Architects/Engineers: It’s time to plan for 2014, ask yourself these 5 questions…

It’s after Labor Day and normally that brings a feeling of Fall in the air, but here in Colorado the heat continues.  It is expected to be near 95 degrees every day this week.  The 104 mile road bike ride that I am training for later this month is in Las Vegas so the heat here brings an opportunity for me to train for what could be a 100 degree (plus) day for the Gran Fondo.

I have to be prepared for what is ahead of me.  I assessed the situation and built out my list. I have to fill both of my water bottles and a Camel Back.  I have to have liquid gels to replenish my energy.  I need to lather on sunscreen and continue to apply lip balm throughout the ride. I need to remind myself to stop at all support stations to take in a moment of shade under a tent or to douse myself with a water bottle to help feel refreshed for the next segment of miles ahead.   The ride is a few weeks off but I can’t wait until the last minute to plan.

To me, Labor Day also signals heading into year-end, fourth quarter will be here soon.    This is a time to prepare your business for the year ahead.  It is time to assess your business systems and determine if you are prepared for 2014.  I urge you to take some time now to evaluate the following:

  1. Your Financial Systems
  2. Your time/expense tracking applications
  3. Your marketing/business development tracking

In order to evaluate if what you currently use is working appropriately or if you need to make some changes for the new year – ask yourself these questions.

  1. What is our average percentage of profitability on a project basis?
  2. What is the percent of projects that run over budget? Percent under budget?
  3. Am I able to assess the time spent on projects by phase? Billing Rate? Employee?
  4. What is our won/loss ratio for opportunities we pursued?
  5. How much time are we spending doing duplicate entries between various systems?

Are you able to answer these questions? Are you taking a semi-educated guess at it?   Do you definitely know the answer to number 5 is “too many hours!”?  Many small architecture/engineering firms don’t have the proper business management tools in place to even begin to know this valuable information.   If you can’t answer these questions then now is a good time to prepare for 2014.   If you want to have better business success next year then it is time to put proper systems in place.  Be wildly successful by investing in industry specific project management software today.

I asked myself many questions (and did a lot of research) in order to know how to prepare for a bike ride in the desert, so I could decide what equipment I need to have, what has been working and what needs changed.  I am taking the steps now to be ready.   I would love to talk with you about your business assessment as well, to help you be ready, – contact me at leann@basebuilders.com to chat or check out our website to preview our architecture/engineering business/project management software.