Starting Own Firm


I have a question for everybody. I'm currently consulting somebody on starting their own architecture firm. He will be working out of a home office but have a small building set up for a studio. Here are a few things that keep him up at night. 

- He wants his firm to function without job titles. He will of course be the leader of the firm, but he wants everybody to work collectively with a round table approach. How could he make this work? 

- Currently in my state, there is one university that offers an architecture program. His office is more than 4 hours away from there. How can he gain new recruits and what would the new recruits want out of a firm? Will having no job titles and having a round table approach help? I thought about maybe bringing in retired architects part-time to help mentor these younger kids. 

- What sort of projects will he need to start out doing? He's pretty well known for designing big buildings. I believe he mentioned he wanted to size down and focus more on community growth. He mentioned an example: Sorority and fraternity buildings and the building structures on campus. 

- What kind of projects would young architects like to see or have experience with? Would starting out with basic work be a great start for these young architects? 

If you have any advice on other ideas that relate to starting a small firm and creating a more round table approach type culture, feel free to add some good advice. Any advice really. 

Matthew Hubbard 

Mar 17, 21 8:53 pm

Sorry, but why would an established architect need a non-architect consultant to help them get an architecture firm up and running? They must have contacts and clients if they have any experience at all.

Something smells fishy. This might be the weirdest post I've ever seen on this site.

Mar 17, 21 9:12 pm  · 
6  · 

It’s for my consulting project for an MBA program. It’s a new way for students to get hands on experience for consulting

Mar 17, 21 10:12 pm  · 
2  · 
Non Sequitur

so it's for a school assignment? what a fascinating new low. Pick up a phone and call people and interview them. Put in some effort at least. Asking random anonymous wankers to do your homework under the guise of a consultant guru is misleading and rather insulting. Hopefully the students are not paying a lot for this MBA.

Mar 17, 21 10:36 pm  · 
 ·  1

How am I misleading others to think that I’m a consultant? I’m doing real consulting work. It’s just for school and it’s an actual guy who reached out to my professor who just happens to have his own consulting company and would like his students to take on this project. It’s a fresh idea, a new way for students to get real consulting experience. Consulting is a lot of research and I figured coming on his site would give me some great info from people who have something in common. You know? Yes, I have reached out to individuals, but I’d you can reach a larger base, DO IT.

Mar 17, 21 10:55 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

Then you should direct your "clients" to sources that do not turn to online forums in order to fill the gaps in their ignorance of that particular profession. You can't offer consultation services in an industry you have no involvement in. It's ridiculous to think that is a useful service and there is already hundreds of resources to your questions available to licensed architects through our various associations. No one is reaching out to consultants to determine small office business plans. Side note, fraternity housing is not something one starting in a small office would ever consider.

Mar 17, 21 11:15 pm  · 
1  · 

How do you think people get experience in certain industries? You’d think you, being on architecture forum would want somebody who knows “some stuff” about architecture to get some good info on new ideas, something a little different. Let me explain things a little better.. somebody who works in facility layout or facilities management doesn’t need an engineering degree to do the job. It’s based off what he knows. This all comes from small experience that build with time. All I’m asking is some advice on the following questions. But instead, you want to troll. Why do people do that? Again, I’m trying to understand more about architecture, how somebody could start their own firm. But people like you assume that since I don’t have an architecture degree, than this isn’t the place for me. I think you’re full of it. Not trying to be an ass here, but you’re not helping with the situation, just making it worse. What’s the point in that?

Mar 17, 21 11:30 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

You could go to architecture school. Like I said above, all this info is available to us and most associations (such as the two I belong to) already provide the service you're suggesting.  

The secret here is, if I were to approach them for consulting/advice, their info comes from experts already knowledgeable on the subject... not some random wanker with google.  Consolidating testimonies and extracting general points does not equal good advice.  I really struggle to see how any one would ever trust such consulting services.

Mar 17, 21 11:45 pm  · 

Matthew - Non Sequitur is a bit of a bitter troll from time to time (and I agree with him 95% of the time). But listen to him, because he's right. The type of consultancy you're proposing doesn't exist because it's useless. Why would somebody with more knowledge than you, come to you for advice? It makes zero sense. I personally don't have a problem with you coming here to ask questions, but you were also deceptive by not telling us that this is a fictional (academic) proposal. Now you have two experts in this field telling you directly that this isn't a viable business idea. You might want to listen.

Mar 18, 21 1:04 am  · 
2  · 

there's good research and junk. asking random strangers on an internet forum is going to generate a lot of junk. good research would start by reaching out to leaders of firms in similar markets and learning what's working for them.

Mar 18, 21 1:36 am  · 
( o Y o )

anyone know where I can get some crack?

I'm asking for a friend

Mar 17, 21 9:26 pm  · 
7  · 

on question one: this management system is called holacracy - it was infamously implemented by the late Tony Hsieh at Zappos. It's a fringe idea in management and seems profoundly unrealistic in an industry that requires showing team credentials to clients.

i think the criticism you're getting here is the idea you're assuming that all this can just be figured out with a bit of research and 0 experience. Your client's particular goals are eccentric and the questions miss some big important issues while focusing on some things that seem unlikely to matter. As a consultant you need to be able to offer judgment, not merely an unfiltered tap to internet research. We've all got the capacity to google things and post lists of questions on forums. What's your competitive advantage?

Architecture Practice is not a quantifiable or widely studied realm - you'll find the information isn't there. All of us spend most of our careers trying to figure it out and many will fall short.

Mar 18, 21 1:45 am  · 
3  · 

a flippant but accurate response is that architects will go where the work is - if he can figure out how to get interesting projects and make enough money to pay well, he'll have no difficulty getting staff on board. then it's just the infinite hassle of managing a team, about which there is plenty of material available to study. but getting high fee projects is the really really hard part which you probably can't help him with, and which we're all trying to do.

Mar 18, 21 1:51 am  · 
1  · 

Have to agree with everyone above. And, should this hypothetical person really be basing their business model on “what type of projects young architects would like to see?”

Mar 18, 21 7:40 am  · 
Wood Guy

I can see someone in your "client's" position benefitting from business consulting. Many of us are not naturally inclined to be good at business. But the questions you are asking are not questions they would be asking you to help them with, if they are remotely qualified for the position. Certainly not if they are "well-known for designing big buildings."

Things they might want help with are marketing, and strategic planning if they want to grow quickly. You asked for any advice, and mine is to ask different questions. 

Mar 18, 21 8:31 am  · 
6  · 
Non Sequitur

maybe we can start a side gig offering consulting services to consultants. We could give them pointers on how to ask meaningful and intelligent questions. Hold my beer while I make a yahoo answers post and I'll get back to you once I collect better questions.

Mar 18, 21 8:45 am  · 
4  · 
Wood Guy

Non & Wood, Consultants' Consultants. Has a ring to it.

Mar 18, 21 8:54 am  · 
5  · 

No-Wood Services.

Mar 18, 21 10:21 am  · 
4  · 

Awe, I want to be part of the No-Wood Services.

Mar 18, 21 1:01 pm  · 

sororities and fraternities should disappear from the face of the earth, especially their buildings.

Mar 18, 21 11:00 am  · 

It seems like an entirely appropriate place to ask questions about a project involving architects. Cheez you guys are a bunch of know it all downers. 

Is he bringing clients with him?

What kind of work will he find in a 200 mile radius of his new office?

Is he willing to do that work?

Can he keep more than 1 person busy doing that work?

Sep 12, 21 2:25 am  · 
1  · 

You brought back a dead thread in order to make yourself appear inattentive? Very odd.

Sep 13, 21 10:39 am  · 

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