Commercial Design Tips for Decorating Your Business or Clinic
When you hear about someone “going to the office,” what do you imagine? Chances are, it’s something like an image of people in business attire, sitting in stale white cubicles with the Evil Boss lurking about. While that stereotype has been mostly true for the last 100 or so years in corporate America, the truth is that business offices have started to undergo more modern changes. Gone are the days of formal businesswear, male-dominated spaces, and even cubicles. Today’s business owners are changing up what “going to the office” means for employees and patrons.
As you think about your own business, consider the way that it is viewed by your customers as well as the people who work there. Is it aesthetically pleasing, with colors on the walls that complement each other? Think about the way your employees do their work — is it safe and functional for them? Depending on your answers to these questions, it might be time for you to take another look and think about making some positive changes. Sure, it might work just fine. But there are some ways that you can and should make changes, helping it go from just fine to extraordinary.
Consider the Type of Business or Clinic You’re Running
Some people are drawn to bright, loud colors that scream “PERSONALITY” when it comes to decorating. Others are more subtle, using neutrals with pops of color here and there. Similarly, open concepts are all the rage in many professional environments, with cubicles no longer existing for workers. Even though there’s nothing wrong with showing off your personality and company culture through your business, you need to consider what kind of industry you’re in.
You can expect a certain brand of clientele for people like hair specialists who run salons, or retail owners with storefronts like cannabis dispensaries. These kinds of places attract a specific kind of audience, and people tend to expect wild colors and decor from them. Business owners like these are typically more artistic and off-the-wall, so it would not be out of the question to see neon colors and framed posters from metal bands adorning the walls.
On the other side of the coin, imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and seeing their family practice decked out the same way. Incense holders, hair bands over the speakers, and upcycled stadium seats might work for a tattoo shop, but a doctor’s office? Although this sounds like a cool idea for a younger crowd, what kind of message is this decor sending to an older audience? It might feel like you don’t take your business very seriously, and that you cannot be considered a professional in your field. Patrons might wonder about your maturity and capability to serve them.
Remember that there’s a balance in everything. Again, it’s great that you want to show off your personality through your business and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want to appeal to a wider audience, it’s worth toning it down in terms of decor and using the fine art of subtlety. Rather than painting the entire waiting room pumpkin orange, choose one accent wall instead. Do you love unicorns? Add a few of your porcelains around the office instead of the whole thing. There are ways to decorate and show personality without saturating a specific theme or color — but remember, what kind of business you run does matter. Be aware of the negative things your audience might say about your decor choices.
Add More Security Features
Upgrading is never a cheap endeavor, but there are some cases where it is necessary to do so. Cutting corners on specific items can be a good method for saving money, like swapping your stiff, fancy printer paper for recycled paper instead. However, one area that you should never be cheap on is your business’s security. We aren’t saying that you need to spend tons and tons of money on your security features, but we are recommending that you invest in quality products and services
One area that is worth bulking up your security is in your business parking lot. Parking lot security systems don’t just protect clients and staff from potential break-ins (or help identify criminals), but they also protect you from lawsuits and irate individuals making demands. Security in your parking lot can include cameras, super-bright lighting, hired guards, and fencing/bollards to prevent cars from coming and going. If your parking lot needs a little TLC, it’s worth looking into urban consulting for developers. People who are trained in urban consulting know-how to redesign and configure commercial spaces, helping you to get the most out of your new redesign.
Security inside of your business looks a little bit different. The idea is that you want to make your patrons and staff feel as secure as you can. Some ideas for doing that might include:
- Adding a bell system to your door. This is a fantastic and charming way to be acknowledged anytime that front door opens and closes, which is especially helpful at night.
- Hiring a security guard or bouncer. Most cannabis dispensaries, for example, have someone tough and muscled standing at the doors, ready to take ID and lay the smackdown if need be. It’s a great tactic; not only do customers feel better about a prospective emergency, but shifty characters are deterred from a possible tussle with that person.
- Installing a camera/alarm system. The ability to look back on footage and possibly identify the thief or criminal on camera is invaluable in an emergency, while an alarm can get you the help you need as soon as possible.
A well-guarded business is good for everyone. Knowing that you have tight security is a good way to keep the baddies out, preventing crime before it stops. It is also a sigh of relief to customers, especially if your business is located in a less-than-desirable location. There is a time and place for saving money, but your business’s security should not be one of them.
