Why did you write this book?
In working with hundreds of A&E firms over the last 23 years, I have seen patterns in the way that they approach their business management practices. I have developed many best practices that when applied, can save a firm tens of thousands of dollars. I wanted to put all of my knowledge into one place to give A&E firm owners, and their future leader, the tools to help them improve their businesses and increase project profitability.
What surprised you the most as you researched or wrote it?
I was surprised to see just how many firm owners and their employees can relate to the culture traps that I identified in Chapter one. These cultural issues tend to manifest themselves in bad business practices, and reduced profits. By looking at the firm’s culture, you can start to gain an understanding of how it got that way and identify where changes need to be made.
What do you think will surprise readers the most?
Many of the A&E firm leaders that have reviewed the book already asked me if I was writing about their own firms! I think what will surprise them is that they are not alone. Most A&E firms have at least one of the issue that I wrote about, and they will be surprised and happy to learn that they can make more money on their projects.
What’s the most important lesson or message readers will get from it?
The most important message the readers will get is that they can make changes to their business that will have positive impact on their bottom line. Many firms thought that just laying people off and cutting expenses was the only way to survive during the recession. But that is not true – becoming more efficient and enabling their project managers and employees to be more successful at managing projects will have a huge effect on their firm’s performance. By training their people, and improving their systems and operational processes, they can increase revenue and reduce costs on their projects.
Did writing this book change your life in any way?
Definitely! The process of writing this book has validated what I have been talking to our clients about for over ten years. In getting the quotes and book reviews from many of my clients and other thought leaders, I not only got great advice, but they confirmed that what I was writing about was relevant and necessary for the industry. Their endorsements and support has meant the world to me and really gave me confidence to move forward and speak openly about the issues in the A&E industry.
What do you hope will come from others reading it?
I really hope this book changes that way that business owners look at their businesses. Too often they do not invest in making improvements to their businesses, either because they are too busy, it seems too hard, or they just don’t like change. I hope I have given them the motivation and the tools they need to be able to move forward with the modifications that I have recommended.
What are you working on now?
Wow, I am working on several things as a phase two of the book. I am developing a training curriculum to prepare A&E firm future leaders to eventually take over their firms. Many project managers get promoted to the Principal level and have absolutely no training in financial or business management. I have already been asked by several clients to come in and train their managers on this material.
In addition, I am going to be writing a second version of this book for other professional services firms. Through the years I have worked with CPA’s, Lawyers, IT consultants, marketing and PR firms and management consultants. They all have many of the same issues that A&E firms have. I want to address the professional services market in general, as well as some of the other issues that I have seen in these other services businesses.
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