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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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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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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How to Strategically Grow and Retain Your Best Clients

Trying to get work in the door can be a challenging process for A&E firms, and many may be missing the easiest opportunity of all. Getting more work from existing clients! You may assume that your clients are giving you all the work they have, but what if they...

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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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5 Crucial Steps for Project Manager Success

The success of your Project Managers (PMs) can make or break your firm. Right? Considering all of the tasks that the typical project manager is required to perform, it is no wonder that many PMs get frustrated or even lose money! I did an assessment of the typical...

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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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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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How to Save your Project Managers Two Hours a Week

The main complaint I am hearing from A&E firm leaders these days is how they would love to “find more time” for their project managers (PMs). With workloads the highest they’ve been for many years, and talented and experienced PMs difficult to hire, asking PMs to...

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6 Steps to Win on Value Instead of Price

We've all been there, sitting in front of that client we know we don't want to work with. But the fear takes over. The fear of not having enough work. So we don't walk away. We succumb to the pressure and lower our fee. Or maybe it is our best client, and he is...

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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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Making a Difference – One Client at a Time

We all work hard every day and hope that what we are doing is adding value to our clients. We usually don’t get much feedback about whether our work is making an impact, although occasionally something happens that puts a smile on your face and makes it all worth it....

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6 Ways to Differentiate Your A&E Firm

Are you feeling the pinch of reduced fees and increasing salaries these days? You are not alone. Pressure on profit margins is causing many architecture and engineering firms to revisit their strategy and look for ways to differentiate from their competition....

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Hot Topics at the 2015 Zweig Awards Conference

For the 7th straight year I attended the Zweig Industry Awards Conference held at the beautiful Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. This event, previously held as three separate conferences, recognizes the Hottest Firms, the Best Firms to Work For, and Marketing Excellence...

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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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{Guest Post} 6 Steps to Holding Employees Accountable

  Ineffective communication is the root of all evil. Recent research has shown that the average employee in a professional services firm wastes 40-minutes per day due to ineffective communication alone. In the average company with an average payroll this equates...

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3 Steps to Increase Your Fees Now

In a recent survey of our clients across the U.S., one of the most pressing concerns noted was how to raise fees. While the economy is improving, faster in some sectors and geographies than in others, fees for Architecture and Engineering firms are not increasing...

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Guest Post: Find the Lost Dollars™ Book Review

Today's post is by our guest author Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM. Scott is Vice President of JDB Engineering, Inc. and President-elect of the SMPS Foundation. He has more than two decades of A/E/C marketing experience and is a Fellow of the Society for Marketing...

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7 Video Marketing Ideas for A/E Firms

Today's post is by our guest author Brian M. Fraley, Founder, Manager and Chief Strategist for Fraley AEC Solutions, LLC. Video is trending upward in marketing. Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest Internet search engine? The truth is that it was always...

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Spring Cleaning for Your Business

Doesn’t it feel good to throw things away? I don’t know about you, but I hate clutter. It makes me feel stressed and disorganized. Every year I resolve to clean out my office, my garage, and all the drawers and closets in the house that get cluttered over the long...

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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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Welcome to Find the Lost Dollars!

Hello and welcome!  As we get ready for the launch of my new book, Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architectural  Engineering and Environmental Firms, my hope is that here you can find valuable resources and information to help you build and grow...

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