4 Essential Tools Every Designer Needs

There are so many tools an interior designer needs. No, I'm not talking about CAD or an electronic tape measure - although those are awesome tools, too! Every designer also needs specific tools to help them run their businesses more smoothly (so we can make more money!) And most of the time, we think of those tools LAST rather than FIRST. Here are 4 things every designer should have in her toolbox! 

1. Task Management Program

There are many great programs out there for managing every little task that makes up every design project. There is just NO excuse for not having one. You can set general timelines, include each step of your project process, include notes and ideas, and best of all, delegate and know if something is done! - everything you need to make your project run smoothly. I also like that you can share it with your team (full-time staff AND contractors), you can assign tasks, and set deadlines. YES! Read no sleepless nights wondering if someone did something! My personal favorite is Asana and I use it for EVERY project.

2. Financial System

You have a lot of choices here for what you need, but you have GOT to have something in place. It could be QuickBooks that you share with an accountant or bookkeeper, it could be the Studio Designer app, but you have to have a really good system in place. And then - and I know you're going to anticipate this - you actually have to REVIEW it. And review it often! Staying on top of your cash flow, especially your invoicing, is critical, particularly as we're looking at a possible recession on the horizon. 

3. Email Marketing Program

Many of you are receiving email communications from me, and it's because I use a fantastic CRM program (that stands for Customer Relationship Management). And it is a GREAT way to stay in touch with clients - former, current, AND potential. If you have people who reach out to you, but don't hire you or don't fit into your schedule, you should get their emails, too! I have had clients circling for a few years before they hire me. You can create automatic emails that are triggered at specific points in the year, at particular milestones in a project, or when someone signs up for your newsletter (and you can manage those newsletters through a CRM, too). There are SO many - like Constant Contact and MailChimp - that can give you a lot of great bang for not a lot of bucks!

4. Cloud Storage 

This one is REALLY important! Dropbox and Google Drive have changed everything when it comes to managing projects, clients, contractors, and subcontractors! With these tools, you can run your business from practically anywhere! Take it from me - I should know. I have run my businesses from India and Hungary (and will soon be in ANOTHER international location). You can also share anything you like with other team members and clients, and Dropbox even has an electronic signature feature now that is fabulous. 

So which of these tools and programs do you need in YOUR life?? Processes and systems are SO important. In fact, I'm going to give you my FREE Guide to 5 Essential Business Processes! All you have to do is click here!

xoxo,

Kathleen

PS - if you would like to have your business run MUCH more smoothly and easily, get my incredible ROI system! It is a fabulous business tool built to make interior design businesses for effective and effortless!

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