Build A Strong Business Model
An important step to becoming a successful interior designer is to create a clear and precise business model and define your niche, which should naturally provide an edge over the competition. For Arnold, she realized early on that she had to approach her new career as a business, not a hobby, and create an efficient strategy that would be profitable. “One key area that prevents interior designers from keeping their profits is all the non-billable activities that take up so much of their time, such as running all over the city looking for resources. Early on, my idea was to create my own resource space where other designers could work, so I could have the majority of my resources at hand and collaborate with them. I also wanted to align myself with other successful professionals to learn and help one another, making each of us better.” Arnolds explains.
This part of Arnold’s business plan was so successful, she co-founded the North Texas Design Group in 2013, a collective of designers working directly with manufacturers to provide clients with competitive pricing and a wide assortment of exclusive furnishings. “There are five partners within the collective and we’ve built an 11,000-square-foot design studio with a vast resource library where each firm’s staff can work,” says Arnold. “We can collaborate as we want, but we all operate our businesses autonomously. We are technically competition, but we come together and leverage our purchasing volume to achieve optimal pricing. I’m able to be so much more productive and efficient as I’ve significantly reduced wasteful, non-billable activities, and my internal profit goals can be upheld to support my business model.”
Arnold also believes that there must be a level of accountability to ensure you stick to your business model and financial goals or the firm is destined to fail. “I have revenue goals to attain every month, every quarter and every year. I also ensure we’re taking on the right types of projects to achieve both our revenue goals as well as consistency within our brand.” says Arnold.