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Top Three Recession Strategies for Your Design Business

Do you know your design business well enough to have a plan to protect yourself during a recession? Luckily, there are steps you may follow to ensure your business is safe, and you can make any necessary pivots to stay afloat during tighter times.

Katie McFarlan is the owner of Dakota Design Co., an operations consulting and support service business for interior designers and event planners. Katie has three top tips to protect your creative business from times of economic uncertainty. They include ways to control your expenses, diversify your streams of revenue, and market smarter at a time when messaging is everything.

Read on for Katie’s top three recession strategies for your design business.

  • Control What You Can

We can never truly control revenue in business, but we can control our expenses. Katie recommends prioritizing tracking your finances. This involves looking at your numbers and reining in any expenses that are more of a luxury. You may save money by moving some subscriptions to an annual plan or cutting down on any that you don’t really need. You can also hire subcontractors rather than salaried employees. Lastly, Katie says to collect design fees and 100% of the furniture fees upfront to protect yourself in case anything happens during the project.

  • Refine or Diversify Services

Of course, you can add additional revenue streams, but you could also break down some of your larger services to make them more affordable for your clients. Decide what smaller services you can pull out of your largest service and market instead. Katie recommends offering a blueprint review service, an initial selection service, or only doing the design and not buying any furniture. This will protect you from losing any clients during a recession because when they have the means again, they will be more willing to pay you for your larger services. Just be sure to set clear parameters, so you are not working extra for less.

  • Never Stop Marketing

Those who continue to market in a recession tend to come out in better shape at the end. Also, not everyone suffers in a recession. Some still want your service and will see design as a necessity. Will they pick the company that has gone radio silent on Instagram or the one that is active and open to work? When it comes to marketing, pick the platform you are most comfortable with and where your clients are.

If you want to learn more about recessions strategies for your design business, visit

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