Interior design is a specialised and multifaceted discipline that enhances the quality of people’s lives through the creation of carefully designed spaces. However, it is also a discipline that is misunderstood by the public who perceive it as a superficial, easy and amateur occupation. Thus practitioners find themselves having to constantly explain their knowledge and capabilities; the discipline’s value within the built environment; and justify their fees. This unfavourable public perception can be attributed to two main factors:
- The public’s lack exposure to interior designers on an everyday basis results in misunderstanding about what interior designers do.
- Social media has a substantial impact on the public’s perceptions and attitudes. And yet celebrities and influencers who believe themselves to have a ‘knack’ for interior design project an inaccurate image of the discipline to their followers.
Thankfully there are steps that the interior design discipline can be taken to remedy the situation:
- Practitioners and professional organisations must come together and present a united voice, with a clear and consistent message that the public will easily understand: interior design is a specialised discipline and we are professional in what we do.
- Use social media’s influence to our advantage and effectively communicate this new message.
- Take control of the narrative and improve our exchange with the general public in person, on a daily basis, each and every one of us.
To improve our exchange with the public, interior designers should look closely at their business practices and therefore their professional image. Our industry is full of interior designers who are frustrated with the demands of running their businesses, and I believe that this comes down to a simple fact: if you do not treat it business it will control you and your time, and it can make you miserable. I therefore suggest that the solution lies in creating and implementing business systems.
Business systems are simply a set of step by step instructions that your staff can easily follow. I have therefore created systems for Jossi Design within three main categories: 1) Office Procedures; 2) Project Systems; 3) Business Management.
Systems have proven to be successful in all types of businesses because they remove employee guesswork and saves the owner time having to explain and check everything a hundred times over. Furthermore, if a staff member takes leave the systems can be easily handed over to the next person and very little time is lost in the process.
I firmly believe that anyone who implements business systems will find themselves with more time on their hands to focus on the bigger picture of running the business and strategizing for future success. Thus, business systems can, not only improve the quality of designers lives, but ensure that a professional image is being presented to the public at all times. By implementing business systems our message will be clear: interior designers are professionals in what they do, they have it all under control.