Have you ever wonder how a top Architect closes deal? Here are some nuggets: -
1. When a Client gives you a near impossible dateline such as completing a Building in 2.5 months’ time without a design, construction approval and so forth, this is how you would like to say to him – “Well, we can take up your challenge but there are some technicalities and risks you must prepare to take. This is to help yourself as no one want his construction to stop mid-way? Worse the authority may want you to demolish them but let just see what can be done about it…”. The fact is in the local context, you submit the drawings (even if it is half-cooked) while waiting for approval, get an early commencement or prepare to opt for the “denial syndrome” and say – “Well, we aren’t aware that the contractor has commenced work and we shall put things right and come back to you”. Yeah! The favorite escape clause.
2. With regard to item (1) and to save your own interest, this is how you can put it – “Well… you know we are now embarking on something unconventional, it is our obligations to advise you accordingly but, anyway, it is not going to be of much concerned, just file it and keep it aside”. It is nicely put that the Client don’t feel pressure for doing things “illegally”.
3. With regard to FEE – “Alright we have covered most grounds and there is this little thing about our FEES that I really hope you can agreed. Well, to be honest… I really don’t know how much I should charge… but given the situation of time constraint with many unknowns I think we should just agree upon a percentage like say 10-12% or what figure do you have in mind?”. Let’s assume the client says, “Well, that is what I have in mind”, you just close the sale by saying, “Yup, lets agreed on 10-12% and when we have solids quotation from the contractor we can always translate it to Lump-Sum”.
Strategizing Your Firm is an uphill battle for an architect. Your architectural education does not provide you with the essential knowhow to survive the Red Ocean. That is one good reason why a Business degree is always the preferred choice before you do a post Grad in Architecture. At the very least, you will not be a pauper.
So what did the Business Guru has to say about strategizing? A “Farm House” matrix is a model of production to gauge the current situation of your organization against what you ought to be in the next level. Likewise, Architecture is a failed business model from the first principle and this matrix will tell you so.
Relative Market Share (RMS) is a yardstick to measure the popularity of a product, in this case your services as an Architect. The higher the demands means your services are highly sought after and the reverse is true for the lower RMS.
Market Growth Rate (MGR) is a yardstick to measure the ability of the organization to grow. Growth is in terms of acquiring RMS. The faster it is the better and it is very dependable on Marketing, Product Acceptance, Advertising, Lobbying and BRANDING… It eats up into your operation cost but together it is essential to push up your revenues.
Errorneous (E) is the measurement of regressive of an organization of moving forward. It is a measurement of Self-Denial, Self-doubt and most importantly Self-Destruction (A Topic we shall discuss later).
Go back to the business of architecture, you need to ask what your business model is? Production, Service or Design oriented? Then you dwell into the matter of Doing the Business, Branding and so forth…
The greater E factors you have with regard to low MGR and RMS, you are considered a DOG. Someone that can easily forgotten and disposed of. There is very little value in the organization.
If you woke up someday with lower E factors, will reorganize yourself. Re brand your establishment engage new talents. Have a good business plan. You will rise above being a DOG into something UNKNOWN. This is most start-up wannabe. The firm has the potential to grow ie. High MGR. It is a very good indicator for Investor to fund. Technical know who is essential to make higher RMS by disclosing new ventures and projects so that the masses believing into the trend. This is where a good CEO is needed.
With the right opportunity your firm will be a STAR or GOD-like with high MGR and RMS. This is where the Firm is going to be RAPE by its shareholder and subsequently a downward path begins.
With the decline of MGR, your firm is going on a plateau hopefully, as a CASH COW that continuously milked by its shareholders until a time where it becomes from GOD to DOG. That is the entire life cycle of your Firm.
Strategize with this matrix in mind, you will know what action to take for being relevance and not forgotten into oblivion.
We often come across the term – The Angry Boss. How often do we ask, why the Boss is angry? Well hypothetically he is angry because he is not able to complete a task perfectly and he aspect you to complete it perfectly. Because you are, in fact, imperfect and how is it possible for you to carry out a task perfectly? That is why he is angry and his anger will also make you angry and you throw your anger to your subordinate and everyone in the organization is angry.
To mitigate such do a One Minute Management, daily: -
1 – MINUTE OBJECTIVE. For whatever we do contemplate for 1 minute what is our purpose and objective of doing such thing and write it clearly. For example, my objective is that by 3pm everyone should have a tea break. Can the HR look into these?
1 – MINUTE PRAISE. People say, praise must be cast in stone, insult should be written in sands. Praise your fellow mate for helping you even as small as picking up the phone for you. Trust me, it will make your day.
1 – MINUTE REPRIMAND. Your fellow mate is your mirror to oneself. It is good to reprimand someone who you think had done wrong – but that is only for 1 minute and no longer. For example, hey! Why the HR only brief us on the spot without issuing the guidelines much earlier?
1 – MINUTE APOLOGY. Be brave and if you had identify your shortcomings just ADMIT and apologies. Live moves on. For example, Aiya! My mistake… I should have given you more time to vet the document…
It is PERFECT to be IMPERFECT. Drill oneself of these 4 mantras and everybody’s life will be better. Give it a try!
I stand dwarf among the Giants of Practicing Architects liked Lilian Tay, Suzanne, Sonny Chan and the rest but I find the similarity of concerns that the programmes are too generic and not much gravity was given to addressing issues and how one use Architecture as a mean to address such issues. There are plenty of efforts on technical skills but as compared to other institutions, credit is given to the use of model, computer rendering and sketches as tools for design.