Wednesday, December 31, 2008


So now that you've dragged out and dusted off those same tired old resolutions (you know the ones)... "I will lose weight. I will pay off my credit cards. I will quit smoking. I will double my business. I will ________" (fill in blank). Why not practice what you preach? Redesign these heirlooms for '09!

Don't just push your resolutions around and add a few new words! I'm talking a step by step redesign of your business and your resolutions for a better enterprise for the New Year.

It's amazing how the steps to a successful redesign are more far-reaching than you'd think. Here's how you can apply them to your resolutions this year:
  1. Clear the room. You can't get a fresh perspective on your business til you get rid of the "old" look!
  2. Find your focal point. If you don't know what you're supposed to be looking at, it's time to find the focus of your business.
  3. Add your largest seating piece. Your business needs a foundation to build on. What is the anchor for your business? Why do you do what you do? Who is your perfect client?
  4. Create conversational groupings with other seating. Dialogue is a good thing in business. Talk to yourself (in private of course). But more importantly, talk to others. Your business can't grow in a vacuum.
  5. Add secondary furnishings. Make sure you have some tables. It's ok to put your business down from time to time. With proper placement, you'll always know it's within arms reach.
  6. Add the artwork. Don't forget those dream boards. If you don't have your inspiration in front of you, your resolutions will be worthless by Jan 2nd.
  7. Let there be light! Illuminate your business from every angle. You've created a masterpiece of a plan. Don't lose beautiful opportunities in the shadows.
  8. Accessorize. The best redesign step of all.... we love this step. But there's a reason this step is last. Accessorize too soon and you get lost in the little things and lose site of the big picture.
See how simple that is. Try redesigning those resolutions for a bigger, better business.
Here's to a fantastic 2009 for us all. Now, where are my furniture slides?

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Thursday, December 18, 2008

On Dasher, On Dancer, On Limbaugh

Does it ever just get your goat to have to agree with someone that makes your skin crawl? You know… one of those people that it just kills you for them to be right about something.

That happened to me the other day when I heard about a guest that Oprah must have interviewed recently, Mr. Rush Limbaugh. Not having seen the episode first hand, since Oprah isn’t high on my affection meter either, I am going to have to paraphrase what he is reported to have said regarding the economy and the current “recession”. Apparently, when asked about the recession and his strategy for financial well being during it, he simply said that he chooses not to participate (in the recession).

Now frankly, I couldn’t disagree more with this man’s political and social views on many a topic. But apparently, in a moment of divine clarity (hear hallelujah chorus here), he was able to utter something that I found compelling and profound… chooses not to participate in the recession. Guess he does have his moments.

Why is it that when we were kids in school that “recess” was the single best word we’d hear all day? And as adults, “recession” takes on such a sinister (duh duh dun) tone! The economy is a living thing. It behaves much in the same way growing and contracting with a pulse of its own. In my opinion, albeit hard, this is just the natural ebb and flow of the world’s economy.

I’m not a fool to think that I won’t be affected in some ways by our current economic situation. But I can choose not to mentally or emotionally participate in something that is, in my opinion, as much a media feeding frenzy (for bad news) as it is actual economic woe.

So yes, Mr. Limbaugh, as much as I hate to admit it, I have taken your advice and I too have chosen not to participate in the recession. I learned a long time ago that I don’t always have a choice in what life deals me; but I DO have a choice in how I react to it. Guess I’ve made that choice!

Wishing you, your families and businesses a Healthy, Prosperous and Happier 2009!

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
D├ęcor Designs, Inc.
Crystal Lake, IL

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ultimate Marketing Tool Kit for Decorating Professionals

Tool Tip #2
Your Logo

Nothing makes your business appear more professional than does a well-designed logo. It gives you credibility in the eyes of your clients, while at the same time telling them a little bit about your personals style. It can help people decided to do business with you.

Whether you realize it or not every time your name appears in front of your clients, you project an image. When you give someone your business card, invoice, web address, email, brochure, your business is being judged.

Because your image is being judged by it's logo, it's important to project the best image possible. It's important to distinguish yourself as unique and to establish your business personality.

Are you fun? Serious? Sexy? Conservative? Comfortable? No matter what your style is it's important to communicate that effectively to your clients.

What Is A Logo?
A logo is nothing more that a fancy, graphic representation of your business name, with - or without a picture added. It's a unique image, with unique colors that expresses you.

What to include in your logo?

  • Business name
  • Business name + Graphic or photo
So Before you hurry off to design or redesign your logo, think carefully about the style of your business. For example, a logo done in primary colors may not inspire confidence. While it might be great for a day care it may not be the best for you. Muted colors project strength, but may represent a seriousness that is not your personality.

Sit down and think about the way you want your clients to see you. Jot down your favorite colors, colors you hate, personality keywords, and images that identify strongly with your line of work.

Now you are ready to begin to create your logo. Try to come up with four to eight different logo designs, using different fonts, positions, and colors. Then ask "what do you think" to people you trust.

Your logo is 100% your property, so you'll want to make it look as much like your business as possible.

