Monday, October 12, 2009

Small Is the New Big for Home Staging Professionals

I have just read an inspiring business book, Small Giants – Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big, by Bo Burlington. A finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award, this book rejects the mantra of growth for growth’s sake in favor of a passionate dedication to becoming the absolute best and demonstrates that big does not equal great and great does not equal big.

As home staging entrepreneurs, we are not corporate giants – but we can be great! Common attributes of these small giants were: close connections to their communities and demonstrated and meaningful social responsibility; outstanding customer service, close ties to employees, suppliers and clients; and leaders who were passionate and had deep emotional commitments to their businesses.

What are you doing in your business that makes you great? As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., I have developed close relationships with my community of real estate agents and vendors. I am committed to delivering excellent staging work and incomparable customer service to every client – regardless of the price of the job. I am absolutely passionate about the value of staging and the work I do, including training new home stagers for Certified Staging Professionals. I support Habitat for Humanity and local NYC non-profit organizations. I am also dedicated to my professional communities and am always supportive of my CSP alumni. Of course we all want to increase our success and profitability, but it is critical to stay focused on being the best we can be.

With this, small is the new big, thought on my mind, I made another connection while reading the Sunday newspaper, Parade Magazine (Oct. 11/09, p.6). “American Houses Are Getting Smaller”. In a reversal of a decades long trend, houses are getting smaller and downsizing continues. The McMansion era has come to an end.

“Demand has shifted from people looking to trade up to larger homes to first-time buyers, who are typically younger, with less income, looking for a place that is more modest. Smaller houses are also attractive to empty-nesters looking for places that are more energy efficient and less expensive to maintain.”

This presents several opportunities for home stagers:

STAGING SMALL SPACES: A few years ago, some agents didn’t bother staging small spaces. Of course that was a mistake, because all properties benefit from staging, and all sellers deserve to achieve the maximum ROI on the sale of their homes. But now, agents are paying attention to the marketing of these smaller properties because they are in demand. And while more buyers are now interested in smaller properties, they still desire the best value. Properties that are staged to look bright, spacious and appealing to the targeted buyer will have the competitive edge. I have recently staged two studios and a one-bedroom apartment, that may not have been staged just a couple of years ago.

DOWNSIZING SERVICES: Another opportunity for home stagers is to help home sellers transition into smaller spaces with space planning, color choices and downsizing strategies, as part of their staging for living services.

: And with revved up interest in energy efficiencies and cost savings, there will be increased interest in Eco-Staging and Green businesses.

I suggest we embrace the “small is the new big” in our business practices. Enrich your staging skills and become a  Certified Staging Professional and pursue continuing-ed classes in staging for living and Green Build Science. Add these services to your business to capture niche opportunities. And as always, focus on being great.

Nairn Friemann, MBA, is a Certified Staging Professional & Trainer. As president of Ingenuity & Pizzazz, Inc., she has collaborated with sellers and agents on the staging and marketing of over $500 million in real estate. Her next CSP staging training class will be held in NYC, October 17-19.

For more information visit www.ingenuitypizzazz.com and contact Nairn at 917-952-4669 or nairn@ingenuitypizzazz.com

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