Case Study Introduction
When Chris and I started working together he was working 50+ hours a week; 90% of his time was spent delivering client work. The rest of his time was spent on admin, billing and other tasks. No time was being spent on growing the business.
Time spent on strategy is critical to generate future revenue streams. A common trap business owners fall into is getting bogged down in the day-to-day activity and don’t have time to think about where they are leading the company.
The purpose of our work together was to free up Chris’ time so that he could take his business in a new direction. As a hybrid business coach and consultant this meant introducing concepts that would give him structures to work with.
To kick off we needed to understand his vision so that we could create a process to deliver it.
The Story of Chris
Chris has been running a successful architecture practice for 13 years, he has built up a strong client base with regular projects coming in. initially he delivered the work himself and as the practice grew, he hired a small team to work with him
Focusing on traditional architecture the company became known for delivering good work could have continued that way.
As we often see with business owners, Chris was spending too much time delivering client work. This was compounded because there were no systems in place to share workload or delegate projects.
The Opportunity to Evolve and the Challenges that Brings
However, Chis had tired of traditional architecture. In a world where sustainability and environmental consciousness is becoming more critical. Architecture was being left behind.
Wanting to do something positive and challenge himself. Chris embarked on a quest to evolve the business into the passive house and sustainable design space. This would create a leading architecture practice delivering cutting edge projects within the sustainable space.
There were 3 major challenges:
- Time: Chris needed to create the time to work on his business. Currently most of it was spent delivering existing project work.
- Skills: Designing passive houses is a unique skillset and this created a skills gap in the business.
- New Business: Moving into a new sector would require winning new work with new clients in a new market.
How We Worked Together
We kicked things off by defining Chris’ vision and that of the business. Through coaching exercises, we established what the future of the company looked like. This became the starting point if our work together. Business coaching is fundamentally about identifying desired outcomes, recognizing where we are and creating a plan to bridge the gap.
The majority of Chris’ time was being spent on client activities and delivering projects. He had no systems in place to allow the team to manage projects without him.
Solving this business problem reduced the burden on Chris, created a more efficient way of working and freed up time to get strategic. Getting strategic in this sense meant creating and delivering a new plan to evolve the company.
Through identifying where the business was going to, we could identify the skills required to get it there. This coaching process enabled Chris to see what gaps there were, without addressing these gaps. There would be no forward progress.
Part of the plan we created looked at upskilling existing team members. We also created a company structure that would help free up time and make project management more efficient. This structure was fundamental to recruiting new staff.
To do this meant understanding the current team and writing job roles; this created accountability and enabled the project management process to evolve. Through this process it became clear where the gaps where and depending on individuals ambitions. Training and development could thenbe offered to support those that wanted it.
Creating a new position for the business meant entering new markets. Markets where existing clients did not operate, therefore, the business needed to win new clients and projects.
Through the introduction of a marketing strategy that hinged around the business vision. Chris was able to engage with his target audience and begin winning work in the passive and sustainable space.
The work we are doing together is ongoing; a part of business problem solving is delivering targeted projects and programs. The second part is that ongoing support a business coach provides.
Creating time has enabled Chris to build a more efficient business; he is less involved in project work. This has allowed him to focus on building the passive and sustainable side of the company.
Underpinning this is the work we did around the personal and business vision. Clarifying this enabled us to create and deliver a targeted strategy.
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