The International Institute of Home Staging offers comprehensive content, specifically developed for home staging and property styling, not interior design or decorating. Experts from the home staging and styling industry from aroudnthe country have contributed to the course content.
Networking is absolutely essential in running a successful business. While technology has made networking easier, this does not mean that you don’t have to work for success in business. Networking is a great way to get your name and business name out into the world, find new clients and expand your affiliates. Regardless of the type of business you run, networking is achieved in similar ways.
Putting yourself out there and going to events is a great way to network. Not only does this lead to new clients but it also has the potential to lead to affiliates and possibly even partner brands. Being around like minded people is great as it allows you to meet other inspirational people, expand your knowledge and your ideas.
Carrying around business cards is still a great way to network, especially at events. Dropping business cards off at cafes and restaurants is another great way to network as it means you have the potential to reach a wide range of demographics! Putting your key social media site usernames, phone number and email on business cards are absolutely essential nowadays. People want to be able to research your business without having any direct contact with the business first, hence the importance of social media sites.
Networking through social media is another great way to network without spending excess time out of your day chatting to people. This can be achieved through paid advertisements, using scheduling programs so you always have content going live across all platforms and live chats. These techniques will allow you to seemingly directly connect with your audience without leaving the comfort of your home! Social media networking allows you to reach completely different audiences depending on what site you are using. This will result in you reaching a much larger audience than what you could when dropping business cards off at a coffee shop or going to an event. Having the flexibility with different audiences on social media also allows you to trial different ideas and techniques on different sites to figure out what works best!
There’s an amazing, good friend of mine, as well as an amazing business woman, called Denise Duffield-Thomas from LuckyBitch.com. Go over and check her out. You’ll find the stuff that she does absolutely amazing.
I was reading the morning about this really great piece she wrote about decluttering. I see a lot of home stagers doing some of the things that she talks about in her blog.
You’ll see in here that she talks about clutter and decluttering is great for money manifesting. She goes on to talk about all the different things that maybe we are doing with our clutter.
For example, in our office spaces, are we holding onto a desk someone gave us when we first started our businesses because we feel that we need to have more money or be a bigger business before we then give ourselves another desk?
A little like – and this is a phrase that Denise talks about, as interesting as it sounds – beggars can’t be choosers. “Someone gave me this when I first started business, so I’m going to keep using it.”
I really want you to head over and read this blog because this is absolutely amazing. It speaks about if we’re holding on to some of the things that we were gifted and we feel we have to be grateful for in our businesses, we aren’t opening up opportunities for new energy, new money and new abundance to come in.
I see this a fair bit in home staging. I see it with people’s stock. When I first started and I was getting stock in and I was like, “Wow! My business is growing!”
Then, as I got more and more stock and I wanted to turn it over, there was this ridiculous attachment to the stock that I had first because, “Oh, gosh. I need that. I need to be grateful. That’s where I can from.”
It wasn’t until I had the most epic garage sale that suddenly my business started to flourish. I got rid of all that old stock that was tying me down and that I wasn’t even really using. I was getting a warehouse full of clutter.
This is something that’s really important in home staging.
Look at your stock, look at your inventory and avoid it becoming clutter. It is the main commodity for many home stagers who have higher for making money.
Why do we allow a money making item to become a cluttered item?
Why don’t we cut it loose and allow more space in our warehouse, more space in our energy, more space in our business for abundant stock, customers, clients and agents coming in.
This is one way that I find a lot of the home stagers that I mentor and that are on our memberships are a bit attached to clutter. But I want to share with you from my phone here. I love reading Denise’s stuff.
She had some other great top tips and I wanted to read you some of my favorites about decluttering in the business because it’s so important; just as it’s important in life, it’s essential in business.
The first one is a really great one about unsubscribing to emails that you don’t want anymore. Deleting old contacts out of your phone.
Backing up and cleaning off your computer. If your desktop looks like a mad woman’s breakfast, clean that up. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels.
