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Interior designers ask my advice about marketing and managing their interior design businesses, and since I've been an interior designer for 23 years, I do have an opinion. Don't we all?
When I started my business several years ago, I used Quicken because there were few software options at that time. Quicken is fine for personal finance, but doesn't offer the functionality that a professional interior designer or interior design firm needs.
Next, I tried QuickBooks. It was more business-oriented, but still lacked the industry specific project management capabilities I needed to run an efficient business.
My third try was Design Manager which is an industry-specific software package. It took quite awhile to set it up, and after using it with my design firm of 8 people, my staff asked me to look for an option that was easier to use.
The fourth software program that I still use today is Studio IT. http://www.StudioITInc.com. It is a desktop software product that provides the project management, business management and accounting functions that are tailored specifically to our interior design industry. You can still order this software today and use it whether you are a one-person operation or you have employees.
Here's what I recommend today...Studio Webware. It is a web based application that you can access even from your cell phone. It was created by Lance Haeberle, the genius behind Studio IT. Lance doesn't know I'm writing this hub about his product, but knowing what I know about the business of interior design, this is by far the most robust and complete tool for our industry.
Why do I say that? It offers the same desktop functionality and more than Studio IT. You can search for a product on the web, upload it to Studio Webware, add details, create a proposal, email it to your client, get paid for the proposal, click a button, send a purchase order, update the order status, click a button, send a final invoice, etc.
Your income statement and balance sheet are automatically updated...you can then print your current financials (without a bookkeeper), and keep track of your company's metrics.
You can track your time and send time bills.
And, if you're one of the most progressive interior design firms, you can outsource your purchasing to a firm that specializes in managing your back office operations. You can even get accounting support remotely.
If you are a solopreneur, or a large interior design firm, this is the best option on the market.
I can't share the new developments in the works, but I can tell you that it is exciting. Lance is working on something that will allow you to create passive income for your interior design business. I'll share more details when he's ready to announce the news.
Full disclosure: I am not an affiliate of Studio IT or Studio Webware. I am an interior design coach and mentor teaching interior designers how to use cutting-edge marketing and business strategies to make their competition irrelevant. I did not receive compensation for my endorsement.
For more information about Gail Doby, ASID, DSA, visit Design Success University
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