What Level is Your Design Business?

What’s on your mind, yogis?

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    Hello Yogis!
    Happy Tuesday!
    Hope everyone had a nice long holiday and now it’s back to work.
    Let’s start connecting again.

    Previous week’s class was about the finances. We talked about:
    • How to record revenue into QBO without double-entry
    • How to keep track of expenses in an organized way
    • The roles of Excel vs. Airtable vs QBO
    • Typical P&L framework
    • Budget vs. Forecast
    • Financial metrics and KPI’s
    • Money mantras

    This week, we will talk about the PEOPLE component of an organized window treatment business.
    Specifically, we’ll hit on:
    • Company structure
    • Hiring sequence (whom to hire first, second, etc)
    • How to hire right
    • How much it costs to have people working for you
    • When is the right time to hire

    I am very excited about our upcoming class!
    As I’m putting finishing touches on everything I want to share with you,
    I would just love to hear from you.

    Where are you this week?
    How are you feeling?
    What is your mind?
    How are you feeling about everything we’ve learned so far?
    What plans have you created?
    What action steps have you taken?
    What are your concerns?
    What’s keeping you up at night?
    What’s making you excited?

    Start sharing your thoughts, concerns, feelings – anything that comes to mind around the topics we’ve discussed so far.
    By expressing yourself, you’re achieving several things:
    1. Putting your thoughts out of your head and in the open IS liberating
    2. It’s a way of processing them, which will help you get to more clarity points
    3. You’re helping a fellow yogi
    4. Maybe a fellow yogi will help you

    Please share what’s going with you and how we can support you today?


    Hi Vita and fellow Yogis!
    I am very thankful for your course and it gives me a very good picture of how it can be. I am blown away how much work you put into creating all the formulas and a real system that can run without you already! I feel very hopeful that it is also possible for me! Right now I am just absorbing all the theory because I am super busy and overwhelmed in the midst of a very busy Holiday season. I have started turning people away since September as we just can’t keep up with the volume of coming in work (Hiring new help is like pulling teeth these days, so I had to go get behind the sewing machine) plus my very long time installer (7 years) gave me a notice about a month ago, so I’m just stressed.
    Once this madness ends, I need to rewatch all the videos again at Christmas break and make a solid plan of steps to take and bring my business to the next level. I also have a business partner and that worries me a little bit since he is very much stuck in his own ways and not super open to new ideas or changes ( maybe it’s the age talking…he is 67 with no desire to retire).
    This letter kind of came out too negative and complainy and whiny…that was not my intention at all.
    * I have good people working for me, I just need to find others that are as good.
    * I am very hopeful there is a light at the end of this year’s tunnel! This will actually be my most successful year financially! Yay!
    * I have cleaned out the bottom of my van from tons of fabrics! Still have to tackle the closet but it will happen for sure! even though I wasn’t very successful with finding a lot of places to donate the fabrics to, I still found a few, so that’s progress!
    * I am taking some meditation classes and trying to incorporate a healthy every day body approach!
    * I realized that I can actually plan on taking a very long vacation in the summer (about a month), so all these systems will be very handy.

    So Thank you Vita from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope!


    hi Olga,
    thank you so much for your heart-felt note!!
    i so appreciate your sharing where you are right now: all the trials and tribulations – but all the wins too, no matter how small!
    this class can be a lot to take in b/c it is deep, strategic, and gets to the core of how we run our businesses AND our lives.
    one of my previous students contrasted it with a sewing class where one might learn a new technique: learn, implement, perfect.
    this class is different. the strategies here may require an overhaul of how we’ve done things for years.
    one of my other students compared it to ‘taking a house to studs and rebuilding it’.
    as you alluded, let’s not jump to any conclusions or make pivotal changes.
    let’s take it all in.
    then perhaps take it in again by rewatching or rereading.
    then make a plan of action.
    for right now, let’s concentrate on what’s possible!
    thank you for being such an active participant and a great student 🙂


    I’m with Olga, pulled in too many directions, and there is so much to reflect on after each class I am planning to rewatch each one also.

    Vita, I am continually impressed with your vulnerability, so I am going to try and do the same 🙂

    Finding good finance help was critical for me, and one of the first things I invested in after purchasing my business. I pay my firm $300 per month for bookkeeping, managing sales tax, and financial reporting. They provide a very thorough 8-10 page monthly performance report with an exec summary, M/M, Y/Y and YTD financials, KPI’s, cash flow reports, etc. I was doubting that the time spent entering so much data into QBO was paying off, but I am now seeing the value because they pull from QBO.

