So, you’re thinking of starting a home design business… Congrats! This is a very exciting experience – albeit it, a daunting one, too. Surviving the first 6 months of business is key for any entrepreneur, but it can be overwhelming and you may feel like you don’t know where to start.
Don’t worry, though! We have some tips that will help you get through these critical first months. Specifically, we’ll be offering you 15 of them!
On that note, let’s dive in!
First Thing’s First: Are You Certified?
If you’re starting a home design business, you need to first make sure that you have the right certifications and licenses. Depending on your state or province, you may need to get special permits in order to practice as a professional home designer. This is especially important if you plan to provide any kind of consultation services such as interior design or renovation advice. Doing this research beforehand can save you a lot of trouble down the road!
Furthermore, even though many areas of the home design industry don’t require certification (such as interior decorating, home staging, etc.), getting accredited or certified can help you stand out from the pack and show potential clients that you’re serious about your work.
Especially if you want to launch your own business, having a certification or two under your belt can help you:
- Secure funding;
- Stand out from your competitors;
- Allow you to command higher service rates;
- Attract a large client base;
- And set up the necessary infrastructure for success!
Get internationally-certified in as little as 3 short months with QC Design School’s self-paced, online courses!
Next: Lay Down The Entire Foundation
Starting a New Business Checklist
Before you can actually launch your design business, you need to make sure that all the pieces are in place. This includes:
- Determining your target audience;
- Defining your business brand;
- Creating a strong business plan;
- Picking your business name (and getting it registered);
- Obtaining the necessary licenses and permits;
- Getting business cards printed;
- Setting up a website and social media pages;
- Choosing your marketing strategies;
- Finding suppliers for your needs, etc.
The key here is to plan ahead! Make sure that you have taken care of all the necessary steps before you start the launch process. This will ensure that you can hit the ground running and be up and running in no time!
Third: Get a Handle on Your Finances
There’s a reason we’re including this in the “before” work of starting your design business – and not as one of the 15 tips we’re about to discuss for surviving the first 6 months of business.
Financial management is an absolutely essential part of running a business! And more to the point – you need to have a handle on your finances BEFORE you actually launch your business. For instance, you need to know how much money you have and how much it’s going to cost to launch and operate your business. Furthermore, you also need to understand what kinds of tax documents you’ll need to file, etc.
Therefore, make sure that before you start your business, you have done the necessary financial research and planning. It may be a headache at the time, but trust us, this is the best way to ensure that you have a successful business later on!
15 Tips for Surviving the First 6 Months of Business as a Designer
Okay, now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get to our 15 ‘survival tips’ that will help you make it through those first 6 months of business!
Survival Tip #1: Have an Open Mind
Starting a new business can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. But at the same time, it’s a great opportunity to learn, grow, and develop new skills! Therefore, stay open-minded and don’t be afraid to try something new. You never know what you may end up discovering!
Survival Tip #2: Get Professional Insurance
No matter what you do or how small your business is, having the right insurance coverage can help protect you and your business from potential legal issues. Not only does it give you peace of mind; it also shows potential clients that you take your work seriously!
Some examples of insurances you may want to consider for your design business include (but aren’t limited to):
- General liability insurance;
- Product liability insurance;
- Errors and omissions insurance;
- And even property or cyber security insurance, etc.
Pro Tip: Here are 15 compelling reasons why you need business insurance as a professional home designer!
Survival Tip #3: Don’t Cut Corners
It may be tempting to try and save money by skimping on certain things. However, this is a surefire way to end up with subpar results, or worse – put your business in legal jeopardy down the line. Always invest in good quality materials, tools, services, and people to ensure that you’re getting the best out of everything.
Survival Tip #4: Promote Your Design Business
Don’t wait for clients to come to you. Instead, be proactive and promote your business! This means:
- Create a website or blog;
- Post on social media platforms regularly;
- Network with other professionals in the industry;
- Put some money into PPC advertising;
- Attend relevant trade shows;
- Join online groups relevant to your industry;
- Collaborate with other industry experts in your area, etc.
The more people know about your business, the better your chances are of gaining new customers!
