Keeping Small Businesses Competitive through Sharing Best Practices of Global Leaders

Leslie Fine’s BIO

Leslie Fine

Leslie Fine Interiors, Inc. is an award winning, full service residential interior design firm located in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. In connection with each project, whether large in scale or smaller in scope, within New England or in other regions of the country, every client is given personalized attention at all times from the principal of the firm, Leslie Fine.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW

1. Tell us what prompted you to start your own business.

Leslie: I was a lawyer in a large law firm and wasn’t particularly happy with the lack of flexibility in my life. I decided to change careers and pursue my real passion and with that, start a business where I could have more control over my time and over the people that I came into contact with each day.

 

2. For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedules from start to finish.

Leslie:

  • 7:00 am – 8:00 am Work out with personal trainer
  • 8:30 am – 9:30 am  Answer emails, engage on Twitter, write/edit blog posts, update Facebook page, check in on LinkedIn page
  • 9:30 am – noon  Office time – review projects and “to do” lists with design assistants; make telephone calls to clients and vendors; review jobs in process; general business management issues
  • Noon – 2:30 pm Site meetings to review construction progress
  • 2:30 – 5:00 pm  Design Center to select furnishings, fabrics, accessories for clients
  • 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm  Engage on a Twitter chat, answer emails, review next day’s agenda
  • 7:00pm – 9:00 pm Meet with clients or meet with a prospective client

 

3. What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?

Leslie:

  • My Email
  • My Contacts
  • My Calendar
  • Facebook and Twitter!

 

4. What are your tricks for time management?

Leslie: Are there tricks that will really work for me? (I haven’t had too much time to figure them out!) Actually, my best system is making daily “to do” lists and crossing each item off when accomplished.

 

5. Best advice received when you started your career?

Leslie: Someone once told me that you cannot be everything to everyone. Decide who your target audience is, brand yourself to service that audience and promote yourself to that group. Also, do what you do best and delegate other activities to people you respect and trust.

 

6. Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?

Leslie: Even during the worst times of 2009, I still felt strongly that I needed to keep up with my marketing and advertising so that people out there knew my firm was still around and active. My strategy remains the same for the short and long term: continue promoting my brand through a variety of channels (print media, social media, involvements in charitable work, etc.) and doing the best work we are capable of and providing excellent customer service.

 

7. What’s been your proudest achievement as such immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?

Leslie: Getting referrals over and over again from happy clients.

 

8. What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?

Leslie: Spending quality time with my family (dinners at home and dinners out and vacations); exercise and recreational activities; involvement in charitable organizations

 

9. Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)

Leslie:

 

10. If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?

Leslie: I would invest it back into my business by increasing my promotional activities. I would plan a great vacation with any leftover funds.

 

11. What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?

Leslie: I have been on the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a wonderful organization that supports more than one hundred social service agencies, schools and programs locally and overseas.

 

12. Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?

Leslie: The most influential person has been my husband who has always been supportive of my career and my business and who I rely on always for sound business advice.

 

13. What’s your advice to someone interested in starting their own business?

Leslie: It doesn’t matter what services you provide or what products you are selling – you must have sound business practices which include having an  organized and sophisticated bookkeeping system so that you know at all times where you are financially. Having this knowledge and organization will make you a better entrepreneur and be able to provide excellent customer service and an excellent product.

Learn more about Leslie Fine interiors here: http://www.lesliefineinteriors.com/index.html

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