I met Larry in the late 80’s….he and Bill Parker (my best friend and an earlier Featured Designer) had just started seeing each other and naturally, Bill wanted us to meet. We had a drink at the Westin in downtown Boston and began what would become a decades long friendship.
Larry is an old lion in the Chicago design scene. He’s boldly intelligent and a very smart business person and we have spent hours discussing the industry and its changes and challenges. I am delighted to share him with you today…enjoy.
Love, love, love,
1. What are the biggest changes I have seen to the industry and to your business in the last five years?
In 2008 the Design World, as I had known it for 45 years, collapsed. It took me over a year to realize that nothing would ever be the same. Client calls disappeared, sales diminished to an extreme, Trade Sources went under. Networking was difficult as many Designers and Trade Sources didn’t want to face or discuss the new reality!
2. What have you done in your business to respond to those changes and how is that working for you?
When the Great Recession hit my once lofty place in the Design field, I realized that I needed to be proactive in making my design services available to a broader spectrum of potential clients. The pie was smaller so my slice needed to be larger. Gone was the minimum size project of whole homes; gone was the attitude that only I could design well; gone was the day of failing to negotiate and mediate with my clients and trade sources on a regular basis. Open-mindedness and resolution to any issues became my motto! 3. What do you predict for the interior design industry? And how will you prepare for it?
The Design industry is still in upheaval. Many designers and Trade Sources have gone under. New methods for creating sales such as inventorying unique and well priced product have emerged. Carrying greater inventory of basics has improved. No client willingly waits for product. Excellent service in, and to, the Trade has begun to be a main catalyst for the business that exists. On Mondays I feel the Economy is turning around. On Wednesdays I am unsure of that. On Fridays, I find myself examining how Mondays can continue and Wednesdays can go away. I prepare for the new Design World by being very open to change but determined to strengthen my basic business principles.
With 3 weeks left in the year, I am organizing myself for a new year of expansion and new challenges. Last week I met with Kate, my social media and marketing associate, and discussed what I want the New Year to bring and how we will do that. It also expanded her role as my collaborator, executor, ‘nudge’, and truth-teller. I am grateful for her partnership.
As you look to 2015, what do you want? At the end of next year, what do you want to have done, accomplished, eliminated, transformed? December is a wonderful month for this exploration. It’s often a slow retail month and a busy installation and delivery month, so we tend to focus on completing sales rather than writing new ones. And owners and sales managers begin new setting targets as the current target period comes to a close – having been exceeded, met, just missed or missed by a mile. I missed a few this year but I made many more than I missed. My goal sheet begins with my purpose, my core values, and what I can be counted on for, so that it informs what I focus on for the year. My goals include personal goals, financial goals (which include property owner), and business goals – as an owner, salesperson, creator, and speaker/coach. I am revisiting the goals I missed this year to see what happened: no real commitment to achievement? Insufficient strategy? Strategy not acted upon? Actions not well executed? The pattern I see is the lack of a sufficient strategy and inaction. The ones I acted upon I achieved. And those I didn’t achieve are back on for next year with new actions…plus a few goals that I was afraid to put on last year. I am also adding support for those I am revisiting, as I believe I need that in addition to my own actions and as part of my commitment to achieve them.
How will you construct your goals? Articulate your goals as RESULTS, and your plans as ACTIONS. S-M-A-R-T has always worked for me and for my clients. S=Specific…make them clear and unambiguous. M=measurable…be able to count them with a number or percentage. A=Attainable….make them challenging but achievable. R=Relevant….make goals matter to you. T=Time bound…put a ‘by when’ date on them. You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to achieve them! And consider quarterly plans of action to move them along. I keep mine in a frame in front of me on my desk and cross them off when I complete them…I LOVE to see those lines sliced through and fill the page! Good luck with yours. Start now to consider what you want and writing them down. If you need help, call me. 877-663-9663.
We all know about New Years’ Resolutions – the make ‘em, break ‘em – good wishes that we conjure up with a glass of the bubbly and a spinning mirror ball dropping from the ceiling. And that magical environment is about as close to reality as is our potential of keeping the resolutions we make at the start of the year. With the first quarter a dim memory now, are the resolutions you made on January first any brighter?
Resolutions are not goals…they are good ideas at the time of things we wish to do, do differently or stop doing altogether. They are made with the best of intentions and they are seldom kept. Passion and spirit are present at first and are missing later when what started as a wish has a slim chance of becoming a habit.
What’s missing is a structure for fulfillment. Without a structure in place for success even the best laid plans will fail. It’s not identifying the actions that need to take place to be successful, but the actions executed that matter.
Keep dreaming and looking at what you want to create for yourself. The Goal (specific and measurable, with a timeframe), the Actions (verb words of the things you need to do to achieve the goal) and the Structure for Fulfillment (a calendar, notes on your mirror, post-it notes on your dashboard, etc). Without the constant reminders of the actions for you to take, even the most committed, passionate believer will drop the ball when a good distraction comes along.
Write it down, keep it at eye level, make it eye catching, create a mantra (remember Just do it!?), and celebrate your successes! And then start a new one!
Need help getting started? Ideas and proven techniques for turning your Resolutions into Goals that will achieve Real Success ? Call or email me and together we will make 2015 your best year yet!