EP 111 | Hiring to Scale Your Business with Toledo Geller

May 6, 2019

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About this Episode

Although we learned a lot in design school, many of us felt unprepared to run a business. It’s never too late to reengineer your business into what it might have been on day one. 

In this episode we learn:

  • to scale up, you must let go of some tasks
  • how clarity in all areas of business is achieved by implementing Business of Design™ 15 STEP Project Management Strategy™
  • creating one system has a snowball effect that improves all adjacent tasks
  • an operations manual will save time and prevent chaos


Take Aways

  • if a staff member (or part time contract helper) can do a task 85% as well as you can, let them do it
  • Define the day-to-day tasks and ‘bigger picture’ tasks that you need help with – review those tasks and separate them into what makes sense for one role, what might make sense for another role
  • interview (a lot) – make sure that they are doing most of the talking so you can really get a sense of who they are. We would tend to speak for them in interviews and didn’t ask many open-ended questions for a long time. Also, in keeping with Kimberley’s philosophy of truly treating your design business like a BUSINESS, we looked to corporate America and researched what kind of questions they ask and what their interview process was like
  • delegate – so hard! But so important. That might mean trusting an employee to go to a workroom to check progress on a custom sofa or allowing an employee to go to a site meeting instead of yourself. One break through for us was no longer doing the bulk of the drafting in house and finding a reliable and affordable source to handle that portion for us. Our time was freed up and we are making more money!
  • don’t micro manage – even harder! After doing it so long our way it’s really hard not to tell someone how to do something every step of the way. Having a systems binder has helped tremendously with this.
  • encourage employees to come to you with a solution before asking for one
  • think of yourself as a big business even if you’re not. With that, implement procedures and protocols and all of the systems that BOD talks about along with the ones that are applicable to your business. All big corporations follow procedures and if everyone in your studio has a set of guidelines – from dress code to office upkeep, to company mantra and how clients are communicated with, so much can fall into its proper place.

Asana is the work management platform Toledo Geller uses to store daily tasks.


Design Intervention

Audit the financial aspects of your business. Analyze the numbers to determine what you’re really earning.


About Virginia Toledo & Jessica Geller 

Toledo Geller is a boutique firm that excels at delivering turn-key, custom residences for singles, couples and families who value exceptional design. Virginia and Jessica’s approach begins with a deep dive into how each client dreams of living. Getting to know their clients intimately, thoroughly understanding their wish lists and worries, allows Toledo Geller to create a unique, luxury living space that truly reflects who they are—and what they love. With their mastery of both the design and construction process, Toledo Geller partners with architects and builders from the blueprint stage to completion, providing project management and development oversight. The team works tirelessly to ensure the integrity of each project from start to finish—intent on not just meeting, but exceeding, clients’ expectations. Toledo Geller was founded over a decade ago and they have been declared House Beautiful’s “Next Wave,” and have been finalists in Innovations in Interior Design, “Ones to Watch” and “Rising Stars” by industry magazines and associations. www.toledogeller.com

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