Interview MIEP Design – from dream to reality
• Starting a business is a decision – not a risk
• How the BiTSing method guarantees success
Githa Minis – Interior architect
Every entrepreneur has, at some stage, gone through the process of starting their own business. I am no exception. It’s a challenging experience – at the very least, as I wrote in the introduction. Income is always necessary, but how will you ensure it? And when will it come in? As a result of such concerns a very large number of aspirant entrepreneurs never dare to take the step towards independence. Which is why I wanted to include a motivating and inspiring story in this book – for everyone who has dreamt of their own business, but never turned that dream into reality. The following case study is about Githa Minis, a young woman who took the challenging decision to start her own business – in a situation that had seemed hopeless. Nothing forced her to take this step. She took it thanks to a dream and, as she says, ”Thanks to the Bitsing method”.
This is Githa’s story. My first acquaintance with Bitsing ”The economic crisis had made it difficult for me to find a job after graduating as an interior architect. I submitted at least fifty applications for jobs in large design agencies. The response was uniform: ‘insufficient experience’. Indeed, in a market with very many applicants and very few vacancies, it’s impossible to get a position without experience. So I was forced to take a job in catering. At the same time, I still wanted to pursue my dream and follow through on the years of study I had put behind it.
“My catering job brought me into contact with Frans. His advice was that if I had a dream I should follow it; that if I wanted to start my own interior design business, I should just do it. This had, indeed, always been my long-term dream, but had intended to first build my experience by working for other companies in the industry. Frans, however, convinced me that if I followed the Bitsing rules, my success would be guaranteed. ”I rose to the challenge. Not because I dared to take the risk, but because insight into Bitsing methodology showed me that I would succeed, without a doubt. I resigned from my catering job and started MIEP design – my own interior design business. Filled with enthusiasm, I worked day and (sometimes) night to ensure the success of my new business. It’s a great feeling. Thanks to Frans and Bitsing I was able to busy myself with my greatest passion, while seeing the dream of my own business taking shape around me.
MIEP design ”The business name didn’t just occur to me out of the blue. The Bitsing method showed me that you have to be uncopyable – and that your uncopyability should find expression in everything you do. My immediate thought was that this also applied to naming the business. Bitsing also delivered a real eye-opener: Large, professional design agencies were absolutely not my competitors! And I should avoid this becoming the case. (And to think that I had originally wanted to work for one of them!) ”I had learned, of course, about the Bitsing concept of the ‘money competitor’ – the answer to the question: where does my target group spend its money when it doesn’t engage an interior design agency? The answer was simple – and surprising. They spent it on DIY. My competitors appeared not to be the professional design agencies, but the clients themselves. They were the money competitors. So I had to convince my target group that their money was better spent on me than on doing it themselves.
This, in turn, would succeed once they knew what made me uncopyable. So I went in search of what made me uncopyable in contrast to clients’ DIY tendencies. The Bitsing method led me to the following conclusion: Dutch common sense. I was born in the northern province of West Friesland and grew up in a traditional, Dutch family. One in which the well-worn Dutch maxim was applied and practised: ‘Just use common sense – it’s uncommon enough’. Moreover, I was simply drawn towards everything that’s authentically and typically Dutch. I can’t explain it further, but what’s really Dutch really works for me. It’s just ‘how I roll’!
“So what happens when you combine the principles of interior architecture with … common sense? Well, you get an Interior that looks fantastic, that you can be really proud of and that also respects the practical requirements and enjoyment of the people that will live in it. It will lack false pretence and needless ‘decoration’ – and excel in functionality. In a contrast, an interior that’s just beautiful but can’t, for instance, deal with the impact of children and dirt is less desirable than it first seems. In fact, the emphasis is far too often on design, form – and not on function. My approach would be different, a blend of design (the experience) and Dutch common sense (the practical function). Effective interior design – in fact what clients ideally want when they do it themselves. Straightforward design, with both feet firmly on the ground. In fact, a real MIEP (a typically Dutch name for a simple, straightforward female character, also often humourously used).
“As it happened, I didn’t have much time to think up the name. However, I let myself be guided by the Bitsing model’s requirements for creating awareness in a target group – the requirements of step B of the Bitser ladder. The name conformed. It’s simple, surprising, attracts attention, is short and impactful, memorable and one which such basic familiarity that everybody thinks they ‘recognise’ it.
