What Can a Business Coach Do for Your Business?
Having years of experience in the interior design industry, Interior Design business coaches know the ins & outs, loopholes & potholes that designers do not normally anticipate. Coaches provide courses, seminars, and one-on-one consultations to help you understand your passion, vision, and goals for your business. They help you get more organized with business tools and templates – helping you to visualize your business in a more structured manner so that you can recognize for yourself which areas need more attention. With a business coach, you can get help with capitalizing on your strengths and outsourcing your areas of weakness to pros. They encourage you to do better while providing perspective and holding you accountable.
What this does is help you focus more on the fundamentals of your interior design business. Your business begins to work like well-oiled machinery, with accounts and bookkeeping, marketing and social media promotions, operations, and communication with clients working as one well-choreographed orchestra.
Who Should Consider a Business Coach?
Interior design education rarely prepares one for the realities of the interior design business. The concepts, theories, and tools that your degree equipped you with are invaluable to your interior design work, but essential business skills were likely not delivered to you along with your other coursework. You may find yourself lacking the business skills to run your interior design business, and you may begin to spend more time on operations, bookkeeping, and marketing than on designing. You end up not having made enough revenue to hire the operations or marketing team that you need.
Even if you are an interior designer who has established yourself fairly well, it is imperative that you keep yourself updated about the latest studio technologies and marketing opportunities. If you have not been able to raise your profits and have been getting only predictable figures over the years, you probably need a business coach to point you in the direction of maximizing your income. You would be surprised how it is sometimes the simplest things that you had not thought of, like hiring the right marketing agency, that might bring in business worth millions!
What to Look for in an Interior Design Coach?
The problem with finding the right business coach for your interior design business is that there are unqualified and inexperienced people out there who claim to be coaches without the necessary business and industry knowledge. Keep the following points in mind while choosing your coach or else you will end up with a less than perfect coach who can cost you a lot of precious time and money.
You need a coach who clicks well with you. You are essentially looking for a friend who will be brutally honest but will encourage you and hold you accountable. The coach must tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. This should not mean that they should bully you, or stress you out or be downright rude and judgmental. They should have the patience to listen to your worries, be sympathetic and kind, and at the same time, be firm.
Make sure that the coach has the experience in the field that you need help with. For example, if it is the marketing aspect of interior design that you struggle with, then find someone who has had prior experience in marketing. You are looking for someone who has successfully walked the same path that you currently are on. Even if a friend highly recommends a coach that helped them with, let’s say, their dental practice, don’t assume that they’ll be able to provide you the same support for your design studio.
3. Past Clients
Always confirm the credentials of the coach before hiring them. Many coaches advertise their one big achievement, which does not guarantee excellence. Do some more research and see how much success they have achieved in their business. Look up reviews and testimonials and make an informed decision.
4. Trial Session
Request a paid trial session with the coach, and go prepared with one of the issues you want assistance with. Keep in mind that a coaching session is where you express your vulnerabilities openly, and expect zero judgment. Be honest about the challenges you are facing in your business and assess how the coach makes you feel comfortable enough to share your fears. When you leave the session you should feel confident in the coach and in the success of your business future.
Questions to Ask Your Interior Design Business Coach
Here are a set of questions you should ask your interior design business coach.
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Did you have to fire a client in the past? If so, what were the reasons?
- Are you an interior designer as well? If so, why did you decide to become a coach, when you could just as successfully run an interior design business? If not, how would you really grasp the inner workings of the interior design industry?
- As an interior design business coach, do you have an ideal client?
- Can you tell me about a recent challenge you faced with a client and how you overcame it?
- How many clients do you handle at a time? How do you manage to give exclusive attention to each client?
- How do you handle a client that is not meeting your coaching expectations?
- What is your process of work?
- How do you find out more about my business and how it is doing?
- Can you share a few details of your past clients, so I can talk to them about their experience working with you?
- Many business coaches reach beyond their expertise because their clients expect them to be one-stop-shops. Thus, many designers get and follow bad advice at times, such as on marketing topics that they don’t grasp themselves. For that reason, it is always best to get specialists supporting you.
- Some business coaches are notorious for self-promotion and creating a cult-like following. Just because they have more followers doesn’t mean they are more effective. The capacity to run a nationwide business-to-business consulting business is very different from the capacity to run a local business-to-consumer design studio with countless moving parts and vendor relations.
- Some of the more well-known business coaches have money so embedded in their business plans that they only recommend service providers who offer them a cut. So, keep in mind that a trusted recommendation may be an undisclosed affiliate commission opportunity for them. In other words, maybe that newsletter writer makes your business coach a lot of money and isn’t necessarily the best use of your limited marketing budget.
- Some coaches offer courses and packages that are largely designed to show you what you don’t know, and thus setting the stage for selling the next level package. One can get stuck always feeling like they are one course away from finally understanding what to do.
- Some coaches in the interior design field misrepresent their courses using the term ‘MBA’. Real MBAs are awarded from accredited institutes of higher learning – not from coaches.
