Use S.M.A.R.T. Goals to Move Your Architecture Firm Forward
S.M.A.R.T. Goals: Focus on Your Firm’s Growth
It’s time for Architects to Get S.M.A.R.T. About Goals
Setting goals shouldn’t be be limited to the one-a-year new year’s resolution way of thinking... You know, all those things you tend to think about when you look back on a year that could have gone better.
When you look back now, be honest — did you have goals for making real progress for your architecture firm?
Was it a little too easy to fall back into old habits, let some goals slide, miss out on some opportunities and even obligations?
In this article, we’ll look at how to create S.M.A.R.T. goals with a focus on working on your business (the work you do to build and manage a more successful architecture firm) — especially those goals related to developing and applying Best Practices to running and growing your firm.
Best Practices for Architects
Goals related to Best Practices can include the latest know-how, codes and regulations, materials and technologies that can make all the difference in the viability and success of a project.
You’ll also want to seek out and develop best practices for specific tools, skills, business development plans and actions, and processes that help you deliver your finest architectural design work, find and attract the best possible clients and projects, reach financial milestones, and set your firm apart from other architects.
To decide on what goals to pursue, first take stock of what you have, what you want, and what you need. Maybe it’s new software and the skills to go with it. Maybe it’s getting more engaged in activities to find new business. Maybe you are looking to build up your in-house knowledge on codes and materials. Maybe it’s finally time to update an outdated website or re-boot your branding.
When it comes to goals related to industry best practices, architects have a great advantage in the training courses provided by AIA. Setting a goal to stay up to date on CEU requirements by attending specific courses—whether monthly or quarterly at local chapter events, or annually at state and national events—is a smart way to build goal-related activities into a routine.
Ready. Set. Goals.
Before you take action, define your goal. If you jump into doing without planning clear goals, it’s harder to know if you are making progress and what’s helping. And you won't be able to provide direction to your team or outside partners who can work with you on achieving those goals.
As you start to list out goals, make sure you are setting S.M.A.R.T. goals:
Get your SMART GOALS Guidebook click the big red button below…
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Actionable
R = Relevant
T = Time-bound
This isn't the time to be vague. Don't just say, "I want a new website." Be exact: What specific improvements do you want? What results do you expect — or do you want to expect from your website.
Determine upfront how you will measure your progress and results. For example, maybe you want your architecture firm to show up more often in Google searches for architects in your area or specialty. This can be measured as your Search Engine Rank Position improves over time. Or, maybe you want to double the number of new clients you take on, or increase the number of a specific type of project.
Be sure to keep track of where you started and what milestones you can monitor as you work toward your goal.
Keep your goals grounded in reality. If you're a small, five-person architect firm, you're probably not going to have time to tackle all your goals on your own. Be realistic about the timetable and the budget you will need to reach your goals.
Be clear about what you need to take on yourself (for example, attending a CEU workshop at the annual convention) and what you can achieve with help from staff or outside support (for example, team members can divide and conquer networking, while an agency partner can design and create a new website).
Determine roles, responsibilities, and milestones as you set the goals, so all parties clearly know what part they play in achieving your goals.
The ends don't always justify the means, but with S.M.A.R.T. Goals, the ends are important. It’s not enough to take action on just anything. It needs to be actions that are relevant to the results you want in your business.
For example, the goal shouldn’t be to simply post five times a week on your firm’s Facebook page. Maybe the goal should be focused on creating content that will engage people interested in designing a modern beach-front homes and lead to 50 people clicking through to your website to download your guide to beachfront architecture.
When the goal is relevant to your firm’s business performance, it’s easier to measure how well you achieve the goal because it has a specific purpose and measurable result.
Best Practice goals can include a mix of short- and long-term goals. Some goals can be limited to a very specific date, such as a CEU course or a monthly AIA chapter meeting. But other goals may have a more extended timetable with deadlines and milestones, such as a rebranding or new website design involving reviews and decisions at different stages.
For each goal, set dates for completing various steps along the way. That will keep you and your team from getting sidetracked or forgetting.
Consider including goal status reviews in your weekly or monthly meetings to hold yourself and others on the team accountable for specific progress. That way, things won’t slip through the cracks and you’ll have time to reset, rework and update the goal and timetable.
GOT GOALS? GET GOING!
Download our SMART Goals Guidebook and start planning out your goals.
Once you've got your goals in hand, get your team on board to help. If your goals include branding and marketing, look to involve an agency partner that can provide strategic insight and direction to work with you to achieve your goals.
Not sure how to start? What goals to go with? Struggle to stick to your goals? Need someone to hold you accountable? We're here to help!
Archmark specializes in branding and digital marketing strategies for architecture firms. Stop waiting for referrals, take control with a lead generating website from Archmark.
We work with architects to help them build a strong brand foundation for business growth, establish authority to take a leadership position in their market, and create awareness that attracts qualified leads and better clients. In short, Archmark focuses on helping build up your business, so you can focus on leading your firm.
Find out how we can help you. Schedule your free website strategy call and we’ll add in our website evaluation for free (a $297 value).