There are so many reasons why people start their own architecture firm. Some people just finish school and want to make it big in the architecture world, while there are others who do not want to take orders, preferring to become an entrepreneur themselves.
Whatever your reasons, you want to know how to start an architecture firm. However, you cannot start printing business cards yet. First of all, you need to establish the firm properly and this article will help you along the way:
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Start an Architecture Firm
Whenever you decide to start your own firm, keep in mind that it is a major business decision. So, you must be certain of the goals you want to accomplish with the passage of time. Setting smart goals for your architecture firm means taking into consideration the size of your firm and where you want to see the firm in the future.
Some things to keep in mind when setting goals:
- The size of the firm
- Focusing on design work or on managing the firm
- The kind of projects you are willing to undertake.
- Are you looking to sell the firm inside five years?
Bootstrap and Map the Journey to Success
When you want to start an architectural firm, you need to have a few things at your disposal:
- Goal and grit
Every business requires some capital for survival. To be specific, a business that is only just starting out needs a significant amount of funding. The capital is going to come in handy when renting an office space, buying apparatus, obtaining a license, etc. Nowadays, a good chunk of the money also has to be spent on such things as hiring a photographer or for paying a contractor.
The assets you have at hand are going to determine the amount of capital you will require. Furthermore, the amount also varies with the type of architecture firm you aim to start. The cost of maintaining staff varies greatly from working alone. It’s not always necessary to rent an office space; why not work from home?
Now, you need to figure out ways of obtaining the capital. Here are a few ways:
- Borrowing from a bank, keeping the house and related assets as insurance.
- Utilizing reserved cash from your savings.
- Bootstrapping the firm until profit arrives.
- Obtaining funds from angel investors.
Every option here has benefits as well as drawbacks. It is possible to obtain the necessary capital from multiple sources. No matter which option you select, you need to be aware of the consequences of doing so. In order to know about the consequences, you can reach out to a chartered accountant.
A lot of fresh architects take the decision of bootstrapping the firm they start with. When you bootstrap the firm, you will need to cover the funds of running the business from your own pocket. It also means that, you are not going to receive the help of an angel investor or any bank.
Taking Lessons from Experienced Individuals
One way to avoid making mistakes is to try to learn from the failures of others. It is not rare to find successful architectural firms in the modern world—the failures are what you need to look out for.
See if you can find a successful architect to speak to.
So, what is the way to finding a mentor? Here are some ways:
- Making contacts with the established firms within the vicinity and requesting the director for a chat.
- Communicating with people within your line of work. If you let your acquaintances know that you want a mentor for the firm, someone may find a successful architect.
- Make use of social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, where some of the biggest names in architecture can be found. It is a way to directly contact them and put your queries to them. Afterward, it’ll depend on them whether you receive feedback.
Branding the Business
People always recognize an individual by the brand they align themselves with. It will represent an image to clients and give an idea about your firm. So, branding cannot come after you start the business. It has to be the initial objective when you try to establish a new firm.
The act of branding a business can be tricky sometimes. So, if you are not an expert at specializing brands or in graphic design, you must hire another firm. If you do not know where to look for a branding firm, you can ask your own employees for suggestions. So, the architecture firm brand procedure needs to cover:
- Central business values
- The logo as well as letterhead
- The target audience—what type of client are you looking for?
- Printing designs along with business card
- Office structure and outlines
Also, read How to Build a Brand
Securing a Proper Structure
It is imperative to select a company structure that suits the architecture firm. Whether the concept confuses you or not, you need to communicate with a lawyer and an accountant. They are likely to advise you on setting the company structure properly. In fact, this activity needs to be taken care of before starting the firm itself.
One of the bigger problems in the realm of architecture is accountability. You will need to communicate with a commercial lawyer as well as the insurer. These people are going to guide you through every eventuality. There is no reason to depend on chances with regard to company structure and applying for a license.
To conclude, there are so many success stories about architecture firms. A large number of them started by handling the basics properly. This article is here to help if you want to emulate those stories.
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