Why most small architectural/design practices don’t work and What to Do about it

Why most small architectural/design practices don't work

Why Most Small Architectural/Design Practices Don’t Work…

Michael Gerber defines the ‘Why’ as the E-Myth:

  1. The entrepreneurial myth that most people who start a small practice, are entrepreneurs, and
  2. The fatal assumption that an individual who undertakes the creative and technical work of a practice can successfully run a practice that does creative and technical work.

The reality is that most practices are started by brilliant ‘technicians’ (architects/designers) who are very good with clients, designing and delivering great projects.

Great projects beget more projects, so you need more people and resources to deliver them.

Which means (by default) you need to develop Gerber’s ‘manager’ role.

However, very few great technicians have hands-on experience or knowledge of the 7 ON-Business Fundamentals required to successfully MANAGE a small business, to make it resilient and capable of growing without imploding.

“Frankly, business management is a waste of valuable time, so I’ll get to it when there’s some spare time.” Said almost every small practice principal (who’s always surprised that things aren’t running as well as should be).

And when does that ‘spare’ time appear?


“There will NEVER be enough time to work ON your business. It has to be prioritised as one of your top jobs. You set it up as a job and schedule it like any other job. You have to work on it every month.” Greg Branson

To demonstrate the point, here’s a link to a short quiz where you can benchmark your practice’s ON-Business Fundamentals.

If most small architectural/design practices don’t work, then…

What to do About It?

You Step-Up to Your Next Level with small improvements that make a big difference.

Transform your striving practice into a thriving professional business, by simplifying and improving your Magnificent 7 ON-Business Fundamentals, that make your business more successful and resilient.

This will allow you nurture and further develop your ‘Manager’ skills.

Why does this work?

In the movie ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (1960 and 2016 re-make) , it’s about how the ‘few’ (with great skills and a purpose) can overcome the ‘many’.

Well, YOUR NEXT LEVEL Programme is, as they say…”same same but different”.

Small practices can’t afford the overhead of a full time General Manager/COO with the skills and experience necessary to take the practice to its next level. So small practice business advisors Practically Partners work with owners/principals to help them step-up to their Next Level.

What’s needed to make it work?

Two things.

YOUR NEXT LEVEL Programme and a ‘growth mindset’.

Carol Dwek, who coined the term ‘growth mindset’, briefly sums it up as ‘Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others).

They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed-mindset (those who believe their talents as innate gifts and become defensive when challenged,  wanting to prove they are correct over and over, which inhibits growth rather than learning from their mistakes).

“Insanity, is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result” Albert Einstein. It’s also an example of a fixed-mindset.

Instead, you should Step-up to Your Next Level.

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