Clarifying Questions When Setting Strategy

What Einstein and You Have in Common

Einstein said that if we can only form the right questions, the answers are often fairly easy.
Based on my lifetime of helping interior designers to develop winning strategies, I have compiled this list of critical, and often difficult, questions I pose to my clients. Please take your time answering these. Think of completing this assignment in weeks, not minutes. And good luck!
I
Q: I feel trapped by my business when…
Q: My perfect day would be…
Q: The one thing others should know about me is…
Q: My greatest accomplishment to date has been…
Q: The thing I am most proud of to date is….
Q: You would never know it by looking at me, but…
II
Q: What business are you really in?
Q: What business should you be in?
Q: If what gets measured gets done, what do you measure?
Q: What should you measure?
Q: What is it that when it sweeps over you, you find yourself saying, “This is the real me?”
Q: What do you do better than anyone else, even if you’re too modest to say it out loud?
III
Q: What are your greatest strengths as a business person?
Q: What are your greatest weaknesses?
Q: What would you be doing tomorrow morning if money was no object?
Q: What’s the most radical change to your business you can possibly imagine?
Q: When will you step away from your business forever?
IV
Q: How do you reward yourself for running your business?
Q: What are you doing that doesn’t need doing?
Q: If you never had to do one thing again, what would that be?
Q: Who do you think makes more money, the most talented designers or the best marketers?
Q: What do your clients really buy from you?
V
Q: What gives you that sinking feeling in your gut most often?
Q: What could eliminate that feeling?
Q: If you were “hit by the bus” tomorrow, what would happen to your business? Clients?
Q: What single factor do you think most determines profitability in your business?
Q: What do you admire most about other design firms?
VI
Q: What is there about “competition” that you dislike?
Q: What would the title of your book be if you wrote one? (Why haven’t you written it?)
Q: If your picture were on the cover of Forbes Magazine, what would the caption say?
Q: Are you more likely to dread or celebrate a new technical breakthrough in your field?
Q: What are you not willing to do, no matter how profitable such an action might be?
VII
Q: I feel trapped by my business whenever….
Q: My perfect day would be…
Q: I would like for my epitaph to read….
Q: If you could earn $200,000 working full time for someone else, or $60,000 working for yourself, which would you choose? What does the answer say about you?
VIII
Q: Have you accepted a project that you knew you’d regret because you “needed the money?” Did you regret it?
Q: Complete this sentence: “Dealing with employees is_______.”
Q: Describe your personal philosophy toward debt. When do you think debt is appropriate?
Q: How much money (capital) would you need to build the firm of your dreams? Could you get it?
IX
Q: What defines “success” as a business owner?
Q: If a business efficiency expert analyzed your business, what sort of grade would you get?
Q: Why should a client be willing to pay you 20% more than the next designer in the phone book?
Q: List ten accomplishments of the past quarter, large or small
Q: Do you listen to music as often as you’d like to? If not, why not?
Q: What does the state of your physical fitness say about you as a CEO?
X
Q: Choose one word to describe yourself as an entrepreneur. Why did you choose that word?
Q: What are you happiest about in your life right now?
Q: What would make your life even better?
Q: What problem(s) would you most like to disappear right now?
Q: What are you willing to do or give up to have that problem disappear?

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