Could use sage advice from this august group of professionals on this – surviving, not thriving on residential addition/remodel projects. Part architecture, part marriage counseling. Small projects for the most part with fee shock and competing with some architects who charge way too little. (Please don’t do that). In the past, did senior living and healthcare with larger firms but my projects in that arena are now older and I have almost no pictures and administrators have moved on so can’t find then for references. Add to that – I will be moving from Chicago suburbs to the Omaha, NE area and need a niche that can be extra-regional or readily transferable. Possibilities: residential (what flavor or all flavors?), aging environments, medical and healthcare offices/clinics, program management for not-for-profit entities. Experience in all of the above but not recent.
Hey John, I’d spend a month going out and meeting with possible clients in those particular niches. Tell them you are re-structuring your firm and doing market research. Most will be happy to meet with you.
As you go through this process, you’ll start to get a feel for where the need is greatest and where you can provide the most value.
In addition, you’ll begin to build a valuable network.
Finding potential clients for me even in my small community has always been a bit perplexing for me. How do I know which potential client is ready for my service?
That might be a problem for you too…so may be you can broaden your target not just potential clients, but to people who serve your potential clients.
I am focusing on the single family new build and renovation residential market. for me that meant trying to get good with a couple real estate agents, sharing with them in casual conversations my passion for what I do. I have also started a slow out reach to the lending departments of financial institutions. My aim there is to cultivate them into seeing my vision….It is a slow process but I am starting to see some returns. Take some time to write a 5 point value statement that you believe each of your target area must be measures by, use those as your talking points. Keep in mind, if you can’t get directly to the centre, nibble around the edges…..
….to continue…..yesterday i viewed a PBS interview with IMF Managing Director Christine leGarde. She mentioned the need to improve national policy toward working family members who are also care givers, particularly careing for the aging relatives at home. Who are these people?…..working middle aged people with teenage kids….where can you find them? at PTA’s. So since you are the Pro, may be you can ask for a hearing with the Local school PTA’s. Talk with their members on what they might need to do to prepare their homes to take care of the aging….or even the local AARP chapter. according to Richard….soon you will be know as the expert guy.
Michelle, Sincere thanks for the insights!!!
Niches can be defined by geography, demographics, or psychological states of mind like outcome desired or problem centric. These last two are great eg people who want to build with a low carbon footprint or people who have a challenge getting a permit for their project and need a cunning architect.
You are most welcomed John. I wish you all success.
With your experience in healthcare and senior living, you could show an expertise in designing for aging in place, universal design. Then make contacts in places that cater to seniors and look for them to refer you to their clients. So many boomers want to stay in their homes and have the money to renovate to make that possible.
Hey John, great to see you here. It was a pleasure meeting you in person at the one networking event a few years ago. Sorry to see you move. There is a Civil Engineer I met from Naperville named Eric Mancke who does a lot of work with a large national assisted living company, Carillon I believe. That seems to be a very good market right now and one you are familiar with. I’ll be doing a strip center with Eric and I would be happy to introduce you to him as I imagine his company would have opportunities for work out west.
By the way if you have a more immediate need I happen to be licensed in Nebraska thanks to work I’ve done for a pool company, granted if you are NCARB getting a license there through reciprocity is fairly easy. You will have to get a license for your corporation as well in that state.
i like what Michelle Slinger had to say. Part 2 a definite niche. Just one small thing … i notice you call your self project management and architecture. Is that what you tell clients you are? My clients want an Architect, and WOW i can project manage as well ‘Bonus’ . None of them are looking for a project manager who can architect. You don’t go to the shop looking for water that can bottle.
small projects are always going to be difficult, I would target bigger more profitable projects for people with money and a desire for great design. Yes they do exist. Start selecting your fish better and start by putting out better bait. Specific bait. Talk to the other suppliers in that specific sector and make yourself useful. As a new person in the area you have a good excuse to go and meet the key influencers. Good luck. Be bold,