We want to be a resource for you to start and run your small business! Below you will find resources you can use for different aspects of your company. Some of them do have an affiliate link that helps pay for the operation production of The Chaise Lounge, so I appreciate you supporting them, but know we would not recommend them if we did not feel they were a great value to you! If you do use one of the resources, please let us know what your experience is. If we ever have someone listed here that does not give you great service, we’d like to know.
How do you manage all your contacts, invoices, furniture selections, fabric selections, vendors, and finances? Well, you can do it all in one place with Design Manager. Design Manager is your first and only stop as an interior designer if you are serious about running a successful design business. After more than 30 years of developing software specifically for designers, they have the experience to give you the time-saving features that you need. Design Manager’s cloud-based project management and accounting tools are easy to use for designers, bookkeepers, and accountants. Put an end to vendor mistakes and client confusion with our standardized design flow. They will even give you a FULL ACCESS pass for 30 days to test drive the system.
We had George Ryan from Hatchwise.com on Small Business Naked and have used Hatchwise for several design projects with great results. We don’t have a discount code for you, but please use this link, as it helps them know we sent you to them. Hatchwise offers the best design contest out there…and yes I have tried several of them. All you have to do it tell them what you are looking for and you will receive dozens of designs in response for you to choose from! It will be less expensive than hiring a graphic designer, and you will get better results. Please let us know if you do use them, and we will give you and your new design a plug and a link!! BONUS! Seriously though, try them out the next time you need to design a logo, a shirt, a business card, or even a flyer. You will love the result.
Let’s say you need to format a picture, resize it, create an ad for Facebook or Instagram, a new header, a Twitter profile pic… the list goes on. I use two different resources for this depending on what I need. First Canva is a great little, mostly FREE, site that I use almost daily. When I created our iTunes cover art, I used Canva. You can create your own stuff using your photographs or buy images for different things usually for $1. It’s very easy to use and provides you with tons of free resources too.
For more technical stuff, I use Swiftly. ‘Simple design fixes done fast’ is their tagline. For between $15 and $19, you can have them do simple little changes to graphics work you have. Let’s say you need to have a png transparent backfile of your logo. They can create it! This is what I use them the most for. But you could also have them do a small change to your business cards prior to printing, Photoshop an image of you, etc. They are a great little resource that I do not use often, but when I do need something done and cannot do it myself, I go to them. And they really do get it done fast, usually in an hour.
Every small business needs a phone system. You should not just be using just a cell phone. I searched for a while for a good VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system, tried several, and finally found a company that is awesome to work with. They are super flexible and totally expandable. I have been using Ring Central for about 3 years. My office manager is in Chicago, my production manager is out in the field, and I am either at my desk, podcasting, or in customers’ homes. Ring Central has allowed us to present a very professional image without breaking the bank. And you can try them out without buying any equipment. Now, we have two handsets now and like having them but started out just using the software on our cell phones. They can get you a custom 1(800) number as well. We have loved using this company. Great functionality. Great customer support.
Porcelanosa‘s 3D renderings are a complimentary servicePorcelanosa offers to customers to visualize projects before they are created in real life. Walk-in clients can go to the showroom and sit down with a design consultant who will talk them through products, materials, and finishes. It can be hard to visualize what a room is going to look like once everything is chosen, so a rendering is put together a with a few different options, such as vanities or countertop finishes. This helps the client make up their mind about what they want their space to look like. If you’re a designer, an architect, or anyone with a client, you simply send Porcelanosa your floor plan, elevations, and finishes, and they will send the rendering back to you and your client. It’s as simple as that. I worked with their project manager to create rendering for my bathroom remodel. Check it out here!
The biggest problem anyone has running a small business is time. I’d always wanted to try a virtual assistant(or VA), but did not know what I would have them do. On top of that, I was under the impression that you had to hire one full time. VA Staffer lets you buy blocks of time (that do not expire) and use up the time as you need it. You could buy $100 at a time, $200, $500, etc. Then, use it whenever you need the help. As you buy them you will receive discounts ranging between $6 and $9. Email Jeff (he goes by J), and let him know we sent you, and he will give you two hours FREE to try them out…NO RISK. I tried them on a small project and have not looked back. It will free you up. Try them out. Visit them at VAStaffer.com.