The Business Behind Design

Behind all great architecture and engineering work there needs to be an efficient, effective business operation in place in order to maximize profits. In his Business Behind Design blog, Steven Burns, FAIA, Director of Product Strategies for BQE Software, creator of ArchiOffice, and long-time managing director of an architectural practice, offers valuable advice about running a design firm.Topics include project management tips, financial best practices, marketing how-to, advice for maximizing meetings, business software, recruitment and retention, and strategic planning. For more on BQE Software, visit: www.bqe.com.
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Posted on August 16, 2014 By Steven Burns
Business consultant Tim Williams authored a recent LinkedIn post that highlights the emerging trend among professional services firms toward “decoupling,” or consciously separating the high-value services that are scarce from the low-value services that are plentiful.  He references...
Posted on August 04, 2014 By Steven Burns
Transforming your firm into a “digital business” is particularly challenging because digital touches every function while also demanding the rapid development of new skills and investments that are very different from business as usual.  An article in the May 2014 issue of McKinsey Insights,...
Posted on August 04, 2014 By Steven Burns
Most leadership teams at AEC firms are fastidious about tracking their hit rate – the number of proposals submitted minus the number of proposals won. In fact, the average hit rate in AE firms was 37.1%, According to Zweig White’s 2013 Annual Marketing Survey. A recent post on the Hinge...
Posted on July 21, 2014 By Steven Burns
Who are the leaders that will shape the future of your firm? That’s an essential question for AEC firms to resolve, writes Greenway Group Principal Bob Fisher in a Design Intelligence post. “Leaders can attract and inspire the right teams to make great work in a well-managed enterprise, or they can...
Posted on July 07, 2014 By Steven Burns
As the economy continues to recover, employee turnover is projected to rise as well.  “Companies need to do some hard work to keep their employees engaged and in their jobs,” writes Kristi Hedges, a leadership coach, speaker and author, in a Forbes.com post. “Otherwise, any residual...
Posted on July 07, 2014 By Steven Burns
Companies seem to try everything imaginable to fix their workplaces, says Gallup Chairman and CEO Jim Clifton in a recent blog post, except the only thing that matters: naming the right person manager. “Leaders go to seminars, hire consultants, and employ a long list of interventions – competencies...
Posted on June 22, 2014 By Steven Burns
Establishing, conveying, and maintaining a powerful brand is a critical component of an AEC firm’s marketing strategy.  “One of the top goals of branding has always been to distinguish a firm from the crowded sea of similar, qualified competitors,” writes Tim Asimos, VP and director of digital...
Posted on June 03, 2014 By Steven Burns
While it’s often said that strong leadership is an organization’s competitive advantage, is there a single characteristic that can predict which leaders will be most effective? Leadership Consultant Cindy Wahler, Ph.D., contends that flexibility is the trait that distinguishes great leaders. “...
Posted on May 27, 2014 By Steven Burns
The price, cost, and value of design services are explored in a recent Design Intelligence article authored by Scott Simpson, a senior fellow of the Design Futures Council. Value, he explains, represents the difference between “price” (what we agree to pay for specific goods or services) and “cost...
Posted on May 22, 2014 By Steven Burns
Measuring what matters is essential for professional services firms, says Author and Consultant Tim Williams, particularly as firms continue to experiment with the concept of outcome-based compensation agreements.   “Most measures of performance – sales, market share, stock price, etc. – are...