Asking others how well (or poorly) you’re performing can be a terrifying experience, but one that every interior designer, decorator, window treatment pro, and workroom need to go through as part of their design business evaluation and analysis. There are tangible ways to evaluate your business, i.e. p&l, balance sheet, cash flow report, profitability analysis, sales source report, and other reports that give you black and white figures, void of sentiment. There is also an intangible way, that’s filled with emotion and color. It is simply asking your clients, subs, referral partners, and peers “how am I doing?”
Is is scary? Yes. Can it be time-consuming? Yes. Will it be helpful? Yes.
In corporate, yearly peer 360 reviews are the norm. Why shouldn’t they be in entrepreneurial world, where other’s evaluation can have a direct impact on our revenue and profits.
To this end, here’s what I’m planning to do in my own business.
Decorating clients. Choose your top 20 clients and make personal phone calls asking two questions. What was your favorite part about working with me? If I could improve anything, what would it be, in your opinion. Then shut up and listen. Not only is it a good way to get information, it’s an effective way to do personal outreach and stir up business.
Coaching clients. Combination of phone calls and email survey will work best here.
Newsletter followers. Would you take 3 minutes of your time, and fill out a short survey to let me know how you like (or dislike) this newsletter. I even have a great free gift for you at the end, in exchange for your candor.
Referral partners. A combination of phone call and email survey. I plan to ask the following questions:
1. How satisfied are you with our partnership?
2. What was your favorite part of working together?
3. If there was one thing I could improve, what would it be?
4. Would you use my services in the future?
5. Would you recommend my services to others?
When will I do it? I’m putting it on the calendar for Tuesday, January 24th, first thing in the morning, b/c if I don’t do it first thing, I’ll find a million excuses not to do it later.
This will be one of more humbling experiences this year for me, but one for which no P&L analysis is a substitute.