Happy New Year! Congratulations on another year and decade of growth and expansion! A lot has happened in the world, in the country, in the industry, and I’m sure, for you personally. 

Most A&E firms are much better off than they were ten years ago. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been problems. Hopefully any difficulties you have experienced have led to valuable growth and experience. 

In 2012 I found myself in a devastating business divorce. While it was one of the most difficult, stressful and expensive mistakes I’ve ever made, I believe I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. 

What hard lessons have you learned over the last ten years? 

More importantly, take stock of all the great things you have accomplished. What buildings have you designed that are now serving your clients? What roads and bridges are now providing better travel for the public? 

How have you improved peoples’ lives and accomplished your company mission to make the world better? 

As I look back, I am proud that my book Find the Lost Dollars has helped thousands of A&E firms increase their profits. Since 2014 I have personally helped over 80 A&E firms make transformational improvements to their people, processes and systems.  

But I am most proud of our clients and their courageous leaders that have committed to transforming their business operations. Change is not easy, but it usually does pay off! 

I would like to acknowledge a few clients and some of the significant results they’ve realized through commitment to the principles we teach.  

Commonwealth Associates saw a reduction in write-offs from scope creep and budget overruns that equaled over $500K in less than 12 weeks. They estimate the impact will be millions over the next couple years. 

Quad Knopf (QK) has seen a huge change in their project management practices and systems, enabling their PMs to better manage projects. Our program has changed their culture to be more focused on project financial success and getting better clients. 

T-O Engineers immediately saw more intense focus on project financial management by their PMs which has enabled them to get their team rallied around improved use of their Deltek system. 

The Houston, TX office of IBI Group has seen increased profits and accountability. Their culture now embraces business excellence and how to look for ways to find lost dollars.

LSA reports that their younger PMs are more focused on monitoring project budgets and getting change orders. This has led to one of their most profitable months recently. 

Banning Engineers has increased their fees and become more selective about the clients they pursue. They found over $194K within a few months of starting our program. 

Hillmann Consulting has transformed their business management practices – from timesheets, billing and collections to how they manage change orders, pricing and proposals. They have doubled their revenue, profits and employee size in the last 4 years. 

Brown, Mitchell and Alexander reports that their employees are speaking a common financial language which has made it easier to discuss project progress with PMs.

Kleinschmidt has quadrupled their win rate and revenues from their proposal efforts. They have also made dozens of improvements to their project management practices resulting in huge profit increases over the last two years.

The majority of our clients have reported overall improvement in communication internally and with clients including: 

  • Focus on Your Mission
  • Willingness of PMs to ask for change orders 
  • Additional sales to existing clients through upselling and cross-selling  
  • Better employee engagement and involvement in business management 
  • Improved PM performance and interest in the financial results of their projects 
  • Increased client retention due to better client relationships 
  • Intensified focus on client service 
  • Greater buy-in across their teams for adoption of new processes and systems 
  • Faster cash flow due to more accurate timesheets and improved billing practices 
  • Culture transformation due to increased employee business acumen and intensified financial responsibility 
  • Better accountability 

In the coming year and decade, we will focus even harder on figuring out how to help our clients improve their cultures and business processes. We will be announcing a new tool in 2020 that will transform the way A&E firms run their businesses. Our goal is to help A&E firm leaders alleviate the stress and cash flow burden of fast growth. Stay tuned for more on this. 

I recommend you look at your decade in terms of what went well and what didn’t. What lessons were learned and how will you tackle the challenges ahead with technology? How will a changing workplace mindset affect how you recruit and retain employees? What do you want to accomplish over the next ten years and what will you do to ensure your firm is prepared to achieve your goals? 

For those of you that hope to retire in the next ten years, I hope you are positioning your firm to prosper without you and be able to afford to pay you out if planning an internal transition. 

It is my sincere belief that you can only do great things for your families, your employees and your clients if your business makes a big profit. That is why I have committed my life to helping you improve your financial results. I hope that in some way, I have helped you do this. And I am committed to continue to innovate new ways to help your firm and your employees to be more successful. 

This is a very exciting time in history and a great time to reflect on the past and plan for the futureI’d love to hear how the last decade has had an impact on your success and growth. 

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