Shred old documents. Old documents that you don’t’ need, get rid of them. There is no need to have that clutter and store them.
This is a really interesting one: clean up your Facebook feed. It doesn’t mean you have to defriend people or unlike people, but if there’s someone that’s on your feed and you just don’t want to see their stuff anymore, make sure you remove that from your feed.
The other one that I love, which is really interesting is deleting websites and getting rid of the histories in your browsers. That can be really interesting.
Then, one of the last ones that I want to read to you – and this is a great one – is say no to networking groups that have become an obligation and not a joy.
I believe massively, guys, in the five people that we surround ourselves in are the people that we’re going to become and the people that we’re going to be the biggest reflection upon us.
That could also be said for networking groups. Many of us got involved in networking groups, which can become clutter in our calendar and clutter in our life.
Take Denise’s massive inspiration. Head over to LuckyBitch.com. I want you to get on and read this because it’s a really amazing blog.
I want you then to have a look in your warehouses for cluttered stock; I want you to look in your offices for all those things that you feel you should be entitled and that you’re really gifted to have and you need to keep and I want you to look in your computers and in your phones.
Rid yourself of that clutter and that will open up the energy for abundance and more business, more wealth and more opportunity to come your way.
Thanks so much for listening, guys. I’ll be back again soon.
There comes a time when your business will get to capacity and 24hrs in the day is not enough! This is when some decisions must be made. These decisions usually revolve around:
Staffing – do I need to hire someone?
Financing operations – can I borrow money and how do I use it?
Internal systems – what can we do more efficiently?
All three of the above have one thing in common – they come at a cost!
Most small to medium sized businesses will experience some cashflow pressure throughout their business lifecycle. During these times, how do you get ahead? How do you keep the ball rolling? Ultimately, financing the business will come from debt or equity, but is it a good idea to take on this financial risk and is your business:
Able to access finance; and
Capable of handling growth opportunities
All too often business owners look to get finance but are not in a position to do so. Whether restricted by limited trading history, poor financial performance or existing finance being at a maximum, you need to be aware of your eligibility and how you plan for expansion! If you’re unable to access finance, what are the steps you need to take to ready your business for finance. In other words, what is Plan B and how do we implement this strategy effectively?
I look forward to presenting on this topic and other key cashflow considerations for home staging businesses as part of the DFK Crosbie presentation at this year’s National Home Staging Symposium.
Greg Logue is a Senior Accountant at DFK Crosbie and an advisor to business owners across a range of unique industries. Focusing on business growth and peace of mind for his client’s, Greg has over 10 years’ experience in providing solutions to everyday business problems. Whether it be getting a business off the ground, taking it to the next level or working towards a long-term goal, Greg tailors his approach to suit your needs. Using reliable financial data, Greg and his team can provide strategic advice to drive your business in the right direction.
The demands of the current regulatory environment make it tough for businesses to stay current and compliant. Key is setting the ground work early, getting compliance right, starting with employment contracts and workplace policies.
In this two-part blog series, I will explore HR compliance documentation, with the first part focussing on employment contracts and part two focussing on policies and procedures.
Employment contracts can be in writing, oral or inferred from the conduct of parties. Essentially what this means is that even though terms aren’t formally noted a relationship still exists. It exists in the form of relevant employment legislation, that is, the Fair Work Act, the National Employment Standards and if relevant Modern Awards. It does not necessarily safeguard your business from other risks, that are more closely aligned with contractual law.
Other risks that are not covered by employment law but that are considerations for the industry are in relation to Restraint of Trade and Licences.
Restraint of Trade clauses form part of post-employment obligations and can vary from sector to sector. This clause seeks to restrict a former employee from interfering with any relationship you have with your clients, suppliers and other employees or from seeking employment or starting a business which would be in competition with your business. When developing this clause consideration should be given to geographical areas and the length of time the restraint should be in effect. This clause is also important when hiring to ensure your new recruit is free from restraints to perform the role you’ve hired them for.
