Use the Resources You Have Wisely

May 14, 2007

Most of us know that it isn’t really hard to start an A/E or environmental firm. You don’t need a lot of capital or other resources to hang a shingle and make a run for it. But you do need to use the resources you have wisely IF you hope to achieve both early and lasting success in this business and eventually reach your full potential. Here are some examples of what I am talking about: Accounts receivable. Why let it build up so high? You don’t need to have so much of your net worth tied up in accounts receivable. We have a terrible problem in this industry in that we tolerate clients paying us way too long after we bill them. This sucks up cash and drives down return on equity because we need more capital in our business than we should need IF we were better bill collectors. Recruiting. Why don’t you call the good people you know? Why don’t you call the people who know the good people? We let this knowledge go to waste because we are too bashful to call up someone we know to ask them if they’d consider leaving where they now work. It’s silly! Instead, we wait around for decent people to somehow find us and then put them through a hiring process that ensures only the most desperate will eventually come to work for us. Time. Why waste it on pointless meetings, timesheet reviews, and reporting back when you could and should be DOING? Allowing this waste to go on will eat away at the core of your being. Time is the most precious thing you’ve got! Speak up when it is being wasted. Better yet, extricate yourself from the situation. Young people. They come in energized, excited, and pumped up, and needlessly get the wind knocked out of their sails in the months that follow from uninspired leadership and incapable management. We waste the energy and enthusiasm of our youth by not better considering what their early employment experience is and designing something that cashes in on their assets. Stock. Why let it be owned by people who don’t appreciate it, don’t see the big picture, and constantly complain that the risks of this business are too high and not worth it? Reallocate the ownership where it is most beneficial to the company. The company name. Why do some companies tolerate so many different names being used by the employees and even owners of their firms? “ABC & Associates” may be the “official name” of the firm, but some people still call it “Able, Baker, Charlie,” some call it “Able, Baker,” and some call it “ABC.” That’s crazy and does nothing but create confusion about who and what you are— a real waste of marketing dollars. Think about how you are employing the resources of your firm. Are you using them wisely? If not, why not? Originally published 5/14/2007

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.