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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Staging Success – How Long Does it Take?

Staging Success – How Long Does it Take?
by Jennie Norris, ASP Master, IAHSP-Premier, SRS, REO, BTS
Owner, Sensational Home Staging

Starting a business is exciting because at the start we are full of possibilities and hope for success.  We get started and for some that have never owned their own business before – we realize that it is a lot more work than we realized.  We think, “I am creative – can’t I just Stage?”  Why do we have to do all that other business stuff?

Why?  Because without it – there will never be the Creative Side that we love to do. 

To be successful we have to be not only passionate about being creative, we have to be passionate about building our business.  It starts with our attitude and having huge perseverance to get us through the growth stages. 
The key is how PASSIONATE you are about your business and being a Stager.  If you have left yourself an out, then you have a “fallback” position and really have not committed 100% to your goal of owning a successful Staging business.  I teach, “Burn the Bridge” and don’t give yourself an out.  Have a motivating factor that is large enough that you don’t consider giving up and going back to a W2 job.

When I teach others about being successful in Staging, I am honest and share that you have to plan at least 5 years out with your vision for business.  To expect a thriving business in one year or even two is not realistic.  It is a minimum of 3 years to see your business begin to mature and at least 5 years to really see the big dollars coming in consistently where you are in the 6 figure or higher income category.

The typical growth of a Staging Business looks something like this:

Year  1: Getting established, setting up the business framework, and planting seeds of success by initiating relationships with Realtors.

During this year, many Stagers will give up because they get discouraged at how difficult it might be to overcome objections and get a client to say, “Yes” to Staging.  They have no idea what Marketing is and how to use it to get business.  The fantasy of having a significant income producing company in the first year vanishes as they realize that the first year is really all about laying the groundwork for a growing business, Marketing like a maniac and cultivating relationships.

Year 2:  Your business is established and you have clients calling you when you have been out marketing consistently.  You are able to manage the existing relationships you have and continue to cultivate new ones – and now you can actually ask for referrals from existing clients because you have a track record. 

During this year, there are still hurdles to overcome as mistakes can be made with business set up and strategies.  Achieving a nice 5 figure income is definitely achievable and being able to reinvest some of the proceeds back into the business is happening.  You are still marketing because that never stops.

Year 3:  Your business is established and you are maintaining your client base.  You should be getting enough consistent calls that your calendar is full.  This is the year that you might have to add a team member to help you keep up with demand whether it is a part time assistant or other Staging colleague to whom you can refer business.    You either go the employee route or have independent contractors. Marketing continues – to keep your name and brand in the forefront of the Realtors and sellers in your market.

Years 4 and 5:  You are growing your business and handling your established client base.  You probably have a team in place to help you including movers, assistants and other Staging colleagues that help on projects as needed.  You might be turning away business because you cannot handle the volume.  You might have diversified and acquired inventory and have set up a storage facility or warehouse to house your items.
Give yourself enough time to really see your business mature – and keep your passion fully engaged and you will be in business for many years to come!