- Any business coach who has a blanket position that you always need them is serving themselves foremost. What you always need is good operations and strong marketing and/or referrals. Coaching can come and go over time. And, changing coaches is healthy, for the same reasons that university degree programs require taking courses from a multitude of professors.
- Coaches are often protected from accountability in their work as the onus is always on you, the designer, to perform. You fail and it is your fault. You succeed and the coach asks you to write a testimonial about their greatness.
- As with interior designers, the business coaches with the most testimonials are not necessarily better – often they are just more pushy with their clients in attaining them.
Top-rated Business Coaches for the Interior Design Industry
Below are some of the most sought-after business coaches who have helped many interior designers establish the business of their dreams (in alphabetical order, by first name). This is just a list, not our recommendations.
Alycia’s coaching program is specifically designed to support designers who work in the e-design business. The program includes on-demand courses, live coaching calls, printable worksheets, checklists, e-books, community support, and other resources for designers. Tolerance for a potty mouth is required.
Capella’s coaching programs consist of group training as well as one-on-one sessions, with courses designed to address issues of pricing, strategizing, and streamlining business processes.
Chelsea’s training courses for interior designers are divided into four types: the basic fundamentals of interior design, setting up the foundation of your career in design, creating perspective renderings, and professional presentation boards. Also offered is certification in interior design processes.
Cheryl’s business coaching packages consist of quick strategies for achieving business goals; brainstorming about business processes, sales skills, and pricing; email, text, or messaging support for quick solutions in short time frames; and intensive programs to achieve specific business goals.
Claire is an interior decorator and a business coach for interior designers. Her coaching packages include color consultations, one-on-one coaching calls, and 3-D design presentation processes among others.
A university professor turned design coach, David’s coaching sessions aim to bridge the gap between actual skills needed and skills provided in academic courses, as well as courses on pricing and marketing to high-end clients.
Desi’s ‘coaching partnerships’ for interior designers focus on time management, self-accountability, leadership, clarity of business vision, and confidence-building mechanisms.
Based on her own experiences as an interior designer, Gail’s coaching programs include one-day VIP experiences as well as coaching sessions based on current annual revenue figures through live training, video training, worksheets, and templates.
Julia’s coaching programs offer plans to suit specific work environments through in-office interviews, hourly consultations, and boot camps.
Kathleen’s coaching program for interior designers includes strategies for organizing business finances, project budgeting, project management, specification and maintenance templates, brand consistency, and more.
Ken provides coaching geared to business development through marketing and advertising. He specializes in growing studios’ revenues. He coaches in-house design studio staff and his full-service marketing agency provides those highly specialized services that are outside of your team’s skill-set.
Kimberley is an interior designer who runs a coaching program for designers. There are different coaching packages such as group coaching, one-on-one phone calls, private coaching, group coaching as well as sales and design training sessions.
Lesley is an interior designer, coach, and also the host of a podcast show dedicated to discussing pressing issues in the world of interior design. Her coaching program, Badass Biz Bundle, is a 6 month long, one-on-one program, supplemented by templates and documents for project implementation.
Lloyd runs a recruitment company and is also a business coach for interior designers and architects. Coaching packages include phone consultation, business evaluation and marketing plan, consultation in legal matters, as well as sales and distribution advice.
Mostly well known for her highly popular podcast, her business advice is usually packed into a session known as Power Talk Fridays where she discusses problems and solutions relevant to the interior design industry with well-known interior designers.
Melissa is an interior designer and a design business coach. Her coaching programs include strategies on finding resources, making introductions, hiring and growing a team, raising rates, and growing the vision of the firm.
Nancy offers sales coaching for designers with coaching programs focused on business vision, brand identity, and the improvement of communication skills through one-on-one calls, and group coaching consisting of Q&A, sales training, and confidence-building workshops.
Rebecca’s coaching programs fall under the categories of hour-long quick assessment of specific issues, 12 weeks long focused courses, and ‘add-on’ services such as copy editing, biography design, website evaluation, and email drafting.
Terri’s coaching programs are designed based on the revenue generated every month. Programs are structured with personalized action plans, private coaching calls, live retreats, workshops, step-by-step training, and bi-weekly live support.
Tobi is an Interior Designer, Business Coach, and also has her own line of fabric and furnishing. Her coaching programs focus on key areas such as digital platforms for automation and workflow management, accounting, and other standard operating procedures that are key in running a design business.
Getting a great business coach for your interior design business can do wonders for your business regardless of what stage your business is in.
Keep in mind that the coach will never do the job for you, but rather, will try to support you to be accountable for your own business. They will hold your hand through the tough steps and give you the confidence you need to identify your strengths and weaknesses, establish clear business goals, increase your income, and help your business step into the limelight.
Yes, working with a business coach might not come cheap, but it is an investment towards the growth of your business and yourself because as you see your profits rise, your confidence will too. The right coach can help you unleash your business’s full potential and help open up new opportunities in your life.
Have you worked with one of the above-mentioned coaches? What was your experience like? Can you compare working with 2 or more of these coaches? Did our list overlook any coaches? Please comment below. We really value you sharing your experiences with us.