The holiday season is a good time to look ahead, as well as back, as you think about your interior design business.

As you plan ahead for 2015, consider what you can do to take your design business to the next level. But it's also important to ponder what you won't do, to avoid mistakes and missteps that could sabotage your success.

If you're serious about success in 2015, make sure you don't ...

  • Wait for prospects to come to you. Go to them. In-home selling is hot.
  • Wait for prospects to call. Call them. "Smile and dial" at every opportunity, and use social media to reach out regularly.
  • Spend big money on marketing. Some of the best promotion (blogs, YouTube videos, seminars, etc.) costs the least.
  • Advertise. Instead, boost your credibility and buzz by talking, texting and tweeting about what's in, what's out, what's hot, what's not, and what's new, now, newsworthy and neat.
  • Rely on a "good enough" website. In online marketing, good enough isn't. Add "wow" to your website with videos, killer bios, timely articles, etc.
  • "Post" about pillows. Blog, instead, about the biggest design dilemmas facing your prospects and your solutions to them.
  • Get paranoid about your portfolio. Focus instead on getting favorable feedback. More pretty pictures on Houzz may not get you more jobs. More positive reviews will.
  • Assume clients can't afford expensive stuff. As the best, you should show the best products and discuss your highest-end services. Then, let clients decide what's in their budgets. They'll find a way to afford what they love.
  • Fall for the "stall." Can you afford to let prospects hold off for now, and "think about it"? Explain why "now is the best time" to invest in our design services "to avoid upcoming price increases," for example.
  • Fear price objections. Embrace them. They're buying signals. Prospects must be at least somewhat interested in your design services to question their price.
  • Discuss what you don't have. There's no point apologizing for the experience, degree or certification you lack, or the services you don't offer. Rather, focus on the qualifications you have.
  • Just think locally. Think globally. Use social media and websites to position yourself in the international market.
  • Give away your time. Bill for consultation, measuring, installation, travel time and everything else.
  • Work harder. Work smarter. Make better use of your working time, and you'll have more time for family, friends and fun.
  • Assume your job is secure. The client — or design firm — that hires you today can fire you tomorrow.
  • Hold on to hardship. Underachieving employees, unprofitable products and unreasonable clients can bring you down. Get rid of them.
  • Meet your clients' needs. Exceed them. Underpromise and overdeliver.

Your "to not do" list this season may be every bit as important as your "to do" list. Your "don'ts" may be the key to making 2015 your banner, breakout and best year yet.