Reshaping your business for the new normal
Thursday, June 04, 2020
Even in the most optimistic scenario, the repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic will have a profound impact on how we go about our lives — and thus, on the spaces we live in — for months, probably years to come. We will need to adapt to new ways of interacting with one another and adopt new behaviors to ensure our safety and that of our loved ones and neighbors.
And perhaps as never before, the home will function as the nexus of our daily activities — the place from which many of us will work, dine, shop, workout, attend sports and entertainment events, and worship, as well as relax and socialize with those closest to us.
As a result of these changes, people’s priorities will shift, and that has implications for interior designers and their businesses. At present, health and safety are the top concerns for both clients and designers. A number of firms have already adapted their operations in order to maintain social distancing and minimize on-site visits.
Use of videoconferencing and cloud-based tools for designing, visualization and scheduling has become more widespread. Projects are being revised to allow for longer delivery times for some products and staggered work schedules for subcontractors.
With the summer months approaching, designers may find themselves in high demand as clients try to cram in home remodeling projects while they are away on vacation. Reach out to current and past clients and others on your marketing lists to inform them you are now scheduling projects for the next few months and urging them to reserve a slot now.
While some clients, particularly the wealthier ones, will still want more traditional interior design services, others will be looking to make immediate changes to their living environment in response to the conditions of the new normal. These will include adding or upgrading home offices and home learning spaces, health and wellness features, more storage space and multifunctional organizing furniture and equipment, and fitness areas, as well as outdoor living spaces and minor upgrades to kitchens and bathrooms.
Now is the time to revise your marketing materials and messaging to let prospective clients know the value you bring as a professional, your knowledge of designing for health and wellness, and that their project will be conducted safely and securely.
We’ve yet to learn the full extent of the damage the pandemic has had on the global and national economy. Current projections indicate it will be worse than the Great Recession but perhaps not quite as bad as the Great Depression. Consumers at all socioeconomic levels will experience a sense of loss, although to different degrees.
Those who have the means will be more conscientious about their spending, eschewing conspicuous consumption. The trend in recent years toward more consumer spending, especially luxury spending, on experiences and health and wellness rather than on material goods will likely be more pronounced in the near future. If your current business model is heavily slanted toward product and markup, explore other ways you can add to or modify your menu of services to gain revenue from other sources or methods of billing.
In times of change, when there’s so much uncertainty and worry about the future, clear communication and conveying confidence are essential to gaining clients’ trust. Stay current with what is happening in your area. Let clients know how you are adapting your business to meet their needs and address their concerns. Their lives are changing, and your business must change, too, to retain its value.
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