and the projects are flowing, you might feel like you can't step away from things and take a break. But, as everyone knows, downtime is essential. Without adequate time for rest and relaxation, stress can never really be alleviated, and the sum of the long-term effects can be significant.
By utilizing a business system that is reliable, robust, and accurate, it allows you to feel at ease about slowing down, unwinding, and taking a breather. Look to DesignDocs for your firm's project management and accounting, and you'll know with certainty that the business is in safe and efficient hands while you're away.