As we move into a new month, we are shifting our focus to a new category of small firm success. All throughout the month of May, we will be diving deep into the subject of Client Fulfillment.
How do we best serve our clients? How do we manage expectations and keep our clients happy? How can we ensure that at the end of each project, we have inspired “raving fans” eager to spread the word about our exceptional skills, talents and remarkable customer service?
As we are discovering each month here at EntreArchitect, many of these answers will be found in our systems.
According to Norbert Lemermeyer, co-author of The E-Myth Architect, Why Most Architecture Firms Fail and What to Do About It and founder of Architecture+Business, a system is “a written account of individual tasks to be completed in accordance with achieving the company’s vision. These are repeatable tasks to be done exactly the same way, in an effective and efficient manner.”
The engine driving the success of every small firm is our network of operational systems. Every category of business, or as Norbert refers to them, every “center of attention” at our firm requires approximately 5 to 10 systems. Whenever we find ourselves repeating a series of individual tasks, we have discovered another opportunity to create a new system.
The engine driving the success of every small firm is our network of operational systems.
Through my interactions with hundreds of small firm architects, I have discovered that most of us are not using documented systems to run our firms… and I believe the reason is that we are afraid. We fear the time involved to develop these systems. We fear being restricted. We fear losing our creativity.
The truth is that developing a system is not difficult. It’s not even truly time-consuming. Developing powerful systems will actually result in allowing us more time to be creative, apply our talents and develop our skills as architects.
How to Develop Systems for an Architecture Firm
Developing systems for an architecture firm is simple. When a new opportunity is discovered, list each task performed to complete the operational procedure at hand. You are already completing the tasks. It will not take any additional time. Just jot down the steps you take as you complete each one.
Maybe you are starting a new project and setting up the CAD or BIM files. What are the steps you take each time to complete that process?
Maybe you are responding to an email inquiry from a prospective client. What are the steps you take each time to complete that process?
Once we have a list of the tasks performed to complete a process, document that process in the form of a spreadsheet or checklist. Use whatever media is most effective and most efficient to review. This will ensure that the system is easy to use and the tasks can be completed more effectively and more efficiently the next time around. When a system is easier to use than it is to ignore, it will then be a successful system.
When a system is easier to use than it is to ignore, it will then be a successful system.
Then move on to the next process required to complete the procedure.
Compile the list of tasks for the next process and document them as well. When the series of processes required to complete a procedure is complete and documented, ready for use, then move on to the next repeatable procedure.
Continue developing new systems until your firm’s procedures are fully documented. A typical small firm can have up to 70 separate systems. These are procedures that you are already performing, repeating the process each time from scratch, wasting time and risking error.
Documenting our systems allows us to get things done more accurately and in less time, resulting in more money and more freedom to do the things we love to do.
EntreArchitect Academy Expert Training
On Wednesday, May 4th, EntreArchitect Academy is hosting Norbert Lemermeyer as this month’s EntreArchitect Academy Expert. Norbert will be presenting a live training session titled, Client Fulfillment for Small Firm Architects. Members will learn the fundamental elements of successful customer service in architecture. Norbert will be walking us through his proprietary Architecture + Business Client Fulfillment System and providing live template documents ready for members to edit and start using immediately.
Every EntreArchitect Academy Expert Training session is recorded and available to members with copies of all training resource documents. Every month, we explore a new category of success. If you join us at EntreArchitect Academy before, May 4th, 2016, you will have the opportunity to participate in the live training with Mr. Lemermeyer.
Earlier this year, we were joined by several other experts, including;
Steve Wintner, AIA Emeritus, author of Financial Management for Design Professionals and owner of Management Consulting Services presented A Culture of Accountability.
Philip A. Hodgin, AIA, president and CEO of RDG Planning & Design presented Large Firm Leadership Lessons for Small Firm Architects.
Rochelle Carrington, president and CEO of Sandler Training presented 7 Ways to Create Demand for Your Services.
Rena Klein, FAIA, author of The Architect’s Guide to Small Firm Management and owner of R M Klein Consulting presented Financial Management Key Concepts.
In the coming months, top experts will be joining members live and presenting on even more topics such as Technology, Management, Personal Growth, Marketing, Life as an Architect and Community. In December, we will end the year with a comprehensive planning session, developing our visions and missions, setting goals for 2017 and preparing members for continued success into the future.
With the knowledge and resources acquired from each expert, members of EntreArchitect Academy are provided with the information they need to be successful as small firm architects. Additional resources, document templates, a comprehensive video library and weekly live discussion sessions result in members finding the small firm success that they are seeking. Their firms are growing. They’re making more money and living happier lives as small firm architects.
If you are interested in learning more about our community of empowerment, inspiration, education and support for small firm architects, visit EntreArchitect.com/Academy or click the CONTACT button above and send me an email. I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
Question: Are YOU using systems in your small firm?
Photo Credit: Pixabay/PeteLinforth