It isn’t easy to build a successful architectural business. Irrespective of how old your architectural practice might be, or how large it is, there are certain mistakes that various architectural businesses seem to make. They devote a lot of their energy to creating great architectural structures. They don’t focus on running their business and think that by creating quality products, they’ll experience financial success as well.
Fifteen years down the line, these same businesses can find themselves still struggling. They might not have gotten their big break yet. They could still be struggling to hire clients or get new projects. Meanwhile, there are other architectural businesses that seem to achieve these same feats with relative ease. So what makes successful architectural practices stand out? You can make even your local architectural firm a successful one.
By knowing about the architectural business errorsthat could be plaguing your business, you’re more likely to ensure that your business sees the success that you want. Here are some business errors that you might be making, as well as the solution to them.
1. Learning To Play To Win
Running an architectural firm isn’t easy. It involves a lot of hard work, as well as time. By the time you’re creating your own practice, you already have something to be proud of. This is as starting your own firm is an achievement in itself. But there’s a difference between working for a firm and running your very own.
When you run your own architectural firm, you’re responsible for the success of your business. Generally, architecture and design firms need to manage various roles at once. They’ll need to attract clients, handle payroll, market their business, and much much more. By running your business and handling daily operations well, you can ensure that your business succeeds for the most part. But to be the best in the game, your approach needs to be different. You should aim to become a leader in your industry, and not just follow what others are doing.
Not only should you create quality pieces of architecture, but also build financial practices that are sustainable. Don’t just start your firm for the sake of it. Instead, aim to be the best firm in your service area. This will enable you to build long-term success. To do this, you’ll need to create your business plan.
Talk to your team, and hire a consultant if you need to, to learn all about what you can do to push your business towards greater success. How can you meet and exceed the expectations of your clients? How you market your business will also play a key role in determining how successful your business is. This applies to all kinds of architecture firms, including site design architecture firms.
2. Actively Generating Leads
To secure new clients for your business, you’ll need to be active in lead generation. It doesn’t matter what kind of amazing work you can do for your clients but if you don’t have clients that you can do that work for, it’s a problem. You might believe that doing a few jobs well will help get the word about your business out. However, this isn’t enough to run a successful architectural business.
When thinking “what challenges do architects face?”, generating new leads is one of them. To build a profitable practice, you’ll need to devote time, money, and energy, to marketing your practice. This means that you’ll need to actively nurture leads. To do this, you’ll first need to discover where your clients generally come from. Understand who your target market is, as well as how you can attract them to your business.
One common mistake that architectural businesses make, is not focusing on what they actually do on their promotional materials. Keep in mind that all architectural businesses can design. But can they help clients secure building approvals? By focusing on what your firm can do to help your clients reach their goals, you’re more likely to attract their attention.
Potential clients will often want to know whether you’re on the same page as them and whether you can help them deal with their particular circumstances. Your marketing should be focused on what problems your business can solve for your clients. Your firm should be capable of more than just architectural design.
3. Profit And Loss Accounting
You might think that design is the most important part of running your business. While it’s true that the kind of designs your firm makes is important for the reputation of your firm, that’s not the only important thing. Usually, you and your team will spend no more than 10% of the total time allotted to a project, on the design part. This means that 90% of your time will be spent on the execution of the design.
So if you and your team aren’t able to ensure that your design can actually be implemented, this can be a setback for your business. In addition to this, you’ll also need to focus on how your firm is managing cash. Most business owners know that they need to employ cash management practices for their business. But they don’t manage their accounts as keenly as they should.
You’ll find that to run your business what’s actually important is how you monitor the cash going into and out of your business daily. You’ll need to create a profit and loss statement, and also maintain proper balance sheets. You need to monitor your finances to ensure that you’re business is making a profit.
4. Managing Your Budget
A lot of architects go ahead and build their businesses without actually focusing on a business plan. Not only does your business need a business plan, but also a separate financial plan, as well as a resources plan. This means that you need to create a budget both for your finances, as well as your time. You should know how to set targets that are realistic, based on performances from the past.
You’ll also need to actively measure the performance of your local architecture firm. This is why you need to set key parameters to monitor how well your business is doing. Set targets as well as business goals, and then ensure that your business is reaching those goals. When you have your performance data, you can better ascertain where you’re going wrong, and how you can improve.
5. Options When It Comes To Fee Submissions
Having choices helps people when it comes to making decisions about what to purchase. Whether you buy a car or a bottle of wine, the chances are high that you had options to choose from, regarding both. There’s actual psychological evidence that looks at when people are more likely to choose and then commit to their choice. This is when they can select from a limited number of options.
However, architects hardly think of this when proposing their fees. Consider restructuring the fee proposals that you have. Do it so that your clients can choose only those basic or essential services that they really need. You can also add a few services that are discretionary, or desirable. Offer options for high-value services as well, or full range services. Provide options to your clients regarding your fee structure and what services they want to purchase from you.
If you want your architectural business to be successful, then there are several things that you should aim to do. Create a proper business plan, set parameters for success, provide your clients with options, and more. This guide lists five problems your architectural firm might be facing, and what you can do to deal with them.