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Updated by Ivan Dimitrijevic on May 19, 2017
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5 Superb Marketing Tips for Architecture Firms

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Intro

Intro

There's a stereotype that architects are bad at business… and it's not far from the truth. Architects have spent years studying art, drawing, design, and construction—not how to run a successful company.

Yet as the number of trained, licensed architects rises, more architects are choosing to start their own companies instead of pursuing work with existing firms. If you're one of these enterprising rookies, you've already realized that breaking into the market and creating a unique brand is a demanding task.

So how do you grow your personal brand into a successful architectural firm? There are lots of ways to build your young company's reputation—but they're not all equally effective or important. To help you get started, we've narrowed it down to the five most critical aspects of brand development:

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1. Set Primary Goals

When starting a business, it's important to be realistic. Think about the basic necessities you'll need to get your company up and running, as well as your desires for the future. Ask yourself, "Where do I want my firm to be in five years?"

You'll need to build a roadmap to get to that destination. That means it's time to sit down and address important factors like:

● How big you want your company to be
● What types of projects you will work on
● How much you'll charge for your projects
● How much revenue you expect to generate
● Who will be working in the firm with you
● Whether you want to focus on management or projects
● Whether you want to run the business permanently or sell it eventually

Once you've set your goals, write them out into a formal business plan. Organizing your plan can be tough if you've never done it before, so you may want to invest in business planning software, which you can get for less than $20 a month.

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2. Develop Your Marketing Plan

2. Develop Your Marketing Plan

Many business owners forget that there are two types of marketing: digital and print. It's important to invest in good print marketing for your brand, like brochures, marketing kits, post cards, and so on. You'll also need to make a new business card to match your new role. After all, you'll do lots of networking and scouting for clients during your first couple years as a business owner, so you'll need a great business card that catches their attention.

You'll also need to create a strong web presence to connect with potential clients, partners, or employees that you haven't met in person yet. The first step is to build a brand website that's well-designed and easy to navigate. From there, you can expand to include business profiles on different social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Just be sure you don't bite off more than you can chew—one very active social account is better than five accounts you don't have time to maintain.

It's best to invest in creating valuable content on the web that gives your clients useful information, whether that's on your social accounts, website, or a blog. This way, they'll know that you care about helping them rather than just lining your pockets.

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3. Create a Consistent Brand Message

Building a powerful architectural brand takes a lot of hard work and ingenuity, but it all boils down to one thing: you've got to convey your company's sole purpose in a clear, eye-catching way. Of course, that's pretty tough to do if you haven't come up with anything more clever than "do architecture stuff."

To pick your brand identity, you'll have to invest some serious thought and focus on things like:

● Determining the type of clients you want to work with
● Defining how you can best help those clients
● Identifying key qualities of your firm's "personality"
● Choosing 2-5 core values for your firm
● Setting short- and long-term goals
● Designing a good brand logo
● Creating an original brand voice in your marketing

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4. Seek Out a Mentor To Help You

4. Seek Out a Mentor To Help You

One of the most common problems for new entrepreneurs is that they feel isolated. They're spending every waking moment taking care of their business, and they aren't really sure if what they're doing is "right." During this stressful time, they need guidance from someone who has been in the same position.

Architects are busy people, so your mentor isn't just going to fall out of the sky. You've got to actively seek out someone in the industry who can help you get through the stress of starting your own firm. Networking events are a great way to meet people in your area, or you can search on LinkedIn if you don't mind a remote relationship.

That said, not everyone on social media or at an event is interested in being a mentor. If you're having a hard time finding the right person, go through a mentor locating service like SCORE, which helps new business owners connect with a mentor based on their area of expertise.

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5. Set a Realistic Budget

Startup costs for a business can easily lead to a sky-high stack of bills. Where an established company essentially pays to maintain its production, you're going to be paying setup costs for everything you do—plus some hidden costs you may not have thought about.

There's equipment to buy, an office to rent, and licenses to obtain. If you're planning on working solo, you may still need to contract out certain parts of starting the company—like web development or project photography. If you've hired employees, you'll have even more spend even more to pay their wages and provide things like insurance and paid time off.

As you can see, starting a business comes with a lot of expenses—but there's one more you should add to the list. It's a good idea to hire an online bookkeeping service like Growth Force once you've been in a business a few months to a year. They know what sort of costs you might run into down the line, so they can help you plan ahead. Not to mention it's nice to have somebody else handling all the tax prep and watching out for new ways to make you more profitable.

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Conclusion

As you move forward with your new business, you'll find fun new ways to branch out and build your brand—design competitions, charity projects, magazine publications, the list goes on. But these opportunities only come around to those who have put in the groundwork and used these five tips to build a solid brand early on. When you take these tips to heart, you'll be equipped with all the tools you need to turn your infant architecture firm into a powerhouse brand.

  • I'm a CEO & founder of MyCity-Web - Digital Media & Online Marketing Agency, seasoned blogger and SEO/Digital Marketing consultant with years of experience. My skill sets include Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and blogging on a wide variety of topics.

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