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 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...
Posted on December 16, 2013 By Steven Burns
Trust, one of the key elements to productive business relationships, is in short supply these days.  An Associated Press-GfK poll conducted in November 2013 discovered that only one-third of Americans say most people can be trusted and nearly two-thirds says “you can’t be too careful” in...
Posted on December 09, 2013 By Steven Burns
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer unleashed a firestorm of criticism earlier this year when she ended employee telecommuting in the name of innovation.  Whether digital technology will help or hinder workplace insights remains a topic of ongoing debate. FastCo.Design features insights from business...
Posted on December 05, 2013 By Steven Burns
Because most professional services firms exist to help their clients reduce risk and navigate an uncertain future, they tend to approach the world of online or digital marketing with some caution.  A recent blog post in the MarketingProfs online marketing community provides guidance for firms...
Posted on November 26, 2013 By Steven Burns
Like all professional services businesses, AEC firms are challenged to effectively manage people. And even though people can be rather unpredictable, a firm’s success doesn’t have to be.  As Jim Quigley, former global CEO and now senior partner at Deloitte, once said, successfully managing...
Posted on November 18, 2013 By Steven Burns
LinkedIn is the social network used by most construction professionals, according to the results of a newly released national survey conducted by the Construction Marketing Association.  In the survey, 91.2% of respondents reported using LinkedIn, followed by Twitter (84.2%) and Facebook (82.5...
Posted on November 17, 2013 By Steven Burns
Every business development person has been there. You’ve finally earned a few minutes to impress a prospect that you’ve been pursuing. This is your opportunity to shine. What do you say? First, it’s helpful to remind yourself that you are not attempting to close a deal at this stage. Rather, your...