    This side of the business is not my strong point… I still am learning how to read and understand these reports, much less use them to make informed decisions. To this end, I have just entered into a new relationship with one of the partners at my accounting firm to provide monthly COO / CFO guidance so I can begin setting goals and budgets, forecasting, and using the data to make decisions. This was a scary investment, at $1500 per month, but I recognise that I need help in this area.

    From a process standpoint, my office manager enters all vendor invoices into QBO, and connects them to projects. This allows us to analyse profitability on a project by project basis. Sometimes a project is a single room, sometimes a whole house. We have been doing this for one year come January, and I look forward to having a solid year of data to compare. We also use QBO to analyse client and designer spend. I’m thinking to send holiday floral arrangements to my top designers and clients as a nice end of year thank you.

    This part of being a business owner has been another big challenge for me. I struggled so much with the people aspect. When I bought my business last year, I kept on the existing team. I felt so blessed to have their experience as I learned a completely new industry. Unfortunately, the admin did not work out as he was not willing to grow into the expanded role I needed from an office manager, and expressed his frustration and anger at me until I had to let him go. Two weeks later, my window treatment specialist put in her notice. She had been with the business for nine years, and managed the entire hard treatment and installation side of things. The previous owner taught me the soft treatment side of the business, so now I had to learn crash course in hard treatments. While also taking on all admin responsibilities.

    Two weeks ago I had to cut ties with my installer as he was becoming more and more unreliable, making lots of mistakes, and had a bad attitude with clients. I am now in the process of “testing the waters” with several new installers, who I am paying to fix mistakes at my cost. I was late to class yesterday because I had to do an install myself to keep an excellent client happy. This is a very hard lesson on having the right people in place that do good work and hold to the values we set as business owners. I let his bad behaviour slide for too long because I felt I had no other options, and now have lots of client relationships to make right. The good news is, new installers are so far very conscientious and reliable. Hopefully the fixing will be over soon and I can begin accounting for their (much!) higher install cost on new estimates.

    Hearing your troubles hiring a general manager made me tear up. I am continually blown away by your willingness to be so vulnerable about your hard lessons and share with us ways to avoid those same mistakes ourselves. Which brings me to the brightest point in my people journey… my office manager is a freaking rock star. She is very close family friend (more of an aunt to me) who moved from NC to help me. I called her this morning to thank her (again!) for the great work she is doing, despite her being hard on herself. I shared with her what you said about the steep learning curve in this industry, which reinforced what I’ve been telling her all along. I was really telling myself too, because I too get overwhelmed with how much there is to learn, and feel like I make mistakes all too often.

    My new goal is to create an SOP doc for my business, inspired by yours.

    Ok, enough rambling!


    Hi Vita,
    I have had an unbeliavably stressful 2 weeks with so many installations, was going home just to sleep. On top of , on a personal level, my son is a Nationally Ranked Tennis Player and last week he reached the Finals at a big Tournament , I had to drive him and watch him right when the last class was, so I missed it . I as well, will be rewatching all classes the moment this madness is over.. No questions I have learned tremendous amount of every aspect from you!

    I have one big concern, but haven`t spent much time reserching yet or getting more feedback on it.. here it is. I also, just like Nikki, have hired an accounting firm taking care of my monthly financials, reconcilations, reports, etc. I spoke with the Cheif Accountant a few days ago and he warned me about QB Online. He is absolutely aginst me switching , they in fact have switched so many businesses from online to desktop because it has given them so much trouble. He said it is good for a small business with simple transactions. What if your experience? Obviously you like it. We have QB desktop but through LogMeIn we can log from anywhere. I am so hoping you dismiss my worries because it looks like Cloud based is the only way for all this to work.
    Thank you , I love of all the info I am getting in this class. Absolutely priceless.


    Hi Nikki,
    What a great note!
    I command you for getting your finances in order. And recognizing that you need help there and making the hard decision to invest in it!! It takes real courage to be that self-aware and then to spend some real money to make that part of you better. I hope you use both of the financial services to not just get information, but to really learn HOW to read the reports and HOW to make those decisions. You are a very smart cookie :-), pretty soon, you’ll be able to fly on your own. Another thought is to take the QuickBooks class through LuU. Think about setting a goal to become financially-minded and proficient by _____date – you’ll get a lot further and use your time with these consultants more productively if you have an end-game in mind.

