Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Martha Rules: Rule 2

Rule #2: Focus your attention and creativity on basic things, things that people need and want. Then look for ways to enlarge, improve, and enhance your big idea.

pineapple lamp girl meets glamour by ccinteriors.

I think this is great rule to think about when you are trying to start a business. Many times in my life I have come up with many, many, many business plans and because my plans are so massive and in a way vague nothing comes of it. In order to truly get the ball rolling on a business idea you really need to think about what it is you want to sell.

dresser-xl by ccinteriors.


Do you want to sell an actual item? Will you sell it in shops or online? Will you have sales reps? What makes your products unique in the market?

IMG_7632 by ccinteriors.


Or do you want to sell a service. For a small business owner selling a service is a great way to start because there is not a lot of start-up costs. No need to get inventory on items, etc. You do need a presence though to let the world know you are out there. Whether it be a blog, twitter account or website. In most cases all 3 are a good idea.

6canadianhouseandhome by ccinteriors.


Whether you are selling a service or a product you really need to sit down and take a moment to figure out what it is that makes you stand out. Why hire you instead of the person down the road?


This has been something that I have had to struggle with in my own business. I love budget design, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to be pigeon holed into it. After a lot of thought I decided that I wanted to offer a mix. I didn’t want to be the interior designer that charged 40,000 per room and a 35% mark-up on items, but I didn’t want to offer room packages for $100. This is a business after all and you hire a professional to help you achieve the look you want. It doesn’t seem right to have the designer end up making $2 an hour once all is said and done.


HGTV 2009 Green Home by ccinteriors.


So while my counterparts in the NY area charge around $150-$350 an hour and around 25-35% mark-up on to the trade items. I charge less an hour to help the everyday person achieve a beautiful look to their home. For me it is exciting to mix some designer fabric in toss pillows with a thrift store lamp find that I scored for pennies that helps me achieve the perfect vintage meets modern look and doesn’t break the bank. I’m also full of DIY solutions that I offer my clients that enjoy hands on work. They get the idea and steps from me and then execute it on their own making both parties happy.


Picture4 by ccinteriors.


Some other tips for Rule #2 are the Seven necessities for assessing your business idea.


1. Is your idea better than alternatives on the market.

2. Is your idea simple for you to develop and simple for customers to understand.

3. Are you in a geographic location where your idea will work?

4. Is your idea affordable?

5. Is your idea too big?

6. Can you expand and extend your idea?

7.Does your idea make the world better?


I have to say that I’m really enjoying this book. It’s great to follow all of the steps that it took Martha to reach her massive success. Instead of being overwhelming it’s a helpful book that has been reassuring me being a small business owner is a dream job.

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Blogger cassandra @ coco+kelley said...

And I'm enjoying you reading the book and bringing it back to us! These are wonderful tips and I'm going to start applying them to my own biz as well!

November 10, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

Another fab tip in another inspiring post!! I had never heard of the book until you mentioned it, so I ordered one for myself last night. I can't wait to read it and for your upcoming posts!

(More gorgeous pics again too!)

November 10, 2009 at 12:18 PM  
Blogger Revival said...

GREAT POST! This book is now officially on my amazon wishlist. These business tips seem simple enough but I know how easy it is to get out of control. Thanks for keeping us grounded and inspiring us with those great photos.

November 10, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Full House said...

I'm really enjoying your Martha posts...makes me want to go get the book.

November 10, 2009 at 12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely blog!

November 10, 2009 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Loving life in Southern California! said...

Yes, thanks for doing the "leg work" and providing all this great info! These are fantastic insights and have inspired me to take a second look at my business! Thanks!

November 10, 2009 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger Milltini said...

these are all very wonderful ways to think about becoming an entrepreneur! thanks so much for sharing.

November 10, 2009 at 1:01 PM  
Blogger Flavia @ Estilo Home said...

This sounds like it's a great book. I also love the pictures in this post!

November 10, 2009 at 1:07 PM  
Blogger Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Great post. I really appreciate you giving us the cliff note version.

November 10, 2009 at 1:28 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Great post... I've been thinking about exactly this with relations to my blog lately...

"Whether you are selling a service or a product you really need to sit down and take a moment to figure out what it is that makes you stand out. "

November 10, 2009 at 1:53 PM  
Blogger LindsB said...

What great advice- I love reading your take on her rules as it applies to the design world!

November 10, 2009 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Averill said...

I'm loving this series on The Martha Rules -- not only are Martha's rules spot on, but your own application and discussion is so thoughtful and interesting. Hope you keep walking us through the book!

November 10, 2009 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Ms. Bright said...

Such a great series. Looking forward to Rule 3!

November 10, 2009 at 3:35 PM  
Blogger Miss Wendy said...

Seriously, I am getting this book. Thanks for posting excerpts.

November 10, 2009 at 4:03 PM  
Blogger Re:Fresh Design Studio said...

Thanks for posting about this, I love it! I think I'll have to read the book sometime! It's so interesting to hear you relate it back to your business. I can't wait til you have your website up! We're working on mine now.

November 10, 2009 at 4:20 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Definitely making me want to rush out and buy this book! Martha definitely has the secret figured out, and I could definitely use those tips in my business!

~ Liz @ It's Great To Be Home

November 10, 2009 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Red Lipstick Style said...

This is wonderful. I'm in process of getting a business venture together so it is very timely.

November 10, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Sarah - La Jeune Marie said...

Great tips! Thanks for breaking the book down like this. Very inspiring.

November 10, 2009 at 5:18 PM  
Blogger Lavender and Lilies said...

I love the tips! I always toy with opening my own store or small cafe and these are awesome.

November 10, 2009 at 6:27 PM  
Blogger Cristin said...

Great tips - I will have to read this book.

I struggle with how to charge clients too and also offer some DIY options.

Thanks too for dropping by my blog!!! I need to start following yours.

cristin @ simplified bee

November 10, 2009 at 6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the wallpaper in the top picture!! This was a great post - just what I needed today. thanks :)

November 10, 2009 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger Sweet Nothings said...

yeah i need the wallpaper in the top pic!

November 10, 2009 at 9:00 PM  
Blogger Deliciously Organized said...

Ok, I'm convinced that I need to go buy this book now! You are selling me! And I love the photos you picked to go along with the rule!

November 11, 2009 at 9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tips! I'm going to need this book. Seriously, Martha's business strategies are DEAD ON. She's made all the right choices (well, except for one. :)

Thanks for sharing! I'm on the same page as you- but in Nashville rather than New York. Would love to switch cities for a day.. :) Wouldn't that be fun?! xoRH

November 11, 2009 at 7:49 PM  

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