DESIGNER COLUMNS & BLOGS / Architecture

 

PAGE 2 OF 2 - Starting Your Own Firm (and Succeeding)

 
 

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NEWSLETTERS

 

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Always think excellence: Educate your clients and market your experience and the value you bring to the table, noting that the value of experience with the project type can avoid mistakes that others may make not having this particular experience. Give the client what he needs and always be fair.

Think relationships: Get out in the community with opportunities in volunteer work, church involvement, Boy Scouts, Rotary, as well as being active in professional organizations such as AIA and CSI. Brand your firm and network, building relationships in lieu of projects; stay in touch with your contacts; speak as an expert whenever possible (like WFX), etc. Remember that loyalty is hard to find these days; but with a specialty, it will help counter the “go with the lowest price” selection. Have a system of tracking your leads, and work hard to follow up on those leads. Don’t take no for an answer. Be persistent and don’t give up.

Hire the best staff and consultants: Hire employees that are better than you —the best at what they do in each area and reward them accordingly. Keep salaries low and see how you do each year and then use a bonus, as you are able. Invoice regularly and contact the client if they pay late or aren’t paying. Track the costs of producing projects to help in setting your fees. Build relationships with your attorney, accountant, liability insurance agent, material reps/venders, and consultants.

Work hard and do whatever it takes: Strike a balance between work and family. Keep a positive mental attitude about your work and life in general. One of my professors in college always told us, “It’s not all babes and sports cars.” Be enthusiastic. Think “long term.” Have fun!

Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 tells us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

 

 

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