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Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms
Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms
Friedman & Partners - Growth stategies for A/E/C and environmental consulting firms

Business Development

Your Secret BD Weapon: The Introvert

Can an introvert become comfortable with, contribute to and find happiness in business development? That’s the question we’re going to answer in this edition of The Friedman File.

Let me kill the suspense: the answer is yes, introverts can play an effective, satisfying part in your firm’s business development culture. This is a topic I address often in my work, including a recent webinar – “Business Development for Introverts” –  that I presented last month as part of a series for ERP and CRM solutions provider Unanet.

Why Bother?

While business development may not come as naturally to an introvert as it does to an extrovert, the reality is that introverts are often more effective in the role. This can largely be because of their introverted tendencies, rather than in spite of them. Introverts are often subject experts with deep knowledge of how the firm’s services […]

What’s Your Special Sauce?

In this issue of “The Friedman File”, I’ve asked Brand Strategist Nancy Jenner of D&CO (Carlisle, Massachusetts) (www.designandco.net) to discuss the importance of understanding and communicating your firm’s value and differentiators. Each year, I conduct hundreds of third-party interviews with my clients’ clients. In these interviews, I’m often told that my client looks/sounds/feels a lot like other AEC firms. Knowing your firm’s “special sauce” is more important now than ever—not just in business development, but also recruitment and retention. I look forward to your comments and questions at rich@friedmanpartners.com or 508-276-1101.

Understanding and leveraging your company’s unique assets and value to build awareness and engagement

When asked, most people can name a company or brand that feels distinctive and strong, one that seems particularly clear about what they do or sell. Large global corporations with long histories or huge marketing budgets might come […]

The Pandemic’s Impact on Marketing and Business Development: One Firm’s Story

Forward-thinking AEC firms are institutionalizing the best of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic forced on the business world and our industry. In this issue of The Friedman File, we detail how one firm effectively adapted its marketing and business development strategy to align with the realities of the post-COVID market.

Adapting to a Pandemic

The larger lessons of the pandemic can’t be overstated. As devastating as the COVID-19 pandemic has been to the planet, it has also underscored the adaptability and resilience of the human race. While fatalities mounted and economies crumbled, individuals and communities found a way to move forward.

Within this profound setting, we find many examples of this determination to keep on keeping on. In the narrower context of The Friedman File, the strategic decisions and bold steps taken by AEC firms to counter the effects of the pandemic are instructional.

For example, […]

2020: Lessons learned and where we go from here

If there’s one phrase that describes 2020, it is not “business as usual.” The ways in which A/E/C and environmental consulting firms have fared in this unprecedented year have been as varied as the businesses that they run. In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re sharing some lessons learned, how firms have coped (or thrived) and what we see as ways forward in a still uncertain landscape.

Leading during crisis

While I’ve long advocated for transparent management, 2020 has required that on a whole new level. At times of economic uncertainty, employees look to their leaders to chart a course, to have a plan and to enact, if necessary, transformational changes or survival measures. It hasn’t been easy to be a leader this year, but many have risen to the challenge: enlisting staff in the need to create new services, implementing firmwide business development […]

Baking business development into your culture: how this firm did it

In my many years of advising AEC and environmental consulting firms on effective business development practices, I’ve seen that firms who are successful have several things in common:

  • They understand the need to position themselves within their key markets using a one-to-many marketing strategy (instead of relying solely on 1:1 relationship-building).
  • They put systems in place that allow that strategy to deliver valuable data that can drive and inform BD strategy and implementation.
  • They align both business development and marketing efforts to clear and client-focused business plans for each of their key markets.

This level of strategy and focus is what allows firms to successfully drive growth, brand and client relationships. But it’s not always easy to implement. Trying to drive the effort from the marketing department without enforcement and accountability from the top is rarely effective. Employing marketing and BD tactics without clear […]

Client selection is more important than ever

When the economy starts to look rocky and project opportunities may be diminishing, it can be tempting to start saying yes to work that’s not a great fit (but it’s work) or chasing RFPs.

I saw a lot of this happening during the Global Financial Crisis (2008–2009), and I’m seeing it again now. In times of uncertainty, of course, we may be more willing to take on a project that is not ideal. But too often, firms start to convince themselves that throwing best practices out the window is their best option.

In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re talking about why that’s not a good idea and offering some helpful guidelines for creating and implementing a thoughtful client selection process, one that strengthens your firm for the future.

What we’re doing that isn’t working

Many firms do have informal go/no-go processes in place. But the […]

Client relations in the era of COVID-19

As COVID-19 turns business as we know it—and our global communities—upside down, there are no easy answers or sure projections. While some AEC and environmental consulting firms have not experienced a disruption to projects, others are seeing warning signs and are increasingly nervous about what’s next and some are already slashing costs to contain the bleeding.

Multiple industry surveys reveal that the business impacts, like the virus itself, could vary widely and may well get worse before they get better. I’m hearing from many firm leaders who are doing their best to balance the day-to-day pandemic response with planning for project delays and revenue declines.

None of us knows when our business life will return to any sense of normalcy, but we do know this: firms must prioritize their relationships with current and prospective clients now so that those relationships come out stronger on […]

Are you waiting for opportunity to knock? Or making it yourself?

We talk a lot about market sectors in the A/E/C industry—whether they’re up or down, which ones we can compete in, and which strategies will help our firms stand apart as leaders. What we don’t talk enough about is how our firms can be out in front, helping to develop a market and essentially creating demand for their services.

In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re talking with a firm that isn’t content to wait on future opportunities—they’re making them. At 300-person MEP and building services firm Jaros, Baum & Bolles (JB&B) (New York, NY), they’re rolling up their sleeves and bringing constituencies together to build a market from the ground up.

JB&B has been working in institutional life sciences design—and in New York—for years. So when local real estate brokers began asking what it would take to reposition a property to serve these […]

4 questions to ask before you finalize your marketing budget

It’s year-end, and you know what that means: budget season. It also means that your marketing efforts and expenditures may be under the microscope. As firms grapple with how much to spend in this critical area — and what to spend it on – one of the most common questions we hear is, “What percentage of net service revenue should we spend on marketing and business development?”

While there are benchmarks, the real answer is, “It depends.” And, in fact, there are other important questions that I encourage you to answer first. In this issue of The Friedman File, we’re diving deeper into marketing and BD expenses and how you can create a budget that’s aligned to your business goals and better designed for success.

The role of benchmarks

On average, it’s fair to say that AEC industry firms spend 5-6% of net service revenue on […]

By |2019-12-05T17:14:46-05:00December 2019|Business Development, Marketing & Branding|

Curating conversations: how one firm took a nontraditional approach to market positioning

In the years that Friedman & Partners has been in business, we have again and again seen the power of successful thought leadership efforts to ignite business. And yet, there are still many firms that get stuck in effectively adapting this proven marketing strategy and implementing it consistently.

That’s why, in this issue of The Friedman File, we’re sharing how one firm has taken a creative approach to becoming a trusted advisor in a niche market. Here’s what 120-person A/E firm GLMVArchitecture (Wichita, KS) did in their zoos and aquariums practice, and what they’ve learned along the way.

“In many industries, we become insular in the way that we think,” says organizational development consultant and self-proclaimed zoo nerd Michael Clifford, GLMV’s Curator of Innovation and Partnerships, who runs the firm’s ECHO Initiative. “Zoos are established organizations, often run by municipalities and private 503(c)3s, and are not […]

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