I was recently asked by a smaller-sized architecture firm how to win work for a project type with which they had no prior experience. Many of us have faced this quandary. It can be frustrating; but, with tenacity and smart business decisions it can be done. We went on to discuss some options.
1. Hire for it. At one point, we had no school experience and wanted to break into the market. When we had an opportunity to add staff we didn’t hire our best friend, we looked for a resume that fit our strategic plan. The project manager brought along a deep rolodex (okay, CMS) and the market has been open ever since.
2. Devise a creative teaming approach that provides a unique strategy or solution; it will almost always garner attention, if not win you a top contender spot.
3. Start shaking hands. Although it’s not typically an instant return-on-investment, a grassroots, relationship-based strategy can get you a foot in the door. Expect to start small and enjoy the inevitable growth.
4. Remember the forgotten. When the urban markets heat up rural markets are often neglected. Go the distance.
5. Take a risk. This is my favorite option as is can produce results quickly. Firms that are established in a particular market will play it safe submitting on RFPs often with pre-packaged proposals. Find a unique angle and go all in.
~ Paul Wember, Owner’s Representative