For keeping fit or building a skyscraper, having a strong core is essential. When the core gets weak, the rest of the structure begins to suffer, and that eventually leads to problems. The same is true for businesses. If you neglect your core, eventually your business will decline. And as anyone knows who’s struggled to get back in shape, rebuilding your core is a lot more work than maintaining it.
What does it take to keep your business’ core in good condition? First, focus on your core business. Review your projects from the past several years. Where do you excel or have something to offer that is unique and in demand? Are you in the business of providing design services or selling product? Do clients hire you for your design expertise or to manage their projects? What types of projects do clients seek you out for – kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, custom spaces, whole house design or remodel, vacation homes? Where you find the greatest sustained demand and profit is your business’ core. Now, what can you do to strengthen your core business – attract more clients, more projects, or larger or more profitable projects?
Second, focus on your core market. Where is most of your business coming from? You may aspire to working with wealthy clients, but are they your ideal client, the one that is going to hire you and refer you to others? Is your business mostly local and through word of mouth? If so, how can you increase your number of contacts with prospective clients? If you receive a number of inquiries through your website, social media pages or designer referral services, how can you enhance your online presence?
While it’s good to diversify your business to increase your opportunities, be careful not to neglect your core business in the process. If you accept whatever business comes your way, you run the risk of getting distracted, losing touch with your client base, and diluting your brand. Especially in time of increased competition, maintaining a strong core gives you a firm foundation upon which to grow your business and expand your market.