Consider Staff Attire
While business suits and pencil skirts are well and good for employees who work on Wall Street, think about how you expect employees to dress. Come to think of it, do you have an expectation? In earlier days of working for a business, it was expected that staff dress somewhat formally to come to work every day — but is that something that you really care about as the owner?
Decide what kind of dress code you want to enforce, if any. Currently, 32.5 million businesses are open in America, and most working Americans are millennials. Millennials come from a generation of questioning customs and turning them on their head — which might include adhering to a dress code. What’s so wrong with wearing jeans and a screen T-shirt to work, so long as there is nothing inappropriate on the shirt? Why should loafers and heels be appropriate footwear when sneakers are much more comfortable and easier on the feet?
Remember that this comes back to what kind of public image you want to project. If patients walk into your dental practice and see all the receptionists wearing jeans and tees, this might not send the proper message to older folks. Consider your dress code, what kind of business you run, and whether or not it even makes sense to enforce one at all.
Streamline Your Business’s Needs
Whether you’ve been in business for decades or are just launching yours, there’s always room for improvement. Think about the day-to-day functionalities of your business and the ways you can standardize them. This doesn’t only mean methods like going paperless and transitioning to Zoom calls — we mean the behind-the-scenes components that patrons and employees don’t think much about.
A reliable internet service provider (ISP) is an important aspect of any business. Internet service that is constantly dropping or fails to work a large portion of the day is not a good service. Call your ISP and schedule a tech to come out and take a look at what might be happening. Be prepared to answer questions about things like your server management and in-house IT processes. If you have an IT department, it might be worth having the tech speak with them.
Ensure that you have a yearly inspection of your HVAC systems completed by a commercial electrical service. This should be done as part of your office’s yearly maintenance. If you are starting to notice that it always feels a little too warm or too cold inside your business regardless of your temperature controllers, it could very well be that your HVAC system is having an issue of some kind. Be prepared to call in a professional, and you might also contact your business insurance agent to see any coverage options you might have.
Finally, think about what aspects of your business that you can digitally control. For example, installing a Bluetooth-enabled heating system lets you glance at the interior temperature and control the thermostat simply by pulling up the app on your phone. Being in control of these items can help you to save on your monthly business bills, and you can check and change settings no matter where in the world you are. Some other Bluetooth-controlled settings you might consider include:
- Alarms and security systems
- Lighting and electrical settings
- Music, including speakers, volume, and on/off settings
Regular maintenance and a solid grip on your business’s daily workings can help your customers and staff jive better together. Keeping a comfortable office is only one aspect of the never-ending duties of a responsible business owner.
Work Within Your Budget
One of the golden rules of owning a business is that you need to spend money to make money. Areas like marketing and advertising are what draw in clientele, and eventually those dollars spent will start to recuperate in spades. This can apply to other areas too, like commercial interior design and making sure your store/business looks pretty.
However, being savvy with your money and not spending outside of your means can make the difference between money well spent and flushing money down the proverbial toilet. Remember, a budget should be at the forefront of any new idea that requires spending money. You need to ask yourself questions like where you will get the money, how much you will need to spend, and how much you will need to make back to break even. It’s unrealistic and immature to say “I’m going to build an addition!” and start swinging sledge hammers before filing for a loan application.
Plan for every dollar you want to spend. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like working with numbers, hire an accountant to sit with you and discuss your options. This is a good opportunity to go over all of your books and configure pay scales, inventory, and other financial-related items. Your accountant can help you figure out a budget and spending plan, which will eventually fund your next remodel.
You wouldn’t have made it this far in your dream of running your own business if you weren’t a smart cookie. Congratulations! Keep using that brain of yours to guide you from one decision to the next. Remember, it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for a little extra help, and it proves to the public that you care enough to get someone else involved.
Do What Makes You Happy
Since you’re the business owner, what you choose to do with your office is ultimately your decision. While it’s important to take the public view of your business into consideration, it’s equally important to know the boundary between representing yourself and misrepresenting yourself. While your company culture might be casual and fun, you don’t want to appear so casual that your clients think you are inept.
In the end, though, do what makes you the happiest. You are aware of the risks of too much decor, but you also know the rewards of the same. A business’s decor says a lot about what kind of company it is, so ensure that you’re sending the message you want to be sent. You want to make “going to the office” more fun and inviting to your employees, but at the same time, you don’t want to be so fun and inviting that you turn off a large percentage of your customer base.
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