6.5 Ways to Build Web Visibility

Gone are the days that a prospect would go to the Yellow Pages to find a designer, builder or service provider. I know that I immediately recycle the massive book after I find it on my front porch. So how do prospects and customers find you and the services you provide? Even when asking their friends and neighbors for a referral, they probably want to conduct their own research.

More than likely, they go to an Internet search engine and put in the name of your business or keywords that describe the types of services they need. When they see pages of businesses and websites, how do you stand out? Are you even listed? You want to be the first name a prospect sees when they “Google” your types of services.

Here are 6.5 things to do to make sure you can be found:

1. Google Place listing. Even without a company website, you can list your business name, location and service area, and the services you offer. With careful keyword descriptions of your business, you could be well on your way to being listed in the top 10 of your prospect’s search. Claim your name and address before someone else does.

2. Custom Website. A website should be the hub of your online communication. Your brand, services, testimonials and other pertinent information are found there. You can create a website with good content for less than $100 per year.

3. Social Media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other niche sites). Social networking is a great way to stay connected with your clients and prospects on a daily or weekly basis, sharing information, answering questions, and getting feedback about your services.

4. Blogs and articles. Share your specialized expertise by posting case studies, how-to’s and tips that help your clients. Even if you post to a blog weekly, those posting can be grouped to form an article. Writing articles is a proven way to position yourself as an authority with your target audience.

5. Press releases. Sending press release to trade magazines and other targeted media can raise visibility for your business and services on a regional or national level. Just remember to follow up with your press contacts.

6. Online videos and slide presentations. Videos can be created with your webcam, digital camera, or even your cell phone. You can take a few minutes to introduce yourself to prospects or outline a service offering. Slide presentations of your portfolio of work can easily be uploaded to slide sharing sites or converted to a video.

6.5 Online classifieds. Many online classified sites allow you to advertise your services for free or very low cost. Some professionals may be reluctant to use classifieds, but many have found success with this method of promotion.

Outline a plan to implement a mix of the web services listed above, and you could find your name moving up the search engine listings and more prospects calling.


Please Take Part in Our Survey

With so much competition in the design, construction, and real estate fields, how does your company stand out from the crowd? How do you become the go-to professional for owners and potential collaborators – the one they call when they need advice or want to implement their vision?

Building Industry Resources is interested in how you market and promote your business to clients, prospects, and partners. I’d appreciate if you’d take about five minutes from your busy day to fill out the survey at this link:

Be assured, all information will be kept confidential.

Hopefully, in addition to giving us some insight to the marketing practices of the industry, we might present some methods you may not have considered or have been hesitant to try.
Thank you for your participation.


Updated AEC Networking Events for October & November 2010

It's important to explore new resources for networking outside of your current contact list. Networking is key. Establish new relationships and put yourself in the right places at the right times to attract new leads and collaborators.

Architects, consider attending an Real Estate conference. Construction professionals, try an Engineering convention. Listen to the trends and ideas presented at their events. Our building industry fields are certainly interrelated: Facility Managers need Contractors; Builders need Interior Designers.

Building Industry Resources has compiled a listing of upcoming conferences, trade shows and other events where you can meet owners and building industry professionals, network, and expand your reach throughout the industry. See the Building Relationships page of our website.


AEC and Real Estate Networking

Check out the Building Industry Resources website for 40-plus AEC and real estate networking events across the country in September and October. Which will you attend?


Architecture Detour: Palace of Fine Arts - San Francisco

Recently, my niece and I took a trip out west to visit colleges (she's only a high school junior, but ambitious and she's planning ahead), and as I anticipated, it turned out to be a wonderful architectural journey as well. I wanted to share photos of one of the most beautiful venues I've ever seen - the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

A few years ago as I passed this magnificent structure on the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, I couldn't take my eyes off of it. Good thing I wasn't driving! I knew when I returned to the city, I'd have to go back and spend some time.

