Creating a Profitable and Sustainable Business Strategy

November 2, 2020

ADAC, Business of Home, Kravet and Made Goods recently collaborated to present a day of informative sessions to the interior design industry. KBB was able to sit in on a few of the virtual presentations, including “Creating a Profitable and Sustainable Business Strategy,” hosted by designer Veronica Solomon, owner of Katy, Texas-based Casa Vilora Interiors.

The designer won our coveted Person of the Year recognition this year, and having been in the design business for 13 years, she believes in three key business strategies.

  1. Branding & Marketing Your Business. The designer says this goes above and beyond creating a website. Your potential clients need to understand who you are, who you are going to serve and how you will serve them. She suggests intertwining your own personal story in your communication and building a community to offer value and show your clients that you care about their needs.

“You want to create clients for life, so encourage loyalty by offering such things as online forums, newsletters and social media groups,” said Solomon. “Treat your website as your business partner and have it communicate exactly what your clients need to know about you and how to work with your firm.”

  1. Product Sales. Solomon is a big believer in selling what you are already specifying and building a process around it. She says you can count on major profits if you do this right, which entails building relationships and establishing accounts with the right vendors. Her tips for doing this include:
  • Investing in samples
  • Tracking Pos
  • Calculating project margins from the beginning
  • Analyzing numbers at the end of the project as well

“The rewards outweigh the risks on selling product,” said Solomon.

  1. Ala Carte Services. From the client with the largest budget to the one who can’t afford a full-service project, Solomon believes in meeting everyone where they are and helping everyone accomplish something. Some still want some level of professional help, and offering services in smaller packages that are quick and easy to deliver may help you prepare for much leaner times.

“Any time you have to take away from larger clients better be worth it, so make sure the time you spend on these smaller services is less than the money you make by offering them,” said the designer.

Her tips for including ala carte services successfully include properly planning out your time, charging flat fees, setting boundaries, tweaking the process often so you are not doing things that waste your time and creating templates (repeatable systems).

Some of her smaller service ideas include:

  • E-design
  • Designer on call – a client can purchase a block of the designer’s time up front
  • Short consultations
  • Window treatments (Solomon says the profit margins on this are worth it)
  • Staging for realtors and flippers
  • Subscription-based community (clients pay an annual fee to access)

“I started my design firm during the recession, and I do not take much for granted,” said Solomon. “I approach everything with a level of gratitude because I know there are plenty of other designers out there.”

In 2019, 12 percent of her revenue came from ala carte services, and 25 percent was from repeat business.