What do you want to Learn - part 2

AIA is in the process of migrating all past blogs to this new venue - There is one comment on a recent Small Firms Idea Exchange blog that just can't wait (see below for question and original blog post if you [sigh] haven't seen it.

Thank you to Oscar to asking such a large question for initial real 'blog' in this venue.
FIRST:  AIA has that anti-trust thingie that makes it so we can't discuss specific actual fees; we can however discuss the philosophy on how one determines what their fees should be, or debate 'fixed fee' versus 'hourly' contracts.
SECOND: 'how to get clients' is way more fun - let's start there.  There has been a number of AIA SPP journals which specifically addressed this topic.  I'll figure out how to put the best journal(s) in the 'resources' tab above.  A few of my favs that have percolated to the surface (in no particular order) are:
* Everything you do, you're an architect - you think like one, you move like one, you solve problems and look for a multitude of solutions like one - use that to your advantage.  Do what you do, well!.
* Offer to help out a wide variety of causes/groups, etc.  As you meet more people, make sure you can recite your '15 second informercial' (about one breaths worth); I make mine a little funny and have open-ended pieces so folks want to know more about 'what architects do'.
* Set a limit on how much time or a duration that you'll help out a particular group (i.e. your kids school, a committee at your church, your condo association, etc.).  Understand that you won't immediately get a commission for your efforts (well, you might...) but you're getting to know people in your community who might need you, or likely, if they are 'type a' folks they have a friend or business associate who just might need some type of consulting where an architect is just the ticket.
* Cold calling is hard, mass mailings are typically a waste of money.
* Join your local Chamber of Commerce and get involved - let people know that you've got good experience and you're new to captaining your own ship - folks who are involved LIKE finding ways to help out others.
* Introduce yourself to leaders in the area where you want to work.
* All of these suggestions are predicated on the notion that you know who you are and where you'd like to go (hence you've got your 15 second infomercial in you head), if you don't spend a little time on that - Develop your 'business plan' - join toast masters if you get nervous speaking to people you don't know!

I am a "new" architect. I have been licensed less than a year. School taught me history and design. Work taught me laws, production, and pleasing the client. However, I don't know how to take the next step. How to "get" clients? How much to charge them ? Etc.

Woo Hoo for me! I submitted (another) presentation to (another) convention and it was accepted. I like doing presentations; I like meeting my colleagues; most of all, I like it when THEY teach me something! The next topic I’m working on is “What’ll ya have?” For those of you nowhere near the South, it’s the sound one hears when walking into the Varsity near Georgia Tech, http://www.thevarsity.com/.  I’m truly a damn yankee but having graduated from Tech and spending the past 20+ years in Georgia, I think I can get away with using it (but I digress…).

The topic dawned on me one day when I was fielding the umpteeneth call from a favorite client; the client was asking me for advice for a project that wasn’t even mine! Ok, bank accounts aside, it’s nice that my client trusts me. Flattery aside, it doesn’t pay my rent.

So, I started with a simple list of the things I do that make my clients behave like they do; and another seminar topic was birthed. So what say you?  I’ll tell you what, in follow up to my post on Advent of Technology and posted comments, continuing to learn is a big deal. But so is listening and doing a good job. Tell me what’s important to you?  To your clients?  What do you want to learn?  I’m all ears…




08-14-2010 16:16

Firm Tips

08-11-2010 15:28

Another Free way of networking is to participate in the local schools 'education day', it is like Career Day. There are many rewards and you will get a few connections, but also realize why you chose this profession and how much you love sharing it with the future generation!
Schools also have many Volunteer organizations besides the PTA, so you donot have to be a parent to get in, contribute, get to know somebody and maybe share a coffee moment.

08-10-2010 12:58

Ditto on the Cold Calls and Mass mailing even e-mail. The thing that seems to interest me in marketing is getting a sign up on a construction site or doing something so innovative that it gets press. Dull architecture never gets press. Even if it pays the bills. So you have to strike a balance between enough excitement to get noticed and enough familiarity to get work. I could care less about being in Arch Record. I would rather be in a local paper or Magazine.
L.B. Smith, AIA
Microtecture of North Carolina