O P I N I O N
What your firm becomes should be the result of a plan, of deliberate efforts. You can and should “design” your design firm. Design a successful design business
T here are many different forms that a business plan can take. There’s no one best way to do business planning. But regardless of that fact, developing a plan may be the best way to design your business – be that for a new “build” or for a significant “renovation” of an existing business. And as I have written before, there isn’t one best way to do most things you have to do in your business. Many different strategies or approaches to various issues can lead to success in the A/E business.
2) Don’t hesitate to do something else that falls in your lap if it’s good. Just because you focus on becoming good at doing something doesn’t mean you have to say “no” to all other opportunities. If they are related to your special area of expertise or help you get into another market, you can do them if you like. But it should be a conscious decision to do so and not just a reaction to chase every single opportunity that presents itself. 3) Love your clients. If you want loyal clients you need to be loyal to them. You have to treat them as your friends and make them feel really special. Be super-responsive. Be helpful. Treat them as a priority. Shower them with love and appreciation. Don’t nickel and dime them for the small stuff. It
But the real point is, what your firm becomes should be as a result of a plan, of deliberate efforts. You can and should “design” your design firm. Here is some of my best advice if you are an owner in either a new or existing business: 1) Be really good at doing something and market that. This is so fundamental and a lot of design firms don’t get it. Or perhaps I should say a lot of SMALL firms don’t get it. They take any work they can get and never focus on something so they can become really great at doing it. This virtually ensures they will become a firm that only gets a small percentage of the jobs they pursue, are dependent on their local market, and will have to compete based on price. In order to build that specialty you have to focus your marketing efforts on that specific market.
See MARK ZWEIG, page 4
THE ZWEIG LETTER AUGUST 10, 2020, ISSUE 1356
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