“Under the certainty of heaven, tomorrow is ours and we already have yesterday, what more can we ask for?” Brother Cadfael, “The Monks Hood” Ellis Peters. This quote from one of my favorite TV series with Derek Jacobi is something that resonates with me because I think it means that all we have to be certain of is what is in front of us, now, today, and perhaps tomorrow. Yesterday is already done, it is the past. And yet, we all want to know what the future has in store for us! So, in an effort to help guide you in your business decisions for 2015, here are my reflective thoughts on what’s in store for the industry:
- Prosperity—2014 was terrific for many designers and things are only improving! If you were organized and have been marketing your firm, you should be busy with returning and new clients.
- Consumer Expectation—Unfortunately, increased spending has been accompanied by increased expectation and alas, not all of it is reasonable or based on reality. Consumers expect more for less!
- Product Selection—Quality products abound with quick ship and customization abilities, now more than ever. Consumers see this and question the need for hiring professionals.
- Design Fees—It’s a mess out there! Contract negotiations are taking longer, are requiring more dexterity and flexibility in pricing, and most consumers want to get a fixed number out of professionals while retaining the ability to change their minds!
- Marketing—There are more options than ever to promote oneself, through traditional and non-traditional forms, analogue and digital, and sadly, what works for one firm may not work for another firm that shares the same geography and other similarities.
So, what to do, what to do, with all of this information?
Dig your heels in and be secure about who you are, what you stand for, and the profession that you have worked long and hard to excel in being! Remember, clients are coming to you for help and you need to take your role as the professional, otherwise they will think it is open for discussion. Be clear about the services you provide, what you will share and not share, and be open to sourcing product from the plethora of sources, whatever is necessary to adhere to client needs and agreed deliverables. And most importantly, you must stand up for yourself and for your principles, what you know to be true and correct. You must charge what you need to get a project done and explain why things are the way they are and reinforce your credentials and experience.
Don’t take a back-seat to your career by letting people run roughshod over you with a “social media mindset”, thinking that just because they can find pretty pictures that they’re a trained professional. No, that’s your role—embrace it!
P.S. If you will be attending Maison in Paris this month, please let me know and perhaps we can meet for coffee!