Survival Tip #5: Get (and Stay) Organized
Make sure that you have a good system in place for organizing your projects, clients, and finances. This will help ensure that everything is running smoothly and efficiently. Also, make sure to keep detailed records of all the work you’ve done for each client.
This way, if any issues or disputes arise, you’ll have the documentation to back it up!
Survival Tip #6: Be Pitch Perfect
Having a pitch prepared ahead of time can be very helpful when it comes to landing new clients. It should be concise, professional, and most importantly – persuasive. Make sure you highlight your unique selling points and the value that you can bring to the table!
Survival Tip #7: Know Your Purpose
Before you start your business, ask yourself: why am I doing this? What’s my mission and vision for the company? It’s important to have a clear purpose for your business. This will help guide your decisions and ensure that everything is in line with what you want to accomplish!
Survival Tip #8: Know Where to Keep Business Expenses Low
When it comes to running your design business, it’s important to be aware of where you can keep your expenses low – without sacrificing quality. For example, if you’re buying materials for a project, shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deals!
Another example of this could be cutting out unnecessary software subscriptions or services that you don’t really need. Basically, analyze everything you’re spending money on and see if there are ways to save more.
Survival Tip #9: Get the Right Technology
When it comes to surviving the first 6 months of business, having the right technology in place in order for things to run smoothly is CRITICAL! Investing in the right project management software, accounting programs, and other tools can help make your life much easier!
Plus, having the proper tech in place will ensure that you’re able to stay on top of tasks efficiently – and keep up with industry trends.
Pro Tip: We’ve compiled a list of the BEST tools and software to help you grow your design business… So, make sure to check it out!
Survival Tip #10: Be Open to Constructive Feedback and Advice
It’s easy to become complacent when you first start out – but it’s important to stay open-minded and be willing to receive feedback from others in order to improve your business. Surviving the first 6 months of business means having the ability to adapt quickly and learn from your experiences.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for constructive criticism or advice – it can be extremely beneficial for your business in the long run! Also, don’t discount the advice of experienced professionals who have gone through similar experiences. Take the time to listen and learn from their wisdom.
Survival Tip #11: Perfect Your Processes
Having efficient processes in place is key to surviving the first 6 months of business. This means making sure that you have a system in place for tracking client progress, invoicing clients, and more. This will make it much easier to manage projects and stay organized.
Plus, having detailed processes for everything you do will help ensure that your work is consistent – which can lead to a much higher level of customer satisfaction!
Survival Tip #12: Know Your Long-Term Plan
It’s important to have a long-term plan in place before you start your business. Think of it as a roadmap for success. This will help keep you focused on the bigger picture and ensure that everything is working towards meeting your goals.!
So, take some time to write out your vision for the future. Make sure to include specific milestones, a timeline, and the steps you plan to take in order to achieve them. This will help keep you on track!
Survival Tip #13: Properly Manage Your Cash Flow
Cash flow is one of the most important things to keep in check when running a business – especially a brand-new one! You need to make sure that you’re able to pay your bills and employees on time, as well as have enough money for unexpected expenses.
One great way to do this is to establish a budget and stick to it! Make sure that you’re aware of how much money is coming in and going out each month. This will help ensure that your finances are in order and that you won’t run into any cash flow issues down the line!
Survival Tip #14: Set Realistic Financial Goals
In order to survive the first 6 months of business, it’s also important to set realistic financial goals for yourself. Meaning, set attainable benchmarks and make sure that you’re not expecting too much, too soon!
Take some time to analyze the current state of your business and determine what would be a reasonable goal to work towards. Are you aiming for 10% growth each month? Or is 25% more realistic?
Once you’ve determined this, set a timeline for achieving it and make sure that you’re tracking your progress regularly!
Survival Tip #15: Prepare for the Worst
Finally, make sure that you’re always prepared for the worst-case scenario. You should have a backup plan in place in case something goes wrong.
For example, what would you do if one of your key clients unexpectedly cancelled their contract? Or if an employee quit abruptly? Having a contingency plan for these and other situations will help ensure that you’re always ready to handle whatever life throws at you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Next, let’s take a look at some of the most common questions asked about surviving the first 6 months+ of business…
Q: What are the biggest challenges when starting a business?
