Grow: Expand by Diversifying Services

How One Company Achieved Success

I love reading about women entrepreneurs who come up with smart ideas for doing things better. One hot trend during the recession has been do-it-yourself (DIY) just about everything. As consumers started cutting back, smart business owners launched DIY versions of their more costly products and services. I Heart Design is one such smart idea. The three female friends who founded Avenue Interior Design, a high-end interior design company launched in 2009, were successful serving their upscale clientele but wanted to “reach out to the rest of the design world.” So they started I Heart Design—a lower-priced alternative that combines DIY with professional help. Clients start by picking their favorite decorating style from a palette of nine options. I Heart Design asks some questions, tells clients how to measure the space and has them upload photos of the space, along with any special instructions (such as whether they want to hang onto a specific piece of furniture or replace the carpeting). Within two days, I Heart Design sends clients a quote (rates are $3.50 per square foot) for designing the space. After payment is made, clients get a custom box delivered to their door that includes two space plan options for each room; a spec card for selected furniture; a paint card with recommended paint colors; a window treatment card, with recommended window treatments; a tape measure and two rolls of tape, to use for mapping out the new furniture to make sure it fits before the client orders. Clients can access their personal account online to buy the furniture and décor (at to-the-trade prices). What a smart and fun way to open up your business to a whole new market of potential customers—those who want interior design services but can’t afford the full package. (Plus, they’ve made it fun—just play around on the site and you’ll see what I mean.) Even as the economy picks up, smart business owners will think about multiple options for delivering what they sell. Is there a DIY version of your product or service you could offer to capture new customers? If you need help brainstorming, contact SCORE to talk to a counselor either online or in person.
Rieva Lesonsky
<p> Rieva is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company specializing in covering small businesses and entrepreneurship. She was formerly Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine and has written several books about small business and entrepreneurship. <br /> <a href="" target="_blank" title="GrowBizMedia"></a> | <a href="" target="_blank" title="Rieva on Twitter">@rieva</a> | <a href="" title="blogs by Rieva">More from Rieva</a></p>


What a great idea and a nice

What a great idea and a nice way for even more folks to improve their homes.

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