January 2021 is a huge milestone for Visual Edge! I'm celebrating 20 years since opening the doors here in Port Macquarie way back in 2001.
I’m often asked for tips and suggestions that may help others on their business journey. Given I've reached an amazing milestone, I thought it would be a good chance to share some of the things I have learned so far on this incredible journey.
Although I didn’t know much about business when I started, and given that the ‘odds of success were stacked against me, I did know that I needed to learn fast, and deliver phenomenal service, be creative and outsmart the obstacles – even though I didn’t know what they would be yet! What served me well was a deep underdog mentality, and it was that mentality that gave me the drive, hunger, a burning desire to win and look at old challenges in new ways.
Here are 20 things that I have learned along the way that have served me well. I’m sharing them with you so that you don’t have to learn some of the hard lessons the way I had to!
1.There is no secret to success, there is a formula. It starts with setting big goals –and working very hard to achieve them.
2. Always be grateful, even for the setbacks, for there will be many. The biggest lessons and gifts in business can often come in disguise!
3.Although I am a sole trader and always have been.... Business is no fun alone – find the right people, partners and customers that you enjoy working with and build something amazing with them.
4.Hard work, works - short cuts and quick fixes will just take you back a step. Do things properly the first time.
5.Service, service, service – always place delivering value before profit. If the service is right, the rest with follow.
6.Think win-win for yourself and your affiliates and clients. if anyone is losing out, that’s not a workable business model or one that feels good to be in. Winning together is much more fun and long-term.
7.Trust your instinct - whether that be a contract, people decisions or new venture – if it doesn’t feel right, that’s probably for a reason.
8.You won’t always win but you’ll only truly fail if you fail to learn! Learn lessons fast and always keep learning.
9. Wake up early, be grateful – your goals should be big enough to kick you out of bed.
10. Procrastination kills opportunity.
11. Respect your competition – win battles together wherever possible.
12. Trust and empower the right people. Give them the keys to drive, be clear about expectations, and recognise their value as publicly as appropriate.
13. Give back, give forward and remember those that have stood by you – never, ever break their trust or let them down.
14. Surround yourself with the right people and remember that the right people will want to be surrounded with the same. Get a coach or mentor that has ‘been there’ They should have the wisdom to save you from learning expensive lessons that you can avoid!
15. Encourage growth, share opportunities and help others succeed. If it’s time for someone to move on or grow into other roles, support them in doing so quickly.
16. Cash flow is SO important! It’s like oxygen – if it runs out, Game over!
17. Work with hungry, interesting, inspired and passionate people that have a great attitude. If you wouldn’t be able to spend 2 - 4 hours in a car with them in traffic and enjoy the journey, how can you expect your customers and team members to?
18. Always ask questions. If you have a question, you have it for a reason, and that reason needs satisfying - so just ask the question!
19. Play to your strengths and affiliate with people that have a variety of skills, cultures and experiences – if you’re the designer and visionary, find a great builder to help you build that vision. A room full of visionaries is great, but very little will get built!
20. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Maybe it’s been waiting for you to be the first - the past doesn’t have to equal the future! Change is a good thing.
Building a successful business is no small feat, however it can be massively rewarding. It brings me great joy knowing that I have built a business that has served thousands of clients improve their standard of living/lifestyles - which is phenomenal!
I hope that one or more of the points above assists you in reflecting on your journey.
See the gallery below for some Visual Edge projects completed throughout 2020:
How I create a 'designer' result
I’ve often been asked how I do what I do? When I walk into a client’s home I instinctively see a ‘big picture’ and direction for their interior. Yet I would never impose style on a client. Visual Edge is all about creating something unique based on the unique opportunities of the space, practical parameters and the vision and dreams drawn form the client. I work with people who are renovating, refurbishing or building because it’s really hard to do it yourself. I help clients understand their vision and style, then together we embark upon a journey step by step and room by room exploring design ideas to achieve the home of their dreams.
Challenging misconceptions about design since 2001
Meeting with clients reveals that there are many misconceptions about design...... this can cause procrastination, hesitation and uncertainty. Misconception can sometimes creates a blocker for the client which typically stalls the project or creates doubt. It's like pulling back a curtain when you can dispel these false truths in the clients head and free them of these perceived limitations. It's a great feeling to be able to re-engage someone's creativity!
Capitalise on decades of experience
If there's one thing that 20+ years in the design industry has taught me, it's that experience is key! Your designer should be formally qualified but should also have a good whack of experience under their belt. After all, that's what you are paying for! All of their trial and error, their hard yards. Dare I say it, their blood, sweat and tears. if you don't use Visual Edge, just make sure that your designer has a great looking portfolio and tons of testimonials.
In 20 years of Interior Design practice locally, there have been countless achievements providing an amazing level of instant gratification to both myself and my clients - the experience gained over this length of time is priceless! I am incredibly grateful for my suppliers and trades and of course my beautiful clients. Every single one of them brings something unique to my experience in this incredible business journey.
FYI - I'm back on board now for the New Year so please let me know if you have a project that you need help with. There are a number of great projects lined up for me over the months ahead. Including the renovation of a 'soon to be beautiful' riverside home in Port Macquarie, a new remote retail design located in the Northern Territory, the substantial refurbishment of a large family home in Port Macquarie plus an exciting new Education project and a myriad of consultations already booked for the month of January. The excitement continues into its 3rd decade!