Marketing: Are you looking for a bigger pond?

More projects from new clients - who doesn't want that?   When I interview my clients, I hear the same puzzled question over and over.  Our discussion often reveals that firm principals often press their connections and attain some great results but after a while the initial robust response seems to fade perhaps not from failing to deliver, but rather from simply from needing a greater number of clients.

 "Establishing these highly effective programs can broaden your exposure, deepen your client relationships and even reposition your firm to build your practice."

What is going on?  Well, it's a little like throwing that fishing line in a pond over and over not realizing that you may have fished out that pond.  You might need a bigger pond - and more clients.  Some market research can tell you a couple of things:

  1. How big is your market?
  2. What is your estimated market share?
  3. Is the market increasing or decreasing?
  4. Who is your competition for your specialty?
  5. Are there new firms entering your market?
  6. Is your specialty growing in other geographic areas?

Now you have some information that can help guide you through the next several steps.  This has to do with services and client relationship questions, such as:

  1. Are there peripheral services related to your specialty that you could add?
  2. Are there logical pre-design services to offer?
  3. Are there logical post-occupancy services to offer?
  4. Do you maintain relationships with former clients?
  5. How do you promote your expertise?
  6. Do you take your expertise to the client base?

Where is all this soul searching headed?  Marketers and Business Development will recognize the process while firm principals may be too close to the business and the work to see alternative ways to improve their market position.  There are so many tools to consider and this is only one path.  Laying down a program of Inbound marketing with tools like web and social media, or an Outbound program or client survey can reposition your firm to a greater expanse of clients.  Establish Business development programs where you move closer to the clients arena through their organizations and associations or with client surveys and direct contract. 

Establishing these highly effective programs can broaden your exposure, deepen your client relationships and even reposition your firm to build your practice.  I build custom programs for my clients using my 45+ years of experience.  As in any successful practice, it is focused effort expended over a period of time that does the trick.  If I can work with you to develop a program for your firm, give me a call.

William M. Burwell is a retired Architect and Interior Designer whose career focused on corporate interior architecture in sole proprietorships, and partnerships from 9 to 120 staff.  Bill retired in 2014 and began Burwell Consulting a Firm Marketing and Management Consulting firm, to share the wisdom and experience of those 45 years with the A/E/C community.   Bill writes articles sharing his experience in keystone practice areas:  Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Practice Management.  He graduated from the University of Houston College of Architecture in 1971 and now serves the College on the Dean's Committee on Excellence. Check him out at