Make Market Work For Your Business

Sean Low, business coach for Business of Home, on how to get a good return on your Market investment

There is tremendous value in seeing and learning about all that is available at High Point Market – enough to make it an essential destination for shopping and inspiration, one could argue. However, you can’t just let inspiration be all that you bring back from High Point, especially if you’re paying your associates to attend with you. You need to capture that value in a tangible form.

By “tangible form,” I mean concrete deliverables. For example, a written report on the most interesting trends, styles, products; a list of contacts made; or a summary of educational topics presented. To be even more specific, I would suggest that you task yourself and your employees to come home with at least two viable opportunities that can be put into place in your design business, and will reap a return, financial or otherwise, in the next six months to a year.

“Create a structured path to build on the energy created at High Point.”

With what I’ll call “conference overload” so prevalent these days, there is a tendency to be amped at the conference or market – excited and inspired by what you and your employees experience – only to have the energy fizzle when you return to the grind of everyday business at home.

To capitalize on that inspiration and excitement, don’t settle for, “Wow, that new lighting technique I saw was amazing – we should do that for a client one day.” Instead, lead the conversation that starts with, “That new lighting technique was amazing,” to “I have scheduled a meeting with the manufacturer to give us additional information for next week. Here are the projects we could work the technique into and here is the type of project it would be great for, as well as all pricing and specification information.”

“Incorporate an entrepreneurial ethos into the fabric of your business.”

Finally, realize that choosing to go to High Point – and choosing to compensate your employees for going with you – takes your business to a level many design firms may never reach. Embrace being on the forefront. Make the desire to push boundaries be the standard of excellence you expect of yourself and all your employees. Then, as the future reveals itself, you, your art, and your creative business will be uniquely positioned to take advantage of whatever may come.

About Sean Low

Sean Low is the go-to business coach for interior designers. His clients have included Nate Berkus, Sawyer Berson, Vicente Wolf, Barry Dixon, Kevin Isbell and McGrath II. Low earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and as founder-president of The Business of Being Creative, he has long consulted for design businesses. His Business Advice column at Business of Home, from which this article was adapted, answers designers’ most pressing questions.