In order to build a successful architectural firm you need to master
The 3 Aspects.
The 3 Aspects of architecture
While Design is the most important aspect of architecture, it is subsidiary to the 3 Aspects in the architectural business. Even when considered a focus of the Business Development Aspect, designalone will not be the most important part of that Aspect.
In order to grow an architectural business you must master complexity through business management, attract work through marketing and sales (business development), and deliver a finished project on time and within budget through project management.
Business Development depends on a consistent and frequent message reaching your audience of potential customers. A message that resonates with that audience.
Project Management depends on consistently delivering accurate and timely construction documents. A lot of technical knowledge is required for accurate documents. Timely documents is dependent on a well-honed process that presents every decision at the best moment to eliminate re-work.
Business Management depends on having effective processes for every kind of task. The complexity that is created by adding people can only be controlled through processes that are documented for anyone to use.
All 3 Aspects are intertwined and have to be advanced simultaneously to enjoy a smooth path to the ideal firm.
It is a lot of work and will take a few years, but if not now, when?
Here is how to get started. Develop checklists, publish periodic mailings, and build your financial model. Follow these suggestions.
Developing checklists is the easiest undertaking, you may even have a system in place. Start with Construction Documents. Break down the key tasks into a logical sequence. You can use this Trello template board. Here is the link. If you have a Trello account, you can copy the ‘board’ to your account and edit it to suit your practice. Another option is to visit this post that was a precursor to the Trello project.
Publishing periodic mailings is a marketing tactic that is within everyone’s capabilities and budget. Assemble an email list of prospective clients/past clients/trusted supporters; send an image and a brief description every other week or so. Over time your audience will feel a connection to you because of the knowledge you have shared with them. Visit this post to learn more about implementing this idea.
Building your financial model consists of finding the right numbers. The number of staff, the number of billable hours per staff member, and the number of overhead expenses you can afford. You can find all these numbers for your firm, but are they sustainable? Mine weren’t. You need this information. This link takes you to a series of posts on the topic.