July 06, 2007

Five Simple Things You Can Do

by: Nika Stewart
to dramatically increase your design business

There are dozens of ways to increase your design business, but here are my favorite five. They are all simple things that have resulted in amazing results - for many designers I work with, and in the growth of my own design firm.Which ones are you doing? Print this out and check them as you do them - this week!

___Call a past client. You may have heard me tell many stories about how calling a past client (for reasons unrelated to selling my services) resulted in a big sale. This has happened so many times - and it's so easy to do - that you must put this into your weekly routine. Call one or two clients this week (to ask if you can come take photos of your work, to tell them about an item you saw in a store that would be great in their home, etc.). And don't forget to do this weekly!

___Send regular e-mail newsletters. This may sound scary, but it's so easy to do if you do it correctly. The easiest way (and most effective, actually) is to write a simple tip that your readers can use right away. Don't waste hours trying to come up with stories and promotions; don't try to make it look "pretty;" and don't make it about you and your company. Just write a quick, useful decorating idea. Your readers will love how helpful you are, and when the time comes that they need your services, they will think of YOU first. (for more info on how this tripled my business, see www.enewsletterblitz.com)

___Apply an e-mail signature, with your name, a short description of your services, and a link to your website. How many e-mails do you send each week? Ten? Hundreds? Well, even if your mailings are more modest, you really should remind everyone who gets a note from you what you do. After applying my own e- mail signature, I realized how powerful it was. I often get an e-mail back from a friend or acquaintance saying something like: "I didn't realize you provided that. My neighbor/mom/cousin needs you!"

___Have the best portfolio possible. There are too many stories about designers who lose jobs because of their portfolios. Make yours sell for you! My business shot way up after I revamped mine. If you don't want to invest in a professional photographer, make sure your photos look professional. Learn a few photo techniques. Display only your best work. Use large pictures(8x10). If possible, show before and after shots.

___Start a goal group. Meeting monthly with 3 other business women for the past few years has been the single most motivating force in my life. My business has increased significantly from the ideas and resources I've gained from this diverse group of supportive women.

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