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 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...
Posted on May 08, 2014 By Steven Burns
Though strategic planning has helped many businesses move forward, its time has passed.  So says Economist and Author Bill Conerly in a series of Forbes.com articles. He bases his conclusion on recent conversations with numerous CEOs, who disclose that they abandoned strategic planning during...
Posted on May 03, 2014 By Steven Burns
Managing a team of people, especially creative people, is a task that not everyone is up for. Keeping your team on the same page while maintaining a schedule and budget that can keep your corporation happy will take confidence and bountiful people skills. Natural leaders can come across as an...
Posted on April 15, 2014 By Steven Burns
Regardless of the fee you charge, clients and prospects decide the value of your professional services based on their experience with your firm. It can be based on any of the following: • Word of mouth • Employees answering the phone • Projected professionalism and friendliness • Enthusiasm for...
Posted on April 08, 2014 By Steven Burns
Every company is a sum of the value it delivers to its clients. What differs from one company to the next is how that value is delivered and perceived. All too often, it is based solely on the fee you charge. As you may know, there are three basic methods of charging fee for services: • Cost-based...
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...