In Part one of this series, “Becoming a Home Stager: How to Run a Successful Staging Business” I analyzed the top problems and questions looming in the minds of new home stagers, or possibly even stagers who have been in the business but are struggling. In this post, I’m going to begin dissecting and analyzing them. As a reminder…
The biggest challenges for new businesses are:
- trying to do everything yourself
- not having a plan
- thinking you are working when really you are just shuffling papers
- creating functioning systems
- not putting in the hours you need to succeed
In the book E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber (possibly one of the best business books ever written, if you haven’t read it, get it NOW!), Gerber discussed why so many businesses fail. The greatest reason seems to be that people think because they are good at the function of the job (in this case staging) that they should have a great business. In the end, they burn out or let too many things fall through the cracks because they want to spend all their time focusing on the function and forget all the things that go along with the job itself.
I could not agree with him more. Through my years in the staging industry, I’ve seen great stagers go out of business because they couldn’t do the business part and I’ve seen pretty lousy stagers do very well. You see, when people begin researching home staging classes, they think that that’s what they’ll be doing – the fun stuff. Instead, for most successful home staging businesses, what we really see is that the home staging is only about 30% of the job. The rest falls into marketing, advertising, billing, client services, networking, website building, and the list goes on and on.
Trying to do everything yourself can be daunting and overwhelming. When you start out it may be your only option. Still, from the beginning you’ll need to figure out what the responsibilities will be for each key role of the company. This way you’ll remember what you need to continue doing to be successful and hopefully, eventually, hire someone to do the tasks that you no longer wish to do.
If you’ve been running your business for some time and have stagnated, maybe you are already here. If you still aren’t busy enough to hire someone else, then just follow through with this next exercise and maybe you’ll see where you are weak and can adjust properly.
Think of a successful company that you are familiar with. (If there aren’t any that come to mind, you may need to do a little research.) What daily, weekly, monthly or annual activities do you notice that they do? What activities does your business require you to do on a regular basis?
Your answers may be something like this: write a monthly newsletter, write a weekly blog post, interact on facebook & twitter, check emails daily, bill customers bi-monthly, work on statistics, update my website with new staged properties, farm staging jobs, cleaning storage area, shopping, staging homes, and attend networking meetings.
Begin dividing your activities into categories like: Marketing & Advertising, Operations, Customer Support, Staging & Warehouse.
Now break down the activities within the categories into: Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Annually.
Finally, create a plan to how all of these tasks will get done at the desired/required times. As the schedule for each category becomes larger, you’ll know when and where you can begin hiring people to help you. You’ll also have a procedure in place to make a smooth transition.
For more help on building a team, consider taking Linda Barnett’s Team Building online workshop.
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