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EA206: Organize Your Business Beautifully Using 6 Proven Principles of Design [Podcast]
9th February 2018 • EntreArchitect Podcast with Mark R. LePage • EntreArchitect // Gābl Media
00:00:00 01:01:30

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Business by Design: Organize Your Business Beautifully Using 6 Proven Principles of Design

Vision, mission, goals, hiring, culture, business systems, planning. These are all critical elements of success. Do you want to organize all of these into a successful business plan? Can you use the creative side of your brain to see your firm from a different perspective?

This week on EntreArchitect, Business by Design: Organize Your Business Beautifully Using 6 Proven Principles of Design.

Jane Walton is a published author, a public speaker and a trained executive coach with a masters degree in Human Resources Management training and development. She’s developed and facilitated numerous programs focused on leadership, team effectiveness and management specific to architecture firms. You can hear her entire origin story on EA088: How to Avoid Burnout as an Architect with Jane Walton [Podcast].

Taking inspiration from the art world, Jane will discuss how to design your firm beautifully by utilizing the basic principles of design organization: focal point, contrast, scale, unity, movement and rhythm.

Designing your firm is the perfect balance of vision, partnership, and execution. 

How can architects solve some of the issues they’re dealing with?

First, figure out the focal point. For architects, they really need to think that through. They may want to do healthcare or civic residential, but take time to think through that.

Is your firm doing what you say you want to be doing? Some firms say they’re on the cutting edge of technology, but if you want to be in that space you have to invest properly to get the level of talent to be able to do that. For what it’s going to take to reach your goals, is that where you want to be? Be clear and intentional about where you want to be.

Next, go back and look at the contrast: What are your clients expectations? What is the market like? What are industry conditions that will support or not support your focal point?

Once you have your focal point, what do you do?

Test it and figure out if the clients understand what you’re trying to do. Is your focal point something that people are going to be excited about?  Figure out what’s going on with the competition and how you compare to that.

How do you build an organization around your focal point?

Once you know who you are and what you are, what you want to do and how you want to do it, then you can build a team around those concepts. Sometimes you get to the point where you have to consider what your life will be like if you have 20 employees and decide if that’s really what you want for your focal point.

For some people, it’s better to stay a sole practitioner and accept the realities of what that type of business entails.

How can you create unity in your firm?

Unity is the elements have have a logical relationship to the progression and results. For example, finding a project, concept, to design to execution, the unity piece needs to be understood. What does communication look like? What is your pace? What expectations do you have?

Learn from companies like Zappos and Southwest who hire the right people from the start and are clear about their culture and expectations to create the best teams.

How can you find your rhythm?

Rhythm is recognizing that we have the work to do, but asking what other things we need to have in place. Are there monthly meetings to course correct if needed? How can you continually execute your marketing plans? What do you need to do to keep interest and keep growing?

For architects, rhythm is getting out there and connecting with old and new potential clients. Get involved in continuing education programs and events that allow you networking opportunities.

What is the one thing that small firm architects can do today to build a better business tomorrow?

“Become a masterful influencer and be able to educate and inform companies that are calling on you to help them understand the value of design and what it can do for businesses and individuals.”  – Jane Walton

Learn more about Business by Design and connect with Jane online at

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