You may not need to use an ASID designer in your business when you first get started, but I recommend you get a professional designer involved a couple of different times in your business’ life. Designers are trained to see spaces in different ways to the rest of us. They can take a bland space and give it a focal point . They can help you think through flow, and usage, and a good designer will illustrate the culture and purpose of the business.
You are best served considering having a designer consult when
- When you start you business,
- You need to re-energize it, and MOST IMPORTANTLY
- as you’re about to sell the business.
The top designers in this space are all member of their association — ASID. It’s exclusive, expensive and some might say exclusionary. There are plenty of experienced designers who have not gone ahead and joined the association. But commercial can be a different animal from residential; you will have to see who you know and who you are obligated to. If, for example, the designer in your BNI chapter is an residential specialist, you can still work together successfully. Keep the assignment to something they understand, rather than getting caught up in fabrics, textures and finishes, and color. Even a home stager or Organizational specialist can help you if you keep the conversation/assignment down to three things – FOCUS, FLOW AND FLAIR.
What designers, and in particular stagers, do better than anyone else is locate a focal point in any space and make everything else work to amplify it. When you customers first walk in to your place of business, what is the first thing that they see. It might be a friendly face on reception; it could be your logo. Maybe it’s a set of photographs or paintings that talk to your culture, your history, your awards, your certifications. There are many choices here. You need to decide which is the most important first impression you want your customers to have.
And for employees: what mood do you want to set. How are desks arranged? so that they can collaborate, and reach over to each other’s space to see what’s on the screen as they collectively work on the same goals. Or is everything open so that you can catch them making personal phone calls. Is there a volume target they need to hit, and a terrific prize they need to focus on to win? Do you want them uncomfortable so that they move around a lot, or do you need them sitting, focused intently for hours at a time? You can do a lot to improve productivity with the right environment.
How customers walk into the building/office? How they get around. How your employees find their way to their work space and all the other places they need? Is it stressful just climbing over piles of boxes just trying to get to the bathroom, or are things well organized and pathways easily delineated? Again, flow impacts productivity…and the energy of the people working there.If employees constantly have to “trek” to get anywhere, their level of frustration might be higher than their will to succeed.
Is your business, a cult of personality business? Then, your personality and your vision needs to permeate the whole office. When you have a goal bigger than the people working on it, then the decor in the office can do a lot to further the mission. With artwork, with furniture, with aromas, music and even ring tones…. there is a lot of environmental painting you can do with the 5 senses that keep folks focused on the greater purpose to hand.
So, the 3 F’s of business design – focus, flow and flair – can help your employees have a more rewarding productive experience. Equally, it can SHOW you customers who you are. And isn’t it always better to show rather than tell? This is most important when you have a business to sell. Where you may not know who the potential buyer is. Ad you certainly don’t want them to see that business functioning any less than its best.