Find the Lost Dollars Blog

5 Steps to Get Your Leadership Team on the Same Page

Is your executive team on the same page about where your firm is heading? One of the most critical factors to successful A&E business results is being able to make the right decisions that will drive the firm’s growth and profitability. When there is a lack of...

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5 Keys to Higher Profits and Happier Employees

You want higher profits and happier employees but getting both may seem impossible. The relationship between firm financial success and employee happiness is not always obvious, but higher profits enable investment in staff and systems that in turn, makes them enjoy...

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7 Secret Causes of Scope Creep

Scope creep – that vicious blood-sucker that steals your project profits. When the scope of the work done exceeds what is promised in your contract, and you don’t get more money, you pay for it. It comes straight from your profit margins and can leave a project at a...

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How to be a Top Tier A&E Firm

The majority of A&E firms will concur that 2017 and 2018 have been stellar years for the industry.  Opportunities have been abundant, and economists are telling us that it is likely that the momentum will continue into next year.  With this high volume...

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10 Strategies to Boost Employee Retention

The number one challenge stated by our clients right now is hiring and retaining employees. Because finding experienced employees is so difficult in the A&E industry, many firms are getting creative with their compensation plans, benefits, profit-sharing and other...

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10 Dirty Secrets of the Best A&E Firms

The Architecture, Engineering and Environmental industry is as hot as it has ever been in my 30-year tenure, yet even when work is booming, I still find even the best A&E firms struggle to meet targets in any given month, quarter or year. So many factors impact...

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The Blessing and the Curse of Being So Busy

 The Architecture and Engineering industry is busier right now than it has been in a long time. This is great for your firm – right? I talk with at least 5 to 10 A&E firm CEOs a week, and their results are surprisingly mixed. While it is obviously a booming market...

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Why Some A&E Firms Make More Money Than Others

Many A&E firms come to me because their profits are too low, not hitting expected targets, and barely enabling the firm to grow. In most cases, their projects are making a profit – just not at the levels expected or needed. The leaders of these firms are...

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Turning Around an Underperforming Team

Are you frustrated because not every team in your firm is hitting their goals or performing at their highest level? Unfortunately you may have groups that struggle to be profitable, have high turnover, or don’t embrace your firm’s culture. It can be difficult to hold...

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10 Ways to Knock it Out of the Park in 2018

  “If you're going to play at all, you're out to win. Baseball, board games, playing Jeopardy, I hate to lose.” - Derek Jeter 2017 had many ups and downs but overall was a good business year for the A&E industry. From the indicators I am seeing, the number of...

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Why Accountability is NOT a Dirty Word

  I was meeting with an engineering client recently that was explaining his firm’s culture. He said, “Accountability is a dirty word around here. We don’t measure anyone or have any consequences because we don’t like to punish people.” That statement stopped me...

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Building an AEC Firm: It’s a Business, Not a Hobby

After 30 years as a Principal in the firm KCCT Architects in Washington, DC, Tom Twohey recently retired at the age of 79. Tom was one of the founding partners in the firm, and my client for the last 22 years. Unlike most architects, Tom had a business mind, and...

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Improving the Business Side of Engineering

Today’s post is by our guest author Becky White, Vice President/Organization Development of Sain Associates, Inc. Becky has more than 26 years of project experience in transportation planning for public and private sector clients. In her Organization Development role,...

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Top Ten Reasons Change Initiatives Fail

Over and over again I have seen major change initiatives fail. In fact, studies show that over 70% of most internal initiatives fail to meet stakeholder expectations. Whether it is implementing a new system, a merger or acquisition, business process improvement,...

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10 Ways to Prosper in the Uncertainty of 2017

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy   If there is one thing we all know about 2017 it’s that we have no idea what is going to happen. This will be a year of change and...

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Reinventing Your Culture to Enable Growth

    The drive for progress doesn't wait for the external world to say "It's time to change." - Jim Collins, Best-selling Author, Good to Great Recently I was talking with a prospective client about challenges they were facing with their project management....

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10 Tips to Survive the Next Recession

Another recession is coming. It is inevitable. Based on past history, it should be next year. But these things are hard to predict, so all I will commit to at this point is that another dip is coming. And we don’t know how bad it will be. What I do know for sure is...

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Are You Blowing Through Yellow Lights?

As we drive along the roads each day we make split second decisions. These decisions can have zero or life changing consequences, or anything in between. A cautionary yellow light can occur when driving slow or fast, far from the intersection or right in it. Once in a...

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10 Ways to Make More Money in 2016

It is hard to believe 2016 is here. I always get excited about the beginning of a new year - I look at it as an opportunity to start over, correct the mistakes of the past and achieve some of the goals that eluded me in the previous year. For most of our clients, 2015...

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{Guest Post} The Power of 1%

We have all heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder” and yet I would venture to guess that few of us really understand how to do just that.  There is however, a very simple concept that demonstrates the critically important issue of how to constantly improve...

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Why I Want My Firm to Be Like Tesla

    I started a new business last year which gave me a unique opportunity to figure out my new brand – how I wanted AEC Business Solutions to be viewed and perceived in the marketplace. It is very exciting starting a new business after 25 years doing the...

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Developing Superstar Project Managers

In looking at the operations of an Architecture or Engineering firm, it is evident that the project manager (PM) role is the key to success. In addition to their normal project management responsibilities, most PMs are also involved in many other aspects of firm...

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Too Busy to Work ON Your Business?

Too Busy to Work ON Your Business? 3 Steps to Ensure Important Change is Happening   Many of you have probably read or heard of Michael Gerber’s best-seller The E-Myth which introduced the concept of working ON your business not in your business. This how-to...

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Is Your Professional Services Firm Surviving or Thriving?

Three Growth Strategies for Professional Services Firms Times have changed and making money in a professional services business is harder than it used to be. It requires a more defined strategy, a focus on better client relationships, highly motivated and skilled...

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