Get The Most Out of Your Logo
Here are a few places to include your logo:
  • Letterhead
  • Business Cards
  • Advertisements
  • Vehicles
  • Invoices
  • Web Sites
  • Phone Book listings
  • E-mail signatures
Where your name appears, your logo should appear, too! Remember - Be Consistent - use the same logo, with the same colors, layout and appearance, throughout all of your materials.

The last thing you want to do is let your clients think you have multiple personalities.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Value of Giving to Others

I had the most wonderful experience in Pontiac Michigan. Myself and many others were truly in the Christmas Spirit on Monday December the 8th.
We helped Terry Grahl, fellow SDP member, bring her vision of a homeless women's shelter makeover to fruition. Words really can not describe the rich reward we received from giving of our time & talent to others. The generosity of others was overwhelming. Comfort Inn & Suites even donated a room for me. My sister and I enjoyed our little trip from Ohio, little did we realize how much the trip would mean to us. I know the women felt that they had been given a "GIFT", but really it was us.
Terry's dream of enchantment came to life before our eyes.
It was amazing to see so many donations from people all across our country assembled in one room waiting to be dispersed through-out the building. Hundreds and hundreds of items. New Robes to large items of furniture. AMAZING!
Terry's army of volunteers never complained and worked like elves to help the "MAGIC" happen.
Before I left on the trip some friends and family were concerned for our safety. I can honestly say that non of us ever felt more SAFE.
Many of the shelters male inhabitants helped us make the magic happen. I'm certain that some of them hadn't felt how truly they were needed and respected in a long time. Watching Scott weave his many talents of "Jack of All Trades" was inspiring to me. I don't know what we would have done without him.
The shelter laid out a fantastic & delicious lunch for us. Many of the men brought us hot meals to our tables and insisted on giving Terry & her "Elves" a standing ovation.
One of the women was awe-struck over the transformation of the rooms and cried on my shoulder for helping. She was distraught over the idea of not being able to repay me for my long drive from Ohio.I told her that all I want her to do is to realize that there are folks out there who really do care about them and the way she could repay us was to realize her dreams. This shelter is beautiful but is only a stepping stone towards her living her dreams. Mere words can not explain the joyous feeling that permeated that building.
On my journey I was also privileged to meet so many great people from all levels of our society working together towards a common goal.
I know that I and my sister will definitely be there again for Terry and her "Enchanted Cottage" makeover next year.
Christmas is about giving to others and instead of us giving to them...they had actually given to me.
Thank you Terry!
May all of you have a joyous and magical Holiday Season.

Merry Christmas,
DesAnn Collins
Design By DesAnn of Ohio

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Have an Affair with your Business!

Do you remember what it feels like to fall in love? If you are reading this and you are a woman, you may often feel neglected by your husband. You wish he would do the sweet things for you that he used to do. You want him to understand your needs and frequently, we are disappointed because they don't.

If you are a man and you are reading this, my heart goes out to you, because we women are not that easy to deal with and yet....we are so simple. Little things make us happy, wink at us at a party, tell us we look pretty when we get ready for work, kiss us with no ulterior motives and most importantly, really "listen" for the things that are unsaid. A relationship is about understanding and honoring one another's needs and wants. This rings true with your relationship with your business. Have you been neglecting it?

When was the last time, you spent time alone with your business and talked to it about what it needed? When was the last time you gave it some TLC and helped it to blossom into all that it could be? When was the last time you nurtured an affair with your business? Let's talk about common signs of neglect.

Website-do you have one? if not, what the heck are you waiting for? There is no reason in today's world to not have an online brochure for your business, which basically is what a website is. If you do, when was the last time you changed any verbiage or photos? Does the calendar still have dates from things that have passed? Were the colors on trend when you had the site created but now look old and stale. Build traffic to your site by making changes.

While we are talking about websites, does yours feature your photo? I know, I hate the way I photograph also, but people like to visualize who they are reading about or talking to via email. Get your photo up now!

Marketing-when was the last time you tried something different? Do you do something everyday to promote your buisness? Apply the C.C.S.P. formula to your marketing, Creative Consistent Self Promotion. Do it better and more importantly, do it different from your competitors.

Okay, there is a, go and talk to your business. Let it know you care and you will reap the benefits. Just like the husband that listens to his wife.

JoAnne Lenart-Weary

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ultimate Marketing Tool Kit For Decorators

The SDP has created a series for you called the "Ultimate Marketing Tool Kit" each week will be tips on Technology, Social Media and Marketing to help you improve your business.

The First Tool -
Your Thirty-Second Commercial

Before you spend a dime on marketing you had better know what it is you do and can it be said in 30 seconds or less.


You will use it in more ways than thought imaginable and it's one tool that is absolutely free.

What is it?

A 30 second commercial is nothing more than a short introduction of you and your business - in 30 seconds.

This is especially important for new business owners, but what about the veterans? They should absolutely be able to quickly describe their core business in 30 seconds. If your message is unclear you may sound inexperienced even if you have been in business for years.

What Makes A Great Thirty-Second Commercial?

* The Name of Your Business
* Your main Product or service
* The clients you prefer
* A benefit to those clients using your product or service

Don't confuse a Thirty-Second Commercial with a sales pitch. They are very different.

