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8 Ways to Get the Most Out of an Interior Design Software Trial

When you’re researching a new business management software, a great way to decide is to sign up for free trials. The more nuanced your business, the more useful those trials can be. For interior designers, whose businesses are highly specialized, those free trials can be invaluable to see if that service can meet their specific needs. 

Design Manager is the leading interior design project management and accounting software, and offers your business an integrated, customizable solution that can transform your company by making it so much more efficient. But don’t take our word for it, try it out with a free trial! 

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Here are eight ways to get the most out of any free software trial, and in particular how to get the most out of a Design Manager trial:

  1. Prioritize the Right Features

    Make the most of a free trial by selecting a product that, at least on paper, meets your needs. To do that, define the things you need help with, find a product with features to meet those needs, and analyze how you would maximize use of each offering. Prioritize software that will enhance the way it supports your operations and ultimately save you time. For example, Design Manager users can tailor their experience to follow a precise chain of commands suited to interior designer needs, starting with creating a proposal, flowing next to purchase orders, and then next to client invoicing. Also, Design Manager can be set to save your pricing structures and financial formulas and apply them universally to all projects.
  2. Map out Different Scenarios to Test

    To understand how a business management platform will integrate with your business, map out your typical tasks for an average day or week. Include all of the steps for purchasing and invoicing. Then, look at the software’s features you may want to try that extend beyond your current procedures – you may see potential to update some of your practices based on those features. For instance, Design Manager has features that facilitate time tracking, producing branded client facing reports, and the ability to print checks that are then logged, to name just a few. It’s reporting feature is also a game changer. And be sure to show your accountant the financial reports for their seal of approval (they will be dazzled!).
  3. Have the Right People on the Trial

    As you plan out the features you know you need and the ones you want to test out, be sure to include the people from your team who would be responsible for those various tasks. Make sure each of those team members are included on the trial. Kindly hold them accountable for exercising their duties on the software and get their feedback.
  4. Schedule a Call With an Expert for a Demo/ Walk Through

    Start your trial with a demo from a representative of the software company. Have that person walk you and your assigned team members through the features of the product, and have a conversation about how those features align with the goals you have laid out. Also ask who to contact with questions as they arise during your use of the trial.
  5. Block Out the Necessary Time on Your Calendar

    Business owners are busy. It’s common to feel perpetually short on time. That’s why it's crucial to invest time in trying out software that can ultimately save you a lot of time, energy, and eventually, money. Block out time every day to use the trial so you can make an informed decision that can pay huge dividends for you down the road.
  6. Test the Integrations

    Many business management software platforms provide the option to use integrations with other software, like Microsoft Office products, for example. Test all of the integrations that you would want to use, particularly importing contacts and exporting tasks and calendar items, which would be a starting point for getting up and running on any new system. For an interior design software solution, any additional data importing capabilities are a huge advantage, with so many small details on record for each project. Design Manager offers a range of data importing and exporting capabilities, including time billing importing.
  7. Test What Your Client Will See

    If the software you are trying offers a way to communicate with external parties or any other outward interaction, try it out. For example, Design Manager allows you to receive payment by credit card and ACH (bank transfer) via an email, which it then records all necessary accounting transactions. Test this feature internally to see how sleek the customer experience will be.
  8. Utilize Tutorials on YouTube

    Review any video tutorials offered on the company’s website or YouTube page. This is where blocking time in your calendar will come in handy. You want to ensure you properly set up your data from the start, then maximize your use of specific features with speed and ease. This step should be in addition to the guided demo, which is a great starting point, but nothing beats a video you can stop and rewind that shows you how to do something step by step. For interior designers, Design Manager has a Youtube page with hundreds of informational how-to’s that are organized and searchable.

The right software support can take your business to new heights, making it faster and easier to run the operations of your business, and helping you avoid costly mistakes. For a business that has a unique business model, as interior design businesses often do, choosing an integrated project management and accounting solution is a huge benefit. That’s exactly what makes Design Manager stand out from the competition; its capabilities are vast and deep, supporting all of the individualized needs of interior design businesses. 

Sign up for a free trial of Design Manager and make the time investment that will save you countless hours and headaches going forward. One extra fantastic perk of Design Manager? Customer support is free! 

 

Interior Design Business Guide

Margot LaScala
Margot LaScala
Margot is a writer and interior designer based in the NYC area. She is passionate about keeping up with the latest architecture and design news to not only stay informed, but inspired.

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