2013 February – Professional Practice for Interior Design

–>the steps required to set up your own interior design practice (sole trader)

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Starting your own interior design business can be the most rewarding endeavour of a lifetime, although it can be very challenging.

I believe that planning is the starting point for developing wealth and building financial security. Therefore a first step to set up your own business is to define your personal and financial aspirations, also what motivates you to create your life story and what would you like to achieve in each chapter. For instance it is a good idea to work with a solicitor or accountant to get as much help and advice at this very early stage when planning your own business. A well-written, comprehensive business plan is the focal point of all business ventures. It presents how you plan to attract and retain customers, the most crucial aspect of the business. Correspondingly will help you to clarify the vision of business, its objectives, financial forecast, goals, strategies and the market it is in. Again a business plan is essential when you are seeking to apply for grants or borrow money to set up an enterprise. The next step is to establish a legal entity for the business, in our case it is a sole trader. Furthermore you need to select the target market and a well-defined one will be the first element to a marketing strategy. Choosing a business name is one of the most important things as it is the first thing that any potential buyer is going to notice. Not only is a name important but also a brand. Company branding specialist Jim Fowle of Red Mullet Design, says: “When starting a company, your brand is of vital importance. Branding is not just a memorable logo but also an effective, memorable name that can really help people remember you.” Furthermore determine where you will be running your business from and decide on your unique selling point. You will have to offer your idea of uniqueness and what separates you from the competition. Another step will be to create a marketing plan to helps decide which customers to target and how to reach them, but also how to win their business and keep them coming back. Marketing is a continuous and long-term investment. Nowadays a website is absolutely crucial in promoting your business. As an Interior Designer your website needs to stand out as it is one of the most important tools. Yet another great way of marketing your business is to join professional associations and any local organizations that can provide you with networking opportunities and contacts. Magazine advertisements or editorials will help promote a business to a larger audience. Additionally you can check with the local developments to see if there are any opportunities to decorate show homes or contact real estate agents about leaving your business cards at open houses. Social networking such a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is also a great way to interact with your target market. Above all business cards aren’t just a method of handing over your contact details. They tell the recipient a lot about who you are and what you stand for. “Word of Mouth” is also good marketing for business. Happy clients will recommend you to their friends. Additionally exhibitions are an effective marketing tool. They help in generating public relations and give an update on the market, which is highly important.

To conclude starting your own business can be very challenging and rewarding, so always make sure to keep yourself focused on your goal and visualise yourself as a successful entrepreneur.

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As an interior designer, you can find employment in the relevant field. First few years after entering the workforce is all about gaining experience, developing your portfolio with a variety of projects, supplier and client base, but also to grow into your unique style of designing. This will give you an idea of which area of interior design best suits your abilities and passions. Design studios, departments of large stores, businesses, manufacturing firms or furnishing companies are few of popular markets for any interior designer. Another career path for interior designer is to become a 3D design specialist. By working with 3D software you can prepare and present how décor scheme will look like. Interior designers may also teach in schools, universities or other educational institutions, while for others their career path can be working in magazines on furnishings and interior design. You could also branch out and open your own business, or be self-employed and work on a freelance or contract basis. Other fields that can utilise your knowledge, designs and skills experience is to work for furniture manufactures, exhibition design providers, also working on TV or stage set design. Furthermore if you have a particular and specific talent for designing certain items, you can consider specialising in the field of interior design by becoming a product designer.

Overall, whatever path you choose, you have to make your own career in terms of success.

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MARKETING METHODS

1 Website – having a professional web presence is vital in today’s social network media era as you can give the clients a sense of your design aesthetic the moment they view your site or blog, so presentation is really important.

Pinterest – is an online pin board, you can share things you love and want to promote for ex. your mood boards, sample boards, drawings or projects of design ideas.

Building Developers/ Show Houses/ Commercial Spaces

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3 Word of Mouth – the greatest compliment a client can give you is to refer you to one of their friends.

Stately Homes/Trusts

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4 Speaking Events/ Exhibitions – you can share your knowledge of interior design by speaking to related businesses, taking part in a television segment or holding seminars. This is another great way of advertising your business.

Hotels

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5 Magazines, local press/ yellow pages – newspapers and magazines are a great way to get your interior design business noticed. Press releases can announce a wide range of new items, from scheduled events and personnel promotions to product launches, sales promotions and more.

Nightclubs/ Restaurants

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