As a key component of the role involves driving to see clients and potentially a warehouse, you want to ensure your workers have a current drivers licence. Having a clause in the employment contract that covers what could happen if a worker was to lose their licence is key to ensuring you have staff that are able to fulfil the inherent requirements of the role.
Probation periods, Intellectual property and Surveillance (including CCTV and computer) are also important considerations when developing employment contracts.
You’ve worked hard to build your business so it’s best to manage the risks from the start!
In life we constantly question ourselves and if the decisions we make are the right decisions. Depending on your family and friend situation, the decisions we may can also influence their lives. We question everything from if we really had the best dinner we could have, if we exercised for as long as we could have, if we were as productive at work as we could have been. All these things are questions we ask ourselves all the time. Depending on our answers, we might try harder the next time, or we could have pushed ourselves to the end limit. Regardless, when we keep questioning ourselves over the same thing, at some stage, we will begin to see change.
When it comes to running a business, you question yourself and the decisions you make all that much more. Not only does the decisions you make influence yourself, but it also influences your family, your finances, your career and those you employ. Discovering an effective strategy and way of questioning yourself which always results in successful decision making and successful results is of utmost importance. So, what should you be asking yourself to better yourself as a business owner?
“What am I doing?” I know, this is a big question, but it needs to be asked. What is your business, what is its motto and what is it achieving? If these questions and answers aren’t what you want to hear then it is time to make some changes.
“What are my goals?” This is a great one as we enter the new year! What do you want your business to achieve in the next year, 5 years and 10 years? Where do you see your business going and what changes do you have to make to achieve your goals?
“Who are my competitors and what are they doing?” Knowing your competitor’s business inside out is just as important as knowing your own business. What do they do that is highly successful? Is this successful because of who they are or because of their demographic? How can you incorporate this into your business?
“Who is working for me?” Finding your A-team doesn’t happen over night! Don’t be afraid to reevaluate jobs and those you employ, if someone isn’t doing their job properly then find someone who can.
“What can I outsource?” As the business owner you don’t need to be doing tedious tasks that someone else can do! You can outsource locally or you can look for someone to outsource tasks to from elsewhere, this all depends on what you are comfortable with.
While it is important to constantly be asking yourself these questions, it is also important to sit down every three to six months and have a long think about these questions and what the answers actually are. Doing this regularly to ensure that your business will stay on top of its game and in front of all its competitors.
When you are preparing to your put property on the market, chances are you want the best price possible. Often times, this means hiring a stager to give you the best chance at getting the highest return. If your budget is tight and you have furniture space, the best option in home staging is to have your property partially staged. This means that when a home stager comes into your property to have a consultation and quote your property, they will inform you of what furniture can stay and what furniture can go. However, if you want to best use home stagers to your fullest advantage there are a few things you should do before having the consultation.
De-cluttering your property is a must before it goes on sale and before you have a consultation with a home stager. Remove the stacks of DVD’s, CD’s, bookshelves stacked high with odds and ends, piles of things you have been meaning to clear out and anything that doesn’t have a spot. Not only will this help in the moving process but it will make your property seem a lot nicer and bigger instantly.
The reason for this is simple, you don’t want your valuables to be damaged in the sale process. If something is special to you but it does not go with the theme of the property, removing it prior to a home stager coming in is a good idea so someone else doesn’t have to tell you to remove it. Similarly, removing images is a must! Potential buyers don’t want to feel like they are walking through someone else’s property so family photos are unnecessary.
Even if you are living in the property during the sale process, limiting the amount of toys used to a small box that can easily be packed away in the car during open homes is a great idea. Toys are not necessary when displaying a home as a family home. Not only that but toys in the home during open houses make the property feel as if it is someone else’s and potential buyers cannot fully imagine themselves living in the space.
Keeping your yard in immaculate condition during the sale process is of utmost importance! Street appeal is the first thing that draws a buyer in so ensuring that the yard is looking amazing, with trimmed hedges, cut grass and clean footpaths is absolutely essential!