Here's an example:

"Hi, my name is Elizabeth Smith, and I own It's Your Home Redesigns. We redesign homes for people who want to have a designer home, with a one-day turnaround time. We redesign the home one room at a time by taking everything out of a room, bringing it back in piece by piece, to reflect focus, form and function of how the room will be used in one day."

Write Your Own!

Now that you've read an example, you are ready to write your own 30 -second commercial. Don't worry - it will not be hard. Get a piece of paper and pen or open a word document and take a deep breath.

  • Describe Your Service - what is your main service? This doesn't have to be in complete sentences no-one will see this but you.
  • Pick Your Perfect Client - write down a description of your target client. Be specific! "My perfect clients are 45 year old women with two Jack Russells, no decorating sense, just moved to a new home, and has money to spend." Another one, "Married couples who are both working and have no time to decorate."
TIP: Having an accurate understanding of your target client is key to successful marketing. Be Specific - include income level, location, hobbies, buying habits, neighborhoods, etc... Keep this in front of you as you build your business.
  • Choose a Client Benefit - Why do they want you? Does it save time? Make life easy?
Put It All Together

You have your basics now string it all together into two to three sentences so that it makes sense, and add your name and business at the beginning.

Keep It Simple!

There should be no 50-cent words, technical words, jargon, industry slang, etc... Just keep it simple and straightforward with short words and short sentences.

Perhaps you have been using it for years, consider revising it to make it clearer. Perhaps it's time for a new vision with a new service or new clients.


What is Your 30 Second Commercial?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

"Devine" Holiday Decorating Webinar: This Thursday!

Does Your Holiday Decorating Need a Little "Devine" Inspiration? Then for this Thursday's Webinar presented LIVE at Noon or 8:00 pm!

Diana Hudson Kresnye of Devine Designs in Cleveland, Ohio will inspire you with her creative decorating ideas that will have you singing "fa la la la la" while decking your halls!

Diana is an award-winning holiday decorator ~ check out her Christmas designs in this month's magazine. Her holiday handiwork and ideas have also been seen in Ohio magazine, Cleveland magazine, and in Continental Airline's in-flight magazine.

During your power hour with Diana, you'll SEE creative ideas, learn a few decorating guidelines for creating magazine-quality designs, and discover the secret to getting into local and regional magazines.

Diana will also help boost your business by sharing her tips for obtaining speaking engagements
and creating classes & workshops. Click to register for this webinar!

What Is a "Webinar"?

A Webinar is short for "Web-based seminar." A Webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web. A key feature of a Webinar is its interactive elements - the ability to give, receive and discuss information.

After you register for the class, you will be sent a link that you will use at the time of the Webinar to "connect" you to Diana's desktop! This will allow you to actually "see" her presentation. You can either call in on your phone or use your computer headset to hear the presentation.

There will be time for your holiday decorating questions! It's fun and easy! today and we'll "see" you Thursday!

Monday, December 1, 2008

May All Your Christmases Be Green

by jeff rice

‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la. Oh yes, it’s that time again. Every year, it hardly seems like the Christmas decorations have been down at all and it’s time to put it all back up again.

Growing up, we always had a fresh cut Christmas tree from the local market. Even though we had to wait til about mid-December to put it up for fear of it drying out by Christmas, it was always worth the wait. The smell of fresh pine filled the air better than any candle or potpourri.

Sadly, I have to admit that faux fir has been my tree of choice for over 20 years. The sheer convenience of a boxed tree coupled with two mischievous cats and a busy schedule make an artificial tree a lifesaver for me. And I’m not alone. An estimated 50 million American households decorate artificial trees for the holidays.

Evergreens have stirred more than Christmas memories in recent years as the debate between artificial and real has centered on which choice is greener. Depending on whom you ask, there is a wide range of opinion. Environmentalists will argue that natural and renewable, live trees are the better option. Not surprisingly however, their counterparts in the artificial tree industry claim far less carbon emissions because of the reusability factor for their products. It seems there is no clear cut winner because both require transportation from tree farms or Chinese factories.

Whether you have an artificial tree or buy one of the 30 million live trees sold in the U.S. each year, here are a few things to consider as you “deck your halls” this holiday season.

  • Unless you live in desert or tropical regions, live trees can be purchased first-hand at your local tree farm. Not only are these the freshest option, but they also create the least amount of carbon emissions for transportation.
  • Also consider that, if purchased with the root ball intact, live trees may be reused for several seasons if planted or kept in a container. I hope you have enough room and green thumb if you select this option.
  • Cut trees can be recycled. Every year, tens of thousands of trees are collected by local municipalities for recycling programs or to create wildlife habitat in man made lakes.
  • Artificial trees, while reusable, are generally produced with non-biodegradable polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic which isn’t easily recycled because of various chemical additives.
  • Older artificial trees also container higher levels of lead which is dangerous if ingested by children or animals.
  • Artificial trees are generally more flame retardant if you like to leave your tree up more than a couple weeks.
Whatever your choice, have a happy, healthy holiday season enjoying all things red, gold and GREEN!

Happy Holidays!

Jeffery Rice, PIR, PRS
Decor Designs, Inc.