The Palace of Fine Arts was built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition with Bernard Maybeck as architect. As exposition buildings were only supposed to be built to last one year, the columns and rotunda of the Palace were framed with wood and covered with plaster and fiber material. However, there was a move to preserve the palace, and it was the only building to remain from the Exposition.

Reconstruction began in 1964 and improvements are still being made today. See my photos below. (Click on the slideshow to enlarge.)


Position Yourself as a Leader in the Design and Building Industry

Have you taken a leadership position in your area of the design and building industry? Are you known as the expert in one particular market niche? When you position yourself as a leader, you gain significant advantage over your competitors.

First, begin by identifying your prospects and the types of services they need: medical professionals need office designers, a restaurant owners need real estate agents to identify the best locations, and homeowners need a good plumber. Your prospect will be searching for the industry leader who addresses their problem, and you want to be sure to be at the top of their list.

If you find that the niche you've identified is dominated by other professionals, create your own by becoming even more specialized: an oral surgery office designer, a pizzeria real estate agent, or a service rep who can repair any type of water heater. You want prospects to associate your name with your specialty.


Summer Networking

There's still time and plenty of opportunities to network in the design and building industry. Some professional organizations continue to have local and regional meetings throughout the summer months, and there are conferences going on around the country.

See the Building Industry Resources Building Relationships page for July and August dates, and check back for new additions to the calendar.

What's the Plan?

For your design or building industry company to thrive, you must have an active, on-going marketing and public relations plan: a way to get your business name, value proposition, ideas and projects out in public so potential clients know who you are and are aware of your abilities, and so past and current clients will remember you and your positive working relationship.

If your firm is small or mid-sized, you’ve got to put your marketing and P.R. plan in place just as the larger firms do. You may not have the budget to sustain a full-time marketing department, but you can take the time to develop and solidify a plan using traditional and new media methods. The plan can then be implemented incrementally and modified as needed.


Hear the Interview with Kiana Doggan German

Even if you weren't able to call in to hear the conversation with designer Kiana Doggan German, you can still hear the playback recording. Call 1-218-936-4703 and use the Playback Access Code: 596561


BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS Interviews: Kiana Doggan German

TONIGHT, for the Building Relationships inaugural interview, I will talk with Kiana Doggan German, a design, planning and communications specialist. She'll give us a NeoCon wrap-up, and we'll discuss community environments and blogging. Kiana blogs about interior design at StyleDetroit and her Semiotic Spaces blog presents sustainability, art, design, pop culture, religion and politics from a Detroit perspective.

CALL IN: (218) 936-4700
ACCESS: 875508#

* This call will be recorded so the interview will be available for future listening, Although you won't be able to speak on the call, you must agree to be recorded.


Speaking of Client Concerns: It's About the Little Things

Yesterday, I discussed how Comcast reassured customers about service compliants by addressing them directly in their commercials. Mel Lester, in his E-quip Blog, tells the story of how his service firm lost a top client, even though they'd just saved the client $20 million. Read his blog post here.

How so? It wasn't due to technical mistakes or cost overruns. They were fired because of the way they dealt with the client: unreturned phone calls, negative comments about the project location, and perceived apathy from the project manager.

Mel gives some tips on how to deal with the "little things" that can be a big deal to the client:

1) Make a list of all of your direct and indirect contact with your clients.

2) Determine how well these encounters go over, and determine where employees need to improve.

3) Get feedback from the client, beginning with the first encounter.

4) Include the client experience at all of your in-house project meetings.

5) Be on the lookout for signals from the client.


Address Client Concerns

Have you ever taken a day off from work so you could wait all day for a maintenance person to come to your house for a scheduled repair, only to have them stand you up? Do you know what it's like to wait on the phone for what seems to be an eternity to talk with an actual customer service representative when you have a problem?

Comcast, provider of phone, cable and internet services, once had a horrible customer service reputation. Their maintenance people wouldn't show (I know, I've waited). Customers couldn't get a live person on the phone, and their were other complaints.

