Contrary to what some architects may believe, an architecture practice should be run like any other business.
There has to be proper financial reporting in place, a functioning project workflow, detailed job descriptions, and such. According to David Jenyns, author of SYSTEMology, an architecture practice must also have systems, or systemisation.
A system is a series of steps that, when followed, create a series of consistent outcomes. In business, this has the power to positively transform a practice by building efficiencies and productivity.
In our most recent Huddle, we sat down with David, a seasoned entrepreneur, to learn more about how systems can be used to improve the way architects run their practice.
Here are the key takeaways:
Systems can help make you more creative. A system can help create a process for tasks that you routinely do. By creating a step-by-step system for creating proposals for new clients, for example, you will be able to minimize your time spent on that task in the future. That will in turn allow you to spend time on other, more creative aspects of your job that you may find more enticing, such as designing sustainably.
You can use systems to empower less experienced staff. When it comes to recruitment, one way to use systems is to think of your business like a school, David said. Your new recruits, or students in this metaphor, need a syllabus – something akin to a practice handbook that they can glean at to help them get situated and trained. Having a system for training new staff will empower them by giving them the tools they need to succeed on their very first day.
A system doesn’t need to be perfect. Many business owners might get overwhelmed at the mere thought of creating a system in their practice. However, systems don’t need to be perfect. They also don’t need to be very detailed and elaborate. Start small and build on it through the years, David suggests. It’s also important to not get discouraged and abandon your systems too early.
Eliminate ‘key person dependency’ with systems. Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from our Huddle is that you can and should use systems to remove ‘key person dependency’ within your practice. Essentially, you want to be able to remove yourself, the owner of an architecture practice, from having to be involved at every level. Systems can be used to achieve that. Create systems in your practice that will delegate tasks to others in your practice, allowing you to step back from the day-to-day dealings that often take up the most time.
You can order the book and learn more about SYSTEMology here. Huddles are invite-only events where the Archibiz community and friends gather to learn more about a topic or trend that’s impacting architects and how they run their business. To learn more about how Archibiz can help your practice, check out our website.
We teach architecture practice owners, like yourself, how to systemize key areas of their business in our premium program, the Practice Improvement Formula. To learn more and join the waitlist for our program, click here.