There is no point hiring a stager if you are going to shut down every idea they have. Home stagers are experts in design and the real estate market, which means they know what sells and what doesn’t. If you hire a stager but then rearrange everything as soon as they leave, then the whole process was a waste of your time and money. Chances are you are not an expert in the market, and the property design does not have to be to your personal taste, or even to the personal taste of the stager, it just has to be that of the market.
When you reach a certain point in your home staging business, acquiring stock and inventory is an essential step up. At first purchasing this stock might seem like a bit of a leap, and depending on what stock you purchase it might be. However, if you are smart about what stock you purchase and how much of it you purchase it could make all the difference to your home staging business.
When it comes to stock there is typically two types of stock, soft furnishings and hard furnishings. Soft furnishings include items such as pillows, linen, lamps and small accessories. The way I like to think about soft furnishings is that, if I needed to, I could pack them in a box and put them in my car. On the other hand, there are hard furnishings. Hard furnishings are big items such as lounges, arm chairs, dining tables, coffee tables, and so on. These are the items that can’t be packed into a box and loaded into your car.
Depending on what level of your business you are in you could be thinking about acquiring one of these two types of stock. Logically, soft furnishings should be acquired first, and then later down the track hard furnishings can be acquired. However, as everyone is at different stages in their business, it is important to be able to look down the track and consider what sort of stock you should be acquiring.
When it comes to soft furnishings, these items can be purchased relatively cheaply and in bulk.
Pillows: sure, pillows can be expensive, but purchasing pillows that work well in a wide range of environment is a great way to get the most out of your money, and add texture in a range of environments. Purchasing pillows in a few colours and designs is a great idea as they can be used on their own or grouped together.
Faux flowers and plants: Faux flowers and plants are great as, when the right ones are purchased, they can look amazing, can be used in a range of spaces and styles, and can last a long time.
Books: there doesn’t have to be a theme to this, and they can be purchased from a op shop, but books are a great way to add texture and a lived in feeling to any space. These are the most cost-effective soft furnishings and can be used in any environment, from a study, a bedroom to a lounge room or even an outdoor setting.
Knick-knack accessories: by this I mean small accessories that can be used in a variety of environments, anything from vessels, small bowls, candle holders, or any other small accessories.
Linen packs: this isn’t absolutely necessary, but having at least coverlets and toppers is necessary as it can transform a room from something dull to something amazing.
As for hard furnishings, these items are more expensive, and it is beneficial to go for quality over quantity.
Mattresses: often times clients do not have enough beds for how a property can be staged to show off the best of the space, or they have moved and have taken their mattresses with them.
Dining chairs: not all dining chairs go with tables, or look good with them, so having some neutral dining chairs that work with a range of colours is a great idea so you can use the clients dining table and your businesses chairs.
Bedside tables: bedside tables have the potential to open up the bedroom and transform the space into something amazing. Having bedside tables that are unique, yet work well in a variety of environments is essential.
Lounges: when used everyday, lounges can easily begin to look old, worn and unpleasant. Having lounges in stock that are a neutral colour is a great idea as they can be used in a range of spaces in a range of different styled homes.
Coffee tables: Coffee tables are great ways to show off the space in a lounge room and add an element of homeliness into the space. Not everyone has a coffee table, and if they do it might be old and worn, having new, amazing coffee tables as part of your stock can transform and fill a space amazingly.
If you’re terrified to be in front of the camera, you’re not alone – statistics show that 75-percent of individuals suffer from speech anxiety. The fear of public speaking, also known by its medical term “glossophobia,” which can exhibit itself in many ways from avoiding conversations to feeling tongue-tied, maybe you’ll showcase a nervous tic, go weak at the knees or have performance anxiety.
The problem with having speech anxiety on video is that the camera will hone in on your weakest qualities, making it harder for the audience to connect with you and more importantly your message.