However, Comcast has started a great advertising and PR campaign to reassure customers and boost their reputation. Their commercials feature employees (or actors posing as employees), addressing typical customer service complaints: you can quickly reach a live person on the phone, repair workers wear shoe covers in your home, you get a credit on your bill if they are late for an appointment. Not only are they reaching Comcast customers, but since there is more competition in the data and communications industry, they could probably win over some customers from their rivals, too.

Survey your clients and prospects to determine if they have any anxiety about the design and building process. Ask them if they've had trouble with service providers in the past. Address your clients concerns and anticipate their fears before they become an issue. Let them know you are listening to them throughout the process.


Always Promote Your Business

I'd been having problems with my water heater, and I finally got tired of lighting the pilot. My neighbor, who had experienced the same problem, recommended a water heater repairman. The repairman got to my house within 30 minutes and had the problem solved within the next 30 minutes.

Of course as I handed him my check , I explained what I do: help contractors build their businesses. I also gave him a business card and an information piece with a few marketing tips. He then informed me that he was part of a larger plumbers association and invited me to take part in their meetings. We then discussed the importance of networking. You know I'll be following up.
The following may be common sense, but they're worth repeating:

- Always be ready to promote your business, whether or not you're in a business setting.

- Always have your business collateral ready, especially when you're in a networking setting.

- Always be able to articulate what you do.


List 5 Reasons to Hire You

How many different architecture firms can you name? How about interior design companies, construction companies, design-build firms, real estate professionals, or building products suppliers? Now, how many of them offer the same services (or products) that you do?

With so many service professionals to choose from, how does a prospect differentiate you from your competition? Give potential clients five reasons to choose you:

  1. Identify your niche market - your specialty. You don't have to practice this market exclusively, but you should be able to identify what you're best at.
  2. Identify your prospect's needs and fears, and let them know how you will ease their pain.
  3. Explain your approach to problem solving.
  4. Outline the unique backgrounds and experiences of your employees, focusing on their unique perspective in the building industry, and let prospects know how your employees will be part of the solution.
  5. If I gave $5000 to you and three of your competitors, how would your solution to my problem be different?


To bid, or not to bid

I’d like your opinion on the issue presented in this article: “USC nixes bids; donor chooses architect.”

Firms spent $100K and months of labor to win a project and USC canceled the bid when the major donor wanted to hand-pick the Architect. Has your firm ever experienced this?

Architects, Contractors, Suppliers and others in the building industry are professional service providers, right? Could you imagine having a medical issue, lining up five doctors, and saying, "Okay, tell me what my problem is, how you're going to solve it, and how much you'll charge, then I'll decide who'll fix me." No, we do our research first, hopefully find the best service provider (medical professional), and pay them for the solution. If we don't like their solution or need clarification, we go pay another service provider for their opinion.

How did our industry get to a place - a place where we're really not trying to move away from - where we give away our hard earned knowledge and skills? Maybe the solution is not to get into a bid situation, but focus to positioning to negotiate a contract.

This may be easier said than done when bidding is still prevalent and in this economic climate, but it could be something firms could work into the business development plan.


Have You Seen the Competition?

New media makes it easier to follow your competition,- whether they're in the same city, across the country, or around the world - and find out how their running their business and communicating with clients.

1) Go to their website and review every page. What do they offer? How are they communicating their value message? What projects are on the boards, under construction or built? Who are their project partners?

2) Subscribe to their blog. You should know the message they are regularly sending to their audience (and yours).

3) Follow them on Twitter. No only can you see the daily feed, you'll find out who their audience is (followers), who your competition follows, and those you have in common.

4) Check search engines for press releases. Where are the sending their news so it's pushed out to a wider audience?


Crossover Artist

We see it often in the entertainment industry: actor becomes singer; athlete becomes actor; singer becomes producer; producer becomes music industry mogul.

Why do we in the design and building industry feel that once we choose a career, we’re locked into it for life – destined to do the same thing year after year until we retire? Through your college education, on the job training, years of work experience, volunteering and hobbies, you've gained a host of transferrable skills, and most likely, an insight that others may not have. How can another segment of the building industry - or even a completely different industry - benefit from your experience?


