Firm ownership resources

Operating an architectural firm requires knowledge of marketing, financial management, and human resources. Firm development, including continuing attention to strategic direction, knowledge management, and administrative effectiveness, must be an ongoing concern for firms of all sizes. Throughout a firm’s life cycle, from start-up through growth and development, ownership transition and potential expansion to global or multi-office practice, entrepreneurial architects benefit from increasing their understanding of management best practices.

Firm Management

AIA's Architects Handbook of Professional Practice, chapter five includes: Architects and the Law; Entrepreneurial Practice: Starting an Architecture Firm; Strategic Planning for the Design Firm; Firm Growth and Development; Ownership Transitions; Practicing in a Global Market; Office Administration; and much more. The handbook provides a comprehensive overview of owning, managing, and growing an architectural practice.

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Business Foundations Certificate Program

All architects require at least some knowledge about running a business, and many architects require a lot of knowledge.  The courses in this Business Foundations certificate program are designed to help practicing architects develop the knowledge and skills they need to effectively manage a business.  The courses in this program are intentionally diverse, to give a broad overview of information on a variety of topics, from finance and risk management through intellectual property and business development.  

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AIA Global Practice Primer

The AIA Global Practice Primer is a collection of information and resources designed to assist architects who are considering the pursuit of projects abroad, or who have already received commissions and are currently engaged in international work. It addresses the full spectrum of global practice, beginning with how international practice generally differs from domestic architectural practice in the US. The benefits of international work are also addressed, followed by useful suggestions and insights on business development and marketing.

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Accounting basics: The balance sheet and KPI

The basics of accounting for architecture firms are not complex. However, an understanding of certain fundamentals—by every manager at every level of a firm—is imperative for the firm to be able to manage toward profit and financially stability.

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Breaking Out of the Box: A Designer’s Guide to Leadership

This course provides insight into practice-oriented strategies that assist with networking, leadership, branding, and innovation, as well as instruction on self-assessing and evaluating educational assets, professional goals, passions, strengths, and weaknesses. You'll also be exposed to methods of gaining and legitimizing your experience through public speaking, teaching, research, and publishing.

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How to Manage Your Clients

This session is meant to challenge our habitual understanding of client management by making the invisible visible. It is important to collaboratively and collectively refine or better illuminate the ubiquitous term "client management." Communication friction is inevitable but how much energy you spend managing it is a choice - for you! By trading up for a better definition of client management, a true misnomer, you can pro-actively engage your client in problem solving and their satisfaction with the design process.

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Business Plan Beta Template for Small Architecture Firms

SFx has been exploring which business models are most appropriate to sustain the practice of architecture for small firms. Specifically modified for small architecture firms, SFx developed a beta version business plan template and a small firm business model dashboard to assist small firms in creating and evaluating sustainable business practices.

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Research for Practice: How to Increase Your Competitive Edge

Research-driven design is in demand, and savvy clients are increasingly interested in this informed approach. This constructive session shows you how to create evidence-based design solutions and prepare your firm to embrace this approach.

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AIA Trust Ownership transition resources

Privately owned architecture firms in today’s competitive environment face numerous hurdles when considering ownership transition and leadership succession. AIA Members need to begin necessary planning well in advance to ensure the best results.

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AIA Trust practice education

The AIA Trust develops webinars to assist you in your practice, and most offer learning unit credits. You may complete various self-assessment tests about AIA Trust online resources for learning unit credits.

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AIA Trust resources for starting a firm

Operating a professional practice poses many risks to the design professional–-and insurance is just one of many ways to manage those risks. The AIA Trust develops helpful resources, tools, and benefit programs to guide you in assessing, avoiding, and managing your risks, as you start out and as you succeed. Find out how to get started and run your own successful firm.

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Opening a branch office: Criteria for consideration

Opening new branch offices or purchasing a firm to facilitate the expansion of a practice can be an expensive and risky endeavor. The purpose of the following listing of criteria is to provide a basis for facilitating discussions and decisions regarding the opening and/or closing of branch offices.

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Strategic planning: Know thyself a case study

Not all projects are profitable. Certain project or client types might not be profitable for your firm. Or the converse could be true: Certain project or client types—or projects of certain sizes or in certain geographic areas—may be incredibly profitable. But do you know which ones are? No matter what project-based accounting software you use, this information is already available.

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Matthew Hufft, AIA        

With two offices and over 500 completed projects under his belt, Matthew Hufft and his eponymous firm are ready for what he predicts will be a transformative age in architecture.

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Toshiko Mori, FAIA        

A remarkable trailblazer, the accomplishments of Toshiko Mori, FAIA, continually signal a shift to a more equitable and resilient future for the profession.

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Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA

By promoting equity and inclusion through her consulting work and education efforts, Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, has created a more inclusive and just environment for all.

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Allison Anderson, FAIA

Allison Anderson strives to create a more resilient built environment and encourages other architects to do the same.

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Tips for launching a successful new practice

Successfully managing operations, funds, and people, as well as understanding and mitigating your risks, will be critical to the longevity of your business. Architects describe the most important things they learned when beginning their firms and where they got help.

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