What Else Have You Got?

If your business has been slow of late and your revenue projections are off for the year, don’t feel too bad. You are not alone. Selling design services is getting harder and harder these days. Selling design management even more so. A handful of designers are doing really well, but many are struggling to keep their businesses afloat. As I see it, the choice is diversify or die.

In my previous blog, I counseled that if you have some available cash consider investing in real estate or perhaps as a silent partner in a promising business where you don’t have to be involved in sales or the day-to-day management. You want to make sure you will be available when the next client comes along.

That’s right. I’m not suggesting you shut down your interior design or architecture firm. My advice is to seek additional sources of revenue to get you through the dry spells, something to help pay the bills while you drum up more work.

But what if you don’t have money to invest? If you can’t diversify your investments, then diversify your offerings. One strategy is to reposition your services to appeal to a niche clientele. An obvious one these days is to focus on aging in place modifications. Most young, first-time homebuyers are married couples who are starting or planning to start a family. You could advise them on preparing their home now so that it can be adapted easily as the family grows and grows up, also on making the home a safe and supportive environment for children.

A different strategy is to add a sideline, such as partnering with real estate agents to conduct walkthroughs with prospective higher-end homebuyers to point out the issues and opportunities in a property, or creating virtual interior environments for retailers’ or service providers’ websites. What other talents do you have that you can combine with your interior design expertise to offer a new service and potentially attract new design clients? Do some research to see what today’s homebuyers and homeowners want. Then use your creativity to offer it to them in a unique and compelling way.

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