Let People Know Where to Find You

I know you're using social media sites to promote you business and share information about your field. Let clients and collaborators, friends and relatives know where they can find your content.

Use your e-mail signature as advertising space. Add a link to all of your sites: your website, blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and any other pages where your content is featured. Go ahead - the space is yours.

Maximize the space on your business card. Be sure to include all of the sites listed above. Vanity URLs make it easier to type them out. If you're running out of space on the card, eliminate the fax number. (How many faxes do you get a week?)


Sell design clients on the feeling of the space

When I bought my new home a couple of years ago, I visualized what every inch of space would look like after I put my special touch on the place. Paint colors, furniture, storage, each and every picture on the walls. I especially loved my new living room, flooded with sunlight from the east-facing windows and skylights. I imagined how comforted and invigorated I would feel every morning when I sat in there with a hot cup of coffee, the light bouncing off of the delicious chocolate brown walls.

I’d sold myself on the feeling – the experience – of being in the space. And as creative professionals, the feeling - the experience - is what we should be selling to our clients. We begin our preliminary design and construction meeting asking clients what they want, how they want the space to look, and how the want to experience the space. We do visual studies to invoke a reaction or a decision. We spend a significant amount of time with them before the project begins to find out how the client feels.

Selling the feeling and the experience should continue throughout the entire design and construction process. Keep the final outcome at the forefront of your mind, your client’s mind, and in the agenda of every meeting.

How do you keep your client focused on the final outcome of the project?


Make the Most of Your Summer

Are you taking the summer off? Your competition isn’t.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer. The sun is shining, it’s hot outside, the grill is fired up, and it’s tempting to take time off, especially if work has slowed in the office, or if the job search doesn’t seem fruitful.

Don’t give in to the temptation! Your colleagues are still out there making connections and making deals. You want to stay ahead of the pack. If money is an issue, here are some low-cost ways to update your skills and market yourself and your business. I’ve listed some of these before, but this is a reminder. Have you done any of them?

1. Update your resume, and be sure to add or modify the information on your social networking sites, too.

2. Make a slide presentation of your resume, a video resume, or both. This can also make it easier for you or your business to be found on search engines.

3. Write an article—or several—for trade magazines. Send copies to potential employers, existing clients and collaborators .

4. You can start an internet blog (weblog) for free. Let your colleagues and clients know where to find it.

5. Correspond with clients and colleagues regularly with an e-newsletter, postcard, or phone call so your name stays in on the tip of their tongue.

6. Learn new skills, software and programs. There are free videos and webinars online.

7. If you don't have a website, build one to showcase your work using slides and videos.

8. Network. Network. Network. There are many free or low-cost live conferences and conventions. Did you know first time members of the AIA and those whose memberships have lapsed 5 years or more who rejoin get free entry to the AIA National Convention in Miami?

Check the Building Industry Resources Building Relationships page for more event listings.


Tell Your Prospects How You Save Them Money

Passing several gas stations as I drove today, I noticed one had posted a sign with big red letters: “8 CENTS MORE PER GAL. USING DEBIT/CREDIT.”

I thought that when you put a big sign in front of your business, it was supposed to draw people in, not make them pass by the establishment.

When gas prices were continuously increasing, some stations began charging a higher price for use of debit and credit cards than for cash. I understood. They pay a certain percentage to the bank for being able to accept credit or debit, and giving the illusion of charging less for cash could lure more people in.

So the cost for paying with cash for regular petrol is typically the one you see at the top of the sign – the price you read first – and the price for using credit is below. Never have I seen it reversed. So why would anyone hit you with the higher price first? It’s a turn-off.

At a time when people are pinching pennies, let them know how you your services can save them money in the long run. Their time is money. Their research effort is money. Their mistakes – money. Show your prospect the financial benefit of choosing you.

- The financial benefit of choosing you over your competition, whether you’re in a job interview or trying to sign a contract.

- The financial benefit spending a little more time in the pre-design phase before moving on to construction documents.

- The financial benefit of moving forward with the project today rather than waiting a few months.

