Things I Didn’t Learn at Architecture School (But Need to Know): How do I start and keep a business alive?

No one told me that I needed to know how to run a business. I’m an architect. I just need to tack up my shingle, design great buildings and clients will come knocking. Right?

Maybe… but whether clients come knocking or not, its not so simple to keep them knocking.

The solution? Write a business plan.

I know, I know; “I don’t need a business plan,” you say. “It takes too much time and effort.”

Wait! Before you discount my suggestion, think about it from a different perspective. A simple, stripped down perspective. Your first business plan doesn’t need to be a 100 page document, with financial projections and fully developed marketing strategies. In fact, I recommend that it not be. Start with just one page.

Jim Horan, author of The One Page Business Plan series of books says, “The greatest value in creating a business plan is not the final document. It’s the communication, prioritization, focus, clarity and learning that make the process worthwhile.”

Get started by taking a single sheet of paper and writing a single paragraph describing your vision. What will your business someday look like? Then scribe your mission. Why are you starting this business? List a few simple strategies. How do you get there? Then a few specific goals; benchmarks that will lead you to executing your strategies. With goals set, commit to paper an action plan. What specific tasks will you accomplish to reach your goals? When will you accomplish them? Who will accomplish them?

That’s it… a business plan. Done. It really is that simple.

I revisit and revise my business plan at least twice a year. As our firm grows and evolves, priorities change, markets shift, economies collapse. My business plan needs to evolve too. It’s also a great source of inspiration and motivation. A periodic reminder of my big ideas and reasons-for-being, keeps me focused and wanting to push Fivecat Studio to the next level.

So, go do it. Now… Don’t wait. Reach over and grab a sheet of paper.

What’s your vision?


1 Response to “Things I Didn’t Learn at Architecture School (But Need to Know): How do I start and keep a business alive?”

  1. 1 Great Architecture Will Not Build a Great Business « Entrepreneur Architect Trackback on December 12, 2011 at 9:16 PM
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