A comprehensive business plan is an essential component that stimulates growth and success of any company. This applies to the modern-day architect, either operating as an individual or one who manages an architect firm. However, once the firm is open for business, how do you ensure growth? This is where implementing a true growth strategy for an architect firm is a solid method for capturing more clients and staying ahead of others in your industry.
The successful architect firm is ever evolving, implementing new technology, innovation, and creative designs into the projects they complete. This type of attitude must also be transmitted to their business operational philosophy, specifically, when it comes to outlining a plan for future growth.
Growth Strategy for an Architect Firm
Examples of Architect Firms Implementing Growth Strategies Correctly
A growth strategy is not a difficult concept to explain or even implement. However, like any other plan, the better organized and laid out results in improved opportunity for success. There are several global architectural firms that have implemented this fundamental business philosophy into their growth strategies.
They focus on improving customer service, becoming trend setters in design, but also leverage relationships to retain new clients by satisfying existing ones.
Noted below are a few examples of leading global architect firms who have accelerated to levels of success by establishing and fine-tuning their growth strategies throughout the years.
With locations in Copenhagen and New York City, Bjarke Ingels Group, BIG, is an established global leader comprised of professional architects, builders, and designers that focus on urbanism, research and development, and architectural design.
They have established a reputation as one of the best architectural firms mainly due to staying on top of pop culture and business trends.
They were one of the first to implement an agile or nimble approach with the designs of commercial properties, but also connect with their clients and receive a tremendous amount of feedback through their heavy social media presence. They are not afraid to take risks, but carefully balance their designs by communicating with their clients and transmitting their vision into elegant designed properties.
SHoP is a New York-based construction, architectural, and design firm that has quickly garnered attention as one of the leaders of innovation. The key to their strength is possessing a unique ability to integrate multiple attributes found in architectural, real estate, and engineering developments.
They infuse multiple ideas and receive creative input for a highly diverse group of experts, which provides them with outside the box thinking and the ability to create award winning designs.
Perkins + Will
Focusing on creating healthcare facilities that are high-performance driven is the key to Perkins + Will success and rapid growth.
Their business growth strategy was to focus on developing facilities that enhance the patient experience. Their revolutionary “innovation incubator” program promotes innovation, creativity, and experimentation among stakeholders and team members.
Headquartered in Seattle, NBBJ made its mark in the architectural design industry by integrating virtual reality (VR) into their design process. In fact, the firm was the first to introduce the VR platform into each of their design projects.
This revolutionary concept stimulates collaboration between architects, designers, and their clients, improving the design process, and leading to superior customer service standards.
Why Does an Architectural Firm Need a Growth Strategy?
The National Council of Architectural Registration indicates that there are currently 113,000 architect firms active in the United States.
That’s a lot of potential competition, especially when several firms are located in the same geographic area. In order to separate from competition, an architect or firm must stay ahead of the curve, by implementing a growth strategy that is practical, scalable, and always revised to suit the needs of clients.
The most successful architect firms include these elements into their growth strategies.
Correctly Determine Your Target Client
Identifying your clients is the first step for growing any business. There are some clients that are fun to work with, and others that are more of a hassle than it’s worth. While the goal of any architect firm is to profit financially with each development and design, it’s also important that you focus on a group of clients that offers you opportunities for continual work.
The best way to accomplish this is to clearly determine which type of projects and clients are best suited to your firm’s strengths. For example, if you’re an innovator of sustainable or “green” office building designs, seeking clients looking for this attribute in their designer would be a smart business growth strategy.
Networking to Connect
Connecting with like-minded business partners in construction and development is another growth strategy for architectural firms. For starters, seek out local associations or professional groups for architects and other construction professionals, join them, and connect with other peers in your industry.
The key is to develop relationships with construction contractors, builders, and others you can partner with, and create new opportunities outside of your focus niche.
Use Social Media Smartly
Social media can be very powerful business development tool – if managed and used correctly. The key is to set up social media accounts that not only showcases your skills and projects but educates and enlightens followers.
Building a strong social media following is not as important as the quality of followers. Create social media content that is of high-quality, and relevant to your industry, while attracting your consumer.
There is strength to word of mouth advertising. However, in today’s online world, asking for referrals is just as important any other growth strategy for an architect Firm.
Anytime you work with clients, surpass their expectations, and ask them to post online reviews and referrals on Google, your social media pages, and other independent platforms. This not only builds your online reputation but offers opportunity for growth and being discovered by future clients.
Protect Your Business with Architect Professional Liability Insurance
The worst thing that can happen to any business is having to shut down operations due to small mistake or faulty claim made by a previous client. Obtaining professional liability insurance for architects provides you with the peace of mind and financial backing to stay open while potential litigation due to breech of contracts or negligence is resolved.
This insurance policy for architects covers your legal expenses, so you can retain high-quality representation that will aggressively defend your legal rights and established reputation.