TZL 1449 (web)



The payoff is a more valuable company that is healthier and provides more opportunities for its employees. Having a real firm takes real investment

I f one thing stands out about the architecture and engineering firms I’ve observed over the past 42 years that have grown and prospered, created thousands of jobs, and made their owners very wealthy, it’s that their principals understood they had to invest in their businesses. This lies in stark contrast to the companies that did not grow, and in some cases, declined and closed shop forever, whose owners stripped out every bit of profit each year and were encouraged to do so by their short-sighted accountants and tax advisors.

Mark Zweig

Is the difference in dramatic success versus slow and quiet failure in the AEC business really that simple? It very well could be. For firm owners who want to be in the former versus the latter groups described above, you may be wondering, “What exactly do they invest in?” The answer to that question is not quite as simple. There are many different ways principals can invest in their businesses. Here are some that I would be thinking about – especially in the environment we are operating in today: 1. Recruiting. The fact is it is an employee- versus employer-driven job market today and likely will be for some time to come. That means employees have lots of options, probably more

than they ever have. In order to find these people and get them hired, you will have to spend real money. In-house recruiters, outside recruiters, recruitment advertising of all types, PR, social media, internships, as well as training for those involved with hiring so they understand they are selling the company to people who have choices of where they will work. If the last 10 years have told us anything, it’s that recruiting is every bit as important as marketing. Yet, if you look at what most firms in this business spend on it versus marketing, you will likely find a 1-to-5, or even 1-to-10 ratio of expenditures on the two functional areas.

See MARK ZWEIG, page 12


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