- The financial benefit ordering the finish material now, not two weeks before it’s scheduled for installation.

Clients like to hear how you can save them money. Showing and telling them how hiring you can give them a higher return on their investment could seal the deal.


Happy Architecture Week!

If you could visit one architectural landmark or space anywhere in the world where would it be? Comment below or on Building Industry Resources' Facebook or Twitter pages.

There are so many places I’d love to see, but right now I am drawn to Sagrada Familia, the massive cathedral in Barcelona, Spain designed by Antonio Gaudi. The building has been under construction since 1882 and is not expected to be complete until 2026 – 144 years of construction. (And you were angry when the contractor missed your home remodeling deadline by two weeks!) The cathedral will be open for tours and public worship this September. See the Sagrada Familia website and the slideshow below.

I first studied this structure during an Architectural History course in college and was enthralled by the religious symbolism, elaborate detail, and story-telling sculptures. Gaudi based his designs on forms found in nature, as seen in the tree-like supports, vaulting resembling ribs and the bone-like columns, and other elements throughout the building. There are also influences of art nouveau, baroque and cubism styles.

When complete, the cathedral will have 18 towers, three grand façades – the Nativity façade that Gaudi finished himself, the Glory façade, and the Passion façade with sculptures added in 1987 that were very different from those completed by Gaudi.

Read our entire e-newsletter, From the Rooftop


5 Ways to Sabotage Your Success

1. Don’t develop a plan. There’s no need to write down or organize the steps you will take to make your business successful. When clients call, you can jump right on their project and forgo your administrative duties. Oh wait, you don’t have a strategy to bring in clients, either.

2. Don’t look the part. Your day is free of interviews and client meetings. Drop off the kids at school and go to the coffeehouse looking like you just rolled out of bed. You definitely won’t run into any potential clients while you’re out.

3. Don’t tell people what you do. It’s easier to forward your entire e-mail address book a link to a cute puppy video on YouTube than to send them an introduction of your professional services. You’re on Facebook, but that’s mostly social. You’ve joined LinkedIn, and you’re fine with your profile being only 20% complete. Who’ll see it? Have you even convinced yourself of what you do best?

4. Don’t value your services. Tell your prospects that you can do the work at half the rate of your competition. And certainly don’t expect a retainer. You love what you do, and if you don’t get paid for your education and expertise – no problem. When you’re agonizing over your bills, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your client is happy.

5. Expect to fail. Continue to tell yourself that the competition is too steep and there are people out there whose work is better than yours. Don’t list your strengths or differentiate yourself from the competition. Don’t implement any of those new ideas you’ve been reading about, because they definitely won’t work for you.

Ensure your success. Resolve to change course, and use the five working days of the next week to do the opposite of the tasks listed above.

One Hour toward Making Your Big Idea Reality

I’m sure you have lots of ideas: a book to write, a website to create, a business to start. Your list, probably like mine, goes on and on. But how do you move from daydreaming to making that big idea come true. You need a strategy: a well-thought-out process for taking action. Take one hour out of your day to sit down and formulate your plan. That’s right – just one hour will set you on course to making that dream a reality.

Give your big idea a name. If you give your idea a title, you’ll be able to refer to it quickly when describing it to others, when making future plans, or when inviting people to the big event. For instance, if you want to convert your spare bedroom to a home office, call it New Home Office Conversion. (2 minutes)

Describe your idea in one paragraph. Write out what you want to do, why you are doing it, who is affected, how long it should take, where it should take place, and any other pertinent information. I need a new office where I can have peace and quiet and get work done at home. (6 minutes)

Determine the ideal outcome. In another paragraph, spell out how you or other interested parties should feel at the end of the process or event. I’ll have a great new space to work in where I can think without distractions! (6 minutes)

Lay out how you will implement your big idea. Write out five action items to bring the idea to fruition. You may want to work backward from the end result to the beginning of the process. For instance, if you’re planning to make your spare room into an office: Step 1 – Remove all existing furniture from the room. Step 2 – Paint the room. Step 3 – Purchase new furniture and arrange it in the space. Step 4 – Bring in reference books and computer equipment. Step 5 - Enjoy the new space. (25 minutes)

