Accelerate Studio: Business Strategies

ASID Accelerate Studio in Charlotte on April 30.

Design Entrepreneurship: The Cycle of Success

Join ASID for an exclusive ASID Accelerate Studio event taught by Steve Nobel of NOBELINKS in Charlotte on April 30. Created with residential designers and small business owners in mind, this targeted workshop will feature six Interior Design Continuing Education Council (IDCEC)-approved sessions that will focus on topics to help interior designers build successful, sustainable businesses. Attendees can participate in the full-day program or choose sessions a la carte.  All session attendees will receive a free workbook to guide them through the “cycle of success” process. 

The Design Entrepreneurship series provides proven tools and techniques for designers new to the profession and for those who are prepared to take their design businesses to the next level of professionalism and profit. The series presents a refined synthesis of principles and practices that enable designers to perform just as well in the business of their chosen profession as they do in the creative aspects of it. The series aims to provide designers with the tools they need to start businesses, to lead their businesses through ups and downs, and to ensure that their businesses realize their full potential.

Speaking to interior design professionals in the visual and verbal language they understand, Nobel imparts knowledge about the luxury market segment specifically focused on interior design issues, and he provides insights and practical models for a new way of highlighting the value of interior design that truly represents the future of the profession. The course presents key information about what every design business owner should know and should be able to do, while also covering the expertise needed to outsource certain tasks safely and efficiently.

This course series emphasizes the cyclical nature of business, preparing practicing professionals of interior design, architecture and other creative disciplines with strategies to meet the professional services business challenges of today’s changing economy. The integrated format presents a systematic approach to building, improving and excelling in the basics of any design business, and then encourages professionals to return to the beginning for another loop around the “cycle of success.”

PresenterSteve Nobel: Founder, NOBELINKS

Steve Nobel

Steve Nobel founded his consulting firm NOBELINKS in 1994 to specialize in the markets for luxury at home by assisting his clients to build home furnishings brands, and to advance the market for interior design and decoration.

Steve is the author of Touchpoints of Interior Design, a series of iBooks about attracting clients and building sustainable business practices, and Aiming at Affluence; Marketing Interior Design to Luxury Clients. He speaks frequently about the business of design in Design Centers and Showrooms throughout North America.

Currently, he is acting executive director of the Decorative Furnishings Association (a trade group that promotes how consumers benefit from working with designers). Prior to establishing NOBELINKS, he was an owner and president of the John Widdicomb Company, and also served as managing director of Baker, Knapp and Tubbs, Ltd. in London.


Schedule of Events 


8:30 a.m. - 9 a.m.

Registration Opens

9 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.

Session 1
Leadership: The Vision for a Design Entrepreneur

Focusing on how a design business is conceived, how plans are crafted and how choices are made in developing the vision for a design business, this session explores and discusses critical issues facing entrepreneurs. Topics include building confidence, creating a business plan, the role of the principal as leader and the choices to be made when balancing professional and personal lives.

10:10 a.m. - 10:20 a.m.


10:20 a.m. - 11:20 a.m.

Session 2
Marketing: The Process of Building Brands

Learn how to build a design brand and make that brand produce rewards. This session profiles those who have the means to afford the best and want designers to be their guide to living well. Session attendees will prepare to create their own brand, including marketing messages and media collateral that communicate the essential value of design targeted to these potential clients.

11:20 a.m - 11:30 a.m.


11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Session 3
Financial: Developing the Business Plan and Pricing

Reinforcing the mandate that interior design is a business motivated by profit, this session guides owners through the execution of the business plan, taking into account the tasks, time, money and real effort needed to start a business or accelerate its growth. The session also examines modern models for pricing design services as part of the critical relationship between price and value.

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.


1:30 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.

Session 4
Administration: Legal Documentation

Align “right-brained” creativity with “left-brained” behaviors. This session introduces letters of agreement, insurance requirements and other administrative necessities that must be crafted to reflect the character of the brand and temperament of the designer.

2:40 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.


2:50 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.

Session 5
Operations: Business Processes

Learn the essential business processes and typical methods for supporting them. This session suggests tools to manage time and people through the use of software (e.g., Quickbooks, Design Manager, Studio IT, etc.), and demonstrates that by using technologies developed specifically for the interior design profession, designers can reduce overtime and stress while enhancing creativity and quality of life.

3:50 p.m. - 4 p.m.


4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Session 6
Research and Development: The Next Stage

Examine the options available to the prudent business owner who plans for growth, partnership, succession or sale. This session also demonstrates the cyclical nature of business development — the cycle of success — in which plans are conceived, executed and improved, and then reviewed regularly.