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 March 27, 2014 By Steven Burns
In study after study, strategic thinkers are found to be among the most highly effective leaders. But is there a way to encourage routine strategic thinking throughout an organization? In 2013, Management Research Group completed a large-scale global study addressing this question. The study...
Posted on March 21, 2014 By Steven Burns
Anyone who interacts with clients on a regular basis knows just how important referrals can be. While there are numerous ways to secure new clients and attract new business, referrals are by far the most reliable.  If you’re having a hard time attracting new referrals, here are a few...
Posted on March 19, 2014 By Steven Burns
Will 2014 be the year that design firms start selecting the clients they want rather than getting in line with competitors to respond to RFPs? That’s the question posed by a recent thought-provoking article in the DesignIntelligence journal.   Author Doug Parker, managing principal of the...
Posted on March 07, 2014 By Steven Burns
As a leader in the AEC world, you’ll likely find yourself making certain mistakes over the course of your career.  As long as you are identifying these mistakes and learning from them, these valuable experiences can be used to do a better job in the future. Likewise, if you learn from the...
Posted on March 03, 2014 By Steven Burns
There are few business skills as important as negotiation. Many successful businesspeople pride themselves on their ability to turn a deal in their favor. What is it about their negotiating skill that helps them come out ahead so consistently? Here are a few key negotiation principles to ensure you...
Posted on March 03, 2014 By Steven Burns
Gaining more clients is one thing. Gaining more clients that you actually like is something else entirely.  Here are some tips to perfect the art of attracting and retaining clients that you enjoy working with.  1. Identify qualities of an ideal client. First, determine the qualities that...
Posted on January 23, 2014 By Steven Burns
Years ago I sold my Chicago-based architectural firm of 17 people after being presented with an offer I couldn’t refuse. Over the next two years, I visited nearly 200 architectural firms all around the country. I spent anywhere from one to five days in these offices, learning how they operated and...
Posted on January 15, 2014 By Steven Burns
The social media revolution—which is less than a decade old—has created a dilemma for senior executives. While its potential seems immense, the inherent risks create uncertainty and unease. An article in the February 2013 issue of McKinsey Quarterly draws on the perspectives of executives at...
Posted on December 29, 2013 By Steven Burns
In a CEO.com post, Andrew Miller, president of ACM Consulting, shares the seven organizational efficiency strategies he encounters most frequently as he works with corporate executives to boost their performance.  1. Standardize forms and documents. Wherever possible, ensure that the different...
Posted on December 18, 2013 By Steven Burns
Providing great architectural services and running a financially successful firm are not mutually exclusive. It’s quite the contrary. If you are as good an architect as you think, you’ll be successful and it won’t be because of your design skills. I hate to state the obvious, but for most...