Starting your architectural practice is a big step but one that brings many rewards and opportunities, along with challenges and issues. Success isn’t guaranteed but with structure, support and determination, you can set up and run a thriving practice.
1 Get business smart
Whether a business is a nail art studio or an architectural practice, it needs a business model that works for it. And this means setting objectives for your new architectural business. The most important thing about these objectives is that they are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. So what are you going to do and by when? How do you know you can achieve this? How do you know it will have been a success?
2 Money, money, money
To set up an architectural practice, you need three things;
i. To be a qualified architect
From bank loans to savings, there are many ways that you can financially support your business. However, consider each source carefully for the pros and cons, as well as the effect on your business.
You know how to design a building so that the structure is strong and stays up, now you need to do the same for your business.
Choosing the right company structure is essential because just like when you design a skyscraper, you need the structure to be robust and flexible enough to bend and sway with business challenges and opportunities.
In the world of architects, the most significant risk is being sued for as a result of small details being incorrect. And this means making sure you have all your bases covered.
4 Branding for success
A brand is the name given to the voice, feel and tone of a business. It can spell high-end design, or it can suggest the budget-friendly option. It can spell out bespoke design in smaller spaces or suggest your style is more traditional.
Branding in your architectural practice is just as important as in any other business. Clients will make the initial decision about whether they even approach you for a conversation based on the branding, from your marketing brochure to the overall appearance of your business.
5 The right tools and equipment
As an architect, you know you will need a certain equipment, from a drawing desk to phone lines, business mobile and so on. You will also need the latest design software and that means getting the best CAD drawing services that allow you to create amazing plans for your clients.
Now that you have the basics of your architect practice outlined and the equipment in place, as well as an office, you will need to make sure you market your business.
If you have answered the business models and structure, you will have an understanding of who your customer demographic is. And your marketing needs to be created in a way that reaches and engages these people.
Marketing is a relatively specialist area of work so take your time to find a marketing agency that can work with both online and offline marketing channels.
7 Contract work
As well as private commission, architects will often tender for work in their specialist field of design and build. From government contracts to civil engineering projects to larger projects with commercial companies, look beyond our own borders to the European and global market for lucrative contract work.
8 Celebrate success
Finally, remember you are in a field of work that is very visual. Clients look at your previous projects as a means of measuring whether you have the vision to design the building, whether that is a home or commercial premises, for them.
So every project you complete, tell people about it!