    People. OH MY! I can’t believe all the troubles you’ve gone through. Looks like you are operating without most of your staff! That’s a really big deal, huge burden, and incredible cause of stress. I am also very acutely aware that even though I have the right people on the bus, as soon as one of them gets sick or wins a lottery, it is ME who is back in the trenches. Having the right people is KEY to getting your life back. Getting the right people is your first priority right now. Do consider Jessica and Eileen to help you get the exceptional people you deserve!

    The learning curve in our industry is indeed so long and steep – it’s like a marathon mountain climb! I do have to tell you that, one step at a time, it WILL get easier. There are no magic pills. You have to put in the work. Your advantage after taking this class is that you don’t have to think anything up, wonder if you’re doing the right thing, or reinvent the wheel. Just follow the blueprint that I outlined and you’ll see that it will get more manageable.

    My heart goes out to you! Hang in there!


    Hi Vessie,
    I am SOO excited for your son – and you, as his mama! We are a family of swimmers here (my husband and kids, NOT me :-)), so we are constantly at competitions, some high level, so I know EXACTLY how you feel. So proud, so wanting to be there, yet so bummed that you’re missing some important work things. That’s ok. Work will always be here, while your son may decide to stop playing one day and you’ll really miss it.

    Ok, about QBO. I have heard NO complaints about QBO “giving trouble”. What does it even mean exactly? I know that QBO differs from desktop version, it has different functionality, and that there is a learning curve to master it. Yes, learning QBO, even if you have knowledge of desktop QB, is not for the faint of heart. Is it possible that this CPA doesn’t want to learn the online version b/c he is used to the desktop version?

    Having said that, it sounds like LogMeIn gives you the ability to work from anywhere and him the ability to check on your QB without being there physically. If that’s the case, than you’re good to go. B/c that’s the name of the game: work from anywhere, any time, accessible by anyone.

    If I were you, I would get a second opinion: what is the benefit of getting QBO vs. desktop QB through LogMeIn?

    Please lmk what you find out – i would be very curious to know…



    Hi ladies,

    Wow! That’s a lot happening, you are making me feel not so alone when I read your notes. I do everything but fabrication and installation myself, so no staff to worry about but it’s been an interesting year of experimenting with new workrooms and new installers. After many years of smooth sailing I’ve had to make a lot of changes in both areas which has been challenging but I’m trusting it will make me better and stronger and able to grow.

    Vessie, I made the switch to QBO a few years back and really hated it at first. It felt like a primary version of QB desk top to me at first, but I got used to it and can’t really remember what the problem was any more. I agree with Vita, you might want a 2nd opinion as most accountants like it and it does make it easier for them to help you through the year as well as at tax time. The only problem I had was with sales tax, it’s been years and I feel it just doesn’t work right and the help desk can’t seem to help me make it work correctly, so I literally figure it out on a form I created and then plug the findings into QBO before I pay the tax. I set up QB myself, so it probably is just a set up problem.

    Nikki, I’m so impressed with your investment with your accounting firm, and for jumping in with the CFO investment! I’m a big believer in knowing your numbers. Since we are all here to make a profit, it just makes sense to get that component figured out. I’m on a mission to find a new accounting firm who can take over my bookkeeping and sales tax. I love my CPA and he is great for year end taxes, but I don’t love their in-house bookkeeper so I’ve always done it myself. Would you be willing to sharing the contact info for the firm you work with? On another note….your staff! Wow, that is a lot to handle, can I just say I’m impressed with how cheerful and curious you always showed up to Vita’s classes with all of that going on!

    Olga, You must be doing something right if you have been turning down business since September! I used to think having too much business was a good problem to have, until THIS year happened! Now I just feel a bit naive, my really great systems only worked for as long as I didn’t need help, so now I’m scrambling to get everything set up in a way that I can hire at least virtual help to manage the projects and do my books. Good luck with all the changes you want to make, especially with a partner who is reluctant!

    Vita, I can’t even tell you how much your class has launched me forward into a place of finally understanding how to split up the work I do every day into “departments”. For some reason I could never see how to pass off just a part of each project, now I feel like I have a path to follow and I am so grateful!

    It looks like we all will be re-watching the videos over the Christmas break. I for one would love a zoom call to discuss what we have re-watched and problem solve and dig in a little deeper. I’ll be around between Christmas and New Year if anyone is interested in setting a date to chat.

    You are all such an inspiration – thank you! Merry Christmas!



    hi Myrna,
    thank you for your great words of support and encouragement!
    i’m so glad that you got what you needed from the class.
    can’t wait to hear more once you’ve a chance to rewatch the videos.
    until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

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What Level is Your Design Business?