A: The biggest challenges when starting a business are usually related to cash flow, customer acquisition, and marketing. It’s important to be prepared and have a plan in place for each of these areas!
Q: What are the specific challenges I’ll most likely face during my first 6 months of business?
A: During the first 6 months of business, you’ll likely face challenges related to finding customers, maintaining cash flow, and building out your team. Additionally, you’ll need to make sure that you have enough capital on hand to cover any unexpected expenses.
Q: Why is the first year of business so hard?
A: The first year of business is typically the most difficult because you’re still trying to get your feet wet. You need to make sure that you have the right people in place and make sure that your operations are running smoothly. Moreover, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to reach your financial and growth goals.
Q: What is one thing every startup team should do during the first 6 months as a startup company?
A: One of the most important things you can do during the first 6 months of running a startup company is to establish solid processes and systems. This will help ensure that your operations are running smoothly and that you’re able to handle any issues that arise quickly and efficiently.
Q: What are the 3 pillars to initiate a startup business?
A: The 3 pillars that every startup business should have in place are
- A solid team;
- Sufficient capital;
- And a clear vision.
It’s essential to have these 3 pillars in place before launching a startup business, as they will help ensure that you’re set up for success.
Q: What are the 4 key components of a successful startup?
A: The 4 key components of a successful startup are a:
- Passionate team;
- Well-thought out business plan;
- Clear financial strategy;
- And strong marketing and customer acquisition strategies.
These 4 components are essential for any startup business, as they will help ensure that your business has the best chance at success.
Q: Is it normal to lose money in the first year of business?
A: Yes, it’s very normal to lose money in the first year of business. This is because you are likely investing more money than you’re making, and it can take time for your business to become profitable. That being said, it’s important to keep track of your expenses and make sure that you’re not spending more money than you have.
Q: What is the 6 month rule of any business?
A: The 6 month rule of any business is to make sure that you have enough capital and resources to survive the first 6 months. This means that you should have a plan in place for how you’ll acquire customers, maintain cash flow, and make sure that your team is in sync with your goals.
Q: What should I do in my first 6 months of work?
A: In your first 6 months of work, it’s important to focus on establishing a strong foundation for your business. This includes creating solid systems and processes, hiring the right people, and clearly defining your goals. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that you’re actively reaching out to customers and understanding their needs.
Q: What should you do in the first 90 days of a startup business?
A: The first 90 days of a startup business should be focused on getting the foundation in place. This means developing your brand, creating the necessary processes and systems, and getting your team up to speed. Furthermore, it’s important to make sure that you have enough capital on hand to cover any unexpected expenses.
Q: Any tips on how to start a business with no money?
A: Of course! Starting a business with no money is a challenging endeavor, as it requires you to be creative and resourceful. That being said, there are a few tips that can help you get started. These include:
- Finding ways to reduce your costs;
- Building relationships with potential investors;
- Utilizing online resources, such as crowdfunding and bartering;
- Taking advantage of free or low-cost marketing tactics, resources, and tools.
- And utilizing connections you already have.
By following these five tips, you can start a business without spending a ton of money!
Business Resources to Bookmark:
- How Much Does it Cost to Start a Design Business?
- 16 Reasons Why Your Home Design Business Isn’t Making Money
- 25 Tips for Creating Engaging Website Content for Your Design Business
- 15 Social Media Mistakes That’ll Hurt Your Design Business
- How to Boost Revenue for Your Design Business
- 20 Tips to Marketing Your Business
- Why Business Knowledge is Integral to Your Design Certification
- How to Build a Loyal Client Base
- 17 Ways to Get Clients as a Designer
Ultimately, Where Do You See Yourself and Your Business in One Year?
This is the question to be asking yourself!
Remember: surviving the first 6 months of a business is key. So, ensure you have a plan for acquiring customers, maintaining cash flow, and setting up your team for success. So long as you use the resources and tips discussed in this article, you’ll have no problem staying on track and achieving your goals!
Good luck and thanks for reading!