Not everyone has the skills necessary to be a business owner. Sometimes people are born a natural entrepreneur and some others can learn the necessary skills. But there are others that it is just not in the cards for them.
Running a business is often a whole different ballgame than the purpose of the business. Meaning that you can be a plumber, but not know how to run a plumbing business. You can be a talented cake baker, but not have the skills to run a successful bakery. You could make the most beautiful pottery, but not know how to sell it.
You could be an outstanding designer, but not have the qualities necessary to be a business owner.
And that’s what makes the world beautiful, the different strengths and talents of different people.
There are a few qualities that I consider non-negotiable when you’re at the helm of an interior design business.
The Qualities of a Successful Interior Design CEO
Being resourceful means that you know you can figure it out somehow. You’ll find the solution. You’ll determine the answer. You’ll use your smarts and get it done. You may not always know what’s ahead when you’re running an interior design business, but if you’re resourceful, you know you’ll figure it out. Even if you don’t have the resources, you will manage it because you’re resourceful.
When you’re the CEO, you’re not just responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business (most CEOs aren’t, but we interior designers and small business owners have to wear all the hats.) You are also responsible for the long-term growth and success of the company. This means that you need to be able to step outside of the day-to-day, the client work, managing projects, billing, paperwork, etc, and work ON the business. You need to be able to make a plan for where you want to go and how to get there. As the CEO, you have to be the visionary for your company.
Too many of us get swamped down with things that may feel urgent, but are not important. If you’re not able to prioritize and distinguish between the urgent (phone calls, emails, last minute RFP or change order, etc) and the important (business development, photographing your work, establishing boundaries, financial planning, etc) then the urgent tasks will always get done and push out the important.
All successful people I know or have heard of are life-long learners. They read a lot of books, they do research, they have masterminds with other CEOs, the hire coaches and other professionals. It’s not enough to know what you know now, you always have to be growing and learning and the only way to do that is to always be a student. Seek people and experiences that expand your knowledge.
Owning a business is just a series of problems that you have to solve. What program to make your business run more efficiently? Which candidate to hire? The flood in the client’s remodel. The slow internet connection in your office. The wrong wallpaper coming in. The fabric on backorder. How to get more business coming in. Is your website qualifying prospects for you? How to turn down a client. Without the ability to solve problems quickly and efficiently your business will stall or worse, crash and burn.
Determination is the ability to keep going despite setbacks, challenges, and the unknown. All of which there are plenty of when running a business. When you’re determined your passion, drive, and persistence will keep your business afloat when times are hard. Without determination people give up too easily.
Rank yourself 1-10 for each of these qualities, where are your weaknesses? What are your strengths? What can you do to improve those that may have lower rankings?