It’s the 21st century, and you are the owner of a small interior design business. What do you do about technology? Do you fully embrace the digital era in an effort to remain competitive, or do you settle for more traditional ways of doing business?

Ideally, you should not risk having your company fall behind the technology curve. There is a very important reason for this. Your existing and prospective customers are staying up-to-date with technology, and they expect you to do the same. Tech-savvy customers are more likely to be big spenders who expect nothing but the best from you as a provider of goods, services, or both.

In today’s highly competitive business world, you are better off giving your company a digital upgrade for the benefit of your customers and to increase your profit potential. Here are some upgrade ideas and the value they can provide to your business.

4 Technology Upgrade Ideas

Your Design Business; The Value of a Digital Upgrade

Open Source Software

If you really want to reduce your software licensing costs down to nothing, you should strongly consider migrating to the Linux operating system. While it is true that most commercial server editions of Linux are not free, the exceptions include CentOS, Slackware, and Scientific Linux. If you feel like building your own cloud server, you can choose the flexible FreeNAS operating system. Furthermore, you can also install free Linux apps for enterprise use, including LibreOffice, OpenProj, GNUCash, ClamAV, and many others.

Going Paperless for Your Design Business

Most interior design business owners who enact a rigid paperless policy tend to see considerable cost savings within two months. Eliminating paper use at the office can save you lots of money. It can also streamline your operations and make your employees work more efficiently. Instead of employees drawing up drafts and blueprints, or printing out catalogs of paint colors, upholstery fabrics, furniture, decorations, and more, there’s a better option. You can have all of these catalogs and blueprints on an Ipad or computer in one folder. Therefore you will save paper, and you’ll never have to worry about losing papers, or organizing them. It makes everything more efficient. It also makes you seem more professional because of the organization and how easy it is to access everything.

Instead of printing off a preview of a room, you can show customers on an Ipad or computer. This will save hours that you would have spent drawing it up on paper. Instead, you can do it all on an iPad or computer with a design program. Therefore, this lets you bring it to life in front of their eyes. It’s also very easy to edit and make changes without wasting material and time.

Enterprise Cloud Subscriptions

Similar to choosing a free operating system and business apps, cloud subscriptions allow you to save substantial amounts of money, and they allow your staff to be more effective. Industry-specific solutions are usually offered on a Software as a Service (SaaS) basis, and most can be accessed from just about any modern computing device that connects to the internet. If you operate a title loan office, for example, you can look at cloud solutions such as Cortex, Bright Office, and others.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

If most of your office is staffed by members of the Millennial Generation, there is a very good chance that they will enjoy using their personal laptops, hybrid tablets, and smartphones at work. Thus, with a sound BYOD policy in place, your hardware expenditures can be reduced considerably; however, you should not enact this policy without first checking with IT security experts. A good example of a business that took technology in stride is YUM Brands. They are the parent company of fast-food franchises such as Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC. When YUM Brands realized that its restaurant sales in China were lagging behind the competition, the company decided to give its stores a digital makeover with self-serve machines, mobile apps for ordering meals, and automated registers that accept digital wallet payments. These days, the YUM Brands restaurants in China are doing quite well.

Tech savy design firms, can have employees store their drafts, blueprints, client history, and any other work they have on their own laptops. This makes it easier for them to work from home. However, always make sure that there’s good security in place. This will ensure that they aren’t abusing the access to personal information and files.

In the end, the value of a digital upgrade for your interior design business is too crucial to ignore. As time goes by, your customers will adopt new technologies. They may no longer trust your company if you fail to keep up with them in this sense. Therefore, it’s important to upgrade and introduce technology before it’s too late.

Images Courtesy of Canva.

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About the Author: Patricia Davis Brown

Patricia, like her blog, is not a one-dimensional designer, which is evident in her accolades of 17 national design awards. Over a 38-year career in the industry, she has carved a niche in several areas of design. Licensed in interior design and certified in kitchen and bath design, she offers a full menu of design services ranging from whole house interior design, kitchen and bath design, lighting design, full remodels, commercial design and universal (ADA) design. Patricia is a sought-after speaker in the industry and has been published in many publications as seen on her interior design firm’s website, She writes for such publications as QuinStreetinc, Relaxed Remodeler, and talent offering design tips.