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5 Goals for Interior Design Entrepreneurs in 2020

Assessing business costs, office culture and branding can help your interior design business grow in the new year.

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Martha O'Hara Interiors
Office Designed by Martha O’Hara Interiors. Troy Thies Photography.

January is the perfect time of year for interior design entrepreneurs to reflect on the past year and set business goals for 2020. If you haven’t done this yet, I’d love to walk you through some of the types of goals smart business owners are likely to consider.

1. Start with your bottom line.

Sure, it’s easy to always go for the bigger revenue year over year, but have you taken the time to understand your business costs and to look for any opportunities to increase your margin without taking on more work? Chances are you’re leaving money on the table and don’t even realize it.

A savvy business owner is an efficient one. This year, commit to breaking down your books to understand where your money is going and consider if there are any areas where you could make changes. Below are a few of the places many small business owners spend more than they should.

  • Office space. It’s true, you may need some space for your business. But ask yourself honestly if you need it yet and how much space is really necessary. So many business owners waste money on more space than they need or pay premiums for locations that aren’t necessary for service-based businesses. Be scrappy and savvy in how much you invest in your office early on!
  • Software. Unless you know what you’re purchasing and why, small businesses are usually better off avoiding complex and expensive software programs they aren’t likely to use.
  • Marketing. Yes, you need to do this. But too many small businesses spread their marketing budgets wide without considering the return on every investment they make. Instead, they should consider a narrow, focused approach that will attack specific, targeted business goals. The next time you’re considering a marketing opportunity, ask yourself what you are going to get out of it. If the answer doesn’t come to you in fifteen seconds or less, it may not come at all.
  • Your team. Do you have a hiring strategy? Do you know what your next positions are going to be and how they will help you grow your business? It should go without saying, but I’ll say it here anyway: every person you hire should serve a specific business purpose and make your business better. 

2. Move to your top line.

If you are confident in your margins, then it may be time to consider how you can grow your revenue in 2020. This may mean diversifying your services, creating more scalable services, or spending more time developing new business. Regardless of your approach, give yourself measurable goals and hold yourself (and your team) accountable to them. Have weekly check-ins for short-term goals and quarterly check-ins on longer-term initiatives. Make 2020 the year that you expand your business beyond its current state!

Martha O'Hara Interiors
Photo courtesy of Martha O’Hara Interiors.

3. Be a better place to work.

So much of what we accomplish as business owners is dependent on the people we hire and who chooses to stay with us in the long-term. Perhaps 2020 is the year you commit to being the sort of manager and creating the sort of culture where great people want to work.

How can you begin that? Start by taking inventory of your current office and team. Are they high performers? Do they get along and support each other? Do you trust them? Do they trust you and each other? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then you have some work to do! That’s an entire other blog post, but I’d recommend starting with some books and Alison Green’s blog, Ask A Manager.

Kate O'Hara
Photo courtesy of LAB MPLS

4. Get your brand out there.

There are a lot of ways to do this — maybe you want to create a social media presence and maybe you need more face-to-face time building personal relationships. While I usually like to play to my strengths, this year, consider giving yourself a couple goals outside of your comfort zone too! That might mean posting weekly to Instagram or going to at least one industry event every month. Whatever you do, make sure you know what purpose it’s going to serve your business.

5. Educate yourself.

One great way to set smart goals is to stay business minded throughout the year. This year commit to reading a business book every month. And, stay tuned next month for my recommendations!

Whether it is one of the suggestions above, or something that is unique to you, make goal setting a priority this winter! It’s a great way to stay on track and dedicated in the months to follow.

Kate O'Hara

Kate O’Hara is the CEO + creative director for Martha O’Hara Interiors where she pioneered the interior design firm’s expansion to national markets and international clientele. Today, MOI is one of the most well-known interior design studios in the country whose award-winning work has been featured on the Today Show, HGTV, Better Homes and Gardens and beyond.

These days, when Kate isn’t traveling between Martha O’Hara Interiors’ two offices in Minneapolis, MN and Austin, TX and getting know prospective clients, she can be found speaking at design conferences across the country. Named one of Austin’s Social Influencers and Minnesota’s Top 32 Under 32 Marketing Professionals, she is a sought-after speaker on topics ranging from social media, to women in business, to online branding.

Martha O’Hara Interiors is a full-service interior design firm that designs and furnishes homes from inspiration to flawless outcome. With studios in Minneapolis, MN and Austin, TX, our team has earned a reputation for classically beautiful spaces that feel refreshingly balanced and stylish. We create custom interiors for home builds, renovations, and furniture projects that stand the test of time.

We celebrate every aesthetic with our signature perspective, and our award-winning designers do it all — from reviewing blueprints, to full-home transformations, to selecting that vintage area rug to tie your room together. 

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