Growing Your Small Practice

Growing Your Small Practice

You’re growing your small practice without a safety net.

You promised to do your very best for your clients and their projects. You’re determined to make a success of growing your small practice. You’ll do whatever it takes, however you often don’t recognise what it takes (or get recognised for all that you do).​

But it’s about as close as it gets to having control of your creativity and technical skills, working IN the business, in projects.

You are your own boss, most of the time, where the risks are high and the margins are small, so figuring out a way to become a better leader managing and growing your small practice, is the most worthwhile investment you can make.

Whether you’re an emerging practice or a veteran owner

You may be looking to grow your small practice or just stay the same size (but do it better) or perhaps you’re experiencing the entrepreneurial seizure of going out on your own. You need to work ON your business, to simplify the complexity of running your business and improve its performance and resilience, so you can focus on your projects without stressing about your business imploding around you.

Growing your small practice may take two paths (or a hybrid of both):

  1. Growing externally: Working IN the business by increasing the number of projects, improving the type of projects, increasing the workforce whether it’s done organically or through outsourcing, contracting, partnering or perhaps with a merger or acquisition.
  2. Growing internally: Working ON the business to simplify, develop and improve the operating performance of the practice for your optimal Business Sustainability. Once you have your house in order, external growth becomes a more frictionless and successful process.

However, if you haven’t matured and grown internally, then increasing the workload and size will not achieve the desired results because…

‘A bucket that’s full of holes can never be filled’ or retain anything.

Putting it simply, if you haven’t put your house-in-order, then increasing projects and people will only exacerbate and expose your short falls, and there will be no time to address it because all you’re doing is fighting fires with crisis management. To grow your small practice, you need to…

Migrate to Freedom Through Structure.

Every small practice starts out with Demand Management, setting out what needs to be done for each project, in your Client Agreement– leaving the management of the business to be fitted in around those projects, in the time that’s left over – which is never enough.

The problem is Iterative Aggregation – providing an infinite project service “it’ll be done when it’s done” continually burning time and money until the ‘best’ solution is identified, developed, documented, and implemented. This commercially conflicts with the reality of your finite percentage or fixed fee.

It’s an infinite service that nearly always exceeds the finite profitable fee available to pay for it.

Then there’s a crisis (there’s always a crisis) and you switch into Crisis Management. which diverts you away from your Demand Management. One crisis becomes several, and this vicious circle repeats itself. You need to break that cycle.

Adopting Exception Management

It sets norms with predictable or estimated results, against which your actual performance is assessed. If there is a deviation, it provides early detection, and corrective action can be taken.

Establishing norms defines what your people should be doing, and results in reduced time and effort required to manage them. It allows them to operate with greater autonomy.

It’s not about getting lucky, it’s about proven processes. Exception Management is a key part of ‘Freedom Through Structure’.

Step-Up to YOUR NEXT LEVEL and grow your small practice with ‘Freedom Through Structure’

Step 1 – POSITION: Dig deep and objectively to define where your business is now and establish clearly, where you want to be with your purpose, mission and vision, who are your ideal clients and your value proposition that will attract those clients to you. Then identify the tipping points that tell you when things are improving.

Step 2 – SIMPLIFY: Create the tools and techniques needed to simplify your ON-Business fundamentals.

Step 3 – IMPROVE: Take action, using the tools and techniques developed in Step 2 – to simplify your practice, creating and implementing the improvements that simplify these ON-Business fundamentals. 

  1. Business Management, Leadership and Culture.
  2. Quality Management Systems.
  3. Financial Management.
  4. Resources Management
  5. Marketing Management.
  6. Sales Management.
  7. Project Management Office.


You will NEVER be left with enough time to work ON your business. So, it has to be prioritised as one of your top projects. You set it up as a project and schedule it like any other project. 

You have to work on it every month.”   

Practically Partners purpose is:

Business Advice to grow your small architectural / design practice, creating the freedom to enjoy your project passion and Step-Up to YOUR NEXT LEVEL.

Using a growth mindset and small improvements that make a big difference to achieve ‘Freedom through Structure’.

Minimising the stress of transforming your striving practice into a thriving professional business, by simplifying and improving your 7 ON-Business Fundamentals

Become more successful and resilient for Sustainable Prosperity.

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