Envision someone talking low on camera, who is looking down at the ground and has their arms crossed over their chest, would you be able to relate to this person on camera? Would you listen to their story? Would you trust this person? Chances are no – so here are a few tricks to help become your best self when on video.
Get Over Yourself
Some of you may not like your skin or your voice or your waistline – so that becomes an excuse for many not to press record. But, rather than focus on yourself, focus on who you serve. If you provide valuable, interesting content that is useful to your audience then they’ll keep coming back for more regardless of what you look like.
An audience can recognise immediately when someone is being fake on camera. They can be overacting or under preforming. Authenticity creates trust and establishes credibility. It all starts by observing yourself: What do you care about? Who are you? When do you feel most comfortable? In order to be influential and impactful it’s important to be present. Presence allows your passion and expertise for the topic to shine through. Become self-aware to recognise when you are faking it or feeling uncomfortable, this helps you understand why you are feeling that way, and then initiate steps to draw upon your authentic self.
Who Are You Talking To?
When creating videos it’s important to think about your audience to build relationship, intimacy and collaboration with them. Use their lingo. Figure out their ambitions and problems to help define the solution. This allows you to determine the content and direct the conversation to serve your audience. Think about all the people you can help, once your message is out, this helps many speak up.
Maybe starring into the black hole “camera lens” makes you tense up and freeze, rethink the situation – think of a person you love to talk to then place a picture of that person next to the camera and have a conversation.
Rethink Your Audience
Speaking with an audience is different to engaging in conversation. Audiences listen, and respond, differently. I’ll coach you to be relaxed in front of passive, blank faces. We’ll coach you to speak from an empowered stance; to assume your audience is supporting you.
Consistency = Confidence
It’s simple, do a new video every day, or at least several times a week until you feel comfortable talking to the camera. It may seem awkward sharing a story or tutorial on video with a bright light in your face and no one immediately responding to what you’re saying. So practice! The more videos you do (whether you share them or not) the more confident you’ll feel with the process.
Believe it or not, I used to be scared to speak on camera during live shots, when I was a TV News Reporter. I would fumble over my words, try to read my script word for word on my pad and would talk softly without animation for fear people around me would hear me. Overtime, my live shots on TV improved and even my live streams today benefit from these tricks.
Now, it’s time for you take action! Record a home staging tip on video (you can be on camera or not) and share it to my Facebook page here with the hashtag: #toridaredme for a chance to win a membership into The Video Visibility Course.
In my home, to be honest with you, I only allow real, living plants and flowers and tree and nature.
But, in home staging, it is a little different. The community is a little divided on it, whether to use faux or whether to use fresh.
There are obvious difficulties when it comes to using fresh flowers, especially if it’s a vacant property. I’ll give you a bit of an insight as to what we do here and you can take from that what you need for your business.
In all vacant properties, unless they’re in the prestige price bracket, we often use faux plants and faux flowers.
Purely for the reason that rarely does someone have the budget and is able to afford us continually going back to the property every week or every two weeks to refresh the flowers, to water the plants and make sure that everything’s in working order.
The reason that that is important is there is never a time when walking into a property to a dead plant or to smelling, molding flower water is okay.
It actually is a bigger distraction than having a faux plant or faux flowers in the property.
Obviously, there are some markets where that just doesn’t work. There are some markets, even when it’s a vacant property, that we invest in having real and authentic plants and real and authentic flowers in there.
We come up with a pricing system and a process that allows for us to go in and interchange the plants and interchange the flowers during the time on market.
If you have a property that is occupied, you can actually negotiate with the owner if they’re there and if they’re happy to, around the concept of them topping up the flowers and them taking care of the plants.
But again, this takes some negotiation and it takes a little bit of work.
What I will say, though, is if you choose to use faux plants or flowers, you really need to make sure you maintain them well.
There’s nothing worse than dirty, dusty, musty smelling fake arrangements, fake plants or fake flowers. It’s essential that when you’re storing these items, if you choose to use them, in your warehouse, that they’re always bagged up so they don’t become a dust collection.
