Recently, a friend of mine introduced me to his commercial real estate agent. I was grateful for the introduction, knowing he could be a good source for future work. At our meeting over lunch, the Realtor asked one of those questions that is impactful not because of it’s profundity, but because of it’s timing. “So, has your firm set your goals for this year?” While I might usually gloss over a conversation starter like this, I found I connected with the question because I actually HAVE been thinking about the direction I’d like to see my company go.
Having been the owner of a small architecture firm for several years now, I’ve noticed that our competition generally falls into one of three categories. First, the unlicensed and uninsured drafts-people doing work out of their garages. Second, small architecture firms with a decent reputation, but lacking in the ability to connect directly with potential clients. Third, small to mid-sized firms with an established brand that are often mentioned as the “go-to” firms for architecture services.
I’ve made it my goal this year to move from being one of the small firms that has trouble connecting with clients, to one that is in the category with the brand name firms.
While I don’t pretend to be an expert on business development (there are volumes of books and videos on the subject), I have been in practice long enough to realize that one of the key components of successful business is having a clear identity and vision. This is how you begin to develop your brand—by knowing who you are and where you want to go as a business.
So to answer that question asked by my new friend at lunch: My goal for this year is to identify and develop a solid identity for my business. Stay tuned for more to come.