Three reasons for not starting your own business: ”Whenever I talked to friends about starting my own business I was immediately overwhelmed with an abundance of arguments as to why I definitely shouldn’t. I had no experience all, it was an insecure income – and anyway, I wouldn’t even know where to start. After all, I’d only just graduated! There are always enough reasons for not doing something, but Bitsing gave me a new perspective. It simply confronted me with the reasons why I indeed should start my own business! The single reason to start today ”When Frans started telling me about Bitsing he brought many factual arguments to bear. These demonstrated why one should start a business and how every obstacle would be surmountable. They were facts. They offered me handhold and forced me to accept that there was no alternative to believing that I would succeed. ”
I made my own Bitsing plan and started to reduce the number of hours I worked for the catering business. As I steadily implemented more elements of my plan, the process became ever more magical. It was strange, but it was as if a voice kept on whispering to me, ‘This is really something. It can’t fail. You must give it everything you’ve got.’ These were, of course, nothing more than my own feelings. But they came to the surface because of the enormous positive energy and conviction developing around me. All sorts of things were taking shape, and after six months I had resigned from my job and started working full-time for my own interior design business, MIEP design.
”My Bitsing plan told me that I should focus on houses advertised for sale. Applying my Dutch common sense, I brought concept to the market that would satisfy four parties simultaneously: the house buyer, the seller, the estate agent – and myself. Many houses reach the market in a bad state of repair and are dated in appearance and style. This is an obstacle to potential purchasers. My concept provided a virtual makeover of any house offered for sale. This was based on a completely new interior design for the entire home, presented by means of an artist’s impression. The house would then be sold – on the basis of its new, virtual interior and together with a quote for its renovation. Purchasers would immediately be confronted by the home’s full potential plus the appeal of its new and practical functionality. They could also see exactly what it would cost to turn this dream home into reality. ”This approach immediately lowered the threshold to buying a house. Houses that previously had attracted no interest were now getting many enquiries and some were indeed being sold on this basis, together with design and renovation package contained in my virtual makeover. I am now introducing more estate agents to my concept.
“In everything I did, I was guided by the requirements of Bitsing. I knew that it would enable me to succeed. And I was completely right. The positive effects are unavoidable. Whenever I have presented my ideas, people bought into them. For Bitsing always stimulates belief and conveys trust. Even more so because it contains the tests that determine whether your plans will actually succeed. It’s a handhold, a foundation on which to build.
It does require investment of your time and money, both of which are in short supply when starting out. I didn’t do this lightly, but as a result MIEP design has been established, is successful and is here to stay. ”My plan is to continue to evolve MIEP as a successful business which, in itself, will create more jobs as it expands! ”Frans asked me to summarise how I had benefited from Bitsing. This is my list. And, in fact, my credo:
1. Never spend money before you’ve earned it.
2. Only invest time and money in ‘sharp pencils’.
3. Ensure that there is demand for the product you’re selling.
4. Focus on your product’s purchasers – i.e. know your target group and appeal to them.
5. Your competition is where people spend their money if they’re not spending it with you.
6. Don’t make sales offers if they don’t address why people aren’t buying.
7. Don’t construct your campaign out of your own problems.
8. First make your brand and name known, then sell.
9. Discover your own uncopyable characteristics; ensure that you remain uncopyable.
10. Use your own uncopyable characteristics in your marketing messages.
11. Enable people to draw their own conclusions. Don’t tell them what to do, just hint at it.
12. Stick to the facts.
13. People must want you before they buy you.
14. Traffic is very important. You need it to make a sale.
15. Ensure that traffic and contact is risk free for the customer.
16. Consider media and messages you use to achieve your goal. Will they reach the right people?
17. The medium doesn’t determine success. The message does!
18. Keep your goal in focus and don’t diverge from it!
“In the beginning I had no idea of what to do, while I am now absolutely certain that I’m doing everything right! Everything is so fact-based that it’s irrefutable. Everything I’ve learned now guarantees the success of everything I take on. The volume of enquiries coming in makes me feel that it’s unnecessary to convince people to take my product. What I do – works! Bitsing inspires me, convinces others and at the same time creates its own discipline: stick to it – and you’ll achieve your goal. There are always, of course, moments in which you ‘lose the plot’. In these moments I go back to my notes, absorb the wisdom and once more know what I have to do. Bitsing is a manual for entrepreneurship. I love it. It’s allowed me to do what I studied for 9 years.
And the best thing is that at the close of every day I have, once again, seen my business grow. A fantastic experience. ”My dream has become reality. My hope is that everyone who wants to start their own business will, through my story, also see their dreams fulfilled.”