Since 1989 Phillips Architecture has offered architectural and commercial interiors services for tenant space planning, ground up, addition, or alteration projects. Services include programming and planning, schematic design, rendering, design development, décor services, construction documents, permitting, move management for the commercial, medical, financial, restaurant, and multi-family housing markets. Phillips Architecture was a PSMJ Circle of Excellence (COE) member in 2015 & 2016.
Like many registered design professionals, Phillips Architecture President and Founding Partner Mike Phillips graduated with well-honed design skills but little business expertise—a situation that became apparent to him when he launched his firm. “I got out of school, and within about five years, I decided to start my own business because I just loved doing architecture,” he recalls. “And then, what I quickly found out was that I didn’t really know how to run an architecture business. I didn’t know a lot about fees, and orchestrating all the things that seemed so complicated.”
Looking for guidance on how to manage and grow his business, Phillips attended his first PSMJ program, PSMJ’s A/E/C Principals Bootcamp, which provides A/E/C firm principals with best practices in everything from strategic planning and financial management to business development and project management.
“It was a two-day seminar, and it was great stuff,” he recalls. “It was not just the basic blocking and tackling, but there were a bunch of stories told by PSMJ that showed a familiarity with the business that was far beyond ‘we know the business.’ They said: ‘It is not about a slavish devotion to clients with unrealistic expectations, but more like an understanding of what the clients really need and how to figure out what portion of that you can offer. And then how to produce it, deliver it, and characterize it in a way that is beneficial to all, especially the architect or engineer.”
PSMJ’s A/E/C Principals Bootcamp, according to Phillips, was full of information that helped him understand how to develop a solid understanding of the business side of design. “PSMJ began to lift my eyes up off the page and from just cranking out my drawings, he says. “I can say now that I know how the business side works.”
Moreover, Phillips notes that what PSMJ’s A/E/C Principals Bootcamp laid out was not a forced right way but provided him with a conceptual strategy that he could leverage to manage and grow his business. In fact, in 2015 & 2016, Phillips Architecture has achieved Circle of Excellence (COE) status, i.e. they met the key benchmarks or metrics that top performing firms pay attention to in how they perform.
“PSMJ has a very interesting focus,” Phillips concludes. “It is: ‘We understand what the business could be, and how its value is best produced as the value that is perceived by the client.’ If you do this well, then you minimize your effort while at the same time you maximize your value to your client.’ ”