Turning the Corner

Stu’s News
with Trina’s Tips


Turning the Corner

A couple of years ago, we phone interviewed leaders in many client firms, to learn what they saw on the horizon over the next few years. In response to the questions, “How do you see things going for your firm?” and “What gives you the most concern?” the overwhelming response (paraphrased) was something like …

“Backlog is OK for now – not growing, but stable – but we’re not sure what’s coming after that, which leaves us nervous. We need to stay vigilant and cautiously look at where clients may be. There are a lot of unknowns, but if we stay flexible, we should be OK.”

And to the question, “where do you have your highest hopes?”

“Youth – new people seem to welcome change and will work hard to get there. We’re learning more about our clients’ business than just their facilities. We need to prepare our next generation of leaders.”

How do you address these issues?

The mass media follow all the rule, “If it bleeds, it leads,” because negative, fear-based information always gets higher ratings – TV, radio, or newspapers. And politicians seem to spend more time pointing fingers at the other party than evolving useful solutions. But underneath it all, we do see some markets growing. For example …

The average university cost is around $50,000 a year, with fluctuations for geography, private vs public, etc. Higher education enrollment is growing, but families – nervous about the economy – are sending their kids to community colleges for a year or two. Freshman English is freshman English and the credits transfer. In most geographies, community colleges have more students than space … hence a strong demand for more facilities.

Trina and I are considering hosting a two-day strategic marketing briefing this fall, probably at William & Mary University, in Williamsburg, Virginia. If a sufficient number of firms show interest, we’ll do more extensive market research – with emphasis on the markets and geographies of those firms.

In addition, we’ve evolved a system that combines basic Mandeville training with marketing coaching. It helps firms evolve a team of young professionals who are both enthusiastic towards and capable of bringing in new business, and who – with coaching – actually begin bringing in a regular flow of new projects.

The system has been working beautifully in some client firms, each effort producing a considerable amount of new business secured by younger people. And each leaving the firm with both the people and the organization to keep that new business flowing for years.

We’ll share how that system works, so you can implement it yourself and grow a cadre of young professionals who can eagerly bring in the regular flow of new projects you need.

If this kind of briefing sounds as though it’s something from which you’d gain the benefits you’re seeking, then simply email your interest, the number of people who’d likely want to be there, and specific markets and geographies in which you have interest.

Once we see sufficient interest, we’ll do the research, detail a program agenda, pin down a place and date, and send out notices.

Rather than worrying about “what the economy is going to do,” here’s an opportunity to take the bull by the horns, look at where the project work will be in the next few years, and initiate actions that will help your firm thrive in those coming years.

Stu Rose

P.S. Many of you know that we relocated from Washington, DC to southeast Virginia to create a pilot development of “Net Zero” sustainable homes. As many firms have interest in sustainability, we’ll also host a reception at our home and project site for those with interest.