Next to each step, write the following: start date, estimated time to complete, and proposed completion date. Be sure to stick to your dates. Add them to your calendar or list of things to do. (15 minutes)

Get someone to back you up. Call someone – an accountabily partner – and tell them about your plan. Let them know your target completion date, and ask them to check up on you. (5 minutes)

Pat yourself on the back. You’ve put the wheels in motion for realizing your dream. Don’t celebrate too long – you’ve got to put the plan into action. (1 minute)

Follow up. After you complete the process, add any notes that could help things run more smoothly for your next project.


Join the Social Networking Conversation


Social Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging
- What’s the point of all of this?
- How can I use social networking to promote my business, career or organization?
- Is it really worth my time?

Competition is fierce. Be prepared

Karen A. Davis of Building Industry Resources presents the hands-on 2-hour course:

Join the Social Networking Conversation
Friday, March 19, 2010 or Saturday, March 20, 2010
10:30 a.m.– 12:30 p.m.

Caribou Coffee Meeting Room
31901 Woodward Ave., Normandy Plaza
Royal Oak, MI 48073


Leave the session with:
· Your professional or business presence on four major social networking sites: Blogger, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn
· Suggested sites to follow and information to post
· A schedule to follow to maintain your sites

Learn to:
· Broadcast your message to hundreds with just a few clicks
· Advertise your expertise – regularly and for free

Requirements for session:
· Laptop or netbook with wireless Internet access
· Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Safari
· Basic knowledge of computer usage and the Internet
· Your digital resume and digital photos (optional)

Class size is small to allow one-on-one assistance with creating presence on your sites. Reserve your place now.



Desktop Brown Bag Lunch: Marketing in 3 Minutes or Less with an Elevator Pitch‏

Most of us have attended a "Brown Bag" or "Lunch 'n' Learn." Food is provided in your office by the presenter - or you bring your own - and you spend your lunch hour listening to them promote their product or speak to you about a topic related to your profession. Well, at this Brown Bag, you'll provide your own lunch, and spend the hour dedicated to the promotion of your company or career. Building Industry Resources will provide your with the topic, an informational article or slideshow as a guide, and an example to assist you in completing your task. After you read the information, spend the remainder of the time working on your marketing, concentrating on how you will promote YOU or your business. Want feed back? E-mail me at or at the Twitter or Facebook links to the right.

By Karen A. Davis

Recently, I attended ACE’10 (Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There were workshops and exhibitors, and of course, many professionals with whom to meet and network. One of the highlights of the evening (along with the delicious brownies) was the Elevator Pitch Competition.

Elevator Pitch Competitions are quite popular now. If you Google the phrase, you’ll find pages of competitions to enter. An elevator pitch gives the listener an overview of your product, service, or business idea in, typically, 30 to 60 seconds (although, the ones I heard at ACE’10 were three minutes long). The business owner delivering the pitch may be wooing a potential client or may need financing from an investor for start-up or business building.

The elevator pitches presented at ACE’10 were given by six business people, each the CEO or COO of their respective technology, environmental or medical-based businesses. They presented their speeches on stage to a panel of four judges – all venture capitalists – and an audience of nearly 1000 people.

What would you say if you met a potential client or employer in an elevator? How would you define your business in 60 seconds if you were in front of an audience of potential investors or clients? The opportunity for you to showcase your business and qualifications to one person or millions occurs every day – at the coffee shop, the grocery store, a networking event, or through Internet social networking.

Who is your target client? Who could benefit from your services or skill as an employee? Your elevator pitch should be brief – you only have a few seconds to capture and keep the attention of your audience. What is their problem, and how will you solve it? Your solution should be unique. And, finally, request a follow-up meeting to go into more detail about your business solution.