What you can do if you do find that happening is actually use feather dusters on them or, even in some cases, I have vacuumed our plants.
Another great tip is that you actually have a roster and a process where all of the fake plants and all of the fake flowers get cleaned. This can make a massive difference to how long they last and how good they look.
My biggest advice if you need to use fake plants or flowers is to invest in really good quality plants and flowers.
It will cost you quite a substantial amount, but there are some amazing products on the market internationally for this. There’s amazing freestyle arrangements that you can make and there’s also some amazing premades. You even have some really cool things like premade terrariums and all sorts of things.
My big tip is choose the price point of the property. The client and the type of installation, whether it be an occupied or a partial, before we make the decision about whether you’re going to use real or whether you’re going to use faux foliage.
There’s my take, guys. One thing is for sure, either way, you need to make sure that the faux flowers and foliage that you use is perfectly targeted for the property, for your brand and also for who you are selling to.
That’s an interesting question, isn’t it? I am going to answer that to the best of my ability and hopefully everyone will be able to take a snippet from that.
I’m assuming that this question is pertaining to what sorts of beds we use in our installs. Let’s look at our options.
The first option is, obviously, a traditional slatted timber bed that needs to be pretty much built on site. It has the side rails that has the header and the footer and the slats that the mattress would sit upon. There’s one option.
The next option is an ensemble bed and, obviously, the last option is a bit of a more temporary bed. It may be an inflatable bed, it may be a camp stretcher with an inflatable mattress on top or it may be a camp stretcher with a foam mattress on top.
These are all different sorts of options. That’s not all of them, but they are some of the different options that you have when you’re staging a property and you want to put in some beds.
What do we do? If I’m going to be dead honest about what we do here at Silk Home, which is my brick and mortar home staging business, we actually use a lot of ensemble beds.
We used to use the slatted headers and footers with the side rails, but the time it took to construct the beds on site meant that our productivity was greatly diminished.
And that meant that we needed more than one person to be on site installing every single house, even after the initial drop off of furniture was complete by the muscle, basically. That was a bit of a negative for us. It really did take some time.
The other thing we noticed is that the mechanisms that you’re adhering everything to did, over time and after multiple assembling and disassembling, wear. We steered away from that.
That pointed us to our ensemble beds.
We have, as well, used all varieties of camp stretchers and foam mattresses/camp stretches and air mattresses, but one of the big problems we found with air mattresses was that sometimes they do go down.
You often find that the time you get a call is 7:30/8:30/9:00/10:00 on a Saturday when, often, you’re busy doing other things, saying,
“I’ve just taken everyone into an open home and the mattress is deflated. I need something else here right now because the open home has pretty much been ruined by the fact that there’s a deflated mattresses and a slump-looking bed sitting in what might have been an amazing master suite before.”
One of the problems I have with inflatable beds is they certainly have their locations, but one of the things that you need to make sure you think about is they aren’t 100% reliable.
I can probably hear many people going, “What about those places where you can’t get an ensemble base into?” Absolutely right. It’s a huge, huge challenge.
There are many places, especially in the older parts of town, where the stairwells are too skinny and the lifts are too small and the landings at the top of stairs are too small to be able to work an ensemble base around.
In those cases, we actually have to use a mattress and we prop the mattress up on tubs.
There you go. There are our sneak peeks and our behind the scenes of what we do at Silk Home for beds. I hope you’ve learned something from that; I hope that there’s something that you can take and integrate into your home staging business and into all the different situations that it may be applicable.
I’ll be back next week. Make sure if you have any questions that you jump onto our Facebook page and we can help you out.
If you have really specific questions about your business, make sure you pop over to our memberships. Our Shine Membership has a closed Facebook forum where you can pretty much ask anything you want.
The members of the community and myself will be jumping in there to help. Jump on over and check them out. They’re all on the website.