An elevator pitch can benefit you in five ways:
1. It allows you to develop your brand, defining your business in a descriptive, concise manner.
2. It defines who you are and the services and solutions you offer to your target audience.
3. It also confirms your brand identity in your mind. When you repeat it over and over again to yourself in the mirror in the morning and throughout the day, you become more confident as a professional and service provider.
4. It forces you to set yourself apart. As you develop it, highlight how your services differ from your competition’s.
5. Your concise message is then packaged for easier word-of-mouth transmission. Those who hear your business ideas or service offerings can pass them on to others.

YOUR TASK: Develop a two to three minute elevator pitch, and then extract 30-second, 60-second, and 90-second pitches that can be used to introduce yourself to a potential client or employer.

So, here’s my two-minute-and-20-second pitch:

My name is Karen A. Davis, and my business, Building Industry Resources, will encourage and assist you and your firm to reach your full potential. We consult exclusively with building industry professionals – architects, interior designers, builders and contractors, real estate and facilities professionals, and product manufacturing representatives – offering services to build business and promote collaboration across disciplines.

As a small- to medium-sized building industry firm, you need someone dedicated to promoting and building your business, freeing up your time so you can do what you love. Our services include:

Building Intelligence by keeping you abreast of the competition, project leads, products and materials information, and news that affect your business.

Building Support by assisting with non-core business operations and providing design, technical and documentation support services, including CAD.

Building Relationships by scouting networking and partnering opportunities, developing strategic marketing plans, and utilizing traditional and web-based communications for business development and public relations.

With over 20 years experience in architecture, construction, and facilities, I am privileged to have been on the architectural teams for some very prestigious projects – including corporate facilities, sports and entertainment, healthcare and multi-family residential project types – and I provided interior design and construction documentation for the largest building project in the U.S. to date. My direct experience in the industry and as an educator and entrepreneur has given me a unique perspective to the needs of the sole proprietor and small- to medium-sized business owner. I love encouraging people to do their best and fulfill their dreams.

Is your business all that you’ve dreamed it would be? Do you have the luxury of choosing your projects? Have you formally introduced yourself to potential clients and to the world? Are you taking advantage of the nearly-free publicity available to promote your business?

Building Industry Resources can be your marketing manager, publicist, and business coach. Now, tell me about you and your company.

Post your elevator speech on the Building Industry Resources wall on Facebook.


10 Steps to Successful Business Year

A new year causes most of us to stop and reflect on past successes and failures and what we want to accomplish in the next 12 months. You may have New Year’s resolutions or on-going goals. Honestly assessing your position in your field and thinking strategically about your where you want your business or career to be at year’s end will move you towards the goals you have for this year and beyond. The following ten steps will assist you in creating a written guide to follow throughout the year.

1. Review your goals from last year. Which did you meet and which ones did you miss? Decide goals that should be carried over into this year, and the ones that can be put aside for later or disregarded altogether.

2. What challenges or obstacles did you encounter last year? List how you dealt with them and the outcomes – whether you were successful or not – and how you will avoid them in the future.

3. Define your passion. What do you really want to be doing? Are you doing it, or is your current career or business taking you in the direction of your dream? If not, how can you reconcile what you are doing now with what you want to do?

4. Define your ideal client: What do they look like? Where do they live or work? How much money do they have to spend? What type of project will they present you with? What will your working relationship be like?

5. Research your competition – their clients, service offerings, and pricing – especially your number one competitor.

6. Define where your business will be in the next year. This, along with Step 7, will probably be the longest part of the process. Take some time to visualize how your company or career will look. Walk through a typical day. Outline the financials. Determine how you want to feel on December 31st.

7. Outline the steps to make your goals for the next year a reality based on your plans from Step 6. Begin with a general outline, and then get more detailed, developing a monthly worksheet or guide.

8. Make sure all of your marketing and public relations materials are consistent with the message you want to promote over the next year. Your business cards, brochures, website, and social networking sites should communicate your brand.

9. Identify three ways to meet and engage the clients described in Step 4. Define the meeting location. Work on an appealing opening line and your elevator pitch, and describe how you can meet their needs.

10. Find an accountability partner – someone who you know will hold you responsible and will question you throughout the year to make sure you follow through with your goals and objectives.

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